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!)