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Chocolate Cake


Chocolate Cake
Ultimate Chocolate Cake or what! The funny thing is I really didn't mean to make it, it just sort of happened. I had a pot of Soured Cream in the fridge which was about to go out of date (I can't remember for what recipe I had originally purchased it for), did some googling.... and the rest as they say is history. Lowen, with a chocolate covered mouth muttered something about wanting this cake for her birthday (3 weeks and counting), so with a bit of fairy magic I will transform it into the perfect birthday cake for a fairy loving 3 year old - adorned with edible glitter, smarties and hundreds and thousands.....can't wait!

CHOCOLATE CAKE 

| Serves: 10 Slices  | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes  | Total Time: 1 Hour |


Ingredients:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 40g best-quality cocoa
  • 175g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract  - or if you wanted to make a choc orange cake omit the vanilla and add zest of 1 orange
  • 150ml sour cream
  • FOR THE ICING:
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 75g milk chocolate
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 125ml sour cream 

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4 and line and butter two 20cm sandwich tins.
  • Step 2: Put all the cake ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream – into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter.
  • Step 3: Divide this batter into the prepared tins and bake for about 30 mins, but check after 25 mins.
  • Step 4: Remove the cakes, in their tins, to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out of their tins. 
  • Step 5: To make the icing, melt the butter and chocolate in microwave.
  • Step 6: Put the icing sugar into the food processor and blitz. 
  • Step 7: Add the golden syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla then pour this mixture down the funnel of the food processor on to the icing sugar, with the motor running.  
  • Step 8: When the cakes are cooled place one on a serving plate then put a little of icing on top of the cake and spread evenly. Place the other half of the cake on top then cover the whole cake in the icing using a palette knife. Decorate as you wish, I used some sugar flowers.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 29th March 2010 |

Beth Sachs
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Spicy Carrot Soup


Spicy Carrot Soup
I love this soup, it's so easy to make (especially if you grate the carrots in a processor) and so warming. The cumin and coconut milk give it a subtle indian vibe, without being over-powering.

TOP TIPS FOR MAKING THE SPICY CARROT SOUP

  • For extra heat, add a fresh chopped red chilli at the same time as the onion.
  • The soup can be frozen for up to 6 months.
  • Make a double batch to feed a crowd.


OTHER SOUP RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE

SPICY CARROT SOUP


Soup
Yield: 4 adult portionsPin it

Spicy Carrot Soup

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 22 MINStotal time: 32 mins
A spiced carrot soup recipe with coconut milk and cumin.

ingredients:


  • 2 TSP Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 TSP Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 600g Carrots, washed and grated
  • 150g Red Split Lentils
  • 1 Litre Vegetable Stock
  • 125ml Coconut Milk

instructions:


  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry fry the cumin seeds for 1 minutes. Add the oil then fry the chilli flakes and onion and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes then blend for a smooth soup.


Beth Sachs
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Creamed Leeks


Creamed Leeks
Deliciously rich, this creamy leek side dish always get served with my Sunday roast. If there's any left it's great the next day stirred through pasta with some crispy bacon sprinkled on top. 

The quantities below make enough to serve 6 as part of a roast.

Creamed Leeks

CREAMED LEEKS
By Beth Sachs, 25/03/2010

Ingredients:
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 4 leeks, finely sliced
  • 8 shallots, chopped
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • Glass of white wine
  • 250ml double cream
  • 250g Gruyere, grated
Instructions:
  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180c and melt the butter in a pan and gently fry the leeks, shallots and thyme for 10 minutes until softened. Pour in the white wine and leave to bubble away for 2 more minutes.
  • Step 2: Add the double cream, season and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.
  • Step 3: Sprinkle the dish with the grated cheese and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Details:
Yield: serves 6 as part of a roast
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Beth Sachs
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Chorizo, Leek and Thyme Risotto


Chorizo, Leek and Thyme Risotto

I know some people really don't like making risotto's because of the endless stirring involved. But I actually find it rather therapeutic and calming after a stressful day, whether at home with the kids or at work. It always helps to have a glass of wine in hand and some good music on the ipod too!

This combination really just materialised from what I had available in the fridge - sometimes the best meals are the unplanned ones!

CHORIZO, LEEK AND THYME RISOTTO

By Beth Sachs, 23rd March 2010

Ingredients:
  • 30g butter
  • 3 leeks, washed and sliced thinly
  • 2 fresh chorizo sausages, sliced
  • A couple of sprigs of Thyme, leaves picked
  • 300g Risotto Rice
  • Glass of White Wine
  • 1 Litre Vegetable Stock
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions:
  • Step 1: Heat the butter in a large pan over a medium heat, add the leeks and soften for 10 minutes. Meanwhile in a separate saucepan dry fry the fresh chorizo until crispy - set aside.
  • Step 2: Add the thyme leaves and risotto rice and stir until coated in the butter. Turn the heat up and add the wine, let it bubble away for a minute.
  • Step 3: Gradually add the stock, one ladleful at a time, continually stirring. Season and sprinkle in most of the parmesan (reserve a little for sprinkling on top) and then add in the cooked chorizo slices .
Beth Sachs
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Homemade Clotted Cream


Homemade Clotted Cream
I've had a lot of requests recently to publish a recipe for homemade clotted cream. As I live in Cornwall and clotted cream is so readily available here, I've never tried making it myself before. To be honest, you will find it difficult to emulate the stuff you can buy e.g. Rodda's, but for those of you who can't buy clotted cream where you live, it might be worth giving my Nana's recipe a try. She used to make this every Sunday morning and I have fond memories of her scalding the milk in a really old saucepan.


HOMEMADE CLOTTED CREAM

Ingredients:

  • At least 2 pints/ 1 litre of Full Cream Milk (unhomogenised)- my Nana used Jersey Milk, which the milkman delivered to her door every Friday.

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Pour the un-treated milk into a shallow metal saucepan and let it stand overnight in a cool place (at least 7-8 hours) until the thick cream rises to the top.
  • Step 2: Heat the milk slowly (they call it scalding) but DO NOT let it boil for about 1 hour, until a thick yellow crust forms.
  • Step 3: Take off the heat and leave in a cool place for 12 hours before skimming off the clotted cream with a wide bladed knife. Enjoy with fresh scones and strawberry jam for an authentic Cornish Cream Tea. 


| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 22nd March 2010 |

Beth Sachs
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Prawn and Vegetable Curry


Prawn and Vegetable Curry
I was given some Very Lazy Ginger to sample recently and decided to try it out in this Prawn and Vegetable Curry. I've only ever used fresh ginger in curries so was very interested to see how it would compare. The result - well you couldn't taste the difference and a definite plus point of the lazy variety is that the jar can be kept in the fridge for 3 months  - no more mouldy ginger for me!

This is a very easy curry to pull together, perfect for a Friday night.
Prawn and Vegetable Curry

TOP TIPS FOR MAKING THIS PRAWN AND VEGETABLE CURRY

  • Make it extra hot by adding a chopped red chilli.
  • If you're not keen on prawns, use leftover roast chicken instead.
  • The curry will freeze for up to 3 months so why not make double and freeze half.

OTHER CURRY RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Prawn and Vegetable Curry

PRAWN AND VEGETABLE CURRY


Yield: 2Pin it

Prawn and Vegetable Curry

prep time: 8 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 28 mins
An easy medium hot prawn and veggie curry with spinach.

ingredients:


  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 TSP Lazy Ginger
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 100g Mushrooms
  • 3 TBSP Madras Curry Paste
  • 1 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • Handful of frozen Peas
  • Handful of baby Spinach
  • 250g Cooked King Prawns

instructions:


  1. Heat some oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion, ginger and garlic for 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the curry paste then add the chopped tomatoes, peas and spinach. Simmer for 10 minutes before stirring through the prawns and heating through.



PIN ME!

Prawn and Vegetable Curry


Beth Sachs
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Cute Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting


Cute Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

I haven't done much baking recently (bar the shortbread) so when Emma offered to send me some Silverspoon cakecraft decorations, favourings and colourings to try, I jumped at the chance. I used my basic cupcake mixture and flavoured it with a few drops of Silverspoon natural strawberry flavouring, giving it a very subtle strawberry flavour. I added some more strawberry flavouring to the cream cheese frosting and sprinkled some freeze dried strawberries on top. 

CUTE CUPCAKES WITH STRAWBERRY FROSTING


| Serves: 12 cakes  | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 15-20 Minutes | Total Time: 35 Minutes |


Ingredients:

  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Butter
  • 100ml Milk
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 2 TSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Silverspoon Strawberry Flavouring
  • Frosting:
  • 60g Butter, softened
  • 300g Icing Sugar
  • 100g Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 TSP Silverspoon Strawberry Flavouring
  • Freeze Dried Strawberries to decorate

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c/160fan/Gas 4.
  • Step 2: Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  • Step 3: In a mixer (or by hand) mix together the eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy.
  • Step 4: Melt the butter in a pan, turn off the heat and whisk in the milk. Add this to the sugar and eggs and continue to mix.
  • Step 5: Mix together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt  and sieve into the egg mixture and fold in. Finally, stir in the strawberry flavouring.
  • Step 6: Spoon mixture into cases and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
  • Step 7: To make the frosting, mix all the ingredients together in a mixer.
  • Step 8: When cupcakes are cool, spread on the icing and decorate.

 | Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 18th March 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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Shortbread in a Food Processor


Food Processor Shortbread

I broke my food processor recently, entirely my own fault, but the moto of the story is do not try and stuff as many smoked mackerel fillets in there as physically possible - just wont do it any good! 

I couldn't be without a processor so I ordered one straight away. It arrived on my doorstep the next day and I decided to christen it with some really simple Shortbread. I've never really used processors for anything other than chopping before, but I'm determined to make full use of this one...and try my hardest not to lose any of the attachments!


SHORTBREAD IN A FOOD PROCESSOR

| Serves: Makes 15 biscuits | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes |


Ingredients:

  • 125g Butter, cut into cubes
  • 60g Caster Sugar
  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 1-2 TBSP MIlk
  • 1/2 TSP Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c/160fan.
  • Step 2: Place Butter, Sugar and Flour into the processor and blitz until you get a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Step 3: Add the milk 1 TBSP at a time (you might only need 1 TBSP) and the Vanilla Extract and pulse until a dough forms.
  • Step 4: Take the dough out of the processor and knead for 2 minutes then roll out to a thickness of 1cm on a floured surface. Cut into shapes using a cutter, place the biscuits on a non stick baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date:  17th March 2010 |

Beth Sachs
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Baby Food Recipes


Baby Food Recipes
A few weeks ago I posted an article on baby weaning just as I was getting geared up to start introducing solids to Rory. You'll be pleased to hear it's going well and he seems to really enjoy mealtimes. His favourite foods so far are sweet potato and pear.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to post a few more baby puree's, which I hope will come in handy for all you Mums and Dads out there getting ready to introduce your little one(s) to the wonderful world of food.

Butternut Squash - makes 20 cubes
Ingredients:
450g (1LB) Butternut Squash, peeled and deseeded, cut into bite size chunks
2 TBSP Freshly squeezed Orange Juice

Method:
Step 1: Boil the Butternut Squash for about 12 minutes until tender.
Step 2: Drain, and blitz in food processor along with Orange Juice.
Step 3: Open freeze in ice cube trays, before transfering the cubes to freezer bags.

Courgette Puree - makes 20 cubes
Ingredients:
450g (1lb) Courgettes

Method:
Step 1: Wash the courgettes, peel, take off the ends then slice the courgettes.
Sep 2: Put in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 7 minutes.
Step 3: Blitz in a processor, adding a bit of the cooking liquid to get the right consistency.

No-Cook Avacado and Banana Puree
Ingredients:
1/2 Avacado, peeled, stoned and chopped
1 small Banana, peeled and chopped
2 TBSP Breast or Formula Milk

Method:
Step 1: Mash the avacado and banana together with the milk and eat straight away.

Other articles of interest:
First Stage Weaning

Beth Sachs
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Leek, Bacon and Feta Frittata


Leek Bacon and Feta Frittata
I love concocting meals from leftovers, it gives me a real sense of satisfaction that I'm not wasting perfectly good food. This frittata was one such creation, using a couple of leftover leeks, a few rashers of bacon, some reduced feta (£2.99 reduced to 30p - I love a good bargain) and the remains of some fresh mint. It ended up being a tasty Saturday night dinner for hubby and I, while we watched the footie on the box.


LEEK BACON AND FETA FRITTATA

| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 20 Minutes |


Ingredients: 

  • 2 large leeks, washed, trimmed, cut in half then sliced into half moons
  • 25g Butter
  • 3 Rashers of Smoked Bacon, chopped
  • 180g Feta, crumbled
  • Handful of mint leaves, torn
  • 6 eggs, beaten and seasoned

Instructions:


  • Step 1: In a medium frying pan, melt the butter then add the leeks and fry until soft. Turn the heat up, add the bacon until cooked.
  • Step 2: Preheat the grill. Pour in the eggs, add the feta and mint into the frying pan and give it a good stir. Cook on the heat for around 8 minutes until the top is almost set. 
  • Step 3: Transfer to the grill and grill until nicely browned.
  • Step 4: Transfer to a serving plate and cut into wedges.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 14th March 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg Giveaway



The Eggsibitionist™ Extra Thick Easter Egg
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED
When Hotel Chocolat contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing one of their Easter Eggs, I jumped higher than the Easter Bunny in pure excitement - seriously, I love their Chocolate! Even better, they were sending me two eggs so I could give one away in a little Easter themed competition. When the egg arrived on my doorstep, I felt I had two options;

1. scoff it by myself and then feel guilty for the next month, or
2. take it to the local Mother and Baby group for all the mothers to share and review...

I have a heart (and a baby bump to get rid of)...so I took it to the baby group. These were some of the comments it received:


'definitely an adult Easter Egg - too good for the kids!'


'love the mini eggs with all the different centres'


'I'll have to leave a hint for hubby - best Easter Egg I have ever eaten...and I've eaten a few'

The egg shell itself is cast from 40% cocoa house milk chocolate and hiding inside – 12 gorgeously hand decorated mini eggs filled with smooth and textured pralines, zesty orange, caramel and sticky toffee to name a few.

For your chance to win this decadent Easter Egg, there are two ways to enter:
1. Check out Hotel Chocolat’s Easter Gifts and leave a comment to this post with a link to the item you most want the Easter Bunny to leave!
2. Tweet about this giveaway (your twitter ID or on http://twitter.com/Hotel_Chocolat), or post about it on your blog or Facebook. Don’t forget to come back and leave a  comment with the link.


The competition will close at 5pm GMT on Sunday March 28th. The winner will be announced on Moday 29th March




Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg


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Beth Sachs
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