Sunday, 7 September 2014

Big Fat Tipsy Tiffle

The majority of the dishes I make which are featured on my blog are: evening meals, weekend breakfast and cakes. It's actually quite rare that I make a dessert or pudding at home as I am quite addicted to making cakes! When I held my BBQ bake off  I felt it would be more appropriate to make a dessert to go along with all the burgers. As anyone who has a growing collection of cook/baking books, many recipes are book marked to make, so I decided to follow a little blogging challenge called random recipes to help me pick a cookery/baking book to help me chose what to make. I randomly picked Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy. This is not a traditional trifle in the sense that there is no jelly but instead there is amaretti biscuits and double cream. Although Lorraine Pascale's recipes are well-known to be super easy, to me the trifle is more of an assemble job, perhaps next time I would make a more authentic trifle as I missed the jelly element.  I decided to omit the alcohol as there were children eaten this dessert but I think it turned out well without it. The several flavours of this trifle came through, the strawberries which were ripe and sweet, the white chocolate smooth and silky, the maderia cakes rich and the amaretti biscuits brought a crunchy element to the trifle.
Here is how my trifle turned out:

Big Fat Trifle

Portion of big fat trifle

Layering up

Layering up

Layering up

Recipe for Big Fat Tipsy Trifle (including alcohol)
  • 2 x ready-made Madeira loaf cakes
  • 150ml amaretto or any other liqueour, plus extra for flamb矇eing
  • 800g strawberries, hulled, cut in half lengthways
  • 250g amaretti biscuits, crumbled
  • few drops vanilla extract
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 900ml/1½ pints double cream
  • 200g/7oz white chocolate, grated
  • Put the trifle dish on a large tray to make it easy to carry. Slice one of the Madeira cakes into 0.5cm/¼in slices and use a few of the pieces to line the bottom of the dish. (Make sure they are nice and tight and in a single layer, so push down any bits that are standing up too high.
  • Brush the sponge with some of the amaretto. Then take a few strawberries halves that are roughly the same size and put them point upwards on the outer edge of the cake so the cut edges are pressing up against the glass. Repeat all the way round the dish.
  • Sprinkle some crumbled amaretti biscuits on top of the sponge to a third of the way up the strawberries.
  • Place the vanilla, icing sugar and cream in a bowl and whisk until thick and well combined
  • Spread a third of the cream on top of the strawberries and crumbled biscuits, and smooth it down with a spoon.
  • Once the cream mixture is level in the bowl, wipe round the edge with kitchen towel. Sprinkle over with white chocolate.
  • Repeat the layering process until the bowl is full, finishing with a layer of strawberries. Chill in the fridge until ready to eat.Shortly before serving, you can flamb矇 the top of the trifle. To do this, place some amaretto in a stainless steel ladle. Warm it through over low heat. Gently ignite the mixture and pour it over the trifle. 
As stated earlier in the post, I am sharing my trifle to the blogging challenge entitled Random Recipes  hosted by the lovely Dom from Belleau Kitchen .


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Waitrose BBQ Off

When the lovely people at Waitrose asked me whether I wanted to host a BBQ off, I happily obliged. As much as I am a relatively experienced cook I have never held a barbecue. In fact, I've never flipped over a burger on a barbecue so this challenge was a great experience for me. Also a new thing for me was shopping at Waitrose; many say that this store are expensive but I found the meat offers, three packets of barbecue meats for £10 very reasonable.
There is a superb range of BBQ recipes from the lovely Heston Blumenthal which I used in the barbecue, as you will see from the photographs in the post such as ribs, corn on the cobs and the chosen item for the BBQ off the juicy burger.  The idea of the BBQ bake is one dish to be chosen, in this case the burger and a winner is chosen based on how they assemble and top the burger. But before I share the winning burger I had to share that the products that I tried which was served at the BBQ, such as the maderia cake, burgers, bread rolls and sun dried tomatoes is the best rich quality of food I have ever tried in a very long time. This proves there is quality over quantity.  My favourite dish from the barbecue was the smokey beef burgers which tasted moist, meaty, tender and were hearty. I certainly would make these burgers again as they incredibly quick to make and were a real crowd pleaser. I'm quite a planner but wanted to keep it relatively simple and easy for me, I loosely based my menu on the following gorgeous dishes.
Here is my BBQ menu planner:
Roasted tomato & Wensleydale tart
Smokey beef burgers
Heston's Asian-style ribs
Corn on the cob

Smokey burgers, smoking

BBQ spread
BBQ spread inside 

Wensydale and cheese tart

Asian style ribs

Me with the dessert, my big fat trifle from LP  Home Cooking .

As part of the BBQ challenge one of my lovely guests had to make their own take on a chosen dish, which in this case was the smokey burger. I chose this delicious looking burger as it was piled high with guacamole, salsa and coleslaw. It also reminded me of my nostalgic trip to Brazil where burgers are sold on the streets with an abundance of toppings and the high and full a burger is, I'm a happy bunny. 
Winning burger

Disclaimer: I received vouchers from Waitrose, I was not required to write a positive view. Of course, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Party time chocolate fridge cake

I love a good chocolate no-bake. For me, a chocolate based recipe which does not require the use of an oven, but yet is indulgent, rich and decadent will always become a blue-print recipe to go to when time is short, but there is a need to get "chocolate wasted". I fell in love with making sweet and salty crunch bars and have made several variations of this and also was impressed with a healthier fruity chocolate fridge cake and enjoyed thoroughly my white chocolate topped refrigerator cake and have different variations of all three no bakes. You see you can never go wrong with a chocolate fridge cake and I have book marked this recipe from Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy for over 2 years, so Valentines Day was the perfect time to try a different version on an old classic. I slightly tweaked the method and ingredients used for this, adding dried cranberries for an extra sweetness and used the micro-wave to melt the chocolate and butter instead of a traditional pan. I felt my adaptations did no harm to this no-bake and perhaps enhanced the flavours and texture as within two hours of being in the fridge, I had a extremely moreish, rich, and addictive bake which was hard to stop eating once I started. I perhaps next time would use more maltesers, I certainly was slightly bewildered how the maltesers turned white once combined with the chocolate, but I suppose it added a nice look to the no-bake. This sweet treat was super easy and yet super delicious, and if you fancy a quick chocolate treat you should make this.

Here is how my party time chocolate fridge cake turned out:

Party time chocolate fridge cake

Chocolate fridge cake

Melted chocolate

Digestive biscuits added

Pre setting
Recipe for Party Time Chocolate Fridge Cake.

125g butter
400g milk or plain chocolate or chopped (I used 300g)
2 dollops of golden syrup
250g digestive biscuits (I used 200g)
135g packet of maltesers (I used 1 packet of maltesers)
handful of dried cranberries

Equipment 20cm square brownie tin or heart shaped tin

Line the tin with baking parchment. Put the butter in a large pan and melt over a low heat. Add the chocolate and golden syrup and allow to melt for a couple of minutes, stirring. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the digestive biscuits and maltesers until evenly mixed.
Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and flatten the top down as smoothly as possible with the back of a spoon. Cover and place in the fridge for a couple or until it hardens. When ready to serve, remove from the tin and cut up into 16 even-sized square and enjoy.

There are many blogging challenges this month which I am entering this chocolate bake dish.
 Bookmarked Recipes hosted by the lovely Jacqueline from  monthly challenge encourages bloggers to cook or bake from a recipe that they have bookmarked from a magazine, blog, cook book or the internet. I have bookmarked this recipe for two years so I meet the desired criteria.

Anneil Faiers from hosts a monthly challenge Four Seasons Food, this months theme is food from the heart. My heart shaped chocolate fridge cake is certainly a food that made my heart very happy.
Naynar from hosts a monthly challenge entitled This months theme is "Lets cook sweet treats for Valentines Day"

Karen from and Janie from host Tea Time Treats this months theme is chocolate as it is the month of love.

Finally, Rachel from and Laura from hosts Calendar Cakes and this months theme is Oh' L Amour, this months theme is Valentines theme so anything heart shaped and a dish made for your loved ones count.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Paprika baked cod and chorizo.

I'm all for oven baked dishes especially for a mid week meal. I've made this dish before but I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture and share on my blog. I consider Lorraine Pascale's paprika baked cod and chorizo to be healthy, well the cod and the added tomatoes are, and quick as this meal is ready within 30 minutes. The first time I made this I cut the cherry tomatoes in half which was a big mistake as the dish became too liquidy, on this occasion this mid-week meal was delicious. The flavour of the chorizo really comes out when baked in the oven and I found the juices from the chorizo helped to further flavour the cod and tomatoes.
Here is how my paprika baked cod and chorizo turned out:
Paprika baked cod and chorizo.

Paprika baked cod and chorizo.
Paprika baked cod and chorizo
Serves 4
175g chorizo, cut into chunks
4 white fish fillets, such as cod
salt and black pepper
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1tbsp olive oil
10 cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Put the fish in a roasting tin, season with salt, pepper and paprika. Add the chorizo and cherry tomatoes to the oven dish. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve immediately with green beans for a healthy mid-week meal.

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.


Monday, 5 November 2012

Decadent Rosemary and Worcestershire sauce cottage pie.

Cottage pie is one of sister's favourite dinners but  I am not usually that keen on this mince and mashed potato combination.  However, during a chill day last week, I craved this mince and potato combination. I have never made a cottage or shepherds pie before, and I don't believe this simple cottage recipe requires a recipe. However, I remembered that Lorraine Pascale has a recipe for a shepherds pie with a "twist", as I am not a fan of lamb mince I added the twist of rosemary and thyme and swapped the lamb mince to beef mince.
The mash did not turn out as smooth as I would like and I doubt I would make this dish again unless I'm having another chill/ duvet day. I thought the rosemary and the Worcestershire sauce enhanced this dish,  I'm sure lovers of cottage/shepherds pie will enjoy this dish.
Here is how my cottage pie turned out:
Rosemary and Worcestershire shepherds pie

I first started by cooking the mince and potatoes in boiling water.
Boiled potatoes

I forgot to take a picture for the mince, but once the mince was cooked I placed this in a casserole dish and placed the mashed potatoes on top.
Cottage pie pre bake

Recipe for Rosemary and Worcester sauce cottage pie (My adaptations are in red)
Oil, for cooking
2 medium red onion, peeled and chopped
3-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 stick of celery, trimmed and chopped
700g lamb mince (I used 500g beef mince)
2 large squidges of tomato puree
3-4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
200ml Maderia or a good red wine or lamb or beef stock (I used beef stock)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

Heat some oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook for a few minutes until they are soft. Add the balsamic vinegar, turn up the heat and cook until all the vinegar has evaporated - this adds a little extra flavour. Add the carrots, celery, if using, and rosemary, then stir it all together and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the lamb mince, break it up with a wooden spoon and cook it until the meat has turned from pink to brown.
Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F), gas mark 4. Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, wine or stock, salt and pepper and the bay leaf and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the mashed potato, put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Cover with the lid so it comes to the boil faster. Once it is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 10-20 minutes, or until they are nice and tender and a knife can glide through them easily.
Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pan. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth, then add the cream, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg, if using, and mix well together. Make a well in the centre of the potatoes, drop in the butter and wait until it melts, then remove the pan from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well. Taste, adjust the seasoning, add more butter if needed, then set aside.


Monday, 1 October 2012

Lorraine Pascale's spring chicken and chilli corn bread with chicken thighs in jerk sauce.

I brought Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy last November, and was not as impressed with this book when comparing to her first book, Baking Made Easy. However, there are a few gems in this book and the spring onion and chili cornbread is one of the recipes that caught my eye. Now, I pencilled mark this recipe last November, as I usually write a "to bake/cook" list with all my new cook book purchases. I have been always meaning to try cornbread, the American classic that has its roots in the deep south. I have been able to fulfil this desire when I made Nigella's spoonbread last month, but this recipe is somewhat different and I feel better tasting then the spoonbread.
The added spring onion and chili gives this cornbread an additional kick which made it even more scrumptious. It may not turn out to be the prettiest of breads but it certainly does the trick. Once more, it is a cheap and cheerful accompaniment to a meat dish, or even soup. I chose to accompany my cornbread with some chicken thighs and some jerk sauce from Asda, part opened and thought I'd season the chicken and cook with the sauce. I was able to visit two different parts of the world, America and Jamaica in one meal, yum.
Here is how my meal turned out:
Cornbread with jerk chicken thighs.

I first started by seasoning my chicken with all spice (pimento), chili powder and my favourite all purpose seasoning. I chopped an onion and added two cloves of garlic and left to marinade for around four hours.
Seasoned chicken

After the chicken was left to soak up the seasoning I started with making the cornbread using the "all in one method", I placed all the ingredients into my food processor and pulsed until smooth (ish).
Cornbread mixture pre blending.

The mixture may not look appetising but believe me the results are lovely.
Cornbread mixture blended.

I greased the oven dish and placed the mixture in the dish and cooked for around 35 minutes.
Cornbread mixture in tin.

I placed the chicken into another oven dish and added the jerk sauce. I placed this on the top shelf and cooked for an hour, turning once.

Chicken in jerk sauce pre cooking.

The cornbread was cooked after 35 minutes and the chicken after an hour. There is a crack on the cornbread and I think this may be due to opening the oven to check on the chicken.
Cooked cornbread.

Cooked chicken.

Overall, a lovely spicy dish with fragrant flavours in both the cornbread and chicken. A superb dinner for all those spice lovers.
Recipe for spring onion and red chili cornbread. My adaptations are in red.
Oil, for oiling
220g fine cornmeal
90g plain flour
1tsp soft light brown sugar (I used demerara)
2tsp bicarbonate of soda (I excluded this)
1 egg (I used 3 eggs)
200g natural yogurt (I omitted this)
300ml milk
1tsp salt (I used 1 tbsp of all purpose seasoning)
75g tinned drained sugar
30g butter or olive oil
3-4 chillies finely chopped
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced.
I also used 1 red pepper. 

Medium ovenproof frying pan, a large brownie tin or 20cm springform tin.

Preheat the oven to 220C, gas mark 7 and oil the pan or tin if using the spring form tin, line the bottom with baking parchment.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl (or food processor) the mix will look very sloppy and no that appealing, then place the mixture into the pan or tin. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the bread looks cooked and is no longer wet.
Once cooked, remove the bread from the oven, leave to cool, then cut into chunks and eat.



Thursday, 26 July 2012

Quick brown sugar and spring onion chicken teriyaki

As mentioned earlier I have changed my blog name so am having to repost my previous blogs. Here is what I blogged in December, and has had the most views of all my posts.......

I brought Lorraine Pascale's home cooking made easy in December but until today have not cooked from her "mains" section besides her "paprika baked fish with chorizo and thyme", which was lovely. I have made some of her breads such as her "sea salt & olive oil pain d'epi" (p.40), which I was not to keen on as it looked my version looked nothing like the picture. I also made her Twenty - first century ham, cheese and chive bread, which my housemates loved. Anyway, a main dish from her new book was on my "to cook" list and I thought her chicken teriyaki would be nice to try, as i've never tried/made teriyaki before.
Here's a picture of how it turned out
It was lush and well appreciated by my family. I thought I would share how to make this recipe.

 50g soft light brown sugar
80 ml mirin (I didn't use this, as never heard of it)
65g soy sauce
3-4 skinless chicken breasts
1*2 cm piece of fresh ginger
1 garlic clove
1 small bunch of spring onions
handfull of sesame seeds

Put the sugar, mirin and soy sauce in one bowl. Put some oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Season the chicken well with some salt and pepper and once the oil is hot enough, add the chicken to the pan and fry for two minutes. Add the ginger and cook for a further minute.

Tip in the sugar, mirin and soy sauce mixture and simmer for 3-5 minutes to thicken slightly (the sauce would still be quite thin), then add the spring onions and cook for two minutes. Take the pan of the heat, throw in the toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately with some quick-cook rice.

I adapted the recipe to suit my love of sauce and the ingredients I had in the house. Firstly, I seasoned the chicken thighs with all purpose seasoning, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce, I left this to marinade for an hour. I then placed the chicken in the oven for an hour, turning once at the 30 minute stage, as this is healthier than frying the chicken. For the marinade I doubled the quantity of soft brown sugar and soy sauce to create more of a sauce, with the additional ingredients of sweet chilli, soy sauce and rice vinegar to give the dish some oomph. I think it worked well



Thursday, 26 April 2012

Birthday cakes- Rocky road cake and coffee and walnut.

It was my 25th birthday last weekend and thought I would make not one, but two birthday cakes. Becoming quite a collector of cookbooks, I initially found it quite difficult to chose a recipe to bake. I finally decided on baking a rocky road cake from Lorraine Pascale's home cooking made easy. Although Ms Pascale describes the cake as "a very naughty rocky road cake", there was actually no pictures on how this cake should look. However, I was aware most rocky road cakes/tray bakes would contain lots of naughty ingredients like marshmellows and chocolate drops. I did substitute some of the recommended ingredients such as digestive biscuits for a mars bar- very random but I forgot about the biscuits and had my eye on a mars bar so I used that instead.
Here is how my very naughty rocky road cake turned out:

It was very over the top, lots of excess of naughty ingredients and very rich - I loved this cake! I would strongly advise making this cake for children as it contains lots of sweet treats.

My second birthday cake I made myself was a coffee and walnut cake from the first series of the Great British bake off. The book for series one is called The Great British Book of Baking, and is currently available from WH Smith online for £6. Coffee and walnut cake is my second favourite cake after chocolate cake, and I decided to use another recipe besides my blueprint from Nigella's Kitchen book. I'm glad I took a chance as I prefer how the cake turned out, and have to admit it is slightly better than Nigella's version. I used my heart shape tins again and liked the way my coffee and walnut cake turned out.

Recipe for rocky road cake
Oil, for oiling
125g butter, sofetened
50g mascarpone
5 eggs
165g self-raising flour
40g coco powder
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g mini marshmallows, plus extra 10g to decorate
60g maltesers, plus extra 20g to deocrate
60g digestive biscuits or rich tea crushed
60g white chocolate chips, plus extra 20g to deocrate
2-3 tbsp milk or water

200g butter
400g icing sugar
3tbsp milk
100g dark chocolate
60g creme fraiche

2*20 cm round sandwich tin.

Preheat the oven to 180c, Gas Mark 4. Oil the base of the tins with a little oil and line with grease proof paper or baking parchment.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the mascarpone and stir through a little, then add half the flour and beat well for a couple of minutes until well combined. Fold in the marshmallows, maltesers, crushed biscuits and chocolate chips. If the mixture looks a little stiff, add the milk or water and mix together.

Divide the cake mixture between the tins and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the cakes are cooked and spongy to the touch when pressed lightly with a finger.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Put the butter in a large bowl and beat very well, then add the icing sugar and milk and mix well. Gradually add the melted chocolate, stirring all the time, then fold in the creme fraiche until well combined. Set aside.

Once the cakes are ready, take the tins out the oven and leave to cool. When completely cool, take them out of the tins. Put a blob of the icing onto a serving plate and place the cake on top of the icing. Now spread some icing over the cake and place the other sponge on top. Spread the rest of the icing over the whole cake to cover. Scatter the extra marshmallows, malted chocolate balls and chocolate chips over the top and sides of the cake and serve.


Saturday, 3 March 2012

Creamy pancetta and mushroom pasta

I first saw Lorraine Pascale"s make this on her Home cooking made easy show and must say I was impressed on how easy it was to make. I decided not to make my own pasta as it"s far easier to buy a packet of tagliatelle from Asda. I've seen different variations from the blogs that I follow version 1, version 2 so decided it was my turn to make this dish.
I decided not to use double cream with my quest to eat healthy so instead made my own cheese sauce (who was I kidding?!). I think using creme fracihe would also be a good substitute for double cream.The pasta turned out to be delicious, my family loved it and I will definitely make this again as it makes a fantastic mid week meal.
Here is how my dish turned out

The recipe for this dish can be found here: 
400g tagliatelle
200g cubed pancetta
175g mushrooms, wiped and finely sliced
225ml double cream or creme fraiche 
75g grated parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, put the pancetta in a medium pan over a medium to high heat. When it starts to go brown, add the mushrooms and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the double cream. Once the cream is hot, add the parmesan and stir together well.

Once the pasta is ready, drain and then return it to the pan. Add the creamy mixture and stir through well. Seaon with some pepper and sprinkle over more grated parmesan.

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