Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dauphinoise potatoes

Takes a bit of preparation but great for a dinner party since you can prepare it in advance and then just put in the oven on the night.

Start with about 900g of King Edward or desiree potatoes. Peel and then slice thinly. Wash them in cold water and then pat dry with a clean tea towel.

Get a baking dish and arrange a layer of potatoes. Season with some crushed garlic and salt and pepper and repeat. When you have finished with the potatoes you need to mix together 200ml of double cream and 200ml milk and pour over the potatoes.


Grate over some fresh nutmeg and season. Then dot with some butter.


Bake at about 160 degrees for 1.5-2 hours until it is bubbly and crisp on the top but soft underneath.

Beef bourguignon

Very simple but great even for a dinner party.

Get a good cut of beef from the butcher diced into pieces. I got just over a kilo for 6 and there was a bit left over. Fry this in fat (I used some turkey fat that I had skimmed from a roast but goose would also be good). Put this in the slow cooker.

In the same pan add some more fat and fry 100g chopped up streaky bacon, 250g chopped shallots, 250g sliced chestnut mushrooms and 2 chopped cloves of garlic. Add in some bay leaves (fresh if possible).

Add a couple of tbsps of tomato puree and tip all this into the slow cooker.


Add a whole bottle of GOOD red wine. Burgundy or Bordeaux works well. Cook or about 8 hours on slow and then allow to cool and keep in the fridge overnight.

Then reheat in the slow cooker for about 4 hours before you want to eat it. Works well with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans, red cabbage and carrots.



Microwave brandy fudge

Very quick and very simple - great for coffee or as a present.

Put 400g sugar, 140g butter and a can of condensed milk in a large microwaveable bowl with a pinch of salt. Microwave for about 15 minutes but check every few minutes since it can really puff up and oversplill. Stir when you check it.

When it has thickened and gone a nice caramel colour it is ready. Stir in a tsp of vanilla extract and 1-2 tbsp of brandy (or alcohol of choice- or you can leave this out). Pour into a 20cm square lined tin and allow to cool and set and then cut into pieces.


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.

You can also do individual ones that work just as well.



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.