Archives for the month of: May, 2015

I baked this cake for a bake off. It’s the second big cake I’ve ever made and the first time I’ve made salted caramel sauce or used a piping bag. I surprised myself with how yummy it was. I came 2nd in the bake off, so I’m happy with that! I followed this Green & Blacks recipe for the cake, so I won’t rewrite it out here.

I used this recipe for the salted caramel sauce, of which I have a huge pot left so expect more recipes with that this week! I popped my own popcorn and whipped up the double cream mixing in the sauce as I went.

I took pics of the caramel making – it was rather violent and lumpy but the results were amazing so I recommend you have a go!

Here’s the sugar melting…


Here’s the sugar melted and the butter stirred in – that’s when it really spits at you. As you can see it formed a big clump on my wooden spoon!

Sprinkle in some salt and you have the perfect sauce!

You might think your pan is ruined but fear not, Twitter came to my rescue. Fellow food blogger Andrew suggested boiling water and washing up liquid in the pan. Which I did and it worked!  I was mega impressed with this tip, my pan came up good as new!  Here’s the cake after the cricket boys at the bake off scoffed it. I only missed out by one vote. Here’s to next time! Leftovers for breakfast…

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 This was soooo tasty and such a good way of using up odds and sods in the fridge. I had a pak choi leftover from last week which just needed a trim and a wash, leftover Thai green curry paste, and odd bits of fish in the freezer which needed using up. I made a sauce from cupboard ingredients and it tasted amazing! 

1) in a blender whizz up your fish (I used 1 cod fillet, 3 basa fillets and 1 small tuna steak, all defrosted) with 2 tbsp green Thai curry paste, 2 dessert spoons of soy sauce, 1 tsp minced ginger and a big handful of chopped spring onion. 
2) once whizzed to a smooth-ish consistency, set aside and put the rice on.

3) put 3/4 cup of rice in a pan on the hob. Add 1/4 cup of water and a tin of coconut milk. Bring to the boil and simmer with a lid on for 10 mins.

4) whilst the rice is cooking, form small patties with the fish mix and fry in some oil on the hob.

5) put the pak choi in boiling water on the hob and cook for 5 min.

6) to make the sauce mix 2 dessert spoons of soy sauce, 2 level tsp of peanut butter, 1/2 tsp minced ginger, shake of chilli flakes and sesame seeds. Stir and spoon on top of the fishcakes.

I’ve got leftovers for lunch tomorrow and I’m very excited!

  

 Such a mouthful of a title for something that was incredibly easy to make. Literally 10 mins of prep and let the oven do the work. This will be my go-to dinner party dish from now on, everyone will think I’m a culinary goddess (unless they’ve read this and know my secret). 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

1) in a pan on the hob, fry up 1/2 onion til softened. 

2) add 5/6 chopped sundried tomatoes and 1 fresh tomato. Cook for 3 mins.

3) pour over 1 pint of veg stock and 250g of arborio rice. Season with salt and pepper and stir. 

4) put the lid on and place in the oven.

5) take 2 frozen cod fillets and drizzle them with olive oil. Shake over some dried thyme. Place on a baking tray and put in the oven.

6) after 25 mins remove the risotto, add some more water if needs be, add dried basil and crumble in 1/2 pack of goats cheese. Stir through. (Add spinach if you have it, I didn’t so went without!).

7) 5 mins later, take everything out and plate up: risotto first, then cod (pouring over the juices), sprinkle over chopped black olives and more goats cheese if you fancy it.

Hand to your other half and sit in satisfying silence whilst you gobble it down 🙂

 After my lasagne last night I fancied something sweet and cool but kind of healthy. I always keep chopped banana in the freezer now for smoothies or ‘ice cream’.

1) chop your frozen banana into small pieces – this just makes it easier on your food processor.

2) whizz up for a few mins, scraping down the sides as you go (don’t forget to switch your processor off or you’ll lose a finger!).

3) once at smooth consistency add a teaspoon of cocoa powder, whizz for a minute until combined.

Spoon into a bowl and sprinkle over some chocolate chips. Feel good with your light ‘ice cream’! 

I love lasagne. Some days only a beefy, cheesy, satisfying plate of food will do. I made this last night and today I ran the BUPA London 10k, so I needed a substantial dinner to get me round the course. This lasagne definitely did the job. It’s easy to make and I got 4 portions out of it which have gone in the freezer.

1) in a large pan on the hob fry 250g of mince beef til browned. Crumble over an Oxo cube and stir in.

2) add onions to the mince and cook til softened. Then add a handful of chopped mushrooms and a chopped pepper.

3) after 5 mins, add a tin of tomatoes, a squeeze of tomato puree, a grind of black pepper and a shake of dried mixed herbs. Leave on a low heat to simmer whilst you make the white sauce.

4) in a pan, melt 2 dessert spoons of butter. Once melted, remove from the heat and mix in 1 heaped dessert spoon of plain flour (creating a ‘roux’).

5) stir in 1/2 cup of milk and put back on the heat. Whisk and whisk! Add another 1/2 cup of milk and keep whisking. Depending on how much sauce you want, add a bit more milk. If it’s not thickening after a few mins sprinkle in some more flour. Grate in some cheddar cheese and continue to whisk. Once thickened, leave to one side.

6) pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

7) in a lasagne dish, pour in half the mince beef mixture. Place lasagne sheets on top. Then add a layer of white sauce. On top of that, add the rest of the mince mix. Add lasagne sheets. Pour over the rest of the white sauce and smooth over with the back of a spoon.

8) sprinkle over grated cheddar cheese and bake for 30 mins.

When you take it out, leave it to stand for a few minutes – this will make it easier to cut and serve! I had mine with some pitta as I wanted extra carbs, but you could have salad or veg as you fancy.

I completed the race in 1 hour 1 min and 53 seconds. Here’s my jazzy medal!

   
   

  

I made this for a delightful picnic watching the cricket yesterday. Of course it was typical English weather and despite sitting around in big coats and gloves, this cake tasted like summer! I followed this recipe and changed a few things.

1) preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

2) in a bowl, use an electric whisk to beat 3 eggs and 120g of golden caster sugar.

3) mix in 120g melted butter and a drop of vanilla extract.

4) stir in 150g self raising flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

5) stir in a handful of white chocolate chips and 4 large chopped strawberries.

6) transfer to a greased and lined loaf tin.

  
7) bake for 30 – 35 mins. Test to see if it’s done by sliding a piece of spaghetti in it to see if it comes out clean.

Once cooled this cut into 11 slices and was devoured in about 3 minutes! It was way yummier than the M&S mini cupcakes someone had bought 😉 

  

Yesterday I couldn’t decide what to make with the chicken I’d defrosted overnight. I went for a run and had a hankering for olives when I got in. I didn’t really follow a recipe for this, I just knew what flavours I wanted (mainly olives and feta!).

1) in a pan, cook the chicken in some olive oil for a few mins. Remove and set aside.

2) add a tin of chopped tomatoes to the pan with a sploodge of tomato purée and dried herbs: basil, oregano, thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

3) add 3/4 cup of chicken stock and cook for 5 mins.

4) stir in chopped mushrooms and chopped olives, add the chicken, pop a lid on and place in the oven.

5) oven at 180 degrees C for 25 mins.

6) remove from the oven and add butter beans. Put back in the oven for 5-10 mins.

7) serve up with cous cous as per the packet instructions. Sprinkle over more chopped olives and feta.

Lots leftover for lunches!

I genuinely can’t believe how expensive and full of crap shop-bought granola is. My homemade granola has 4 ingredients and takes 20 mins – 15 of which are the oven’s job so really it only takes you 5.

1) in a pan melt 1 tbsp of honey and 1 dessert spoon of peanut butter (I use whole earth crunchy).

2) stir in 1 cup of oats and some chopped nuts.

3) line a baking tray with some baking parchment and spread out the oat mixture on it.

4) oven for 10-15 mins on 170 degrees c.

Scoff down with yoghurt (I like Rachel’s Organic vanilla) and fruit. Simples.

 What to do with leftover Yorkshire pudding batter mix? Make pancakes! Banana pancakes are my new favourite thing. Their sweet bananary flavour is too good. No maple syrup for me, just a simple sprinkle of blueberries to garnish.  

1) in a bowl whisk up 1 cup self raising flour, 1 cup milk, 2 eggs.

2) in a separate bowl mash up 2 bananas.

3) scrape the mushed bananas into the other bowl and whisk til combined. 

4) using kitchen roll, wipe a frying pan with sunflower oil and fry a ladle full of batter. 

The trick is not to have the heat too high and to let the batter cook before flipping. Little holes will form on the top, looking a bit like a crumpet. Once it looks firm, give it a poke and if it’s ready then flip it over.

  

I had a bucket load of chicken stock and chicken left from my roast dinner yesterday, so risotto seemed like an obvious use of the leftovers. I’m awful at making risotto on the stove (I have no patience), and actually baked risotto (I think) tastes better.

1) chop up 1 red onion and fry in a heavy pan with olive oil. Once softened add 1 chopped red pepper.

2) add chorizo and one chopped up tomato. Cook for a minute.

3) pour in 800ml of chicken stock and bring to the boil. 

4) add 200g of arborio rice, pop a lid on and place in the oven.

5) after 20 mins, remove, stir in the leftover chicken, smoked paprika and black pepper.

6) after 10 more mins take pot out and serve up with some Parmesan on top.