Monday, 20 March 2017

Team Strawberry



Continuing with my Team Apple VS Team Strawberry, here is my recipe for Strawberry turnovers :

 For 16 turnovers you will need :

1 punnet of strawberries chopped into chunks
4-5 tbsp strawberry jam
2 tbs corn flour 
2 tbsp water
1 egg whisked
1 tbsp caster sugar 
320ml double cream 
1 tsp vanilla paste / seeds from vanilla pod
icing sugar to dust
  • Preheat your oven to 180c, place the strawberries, sugar and the jam in a saucepanMix together the cornflour and 2 tablespoons of water to make a smooth paste and add to the saucepan Cook the strawberries on a medium heat, till they've slightly softened and the jam has thickened a little - it should take about 10-12 minutes. 
  • Line a large rectangle baking tray with baking paper, and open out the pastry sheet. Cut the sheet of pastry into 16 equal rectangles*
  • Brush each of the rectangles with the beaten egg and place the pastry in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the each of the sheets has risen and are golden brown on top. Leave to cool completely then cut each rectangle in half, straight through the middle- so you'll end up with 16 top halves and 16 bottom halves
  • Whip the double cream with the vanilla paste till you get semi stiff peaks - when you pick it up with a tablespoon it shouldn't drip off and should just hold its shape.
  • On each of the bottom halves of pastry, place about 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream, then put about a tablespoon full of the strawberry mixture on top of each slice. Then place the top halves of pastry back on to each slice, and finish off with a good dusting of icing sugar and they're ready to serve 


* if you don't want to make as many as 16 .. use just half the sheet instead of the whole sheet and cut into 8 rectangles .. and save the other half by wrapping up and placing in the freezer as i used my pastry as soon s i'd bought it and it wasn't already frozen

Team Strawberry or Team Apple ?



So are you team strawberry or team apple when it comes to the turnover variety ? I have to say I cant choose between them so to trial a recipe I cast a vote on Facebook and the winner by just one vote was Apple... So off I went on a virtual hunt to get inspiration for my own take on apple turnovers and this recipe is what i came up with.. You can find the Strawberry recipe here



To make 16 turnovers you will need:

3 Granny Smith / Bramley apples - peeled, cored & chopped
2 tbsp butter
300g soft brown sugar
1 -1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp water
160 ml double cream
1 egg - whisked
1 ready rolled puff pastry sheet* 
icing sugar to dust 




  • Preheat your oven to 180c and start making the apple filling. Peel, core and chop the apples into chunks. Put the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in a saucepan. 
  • Mix together the cornflour and 2 tablespoons of water to make a smooth paste and add to the saucepan 
  • Cook the apples on a medium heat, till they've softened, but don't let them mush and you have a thick sauce formed from the butter and sugar** - I found it took about 20 minutes. Set the mixture aside and leave to cool completely 
  • Line a large rectangle baking tray with baking paper, and open out the pastry sheet. Cut the sheet of pastry into 16 equal rectangles***
  • Brush each of the rectangles with the beaten egg and place the pastry in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the each of the sheets has risen and are golden brown on top. Leave to cool completely then cut each rectangle in half, straight through the middle- so you'll end up with 16 top halves and 16 bottom halves
  • Whip the double cream till you get semi stiff peaks - when you pick it up with a tablespoon it shouldn't drip off and should just hold its shape.
  • On each of the bottom halves of pastry, place about 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream, then put about a tablespoon full of the apple mixture on top of each slice. Then place the top halves of pastry back on to each slice, and finish off with a good dusting of icing sugar and they're ready to serve 






* I use the Jus Rol ready rolled out sheets

** it should be about the consistency of apple pie filling

** if you don't want to make as many as 16 .. use just half the sheet instead of the whole sheet and cut into 8 rectangles .. and save the other half by wrapping up and placing in the freezer as i used my pastry as soon s i'd bought it and it wasn't already frozen

Monday, 13 March 2017

My Dobsters mint Tea




I am definitely one that loves a good cup of tea at the end of a long hectic day, but drinking caffeine fuelled drinks in the evening isn't the way to go for a good nights sleep and there's not many herbal teas out there that i like either.  
So I made a few attempts at making fresh mint tea and couldn't quite get it right. Now my niece makes a mean cup of tea - Hence the title My Dobster's Mint tea- Dobster being my chosen term of endearment to call her by- so i got her to show me her version & this recipe is based on that with a tiny little twist 



For Dobster's Mint tea - with a twist you will need :

3 - 3 1/2 pints of water 
large bunch of fresh mint
4 inch piece cinnamon stick broken into pieces 
8-10 whole green cardamom pods cracked open
2 x pukka peppermint & liquorice teabags*
handful of mint leaves for garnishing
honey to sweeten - optional

  • Pour your water and all the ingredients  except for the teabags into a large saucepan and on a high heat bring to the boil.
  • When the water has reached boiling point, reduce to a low heat and leave to simmer till the water has reduced by about half.
  • Add in the pukka tea bags and leave to simmer on a low heat for 10-12 minutes. Pour the tea into a teapot ( through a large tea strainer or plastic sieve to catch all the bits ) 
  • Take the glasses or cups you are wanting to serve the tea in and drop a few mint leaves into the cups. Pour in the tea, sweeten with honey if wanted & serve 





* you'll find these in any superstore in the tea and coffee section 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Mango, Avocado & Chilli Salsa


This is possibly one of the quickest and easiest side salads ever and it's one that I will eat with a variety of mains as well as sometimes just on its own. The freshness of the lime & mint is perfect with the sweetness of the mangoes and the added slight heat from the chillies gives a wonderful kick to your tastebuds.



To serve 4-6 people you will need :

3 avocados chopped into chunks 
 2x 275g pack of pre cut mango chunks*  
juice and zest of one lime 
2 good handfuls of chopped coriander
1 handful chopped mint 
pinch of salt & pepper 
1 red chilli finely chopped - deseeded if you'd like a slightly milder salsa 
olive oil 




  • Place your avocado in a bowl with the pre cut mango chunks. Using a zester, add the whole zest of the lime to the bowl and squeeze in all the juice, adding in the salt & pepper and stir through
  • Add the chopped chilli, coriander, mint, a drizzle of olive oil and stir through. Check the seasoning and overall flavours. Tweak as necessary if you feel it needs a little more of any of the ingredients & serve 





* I sometimes cut up the mango chunks again myself as they can be quite big, I prefer them almost bitesize

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.... carrot cake


Easy peasy lemon squeezy carrot cake.. because it really is so easy and has a bit of a twist on the cream cheese frosting. I actually turned mine into a tray bake to take to work for my colleagues as an end of week treat. You can alternatively divide the mixture between 2 9 inch round tins or even divide into cupcake cases and you'll get 24 cupcakes.


To get a decent 18 - 20 square pieces as a tray bake you will need
For the cake :
340g/12oz self raising flour
170g/6oz soft light brown sugar
170g/6oz soft dark brown sugar
340g/12oz softened margarine*
7 medium eggs - at room temperature*
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp milk
3 large carrots grated 
50g/2oz roughly chopped walnuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 
125g/4oz dried mixed fruit 
2 tablespoon golden syrup 
juice and zest of a large orange


For the cream cheese topping/filling:

250g/8oz marscapone cheese
450g/16oz full fat cream cheese
170g/6oz icing sugar 
zest and juice of 1 lime 
100g/4oz chopped walnuts


  • Preheat your oven to 180c/350f/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a deep rectangular baking dish/2 deep 9 inch round tins/ 2 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake cases.
  • Cream the margarine with both sugars with an electric whisk or a freestanding mixer until pale in colour and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and mix until smooth.
  • Add in the flour, olive oil, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, golden syrup, orange juice and zest, and whisk together till smooth
  • Fold in the carrots, dried fruit and walnuts. Pour the mixture into the tray or divide equally between the 2 tins or cupcake cases.
  • Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes or until lightly golden in colour and the cake starts to just come away from the edges of the tins/tray. Alternatively use a skewer/ cocktail stick to check that the cake has cooked. The skewer should come out clean if the cake is cooked through. If it comes out a little sticky, give the cake a little longer.
  • Leave the cake to cool slightly before removing from the tray/tins ; Then leave to cool completely.
  • Make up the frosting once the cake has cooled by mixing together all the ingredients till smooth and there are no lumps and spread generously over the tray baked cake or for the cakes spread some of the filling over one half of the cakes, place the other half on top and spread the top with some more of the frosting. For the cupcakes, just spoon the frosting over the tops. Don't worry if the frosting isn't perfect and neatly done - slightly messy an rustic frosting is perfect for this cake.
  • Finish off the cake with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and if you can resist leave in the fridge for about 20 minutes for the frosting to firm up a little but if you're anything like me then dig straight in 











* Having your margarine soft and eggs at room temp really does help in getting a better rise out of your cake rather than using them straight from the fridge. I quite often use the defrost function on my microwave for my margarine- at 30 second bursts till its softened  

**The tray i used was actually a deep roasting tray which measured 15'' by 12'',  round tins i have are about 3'' deep and for the cupcake cases i use standard size cupcake cases not mini cupcake cases 





Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Cheats Paella



This version of Paella is super quick and easy but still full of flavour and perfect for when like me the other day, was craving this particular dish but was in a bit of a rush to get something decent on the table to have for our evening family meal.

If your not a fan of seafood, swap the prawns and scallops for cooked chicken breast as an alternative with diced peppers added in for a slight crunch.


To serve 4 people easily you will need:

3x 250g packet Uncle Bens Mexican rice
1x 200g pack of scallops
1 x 400g pack of cooked king prawns
1 x 198g tin of sweetcorn
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
fresh chopped coriander (optional)
lemon wedges (optional)




  • Start by adding a little oil into a heavy based pan, and on a medium heat, add in the scallops and prawns together. Cook the scallops for not longer than 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they don't catch or over cook on one side.
  • Add in all the rice to the pan along with the sweetcorn, and continuing on a medium heat, heat the rice through. One the rice is heated all the way through, take off the heat and sprinkle the smoked paprika over the rice.
  • Just before serving, scatter over the fresh coriander and serve the lemon wedges on the side as an extra for squeezing over the rice as you wish.
  • As an extra, i served a mixed green leaf salad on the side with some cheesy chilli nachos