Friday, 10 February 2017

Caramelised onion, spinach and goat cheese filo tart

Not many photos but made this for my parents for lunch and it went down a storm

Begin with the onions. Take about 8 onions (I used red and brown) and slice. Melt about 50g of butter in a pan and add the onions and stir to coat. Then cover for 10 minutes. After this uncover and add a teaspoon of brown sugar and cook slowly for about another 20-30 minutes so they are soft and sticky but not burning.

Get a packet of filo pastry. I have recently discovered JR Feuilles de Filo Pastry which is fantastic and really easy to work with.

Take one sheet at a time and either use melted butter to coat or spray oil to keep the calories low. Lay into a pie die and scrunch in the sides a bit so there is not much ovelap. Repeat with about half the pack. Mix together the onion mix with a bag of baby spinach and cover the pastry with this. Then drizzle with some balsamic vinegar and slices of goats cheese. Finally take the remaining pieces and again spray with oil or butter and scrunch loosely into large balls and cover the surface roughly.

Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes until it is golden and crisp. Serve with buttered new potatoes, homemade coleslaw and a green salad. Delicious and actually not very high in calories.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Mars Bar Cupcakes

So these don't contain mars bars but are based around the flavours: chocolate, nougat and salted caramel.

Begin making the cupcake. Mix together 50g cocoa powder, 175g self-raising flour, 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp of bicarbonate of soda and 225g caster sugar. Whisk it in the food processor to blend it. Then add 175g butter and mix together until all blended. Then mix together in a jug two large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 175g of either plain yoghurt or milk. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix well. Then spoon into cupcake cases- I found this made about 15 cakes.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until springy to touch and a toothpick comes out clean.

While they are baking make the nougat cream. Melt 100g white marshmellows in the microwave for about a minute. They will puff up so keep an eye on them. Give them a good stir then add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and about 100g butter. The butter may split but keep stirring and it will all come together.

Cover with cling film and leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile make the salted caramel sauce. Get a heavy based pan and put in 75g unsalted butter, 50g caster sugar, 50g light brown sugar and 50g of golden syrup. You can adapt the last three in quantities you prefer to get the flavour you like so long as all the sugars add up to 150g.

Melt slowly over a pan and let bubble for a few minutes. Then add 125ml double cream and 1/2 tsp sea salt and stir (off the heat)

Finally make the icing. Put 500g icing sugar, 150g butter and 2tbsp water in a mixer and mix on high for 6 minutes. When it is nice and stiff add about half a cup of the salted caramel and mix again.

Now to construct the cakes. Begin by coring a whole in each cake with a shark knife.

Then fill each hole with a teaspoon of nougat.

And then top with the salted caramel.

Next fill a piping bag with the icing and pipe over the top of the whole cake. Then drizzle with some more caramel.

Finally scatter some mini fudge or caramel pieces over the top. You can also drizzle with some chocolate sauce but I thought it was already sweet enough!

Enjoy (and it really is a sugar hit!)

Friday, 20 January 2017

Oreo cupcakes

About a million calories per cake but if you like Oreos you'll love these. For the topping you either need mini Oreos or normal ones cut in half. If you are doing the later you need half the amount of Oreos for the amount of cakes you are making. For 18 cupcakes I needed about two packets of Oreos. Start by cutting these in half. It can be tricky so do this before you smash any for the mix since if some break you can then put them in the smashing pile and try another whole one.

Once you are happy you have enough halves then put a whole Oreo at the bottom of each cupcake case. 

Put the remaining Oreos in a food bag and smash with a rolling pin to rubble (not too small pieces- you want some crunch!) I had about 12 oreos for about 18 cupcakes that I smashed.

Next make the cake batter. Usual mix of equal amounts of butter, sugar and self raising flour (I used about 165g of each for 18 cupcakes) and then I used 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp of baking powder together with 2 tbsp milk for this amount. Beat all of it together. 

Then add half of the broken oreo mix to the batter. 

Then divide into the cases over the oreos.

Bake at 180 degrees C for about 20-25 minutes until they are cooked through and have risen.

Meanwhile make your icing- I did an American butter cream icing with cream cheese to cut through some of the sweetness with the tang of the cream cheese. But a normal butter cream would be fine. For butter cream do one third of butter to two thirds of icing sugar (150g butter to 450g icing sugar with 2 tbsp of water to help harden and a tsp of vanilla extra would be more than enough for 18 cupcakes). Beat everything together for about 6 minutes so it is really fluffy. Alternatively do the American one where you combine 200g cream cheese, 50g butter and 350g icing sugar together. This will be a runnier mix and you can add more icing sugar if you want it thicker. 

Once combined and fluffy add the remaining crushed Oreos. You can either beat until smooth or spoon mix it so that the chunks stay visible.

Finally pipe the icing on the cooled cakes and top with the half Oreo. The recipe could easily be adapted to a big cake if you lined the base of a springform tray with a circle (or two!) or Oreos and top with the cake mix, Then ice with the same icing.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Banana and chocolate breakfast muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour (you can use wholewheat to make these more healthy)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder (optional)
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt (I used creme fraiche)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt (and cocoa powder if you are using it).
  2. Add bananas, honey, vanilla, oil, egg, milk and yogurt to a blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until well combined, smooth and creamy. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Divide batter evenly into muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Cool muffins for 5 minutes then remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Muffins are best served warm and even better the next day.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Blackberry red velvet cupcakes

After a glut of blackberries I made some cupcakes today to take to friends.

Start with the cakes. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Take 150g of blackberries and crush roughly with a fork.

Then melt together 100g butter and 100g milk chocolate.

Finally put 225g self-raising flour, 175g caster sugar, 2tbsp cocoa powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl.

Add 2 eggs and then the chocolate mix and blackberries.

Add 100ml boiling water and some food dye (red/purple to give it a deeper hue) and mix.

Then divide between 12 cupcake cakes.

Bake for about 24 minutes- check when a tooth pick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely. For the icing press about 150g blackberries through a seive to get a puree. Discard what is left.

Then beat together 500g icing sugar, 100g butter and 1tsp vanilla extract. Then add the puree and beat again. If you need a bit more icing sugar add this to make it stiffer.

Pipe it onto the cakes and add a blackberry to finish.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Healthier(!) chocolate and banana muffins

Our youngest loves her chocolate chip muffins but also baking so I said we would make some healthier ones. Sorry didn't take photos. With kids I find it easier to do measuring with cups rather than metric so this recipe has those measurements. The good thing about these is they freeze well and a blitz in the microwave and they taste fresh from the oven.

This recipe uses oil and yoghurt rather than butter which gives it a lighter and moister texture.

Begin by mixing three quarters of a cup of packed soft brown sugar with a cup of oats. Add 2 mashed over-ripe bananas, an egg, three quarters of a cup (around 160ml) greek yoghurt and a quarter of a cup of vegetable oil. Mix. 

Add to this a mix of a cup of wholewheat s-r flour (you can use normal s-r if you don't have this) and a quarter of a cup of cocoa powder, a tsp of baking powder and half a tsp of bicarbonate of soda. Mix it all together

Finally add 100g of dark chocolate chips (or you can smash up a bar of dark chocolate while in its pack with a rolling pin) and mix this in.

Share between 12 muffin tins in a muffin pan. It is a thick mix so a good one for kids to do since it doesn't slop everywhere!

Bake at 180 degrees C for about 17-20 minutes until a squewer comes outs clean.


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Cauliflower cheese (gluten free and low carb)

This is a great recipe if you are entertaining for anyone that is either wanting a low carb diet or is gluten free. It's a very rich cheese sauce to replace a normal white sauce (that would need flour) and is really delicious. Though it is higher in calories since it is high in fat content but if you are on a low carb diet this won't be an issue (and if you are not then just have it as a treat!)

Chop up two small cauliflowers.

Boil then in salted water for about 5 minutes so they are still crisp.

Meanwhile make the sauce- heat about 250ml of double cream in a pan until simmering.

Then add about 100g cream cheese and a tsp of dijon mustard.

Stir this until melted.

Then add about a cup of grated cheese.

Then stir this through off the heat. 

Put the cooked cauliflower into an oven dish that has been sprayed with oil.

Then cover with the sauce and mix and top with some more grated cheese.

Finally bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes or place under a hot grill until the cheese is bubbling. Serve immediately.

To keep it low carb/gluten free serve with a meat dish (roast chicke, steak, grilled salmon etc) and either a green salad or some wilted kale and spinach works well with this.