Monday, 23 January 2012

Somerset Stew and Cheddar and Parsley Mash

We're on a health kick here! And still going as February draws nearer. We just had this for dinner and as well as being super tasty, it left us feeling like we'd eaten healthily too. Which is always a good feeling to accompany being full! Give this a try, it's a nice winter warmer.

Not the most artistic photo, but trust me it's TASTY!

You will need:
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200g tin of butter beans, drained
  • 400g tin flageolet beans, drained
  • 200ml dry cider
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • Sprigs of thyme, leaves only
For the cheddar and parsley mash
  • 850g potatoes
  • Splash of milk
  • 25g butter
  • 75g cheddar cheese
  • Chopped parsley, handful

To make

Heat your oil in a large pan and add the carrot, onion, garlic and leek

Fry until soft

Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, butter beans, flageolet beans, cider, vegetable stock, thyme and simmer for 15-20 mins until the stew thickens and the vegetables are tender

For the mash: peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. Boil in salted water for 15 mins

Drain, put back in the pan and mash with the milk, butter, cheese and parsley

Season and (if you like) decorate with lumps of butter and place under the grill for a golden and crisp finish

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Snickerdoodle anyone?

So I've heard snickerdoodles mentioned in American books and on tv and always wondered what they are. They have such a great name! So when I found a recipe in one of my baking books the other day I had to try them.
For those non-Americans reading this, they're cinnamon biscuits and sooo good!

Here's how to make them at home.


You will need

For the dough
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 1/4tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 large egg
  • 240g plain flour
  • 3/4tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/8tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp cinnamon
For the coating
  • 1 1/2tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tbsp ground cinnamon
To make

Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla essence together

Once the mixture is fluffy, add the egg, making sure to scrape all the mixture from the sides of bowl to incorporate

Sift the flour, cream of tartar, bicarb, salt and cinnamon together in a separate bowl and add to the creamed butter and sugar in two or three portions

Mix well until the dough forms a smooth bowl

Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with cling film and place in the fridge to cool and rest. Leave it for approximately 40minutes

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 170°c and line two or three baking sheets with baking parchment

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together for the coating

Once the dough is ready, break off walnut sized pieces, roll them into balls and coat in the cinnamon sugar

Place the dough balls on to the prepared baking sheets, about five or six per sheet and making sure they're well spaced to allow for expansion whilst baking

Pop them in the oven and bake for 10-13 minutes or until the cookies are a light golden colour

Allow them to cool and set on the sheets for a few minutes before putting them onto a wire rack

Monday, 2 January 2012

Before the diet starts: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Apologies for the lack of posts these last few weeks! I hope that you all have had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I also hope that there were a lot of lovely things to eat and drink.

We (the other half and I) spent Christmas with my family in Wales. None of us really like Christmas pudding so I offered to bring something baked that we could all have with a post lunch cup of tea. I thought it was probably best to do something I'd made before so did a batch of Red Velvet Cupcakes. A bit of indulgence and a chance to use my edible red glitter!

Fantastic colour mixture!

Beautiful colour sponge!

And the finishing touch, edible glitter!

You will need:

For the cupcakes

  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 40ml red food colouring (I recommend Silver Spoon or Dr Oetker)
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 240ml buttermilk
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the icing
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 250g full-fat cream cheese
  • To decorate: edible glitter, coloured sprinkles...anything you'd like!
To make

Preheat the oven to 190°c and line a muffin tin with cases

Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until you reach a fluffy consistency. Break in the eggs one at a time. Beat thoroughly after each egg and make sure to mix in the mixture from the sides of the bowl.

In a small separate bowl, blend together the cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla essence until you get a paste. Then add the paste to the mixture, mixing thoroughly until everything is incorporated.

Sift the flour and salt together in a separate bowl and add to the cake mixture in two portions, alternating with the buttermilk. Ensure you mix thoroughly after each addition. 

Finally, mix together the vinegar and bicarb (watch for the fizz!) and add it to the mixture and do a final mix (ensure you get in all the mixture from the sides of the bowl).

Spoon the batter into the paper cases so that they are two thirds full. The recipe makes 12-16 cupcakes. 

Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a short while in the tin, cool on a wire rack before you ice them.

To make the icing:

Using your whisk or mixer, beat together the butter and icing sugar until there are no big lumps of butter left. Add the cream cheese and mix on a slow speed until well blended. Then turn to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy.

Cover all but one of the cupcakes with 2 tbsps of the icing, smooth down with a palette knife and make a swirl in the middle for a decorative finish.

Place the remaining cupcake in a food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs. Sprinkle the frosted cupcakes with the red crumbs. Or use sprinkles. Or glitter. Or whatever you prefer!