Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cake

I own only one, yes one Christmas cookbook. For me, no Christmas cooking or baking is complete without a visit to Nigella Lawson's Christmas cookery book. Bursting with recipes, I'm always inspired to try a new festive recipe. Whilst many may enjoy the traditional Christmas cake with marzipan and lots of fruit, I've been brought up on the rum laced Jamaican fruit cake which is what I always prefer. I do however have a soft spot for chocolate and when I rediscovered this spiced chocolate Christmas cake, I just had to bake it. With all the lovely Christmas spices cinnamon, cloves and zest of clementine complimented with chocolate, this cake is a perfect alternative to a rich fruit cake. What I found surprising is how gooey the chocolate was when cooked, almost similar to a brownie in texture, but with a warm hint of Christmas with every bite. It's surprisingly quick to make and can be made from start to eating within 1.5 hours. 





The recipe for Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cake can be found here. I added a sprinkling of icing sugar over the cake.
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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas Chutney

As it's the Christmas season, I'm in the full swing of eating the seasonal foods and cooking and baking festive delights. It's been a long time since I've made chutney, but thought I must make a Christmas chutney from my favourite and only Christmas book, Nigella's Christmas. The reason why I love chutney so much is that it is a delicious accompaniment to roast meats such as turkey, ham and even beef. I am looking forward to eating spoonfuls of this Christmas chutney on Boxing Day with a selection of cold meats, cheeses and perhaps some crusty bread to mop up the flavours. I would advise on making the chutney two months ahead, as this will allow the chutney to mature and flavour.
The the chutney is a doddle to cook and will leave your home with an aromatic flavour, the chutney also has a vibrant red flavour from the fresh cranberries. Once matured the flavours are sweet and earthy flavour which makes the chutney quite addictive.
Here is how my chutney turned out:
Christmas chutney.

I first started by placing all the ingredients in a pot and added the sugar to the ingredients.
Christmas chutney.

Christmas chutney.

I left the mixture to boil for 45 minutes and stirred occasionally to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan.
Christmas chutney.

Once the chutney is cooked ladle into sterile jars and leave to store for up to two months before serving with delicious cold meats.

The recipe can be found here.
xxx
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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Cranberry, almond and honey Granola

I love granola. I first discovered making your own granola from Nigella Feasts and I have also made a version from Jo Wheatley's A Passion for Baking: I have been pleasantly pleased with both recipes. With the Christmas season amongst us and all the delicious Christmas/winter ingredients in full swing I thought of making my favourite healthy granola but update it for the season. This version of granola is taken from Nigella Lawson's Christmas cookbook. Despite the media coverage over the last few weeks, I am most certainly Team Nigella; her recipes are always a winner.
Cranberry, almond and honey granola is perfect for the Christmas season, the dried cranberries are delicious, the almonds add the lovely nutty texture and the honey makes everything sweet. As with all of Nigella's recipes, this is a doddle to make and tastes delicious. I tend to serve my granola with warm milk as I do with all my cereals, but this can also be eaten with low fat natural yoghurt and topped with berries.
Here is how my cranberry, almond and honey granola turned out:
Granola.
Granola with milk.

I first started by placing all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Granola ingredients.

Once the mixture was combined I placed in a lined baked greaseproof oven dish.
Granola mixed.

Granola baked.

Once baked I added the dried cranberries.
Dried cranberries added.
I placed the granola in a sterilised jar.
Granola in jar. 

Recipe for cranberry, almond and honey granola.

Ingredients
225g rolled oats (not instant)
60g sunflower seeds
60g white sesame seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
150g (125ml) runny honey
50g soft light brown sugar
60g whole natural almonds
60g blanched almonds
½ teaspoon Maldon salt or pinch of table salt
1 tablespoon rapeseed or sunflower oil
150g dried cranberries



Put everything except the dried cranberries into a large mixing bowl and mix well. 




Spread this mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake in a 170oC/gas mark 3 oven, turning over the mixture with a spatula about halfway through baking and redistributing the granola evenly during the baking process. The object is to get the granola evenly golden without toasting too much in any one place. If you have a convection or fan oven, you may need to turn it to a lower heat as well as keeping a sharp eye on it.




This should be ready – golden enough and dried out like a crunchy breakfast cereal rather than the sticky mess that went into the oven – in anything from 40-50 minutes.




Remove from the oven and let cool, taking it off the hot baking sheet, before mixing with the dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container.



xx
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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
Ingredients
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

Method
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.

xxx
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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Christmas Rocky Road

I know we are not yet in the month of December but let's kick start the festive season with some Christmas Rocky Roads. I first saw these Christmas Rocky Roads after watching an episode of Nigella Kitchen, and was lured in with all the luscious ingredients. These Rocky Roads also appear in Nigella's Feasts and are the perfect chocolate goodies for the festive season. Amaretti biscuits, glace cherries and Brazil nuts are used to make these more festive. I decided to stick to my trusty digestive biscuits but added the glace cherries and Brazil nuts and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The Christmas Rocky Roads are nutty, yet chewy and very chocolatey.
Here is how my Rocky Roads turned out:
Christmas Rocky Road

I first started by weighing the chocolate, butter and golden syrup and then heated on a pan until melted.
Chocolate and butter
Melted chocolate

I then bashed the biscuits and Brazil nuts then in cooperated this into the chocolate mixture.
Digestive and Brazil nut mixture.
Biscuit, nut and chocolate mixture.

Once in cooperated I placed in a baking tin and left to set in the fridge for 3 hours.
All in-cooperated
Rocky road in tin, ready to set.

After 3 hours the mixture was set and dusted icing sugar over the Rocky Road.
Here is the recipe for Christmas Rocky Road

Yum!

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Monday, 24 September 2012

Nigella's Bourbon glazed ribs with cornbread

Although we have yet to reach the month of December, I feel the recipes from Nigella's Christmas book can be eaten throughout the year, even in the summer months. This recipe, bourbon glazed ribs with spoon bread (a combination of sweetcorn and cornbread, although I used more cornmeal than sweetcorn) was described by Nigella as "the perfect holiday supper", and I must agree, this is the perfect easy evening meal which will please everyone, especially those who love ribs.
 As with many off my other cook books I pencilled in this recipe a while ago, but only got round to making this after reading Maya Angelou's "I know why the caged bird sings" and suddenly wanted to try foods from the "deep south". I believe the bourbon glazed ribs and cornbread is a meal that is from the "deep south" the Bourbon originates from Kentucky and cornbread is a bread commonly eaten within African American households.
The combination of the bourbon and musavodo sugar is my favourite sticky ribs recipe so far, and I think the marinade would work well with chicken thighs. Here is how my ribs and cornbread turned out:
Bourbon glazed ribs, corn bread and salad

I first started preparing the ribs in the morning as I am a firm believer of seasoning and marinading, so started with marinading the ribs in an oven dish. I left the ribs to marinade for 6 hours, although the recipe states it is best to marinade overnight (unfortunately I was pressed for time the night before).
Ribs pre baking

An hour and a half before I wanted to eat my ribs and cornbread I started making the corn bread. This was super easy, I placed all the ingredients into my food processor and mixed away.
Cornbread micture
I then placed the corn bread into an oven dish and placed in the oven, alongside the dish with the ribs. I placed the ribs on the top shelf of my oven and the cornbread on the shelf beneath.
Cornbread ready to be baked
After an hour the ribs and cornbread was ready. I turned the ribs around after thirty minutes to ensure the ribs were not burnt on one side.
Cornbread cooked


Recipe for bourbon-glazed ribs and corn bread to serve 8
24 pork spare ribs
100g dark muscovado sugar
175ml bourbon
2 x 15ml tablespoon soy sauuce
2 x 15ml mustard
2 x 15 ml tomato ketchup

Method
Put the ribs into a freezer bag and add the other ingredients to form a marinade. Place in the fridge, putting the bag into a bowl to avoid drips or spillages, and leave overnight.
The next day, remove the ribs from the fridge, and preheat the oven to 220 C/gas mark 7
Pick the ribs out of the marinade and put them into a shallow roasting tin, then pour the marinade into a saucepan..
Cook the ribs for 1 hour, turning them over halfway through cooking.
When the ribs are cooked, bring the marinade to a boil and cook for about 7 minutes or until it is thick and glossy. Plate up the ribs, then pour the bourbon sauce over them.


xxx
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