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Showing posts from 2009

Giveaway - Delia's Happy Christmas

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED
To win this lovely Delia book all you need to do is answer the following question;

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, a ......?........ in a pear tree.

If you need a CLUE have a look at my 12 Days of Christmas Wedding cake here.

The closing date for the competition is December 31st and the winner will be announced on January 1st 2010. I will post anywhere in the world so please have a go.

Leave your answer in the comments section and if you comment anonymously please also leave your name.

Hot Smoked Salmon and Spinach Pasta and Rory update

This was a revelation, so good and so so easy. I'd been to Waitrose and picked up 2 hot smoked salmon fillets for 85p!, some fresh Pasta (250g) and a bunch of reduced Dill. All I needed to add was a dollop of Creme Fraiche from the fridge and a handful of Spinach (wilted in the pasta water for the last minute of cooking) - DIVINE. Quick and easy meals like this are godsend in my house at the moment!

Rory at 5 weeks with his big sister Lowen.

Snow-Flecked Brownies

As Nigella says 'they are dark, damp and melt in the mouth' - and they really are! These festive snow-flecked brownies come from my favourite Nigella book 'Feast' and I whipped them up for a family gathering last weekend. The recipe makes 20 bars - a lot you may think - but I can assure you there wont be any leftovers.

SNOW FLECKED BROWNIES| Serves: Makes 20 | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |
Ingredients:
375g Unsalted Butter375g Dark Chocolate6 eggs350g Caster Sugar1 TBSP Vanilla Extract225g Plain Flour1 TSP Salt250g White Chocolate Buttons
Instructions:
Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c/160C fan. Line sides and base of 33 x 23 x 5cm tin with baking parchment.Step 2: Melt the butter and dark chocolate in heavy based saucepan over a low heat.Step 3: In a measuring jug beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla extract.Step 4: Allow chocolate mixture to cool then add egg/sugar mix and beat well. Fold in flour and salt then stir in white choc…

Sticky Date Bars

These bars are moreish - not good for my post pregnancy diet, but hey it's nearly Christmas so the diet can wait until January. In any case I'm in need of energy boosting snacks at the moment - who said second babies were easier!


STICKY DATE BARS| Serves: 12 Squares | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour |
Ingredients:
250g Dates, pitted, chopped200ml Water175g Plain Flour1/2 TSP Bicarb of Soda175g soft light brown sugar100g Porridge OatsPinch Salt175g Butter, diced Instructions:
Step 1:Preheat oven to 180c/160CFan. Butter the sides of a 20cm cake tin and line with baking paper.Step 2: Place the dates and water into a pan and bring to a simmer - cook for 10 minutes until syrupy. Cool to room temperature.Step 3: Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and stir in the sugar, oats and salt. Add the butter and rub in using fingertips.Step 4: Press half mixture over base and press down firmly, spread over date mixture then scatter over other half…

Cheesy Fish Pie

A cheesy oozy fish pie with a sweet potato topping. 

CHEESY FISH PIE| Serves: 6  | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 35 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes |
Ingredients:
1kg Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped2 TBSP Creme Fraiche1 TBSP Dijon Mustardfor the sauce:500ml Full fat milk125g Butter75g Plain Flour2 Bay LeavesSmall bunch of dill, chopped600g White Fish, cut into chunks175g Smoked Haddock, cut into chunks150g Large raw prawns75g CheddarInstructions:
Step 1: Cook potatoes in salted water until tender (10 minutes), drain and mash with the creme fraiche, mustard, 50ml of milk and 55g butter, season.Step 2: To make the sauce, melt the remaining butter, add flour to make a roux then gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Add the bay leaves for a couple of minutes to infuse then discard. Finally add in the chopped dill.Step 3: Preheat the oven to 200C/180Cfan. Place the fish and prawns in the pie dish, pour over the sauce, spoon over the mash and scatter on grated cheese. Bake fo…

Tarte au Chocolat

A lovely rich dessert using Nutella spread as the basis for the filling.

TARTE AU CHOCOLATIngredients:
275g Nutella
125g 70 per cent dark chocolate
300ml double cream
450ml milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
icing sugar
PASTRY
125g butter , at room temperature
90g caster sugar
1 orange, zest
1 egg
250g plain flour

Instructions:
Step 1: MAKING THE PASTRY - This is a sweet pastry I like to flavour with vanilla seeds or orange zest to add a bit of fragrance. First, beat the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer, add orange zest. Then with the machine running add the egg, followed by the flour until you have a crumbly dough. Tip this out onto a floured work surface and bring the dough together. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
Step 2: MAKING THE TART CASE - Roll out the pastry using icing sugar to dust your work surface and the pin - this will keep the pastry sweet and nice and brittle. Put a tart ring (about 23cm) on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or lightly butter a tart tin.…

Rocky Road Bars

A great one for the kids parties.

ROCKY ROAD| Serves: Makes 12 bars | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: -  | Total Time: 15 Minutes plus chilling |
Ingredients:
125g Butter
300g Dark Chocolate
3 TBSP Golden Syrup
200g Rich tea, broken up
100g Mini Marshmallows
Optional extras - glace cherries, raisins

Instructions:
Step 1: Melt butter, chocolate and syrup together in heavy based saucepan.
Step 2: Tip out about 125ml of the melted mixture into a separate bowl for the topping.
Step 3: Add the crushed biscuits and marshmallows to the pan with the remaining chocolate. Pour the mixture into a swiss roll tin, top with the reserved chocolate and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 14th November 2009 |

Ginger Cake

I was looking for a recipe to use up some stem ginger in syrup I had and found this wonderful cake by Nigel Slater. I've adapted it slightly and omitted the sultana's as hubby is not keen. I don't think you can beat the smell of ginger cake baking in the oven. You definitely need to leave this cake to mature for a day or two before eating.
GINGER CAKE | Serves: 10 | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour |
Ingredients:

250g Self Raising Flour
2 level TSP Ground Ginger
1/2 TSP Ground Cinnamon
1 level TSP Bicarbonate of Soda
Pinch Salt
200g Golden Syrup
2 TBSP Syrup from Stem Ginger Jar
125g Butter
3 lumps Stem Ginger, chopped
125g Dark Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
240ml Milk

Instructions:

Step 1: Line a square 20-22cm cake tin with baking paper and preheat oven to 180C/160Cfan.
Step 2: Sieve the flour, ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in large bowl.
Step 3: Put the golden syrup, ginger syrup and butter into saucepan and melt on a low heat. Sti…

Sausage and Mustard Pasta

I've been watching Nigel Slaters Simple Suppers on BBC iplayer recently and saw him make a version of this dish. I held the recipe in my head and set about trying to recreate it. Here is my version - a great comforting pasta for Autumn.

Ingredients: serves 2-3
6 Pork Sausages, skins removed and chopped up into pieces
1 Onion, sliced
Handful of button mushrooms, sliced
Handful of spinach
1 TBSP Wholegrain Mustard
1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
300ml Double Cream
Chopped Parsley to serve
300g Pasta shape of choice

Method:
Step 1: In a frying pan heat a little oil and fry the onion until soft and slightly caramelised.
Step 2: Add the chopped sausages, mushrooms and spinach and fry until sausages browned. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to instructions
Step 3: Add the mustards and give it a quick stir then add the cream and parsley.
Step 4: Drain the pasta then combine with the sausage sauce and serve.

Rory George born 1/11/09

Weighing 7lb 8oz

Lemon and Lime Drizzle Loaf

I have frozen this wonderfully easy loaf, ready to whip out after the baby is born to offer to guests. I did cut the end off though and had a sneaky taste - fresh and zingy, just what I'd wanted. I'm really glad I added the lime juice, it gave it that extra edge.

Ingredients: 225g Butter, softened 225g Caster Sugar 4 eggs 225g Self Raising Flour Zest 1 lemon Drizzle 90g Caster Sugar Juice of 1 Lemon Juice of 1 Lime

Method: Step1: Preheat oven to 180c. Line 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment. Step 2: Cream together butter and sugar, beat in eggs then fold in flour and lemon zest. Tip into large loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Step 3: While cake is in the oven, make the drizzle by mixing together sugar and citrus juices. Step 4: Once out of the oven, prick the loaf all over with a fork and pour over drizzle. Let it cool in tin before turning out onto cooling rack. The cake will freeze well or can be kept in airtight container for 3 days.

Walnut and Whisky Christmas Cake

I thought I'd take the opportunity before the baby is born to do some Christmas baking - I'm unlikely to find much time after! The smell of this cake was fantastic in the oven and filled the house with a lovely chrismassy smell. You can keep this cake, wrapped in baking paper in a cool place for up to three months. The recipe is taken from last years Christmas Delicious Magazine - you can probably find it online if you wish, along with the whisky buttercream icing they suggest. Of course, I wont be icing this one until the week before Christmas - if I have any time!!!
Ingredients:
175g Raisins
175g Sultanas
175g ready to eat dates, chopped
150g Natural Glace Cherries
100g ready to eat dried pears
75g Crystallised Ginger, chopped
Zest of 1 Lemon
250ml Whisky
175g Unsalted Butter, softened
175g Dark Muscavado Sugar
3 eggs
200g Self Raising Flour
1 TBSP Syrup
2 TSP All Spice
150g Walnut Halves, toasted

Method:
Step 1: Put raisins, sultanas, dates, cherries, pears, ginger and lemon…

Melting Moments

Lowen asked to make these after she saw them on a new show on CBeebies - I Can Cook. I doubled the quantities of the original recipe to make 12, and added the glace cherry on top - like my Mother used to. Easy, toddler friendly and moreish - what more could you want.

Ingredients:
100g Caster Sugar
200g Butter, softened
1 egg
1 TSP Vanilla Extract
250g Self Raising Flour
100g Oats
6 Glace Cherries, halved

Method:
Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c
Step 2: Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and and Vanilla Extract and beat until combined
Step 3: Mix in the flour then shape into 12 balls. Roll each ball in the oats until coated and place on baking tray (flatten each one out a little with your hand) and place half a glace cherry on top.
Step 4: Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.

Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole

The extension is nearly there, well upstairs anyway, but the late nights of painting have not left much time for cooking. I've been taking this opportunity to use my slow cooker a bit more and this recipe has been evolving over the last few weeks. It's now ready for public viewing!! You could make it look a bit prettier with a sprinkling of chopped parsley, but I don't have time for that at the moment - the baby is due in 2 weeks and 5 days and there is still so much to do!!


SLOW COOKER SAUSAGE CASSEROLE| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 8 Hours on Low  |
Ingredients:
8 Pork Sausages
1 Onion, sliced
200g Mushrooms, sliced
400ml Chicken Stock
200ml Passata
1 TBSP Thyme, chopped
Dash of Worcester Sauce
Pinch of Dried Chilli Flakes
Salt and Pepper

Instructions:
Step 1: Put all ingredients in the slow cooker (you can brown the sausages first if you want but I don't bother) and cook on Low for 8 hours.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 12th October 2009 |

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Probably my favourite pudding - especially when served with creamy custard! The hedgerows are laden with blackberries at the moment and Lowen, my Mum and I spent a lovely afternoon on Friday foraging for them.

Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
2 large cooking apples
2-3 TBSP caster sugar
150g Blackberries
100g Plain Flour
50 butter, cold and cut into cubes
45g Demerera Sugar

Method:
Step 1: Preheat oven to 190c.
Step 2: Stew the apples - peel, core and cut them into chunks and blitz in the microwave for 3 minutes - with 2-3 tbsp of sugar. Add the blackberries and cook again on full power for 1-2 minutes. Tip mixture into smallish dish (I just used a pasta bowl!)
Step 3: Make the crumble by rubbing together the flour and butter until you get breadcrumbs, then stir in demerera sugar. Sprinkle crumble mix over the stewed fruit
Step 4: Bake in oven for about 25 minutes.

Slow Cooked Gammon in Pineapple Juice

I thought it was about time I started using my slow cooker again and after this success I think its going to be more of a regular fixture in our house. I was sceptical whether gammon would work but it really did and the pineapple juice added a lovely sweetness! I'm going to try Cherry Coke next.

I served it with Macaroni Cheese and peas.

Pin the Slow Cooker Gammon in Pineapple Juice for later...








SLOW COOKED GAMMON IN PINEAPPLE JUICE




print recipe
Slow Cooker Gammon in Pineapple Juice by Beth Sachs September-07-2009 Slow Cooker Gammon joint in pineapple juice
Ingredients 1 kg Unsmoked Gammon Joint1.5 Litres Pineapple Juice Instructions Step 1: Place the gammon joint in your slow cooker and cover with the pineapple juice. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
Details Prep time: 5 mins Cook time: 6 Hours Total time: 6 Hours 5 Mins
Yield: Serves 4-5 as part of a meal
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Chocolate Chip Cookies

My maternity leave is looming, so I thought a nice batch of homemade cookies for my colleagues would be a nice gesture before I departed. Don't worry I'll be back in 9 months!!

Ingredients
100g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter
100g golden caster sugar
75g soft brown sugar/ light muscavado sugar
1 free-range egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

Method:
Step 1. Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Chop the chocolate into little chunks and set aside.
Step 2. Heat the butter in a small saucepan very gently until it has just melted. Meanwhile, put the two types of sugar into a mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter on top of the sugars and beat well with a wooden spoon.
Step 3. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until well blended.
Step 4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixing bowl and stir them in, then add the chopped chocolate.
Step 5. Dot heaped pudding spoonfuls of the mixtur…

Abel and Cole's Cauliflower and Three Cheese Comfort Supper

Abel and Cole very kindly sent me a copy of their new cookbook recently (see above) which certainly helped me get over the disappointment of finding out they don't yet deliver in my area- one of the downsides of living in Cornwall I suppose. So thank-you Abel and Cole, it was a welcome surprise during a very stressful time.

The extension and ensuing chaos (dust, bits of insulation all over floor, no working boiler, a possible damp problem in our garage....) is really starting to get to me. Not to mention the weather! It seemed the rest of the UK had a lovely weekend, when we were in the midst of drizzly murky darkness. I couldn't believe the gorgeous weather at the Oval watching the last Ashes match. We're not that far from London down here but it was poles apart. Anyway, comfort was needed and came in the form of this delicious supper from the Abel and Cole recipe book combining two of my favourites, macaroni cheese and cauliflower cheese. I also love the fact that the…

Golden Syrup and Oat Cookies

My Mum used to make these moreish buttery cookies all the time and they bring back great childhood memories of licking the syrup spoon clean. They take less than 10 minutes to make and 10 minutes in the oven so they are super speedy for busy days...and most importantly the kids love them.


GOLDEN SYRUP AND OAT COOKIES



print recipe
Golden Syrup and Oat Cookies by Beth Sachs August-17-2009 A super easy golden syrup and oat cookie recipe. Ingredients 100g Butter100g Caster Sugar2 TBSP Golden Syrup100g Self Raising Flour100g Oats1/2 TSP Bicarbonate of Soda Instructions Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°c/160°c Fan and line two baking sheets with baking paper.Step 2: In a large pan melt the butter, syrup and sugar then stir in the flour, oats and bicarbonate of soda.Step 3: Roll into large walnut size balls and place well apart on the baking trays. Bake for 10 minutes.
Details Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 10 MinutesTotal time: 20 Minutes
Yield:Makes 15 cookies

Pin the Golden Syrup and Oat C…

Creamy Beef Stroganoff with Linguini

I used two Pave Rump Steaks for this recipe and I can honestly say they were one of the nicest cuts of beef I have EVER had. Hubby thought it was sacrilege to use them in a stroganoff - but I didn't listen to him. Recipe after my rant...

I feel I need to apologise for my lack of posts and comments on other blogs recently. I don't really have any good excuses, but I just feel I am drowning in 'stuff' to do at the moment. Tying up loose ends at work before I go on Maternity Leave, trying to finish my 5000 word essay that will hopefully get me chartered membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute, contending with an extension - so lots of dust, and general messiness, looking after a boisterous two year old who has decided it's good to wake up at least three times a night - and she was such a good baby too!, being kept awake by the little man who kicks me in my ribs all bl*%*y night (no not hubby, the baby) ...I could go on and on, but I'll leave it there. I …

Horiatiki Salad

A sunny weekend (and we've been waiting a while) calls for salad! This take on the classic greek variety is definately worth trying. Lets just hope the weather lasts!

Ingredients:
150g Greek Feta, crumbled
1 cucumber, chopped
Handful of Kalamata Olives
1 red onion, sliced
Hanfdul Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1 TSP Dried Oregano
3 TBSP EVOO
3 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar

Method:
Step 1: Combine all ingredients and pour over dressing just before serving.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

Strawberry and Rhubarb is such a great combination - you can't beat it, especially with a big helping of creamy custard

Ingredients: 550g Roasted rhubarb - see below for recipe
250g strawberries , hulled and halved FOR THE CRUMBLE
85g plain flour
50g golden caster sugar
25g ground almonds
50g butter , room temperature, chopped

Method:
Step 1: To make Roasted Rhubarb, wash and trim rhurbarb and cut into small finger length pieces. Spread in baking tin and sprinkle with 85g caster sugar. Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes at 200c. Take out oven and uncover and tip strawberries onto tin. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Spoon into 1 litre dish and cool

Step 2: To make crumble, rub together flour and butter then stir through ground almonds and sugar. Sprinkle onto fruit
Step 3: Bake for 20 minutes at 200c. Serve with lashings of custard or vanilla ice cream

Baba Ganoush (Aubergine Dip)

Here's what I did with the 2 round Aubergines from Natoora.

Baba Ganoush is a wonderful smokey aubergine dip and I served it simply with toasted pitta chips. Its so simple it hardly requires a recipe, but here is a simple method.... Blacken two aubergines under a grill, peel the skin and discard, pop flesh in a processor with 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 TBSP Lemon Juice, 2 TBSP Tahini, Pinch of Cumin, Pinch of white Pepper - whizz together. Enjoy!

Oven Baked Risotto

A rainy Sunday calls for comfort food - and bearing in mind my house is upside down at the moment, it needed to be easy. This recipe from Good Food fitted the bill. No need for standing by the stove and stirring - this is a bung it in the oven risotto - perfect and so tasty.

OVEN BAKED RISOTTO
By Beth Sachs, 26th July 2009

Ingredients:
250g pack smoked bacon , chopped into small pieces1 onion, chopped25g butter300g risotto ricehalf a glass of white wine (optional)150g peas,700ml hot chicken stock (from a cube is fine)50g parmesan, grated Instructions:
Step 1: Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.Step 2: Fry the bacon pieces in an ovenproof casserole for 3-5 mins until golden and crisp. Stir in the onion and butter and cook for 3-4 mins until soft. Tip in the rice and mix well until coated. Pour over the wine if using and cook for 2 mins until absorbed. Step 3: Add the hot stock and peas, then give the rice a quick stir. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and bake for 20 mins until just cooke…

Nutty Chicken Curry

I'm knee deep in plasterboard this weekend so no time for cooking I'm afraid (I have to keep thinking all this mess will be worth it in the end!). This was a curry I rustled up last week and it was taken from the latest issue of Good Food Magazine (with a few tweaks). Very nice it was too and a good way to use up an opened jar of peanut butter.

Ingredients:
1 Red Chili, chopped finely
Thumb size piece of Ginger, peeled and chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
Coriander stalks, chopped - reserving leaves for garnish
1 TBSP Thai Red Curry Paste
5 TBSP Peanut Butter
4 Chicken Breasts, chopped
150ml Chicken Stock
200ml Natural Yogurt

Method:
Step 1: Fry chili, ginger, garlic, coriander stalks and thai red curry paste for a few minutes in large pan
Step 2: Add chicken and fry until browned
Step 3: Add peanut butter, stock and yogurt and simmer for 20 minutes, until chicken cooked through
Step 4: Serve with rice

Pesto Chicken, Smoked Ham and Pea Pasta Bake

I went into my new Waitrose store yesterday and picked up some fantastic bargains - I think I will be shopping there every Tuesday! Not only the cooked pesto chicken and gorgeous smoked ham for this recipe, but also 200g blueberries for 65p and 150g Blackcurrants for 80p - A Summer Berry Loaf to come I think!!

On to this recipe, well it's not really a recipe, I just made it up as I went along, and it was fantastic. Hubby's Brother strategically called around just as I was serving up, so he stayed for a nibble too -and loved it. We also used some fresh garden peas from the allotment.

Ingredients:
400g Pasta
350g Cooked Pesto Chicken fillets, chopped
150g Smoked Ham, chopped
150g Fresh Peas - from the allotment!!!
50g Butter
Small red onion, chopped
50g Flour
600ml Milk
150g Cheddar
Handful of Parmesan

Method:
Step 1: Cook pasta according to packet and add peas for last minute of cooking, drain and reserve
Step 2: Meanwhile, melt butter and fry onion until soft, add flour and sti…

Nigella's Mellow Meatballs

It's been a little cooler this weekend in the UK so I thought it was about time I did some proper cooking.

Now that Waitrose has opened just down the road, I am finding Nigella's recipes even easier to reproduce (a lot of ingredients, especially in Express, use ingredients I can only get hold of in Waitrose). Hubby is not keen on Squash and Sweet Potato, so I told him the yellow and orange cubes were carrot and swede - and he believed me!! Next time I might make it a little spicier, but if you're catering for kids - stick with this version.

Ingredients:
3 x 15ml tablespoons red curry paste
2 x 15ml tablespoons vegetable oil
40 organic mini-meatballs, approx. 600g total
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 410g can chickpeas, drained
1 x 350g diced butternut squash and sweet potato (supermarket packet)
500ml chicken stock from concentrate or cube, or from a tub
2 x 15ml tablespoons honey
20g (app…

Banana and Walnut Bread

I don't like throwing away black banana's so I'm always on the lookout for new banana bread/cake/muffin recipes. I found this one on The Times Online website by Jill Dupleix. This is a good one for the kids as they can feel 'helpful' by mashing up the banana's, and by the time they have finished, everything else has already been done (subsequently creating less mess!!).

Ingredients:
125g Butter
175g Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
280g Plain Flour
1 TSP Bicarb of Soda
Pinch Salt
125ml Milk
3 black Banana's - mashed
1 TSP Vanilla Extract
75g Walnuts

Method:
Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c and oil a loaf tin
Step 2: Cream butter and sugar then add eggs and beat. Sift in flour and bicarb and add pinch salt
Step 3: Gently mix in the milk then add mashed banana's and walnuts
Step 4: Pour into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour

Triple Chocolate Brownies

These were totally gorgeous. They were crispy on top and gooey in the middle - my perfect brownie.
I made these for a family BBQ and they were well and truly gobbled. My husband announced yesterday that he's going on a diet - he worked out he's put on 3 stone since we've been together (mind you he was way too skinny when I first started going out with him) and feels it's now time to lose some. So no more brownies for the time being - well at least until he gets bored of his diet.

Ingredients: 185g unsalted butter
185g best dark chocolate
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate
50g milk chocolate
3 large eggs
275g golden caster sugar
Method: Step 1: Cut the butter into smallish cubes and tip into a medium bowl. Break the dark chocolate into small pieces and drop into the bowl. Cover the bowl loosely with cling film and put in the microwave for 2 minutes on High. Leave the melted mixture to cool to room temperature.
While you wait for the chocolate to cool, p…

Courgette and Mushroom Carbonara

I was watching a repeated episode of Jamie at Home the other night, the one where he gets excited about courgettes (mind you he gets excited about most things). He started making a delish looking Courgette Carbonara so I quickly ran to get a pen and scribbled down the ingredients. So, this is my version, varying slightly from Jamies with the addition of some mushrooms - they were looking lonely in my fridge!

Ingredients: (Serves 2) 250g Penne 2 Courgette, halved then halved again and chopped into pieces Handful of Mushrooms, sliced 75g Bacon Lardons Large sprig of Thyme, leaves removed 2 eggs100ml Cream 2 Handfuls Parmesan Salt and Pepper

Method:
Step 1: Cook pasta according to instructions Step 2: Fry the bacon, courgette and mushrooms in a little oil then add the fresh thyme Step 3: Whisk together eggs, cream and Parmesan in a bowl Step 4: Drain pasta (reserving a couple of TBSP of pasta water), toss into bacon and courgette mixture and take off heat Step 5: Wait a few moments befor…

Bacon, Bran and Cinnamon Muffins

I wanted to make a special effort with breakfast today - for no particular reason, other than I fancied a change from cereal. Plus I thought it might encourage my non breakie eating hubby to start eating it. I'd seen this recipe in Brunch (Something for the Weekend) by Simon Rimmer and Tim Lovejoy and thought it might hit the spot. To save time, I baked them on friday night and then just reheated them in the oven this morning. The result was lovely - salty, but sweet at the same time. I just wish I had chance to make a special effort every day of the week - mind you, it probably wouldn't be too good for my waistline.

Ingredients: 1 TBSP Oil 75g Bacon Lardons 25g Bran (I used MornflakeOatbran sprinkles) 150ml Milk 100g Self Raising Flour 100g Wholemeal Flour 2 TSP Baking Powder 1 TSP Ground Cinnamon Zest 1 Lemon 75g Butter 4 TBSP Honey 100ml Yogurt 1 Egg
Method: Step 1: Fry Bacon in oil and set aside to cool when cooked Step 2: Soak bran with milk and set aside Step 3: Preheat o…

Mozzarella, Tomato and Rocket Salad with Basil Oil Dressing

Well, I can't really claim any recipe here, just good quality ingredients! These three beauties were part of the Natoora box I received recently and I can tell you, they were fantastic, especially the mozzarella.

Mozzarella
Datterini Tomatoes
Rocket


I served this very simple salad with a crusty baguette - I was in food heaven!

Feta Salsa

When I saw this on Closet Cooking, my mouth started watering and it went straight in my bookmarked recipes file. I got the chance to make it last weekend when I served it as an appetiser at a BBQ. Needless to say it went down a treat, even with olive hating members of hubby's family! The only change I made was to chop everything up a little bit smaller to disguise the olives!

Ingredients:
250g Feta (crumbled)
1/2 cup kalamata olives (pitted and chopped)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil (drained and chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon oregano (chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions:
Step 1: Mix everything together. I served with Tortilla Crisps and Celery Sticks

Tomato, Chicken and Basil Fusilli

To save time I made the tomato and basil sauce the night before so it literally took 15 minutes to get to the table. A great weekday night supper.....and Lowen REALLY enjoyed it  - this one I'm writing down.

Ingredients:to serve 4
Tomato and Basil Sauce;
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Onion, chopped
100ml White Wine
Splash of Cider Vinegar
2 tins chopped tomatoes
Pinch chilli flakes
1TSP each of sugar, salt and pepper
Large Handful of Basil (from Natoora)
100g Buffalo Mozzarella (from Natoora)

250g Fusilli
Handful of leftover roast chicken
Parmesan, grated
Rocket to garnish (from Natoora)

Method:
Step 1: Make sauce - fry onion and garlic until soft, add wine and vinegar and fry until evaporated. Add tomatoes, chilli flakes, Sugar, Salt and Pepper and simmer for 1 hour. Add torn basil leaves and mozzarella
Step 2: Meanwhile cook pasta according to instructions and drain. Add to sauce
Step 3: Stir through chicken and serve topped with Parmesan and rocket salad

Creamy Caramalised Onion and Parmesan Spaghetti

Wow...this was so good but so rich. I struggled to finish it - and I never struggle.

Ingredients:
250g Spaghetti
2 Red Onions, sliced
40g Butter
75 ml Marsala
200ml Double Cream
Handful Parsley, chopped
1 TSP Dijon Mustard
Handful of Parmesan

Method:Step 1: Melt butter and add splash of oil in a frying pan then gently saute onions for 30 minutes
Step 2: Meanwhile cook spaghetti
Step 3: Turn up heat under onions and add marsala - let it evaporate. Then add all other ingredients and simmer for 2 minutes
Step 4: Toss pasta through sauce and season

Spicy Beef and Spinach Stir Fry with Egg Fried Rice

I only recently started to appreciate black bean sauce, and now I can't get enough of it. This is so quick, as long as you cook the rice beforehand - and really tasty! Good midweek nosh!

On another note I saw my midwife today who told me she thinks I'm having another girl (based on heartbeat)....I wonder if she's right? We can only agree on girls names, so for the sake of many arguments lets hope it is!

Ingredients: (Serves 3)
250g Rice, cooked and cooled
230g Rump Steak, sliced
Thumb size piece of ginger, sliced
2 Garlic cloves, sliced
1 Red chili, sliced
4 Spring Onions, sliced
Handful Spinach leaves
5 Mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 TBSP Sesame Oil
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
Squeeze lime juice
3 TBSP Black Bean Sauces
1 Egg

Instructions:
Step 1: Steak slices, ginger, garlic, chili, spring onions, mushrooms and spinach in a bowl and pour over Sesame Oil
Step 2: Pour some groundnut oil in a wok and heat to high, tip in steak mix and stir fry for 2 minutes. Pour in soy sauce, lime juice a…

Sausage and Rosemary Tortellini

I think it's fair to say this was the first proper meal I have enjoyed for about 14 and a half weeks - the worse is over I think! It was just Lowen and I tonight as Daddy had football so I decided to indulge in something that he would have turned his nose up at (no sauce!).

Admittedly this was very simple to put together, but it tasted great so I thought I'd share it. A lovely light spring meal!

Ingredients: (serve 2-3)
300g pack tortellini (I had cheese and tomato)
Handful of frozen or fresh peas
Drizzle of garlic oil
Large sprig of Rosemary
2 Pork sausages, sliced
Handful of grated cheese

Method:
Step 1: Put pan of water on to boil for pasta
Step 2: Heat garlic oil in frying pan and add chopped rosemary and sliced sausage - fry for 5 mins
Step 3: Meanwhile, cook pasta and peas in boiling water, then drain and tip intogarlicky sausage mixture
Step 4: Divide into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

Cranberry and Chocolate Cookies...and some news

Ok, the news first. Some of you may have noticed my distinct lack of blogging in the last few months and I can now explain why. Basically, I have not wanted to go near the kitchen, the supermarket, open a cook book or even read your lovely blogs...yes I'm pregnant! Honestly though, the first few months have hit me hard and it has been so unlike my previous pregnancy (which I sailed through). All I can say is I felt yucky, almost all the time. On the bright side, having nearly reached the 4 month mark, I am now beginning to get my cooking and baking mojo back. I opened a cook book for the first time in nearly 4 months last night - Nigella Express..and I think I'm inspired again!

Lowen and I baked these cookies today for Daddy. The recipe came from 'Apples for Jam' by Tessa Kiros and they are divine! A real must try. Enjoy and see you all soon

Ingredients:
75g Butter, softened
50g Soft Brown Sugar
50g Caster Sugar
1 Egg
1 TSP Vanilla Extract
160g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp bakin…

Creamy Brie and Bacon Pasta

I made this dish back in February (I know I'm really behind!) and have been meaning to write it up ever since but have only now got round to it now. If you love Brie like I do, you will love this dish. I don't think I can think of a better flavour combo than Brie and Bacon...can you?!

Ingredients: Serves 3-4
400-500g Pasta of choice
150g Brie, rind removed and chopped
Large tub of creme fraiche
1 clove garlic
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
4 rashers smoked bacon
handful mushrooms, sliced
Handful of frozen peas
Lots of black pepper

Method:
Step 1: Put on a pan of water, bring it to boil and cook pasta. Place a glass dish over top of pan then melt together brie and creme fraiche over the pasta.
Step 2: In a frying pan fry bacon, garlic and onion for 4-5 mins then add mushrooms and peas.
Step 3: Drain pasta, and stir through brie sauce and bacon mixture - yum!!!

Banana and Date Loaf

I haven't done any baking for ages and at 6am this morning suddenly got an urge to get the Kitchen Aid out. I'd bought some dates in the hope of trying a sticky toffee pudding - but it never happened. So rather than them languishing in the cupboard I decided to use them in this wonderful sticky moist loaf. Needless to say I always have over ripe banana's in my fruitbowl too.

I'm eating a slice now and it is really delicious - give this one a go!!

Ingredients:
130g stones dates, chopped
2 ripe Banana's, mashed
1 TBSP Golden Syrup
90 unsalted butter
90 Soft Brown sugar
2 eggs
2 TBSP Milk
280g Plain Four
1 TSP Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Sea Salt
1/2 TSP Cinnamon

Method:
Step 1: Preheat oven to 190c. Add dates, banana's and syrup to large bowl and mix
Step 2: Cream butter and sugar then add eggs and milk. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt and Cinnamon and mix thoroughly
Step 3: Mix creamed mixture into banana and dates and then spoon into a 20cm loaf tin (buttered) an…

Sloppy Joe Bake

I made this dish, what seems like an age ago. It was delicious and I would be more than happy to use the chilli mince in place of my usual chilli con carne recipe. I loved the garlic bread on top - who doesn't like garlic bread!


Ingredients: 500g pack lean minced beef 2 Onions, roughly chopped 2 tsp oil 2 tsp ground cumin 1-2 tsp mild chilli powder , depending on whether you like it spicy 400g can chopped tomatoes 600ml beef stock 1 garlicbaguette, split into slices


Method: Step 1: Brown the mince in a non-stick pan for a few mins, then tip into a bowl. Whizz the onions in a food processor until finely chopped (or roughly grate if you don't have one). Tip into the pan with the oil, then cook for 2-3 mins until soft. Add the spices, cook for 1 min. Return the mince to the pan with the tomatoes and stock, then bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 mins. Step 2: Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and spoon the mince into an ovenproof dish. Arrange the baguette slices over the mince, then bake for 12 …

Cheesy Tuna Pasta Bake

I spied this recipe in BBC Good Food Magazine and it is fantastic. It's easy and quick to pull together and so so tasty. I tweaked the recipe slightly - the main change being the addition of Creme Fraiche and Parmesan. Even Lowen, who is going through a slightly fussy phase, seemed to enjoy this. 

Ingredients:
400g Pasta (I used Cavatappi)
200g Tin Tuna in Oil
190g Jar of Pesto (I used Sun Dried Tomato)
200g Cherry Tomatoes, halved
200g Cheddar, grated
75g Parmesan, grated 2 TBSP Chopped Parsley 1 TBSP Creme Fraiche

Method: Step 1: Cook pasta according to instructions Step 2:Put tuna with oil, pesto, cheddar and tomatoes a large bowl then stir through the creme fraiche and parsley. Drain the pasta and mix Step 3: Pour into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the parmesan - grill for 3 minutes until bubbling and golden.