Nothing to do with cooking, but I left buying pumpkins too late this year and had to go on a pumpkin hunt! I finally found two little ones in a green grocers and carved them while watching The Lost Boys.. festive, right?
I'm not sure how healthy this actually is, but based on how much I love it, how quick it is, and that a few of the ingredients are healthy- i've talked myself into believing that its the healthiest thing that has ever existed!
The bacon (i know, not healthy) adds saltiness, whilst the lemon cuts through it with a sharp addition and the tomatoes bring sweetness. The kale reduces a lot so you eat more good stuff without realising and.. cheese is just awesome. It's a balanced meal that includes two of your 5-a-day, protein, fibre and calcium. You should definitely try this whether you agree that its healthy or not. You can choose which cheese to use, I've tried this with mozzarella, brie and camembert. Camembert is my favourite, but always with parmesan sprinkled on top!
So here's another recipe with my new favourite ingredient- burnt butter!
A lot of the stuff I bake ends up at work- because there aren't enough people in my house to eat it all- but a friend of mine from work is fussy and doesn't like chocolate so I asked him what I could bake that he would eat and enjoy. He came up with butterscotch cookies.
I tried making butterscotch chips to go in the butterscotch cookies, but they never fully set; when chilled it was like toffee, but when heated it melted again! In the end, I made butterscotch flavour cookies, make a hole in the middle and put a lump of butterscotch in there, then rolled them up and baked them like that. This kind of worked! But, they tasted great either way!
The first time I had this wonderful saffron and parmesan risotto was earlier this year when we took my mum on a surprise birthday treat to Milan. Milan is a beautiful city, however, in order to visit this stylish city, you must pack only your best clothes. We spent far too long getting ready and dressed up each day- even if we were just going shopping or sight seeing. Everyone, everywhere, is immaculate. It really puts London to shame!
We saw an opera at the world famous Tetro alla Scala, went to countless art galleries including seeing Da Vinci's Last Supper, saw the incredible Duomo and, of course, we window shopped at all the fancy designer shops. One of the best parts of Milan, however, is the food (no surprises there!) with Gelato cafes on each corner, we ate Italian ice cream for breakfast lunch and dinner, as well as the amazing fresh pasta and breads, then gorged on aperitifs and cocktails in swanky bars in the evenings.
One of the aperitifs we had was Risotto Milanese. It's so simple- with only two main flavours- yet so tasty! It's normally a wonderful bright yellow colour, however my saffron wasn't the most expensive, hence the paler colouring. I recommend using a high quality extra strong parmesan and good quality saffron- powdered if possible in this recipe to get the true Italian flavours.
I spent part of this summer in Thailand with my family. I love to travel, but this really was a once in a lifetime experience and I would recommend everybody to jump on the next plane and see all the incredible sights before they disappear into a tourist crazy oblivion.
Thai is my favourite cuisine (well, it was before I over-indulged on it in Thailand) so I jumped at the chance to complete a Thai cookery class at the multi award-winning Boathouse restaurant in Phuket. We cooked and ate and cooked some more all day, it was delightful. I digress.
Coconut sticky rice, served still warm with ripe mango and coconut ice cream. Doesn't that sound nice? Yes is the answer. Especially with this recipe fresh from Thailand.
This food is the reason obesity is a problem in America. Eating here is the closest I have (shamefully) ever come to being sick through over eating.. but i'd do it again tomorrow.
Bodeans is a BBQ smokehouse with four restaurants dotted around London. Think American portions, American beer, American sports on the TV screens and proper American meat! The place itself has a great feel to it, with bar stool type seating in the top area with sport on the big screens and then proper table seating downstairs.
The first thing I was told when I presented these to my family was 'I resent you for not discovering these sooner'. These are really that good. You almost feel guilty with every bite, but the sickly moreish-ness of these cupcakes diminish any sense of guilt you may feel.. even after you've gone back for a few more.
These aren't the easiest cupcakes to make, but they are oh so worth it. I would give you the speech about saving them for a special occasion, but, I made them on a Friday- I always spend my weekdays looking forward to Friday's (TGIF!), so I class each one as a special occasion and baked these in accordance. I love how the whole house fills with the wintery smell of toasted marshmallows when making these. As you can see, I made half of mine vanilla, but everyone agreed that the chocolate ones were best, so that's the recipe i've given!
You think it sounds wrong, but its not. This cake is so right. My sister lives off of nutella crêpes every time we go to on holiday, I thought it would be fitting to make her one for her birthday this year. I layered each crêpe with three fillings- a dark chocolate ganache, a hazelnut milk chocolate cream and sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts.
This was amazing with chopped strawberries piled on top and vanilla ice cream or fresh double cream poured over. Needless to say, it didn't last long in my house full of chocolate lovers.
Maple and pecan is my favourite flavour combo like, ever. I've never had it in a cake before, so when I wanted to try out my new colour pastes and piping nozzles and found maple syrup and pecans in my cupboard, I thought i'd give it a go! The vanilla and maple syrup in the icing give it an amazing flavour, too. This cake would look just as good without all the fancy icing, maybe just covered in buttercream with a handful of pecans in the middle. I made this a while back so the icing isn't great- but the taste was! I promise! Cake Ingredients 755g caster sugar 150g brown sugar 225g softened butter 4 eggs 225g self-raising flour 1tsp baking powder 1-2 tbs maple syrup 1 tsp vanilla 200g pecan nuts, chopped Maple Buttercream Ingredients 140g soft butter 280g sifted icing sugar 1-2tbs maple syrup (depending on consistency required) 1/2tsp vanilla Method (preheat oven to 180 Celsius, line a deep sandwich tin)
Cream together butter and sugar
Whisk in eggs one by one, then vanilla 1tbs maple syrup
Gradually sift in flour and baking powder
Add second tbs of maple syrup if needed for consistency
Stir in pecan nuts
Pour into baking tin and bake for 18-20 minutes or until pick comes out clean
Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, blend together all buttercream ingredients
Remove cake from tin and leave to fully cool
Ice cake with buttercream and serve with cups of tea!
These muffins are the one. I was a little apprehensive about burning my butter, but omg, these taste so good! The burnt butter creates a smokey wintery taste to the muffin and with the sharp blueberries make a great combo! This recipe is taken from Joy the Baker, one of my favourite bakers and bloggers. I love her style or writing and her recipes are divine!
I have changed the measurements from American to English as I always spend ages converting them in all the recipes I use from America.
(preheat the oven to 190 Celsius, line a muffin tin with 12 cases)
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the butter. Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan. The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that. Keep a close eye. Remove from heat.
Whisk milk, egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add the brown butter and stir to combine.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl Add milk and butter mixture all at one and stir gently to combine. Gently but thoroughly fold in the blueberries.
Divide mix between the 12 cases and make the topping my combining the 3 ingredients in a bowl then crumble over muffins
Bake for 18-20 minutes then cool in pan for 15 minutes before serving
So, after the 'success' of my first rainbow cake, my best friends niece chose to have one for her birthday, too, and as it was a joint party- the calling was for two!
Although I would never make 2-6-level cakes in one day again, the girls were over the moon which made up for my rather stressful day! And the cakes were infinitely better than my first attempt!
The thing I struggled with is the colouring: growing up, we had those liquid food colours that would dye anything any colour with just a few drops (think cakes, icing, clothes, fingers...) however, now- probably because of all this e number fuss- these have been discontinued and replaced with gel food colouring- which takes about half a tube to colour one cake, and begins to change the flavour!
So what I have found are these colour pastes from the wonderful Cake Craft World. They're a little more expensive, but you only need the tiniest amount so they last for ages- plus, they give a really nice rich colour rather than the slightly fake colours from the dyes.
Each layer of cake is just less than half of a victoria sponge mix, but I trimmed all of the edges off after baking to help them to sit flatter. I also use baking butter for the cakes, but real butter for the buttercream. I used 3 of each colour sugar paste to cover the cakes, which left me with plenty for decorations and a bit left over.
So.. I've decided to give food blogging another go after obsessing over The Great British Bake Off for weeks on end (and being completely gutted when the beautiful James didn't win!) and what better way to revamp a food blog than with the best food item ever? CHEESE!
Before last week it had never occurred to me to bake my own cheese straws because the ones from m&s are just so tasty! But I was feeling lazy, craving cheese and had the ingredients so I thought I would give them a go- and they turned out good!
I made these whilst sitting in front of the TV which really proves how simple they are! They're a great way to use up eggs and the last bits of whatever cheese you have lying around! I used parmesan and extra strong cheddar in mine with some cayenne pepper, paprika and black pepper for a kick :)
Ingredients 200g self raising flour 125g cold butter (diced) 2 eggs (one of them separated) 50g grated parmesan cheese 75g finely grated cheddar (plus extra for sprinkling) pinch of cayenne pepper pinch of paprika sesame seeds salt and pepper Method
1. In a bowl, rub the flour, butter and spices together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Mix in both cheeses
2. Add one whole egg and the second egg yolk, keeping the spare white to one side. Mix until everything is incorporated
3. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, then turn on the oven (180 degrees) and tip mixture onto a floured surface
4. Roll dough out until roughly 9x12" then cut into 24 straws. They may shrink slightly when cut so you can roll them again, separately if needed. Twist each straw once at each end, brush with the left over egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds and left over cheese, then arrange them on greased baking sheets
5. Bake! I only cooked mine for 15 minutes but if they look pale you can leave them for an extra few minutes!
These are a must have straight from the oven when they're still warm, possibly dipped in more cheese (unless that's going too far?) and definitely with a glass of white wine.
Enjoy :) x