Saturday, 29 December 2012

Quiche Lorraine from A Passion for Baking

I love Quiche Lorraine, it was one of the first things I learnt to bake and I probably make a quiche once a month. I tend not to stick to one recipe and instead use a variety of recipes, looking and trying to find  the ultimate Quiche Lorraine. I recently made Jo Wheatley's (Winner of GBBO 2) version of Quiche Lorraine, and was a bit apprehensive with the number of eggs used (4 eggs, I usually use 3) and worried that the mixture would turn out to be eggy. My family, however, loved the quiche and said it was delicious, and it tasted better the following day. I was not so keen on the quiche and will probably stick to Lorraine Pascale's recipe in the future as it was less eggy.
Here is how the Quiche Lorraine turned out:
Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients for Quiche Lorraine
For the shortcrust
250 g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out.
125 g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
a pinch of salt
1 large egg yolk
2-3 tbsp water, chilled.

For the filling
1tbsp olive oil
2 shallots or onions, finely chopped
240g good-quality bacon, diced
400ml double cream
4 large eggs
a splash of lemon juice
50g cheddar cheese, grated
black pepper, freshly grounded

You will also need a 20cm tart tin or flash dish and baking beans

Put the flour, butter and salt into a bowl of a food processor with a metal blade.
Whizz using the pulse button until you have a breadcrumb consistency.
Add the egg yolk, whizz briefly, then add the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.
Turn onto a floured surface and work very briefly with your hands until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least half an hour before using.
(I used the hand method and combined everything by hand).
Line the flan dish with pastry, prick the base with a fork, cover with parchment and baking beans, then chill for half an hour and blind bake for 20 minutes until pale golden.
Rolled out pastry
Pastry in case ready to chill for 15 minutes
pastry ready to be blind baked
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the shallots and diced bacon and cook slowly until the shallots are translucent and the bacon starts to brown. I par boiled the onions and grilled the bacon.
grilled bacon for quiche

par boiled onions for quiche

Mix the cream with the eggs, lemon juice and grated cheese, and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Filling for quiche mixture
Tip half of the onion and bacon into the pastry case and pour over the cream mix- this is best done on a baking tray in the oven. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon over the top and bake for 35 minutes until golden and set.
bacon and onions in pastry case

Filling in pastry case pre bake
Cool to room temperature to serve.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Diet starts now: Low fat chicken and spring onions burgers revisted.

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and wishing you a happy new year. I love a good ol burger and have blogged several different types of burgers since I started blogging from falafel burgers, bean burgers, beef burgers and one of my favourite ever chicken burgers. I've blogged about this recipe, taken from Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food cookbook, using turkey mince and will share the link further down. This time I used chicken mince and remembered this time to take step by step pictures to share how easy it is to make low fat burgers. This recipe comes in at under 300 calories (including the burger bun) and is perfect for all those who have indulged over the festive period and fancy making something more low fat.
Here is how my low fat chicken burgers turned out:
Chicken burgers

First start with the most important thing, seasoning. I love all purpose seasoning, and I usually add sage and mixed herbs when making burgers.
Chicken mince and seasonings

Once the seasoning is mixed shape into four patties.
Burger patties

Heat a frying pan and use 2 tablespoon of oil and around 3 -4 tablespoons of fry-light mid cooking, as the oil tends to cook out and the frying pan becomes dry.
Chicken burgers cooking

Chicken burgers cooking
I cook the burgers for 10 minutes on each side and they are deliciously cooked after 20 minutes. Here is the link for this delicious and low fat recipe low fat chicken burgers.



Thursday, 20 December 2012

Mississippi mud cakes

For the second bake from The Cake Slicers the majority of bakers (including me) voted for Decembers bake to be Mississippi mud cupcakes. I love a good Mississippi mud tart and have been making this for the last five years. As my dads birthday was looming, I decided on turning the 24 cupcakes into a celebration cake, and this worked out beautifully.
The ingredients for the cupcakes made me rise an eyebrow (although I have never made a Mississippi mud cake before!) as the ingredients included coffee disolved in coco and nuts. Another concern I had was the use of cups and ounces - I'm not familiar with weighing out my ingredients into cups but thought it was best just to follow the directions, and not alter the suggested ingredients. I'm glad I stayed with the recipe.
Here is how my Mississippi mud cake turned out:
Mississippi mud cake
Mississippi mud cake from the top
Inside my Mississippi mud cake

As you can see I went a bit OTT with the decoration, and as well as using the marshmellow frosting I added chocolate orange matchsticks and two different types of mint chocolate matchsticks, maltesers and m and m's. It was a very, lavish, over the top chocolate cake and my dad and family loved it!
Slice of Mississippi mud cake
I first started by pouring hot coffee into the coco mixture and leaving to cool.
Coffee and coco 
Coffee and coco disolved
I then began by mixing the dry ingredients together: the flour and baking powder. Once combined, I whisked together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and cooled coco mixture.
eggs and buttermilk
Flour and sugar
Pecans, white chocolate buttons and chocolate chips.
I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients before finally adding the chopped pecans, chocolate chips and white chocolate buttons.
Mixture combined
I forgot to take a picture of the mixture in their tins pre baking but after 40 minutes the cakes were cooked. As I altered the recipes, I had to guess how long the cakes would take to cook, but the mixture was very liquid so I thought around 40 minutes would be fine.
Baked mud cakes
I left the cakes to cool for an hour or so before I got on with the marshmellow frosting, which did not fully coat the cake well, as there were large gaps, but due to it for being for cupcakes it may have been best to double or treble the meringue recipe. I did not make anymore due to the cake being decorated by chocolate matchsticks and this would cover a multitude of sins.
Eggs and caster sugar
Marshmellow mixture
Marshmellow decorated over cakes
See what I mean about the gaps and not being covered properly? Anyway, the cake is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever tasted in my life. So rich, so dense and so luxurious.
Have a look at how my fellow bakers got on with this very beautiful recipe cake slicers.

Recipe for Mississipi cake - this also makes 24 cupcakes.
Ingredients for the cake
1 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup (3 ounces) coco powder
2 cups (10 ounces) self-raising flour
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (4 ounces) toasted chopped pecans
1 cup (6 1/2 ounces) semi sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used essence)

For the marshmellow frosting
1 cup (7 ounces
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup of water
4 egg whites
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Method for the cake
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a small bowl, whisk the hot coffee into the coco. Set aside to cool. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the mixture by hand to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed, then stir in the pecans and chocolate chips.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and cooled mixture. Add the wet ingredients and stir the batter together with a rub spatula until just combined. Pour the batter evenly among two loose bottomed 8 inch tins. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack. Once the cakes start to cool begin with the marshmellow frosting.
Combine the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Place the pan, uncovered, over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and cook for 2 minutes. (Covering in this manner allows the steam to wash down the sides of a pan, which will prevent any sugar crystals from forming). Uncover the saucepan and continue to boil until the sugar syrup reaches the soft -ball stage, 242 F  on a candy thermometer.
While the syrup is heating to the desired temperature, combine the egg whites with the salt in a clean bowl of a standard mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat beginning at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Beat the whites just until soft peaks form. Timing is crucial at this point in the game; if the syrup is close to reaching 242 F continue whipping the whites to firm peaks. If the syrup is not this warm yet, let the whites wait at the soft- peak stage before whipping them into firm peaks as the syrup approaches the desired temperature.
Once the sugar syrup has reached 242F and the egg whites are whipped to firm peaks, run the mixer at medium-hugh speed and begin slowly pouring the syrup down the inside of the bowl. Continue whipping until the frosting becomes thick and holds stiff peaks, around 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and whip to continue. This frosting should be used immediately.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Beer praised pork knuckles.

I really should be spending more time making seasonal recipes but I prefer to cook and bake my own foodie list, whether it's Christmas or not. I've been meaning to cook this dish from Nigella Kitchen cookbook for some time as I have never tried pork knuckles and I was intrigued on how it would taste with the cider, although in the end I used alcoholic ginger beer.
I think this is more of a weekend dish as it takes 3 hours to make due to it being slow cooked, but I think it certainly makes a nice Saturday dish. I made the mistake of adding my loved all purpose seasoning to the ham hocks, completely forgetting that the ham hocks may already be salty. I had sliced potatoes and apples alongside the ham hocks which complimented it beautifully.
Here is how my ham hocks with potatoes, apples and vegetables turned out:
Ham hock dinner

I first started by seasoning ham hocks with all purpose seasoning and sage, although I would omit the salt out in the future.

I then placed the potatoes, apples and red onions along with the hocks and then added the beer in two oven dishes.
Ham hocks with potatoes, apples and red onions

After 3 hours the ham hocks were cooked. I checked on the hocks every hour or so, and needed to remove the excess liquid from the baking trays. Once cooked the meat from the hocks fell off and it was so soft and succulent.
Ham hocks cooked

Here is the recipe for the ber braised pork knuckles

Friday, 14 December 2012

Oat and Raisin biscuits.

Fancy a healthy take on biscuits? Well my oat and raisin biscuits are a lovely healthy (ish) treat away from the usual full fat goodies that are available at this time of the year. This is a really simple biscuit mixture and perfect for kiddiewinkles to make.
Here is how my oat and raisin biscuits turned out:

Ingredients for oat ans raisin biscuits
Makes 30
125g unsalted butter, softened
150g light brown muscovado sugar
1 large free-range egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
100g self-raising flour
75g raisins
150g porridge oats
(I added a tablespoon of coco powder)

1-2 baking tray greased.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until pale and fluffy in texture. In another bowl beat the egg with the milk and vanilla until just combined, then beat into the butter mixture. Add the flour, raisins and oats to the bowl and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Put heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays spacing well apart to allow for spreading. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned around the edges.
Remove from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool and firm up on the sheets for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Store the biscuits in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ginger pecan and coconut cake.

Recently I brought BBC Cakes and Bakes and I must say this is one of my favourite cake books. There's around 100 recipes in this book, with each cake recipe displaying the calorie content, which makes it easier to chose the right recipes if you are trying to lose weight. My ginger, pecan and coconut cake is not one for those who are wanting to watch their weight as it comes in at around 700 calories per slice, but was so delicious it's worth the calorific content. I've adapted this recipe and turned it into a three layered cake and I added coconut. The addition of coconut adds sweetness and alongside the pecans which adds depth and the ginger fieriness was a perfect match made in heaven. This was a really easy cake to make and didn't require any complicated methods and a must try for all those who love flavoursome cakes. I added a ginger fudge icing which I love and what I've made before.
Here is how my ginger cake turned out:
Ginger, pecan and coconut cake.

I first started by mixing the butter, sugar, syrups and eggs together.
Butter, treacle and golden syrup.
Butter, treacle and golden syrup mixed.

Once beaten I sifted in flour, chopped ginger, chopped pecans and coconut and gently in-cooperated.
Pecans and ginger
Coconut and pecans added
I then placed the mixture in three baking tins.
Cake mixture

Cakes pre baking

After 45 minutes the cakes were baked and I left to cool before getting on with the ginger fudge icing.
Baked cakes
I've made this ginger fudge icing before, it's delicious and basically syrup from stem ginger in-cooperated in the buttercream.
Ginger fudge icing
I layered up the sites with ginger fudge, but wish I added more ginger fudge on the first layer as it would have been more visually effective.
Cakes layered up
As I was bringing this cake to church I wanted to add a lovely ribbon to make it look more pretty.
Recipe for pecan, ginger and coconut cake - adapted from BBC Good Food Cakes and Bakes - my adaptations are in brackets. The recipe is for a two layered cake but my adaptations are for a three layered cake.
200g - self -raising flour (I used 270g)
4 tbsp ground ginger (I used 3 tablespoons of ground ginger)
1tsp baking powder (I used 1 tablespoon baking powder)
200g butter (I used 270 g butter)
350g golden sugar (I used 250g golden sugar and 200g treacle)
100g light muscavodo sugar (I used 130g dark muscavodo sugar)
4 eggs, beaten (I used 6 eggs)
100g pecans (I used 50 g pecans)
100g crystallised ginger (I used 60g ginger)
I also added 50 g coconut.
Pinch of salt

The recipe and method for the  ginger fudge icing can be found here.

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark4/ Fan oven 160C. Butter and line the base of two 20cm/8 inch tins. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder and salt. Rub in the butter until it resembles crumbs - (I done this as stage 2)
2) Beat in the syrup, sugar, eggs, pecans, crystallised ginger and coconut. Pour into the tins and bake for 45 minutes until firm. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes and turn out on a wire rack.



Monday, 10 December 2012

Chinese chicken.

I can't claim this to be 100% authentic, but the flavours and ingredients in this dish is a beautiful healthy take on a Chinese takeaway. This recipe is taken from BBC Good Food Healthy Eats cookbook, and it made a lovely weekday meal. The Chinese chicken was easy to make, and I had it on the table in around 30 minutes.
Here is how my Chinese chicken turned out:
Healthy Chinese chicken
Ingredients for Chinese chicken.
1 egg white
1 tbsp cornflour, plus 1 tsp extra
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
1tbsp fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks
a thumb-size knob of fresh root ginger, grated
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, seeded and sliced
boiled rice to serve.

1) Beat together the egg white and one tablespoon of cornflour in a bowl. Tip in the chicken and coat with the mux. Marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature.
2) Remove the chicken from the egg marinade and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat a wok and pour in one tablespoon of oil. Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes, tossing until just cooked. Set aside. Meanwhile combine the fish sauce, lime juice, 55ml water and the extra teaspoon of cornflour.
3) Add a little more oil to the pan if you need to, and stir fry the pepper for 1 minute, then tip in the ginger, shallot, garlic and chilli, if using, and fry for 1-2 minutes more. Tip the fish-sauce mix into the wok, then add the chicken. Heat through, and serve with boiled rice.

per serving 501 calories, fat 5g

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sticky gingerbread

Last December I brought Nigella's Christmas book for a bargain £5 from Amazon. Unfortunately Nigella's Christmas is no longer available for £5, and is currently selling between £10-£15, but it is the "go to" Christmas book. There are over 200 recipes in this book which ranges from Soups, Sides and Starters, Stress Free Suppers, The Main Event, Baking, Edible Presents and Drinks.
I decided on baking something sweet and comforting for one evening, and thought the sticky gingerbread would be the perfect recipe. I've never made or tasted gingerbread but what caught my eye was the use of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, fresh ginger and golden syrup - all ingredients which I love.
I tweaked the method a bit, I'll explain further along, but kept all the ingredients the same. I've seen on other blogs that people have served this on its on with tea but I decided to go back to my childhood with some custard.
Here is how my sticky gingerbread with custard turned out:
Sticky gingerbread with custard

I first started by melting the butter, sugar, syrup, treacle and gingers, cinnamon and cloves in the microwave on a medium heat (The recipe suggests to do this in a pan on the stove) until melted.
Butter, syrups, gingers and cinnamon.
Melted butter and syrups
I then added the milk and eggs to the mixture and combined before adding the flour and mixing well.
Mixture with the flour and egg
I placed the gingerbread in a baking dish and baked for 50 minutes.
Gingerbread pre baking

Once baked I left to cool for 30 minutes before dusting with icing sugar and serving with custard.
Baked gingerbread

Recipe for sticky gingerbread - taken from Nigella Christmas
150 g butter
200g golden syrup
200g treacle
125g dark muscavodo sugar
2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250ml full fat milk
2 eggs, beaten to mix
300 g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3 and line a roasting tin or oven proof dish with baking parchment
Melt the butter, over a low heat along with the sugar, syrup, treacle, fresh and ground gingers, cinnamon and coves.
Take of the heat, and add the milk, eggs and bicarbonate of sofa.
Measure the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. It will be a very liquid batter, but this makes the gingerbread sticky.
Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 45-60 minutes until risen and firm on top.
Transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool into 20 squares.

I am entering my sticky gingerbread to Forever Nigella, a monthly blogging challenge where bloggers cook from a theme from Nigella Lawson. This month Forever Nigella is hosted by Laura Loves Cakes laura loves cakes and is organised by Sarah from Maison Cupcakes Maison Cupcakes.

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