Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oatmeal raisin cookies

I had a craving for oatmeal raisin cookies - and I found this recipe on It turned out really well, really moist.

1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Cool slightly, remove from sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Carbonade Flamande

After a fantastic trip to Lille, i was inspired to try this typical Lillois dish. I googled various recipes and came up from this one.

It is my first Clothilde recipe, so i was intrigued to see how I liked her style. The answer is, very much! I just used standard jamaican ginger cake that is very easy to get here in the UK, and I cooked it in the oven at 130C for the first two hours before reducing on the hob for the last hour. I served it with jacket potatoes, and I must admit to adding so carrotso the casserole, along with everything else at the beginning.

1.6 kg beef for stew, cut in chunks
3 large carrots
1 Tbsp (20 g) butter
5 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1.5 L amber beer (There are choice of several french amber beers in most big supermarkets)0.75 L boiling water
4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 6 slices (130 g) Jamaica ginger cake
400 g onions (5 small ones), finely chopped
a few leaves of bay and a few sprigs of thyme 3 cloves
Melt butter in large cooking pan or casserole dish. Brown meat on all sides for 8 minutes over medium heat. Sprinkle with a little salt, add in the flour and onions, stir, and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in vinegar and scrape at the bottom of the pan to detach any bit that may have stuck. Pour in the beer and water, stir again.
At the first simmer add in the sugar, pain d'épice torn in small pieces, chopped carrots, thyme, bay and cloves. Lower the heat and cook in the oven for 2 hours at 130C, the simmer on the hob on a low heat for an hour..
Serve directly from pan

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Leek and Potato Soup

This a soup that I made to use up excess vegetables from the box.

2 tablespoons Butter or margarine
1 clove grated Garlic

two good sized Leeks( about 500g)
Potatoes (about 500g)
900 mls hot water with two chicken stock cubes
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon black Pepper
1/2 pint Milk or cream

1. First, clean and chop the leeks. Melt the butter / margarine in a pan and add the chopped leeks and garlic. Fry them over a low to medium heat until the leeks are soft. This will take about ten minutes. Stir frequently so that none of the ingredients brown.
2. Peel the potatoes and chop them into cubes. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan with the exception of the milk / cream.
3. Bring the soup to the boil and then let it simmer (just barely boiling) for the remaining cooking time.
4. If you want the potato to stay chunky, cook for 15 to 17 minutes until the potato is soft. If you want to blend the soup, cook for about 20 minutes.
5. Blend the soup till smooth if thats the way you like it.
Just before serving, pour the milk / cream into the soup and stir well. If you plan to freeze some of the soup, don't add the milk / cream to the pan, instead add three tablespoons of milk / cream to each soup bowl.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Curd Cheesecake

Cheap curd cheese in waitrose and memories of my polish friend's mother's cheesecake inspired me to make this recipe. I found the recipe on . If you only have one set of beaters for your hand whisk, beat the egg whites first off, its a real job to clean the cheese mixture off the beaters, and for beating egg whites, they need to be really squeaky clean. The end result was really tasty - but not the same as the one I remember - the quest continues....!

150 grams butter, softened
175 grams caster sugar
2 to 3 juicy lemons (depending on your taste), juiced and zested
3 medium eggs
250 grams low-fat milk curd cheese or ricotta
125 grams plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Cream the soft butter with caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, whisking thoroughly each time.Mix in lemon juice, grated zest and curd cheese. Sift in flour and baking powder and mix the dough until combined.Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold into the dough, little by little.Pour the dough into a buttered and floured 20 cm cake tin.Bake in the middle of 180C oven for 40-50 minutes, until the cake has risen and is lovely golden brown.Let it cool for an hour in the tin before cutting into pieces and serving.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

I had a jar of lemon curd to use up so I made up this recipe. Makes 20
100g Self raising flour
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs
100g butter
250g lemon curd
150g blueberries
200g mascarpone
Preheat oven 180C
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and smooth. Alternatively sift the flour and crack the egg in to the mixture and beat until smooth. Stir 100g lemon curd in to the mixture and 100g of the blueberries. You need to make sure you have 40 blueberries left to decorate the cakes. . Spoon the mixture in to cake cases and bake for about 15 minutes and golden brown.. While the cakes are cooling, mix together the mascarpone and the rest of the lemon curd. You want it to be marlbed so you can still see a swirl of lemon curd. Spread or pipe the mascarpone on to the cakes and put two blueberries on top of each one.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Raspberry Lemonade Cordial

I got this recipe from a the Sainsbury's magazine. It tastes divine - so summery and the colour is perfect pink. it makes about 500ml.

200g caster sugar
Juice of 3-4 and finely pared peel of 2 unwaxed lemons ( about 175ml juice)
150g raspberries
2 tbsp sifted icing sugar

Puter the caster sugar in a pan with 200ml water and the lemon peel. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil vigourously for 2 minutes without stirring. Set aside to cool. Mix in the lemon jjuice and strain in to a large bottle or jug. Whiz the raspberries with the icing sugar in a blender and strain in to the lemon mixture, discarding the seeds. Stir together and chill. To serve, dilute to taste with chilled still or sparkling water.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Malteser Tray Bake

This is definitely not healthy but a lovely treat. I made it to take away on our holiday, with a big group of friends! I found it on the Nigella website.

100g butter
200g milk chocolate
3 tablesp golden syrup
225g finely crushed digestive biscuits
225g maltesers

Melt together the butter, chocolate and syrup then add the crushed biscuits and the maltesers. Mix together quickly then pour into a lined swiss roll tin and chill til set. For a special occasion drizzle with some melted white chocolate.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Spicy Barley Salad with Aubergine and Pepper

I found this recipe at and though it sounded really interesting as I'd never come accross a salad with barley before, and its really nice to have a different carb! It was really tasty with the chewy texture of the barley and the warm tastes of the veg. I cooked the onion this time. I served it with pork steaks that had been marinated in lemon and rosemary. Served 4

Cooked pearl barley about 150g ( will take about 40 minutes to cook, follow packet instructions)
1 Aubergine
1 Red pepper
1 Onion
Handful Fresh basil
tea spoon Cumin seeds
Extra virgin olive oil

Dice the aubergine with skin on and sauté it until golden together with the cumin seeds, not too much, it doesn't have to be too dominant a flavour. Add the chopped onion

Cut the pepper into quite small pieces mix with the barley.

Add the aubergine and onion, take care to add the cumin seeds as well, the basil torn into small pieces, salt and olive oil.

Mix well and serve!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rainbow Chard Pesto

I got this recipe from Its a great way to use up lots of chard - which was starting to be bit familar in my kitchen after 3 veg box weeks of it!

2 tbsp of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
Bunch of chard (about 500g) - any variety
Handful (about 50g) pine nuts
100g fresh parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
Handful of fresh fresh leaf parsley or basil leaves

1.Wash the chard thoroughly and shake to dry.
2. Put the olive oil in a saucepan
3.Chop the chard stems and add them to the pan. Stir and then cook, covered, for 5 minutes.
4.Press the garlic and add to pan,Roughly chop the chard leaves and add them to the pan. Cook for another 3 minutes until wilted,

5.Toast the pine nuts for a couple of minutes (either under a pre-heated grill or in a dry pan)
6.Turn off the heat under the chard. Add the parsley leaves, pine nuts and parmesan. Taste and season.
7.Puree the mixture until it looks like pesto.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Elderflower Cupcakes

Elderflower is everywhere round by us at the moment, and in our ever present rainy weather you get a lovely scent when you walk past it. I decided to try making some elderflower cupcakes using the elderflower cordial I made the other day. I tried two different types of icing, glace icing and butter icing. I prefered the glace icing as the elderflower flavour came through better.

The Cakes

2 eggs

the weight of the two eggs of :

Caster sugar


Self raising flour

Elderflower cordial to taste.( you can buy this in most supermarkets if you haven't made it)

Glace icing

100g icing sugar

about 2 tablespoons elderflower cordial

Butter icing

100g icing sugar

100g butter

2 tablespoons elderflower cordial

To decorate - washed and debugged elderflowers ( or silver balls or sugar flowers would be good if you can't get hold of elderflowers)

Preheat the oven to 180C

Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Add one egg and half the flour, mix well, then add the rest of the flour and the other egg and mix until smooth. Add the elderflower cordial a tablespoon at a time, until you can get a faint taste from the batter, this will be a matter of personal taste. Spoon in to cake cases ( about 24) and cook for 15 mins or until risen and golden.

When cooled make the icing. For the glace icing sieve the icing sugar and add elderflower cordial a tea spoon at a time until you get a smooth paste. Colour as desired. For the butter icing, cream the sieved icing sugar and butter together, then add elderflower cordial to taste and beat until smooth.

Pull the little flowers off the stalks of the elderflower, checking for bugs, and sprinkle over the icing.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Sparx . I have to think of 10 interesting things about myself. I can't think of 10, so 5 will have to do.
1. I like the colour green
2. I'm a bit mad on cupcakes
3. I'm lefthanded so very clumsy
4. I love France
5. My favourite song in In my Life by the Beatles...

I tag: Anne, Estelle, Charlotte, Michelle and Helen....All who write blogs I really enjoy.

Elderflower Cordial

This is a Lesley Waters recipe, which i looked up after walking back from a birthday party today and seeing, then picking lots of elderflowers... If i try all the ideas at the bottom, I'm not going to have any left to drink!

20 heads of elderflower
1.8kg granulated sugar, or caster sugar
1.2 litres water
2 unwaxed lemon
75g citric acid
1. Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl.
2. Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
3. While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and toss into the bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
4. Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or a new j-cloth rinsed out in boiling water), and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles. Screw on the lids and pop into the cupboard ready to use.
Cook's Notes: To serve Elderflower Cordial: Dilute the elderflower cordial to taste with fizzy water, and serve over ice with a slice or two of lemon, or a sprig of mint floating on top.
For something a touch more sprightly, add a shot of gin or vodka and a lemon slice, or add it to white wine and sparkling water to make an elderflower spritzer.
You might even try adding it to a marinade for chicken breasts. Try it in sorbets, or ice-creams, or just spooned over scoops of vanilla ice-cream, or use it to sweeten and flavour the fruit for a crumble.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Spicy Fish Stew

This is so quick and so easy! Low in calories too. A great midweeker! I am steadily working my way through the May Good Food Magazine, and this recipe is from there.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
½tsp paprika
200g can chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper, deseeded, cut into chunks
450g white fish fillets, cut into chunks ( I used coley)
handful coriander,
roughly chopped 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat oil in a saucepan. Tip in the garlic, cumin and paprika and cook for 1 min. Add 100ml water and the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat. Add the pepper, simmer for 5 mins. Add the fish, simmer for 5 mins. Serve with coriander and a wedge of lemon

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Brioche Breadmaker Recipe

This is fantastic - it tastes really good. It is from "The Ultimate Breadmaker Recipe Book" by Jennie Shapter. I would even be tempted to cook it in the breadmaker too - I might try it next time.

2 tbsp milk
2 eggs
225g white bread flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
50g butter melted
1 ½ tsp easy blend dried yeast

Pour the milk and the eggs in to the bread machine pan.
Spinkle over the flour, ensuring that it covers the liquid. Add the salt, sugar and butter then add the yeast in top.
Set the bread machine to the dough setting and press start.
Grease a loaf tin or small tins
When the dough is ready put in your chosen mould and spread a glaze of egg yolk and milk on top and bake in the oven at 220C.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hot Harissa Lamb with Couscous

I got this from the Good Food magazine, and have typed it in mostly so that I don't lose it! It really was quite delicious, though quite spicy. I served it with some chopped, fried red pepper too, and put some finely chopped fresh mint in the couscous.

4 tbsp Harissa paste
300g couscous
120g bag herb salad
4 lamb leg steaks
2tbsp demerara sugar
1. Spoon 1 tbsp harissa in to a jug, fill with 400ml boiling water, then pour over the couscous in a large serving bowl. Cover and stand for 5 minutes. Fluff up with fork, then empty the salad on top.
2. Heat a frying pan. Season lamb, then fry for 1 min each side. Mix sugar and remaining harissa, then spread over the lamb. Cook for 2 more mins each side, remove from pan and rest for 5 mins. Add a splash of water to the pan then boil to make a sauce. Slice lamb and serve on top of the salad with the sauce drizzled over.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Breadmaker Naan Bread

This is the best breadmaker recipe I've found for naan. I've tried several! Its adapted from "The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook" by Jennie Shapter. I served it with a chicken and lentil curry.

100ml water
60ml natural yoghurt
280g white bread flour
5ml cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
2 tsp runny honey
1 tbsp melted butter, and extra for brushing
1 tsp dried yeast

Pour the water and yoghurt in to the bread machine pan.
Sprinkle over the flour ensuring that covers the liquid completely. Add half the cumin seeds
Add the salt, honey and the tbsp melted butter, then add the dried yeast.
Set the bread maker to the dough setting and start.
When the cycle has finished, preheat your oven to the highest setting and place 3 baking trays in the oven to heat up. Remove the dough from the bread machine and place on a lightly floured surface.
Knock down the dough. Dived the dough in to 3 equal pieces.
Shape each piece in to a ball then roll out. A teardrop shape looks authentic. Sprinkle the rest of the cumin seeds on top.
preheat the grill to its highest setting. Place the naan on a the preheated baking sheets and bake the naan for 4-5 minutes until puffed up. Place the naans under the grill for a minute until the naans starts to brown and blister.
Brush the naan with melted butter and serve warm.

Garlic and coriander naan- add chopped garlic to dough before making, then layer fresh coriander in when kneading

Peshwari naan – sprinkle coconut and raisins on top before cooking then spread with butter.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Moroccan Chicken.

This is a quick chicken dish with Moroccan flavours - its not claiming to be a full blown, slow cooked tagine, but is great to get a North African Flavour in to your midweek! You can also make this in the oven, browning the whole chicken pieces,on the hob first. I tried it in the oven with whole legs of chicken and it was fantastic.
Serves 2

2 tbsp olive oil
2 skinned chicken breast, diced
1 leek, finely chopped, ( if you don't have a leek, use an onion)
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato purée
75ml white wine
30g/1oz dried apricots
3tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped. ( parsley leaves work as well)

1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
2. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
3. Add the leek and fry for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add all the other ingredients, except the coriander and stir well.
Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
5. To serve, pour into a bowl and garnish with the coriander.

To make a couscous that goes well with this, in the pan you cooked the chicken in, put some couscous ( use packet instructions for portion size), and add 1 and half times as much in volume boiling chicken stock. When the couscous is cooked, stir in the juice of a lemon, lots of chopped parsley or coriander, black pepper and chopped roasted veg ( peppers, aubergine, courgette).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Nigella's Chocohotopots

These are meant to be a kids dessert but they are great for adults too. They are very easy and look very impressive...

125g Unsalted butter
125G dark Chocolate
2 eggs
150g caster sugar
3 tbsp plain flour

You will need four 150ml ramekins. Perheat oven to gas mark 6 (200C). Butter four ramekins. Melt the butter and the dark chocolate, then set aside to cool. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and flour. Then beat in the cooled butter/chocolate mix. Pour into four buttered ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes. The tops should be cooked (and cracked) like a macaroon and the cent gurengy and gooey. Serve while hot. This is very quick. You can make them up ahead of time and set aside. Just pop them in as you sit down to your main meal (or just after).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Butternut Squash Risotto with parma ham and thyme.

This was inspired by a recipe i got from the BBC website, but I changed the herbs and cheese used.


1 large butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling..( truffle oil?)
about 5 stalks of thyme leaves, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 1 knobs of butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 small leek
handful green beans
400g/14oz arborio or other Italian risotto rice
2 glasses white wine or vermouth
1 litre/1¾ pint hot chicken or vegetable stock
good handful of freshly grated comte or gruyere cheese, plus extra to serve
75g/3oz pinenuts, to serve
100g parma ham, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the butternut squash inhalf lengthways, remove the seeds and place on a roasting tray. drizzle with olive oil. 2.
Roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes until softened and becoming golden in colour.
3. Once the squash has cooked, cool slightly, then scrape the soft flesh away from the skin into a bowl. Lightly mash with a fork or potato masher keeping it fairly chunky. Stir in lots of black pepper, a little salt, and truffle oil if you have it.
4. Heat the olive oil and a good knob of butter in a deep, frying pan or saute pan.
5. Gently fry the onion and chopped leek until softened. Add the rice and stir for about a minute until the grains are coated with the oil and butter.
6.Pour in the vermouth/ wine and stir continuously until it has cooked into the rice.
7.Add a good ladle of hot stock and the chopped thyme and season well with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down so the stock is simmering gently. Keep adding ladles of stock as it cooks into the rice, stirring and moving the rice around in the pan. After about 15-20 minutes the rice should be soft but still have a bit of bite left in it. The texture of the risotto should be thick and creamy, but not too loose. Add extra stock if necessary.
8. With about 5 minutes to go, add the topped and tailed green beans to cook lightly in the juices.
9. Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir the roasted butternut squash into the risotto with the comte, the remaining butter and seasoning to taste. Add any extra stock if the risotto seems particularly thick.
10.During this time, place the pinenuts in a fairly hot frying pan and toss until golden.
11. rip the parma ham in to little pieces
Spoon the risotto into warmed bowls and scatter with the pinenuts and extra comte and the ham.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mascarpone Lemon Mousse

This is very light and fluffy, I try to have a standby pot of mascarpone in the fridge. It is very quick and easy.
8oz/250g Mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup caster sugar + 1/8 cup caster sugar for the egg whites
2 lemons
2 eggs, separated

serves 4

1. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale.
2. Beat in the mascarpone cheese, the lemon juice and the lemon zest from one of the lemons until smooth.
3. In a clean bowl, with a clean whisk, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form.
4. Add the 1/8 cup of sugar into the whites and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
5. Gently fold the whites into the mascarpone/lemon mixture until no streaks remain.
6. Divide among 4 ramekins and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Orange Ricotta and Almond cake

250g butter
250g caster sugar
75g ground almonds
100g plain flour
1 pinch baking powder
4 large eggs, beaten
100g ricotta
the grated zest and the juice of unwaxed 2 oranges. ( I used blood oranges)
icing sugar
a shallow 23cm-9inch cake tin, greased and lined, or a similar silicon mould..

Preheat the oven to 180C

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Mix the almonds and flour together.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between. Add the orange zest from one of the oranges and a third of the almonds and flour, then beat slowly until the dry ingredients are incorporated, then add the second, and then the third batch of almonds and flour, It is important to do this gradually, so that the cake is light.
Lastly, slowly mix in the juice of one of the oranges and the ricotta . Transfer the mixture with a rubber spatula to the lined cake tin and bake for 35 minutes. Run a palette knife around the edge of the tin and turn out on to a plate. Make up a runny icing with the juice and zest of the other orange, adding icing sugar until you get a consistancy you are happy with. My icing was an interesting day -glow pink from the bloody orange. Pour over the cake whilst still warm, making little holes with a fork so that it soaks in, then leave to cool.

Red Pepper Slice

I adapted this recipe from When I looked in the fridge, I didn't have any courgette, so I used a red pepper instead. It was lovely, but really needs to be eaten the same day, preferably warm. I used a silicon mould, but you could make it in a deep baking tray as well.

1 red pepper, finely chopped.
1 rasher of bacon, finely chopped
1/2 large onion, diced

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup self raising flour, sifted
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil

a few leaves of fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste
1. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
2. Pour mixture into a greased baking tray or silicon mould.
3. Bake in a moderate oven (180C / 350F) for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top.
4. Remove from tin. Cut into slices. It is nicest served warm. Double quantities if desired.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Quatre-quarts Cake

This is a traditional french cake from Brittany. I just wanted to simple cake without any flavouring or rich icing. The recipe is from . I think I'm going to be trying a lot of these recipes. The cake turned out really authentic...

Take 3 large eggs and weigh them. They should weigh about 2 oz. each (60 grams).
Weigh the same amount of self raising flour: 6 oz. (180 grams) or 1 1/4 cups
Weigh the same amount of sugar: 6 oz. (180 grams) or 3/4 cup
Weigh the same amount of butter: 6 oz. (180 grams) or 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks).You can use unsalted and salted butter (50-50), or unsalted butter alone with a good amount of salt (up to 1 teaspoon).

Pour the sugar in a large bowl. Pour the melted butter and blend it in with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Set the whites aside.
Add the egg yolks to the sugar-butter mix. Stir well (with the wooden spoon). The more energetically you beat, the fluffier the cake.
Slowly add the sifted flour and incorporate it gradually as it falls on the batter.
Add some salt (up to a whole teaspoon). This isn't needed if you are using salted butter.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks.

Incorporate the egg whites to the batter, one big spoonful at a time, very delicately, making under-and-over motions until evenly blended. The foam (air bubble) shouldn't "break". This is also a very important step in getting a fluffy cake.
Pour the batter in a buttered cake tin - I used a flower shaped silicon mould, which looked really pretty.
Bake at 350F (180C) for about 45 minutes or until baked (if you stick a knife in the center of the cake it should come out dry).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Rhubarb Meringue Puddings

This is a good midweek pudding, which could be made with most fruit.
Serves 2

230-55g/1-2oz sugar
4 sticks rhubarb, diced
1 orange
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 egg whites

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.2. Gently heat the rhubarb and sugar in a pan with the juice of half the orange and the zest of the whole orange until the mixture is soft and starting to go syrupy. Taste and sweeten more as necessary.
2. Pour the stewed rhubarb into two ovenproof ramkins.
3. Place the egg whites and icing sugar into a large clean bowl and whisk together to form soft peaks.
4. Spoon the meringue on top of the rhubarb and then bake in the oven for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. Serve.

Chicken in Saffron sauce - Gallina en Pepitoria

This recipe is from "The complete spanish cookbook" by Jacki Passmore. It is good to cook for 4-8 people, and could be served with rice.

to serve 4:

1.5kg chicken
salt and pepper
90g plain flour
90ml olive oil
2 large onions
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
250ml dry white wine
450ml chicken stock
80g ground almonds
10 threads saffron
chopped parsley

1. Cut chicken into serving portions ( or get your butcher to), season with salt and pepper and coat lightly with flour.
2. Fry in the oil for about 10 mins until well coloured, then remove and pour off most of the oil.
3. Fry the onions until golden and soft;add garlic and bay leaves and fry briefly.
4. Add wine, stock, ground almonds and chicken, cover and cook over low heat for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking to the pan.
5. Wrap saffron in a small square of aluminum foil and tast for 2 mins in a dry pan.
6. Grind in a mortar then add 2-3 tablespoons boiling water, stir well and pour over the dish.
7. Cook a further 15 minutes
8. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's chocolate truffles

I made these today....I made the white ones with Grand Marnier, and the dark chocolate ones with calvados....

175g white/dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
65g unsalted butter
45 ml double cream
1 tsp liqueur of choice

1. Put the chocolate, butter and double cream in a bain marie or bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure that the base of the bowl does not touch the water . White chocolate will separate if it is melted over too high a heat. Stir until the ingredients are melted and the mix is smooth.
2. Remove from the heat, add the liqueur and mix well.
3. Refrigerate bowl for several hours until set firm.
4. Remove from the fridge and pull off small pieces and roll into balls. Once the truffle mix becomes too soft to work with place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and set again.
5. Once the truffles are formed then they are ready to have the coating applied. Put the icing sugar onto a plate and then gently roll each truffle in it, alternatively lightly dust the chocolate truffles with sieved icing sugar.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mango, raspberry and orange smoothie

I got a free bag of frozen mango chunks with a supermarket promotion. I wouldn't usually buy them, but they proved ideal for smoothies, as they cool the drink down without having to use extra ice. The smoothie is a really pretty sunset orange colour

1 bag of frozen mango chunks
1 orange ( I used a blood orange)
1 handful of raspberries

Peel the orange and blitz in a blender with the other ingredients until smooth. Enjoy!

The Best Brownies

These are the best brownies. They are so easy, and have just the right chewy consistancy...

150g Butter, Chopped
125 Dark chocolate, broken in to small pieces
3 eggs
375g sugar
1 tea spoon vanilla essence
125g plain flour
30g cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm square tin with oil, then line with greaseproof paper.
2. Put the butter and chocolate in a pyrez bowl and heat over a pan of water until melted and smooth. Don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
3. Use a whisk to beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add the chocolate-butter mixture and whisk together. Stir in the combined sifted flour and cocoa. DO not over mix. Pour in to the tin and bake for 40mins until slightly risen and firm, but still squidgy in the middle.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Night and Day Cupcakes

I didn't have any icing sugar, so I had to improvise...luckily I had some mascarpone and white chocolate, and it all turned out fine....

6oz Butter/marg
6oz sugar
3 eggs
6oz self raising flour
50g dark chocolate
vanilla essence

100g white chocolate
250g marscarpone
100g/ml yoghurt

decorations ( I had some cute chocolates from a christmas hamper, minstrels or choclate buttons would look great too)

1. Cream together the butter and sugar
2. Add the eggs and sieved flours alternately , mixing in between, then add the vanilla essence.
3. put the half the mixture in to cake cases in cupcake tines, half filling each case...
4. Melt the chocolate, and mix with the remaining mixture
5. Top the cake cases with the chocolate mixture, making sure no vanilla mixture is peeping through
6. Bake at 180C for 15 mins or until a knife comes away clean when put in the middle of the cake
7. Leave to cool.
8. To make the icing, mix the mascarpone with a little yoghurt to loosen, then melt the white chocolate and stir in quickly and beat with a whisk until soft. it might become a little grainy, but this should smooth out when put on the cupcake.
9. put on the cupcake with a palette knife, keep dipping the knife in boiling water to keep the application smooth.
10. Decorate according to your whim ;-)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Soda Bread

This recipe is the best, I tried a different one this evening and it wasn't nearly as good...I found it on the bbc website

225g whole wheat plain flour
225g white flour
10mL bicarbonate of soda
300mL (one half pint) natural yoghurt
150mL (one quarter pint) warm filtered water

1 pinch salt
This will make two small loaves or one large one.
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F or Gas mark 6). Sift the flour (it's important to do this, as the bread can be a bit heavy) and mix in the raising agent, then stir in the yoghurt and warm water. Mix together well, then coat the mixture with more flour and liberally flour your work-surface. No kneading is necessary.
If making small loaves, divide the dough into two parts and make them into fairly flat oval shapes. Cut a cross on the top of each loaf. Place the dough on a floured tray and bake for 30 minutes, then turn down to 180°C (350°F or Gas mark 4) for another 20 minutes. To test if the bread is ready, tap the bottom of the loaf and it should sound hollow. Leave the loaf or loaves to cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cassis Cupcakes

I got this recipe from the Cupcake Queen at 52 cupcakes.....

I missed out the champagne, and just topped them with normal buttercream - they turned out really pretty, with a delicate blackcurrant flavour...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Orange Ginger Muffins

This recipe was adapted from an allrecipes recipe I found...If you haven't got american cup measurements - you so need to get some! they are really easy to cook with...

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
Combine flour, baking powder, bicarbonate, salt, white sugar and grated orange peel. Stir in orange juice, 1/2 cup melted butter, eggs
Pour into 12 muffin cups.
Blend 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and sprinkle on top of each muffin. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Creme Egg Cupcakes

1 packet of mini creme eggs
2 real eggs
4oz sugar
4oz butter
4oz SR flour
2oz cocoa
4oz icing sugar
yellow food colouring
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until soft.
2. Add the 2 eggs
3. Sieve the flour and cocoa in to the bowl and mix it all together
4. Spoon one teaspoon in to a paper cup, lie an unwrapped creme egg on top , then spoon another teaspoon on top.
5. Bake at 180C for 15 mins
6. When cooled, make up icing with the icing sugar and enough water for a fairly thick consistancy. Dye 1/3 of the icing yellow. Put a dollop of white on top of each cake, then a little drop of yellow on top to resemble an egg...

Mustard Chicken

This was something I made up, from store cupboard stuff, as I had only 2 chicken breasts to feed 31/2 people! It would be nice with diced pork too. I served it with whole grain rice, but it would work with mash too. Have some veg of choice with it too.

Feeds 3
olive oil
2 Chicken breasts or diced chicken
1 onion or a couple of shallots
1/2 pint chicken stock
1 glass white wine
2 teaspoons mustard ( whole grain or dijon, a mixture of both is nice)
100ml cream ( single, creme fraiche or double)

1. Chop the onions finely and fry in the oil until soft and a little brown.
2. Dice the chicken and brown off until cooked through.
3. add the glass of wine and reduce off
4. add a little stock at a time, then when that has reduced off, add some more.
5. add the mustard and stir in. Add black pepper too.
6. When is all the stock is used and reduced off, so you still have some liquid in the pain, take off the heat and add the cream. heat through until a little thickened.
7. Serve up ;-)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Red and Blue Muffins

I adapted these from a blueberry muffin recipe, they have bran in so you can pretend they're healthy!

75g butter
200g plain flour
75g wheatgerm
1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
75g caster sugar
100g yoghurt
100ml semiskimmed milk
1 large egg
100g blueberries
100g cranberries
2 tbsp maple syrup

Melt the butter and leave to cool. Preheat oven to 200 C.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and in a measuring jug beat together the yoghurt, milk, egg and melted butter. Cook the cranberries over a low heat with the maple syrup for 10 minutes or until the cranberries start to go a little soft. Using a wodden spoon, pour the wit ingredients in to the dry and mix gently to combine. Don't worry about lumps, the important thing with muffins is that the mixture isn't over worked. Fold in the cranberries and maple syrup, and the blue berries. You can add orange zest here as well. The mixture should be quite sloppy, loosen with a little milk of orange juice if it is too claggy. Spooon in to muffin cases, overfilling more than for fairy cakes so they puff up over the top of the cake case.Sprinkle with a little of a mixture of caster sugar and wheatgerm in desired. Bake for 15-20mins until golden.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cheese and courgette muffins

These are fantastic for toddler lunches, my daughter loves making them too...

300g (10oz) Self-raising Flour
3 Tsps Baking powder
75g (3oz) Grated Cheese
1 Courgette about 200g
150ml (5floz) Natural yoghurt
3 Tablespoons Oil
3 eggs
3 tbsp Milk
1/2tsp mustard (optional)
a few leaves of basil (optional)
black pepper (optional)

Preheat oven 220C (gas 6)
Put flour, baking powder and cheese in a mixing bowl. Grate Courgette and add to bowl along with yoghurt, oil, eggs, milk and optional ingredients ( if desired). Fork together until just mixed.Spoon in to paper muffin cases, two-thirds full. Put a little grated cheese on top. Bake for 15 mins until golden.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cheese scones - adapted from Nigella's Lily's Scones recipe

These are great - once you've made scones with cream of tartar you will never not again! My little girl loves these for lunch.

500g Plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarb
4 and a half teaspoons cream of tartar
75g salted butter diced
300ml milk
150g cheese
round cutter
baking tray

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C
Sift the flour, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl.Rub in the butter til it goes like damp sand. Add milk all at once and100g of the grated cheese,mix briefly and then turn out on to a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough. Roll out to about 3cm thickness. Stamp out the scones with the cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet, egg wash if you want, sprinkle with the rest of the grated cheese and bake for about 10 minutes uptil risen and golden.