Tuesday, 21 May 2013
This is a great recipe to throw together for a tea time treat or for the school pick up when you have hungry kids. There are some naughty ingredients but the bananas add some good stuff! I often make a full batch and then freeze half so that I have a batch ready and waiting to just bake once it has defrosted (though to be fair it doesn't really take long to make this from scratch).
250 g stork
250 g white chocolate
150 ml hot water
1 cup caster sugar
1¾ cups plain flour
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 mashed bananas
Preheat oven to 150°C. Melt chocolate and stork in microwave for 1-2 minutes. Add water and sugar, stir and put in microwave until sugar has dissolved (this may not be necessary since the chocolate and butter mix will already by hot). Set aside to cool.
Mash bananas, eggs and vanilla together in a separate bowl. When chocolate mix has cooled add sifted flours to the chocolate mixture. Add the egg and banana and mix well.
Either line and grease the base and sides of a cake tin. Or line some muffin tins with cases (this should make about 12 large muffins and about 6 small cupcakes or around 20 normal cupcakes).
Pour into prepared tin and cook for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size of tin. Or into the muffin cases and cook between 15-25 minutes depending on the size. Check about 3/4 of the way through cooking to see how it is doing.
Lovely plain or ice with white chocolate icing or cream cheese icing.
Sunday, 19 May 2013
To make the pastry, whizz the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add the flour, icing sugar and butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1-2 tbsp cold water, and pulse until the dough comes together. Tip the dough out and flatten into a disc, then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to line a 23cm loose-bottomed, deep tart tin. Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork.
Line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 mins, then carefully remove the baking beans and parchment and bake for a further 5-10 mins until light golden. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make the salted caramel. Tip the sugar into a small pan, add 1-2 tbsp water and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. I found that the caramel was quite subtle so it may be worth double this amount if you prefer a stronger caramel taste.
Increase the heat and cook until the sugar turns to an amber coloured caramel.
Reduce the heat and add the butter, cream and golden syrup, and stir until the sauce is smooth and thickened.
Remove from the heat and add the salt.
Allow to cool for a few mins, then spread onto the tart base.
Scatter with chopped hazelnuts and set aside.
For the chocolate filling, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk and caster sugar for about 6 mins until thick and pale.
Fold in the melted chocolate and cocoa
Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 mins or until set and the top has formed a crust. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving in slices.
You can pipe on cream at this point and decorate with fruit or serve as it is with creme fraiche and fruit coulis.
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Basic crepe-style Pancake Recipe
This recipe makes 8-10 pancakes
100 grams plain flour (white or wholemeal)
2 large eggs
250 ml cold milk
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoon clarified butter, plus extra to fry the pancakes
Clarified butter is easy to make and is better than using normal butter because it won’t smoke or burn. Simply put ½ a block of butter (not margarine!) in a glass, and melt it the microwave until it is just liquid. Let it settle for 2 minutes and you’ll get 2 layers – the milky solids at the bottom which you don’t need, and the clear yellow fat at the top which you can carefully pour off and use in the recipe and to fry your pancakes!)
Whisk together the eggs, milk and butter. Add the flour and salt and whisk until it is smooth with no lumps. Add a spoon of the clarified butter to a good non-stick pan and heat til smoking. Pour in a ladle spoon full of the batter and move the pan so it spreads evenly. Flip after a minute or so (with a spatula if you need to) and cook on the other side.
Saturday, 22 December 2012
These little nibbles are great served at a party and don't worry about them being vegetarian- even meat eaters will devour them (over anything you provide that has meat in it)!
Take some shop bought puff pastry and cut into three strips.
For the filling, simply 275g breadcrumbs and same of grated cheese, one greated onion, 3 tbsp double cream, some chopped herbs, 1.5 tsp mustard powder, pinch cayene pepper in a mixing bowl, season well and mix very thoroughly.Then roll out the pastry on a floured surface to form an oblong (as thin as you can). Cut this oblong into three strips and divide the filling also into three, making three long rolls the same length as the strips of pastry (if it's sticky, sprinkle on some flour).
Place one roll of filling on to one strip of pastry. Brush the beaten egg along one edge, then fold the pastry over and seal it as carefully as possible.
Lift the whole thing up and turn it so the sealed edge is underneath.
Press lightly and cut the rolls obliquely, so that they form little diamond shapes. Snip each one on the top in three places with the end of some scissors, then brush with beaten egg. Repeat all this with the other portions of filling and pastry.
- Olive oil, for frying
- Knob of butter
- 150g/5¼oz chestnut mushrooms
- 1 garlic clove
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 150g/5¼oz leeks, trimmed, well washed, drained and roughly chopped
- 250g/9oz ricotta cheese
- 250g/9oz full-fat cream cheese
- 5 tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and chopped
- 18 pieces filo pastry (23cm x 15cm/ 9in x 6in)
- For the sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 75g/3oz chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 100ml/3½fl oz vegetable stock
- 200ml/7¼fl oz red wine
- Good glug of port
- 25g/1oz cold butter, cubed
Repeat the first step with the leeks, once you have trimmed and washed them. Drain them for as long as you can - this makes the filling good and solid.
Mix the cheeses together in a large bowl with a good amount of seasoning until smooth (it helps to warm cheese in a microwave to soften it).
Fold in the mushrooms, leeks and tomatoes, then chill for two hours.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Lay out six pieces of pastry on a lightly floured surface, and brush with lots of melted butter, then cover with another layer and brush again. Add a final layer, but this time only brush the edges of the pastry.
Divide the chilled filling among the six rectangles and place it in a sausage shape towards the bottom edge of the pastry.
Fold the bottom edge over the filling, tuck in the sides then roll up into a tight parcel and brush with butter.
Put the strudels on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion, mushrooms and garlic with seasoning until soft.
Add the stock and reduce down to nearly nothing.
Add the wine and port and reduce by at least half.
Just before serving, whisk in the butter to give it a really great shine.
To serve, pour a little sauce on each plate and sit a strudel on top.