Friday, 30 November 2012

Dragon wings.

I've made it no secret that Nigella's Kitchen book is my favourite cook book of all time, and I regularly bake and cook for this culinary masterpiece. Under the chapter "Kitchen Pickings" Nigella shares a recipe for Dragon Wings, a seriously spicy marinade which coats and seasons the wings. Again, with the majority of her recipes this was a seriously easy and delicious dish. I combined the suggested ingredients of chillies, red pepper and ginger until it turned into a paste. I made one amendment to the recipe and instead of using 80ml of garlic oil and 80 ml vegetable oil, i just used 5 tablespoons of oil, as I wanted to minimise the calories. Once the ingredients were combined I marinaded with the wings and placed in a baking dish.

Here is how my Dragon wings turned out:
Dragin wings, chips and salad.

Marinaded dragon wings

I left to cook in the oven for 50 minutes after which point they were baked and tasted fabulous.
Baked dragon wings

For anyone who loves spicy wings this is the "go to" recipe.


5 long red chillies, de-seeded and halved
1 red pepper, de-seeded and core removed
2 x 8cm pieces fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon salt (I used 1.5 tablespoon of all purpose seasoning)
2 tea spoons rice vinegar
80 ml garlic oil (I used 3 cloves of garlic)
80 ml vegetarian oil (I used 5 tbsp of vegetarian oil)
20 chicken wings

Preheat the oven to 200C/ gas mark 7. Process the chillies, red pepper, ginger, salt, vinegar and oil in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Coat the chicken wings in the marinade and leave to marinade overnight.
Place the marinaded chicken wings in an oven proof dish and roast for 40-50 minutes.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Welsh Bara Brith

I've been longing to try new regional bakes and explore different baking recipes, as my usual sponge and buttercream combination can be a bit "yawn" at time. As mid Wales is only an hour away from me, I thought I would start exploring regional bakes with the famous Welsh "Bara Brith" (meaning speckled bread). Surprsingly not many of my baking books cover this recipe, but many cover a variation of some form of tea bread. I was actually quite surprised that this is considered to be a bread and not a cake, as there is no kneading involved - but who am I to debate, the recipe is found in the bread section in The Great British Book of Baking!
I certainly was not dissapointed. I found the loaf cake, super easy to make. I soaked the fruits over night in black tea and the following day combined the remaining ingredients together, placed in a loaf tin and baked for an hour. After an hour the most moist, sweet, and flavoursome tea bread was created: I've fallen in love with the Bara Brith.
I enjoyed my Bara Brith with a cup of tea, and this was the perfect tea time treat.
Bara Brith with cups of tea.
Baked Bara Brith

I first started by soaking the dried fruits in black tea - It was only after I realised that the sugar should have been added, but it still tasted amazing. I left to soak overnight.
The following day I added the egg and stirred in the mixture, and then combined the remainding ingredients and placed in a loaf tin.
Soaked fruits

Soaked fruits with egg

Bara Brith mixture

Bara Brith mixture.
I then left to bake for a hour.

Recipe for Welsh Bara Brith.
250g mixed dried fruits
100g dark brown muscavodo sugar
22ml strong black tea (no milk)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 large free-range egg, beaten
250g self-raising flour

You will need a 450g loaf tin, greased with butter and lined with a long strip of greaseproof paper to cover the bas and 2 short sides.

Put the dried fruit and sugar into a large-heatproof mixing bowl. Pour over the hot tea and stir well. Cover the bowl with a clean dry tea towel and leave to soak for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Add the cinamon, nutmeg and beaten egg to the soaked fruit and tea, and stir well with a wooden spoon. Mix in the flour, then transfer the mixture into the prepared tin and spread even;y. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand the tin on a wire cooling rack and leave for about 15 minutes to firm up before turning out. leave to cool completely.

I am entering this "bread" recipe to a few blogging challenges. Firstly Calendar Cakes, hosted by Laura Love Cakes and Dolly Bakes has a monthly blogging challenge and this month the theme is bread.

I am entering this to Bake Your Own bread challenge hosted byGirl in Chief. The theme is also bread - any type of bread and I think my Welsh bread meets the criteria.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

New Facebook Page.

Hey everyone. Just thought I'd let you know I have set up a Facebook page, where I will share all my food creations, baking goodies and sweet treats. Here is the link Pop over and say Hi! I don't bite. Also share your Facebook pages with me so I can keep up to date with your foodie creations.


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Acapulco chicken.

I've never been to Mexico, but it is on my wish list for places to visit before I'm 30. I've tried several Mexican and Mexican inspired dishes but this, Ainsley Harriot's interpretation of Acapulco chicken is one of my favourites. All the traditional Mexican ingredients are in this dish; chilli powder, kidney beans, sour cream and tortilla chips. 
The dish turned out to be deliciously spicy and tasty, and although I'm not the biggest fan of kidney beans, it complimented all the other ingredients well. I also think the tortilla chips added a crunchiness to the dish and it is perfect for this cold winter weather.
Here is how my Acapulco chicken turned out:
Acapulco chicken

Sorry for the poor quality picture. I suggest that you add a good dollop of sour cream in the middle of the dish a la moi.
Recipe for Acapulco Chicken - Preparation - 10 minutes, Cooking Time 30 minutes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 onion, sliced.
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 teaspoons chilli powder ,extra for sprinkling
400g can chopped tomatoes
175ml chicken stock
400g kidney beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
100 tortilla chips
salt and pepper
soured cream and parsley sprigs, to garnish
cooked rice, to serve.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the chicken, onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until golden. Add the chilli and stir fry for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes, stock, kidney beans and oregano; season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and sprinkle over the tortilla chips. Top with a dollop soured cream, some parsley sprigs and a sprinkling of chilli powder. Serve with rice.

Nutrition notes per serving. Calories 596/protein 31g/ carbohydrate 52g/ fat 31g/ saturated fat 7g/ fibre 7g/ salt 1.95 g


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Really quick "Danish pastries"

I've never made any made any dainty pastries, as I do not have patience nor the skill to make pastries. Or so I thought until flicking through Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy I realised if I follow her cheats recipe, using puff pastry, shop-brought custard and apricot halves, I can make something that resembles Danish pastries. Now my pastries did not turn out at elegant as the picture in the recipe book, but hey, I'm not a trained pastry chef. What's important is they tasted delicious!
Here is how my Danish pastries turned out:
Quick danish pastries.

Danish pastries.

I first started by gathering all the ingredients together and rolling out the puff pastry.
Ingredients for Danish pastries
Rolled pastry
I cut the pastry into 7.5 cm squares and make diagonal cuts from each corner to within 1cm of the centre and placed a dollop of custard and apricot halves in the centre and then folded the alternate corners, brushing the tips with egg.
Pastry square

Folded pastry
I placed the pastries in the fridge to firm up in the fridge for 15 minutes. I baked for around 20 minutes until they were firm and golden brown.

Ingredients - Makes 12 small pastries
1 x 375g packet of puff pastry
Plain flour, for dusting
1 x 220g tin of apricot halves
300g thick custard
1 egg, lightly beaten, for the egg wash.
Sugar for sprinkling.

Preheat the oven to 200C (425F), gas mark 7. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a square 30cm by 30cm. To make the windmill, or what are sometimes called Imperial stars, cut the pastry into 7.5cm squares and make diagonal cuts from each corner to within 1cm of the centre. Put one or two apricot halves in the centre of the square and spoon over a little ready-made thick vanilla custard, then fold alternate corners of each cut section down to the centre, brushing the tips with beaten egg.
Place them into the fridge for 15 minutes or so until they are firm. Remove them from the fridge, brush them with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar, then place the pastries in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are firm, risen and golden brown.
Remove them from the oven and leave to cool.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Cake slice bakers, Shoo fly cake.

I am an official member of the online baking group: The Cake Slicers. I have been fascinated with his online baking group, after seeing fellow blogger Kelly Jane who would post her monthly bakes from last years selected book: The Cake Book by Tish Boyle.  The orgainsers of this fabulous online cake group are Katie who blogs at Apple and Spice and Paloma who blogs at The Coffee Shop and were kind enough to have me on board this year and I have joined as a new member.

This year The Cake Slicers are cooking from "Vintage Cakes"(timeless recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today's Sweet Tooth) by Julie Richardson. Vintage cakes is easily available from Amazon, and I must say this is one of the BEST cake books I have seen. It is also my first American baking book, and I am amazed how succulent, tempting these rustic cakes are. Each month fellow bakers vote on the dish that they want to bake and the cake with the ost number of votes wins. The first bake from this book is the Shoo Fly Cake: a simple molasses spice cake that is from the authors great grandmothers recipe collection born in 1895. I did not vote to bake for this cake, but I am pleased that it was chosen as it was nothing I have ever tasted before. The spices really came through in this cake, and reminded me of my nan's West Indian cake.
Here is how my Shoo Fly Cake turned out:
Shoo fly cake.
A crumble mixture was sprinkled on the top, as according to the recipe. Although I will be quite surprised if other bakers cake turned out like this, as they are more experienced bakers, and their cake probably will look a 1,000 times better.
Shoo fly cake before cut
I had a slice of my Shoo Fly cake with a dollop of rum and raisin ice cream- this really intensified the spices in the cake. Yum!
Shoo fly cake and rum and raisin ice-cream.
I started by making the crumble mixture for the topping by combining the butter and plain flour into breadcrumbs and placed in the freezer.
Crumble mixture

I then creamed the butter and sugar together and then added treacle and in-cooperated the dry ingredients with the coffee.
Creamed sugar and butter
Weighed treacle.
I added the dry ingredients alongside the eggs and black coffee.
Dry ingredients
Black coffee
I then spread the mixture in a 9 inch, loose bottomed tin.
Mixture incooperated
Cake mixture in the tin.
After around 45 minutes the Shoo Fly cake was baked and was absolutely delish!
Baked cake.
Please take a look at my fellow members take on the Shoo Fly cake


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Puerto Rican chicken.

I love Levi Root's Caribbean Food Made Easy cookbook, it's just as good as his debut "Reggae Reggae cook book". This recipe, is from the Spanish speaking, American colonial island of Puerto Rico, nestled between Dominican Republic ( a lovely holiday resort) and St Kitts and Nevis. This dish reminded me of Spanish Chicken, as it's a one-pot dish but the Caribbean flavours such as ginger, garlic, sweet peppers, chili, all spice and turmeric makes this dish distinctively Puerto Rican.
This dish turned out to be lovely, spicy and flavoursome and will make it again in the near future. I must urge anyone who has not tried Caribbean food to go and purchase this book!
Puerto Rican chicken
My family thoroughly enjoyed this, a simple one pot spicy Caribbean inspired dish.
Puerto Rican chicken baked
I first started by seasoning the chicken and leaving to marinade for several hours to allow the flavours to infuse.
Seasoned Puerto Rican chicken
Puerto Rican chicken pre bake.

Recipe for Puerto Rican Chicken
Serves 4
175g basmati rice
3 tbsp sunflower
8 chicken pieces
2 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
salt and pepper
1, onion, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 all spice berries - or grounded all spice
1 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
2cm root ginger
1 hot chili, ideally scotch bonnet.
600ml chicken stock
100g pitted green olives, ideally stuffed with pimento.

1) Wash the rice in a large bowl, changing the water until it runs clear. Heat the oil in a casserole 30cm. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the all-purpose seasoning and salt and pepper and brown them well on all sides (you don't need to cook it through at this point. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside. Add the onion, peppers and garlic to the same pan and saute over a medium heat until the peppers are softening. Add the allspice, turmeric, ginger and chili and cook for a minute, stirring.
2) If you are using a casserole, reintroduce the chicken and continue to cook in this. If you are using a fry pan transfer everything to an ovenproof dish, about 30cm in diameter; it must be big enough to accommodate all the chicken in a single layer.
3) Pour the rice all round the chicken, pour over the stock, add the thyme and bay leaves and season everything really well. If cooking on the hob, continue to simmer gently over a low heat for 40 minutes.   If cooking in the oven, cook for 40 minutes at 190C/375F/gas mark . When it is cooked all the stock all the stock should be absorbed, the top golden and the chicken cooked through.
4) Scatter on the olives about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Andy Fairfield's Granola

I have been trying to have something different for my weekend breakfasts, as I usually have 65g of cereal Monday - Friday. I recently made quick Danish pastries (blog post to follow), which was nice, but I was more impressed with this granola recipe from Nigella's Feasts. Now, the thought of making your own cereal can be daunting, but I assure you this is sooooo easy. I simply combined all the ingredients (oats, sunflower seeds, apple sauce, golden syrup, light brown sugar, almonds and spices), except for the raisins, spread in a baking tin and baked for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, this is how my granola turned out:


I must say this is delicious, and quite addictive: I've been eating handfuls as a snack, probably more so than having a bowl of granola.
I first started by placing all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Ingredients ready to be mixed

Once mixed I spread across a baking tin.
Ingredients mixed
Granola pre bake
Granola baked.

After 45 minutes the granola was cooked, I added the raisins and placed in a clean storage jar.
Recipe for granola can be found here: granola recipe


Monday, 12 November 2012

Nigella's Tropical chocolate and vanilla cake with chocolate collar..

As I've said on previous posts: I love coconut cake. This recipe caught my eye way back in March when I brought Nigella's Feasts cook book and thought I would bake it for an event at my church. The thought of a chocolate cake covered with a Swiss meringue marshmallow frosting (which I've never made before) and covered with desiccated coconut would = perfect cake in my eyes.
I have seen many pictures of this luscious cake on the Internet, but fancied baking a slight variation on this cake, as I wanted this cake original. I decided to take a risk and instead of the suggested two layer cake, I made 4 layers; two layers of chocolate cake and two layers of a vanilla version of the tropical cake, substituting the coco to 4 tablespoons of vanilla and keeping. I also wanted to make a chocolate collar, after seeing Jo Wheatley (2011 winner of the Great British Bake). I added white chocolate buttons but did not have the same finish as I expected. Despite this, I must say turning this cake into a 4 layered chocolate and vanilla cake was one of the best baking decisions I made and I must continue to make more baking risks, if i am ever to be a contestant of the Great British Bake Off in 2020 .......
Here is how my tropical chocolate and vanilla cake turned out:
Tropical chocolate cake with chocolate collar.

Once cut, you could really see the layers much better and the lovely Swiss meringue.
Slice of tropical chocolate cake.

I made the cakes in advance (I tend to find this easier) and placed in the freezer until I was ready to assemble. Nigella suggests to mix the cake in the food processor, unusual but who am I to argue with an author of 9 cook books!.
Tropical vanilla cake mixture. 

I placed the cake mixture in 4 sandwich tins and baked for around 25 minutes.
Tropical vanilla cake pre bake.

Tropical chocolate cake pre bake.

Once baked I left the cakes to cool and then popped into the freezer until I was ready to assemble.
Tropical vanilla cake baked.

To make the Swiss meringue I used egg whites, caster sugar and coconut rum and beat with a hand held mixer for around 7 minutes.
Swiss meringue.

I spread the marshmallow on the chocolate layer and repeated with vanilla cake.
meringue over cakes.

I then repeated until all four layers were covered with Swiss meringue and smoothed and placed in the fridge for the crumb layer.
Crumb layer.

Meanwhile the cake was in the fridge for its crumb layer, I made the chocolate collar. I simply measured the width and height of the cake, drew a line on some baking paper and melted 150g milk chocolate and 100 g dark chocolate. I then spread the melted chocolate over the baking paper and left to softly set which took around 15 minutes. My chocolate collar took some time so I placed a bag of frozen peas underneath the chocolate collar to hurry the process of setting, then placed the chocolate collar over the cake.
2nd layer of meringue over cakes.

Chocolate collar.

I sprinkled dessicated coconut over the top of the cakes to add a snowy style finish.
This cake is perfect for chocolate lovers and those that want a slightly different cake from the usual chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream or ganache. The cake was light, moist and I really think having the two layers of vanilla helped to make the cake even lighter.
Here is the recipe for tropical chocolate cake. To make the meringue for four layers, just double the recipe.
I am entering this to the lovely Dom at Belleau Kitchen who hosts a monthly blogging challenge called random recipes This month Dom asked readers to chose the number of their birthday and cook from that book. Well my birthday is the 21st April (same day as her Majesty) and my 21st book is Nigella Feasts.
I am also entering this recipe to Tea Time Treats jointly hosted by the lovely Karen at Lavendar and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked This months theme is cakes, to celebrate their 1 year anniversary of Tea Time Treats.

Finally I'm submitting this to bookmarked recipes, a monthly blogging challenge hosted by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes, which encourages readers to cook or bake a dish that they have book marked. This fulfils this blogging challenge as I book marked this recipe way back in March.


© Charlene Flash | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig