Friday, 23 December 2016

Stressed spelt backwards ...

.. Is desserts & although tonights recipe post isn't a dessert it is a sweet treat so definitely belongs in here. I decided to give a go at some biscuits as they are one area of baking that I'm not overly confident with.. And this came about due to being a little stressed over the last couple of days, and when I'm stressed i do tend to find cooking & baking as my form of therapy. 

After trawling Pinterest I found a recipe for peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies and after checking my kitchen cupboards i found i had enough ingredients  - i actually ended up with a batch of 20  

So to make these peanut butter cookies you will need :

130g good quality peanut butter
115g unsalted softened  butter
100g caster sugar
75g soft light brown sugar
1 medium egg (at room temp)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract / seeds of half a vanilla pod
150g porridge oats
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
100g chocolate chips / raisins

  • Start by combining the peanut butter, softened butter and both sugars in a bowl. Beat them together wth an electric hand whisk or with a freestanding mixer for a couple of minutes till the mixture is light fluffy and paler in colour.
  • Break the egg into a small plate and whisk together with the vanilla extract / seeds. Pour this into the peanut butter mixture and beat together with a wooden spoon.
  • Add in the oats, the flour and the soda and mix together . Add in the chocolate chips/ raisins and stir together until the chips/ raisins are evenly incorporated.Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for about 40-45 minutes. Towards the end of the chilling time preheat the oven to 180c/ gas mark 4 
  • Take a tablespoonful of dough, shape into a round ball and place onto a baking paper lined baking tray. Repeat with all of the dough, spacing the balls of dough out evenly. 
  • Bake in the oven for 12-15* minutes until golden brown- the edges will be slightly darker.
  • Leave to cool slightly and then remove carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

*Rotate the baking trays half way through the cooking time to help the cookies cook evenly

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Coconut Macaroons

My recipe post for these came about purely out of  finding myself very bored one evening as the kids were fast asleep in bed and the husband was working. So there i was riding my cupboards thinking what to make and found quite a bit of packed dessicated coconut tucked away so coconut macaroons came to mind and my GBBO Book came to the rescue.

This recipe uses cream patisserie and before you think, ' no way can i make creme pat '  honestly its a very little amount so its very quick and easy - a great way to practice for any recipes that require larger amounts of cream patisserie. 

To make about 20 macaroons you will need 

For the cream patisserie :
5 tbsp milk
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 medium egg yolk

For the coconut mixture:
3 medium egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g caster sugar 
200g desiccated coconut

For the chocolate glaze (optional)
100g good quality dark chocolate
2 tbsp sunflower / vegetable oil 

  • Start by making the creme patisserie, heat the milk in a small pan until it just comes to boil and remove from the heat. In a bowl, beat together the caster sugar, egg yolk and cornflour until pale and fluffy. 
  • Gradually stir in the milk and whisk together. Pour the mixture back into the pan, and over a low-medium heat, whisk together until it boils and begins to thicken. You should end up with a smooth paste- it shouldn't be thick and lumpy. Scrape the mixture out into a small plate or bowl, press and seal it with a piece of cling film directly on to it - this stops a skin forming whilst it cools.
  • Whilst the creme pat is cooling, Preheat your oven to 170c/gas mark 3. Add your egg whites to a bowl with the vanilla extract and beat till the egg whites become frothy. Add in the caster sugar and whisk together till the sugar has dissolved.
  • Stir in the coconut until completely coated in mixture, then add in the creme pat and again stirring through till all the coconut is evenly coated and there are no lumps 
  • Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper and using a teaspoon, scoop up the coconut mixture, making sure it's packed up tightly and place on to the baking tray and shape into a mound with your hands if you wish to. Repeat this with the rest of the mixture and you should end up with 20 macaroons.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and they should be golden in colour with slightly darker edges.
  • One they have completely cooled, melt the chocolate with the oil in a small heatproof bowl/plate in the microwave in 30 second bursts or in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Taking one macaroon at a time , dip the base into the chocolate, evenly coating it with the chocolate slightly coming up the sides. Place the coated macaroons on a clean sheet of baking paper and leave to set completely before serving.*

*alternatively you can drizzle the chocolate over the top of the macaroons using a teaspoon or leave them as they are without any chocolate at all.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Raffello fudge

Ferrero Rocher are definitely in my top ten of the yummiest chocolates ever and I think I love the white coconut version even more than the classic chocolate hazelnut version. Trawling pinterest the last few days for recipe inspiration and there seems to be a craze for fudge, from the classic vanilla fudge to new twists such as salted caramel.. The thought of making fudge with rafello pieces in it sounded absolute scrumptious so I gave it a go 

To make about 15-20 pieces of raffello fudge you will need:

1 x 379g carnation condensed milk
300g white chocolate
300g bounty spread*
25g butter
125g icing sugar 
Broke up pieces of coconut and white chocolate rochers 

  • Line a square 8 inch tin with greaseproof paper, I've found it helps if the paper comes out over the sides of the tin as it makes it easier to lift the fudge out once its set.
  • Pour the condensed milk, bounty spread and all the chocolate into a saucepan and melt on a low heat till all the mixture has combined. Make sure to stir continuously to stop the mixture sticking and burning.
  • Once its all melted, pour into a bowl, add the icing sugar and mix together well - it will take a bit of effort to get it all together but it will come together. 
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and sprinkle over the broken pieces of white ferrero rocher and gently squash into the mixture.
  • Place into the fridge for at least 5 hours and cut up into squares and place back into the fridge for another couple of hours or even overnight if possible ... and devour 

*Bounty spread is divine and you'll find it in most of the large supermarkets 

Stuffed Karelay

This is one of my husbands absolute favourite but its a dish very much like liver curry .. You either love it or hate it - both the husband and I love it, but I hardly ever make it as it's a dish that my kids are guaranteed to turn their noses up at which to be fair this isn't a dish that many a child would like. 

Since i had a real craving for them the last couple of days I just had to make them and this time I even took step by step pictures which are up on my Facebook page @foodymama 

To serve 4 people you will need :

4 large karelay (1 per person)
1 lemon 
2 tsp salt 
6 large onions
1 1/2 tsp salt
3  green chillies
2 -3 tsp garlic paste/ 2 frozen cubes 
3-4 tsp ginger paste/ 4 frozen cubes 
1 tin chopped / plum tomatoes 
2 tsp curry powder 
Oil for shallow frying 

  • Start by taking one karaela at a time and with a knife lightly scrape off the outside skin. I don't tend to scrape it all off only bits that are really knobbly and lumpy. Then carefully slit each karela in half down the middle - you dont want to cut all the way through as you won't be abe to fill them.
  • Taking one karela at a time again, carefully open it up and remove the seeds and as much pith from the inside as you can. I find using a teaspoon makes it quick and easy and saves you getting bits of the pith stuck in your fingernails.
  • Place all the karelay in a bowl, squeeze over the juice of a whole lemon and sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of salt all over. Mix the karelay together ensuring they are well coated with juice and the salt. Set aside
  • in a heavy based pan, slice the onions and cook in a little oil till soft, add in the garlic ginger and salt. Cook until the onions are golden brown, add in the chillies, curry powder and tomatoes
  • Continue cooking through until the chillies have softened and slightly darkened in colour- this way they will be cooked all the way through- and the oil separates from the masala. 
  • Set the masala aside to cool completely. While the masala is cooling, the karelay should have released all the bitter juice. You should be able to see the juice at the bottom of the bowl, remove them from the bowl but as you remove them, gently squeeze them to remove any juice that hasn't released, and fill the karelay once the masala has completely cooled.
  • To fill them, take teaspoonfuls of the masala and add to the inside of each karela being careful not to overfill as when you seal them with the toothpicks you'll find it will spill out.
  • Once they are all filled seal each one by pushing a tooth pick from one side through to the other, i found 4-5 toothpicks per karela was right. You can also use string to tie them up, simply tie it at one end, wind the string tightly all the way round and tie up at the other end.
  • You should find that you have some left over masala which will be used also- set it aside and next step is to fry the karelay.
  • Fill a large heavy based pan with oil.. I didn't really measure it out, i just filled my pan till it was about 2-3 inches fill. Heat up the oil on a medium heat and carefully place the karelay into the oil. I managed to fit all mine in at once, if not just add them in batches.
  • Fry the karelay till they are dark brown almost charred (but not black and burnt) all over. Carefully remove and place on a plate or dish with kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.
  • Drain all the oil from the pan that the karelay were fried in (if all your karelay don't fit you'll need a bigger pan ) and add in the left over masala. Carefully add the fried karelay back in, and on a medium heat, simmer the karelay and masala on a low for about 10-15 minutes just to ensure it  is heated up all the way through and serve. 
  • As an extra just before serving, garnish with fresh chopped coriander and crispy fried onion, remove all the toothpicks and place on to a serving dish . Serve 1 karela per person with the karela sitting ontop of the masala or serve as a main with chapatis.  

Monday, 5 December 2016

Chicken Khawse

This is one of those recipes where Ive only had the dish twice at the most but it's one that I love as it's a curry that's got depth with spices without being too hot as well as being light and refreshing with the addition of coconut milk and yogurt. 

I failed in my efforts searching Pinterest and Google to find the actual recipe since i couldn't remember what it was called, and thanks good old Facebook a friend knew what i was looking for an came to my rescue. 

This is a perfect dish for this time of year, when it's dark gloomy and freezing cold - a proper winter warmer of a dish.

To serve 4- 6 people you will need:

2 medium onions
3 chicken breasts (thinly sliced) 
2 x 500g tub natural yogurt
200ml tin coconut milk 
250ml chicken stock
2tbsp gram flour 
2-3 tsp ginger paste
2-3 tsp garlic paste
2 green birds eye chillies 
2 red bullet chillies (de seeded )
1 1/2 tsp salt 
1 tsp garam masala 
1 bay leaf
1-2 kaffir lime leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds*
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 teaspoons curry powder 
2-3 spring onions finely chopped 
fresh coriander chopped 
crisped fried onions
fresh finely sliced ginger 
200g egg noodles 
juice of a whole lime 
1-2 limes cut into quarters

  • Start by heating a little oil in a heavy based based pan, add in the onions finely sliced, and cook till the onions soften and just start to colour. Add in the garlic ginger salt and the 2 green birdseye chillies. Continue to cook on a medium heat until the chillies have slightly softened and the onions have gotten slightly golden brown.
  • Add in the chicken and continue to cook till the chicken just starts to colour, add in the curry powder, garam masala, bay and kaffir lime leaves and cumin seeds. Cook through until the chicken is almost completely cooked, then remove from the pan and set aside.
  • In a bowl mix the gram flour with 2 tablespoons of the yogurt to make a smooth paste, then add in the remaining yogurt, then the chicken stock and coconut milk. Stir it altogether till its all combined and there are no lumps
  • On a high heat, add the milk to the pan, continuously stirring till it reaches boiling point.* Reduce the heat, add the chicken to the pan along with the soy sauce. Leave to simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes
  • Add in the noodles and stir through. At this point i like to taste test to see if it needs more of either yogurt or coconut milk or wether it needs to simmer for longer. If it gets too thick for your liking, all you need to do is add a little fresh boiled water till its at the consistency you like.
  • Add the coriander and red bullet chilli just before serving, and as an extra serve the crisped fried onions, fresh ginger slices**, spring onions and lime wedges separatley and your guests can help themselves.

*stirring the milk until boiling point prevents the yogurt from splitting and ending up from looking like curds/ cottage cheese. I tend to stir in circular clockwise motions at a slow speed so i can see the bubbles form as it comes to boil

** for the ginger i use a vegetable peeler to get really thin slithers and that way it's perfect to bite straight into and gives a really nice kick

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Anyone that really knows me, will tell you that i LOVE baking cakes and i realised that Ive yet to share a cupcake recipe, There are a couple of cake posts up already such as my jam sponge or my banana cake but this is my first post for a cupcake recipe

Since a friend asked for my salted caramel recipe, I thought I would share my salted caramel cupcake recipe with you all. To make 12 cupcakes you will need: 

 175g Unsalted Butter, Softened
 175g Light Brown Sugar or golden caster sugar
 3 large eggs
 175g Self Raising Flour
 splash of milk
 12tsps Caramel*
 Pinch of Sea Salt
Salted Caramel Buttercream
150g Butter
350g Icing Sugar
100g Caramel*
70 -75ml Whole Milk
Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Start by preheating your oven to 170C/160C (Fan assisted) and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with  cupcake cases.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk or freestanding mixer till smooth add in the eggs and flour and beat again for about about 20-30 seconds on a medium speed, add in the milk to loosen the mixture, and give it a final mix for about a minute
  •  Divide the batter evenly into the cases** and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they lightly spring back when gently pressed and leave to cool on a wire rack. Once they've cooled completely , mix the caramel for the cupcakes with a pinch of salt, make a hole in each of the cupcakes and fill with the caramel.
  • To make the salted caramel buttercream – Beat the butter with an electric mixer or in a free standing mixer until it becomes light and fluffy and paler in colour. Gradually add the icing sugar on a slow speed until it is combined then speed the mixer up again and beat for 3-4 minutes until all the icing sugar has incorporated.
  • Add the caramel to the buttercream and continue mixing, and gradually add the milk until you reach the desired texture – I usually add it all! Keep on beating for 5 minutes until whipped  
  • To decorate the Cupcakes fit a disposable piping bag with a 2d or star nozzle, fill the bag with the buttercream and pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes - point the nozzle in the middle of the cupcake and pipe in a clockwise motion. 
  • As an extra i like to drizzle a little caramel over each cupcake and then top with either a rolo or a piece of cadburys caramel chocolate 

* I use carnation caramel thats all ready made in tins.. no need to mess about with attempting to make your own
** I find filling my cases half way gives just the right size cupcake 

The Easiest shortbread in the world

This really is the easiest shortbread in the world, super quick to make, light and buttery and is so good with a big mug of tea. This version is a chocolate chip one but I love swapping regular caster sugar for lavender or vanilla infused sugar to make it that little bit more extravagant. 

To make 9 chunky squares or 12 ( almost ) bitesize pieces you will need 

250g unsalted softened butter 
125g caster sugar
250g plain flour
125g cornflour
50-75g chocolate  chips

  • Preheat your oven to 150c /300f and grease an 8 inch square tin
  • In a bowl cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  • Add in the plain flour, corn flour and chocolate chips and mix together with a wooden spoon till it just starts to come together. Use your hands to lightly press it all together*
  • Transfer the dough into the greased tin and gently press it out into the whole of the tin.
  • Prick it all over with a fork, and place in the oven for 50 -55 minutes till it's lightly golden all over.
  • Whilst its still a little warm (not hot) sprinkle a little caster sugar all over and once cooled, cut into 9 chunky pieces or 12 smaller almost bitesize pieces. 

* If you prefer you can wrap the dough in cling film, let it chill for about 10 minutes in the fridge, then on a lightly dusted surface, roll out to about an inch thick and transfer to the tin 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Here you go Saqi

My last post  ' Because the cousin's wife asked ' was done at the request of my cousin's wife. Tonight "Here you go Saqi" is brought to you at the request of my friend Saqiba. She asked for my recipe for Keema and potato and I'm actually surprised at myself for not blogging it already as it's not just one of mine but a firm favourite of my kids and husband, and any leftover mince makes a  great base for a chilli.

This is a dish where you literally put everything in at once, leave it cooking away slowly while you get on with other jobs and you end up with a delicious fragrant and comforting curry with minimal effort 

So to serve 4-6 people you will 

1 kilo lamb/beef mince 
6 medium onions
6-8 cloves garlic / 2 frozen cubes
1 thumb piece of grated ginger / 3 frozen cubes 
1 1/2  tsp salt
2 tsp curry powder
1 tin tomatoes / 3 large fresh tomatoes 
50ml olive/vegetable oil
3 -4 green chillies 
2 bay leaves 
3 cloves 
1- 1 1/2 cm piece of cinnamon
1 -2 tsp garam masala 
fresh chopped coriander 
2 small tins of baby potatoes 

  • Finely slice the onions and add to a heavy based pan, then add all the ingredients except the coriander, potatoes and garam masala to the pan. 
  • Add just enough water to cover the mince and leave to simmer on a medium heat. You should leave it cooking till the mince has cooked through and all the ingredients reduce down- quite similarly as you would with slow cooking a chilli.
  • As the mince is cooking away you may need to top up the water to ensure the onions and tomatoes break up to make the curry masala- I found this takes 40-50 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Once the mince has cooked through and you have a smooth masala, you need to bhun the mixture which basically means to ensure all the water reduces, the oil separates from the mince and the masala sticks to the mince 
  • Add the potatoes and on a medium heat, cook the mince till it's slightly browned in colour. At this point you can leave it as it is quite dry which is typical of a bhuna or re add a little water to loosen it up a little 
  • Stir in the garam masala and the coriander just before serving with either chapatis or boiled rice   

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Because the cousin's wife asked

This is a recipe that's purely ended up on here due to a family member asking how to cook Chicken and potato curry and I thought it may as well be drafted up and shared with you all ... So here's my recipe for chicken and potato curry 

To serve 3-5 people you will need :

1 kg chicken breast cut in pieces or 1 whole chicken in pieces
3 medium onions
1 frozen cube ginger 2 frozen cubes garlic 1tsp salt 3 green chillies 2 tsp curry powder 1 bay leaf 1 tin tomato 2 tbsp fenugreek leaves (methi) 2 small tins of baby potatoes / 3 medium fresh potatoes cut into quarters chopped fresh coriander to garnish 2 tsp garam masala
  • Start by chopping your onions and in a heavy based pan fry in a little oil on a medium heat till softened.Add the ginger garlic and salt. Cook the onions till they are golden brown in colour.
  • Add the chillies and cook till the chillies soften and slightly darken in colour. Add the tinned tomatoes, curry powder and a splash of water. Stir through then with an electric blender or masher, blend the mixture so you get a smooth masala paste.
  • Add in the chicken and the bay leaf and the cleaned fenugreek leaves. Cook the chicken till lightly browned, and juices run clear and there's minimal water, you'll know its ready when masala starts to stick to the chicken and the oil will separate• 
  • Finally the tinned potatoes and stir through so the potatoes absorb the masala. Add water to the chicken .. just enough to cover the chicken and simmer on a medium heat for about 10 minutes (or until it's as thick as you prefer, sometimes i leave it quite dry so it ends up a quite spicy bhuna) till the water has reduced and add the coriander garam masala just before serving.

*if using fresh potato add at this point, you will need to stand close by and stir continuously till the potatoes cook through- add a little water at a time to stop the masala from catching

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Deluxe chocolate orange brownies

I genuinely LOVE brownies .. Not just because they're a perfect combination of  having a crispy outside and and scrumptious chewy and gooey inside as well as tasting divine straight out the oven or actually even better the next day, but that the flavour combinations are pretty much endless. 

After experimenting around with a few flavours, so far this recipe is one of my favourites - made that little bit extra special with fresh orange zest and Terrys chocolate orange 

For 9 brownies you will need 

85g butter
140g caster sugar
100g soft brown sugar
125g orange chocolate*
2 eggs
zest of 1 whole orange
100g plain flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder 
2 tsp cocoa powder
6-8 Terrys Chocolate orange slices
icing sugar to dust (optional)

  • Preheat your oven 180c/ 350f/ Gas mark 4, grease a 20cm / 8 inch square tin, and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  • In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt together the sugars, chocolate and butter until smooth and completely combined. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool 
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs together with an electric whisk till light and fluffy and almost doubled in volume.
  • Sieve the flour and baking powder into the whisked egg, add in the zest, pour in the cooled meted chocolate and fold in quickly but gently with a metal spoon** 
  • Pour the mixture into the tin, place the slices of terrys chocolate orange over the top and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is crisp and the edges of the brownie shrink away from the tin. 
  • Leave to cool slightly and finish off with a light dusting of icing sugar and serve 

*I used Terrys Chocolate orange, you can use whatever you personally prefer- for extra indulgence  I'd do a swap for Green and Blacks chocolate orange 

** Using a metal spoon helps fold in quicker than a wooden spoon would as well as keeping is as much air as possible to keep the fluffiness in your brownies

Monday, 3 October 2016

Amy's tabouleh

Amy's tabouleh .. I've named this recipe as such due to the fact that tabouleh is something that I'd always wanted to try but never actually had up until meeting with my friend Amy for a girly catch up and a cooking session of all sorts of little bits and bobs.  Not only do I absolutely love the flavour and textures in this dish, but I love how it consists of s little and there's no exact measurements of ingredients ; Simply toss it all together and tweak as you go along .

So for Amy's tabouleh you will need :

about 200g bulgar wheat*
a bunch of mint
a bunch of flat leaf parsley
a bunch of fresh coriander
1/2 tomatoes
pomegranate seeds
olive oil
lemon juice (optional)
salt and pepper to season

  • Start by boiling the bulgar wheat in a pan until just tender, (just as you would with rice, it will also expand as rice does as it cooks away ) drain any remaining water, put into a bowl or dish you want to serve it in and leave to completely cool, then add a good splash of olive oil & a little lemon juice
  • While the wheat cools, finely chop half the bunch of mint, coriander and parsley, add it into the wheat and stir through
  • Roughly chop the tomato, add to the bowl along with the pomegranate seeds. Season with a little salt and pepper, check if your happy with the flavours and if you need to add more of whatever you feel it needs to. 
  • Serve as you would a side salad with any main or simply eat on it's own as it is 

* if you're not keen on bulgar wheat you can swap it with cous cous. All you'd need to do is soak the cous cous with freshly boiled water. You need just enough water to cover the cous cous and cover it with cling film and leave for about 5-10 minutes to fluff up. You could even try bulgar whet with quinoa 

Friday, 16 September 2016

Ready Set .... Bake !!

Hands up if you're a fan of The Great British Bake off ?  *raises hands super excitedly* I have to admit I didn't quite catch on to it until the 3rd series, but now as it's currently in its 7th series I am a die hard fan .. I even managed to win myself a signed copy (of my favourite contestant)  John Whaite's debut cook book by entering a Heat mag competition which I'm still quite chuffed about to this day.

I decided to treat myself to this years cook book from the show and one of the things that caught my eye straight away was the recipe for viennese whirls, as my husband loves them and there aren't many a sweet / dessert that he'll eat. 

So with a bit of time to spare on a friday morning before work, I gave them a go and actually found them quite easy to do, and took them in for my work colleagues to taste test for me.

To make 12 biscuits you will need

for the biscuits:

250g unsalted butter
50g icing sugar
225g plain
25g cornflour

for the filling:

100g icing sugar
200g salted butter
1 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract/ seeds of a vanilla pod / 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
raspberry jam

  • Start by preheating the oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5
  • line 2-3 baking trays with baking/greaseproof paper and using a 5cm cutter draw a total of 24 circles on to the sheets of paper, making sure they are well spaced. Flip the sheets of paper over on to the baking trays so the pencilled circles are face down.
  • Ensuring your butter is very soft* cream it with the sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer or hand held whisk. Whisk until the butter is light and fluffy and paler in colour.
  • Sift in the flour and corn flour and whisk again slowly to make a smooth mixture that should be soft enough to pipe 
  • Spoon your mixture into a piping bag that is fitted with with either a star nozzle or a 2d nozzle. Starting from the inside, using the pencilled circle as a guide, pipe in a spiral motion finishing on the outer edge.
  • Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes until they are pale gold in colour. Don't let them brown as they will turn into a crunchy biscuit consistency.
  • Once removed from the oven, leave to cool for a few minutes before removing onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the filling put the butter- which again should be soft- into a bowl with the icing sugar and the vanilla extract and mix on a slow speed with an electric whisk or in a mixer. Whisk together until the buttercream is pale and light in colour. Add in the milk and whisk on a fat speed for about 2 minutes. 
  • Turn half of the biscuits flat side up, fill another piping bag fitted with the same nozzle with the buttercream and pipe the buttercream from the centre going outwards just as the biscuits were piped leaving a slight gap all around the edge.
  • In a small plate or bowl, put just under half a jar of jam, and stir the jam together till you get a smooth spreadable consistency.
  • Place a teaspoonful of jam in the middle of each buttercream swirl. Gently top the filled halves with the other 12 plain halves and very lightly press together to make the 12 sandwiches. Dust the tops lightly with icing sugar and serve.

*I put my butter in the microwave and softened by defrosting it in 15 second hurts till it was soft to the touch (even though it wasn't frozen) as heating it up just makes it melt which is what we don't want.

Friday, 15 July 2016

That's the way the cookie crumbles

Cookies are the one thing that i've always struggled with ever since the baking bug bit me. I've lost count of the  different recipes that I've tried where they either are a complete sludgy mess or worthy of chipping your tooth 

After countless attempts, I think it's safe to say I've found an unbelievably quick and easy recipe and gives me the perfect fix for soft chewy morsels of yumminess  

This recipe is for the good old chocolate chip cookie but the variations you could experiment with are endless. Swap half the flour for porridge oats, instead of chocolate chips add dried berries or nuts and fruit for a slighty less guilty version or why not try something a little more adventurous like a rocky road twist ? Id love to see what versions you can come up with 

 so for 10 milk chocolate chip cookies you will need :

125g softened butter
100g soft light brown sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt 
1/2 tsp vanilla paste/ seeds of a vanilla pod
200g milk chocolate chips 

  • Cream together the butter and sugars till light and fluffy
  • Add in the egg and mix well together
  • Add in the salt flour vanilla paste and the chocolate chips. Combine with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough
  • Chill the dough in the fridge for 15- 20 minutes
  • Roll out the dough into 10 balls, place on greaseproof paper lined baking trays.
  • Bake at 180c ( fan assisted ) for 7-10 minutes for soft chewy cookies, 10-12 minutes for slightly firmer crunchier cookies 
  • leave to cool slightly ( if you have the patience) before removing from the trays and devour away 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Nuts about jam sponge

For me school dinners were always about one thing and one thing only .. what's for pudding ??  My favourites were either cornflake tart or the classic jam & coconut sponge with a load of custard. Ive already blogged my recipe for cornflake tart here, so today it's the turn of my other favourite. It's one of the easiest and quickest desserts going and definite crowd pleaser 

To serve 6-8 people you will need :

6oz margarine (softened ) *
6 oz self raising flour
6 oz caster sugar
3 medium eggs*

for the sugar syrup
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons hot water ( preferably freshly boiled )

for the topping:
3-4 tablespoons  raspberry jam
desiccated coconut 

  • Start by preheating your oven at 180c ( fan assisted ) and grease and line a 7 inch square tin
  • Place all the ingredients for the cake in a bowl and with an electric hand whisk or in a freestanding mixer if you have one. Whisk the ingredients together at a slow speed till everything is well combined, speed up the whisk a little and whisk for a further 2-3 minutes. The mixture should be smooth and lighter in colour.
  • Pour the mixture into the greased tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched and the sides are slightly coming away from the tin or inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Put the cake to the side and leave to cool slightly 
  • While the cake cools, make the sugar syrup by simply mixing the sugar and water together in a cup or small bowl. If you find that there are a few stubborn grains that just won't mix in, pop the mixture in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds- don't let it come to the boil as you don't want it to crystallise 
  • When the cake is cool to the touch, remove the cake and place onto a suitable plate. With a pastry brush, brush the sugar syrup all over the top and sides. You won't need all the syrup, just use enough to give the cake an even coat.
  • Finally warm the jam for a few seconds in a plate in the microwave, ( just to make it easier to spread) and spread all over the top of the cake with a knife. Finish off with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut & serve with lashings of custard 

* ensure that the eggs and margarine are at room temperature, as this helps in getting a lighter and fluffier cake batter and a better rise all over.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Stuffed sweet potato skins with feta & coriander

The recipe for this post is a combination of ingredients that you wouldn't think would go together, but they really do. It's a recipe I've tweaked from a Jamie Oliver recipe and it's even a favourite with my kids.

These stuffed skins are great as a starter or even as a main accompanied with a mixed leaf salad. If you're having them as a starter I'd suggest cutting the potatoes into quarters rather than halves for a main.

for 4 people you'll need half a sweet potato per person i.e. a whole potato per 2 people along with :

1 lemon
100-120g feta cheese
bunch of fresh chopped coriander
olive oil

  • Start by pre heating your oven to 200c (180c fan assisted). Wash the sweet potatoes, and place them in a microwavable bowl, cut the lemon in half and add into the bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film, seal well and pierce a few holes for the steam to escape from.
  • Steam in the microwave for 10-15 minutes, checking on them half way through. The potatoes should be cooked through and ready when you can pierce them with a fork easily. 
  • Leave the potatoes to cool, and remove the lemon to a side - don't throw it away
  • Once the potatoes have slightly cooled, cut them in half carefully and with a spoon remove the potato from the skins into a separate bowl
  • Once all the potatoes have been removed from the skins, brush each of the skins with a little olive oil and place onto a baking tray
  • Mash up the potatoes in the bowl, it doesnt have to be perfectly mashed, i quite like it roughly done. Crumble in the feta and stir through. Squeeze in juice from the lemon that was removed earlier 
  • Spoon the mashed potato and feta mix evenly back into the potato skins and bake in the oven till the skins have crisped up and are golden brown
  • Sprinkle over the chopped coriander and serve 

Monday, 25 January 2016

My Favorite's favourite

My Favourite's favourite .. bit of  vague title for a recipe i hear you say.. Well since this is a blog not only about food that i love, it's a blog filled with dishes that have some sort of important memory or of sentimental worth. And my family & the foods they like are just as important to me and part and parcel of this blog.

So this one had to be shared, as it is for someone that is very much an important part of my life, one of my mums brothers, my Mahmu (uncle) one of his all time favourite dishes is Chicken & Spinach curry.

For this version I've taken a short cut and used frozen chopped spinach rather than having to wash & chop a load of fresh spinach, which can make this dish quite time consuming. I will be sharing a version using fresh spinach at some point in the future as it does give the dish a totally different taste. But for now, here's my take on Chicken & Spinach AKA in my house The Uncle's favourite :

To serve 4-5 people you will need:

1x 750g bag of frozen chopped spinach
4 medium onions
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
3 chillies
2 tsp curry powder
1 x tin of chopped/plum tomatoes.
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium chicken cut in pieces*

  • Start by adding the onions, chopped, into a heavy based pan, and frying till softened, add in the salt, garlic & ginger paste, and cook through till the onions are golden brown in colour. 
  • Add in the chillies, either whole, or chopped up to add more heat to the dish, and continue to cook on a medium heat until the chillies have softened and begun to cook through.
  • Add in the tomatoes, and the curry powder, add in about 100-150 ml of water and leave to simmer on a low heat so that the tomatoes soften, i find that this can take between 10-15 minutes.
  • While the masala is simmering, add the mustard & cumin seeds to a non stick frying pan, and dry roast on a low heat. Remove from the heat and put aside. With your chicken, if it is on the bone, take the drumsticks and score them through the thickest part as this will help the drumsticks cook evenly.
  • Take all the chicken pieces and add them to the masala. Cook on a medium heat till the chicken is lightly brown in colour, no pinkness should be visible. The masala should almost stick to the chicken and the oil will separate.**
  • Add in the spinach, stir and cook through on a medium heat. You will know it is cooked once there is no water/ moisture in the spinach, it will have darkened in colour, and again you will see the oil separate from the chicken and spinach. **
  • Add in the cumin and mustard seeds, stir through to ensure they're well incorporated & serve with chapatis or naan. 

* if you're not a fan of chicken on the bone, you can use either chicken breast (about a kilo)  cut up or ask your butcher for thigh meat which wont dry out as much as chicken breast possibly would.

** you will need to stay close to the cooker at this point as it can catch and burn quite easily, and you need to be stirring it often to keep it cooking consistently. If it does catch, add a splash of water and carry on cooking through

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Bhindi Aloo - Okra & potato curry

Todays post is one of my favourite vegetarian curries- Okra, or ladies fingers as there sometimes known as are also great with chicken or lamb, but i love them simply with potatoes or even on their own.

What makes this dish even simpler from when i was younger is that now frozen okra are readily available in all Asian food stores, I've even seen them in Asda & Tesco, so you can save your time washing and chopping them which takes up most of the time when cooking this curry.

To serve 4-6 people you will need 

2 x 400g bag frozen chopped okra
3 medium onions
4 green chillies chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt 
2 tsp garlic paste / 2 frozen garlic cubes
3 tsp ginger paste / 3 frozen garlic cubes
1 tin plum / chopped tomatoes
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp curry powder
fresh coriander to garnish

  • Start by adding a small amount of oil into a heavy based pan, add in the ginger & garlic, and fry on a medium heat, stirring to ensure the garlic and ginger don't catch at the bottom of the pan, meanwhile, finely slice the onions.When the garlic and ginger have browned, add in the onions
  • Brown off the onions till they are golden brown in colour on a medium heat, then add in the salt & the chillies
  • When the chillies have softened and cooked through, add in the curry powder and the tin tomatoes. break up the tomatoes with the spoon or even lightly mash them, and leave to simmer on a low heat 
  • In a small frying pan, on a low heat toast the mustard & cumin seeds together. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, take the pan off the heat and put aside.
  • Add the chopped okra to the curry masala, and leave to simmer, for 20-25 minutes on a low heat, or until the okra are soft and cooked through. Stir the okra half way, to ensure they cook through evenly and aren't catching on the bottom of the pan. If you find them catching, add a splash of water, stir through and continue to simmer till they're cooked.
  • Once the okra are cooked, add in the cumin & mustard seeds, stir through. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve