Sunday, 30 April 2017

Cookie Cake with Chocolate Frosting

I made this cake as a prize for the class at school who returned all their library books first! Bribery works!! It was so delicious and the kids all loved it.

Cookie Cake with Chocolate Frosting
(from Good Food Magazine October 2015 and Sally's Baking Addiction)
(Serves 8-10)

175g unsalted butter, softened
200g light soft brown sugar
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
250g self-raising flour
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp baking powder
100g milk chocolate chips
50g white chocolate chips

For the frosting:
210g icing sugar
32g cocoa powder
115g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 tbsp double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 200C and grease a 22cm springform cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, then mix in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.

Combine the flour, cornflour and baking powder, then fold into the butter mixture until fully incorporated – it will be quite thick.

Add the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 mins or until light golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 mins.

Whilst the cake is cooling make the chocolate frosting. Beat the butter with a hand held mixer on a medium speed until creamy - about 2 mins. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into the bowl alternating with the cream and vanilla. Beat on a low speed after each addition. Once it is all added, beat on high speed until creamy and combined for at least 2 mins. Add a pinch of salt if the frosting is too sweet. Decorate the cooled cookie cake with frosting. Cut into slices and serve.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Prawn and Fennel Risotto with Crispy Bacon and Chilli

This is a delicious risotto.

Prawn and Fennel Risotto with Crispy Pancetta and Chilli
(from Superfood Family Classics by Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 4)

2 onions, chopped
1 bulb fennel, finely sliced
2 rashers bacon, chopped
225g raw prawns
1l veg stock
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 red chilli, halved and deseeded
400g cherry tomatoes
300g risotto rice
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
zest 1 lemon
300g cottage cheese

Heat a little oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and cook the bacon until golden and crispy, then remove to a plate. Add the onions and fennel to pan with a little more oil and a splash of water. Cook for 10 mins, stirring regularly or until softened.

Meanwhile, simmer the stock on a low heat with the garlic clove and the chilli. Prick each tomato with the tip of a sharp knife and put into the stock, adding the vines if you have them for flavour. After 1 min scoop out the tomatoes and carefully remove the skins.

Stir the rice into the veg and leave to cook for 2 mins, then gradually adding the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding the next. Repeat this stirring for 20 mins or until the rice is cooked. Stir in the prawns and tomatoes for the last 5 mins.

Meanwhile put the parsley, lemon zest, chilli halves and garlic from the sock pan, and the bacon onto a board and finely chop to make a sprinkle.

Stir the cottage cheese into the risotto, season and then serve with the sprinkle scattered over.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Blue Corn Tortillas

So these tortillas are blue mostly because when I went to the Cool Chile Company Stall, that was all they had left! I made them to use up some of the leftover lamb I had, making enchiladas stuffed with beans, sweetcorn, courgette and of course lamb. These are really easy to make.

Blue Corn Tortillas
(Makes 8-10)

150g masa harina
pinch salt
120ml cold water
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl. Add the water a bit at a time and olive oil and mix until a smooth dough is formed. Set aside covered for 20 mins. Divide the dough into 8-10 balls.

Flatten the balls of dough with your hands or use a tortilla press or roll them between two layers of cling film/greaseproof paper. Flatten to approximately 3mm thick.

To cook the tortillas, lightly oil a flat griddle pan or frying pan and place over a hot heat. Cook the tortillas for approximately one minute on each side, or until lightly coloured.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Slow Roasted Pomegranate Molasses Lamb Shoulder

So, as is traditional for Easter Sunday I made myself roast lamb. A whole 2kg shoulder of lamb, just for me! Of course I didn't eat all of it in one go but I had a pretty good portion of this last Sunday, It's meant to be served with couscous and salad. I went for Red Leicester Potato Gratin and Veg. Yum!

Slow Roasted Pomegranate Molasses Lamb Shoulder (from The Times)
(Serves 4)

1 x 2kg lamb shoulder, bone in, trimmed of excess fat
6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 heaped tbsp ras el hanout
2 heaped tbsp oregano
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
375ml beef stock
2 generous tbsp pomegranate molasses, plus extra, to serve
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 170C. Put the lamb, garlic, ras el hanout, oregano, tomato, stock, molasses, salt and pepper in a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 3 hours, turning the lamb halfway through. Uncover and cook, meaty side up, for a further 30 mins.

Remove the bone and transfer the lamb to a serving dish. Spoon over the pan juices and drizzle with molasses. Serve.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Smoked Trout Dip/Sandwich Filling

I served this is a wrap with some lettuce, it would be lovely with some cooked beetroot too.

Smoked Trout Dip/Sandwich Filling (from Hairy Dieter's Good to Eat by Hairy Bikers)
(Serves 2)

150g smoked trout fillet
2 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
1 tsp horseradish sauce
1/4 cucumber, chopped
squeeze lemon juice
salt and pepper

Break the trout into small pieces, removing any bones and put them into a bowl. Add the cucumber, dill, creme fraiche and horseradish and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze of lemon juice.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Miso and Soy Salmon with Sticky Rice and Crispy Kale

This is a very tasty dinner dish. I loved the crunch of the kale with the soft rice and salmon.

Miso and Soy Salmon with Sticky Rice and Crispy Kale
(from The Guardian)
(Serves 4)

4 salmon fillets
400g sushi rice
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
200g kale
1 tbsp oil

For the marinade
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp red miso
1 tsp chilli flakes

 Heat the oven to 200C.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients until well combined, then lay in the fish fillets, turn to coat all over, and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.

Put the rice into a pan with 600ml water and the rice vinegar, season with sea salt and a pinch of sugar, cover and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat to its lowest setting and leave the rice to steam for 15 mins. Turn off the heat, and keep somewhere warm, still covered.

While the rice is cooking, remove the kale stems and finely shred the leaves. Spread the kale out on one or two baking sheets and spray with cooking spray to coat. Sprinkle on the sugar and a pinch of salt, and bake for seven to eight mins, until dark green and crisp, stirring halfway through, so they cook evenly. Watch the kale like a hawk towards the end, so it doesn’t catch and burn.

Put the salmon on an oven tray and roast for 12-15 mins, basting with more marinade halfway through.

Divide the rice between four bowls, then top each serving with a fillet of salmon, any leftover marinade juices from the tray and the kale. Serve with soy sauce, more vinegar and some chilli oil.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

White Bean and Spring Green Cakes

This recipe came with my veg bag a couple of weeks ago and they are delicious. I used red leicester for the cheese and that worked fantastically. I served them over salad with a tomato and aubergine salad over the top but they would be yummy with a poached egg or as a burger in a bun.

White Bean and Spring Green Cakes
(Makes 8)

350g spring greens, washed and trimmed
60g cheese (cheddar, Lancashire, Wensleydale etc), grated
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
20g butter
1 400g can cannellini beans
50g dried breadcrumbs
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
1 medium egg, beaten

Blanch the greens in a pan of boiling water until tender, 2-3 mins. Drain and run under the cold tap. Leave to drip dry.

Mash the cannellini beans with a fork. Squeeze the greens to get rid of the excess moisture, then roughly chop and add to the beans along with the spring onions, cheese, breadcrumbs, mustard and egg. Taste and season. Shape the mixture into 8 evenly sized cakes and chill for 15 mins.

Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and fry for 5-6 mins on each side until golden brown and heated through. Serve.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Scottish Oat Cakes

I've had a hankering for oat cakes for a while and what better way to get them than to make them myself! These are super east to make and feel lovely and wholesome.

Scottish Oat Cakes
(Makes about 14)

225g oats
60g wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
60-80ml hot water

Pre-heat the oven to 190C.

Mix together the oats, flour, salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda. Add the butter and rub together until everything is mixed and has the consistency of large bread crumbs.

Add the water (from a recently boiled kettle) bit by bit and combine until you have a somewhat thick dough. The amount of water varies; depending on the oats.

Sprinkle some extra flour and oats on a work surface and roll out the dough to a 1/2 cm thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Place the oat cakes on a baking tray and bake for 20-30mins. or until slightly golden brown.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Beef Short Rib Poutine

So I had a bit of an indulgent weekend. This was my dinner on Saturday night and it was delicious. It takes a bit of time and used short ribs, which I've never cooked with before but it was scrummy.

Beef Short Rib Poutine (from The Times)
(Serves 4-6)

1 tbsp olive oil
1kg beef short rib, cut into single ribs
40g butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp plain flour
500ml chicken stock
250ml beef stock
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
6 thyme sprigs, tied together with string
5 medium waxy potatoes, cut into wedges
200g melting cheese, such as provolone, raclette or mozzarella
Chopped parsley or chives, to serve

Preheat the oven to 170C. Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and cook for 5 mins until browned, then remove and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter in the pan. Cook the onion and garlic for 3 mins until lightly golden, then stir in the flour and cook for a further min, stirring. Gradually stir in both stocks, along with 250ml water, and bring to the boil. Add the worcestershire sauce and thyme, return the beef to the casserole, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove the beef and roughly shred, then return to the casserole, together with the potatoes. Cover with the lid and cook for 45 mins until the beef and potatoes are tender. Remove the thyme and discard.

Scatter the pan with the cheese and return, uncovered, to the oven for 5-10 mins until melted. Serve with chopped parsley or chives.

Monday, 10 April 2017

More London Eats

So I thought I'd share some more London eats with you. I love going out to eat and over the last few weeks I've been out a few times to try some new places.

The first was On The Bab in Covent Garden. This is a Korean restaurant and it serves the best fried chicken I think I have ever eaten! We had the Sweet Spicy Fried Chicken and it was heavenly. We also had the Beef Bulgogi Bao, which were ok, but no better than Bao and we also tried the Veggie Bibimbap, which was very disappointing. But I would go back just for the fried chicken!

I also checked out Yard Sale Pizza, a new pizza place in Walthamstow. We went for an 18 inch The Aubgerine to share, which had garlic roasted aubergine, parmesan and basil leaves on it, it was scrumptious and it definitely proves my theory, the bigger the pizza, the better it is! They also have branches in Clapton and Finsbury Park.

In other Walthamstow eats, I also finally tried out Buhler & Co, a vegetarian restaurant.  I went for Sunday lunch with some friends and tried their Vege Fry Up - Fried Upma (a kind of potato cake), Fried Egg, Paneer, Chard, Tomato, Kusundi (which was a bit like ketchup) and a paratha. It was awesomely good and really filling. But I did manage to squeeze in some Chocolate Guinness Cake for pudding!

I then went to Androuet in Spitalfields Market for Wine and Cheese. We shared one of the set menus, which included a Moitie, Moitie fondue, Raclette over boiled potatoes with cornichons, a Charcuterie Plate and a Carafe of House Wine. It was absolutely delicious and I will definitely have to go back to try the toasted baguettes. We also had pudding and went for the French Toaste and Chocolate Mousse, yummy! 

I also had a day out in Kent and found myself in Hildenborough trying out Cafe 1809, the cafe owned by Dame Kelly Holmes. The menu was really interesting and even the things that didn't sound particularly healthy were healthified. I went for a Final Kick - a Roasted Chicken, Mango, Chilli and Coriander Salsa and Chilli Jam Wrap, which came in a whole meal wrap and with pop chips and salad. It was quite spicy and not all the mango was ripe, but a nice combination. 

For Mother's Day we made my Mum Afternoon Tea in my garden. There were Salmon sandwiches and chicken and sorrel sandwiches on homemade bread, crab and leek tarts, cheese and pesto cheese straws and cheese scones. Plus fruit scones, macarons, mini pavlovas and ginger cake, all washed down with prosecco. It was a sumptuous feast!

I also finally got to Roti King, a Malaysian by Euston Station that I have been wanting to try for ages.   We went for Nasi Goreng, Sayur Campur or stir fry veg and a Spinach and Cheese stuffed Roti. The roti was the star and I really want to go back to try their roti with dhal and a sweet one. The place is tiny and we had to queue a little to get in but it was worth it!

Last Friday night I went for a last minute meal in Cottons, Notting Hill Gate. They serve Caribbean food, and I was underwhelmed! I don't eat Caribbean food very often as I'm frightened of the chilli! So I went for Brown Stew Chicken, which was served with rice, coleslaw and a dumpling. It was ok, mildly spicy but just not very interesting and the meat had too many bones for my liking.

Following a hospital appointment last Monday morning, my Mum and I went to the German Gymnasium for breakfast/brunch and oh my goodness it was good! The lunch and dinner menus are quite pricey but brunch is very reasonable. I had the Black Forest Bake and it was proper comfort food. We will definitely be popping back as there are so many other things I want to try!

And lastly...I took a trip to Borough Market on Saturday and bought my lunch from Ethiopian Flavours. I went for the vegetarian combo, which was rice with three veggie dishes: yellow split peas, green beans and carrots and cabbage and carrots. Absolutely delicious.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Pea and Spinach Risotto with Mint, Cottage Cheese and Parmesan

This is one of the best risottos I have had in a while. It's packed full of veg and wonderfully tasty. It comes from Jamie's Super Food Family Classics, a book which I am really enjoying diving into. The recipes are super easy, always seem to work and taste fab to boot!

Pea and Spinach Risotto with Mint, Cottage Cheese and Parmesan
(from Super Food Family Classics - Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 4)

1 onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped
1.2l vegetable stock
300g arborio rice
350g frozen chopped spinach
350g frozen peas
300g cottage cheese
1/2 bunch fresh mint
15g parmesan

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and leek and cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened.

Stir the rice and spinach into the veg for 2 mins, the gradually add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring and waiting for each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. Repeat for about 20 mins or until the rice is cooked, adding the rest of the peas for the last few mins.

Blitz the cottage cheese with the rest of the peas and most of the mint leaves in a food processor until smooth. Stir most of the cottage cheese mixture through the risotto, taste and season. The divide between four plates. Serve with a spoonful of cottage cheese mixture, a grating of parmesan and some chopped mint leaves sprinkled over.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Pumpkin Korroke

These are one of my favourite Japanese things to eat out. We always have them when we go to Yo! Sushi. I didn't have any panko so I just used brown breadcrumbs. They were still really tasty served over salad.

Squash Korroke
(Serves 3-4)

500g squash/pumpkin
2 tbsp light soy sauce
salt and pepper
1 tbsp flour (if using normal pumpkin)
1 egg, beaten
70ml sake
70g flour
panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 200C.

De-seed and peel the pumpkin and cut into chunks. Roast in the oven for 30-40 mins until soft. Either puree of mash with the soy sauce and salt and pepper.

Make the pumpkin mixture into patties.

Whisk together the egg and sake. Add the flour and mix again.

Dip the croquettes into the batter, then cover in panko crumbs, making sure that they are evenly covered. Put onto a baking sheet and then into the fridge for 30 mins to chill slightly.

Heat the oven again to 200C. Bake the croquettes for 10-15 mins until golden and crunchy on the outside.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Sweet Aubergine and Tomato Spaghetti Cake

This is an absolutely delicious spaghetti dish. It didn't stay in a cake form for me once out of the pan, but I didn't cook it for 40 mins, it was gone 8pm and I really wanted to eat! It was really tasty tho and an interesting way to cook an aubergine!

Sweet Aubergine and Tomato Spaghetti Cake (from Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 4)

1 large aubergine, 350g
300g dried wholewheat spaghetti
olive oil
4 sprigs fresh oregano
2 red onions, finely sliced
½–1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
1 400g tin of plum tomatoes
300g cottage cheese
2 large free-range eggs
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
juice 1 lemon
70g rocket
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the whole aubergine in a large pan of boiling water. Sit something on top, like a colander, so the aubergine doesn't float to the top, cook for 15 mins, then remove to a board. Add the spaghetti to the water and cook according to packet instructions, then drain and place in a large bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, halve and roughly chop the aubergine about 1cm thick. Place a deep 26cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan on a medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil and the aubergine, then pick in the oregano leaves. Add the onions and chilli to the pan. Cook for 15 mins, stirring often until golden and gnarly.

Pour in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, then just under half-fill the tin with water, swirl around and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 mins, or until thick. Taste and season.

Pour the tomato sauce over the spaghetti, add the cottage cheese, eggs, and Parmesan, then mix together really well. Pour the spaghetti mixture back into the pan, pushing it into an even layer and packing it up at the sides. Heat over a medium heat on the hob for 2 mins, then bake on the bottom of the oven for 40 mins, or until golden all over. Tip out on to a board, grate over the remaining Parmesan, and serve top with rocket, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of balsamic.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Farro, Kale and Goat's Cheese Salad

A flavour packed grainy lunch. Nothing beats the flavour of roast cheery tomatoes!

Farro, Kale and Goat's Cheese Salad (from Waitrose Magazine Calendar)
(Serves 4)

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
250g can black olives, drained
1 tbsp capers
3 thyme sprigs
250g farro
200g kale, finely chopped
200g goat's cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put 2 tbsp oil, the onion, tomatoes, vinegar, olives, capers and thyme into a baking tray, season and roast for 20 mins.

Meanwhile, cook the farro according to packet instructions.

Drain the farro and tip into the baking tray with the tomatoes, discarding the thyme stalks, and toss together.

Heat the last 1/2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a high heat and add the kale. Fry, stirring occasionally until tender.

Add the kale to the farro and vegetables and divide between plats. Crumble ver the goat's cheese and serve.