Friday, 30 December 2011

Preserved Clementines

There is an old saying, which you probably all are familiar, which goes 'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade'.

I'm thinking of starting a new one that says 'When life gives you 1.5kg of clementines, freak out, Google, and ask The Oracle, that is Twitter, what the hell you should do with them'.

One suggestion that really stood out (as well the idea of making a clementine sauce for desserts, which is next on my food hit list) was preserving slices of clementine in sweet sugar syrup (Thanks Susan!). The uses for them then looked endless from my clementine tunnel vision point of view.

Unlike some preserved fruit, theses arent heavy. Or too boozy. Instead they boast a cleansing, freshness that is often sought around this time of year. I love how they glisten, fat from sugar syrup.

You can also preserve them whole, Kavey from Kavey Eats posted a delicious looking photo of her whole ones on Twitter. I suggest you go and have a good look (and good dribble) over her blog.

7-9 small firm clementines
125ml honey
200gr caster sugar
5 cardamom pods
3 cloves
25ml triple sec (optional)

1, Cut the tops and bottoms off the clementines and discard the ends. Cut each clementine into three or four thick slices and set aside.
2, Set a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat and add in the honey and sugar. Add in 250ml of water and stir to dissolve the sugar.
3, When the sugar has dissolved, gently slide in the clementines and increase the heat to a boil. Try not to poke around too much as they are quite fragile. Pop in the cardamom pods, cloves and triple sec.
4, Lower the heat a little and simmer for 10-15minutes.
5, Transfer the saucepan contents into a heatproof jug or bowl, cover tightly and leave to sit overnight
6, Fish out the cloves and cardamom and discard.
7, Decant into sterilised jars and use within three months.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

We Should Cocoa: Chocolate Orange Fudge

This month We Should Cocoa is hosted by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog and she has picked orange as the special ingredient. You can see the gorgeous apple round up here.

I think I'm with the majority of associating orange and chocolate with that British classic, a Terry's chocolate orange. Not a year goes past where one isnt snuck into the house or attempted to be flogged by the side of a till when you're doing your Christmas shopping. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without one. I've loved reading some peoples memories associated with them .And if you can eat and entire one in under 2 mins 39.5 seconds, you should call the world record people.

As well as making marshmallows, I also made some delicious fudge as I had my sugar thermometer out. However, there wasn't much fudge left after "quality control" took place.

Original recipe from here

300ml milk
350gr caster sugar
100gr butter
Finely grated zest and juice of one orange
50gr dark chocolate
Gold and silver sprinkles (optional)

1, Place all the ingredients, except the orange zest, chocolate and sprinkles, in a large heavy based saucepan and place over a medium heat.
2, Stir the ingredients until they have melted, clip on a sugar thermometer and carry on gently stirring until you hit 115o/c
3, Remove from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes
4, Add in the orange zest and start beating the fudge with a wooden spoon until it looses it's shine and thickens up.
5, Transfer the fudge to an 18cm square tin that has either been lined with cling film or sprayed lightly with cake release. I used a silicone cake tin that I had spritzed very lightly with oil.
6, Smooth the top with a damp spoon and leave to set in a cool place.
7, When your fudge has set, melt the chocolate and spread across the fudge. Sprinkle with some festive sprinkles and cut.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Peppermint Marshmallows

There is one thing I always struggle with at Christmas and that is Christmas cards. I'll inevitably forget to post them, forget someone off the list, forget I've left them in the Tardis that is my handbag and find them in February or spend ages trying to pick the right ones (nothing too cute, rude or "funny" - and I use the term "funny" very loosely...)

So for the past 4 years, I've lightened the load and made small bags of edible goodies for those who would inevitably miss out on a card due to my sheer tardiness. I've done popcorn, truffles, gingerbread, biscotti, meringue, macarons and cookies in the past but anything small, that keeps relatively well can be bagged.

Like these marshmallows... 

Recipe from here

120ml cold water
23gr (two pouches) powdered gelatine
160ml golden syrup
440ml caster sugar
1tsp peppermint extract
Red food colouring (optional)
Vegetable oil for greasing
Couple of tablespoons of cornflour and icing sugar mixed together.

1, Put the water and gelatine into the bowl of your stand mixer and leave to sponge while you make your sugar syrup.
2, Add the sugar and golden syrup into a medium sized saucepan and add enough cold water to cover it.
3, Turn the heat to low and stir until the sugar melts.
4, Using a damp pastry brush remove any rogue sugar crystals from the edge of the pan. You don’t want these falling in as it might trigger the syrup to crystallise. Turn the heat up high
5, Bring the syrup to a boil and continue to heat it until it reaches 130o/c on a sugar thermometer. Remove from the heat and leave to one side for a minute.
6, Turn your stand mixer on and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the bowl. Be careful not to hit the spinning whisk.
7, Beat until it goes white and fluffy and is the consistency of sticky bubblegum. This can take up a good few minutes and wont look very promising in the beginning but it will fluff up.
8, Whilst its beating, line an 10 inch square cake tin with greaseproof paper. Brush that lightly with vegetable oil and then dust with a little cornflour and icing sugar. Make sure you oil up the sides and dust those also.
9, When the marshmallow is ready, it will take on the consistency of really sticky bubblegum, beat in your peppermint extract, carefully pour it into the prepared tin. At this point you can drip on a couple of drops of red food colouring and swirl with a cocktail stick but that's entirely up to you. Leave for a little bit to dry before sifting a little more icing sugar.
10, Leave in a cool place for a couple of hours until it has set.
11, Cut into small squares and shake in more of the cornflour/icing sugar mixture. These will keep for around 2 weeks in an airtight container, or bag up and gift. I made 8 small bags plus extra for, erm, taste testing...

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Brunch: Blackbirds

Blow out comfort food. It reminds me of Girl Guide camp. But without the authentic grey smokey flavour that everything had because it was cooked over an open fire.

My defence is that I'm building up my winter layer of fat because the weather has finally turned nippy...

(Serves 2)
Four slices of bread
Blackcurrant jam (to taste)
1 egg
50ml milk
Vegetable oil for frying
Icing sugar for dusting

1, Heat a little vegetable oil in a on stick frying pan over a medium heat
2, Make two jam sandwiches and cut in half, diagonally. Dont put too much jam in or they will explode in the pan.
3, Beat the egg and milk together and dip in the half sandwiches
4, Let some of the excess liquid drain off and carefully place them in the pan.
5, Fry until golden brown. Sprinkle with icing sugar, there's no turning back from the calories now. (Also, be careful the jam filling will be really hot)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Cranberry Mincemeat

This is a variable drop into the mincemeat ocean, I'm sure you're all inundated with recipes for the stuff. It's based loosely on this Delia recipe, I hate chopped peel! Mine doesn't profess to be anything special. It doesn't have nuts in. But does have cranberries. Erm... That's about it...

But you want to hear something that is special? The smell of this cooking that fills you're house. Christmas in jar format. Plus, I wouldnt reserve this solely for mince pies... I have big plans for my jars of Christmas.

One massive cooking apple, or two small ones, cored and chopped finely.
400gr mixed dried fruit (mainly sultanas, raisins, currants)
100gr dried cranberries
100gr dried cherries
100gr vegetable suet
Zest and juice of a lemon, an orange and a lime
1 and 1/2tsp ground mixed spice
1/2tsp ground allspice
1/2 knob of nutmeg, grated
1/4tsp cinnamon
40ml rum, plus 25ml for adding before sealing the jars.

1, In a large casserole dish, combine everything together and stir well, slap on the lid. Leave this for 12-18 hours in a cool place. Top of a double oven is great, not the fridge though.
2, When you're ready to go, take off the lid, stir it and cover loosely with foil. Put into your cold oven and turn the heat to 120o/c and leave for three hours.
3, After three hours, remove from the oven. Before you lift the lid, imagine that everything inside has actually been to a swanky spa and is currently indulging in a new liquid fat swimming regime. This is normal. Lift the lid and give it a stir. And leave to cool.
4, Pack into sterilised jars and add a little more rum on top.

We also recently did put up some of our Christmas decorations. This is out Christmas monkey.

Luci turns into a robot every time baubles are involved in her life... "Must. Kill. Baubles."

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Baby Cake

Before another wave of Christmas posts hits, I got the chance to make this as a respite. One of Jim's work colleagues is leaving to have a baby, and as you can see from the cake, they have chosen not to find out the sex!

This is simply a light lemon sponge, doused in lemon syrup and slathered with a crumb coat of lemon buttercream and covered in fondant.


For the cake

250gr soft unsalted butter
250gr golden caster sugar
4 eggs
Grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
250gr self raising flour
1/2tsp baking powder

For the syrup
35ml water
30gr granulated sugar
Juice and zest of a lemon

For the buttercream
115gr soft unsalted butter
265gr icing sugar
1/2tsp good Sicilian lemon extract
Small splash of water


1, To make the cake, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, zest and a tablespoon of flour to stop it splitting. When smooth, fold in the rest of the flour and baking powder.
2, Line and grease two seven inch sandwich tins and divide the batter between them. Bake in a preheated oven at 170o/c for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted skewer cones out clean. Turn onto wire racks for cooling.
3, While the cake is cooking, prepare the syrup by heating the water and sugar in a small pan until boiling. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and then add in the lemon juice. Simmer for another minute. Leave this to cool.
4, Spoon a couple of tablespoons over the cakes when they are warm and leave until they are cold before icing.
5, Whip together the butter, icing sugar and lemon essence for the icing. Add a small splash of water if it needs it to bring it together and beat until pale and fluffy.
6, Spread the butter cream thickly on one cake and invert the other on top. Ice around and on top of the cake giving you a smooth base for the fondant. It doesn't matter if this looks crappy, bits of cake are showing or there are crumbs in the buttercream, this is the crumb coat for the fondant. Leave this to set for an hour or so.
7, When your ready to fondant it, cut a piece of fondant around 500gr. I alway white fondant and then colour it, unless I need black or brown fondant then it's easier (and cleaner!) to use ready coloured. I used these fab gel colours from Dr. Oetker, which were very kindly sent to me by Citizen Brando.
8, I didn't take step by step photos of the fondant when I did it, but if you find yourself in a sticky fondant situation, YouTube has great videos for showing how to cover a cake. The only tips I can give you is make sure the fondant is well kneaded and soft before use, don't douse it in icing sugar - this will make it dry out and the crack, roll it out bigger than you think you'll need and if it tears, it can be pinched and smoothed together.
9, Roll out a small piece of white fondant and cut circles, flowers or stars and stick them on with a little water either on a paintbrush or your finger.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Giant Yorkshire Pudding

There are some days when you just feel the urge to make a Yorkshire pudding so big you could use it to either sail the English Channel or put your entire dinner in it and still have room to host a music festival.

Ok, so maybe it's not that big, but measuring in at a hefty 7 inch diameter, we're not playing games with this goliath. Here is how to do it:-

You will need 3 eggs (for two gargantuan Yorkshire puddings) flour and milk.

In a measuring jug, crack in your eggs. This recipe is done on ratios and since eggs vary in weight and size, volume is the key. Measure how many millilitres or fluid ounces, then add the same amount of milk, and the tip the same volume of flour on it too. Transfer to bowl, and whisk until smooth and season to taste. Pop this into the fridge.

Acquire two eight inch sandwich cake tins, and pour in 3tbsp of vegetable oil into each. Put straight into your cold oven and crank the heat up to 230o/c. When the oven has finished preheating, leave them for five minutes so the tins and oil gets very hot. When your ready to go, pour equal amounts of the batter into each tin. It will sizzle and may spit so do be careful.

Bake for 15 minutes until they are evenly golden brown and well risen. Hot pan, hot oven, hot oil is the key for these. Marvel at your handy work. Impress people with your Yorkshire pudding skills.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Food Bloggers Unplugged

Thank you to Kate from What Kate Baked and Julia from Eat Healthy But Tasty for tagging me in Food Bloggers Unplugged - a new meme doing the rounds created by Susan, from A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate.

So here goes...
1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?

I used to upload all my cake/food photos onto a couple of online albums on Facebook as I had a temperamental laptop that refused to keep things in folders. I remember skipping back to a couple and thinking "now where did I put the recipe for that?" It was especially tricky when I had shared something and friends had commented on it, or asked me for the recipe. I dont write everything down and I thought online would be the easiest way to chronicle it all. It was only when I started my blog did I discover such a close and caring community.

2. Who is your foodie inspiration?

I love websites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker. Other bloggers are a huge and currently changing inspiration, I've bookmarked countless pages! Also the seasons impact heavily on my home cooking, along with eating locally produced fruit, veg and meat. It's really good to see Kentish stock in big supermarkets like Sainsburys.
3. Your greasiest, batter - splattered food/drink book is?

Sugar Baby by Gesine Bullock-Prado would be the most splattered if I didn't have an indescribable urge to keep my cookbooks well out of sight of boiling vats of sugar! If I'm using recipes off the Internet, I often stack my iPad up on the coffee machine so it is well out of reach of a wayward splash.
4. Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?

New York. September 2009. The day before my birthday and the morning of the day Jim proposed to me later in Central Park. A breakfast monolith called The Lumberjack (huge stack of thick fluffy American pancakes, sausages, bacon, eggs, love, melted butter and maple syrup). Metro Diner.

It was HUGE! I ate so much, I was convinced I was going blind. I'd go back to New York just to eat that again.

(Note:- We went back there again on one of the last days of our trip, and I thought I'd play it safe and order wholewheat waffles with yoghurt and fresh berries. Mistake. Just as big. But equally as delicious.)

5. Another food bloggers table you'd like to eat at is?

After reading other bloggers Food Blogger Unplugged memes, my mouth instantly watered at A Trifle Rushed signature dish answer...

6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?

Either an indoor smoker or someone to build me an outside wood burning pizza/bread oven. Or, if they came into mass production, one of these fridges. I wouldn't put it on the ceiling though as they mention. That's madness.
7. Who taught you how to cook?

My mum. The kitchen, easily being one of the smallest rooms in their house was (and still is whenever we have a family do!) always crowded. I love that. She is an amazing cook AND baker.

8. I'm coming to you for dinner what's your signature dish?

Without sounding big headed, I'm actually not a shabby cook. I love French food so probably a big cassoulet (with something confit-ed) followed by something outrageously calorific for dessert. We don't mention the C-word* in the cottage, it's deemed bad luck (*calories)

9. What is your guilty food pleasure?

Gherkins/pickles and mustard. Sometimes with each other. I'm vast quantities. That's a pretty tame guilty pleasure actually...
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

If you've read any previous memes then you'll know I have a pea phobia and I take pole dancing lessons. Maybe you'd be surprised to learn that I'm taking an open water diving course with PADI. Jim and I are off to the Maldives on our honeymoon in under six months where we can dive to our hearts content. We've got two dive days at a local swimming pool, a theory test of sorts and then two open water dive days. Which Jim has kindly booked for April. In England. In some freezing lake. Thanks darling!
Now to pass it on! I struggled here a little, as a lot of the blogs I wanted to give to pass this onto, already have been tagged. So I could only really pass it onto Cookistry and Cornflower Kitchen. I've loved reading everyone else's Unplugged.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Let's Make Christmas: The Big Event

After weeks of watching all the delicious things popping up all over the foodie blogosphere, the event 50 brilliant food bloggers had all been looking for took place on Friday 18th November at Fortnum & Mason.

Created by the gorgeous Vanessa Kimbell, Let's Make Christmas has given us the opportunity to actually meet bloggers face to face and discuss all things food and beyond.

Each of brought gifts to swap. I took along some Triple Ginger Cakes baked in Kilner jars, some Glittery Chilli Vodka and some little Meringue Nibbles. These are the laden gift tables, the baked one proving to be very popular!

After judging the entries, baking king Dan Lepard announced the winners. Congratulations to them all! Can't wait to see the recipes!

It was really lovely chatting to some new and old bloggers alike including Laura from Craftstorming, Julia from Eat Healthy But Tasty, Kate from Turquoise Lemons, Kate from What Kate Baked and Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog.
These are the gifts I received in the swap. Some lovely Blackberry Liqueur from A Trifle Rushed, some Table Truffles from What Kate Baked and some Christmas Feel Good Cookies from Cindy at Food for Thoughts. All of which, I can personally say are delicious. Jim was very impressed too!

Overall, it was a great day spent in great surroundings with even greater people. I honestly hope we can all meet up again very soon!

Brunch: Austrian Hash

With colder mornings, my seasonal craving for stodge raises it's ugly head. Anything with carbs is unfortunately quarry. This delicious amalgamation of potatoes and sausage is right up my street.

Original recipe from here

Sunflower oil and a small knob of butter for frying
2 large potatoes, cut in medium sized chunks and parboiled
1/2 a red onion, diced
1/2 smoked pre-cooked sausage (like mathiesons) cut into thin slices
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
Small pinch of good smoked paprika
Very small pinch of dried chillis
Chopped parsley (to taste)
Salt and pepper
Fried eggs (for serving)

1, In a large frying pan, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and the butter and fry off the potatoes, onions and sausage until they are golden. Try not to break up the potatoes too much.
2, Add in the spices and heat through until they start to smell very aromatic. Season to taste and add in the chopped parsley.
3, Top with fried eggs and tuck in!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Let's Make Christmas: Meringue Nibbles

This is the third item I will be bringing to Vanessa Kimbell's Let's Make Christmas event at Fortnum & Mason on the 18th November. I have been following #letsmakechristmas on twitter and Im getting more and more excited about things that are popping up!

Three ingredients, a 100o/c oven and a little time will yield tiny nuggets of melt in the mouth wonder or crunch, dependant on how you want to eat them.

Ive always been fascinated by meringue. Those huge billowy clouds piped with fresh cream and topped with fruit behind the glass counters of bakeries stacked in front of eclairs and scones spilling out fillling. The hefty wedges of lemon meringue pie I fought one of my sisters over as a kid. And the unbridled joy of making meringue mushrooms in my own kitchen. Above the whirr of Rosie, my Kitchenaid, its near on impossible not to look into bowl and watch translucent egg whites turn foamy and then double up in size and turn a brilliant white. Piped into tiny rosettes these are perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth and perfect respite from cloying truffles and dipping your hand into that tin of Roses.


2 medium egg whites
100gr caster sugar
1/4 tsp white wine vinegar


1, Preheat your oven to 100o/c (Gas Mark 1/4) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2, Place the egg whites into your stand mixer and beat the eggs until they start to turn foamy. Splash in the vinegar and crank up the speed.
3, Beat until they reach soft peaks, reduce the speed of the mixer to medium, and slowly spooning in the sugar allowing it to be fully mixed in before adding the next.
4, Beat the meringue until it turns bright white and a tiny bit rubbed between your fingers doesnt feel too grainy.
5, Spoon the meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle and pipe little dollops onto your baking sheet.
6, I also painted some red stripes up the inside of my piping bag with a little red food colouring to give some of them a little candy cane effect.
7, Bake for two hours and then turn the oven off and leave until completely cool. Store in an airtight container

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Let's Make Christmas Glittery Chilli Vodka

This is another one of the things I will be taking to Vanessa Kimbell's Let's Make Christmas event at Fortnum & Mason on the 18th November.

Oh, Christmas! How you tricked me into eating one more roast potato. And a mince pie. And to finish that pan of mulled wine. And then another mince pie. Nothing will fix the pain I'm in apart from a classic Bloody Mary. The punchier the better. This vodka is perfect for my favourite Bloody Mary recipe. And exceptionally easy to make!

350ml vodka
2 chillis (plus 1 extra whole one for presentation)
1/4 tsp red edible glitter (available from cake supply shops)

1, Chop up your chillis finely and add them to the vodka. Give it a good shake and leave to infuse it's spicy kick for two to three hours. Longer if you dare.
2, Strain out the chilli bits, pop in the glitter and the whole chilli. Reseal and shake.
3, Soothe your hangover with a Bloody Mary.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Let's Make Christmas: Triple Ginger Cake in a Jar

This is one of the things I will be taking to Vanessa Kimbell's Let's Make Christmas event at Fortnum & Mason on the 18th November. I'm really honoured to be invited and I'm really looking forward to it!

I'd saw the idea of baking cakes in jars on one of my favourite baking blogs. And was desperate to give it a go not only because it looks exceptionally cool but it would be easy to seal and transport. There was a lot of trial and error in finding a recipe that didn't shrink when cooled too much and that cooked through nice and evenly. It was also important that the cake didn't require icing and this gorgeous ginger cake was certainly a winner!
Original recipe from here

125gr butter
125gr soft brown sugar
125gr black treacle
150ml milk
1 egg
2 chunks of jarred ginger in syrup, chopped finely
1tbsp ginger syrup from the jarred ginger
190gr plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ginger
1/2tsp mixed spice

You will also need two Kilner jars (1 pint/500mls). To prepare these, wash them thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse and the wash them again in hot water. Sterilise them either in a water bath or in the oven. When you are ready to fill your jars, dry them whilst they are still warm, coat the insides with cake release or cake spray.

1, Preheat your oven to 160o/c. In a medium saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar and treacle. When the sugar has dissolved, heat very gently for about five minutes. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
2, In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together and whisk gently so they are mixed together completely.
3, Add the milk to the buttery-sugary-treacly mix and if it is still very hot, leave to cool slightly before adding your egg and chopped ginger. Beat it all together until well combined.
4, Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Slowly bring it together until you have a smooth batter.
5, Pour the batter into your prepared Kilner jars (see above). Don't fill more than half way or you will have pillars of cake rising from the tops of the jar! (Which I admit was a tasty mistake on the test run of this recipe!) If you do have any left, bake in cupcake wrappers for 20mins or so.
6, Place in a baking dish or on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. Test the cake is ready by inserting a skewer through the middle, all the way down the bottom, and back up. It should come put clean.
7, Remove from the oven, wipe down the top and inside for any smudges of cake release and cake crumbs. Leave to cool slightly for 30minutes or so before securing the lids. The Kilner jars I use are the preserving ones with the two part pop caps. They will pop shut. They will retain their heat for a LONG time so handle with care.
8, When they are fully cooled, dress up with a little cellophane and ribbon. Perfect for a something a little different in your christmas hampers! I added a little hand stitched tag on mine for a special touch.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Brunch: Cardamom Apple Fritters

Following last weeks brunch mishap, these apple fritters were happening. Not in the cool, hip sense, but as in "They will be made. They will be consumed. They will be enjoyed"

Nothing was going to stop me.

Unlike a lot of apple fritter recipes, these aren't deep fried. I know a lot of people don't like vast quantities of hot oil and I certainly didn't want to messing around with that in the morning but I found that just less than a centimetre of hot oil in a frying pan works just as well without that stomach turning fear of a huge pan of the stuff!

The cardamom adds a delicious, fragrant citrussy note to these making them even more delicious. Who would have thought that was possible!


135gr self-raising flour
40gr golden caster sugar
Seeds of one large cardamom pod, ground in a pestle and mortar
Small pinch of salt
1 egg
80 ml milk, any type
2 medium sized eating apples, cored and diced

Oil for frying
Icing sugar mixed with a little milk or water to form a glaze


1, Take a frying pan add in just under a centimetre of vegetable oil. Turn the heat up to medium to preheat whilst you make your fritters
2, In a bowl, sift in the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt and mix together with a whisk to keep it light and airy.
3, Beat in the egg and milk and you should have a thick sticky dough.
4, Add in the apple and stir until all the apple pieces are covered evenly.
5, Test the oil by gently dropping in one piece of coated apple. It should bubble and float to the top when it is hot enough.
6, Fry the fritters by scooping tablespoons of the appley batter and placing in the hot oil. The closer you are to the oil when you drop in the batter, the chances of it splashing are lowered. Do this in batches of 4-5. Don't be tempted to add loads in even if you have space, it will lower the temperature of the oil and you'll be heading for greasy fritters. Crisp on the outside/fluffy in the middle is what we're after
7, When they are golden brown and cooked through, remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Enjoy hot sprinkled with icing sugar.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

We Should Cocoa: Toffee Apple Truffles

We Should Cocoa is hosted this month by Chele from Chocolate Teapot. You can see the red hot chilli round up here! This month, the ingredient is apples. You can find the rules and details of how to enter here!

One of the perks of this time of year is toffee apples. You can't deny it. You can't not love the idea of an apple encased in thick amber-esque toffee. That teeth worrying crunch as you break through it. The sweetness giving way to comparative sourness. I was going to make chocolate covered toffee apples. Then I found a recipe for these little smashers.

Original recipe from here

40gr salted butter
90gr golden caster sugar
2tbsp lemon juice
4 medium sized eating apples (peeled, cores and chopped into small chunks)
Small pinch of cinnamon

100-110gr dark chocolate for coating

1, Add the butter and sugar to a heavy bottomed saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
2, Leave the caramel to bubble away for around 4-5 minutes or until it it has turned golden brown.
3, Tip in the lemon juice, apples and cinnamon and stir to coat in the caramel and reduce the heat.
4, This now needs to be reduced down so you have around 250ml (or 1 cup measure) of thick apple paste. I needed to stand by mine for the last couple of minutes, just turning it over so it didn't stick or burn on the pan.
5, Leave to cool thoroughly and then roll into 18 small balls. Pop these on a baking tray and freeze for at least half an hour.
6, When you're ready to start coating, melt your chocolate in a bain marie and dip the balls in. Make sure they're covered completely and tap off the excess. Place on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with edible glitter.
7, Chill for 20-30minutes to firm them up before serving

Perfect for Guy Fawkes Night!

Add a little sparkle!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Brunch: Nutty Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I had my stomach settled on apple and cardamom fritters for brunch this morning but a quick inspection of the fruit bowl soon put an end to that idea. Store cupboard brunch it was then!

I simply used this recipe, and added in 40gr mixed chopped nuts and 40gr of dark chocolate chips. Deliciously simple!

*scribbles apples on shopping list*

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Haunted Gingerbread House

If there is one time of year, you can go deliciously dark, it's Halloween. From scaring trick-or-treaters, snuggling in to watch a good horror, sneakily hiding away to read a horror novel (note: your imagination of a horror novel is scarier than the actual novel intended) to hitting up the kitchen and utilising some ghost shaped biscuit cutters, there is an aspect of Halloween that I'm sure a lot of people love.

I haven't had much time to get in a lot of Halloween themed baking, I sadly only see my house in daylight hours at the weekend, but there was one thing I saw last year that I definitely wanted to have a go at.

I made my own template, which I'm hoping I'll be able to have as a downloadable template in the tutorial post which is to follow. Are you splashing out at Halloween? Made anything delicious? I'd love to know!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Brunch: Breakfast Eggs

Jim and I both commute to London to work. Waking up in darkness doesn't make me spring out of bed an hour early and whip up a breakfast fit for a king. Breakfast for Jim is inhaling three weetabix. Breakfast for me is porridge at my desk. Saturdays aren't much better because we try and catch up on all the things we miss doing during the week. Laundry, gardening, shopping etc.

Sunday mornings are our solace. Brunch is my forte. So I thought I'd start sharing them with you.

These Breakfast Eggs are a delicious way to start the day. And perfect for clearing out the fridge!

Serves 2

4 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped into strips
1 small onion, chopped
200gr courgette, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
Pinch of black pepper
Small pinch of dried chilli to clear out the cobwebs
4 eggs

1, Warm a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat and add the chopped bacon. I like to render some of the bacon fat down, rather than adding cooking oil, or else it can end up a bit greasy.
2, When the bacon has released a bit of fat and is nearly cooked through, increase the heat, add in the onions and courgettes and cook these until they just loose their crunch.
3, Add in the chopped tomatoes, pepper and chilli and stir through until bubbling.
4, Make four small spaces in the vegetables, son you can see the bottom of the pan and crack an egg into each.
5, Cover the whole pan with foil and crimp around the edges. You want to steam the eggs rather than fry.
6, Turn down the heat to medium and cook for two minutes for soft eggs.
7, Divide and serve.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Apple and Cinnamon Galette

A galette isn't showy. Or extravagant. It'll hold whatever you ask it to, with no complaints. It doesn't care if it splits a little. It doesn't care if looks a little rough around the edges. It doesn't need fancy dressing up with icing and doesn't require special baking tins. All it needs is a baking sheet, a rolling pin and a hot oven. That's all it wants in life. Simplicity.

We could all learn from the humble galette.


Gingerbread dough (see below)

300gr chopped eating apples
2tbsp golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp lemon juice
Milk for brushing

You'll need 1/3 of the dough that the below recipe creates. The dough does freeze well and makes great gingerbread men if you want to use it up. You could make three galettes and freeze the spares. Or one giant one for a crowd.

Gingerbread dough
350gr plain flour
2tsp ground ginger
100gr cold butter, cut into cubes
175gr golden caster sugar
1 egg
4tbsp golden syrup

1, Put the flour and ginger into a large bowl and rub in the butter to a fine breadcrumb consistency.
2, Stir in the sugar and the add the egg and golden syrup. Mix this together until it forms a ball of soft dough. Divide into three flat round discs and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes before use.
3, Preheats your oven to 190o/c and roll out 1/3 of the dough to a rough circle about 12inches in diameter and slide it onto a line baking sheet.
3, Toss the apples together with the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice and pile up into the centre. You want to leave about an inch, maybe two, gap around the fruit.
4, Fold the edges up, enveloping the fruit slightly. Pinch shut any huge tears or breaks. Brush the pastry with a little milk.
5, Bake for 20minutes until golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.
6, Serve hot or cold, with cream or custard. The galette won't mind.

I'm entering my galette into Kate's Autumnal Baking Challenge. You can find all the details on her lovely blog. Happy Autumn