Sunday, 25 March 2012

Blueberry and Lemon Loaf

This is a quick and easy recipe, but at the same time looks and tastes like it's much more complicated! It's ideal for everyday, or you can dress it up and make it into a birthday cake , as I did. I used my K-Mix to mix it up but you could equally whizz it up with a bowl and a spoon, as its an all in one mix.

You will need

175g butter
100g greek yogurt ( I used fat free natural version)
2 tbsp lemon curd
3 free range eggs
Grated rind of 1 lemon
200g self raising flour
150g caster sugar
100g blueberries- fresh when in season, or you could use frozen

For the icing
Juice of 1 lemon
140g icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 140C (fan), 160C or gas mark 2.

Put the butter, yogurt, lemon rind, lemon curd. flour, and sugar into a large bowl. Mix until the batter just comes together.

Spoon half of the mixture into a greased and floured 2lb loaf tin.

If you're using fresh blueberries, wash and dry them. Sprinkle half over the batter in the tin.

Add the remaining batter, and then sprinkle the remaining blueberries on top. This should mean you end up with a layer of blueberries at the very bottom of the cake, with some more scattered throughout the mixture after baking.

Bake for 1 to 1hr 25mins, until golden brown. A skewer poked in the centre should come out clean when it's done.

Leave the cake to completely cool in the tin, and then pop on to a serving plate to ice.

Sieve icing sugar into a bowl and stir in enough lemon juice to make a thick, smooth icing. Spread over the to top of the cake.

Decorate as you prefer. I used rice paper flowers and grated lemon zest.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Homemade Quiche

Mother loves a bit of quiche and with the aforementioned egg glut in full flow, Sandie challenged her to make a yummy quiche using her recipe. The greatest thing about quiche is you can make it with pretty much what you have lurking in the fridge!

She used the leftover pastry from the Scotch Egg Pasties and rolled out to fit a large flan dish. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and add some ceramic baking beans. Bake for 20mins at 180C.

Once cooked you add your chosen quiche fillings. Mum went for some sliced smoked ham and mushrooms....

Some sliced mini plum tomatoes...

And seasoning (paprika and italian herbs) to taste...

Sprinkle a generous layer of grated cheese all over, making sure the whole base is covered.

Mix two eggs with half a pint of semi-skimmed milk and pour over.

Bake for about 30mins (until set) at 180C

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Scotch Egg Pasties

When spring comes around there is always a bit of a glut of eggs and finding new ways of using a few up is always welcome (although my egg-customers may beg to differ!).

This is less of a traditional cornish pasty and more of a scotch egg without the breadcrumbs!

You will need (makes 6)
9 large sausages
6 free range hard boiled eggs (if you can get hold of bantam eggs these are a perfect size -  otherwise you'll have to get small eggs or make bigger pasties!
Dried Thyme
Ground black pepper

Make up pastry as per Joe's recipe here and then roll out to about 5mm thick. Use a tea plate to cut a circle of pastry.

In a separate bowl squeeze the innards from the sausages (you'll need about 1.5 sausages per pasty) and mash up a bit. Spread the sausage meat over the circle of pastry leaving about a 1cm border all the way around.

Roll a shelled hard boiled egg in flour and pop in the centre.

Season as required (I used thyme and pepper). Apply some beaten egg around the perimeter of the pasty...

...and pinch the two edges together at the top in a crimped fashion.

Apply more beaten egg over...

...and bake for about 35mins at 180C until golden brown.

There was a fair bit of pastry left over and this was pressed into service for another dish coming soon!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Dairy free fruity muffins!

I regularly bring baked goodies into the office for my friends and co-workers to enjoy, but one of my work-mates doesn't eat dairy so always misses out... so this dairy free recipe was just the ticket! It's got yummy banana, tangy orange and delicious fruit. It also uses wholemeal flour and doesn't have a lot of sugar either so it's pretty guilt free too!

You will need
75g raisins or mixed fruit
About 3tbsp fresh orange juice
grated zest of 1 orange
140g plain white flour
140g wholemeal self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
100g caster sugar
2 bananas
2 medium eggs
6tbsp sunflower oil

Soak the raisins in about 2tbsp of the orange juice for about an hour.

Mix together the two types of flour, the baking powder and the sugar together.

Mash the bananas in a measuring jug and make them up to 200ml with the orange juice (using some of the juice the fruit has been soaking in if you need more!)

Add the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and then add the soaked fruit, the oil, the eggs and the orange zest.

Stir gently until mixed, but don't over do it!

Spoon into muffin cases (filling them about 2 thirds full) and bake at 200C for about 20mins until golden brown.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Decadent Melted Chocolate Pudding - Slow style!

A couple of weeks ago I bought a teeny slow cooker and have been thoroughly enjoying learning the finer points of slow cooking. I love it so much that I've just invested in a bigger model (this 3.5l model from Lakeland Ltd).

As well as lovely stews, I'd heard legend that you can make puddings in one of these, so while I was at Lakeland I also picked up a conveniently sized pyrex bowl to fit inside so I could have a go at a Melted Chocolate Pudding.

This pudding has the decadent chocolate sauce at the bottom of the pudding, but it starts off on the top! I'm sure it must be witchcraft!

You will need -

For the pudding
150g self raising flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
50g ground almonds
100g dark cooking chocolate
150g caster sugar
175ml milk
50g Flora (melted)
1 egg

For the sauce
150g soft brown sugar
3tbsp cocoa
150ml boiling water

Mix the flour, cocoa, ground almonds, sugar, and the roughly chopped chocolate together.

Mix the egg, milk and Flora together and stir into the dry ingredients.

Spoon into the pyrex bowl.

To make the sauce, mix the sugar and cocoa and add in the boiling water, mixing thoroughly. Spoon over the mixture in the pyrex bowl.

Add a foil top to the bowl and pop into slow cooker.

Pour boiling water into the cooker around the bowl (about half way up the bowl), and cook on 'high' for 2 hours until firmish on the top. (a skewer should come out almost clean - it should still be a bit sticky at the bottom and the sauce at the very bottom will be nice and runny!)

If you don't have a slow cooker you can cook it at 180C (160C fan) for 20mins and for another 10mins at 170C (150C fan).

It is possible to turn out the pudding, but to be honest I dug straight in with a spoon to serve it! It's quite weird how the sauce seems to magically migrate to the bottom of the bowl... I have no idea how, it's just a wonderful mystery!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Spicy Chicken Tacos!

To counteract sticky and chocolaty puddings, this healthy main course is perfect and using chicken instead of beef mince means it's even lower in cals!

You will need (serves 4)

4 chicken breast fillets
1 medium red onion chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed and chopped
400g can of tomatoes (chopped)
1 chilli (finely chopped)
1/2 cup of canned mixed beans (rinsed and drained)
Handful of mushrooms (sliced)
Taco mix
Olive oil

Sprinkle some of the Taco mix over your chicken breasts. Add a glug of olive oil and cook in the oven at 180C for about 30mins. 

Pan fry the onion, garlic, and chilli with 1 tbsp of water and a glug of olive oil until the onions start to go translucent and soft.

Add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the undrained tomatoes and seasoning to taste. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer until almost all the liquid has absorbed - stirring occasionally.

Add the beans and chicken and heat through.

Serve with salad, grated cheese, natural yoghurt (or sour cream) in warmed Taco shells.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Oatmeal, Orange and Banana Cookies

While cookies are usually a very naughty treat, these Oatmeal, Orange and Banana cookies are super-healthy! They use sunflower spread instead of butter and everything else is wonderfully wholesome!

You will need

100g Flora
1 free range egg
50g mashed banana
1tsp vanilla extract
75g of light brown sugar
1tsp of grated orange zest
100g self-raising wholemeal flour
0.5tsp of baking powder
100g rolled porridge oats
75g dried fruit (mixed or just sultanas)
35g ground almonds
40g chocolate chips

Cream the Flora and sugar together. Beat in the banana, vanilla extract and egg.

Add the orange zest, mix well until thoroughly blended.

Add in the flour, baking powder, oats, dried fruit, almonds, and chocolate chips; and mix thoroughly (it should be a thick and chunky dough).

Grease a baking tray (you'll be shocked to learn mine are silicone!) and drop heaped tablespoons onto the sheet, leaving a gap between them.

Bake at 180C (160C fan) for 15-20mins until lightly browned.

For more recipes using porridge oats check out my Oatmeal and Sunflower Muffins and my Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Boiled Fruit Cake

This wonderful cake is deliciously moist and fruity, and keeps really well in an airtight box. All sorts of visitors have enjoyed a slice this week!

You will need - 

125g Flora
1 cup of light brown sugar
1 cup of water
1tbsp golden syrup
1tsp mixed spice
4 cups dried fruit
A handful of glade cherries
2 free range eggs
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour

Put the flora, sugar, water, syrup, spice, and fruit in a pan.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 mins and then allow to cool.

Once cool, mix in the eggs and flour.

Put into a 2lb loaf tin and cook at 160C for 1.5-2hours (test with a skewer to check it's done - it'll come out clean when it's done).

Slice and enjoy!