Sausage rolls and scotch eggs

Sausage rolls and scotch eggs

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Triple Chocolate Gingerbread


We are well into December and it's full on Christmas adverts, panic present buying general bank account assault. It's been pretty cold now too and when the less pleasant weather hits, I turn my attention to comforting winter foods. The foods I tend to crave are rich casseroles, roast dinners and Christmas related puddings. The thing with this gingerbread is, even people that don't like gingerbread like this, even my kids! I love Christmas spices, add in some chocolate and put it in a cake and I am one very happy lady.

This is a lovely dark cake but if you're worried, just use light brown sugar or use less treacle and more golden syrup.


Ingredients
275g plain flour
250ml milk
200g treacle
200g golden syrup
175g butter
175g chocolate chips 
125g dark brown sugar
40g cocoa powder
2 eggs
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Chocolate Icing
250g Icing Sugar
60 ml water
1 tbsp cocoa powder
15g butter

You'll need to put the oven on 170 degrees and I used a roasting tin, greased and floured or lined

1) Melt the treacle, syrup, butter and sugar in a pan, over a low heat and leave to cool slightly

2) Sieve the flour and cocoa into a bowl and add the spices

3) Put the bicarbonate of soda in a cup and add 2 tbsp water. Add to the treacle mixture and whisk to combine

4) Pour the treacle mixture into the flour mixture and whisk well until there are no lumps

5) Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the chocolate chips. I like to do this to stop all the chips sinking. Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes

6) Leave the cake to cool in the tin as it's very soft. I put mine in the fridge because I was too impatient

7) For the frosting, melt the butter and add the water. Sieve over the icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix well (I didn't mix it enough so there's a few lumps)

8) Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and see how long you can go without having some!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Sticky Toffee Pecan Cake and Easy Pecan Praline and Maple Syrup Ice Cream


Folllowing on from the slightly nutty theme of late, pecan, cakey, creamy,  mapley syrupy heaven. That's all you need to know, it's delicious.
 Although I have always promised to share my failures as well as my successes and I outdid myself on this occasion. Not only did I slightly burn the cake round the outside thanks to my extremely temperamental over, (I know, a bad workmen blames his tools) but I then knocked it off the cooker and onto the floor. Shh though, nobody knows!


Ingredients
  • 250g pecans halves
  • 140g stoned dates
  • 200g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp mixed spice (1 if you don't like it too strong)
  • eggs, beaten
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • maple syrup
  • Ice Cream
  • 600ml double cream
  • 1/2 can condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • Praline
  • 100g pecans lightly toasted
  • 50g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • You'll need the over on 180 desgrees and a 23cm round tin, buttered, lined if you like (I just dust it with flour because I hate the faff of cutting out greaseproof paper)
  • 1) Soak the dates in hot water for 5 minutes
  • 2) Put the butter, sugar and spice into a processor and mix until creamy
  • 3) Drain the dates and add them in with the eggs, 100g of the pecans and whizz until smooth
  • 4) Tip into a bowl and fold in the flour
  • 5) Sprinkle a 150g of pecans over the top of the cake and pop in the oven for 40 minutes
  • 6) When the cake it done, pour over a few tablespoons of maple syrup and leave to cool in the tin

  • For the ice cream and praline
  • 7) Put the pecans, salt if using and sugar in a pan over a low heat and stir gently until the sugar turns amber and the nuts are coated. Tip onto a plate to cool. When cool, place in a sandwich bag or tea towel and break up with a rolling pin or heavy pan
  • 8) Lightly whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the condensed milk, vanilla and praline and place in the freezer for 3 hours
  • 9) Take out the ice cream and give it a gentle mix before swirling in the maple syrup and returning to the freezer for another 4 hours

  • Best served when the cake is warm!


Friday, 27 November 2015

Coffee and Fudge Ripple Ice Cream





Making your own ice cream always seemed a bit ridiculous to me when you can buy so many varied and lovely ice creams already. 
They have become pretty expensive though and often, I can't get what I'm craving. Since making my own, I often prefer it and I love playing the flavour and texture combinations

So many recipes now don't need ice cream makers and I have made some with and some without but I have to say, I prefer the ones made with the ice cream maker. If you don't use one, make sure to get the ice cream out about half an hour before you want to use it or it will be as solid as a rock!

I was really surprised at just how much I love this ice cream. It scoops really easily because the sauce doesn't freeze. Now, it is coffee-heavy so if you're a little unsure, I would definitely halve the coffee in the ice cream and the sauce but it's worth remembering that ice creams lose flavour once their frozen so it won't taste as strong as the mixture, once it's frozen.

The sauce can always be added separately and is really nice warm and poured over. The sauce is also good on vanilla ice cream. I will admit that I have tried and failed, may times, in making caramels but at last, success. I will also admit to doubling up on the sauce ingredients as I had cream to use up but you can never have too much sauce.

I also added a hazlenut praline too because I just like adding nuts to everything but feel free to just leave that out.
Ingredients

300ml double cream
300ml milk
3 tbsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs yolks
100g caster sugar
8 pieces of fudge, cut into small pieces

Sauce

2 tbsp coffee granules
125ml double cream
150g white sugar
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp butter
3/4 tsp salt

Praline

100g hazlenuts
50g white sugar

1) Whisk the sugar and egg yolks until pale and fluffy. I find this easier in a bowl for adding the cream mixture next.
2) Gently heat the cream, milk and vanilla in a pan until just before boiling point. Pour over the egg yolk and sugar mixture, whisking all the time.
3) Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat gently until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. You should be able to leave a trail with your finger on the spoon. This step has to be done slowly so the eggs just heat through and not scramble.
4) Take off the heat and stir in the coffee granules. Leave to cool and place in the fridge until cold.

5) Start the sauce by stirring the coffee granules into the cream. Don't worry, it will dissolve.
6) Put the sugar and water in a pan and heat gently until amber in colour. Do not stir it, if it's uneven, gently tilt the pan.
7) Take off the heat and immediately add the butter and whisk, followed by the cream and salt. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

8) For the praline: Heat the oven to 180 degrees and toast the nuts for 5 minutes. Alternatively, toast in a pan for a few minutes.
9) Add the nuts and sugar to a pan and heat gently, stirring from time to time until amber in colour. Turn onto a plate and until cold. Place in a sandwich bag or tea towel and hit with a heavy pan or rolling pin.

10) Churn the ice cream. When it's ready, pour over the sauce and praline and ripple through. Freeze and enjoy! 





No-Cook Choc & Nut Slice



I am in no way eating healthily right now. Being ill is one of the few exceptions in life when you get  to eat what you want for a few days. However, even on those days, I often prefer this to any other treat I can think of and on the good days, it's full of good fats, protein, nothing processed and really not that naughty at all. 
Most importantly though, it's so easy! 

Ingredients

200g nuts, any work, a combination is good. Experiment!
6 tbsp nut butter, peanut butter is fine
4 tbsp honey/maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Topping

4 tbsp cocoa or cacoa powder
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
2 tbsp coconut oil

1) Line a tin or tupperware tub with greaseproof paper. I used a 7"x 9"
2) Melt the coconut oil, then stir in the peanut butter, vanilla, salt and honey or syrup
3) Tip in the nuts and give it a good stir
4) Put in the fridge to set
5) Melt the coconut oil, then stir in the coca powder, followed by the honey or syrup
6) Once the base has set, pour the topping all over and return to the fridge/freezer to set. 

This can be stored in either the fridge or the freezer, try both. In the fridge it's much softer so don't leave it out before eating out!





Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Scotch Eggs and Sausage Rolls







More salt free experimenting. More snacks my poor other half hasn't eaten in many years. The awesome about these are that they have a lot of flavour already in the ingredients so the salt isn't really 'missing'. 

Admittedly, there is a bit of faffing about involved in making these but we were woefully unprepared to do both at the same time so with more time and preparation, it would have a lot easier. We tend to get over-excited and carried away with the world of options I have now opened up for him.

Let me know if you'd like the recipes!

Bread Rolls/Loaf



Before making bread without salt, I did a lot of reading as I know from the past that salt serves a certain chemical purpose. As it turns out, it's much easier than I thought, phew!
Basically, you can just leave the salt out. There are just 2 things you need to bear in mind. The first is that salt inhibits the yeast so when you don't use, the yeast works faster so you need to keep a close eye on it as it won't take as long  to prove.
The second is flavour. Salt is a big component of mass-manufactured bread and that can be hard to get used to. Fresh herbs, spices and a bit of imagination can make a big difference and experimentation can be fun here. Some ingredients can inhibit the yeast but it's unlikely to be a problem here. I like to add seeds to the top of bread for decorative purposes. Here are a few of suggestions:-

Caramelised Onion and garlic
Your favourite seeds
Garlic Powder and Rosemary
Sage and Black Onion Seed

But if you can have salt, just add 1 1/2 tsp!


Recipe

500g bread flour
1tsp sugar
2 tsps easy bake yeast
15g butter or a tbsp vegetable or olive oil
300ml warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt (optional)

Place flour into a large bowl with any spices, herbs or other flavourings and add butter or oil. Rub with fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the water and mix to form a soft dough.
Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes.
Shape on a baking tray or place into a tin cover and leave until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 230 degrees. When the dough is ready, bake for 10-15 minutes for rolls and 15
minutes for bread, turning the oven down to 200 degrees for another 15-20 minutes.


Saturday, 7 November 2015

Easy Peasy Pumpkin Soup

Never would I let such a thing go to waste. I hate waste. I'm also not particularly keen on the taste of pumpkin but I do now have plenty of recipes that I can use it up in that taste good and this is one of them. It doesn't get much easier than this! 
I know a whole bulb of garlic sounds like a lot but trust me here. When you roast it, it becomes sweet and smoky in it's skin and the flavour is a lot milder. and  Butternut squash also works really well. It's warming, mildly spicy and just what you need on an Autumnal day.

Ingredients

1kg pumpkin or 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 large tomatoes
2 onions, peeled and cut into chunks
1 bulb of garlic
3 sprigs rosemary
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ltr stock
seasoning
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)

Start by putting your oven on 200 degrees/180 fan.
Put your squash in a large roasting tin.
Halve the tomatoes and chuck them in with the onions.
Take the leaves off the rosemary stalks and chuck those in, along with the garlic cloves.
Sprinkle on the cumin
Add the olive oil and seasoning and give the whole thing a good shuffle.
Bung it in the over for 45 minutes, giving in another shuffle half way through.
Once the squash/pumpkin is tender, take the garlic out and put the rest in a blender.
Slide the cloves out of the skin and pop them in too.
Add your stock and blitz.

Tips
Roasted tomato skins take a lot of blending so if you haven't got a great blender, just pull them off once they're cool enough before putting them in the blender.