Saturday, 13 December 2014

Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie and Mulled Wine plus a Giveaway.

What do you eat on Boxing Day? Turkey sandwiches, turkey curry, turkey fajitas are the many dishes that  people are likely to eat on Boxing Day, which completely makes sense, why waste good, juicy and succulent turkey? In Nigella Lawson's baking masterpiece: How to Be A Domestic Goddess, Nigella states that this is the dish she enjoys on Boxing Day: Egg and Bacon Pie. I'm unsure whether I would eat this on Boxing Day itself, perhaps a few days later, those awkward days between Boxing Day and New Years Eve when turkey can get a bit tiresome and a hearty, comforting meal is required.
I found the Boxing Day Egg and Bacon pie rather easy to make, the most complicated part is making the pastry and I would certainly recommend buying ready-made shortcrust pastry if you are pressed for time. Once the pastry is sorted, the remainder of the making of the pie is relatively simple. Please ensure that you create a small hole in the middle of the pie to let the steam out as you don't want to the pastry to become soggy from the liquids.  I decided to serve this pie with a seasonal favourite, roasted goose fat potatoes and the essential Brussel Sprouts. Would I make this pie again ? I certainly would, I found it not only to be delicious, warming and comforting, in my opinion it so versatile and is suitable to be eaten all year round.
As we are in the full swing of the Christmas season, I served my Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie with  mulled wine. I've never made my own mulled wine before, I certainly have drank many mulled wine drinks when I have visited restaurants but one of the positives of being a food blogger is that I am always willing to try new dishes and drinks. With mulled wine, it's all about the spices, which gives the aromatic distinctive flavour in this warming drink. I'm such a big fan of Spice Kitchen, I reviewed their aromatic intense spices earlier this year and they were generous enough  to send me a lovely pouch of their premium mulled wine spices. The mulled wine spices  were very intense in smell and absolutely delicious in my mulled wine, the perfect winter drink.
Here is my Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie:
Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie:

Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie.

Dry ingredients.

Wet ingredients added.

Pastry rolled out

Filling for the pie.

Pie pre-bake.

Boxing Day pie baked

Inside my pie. 
Recipe for Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie can be found here 
Mulled wine spices

Ingredients in pan for mulled wine

Mulled wine heated 

Mulled wine laddled

Mulled wine
Mulled Wine, Recipe from How to Be A Domestic Goddess.
1 bottle of red wine
60 ml 4 tbsp dark rum
125ml Earl Grey tea
1 Orange, quartered, each quarter stuck with 1 clove
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1 tbsp dark muscavodo sugar
1 tbsp honey

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring almost to the boil, but before the aromatic wine actually boils, turn down to the lowest possible heat and keep it warm as you paddle it into any nearby glass.

The lovely people at Spice Kitchen are offering one lucky reader a pouch of luxurious mulled wine
spices. Please follow the instructions on the rafflecopter to be in with a chance.
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Monday, 25 March 2013

Coconut and Lime cupcakes revisited.

I love coconut and lime, it's a classic combination and one which goes down well on most palletes. I first made these cuppies last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. So when I decided to bake some cupcakes for Comic Relief, coconut and lime cupcakes were one out three flavours that I made. My cupcakes went down a storm at work, and were the fastest selling cupcakes at my cake sale. Although I posted the recipe last year, I have taken a whole load of new pics for my latest coconut and lime cupcakes, which I topped with coconut and lime buttercream, desiccated coconut and honeycomb pieces.
Here is how my coconut and lime cupcakes turned out:
Coconut and lime cupcakes

I first started by soakiing the coconut in hot water and placed aside.
Soaked coconut

I then creamed the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Butter and sugar
Butter and sugar

I then added one egg at a time and alternated this with the flour.
Once all the ingredients were combined, I placed in 12 cupcake cases and baked for 20 minutes. Once baked, I left the cupcakes to cool and made the buttercream.
My previous blog post is much more in depth than this one, the recipe can be found here. The biggest difference is that with these cupcakes, I added the juice of 1/2 lime in the buttercream and topped with honeycomb, which gave my cakes a further flavour dimension.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Maple syrup and pistachio bread

Happy New Year! One of my foodie related New Years Resolutions is to be more creative with my baking. I think i've mastered the art of baking cakes and quiches, but there is more to baking than cakes and quiches. I often find bread making daunting, all that kneading (which I have not got the hang out of yet), the dough being left to rise, possibly having to be kneaded again - it can be a faff.
But I thought I need to be creative and turned to one of my favourite baking books, Nigella's "How to Be A Domestic Goddess as I wanted to branch out and make some bread over the Christmas holidays. I was drawn to a recipe for maple syrup and pecan loaf, but as I had no pecans, I thought I would replace this with pistachio. I was a little apprehensive as it was a wholemeal loaf, and wholemeal loafs  can be tricky to make. I was right to be apprehensive, as I was unsure whether the loaf was cooked and as a result left it too long in the oven. As a result, the loaf was a bit dry but once I lavished it with butter the flavours of the maple syrup and the pistachios really came through. I think if I was to make this again I would have to use white bread flour, as I think the loaf would taste and look better. Anyway, here is how my maple syrup and pistachio bread turned out:
Maple syrup and pistachio bread
Maple syrup and pistachio bread
The problem that I had was ensuring the underneath was cooked, fortunately it was.
Underneath my maple syrup and pistachio bread
Ingredients for maple syrup and pistachio (or you can use pecans or walnuts) bread.
500g wholemeal bread flour
150g strong white flour
1 tablespoon salt
7g easy blend yeast
300ml- 400ml warm water
4 tablespoons maple syrup
50g pistachio, pecans or walnuts
oil for greasing.

Ingredients for bread 

Combine flours, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Mix water and maple syrup together in a jug and add to the flour mixture and knead until elastic - which takes a bit longer than white bread due to the wholemeal flour. Rest for 20 minutes.
Kneaded dough

Knead the pecans into the dough and form into a ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and leave covered lightly in oil. I found this quite difficult to do as the pistachios kept on falling out of the dough, but eventually I managed to get there in the end! Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave in a warm area for 1-2 hours until risen.
Chopped pistachio

Pistachios in bread

Bread risen with pistachios

Punch the dough down and knead for 1 minute. Make it into a rectangular shape. Make three diagonal slashes on the top. Rest in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise.

bread shaped into loaf

Bread shaped into loaf

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6 and bake the bread for around 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn down the heat to gas mark 5 and bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked.


I am entering this recipe to Forever Nigella, a monthly blogging challenge organised by Sarah from Maison cupcake and this month hosted by Recipe Junkie. This months theme is Food for Loved ones, and I think this bread would be enjoyed over a long weekend with the family.




Thursday, 1 November 2012

Coconut and lime cupcakes.

I love coconut. I love the nostalgic feel of coconut in baking and cooking and often use coconut in cooking such as in rice and peas, currys and soup. I also adore baking with coconut making variations of coconut and jam cake, coconut slices and coconut cupcakes. This recipe is in fact adapted from a coconut cake recipe from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess. As per usual with a Nigella recipe, this is really simple you can either place all the ingredients in the food processor or use the traditional method of combining the sugar and butter together - as what I did.
Here is how my coconut and lime cupcakes turned out:
Coconut and lime cupcakes

I was giving these cupcakes to my friend who I met in Brazil, and who now lives in London. Note to self: never travel on the train or tube with boxed cupcakes! Luckily they still held their piping but it was nerve wracking.
Boxed coconut cupcakes
My cupcakes turned out really moist and was delicious, the lime really came through and I certainly would make this again.
Inside my coconut cupcakes

I followed the usual method by creaming the butter and sugar together and added the remaining ingredients and combined.
Coconut mixture
Coconut soaked in lime and coconut rum.

I placed the mixture into the cupcakes cases.
Cupcakes pre baked

After 25 minutes the cupcakes were gloriously brown and looked delicious.
Baked cupcakes

I made the butter cream with my favourite buttercream recipe buttercream recipe, but added 3 squirts of lime juice (from the bottle) and 2 tablespoons of coconut rum. I then placed the buttercream into a piping bag and using my new best friend the Witton 1M piping nozzle piped away.
Perfect cupcakes for coconutaholics.

Ingredients (adapted from Nigella's How to Be a Domestic Goddess) - Makes 18 large cupcakes.

225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
225g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g desiccated, coconut, soaked in 150ml boiling water
I also added 3 tablespoons of coconut rum and three squirts of lime juice.

Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor, or the traditional way as follows:
Cream butter and sugar, until pale and creamy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour after each to prevent curdling. Gently fold in flours and baking powder. Fold in the coconut and place the mixture in the cupcake cases.



    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Peanut butter squares

    I am a big fan of no bakes. In fact, sometimes, nothing beats mixing comforting ingredients in a pan, adding some more delicious ingredients, placing in a baking tin and allowing the mixture to cool, then cutting into chunks is perfection. I have tried a number of no bake recipes and have to say the sweet and salty bars from Nigella's Kitchen that I have previously blogged about is my favourite bake. The recipe that I will share is adapted from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess book and is currently my number 2 favourite no bake. The combination of sweet and salty is repeated or should I say invented from "How to be a domestic goddess book" (as this was released 10 years before Nigella's Kitchen) but the saltiness isn't as intense as the sweet and salty bars.
    I wasn't entirely convinced with the suggested base of muscavado sugar, icing sugar, unsalted butter and peanut butter, and felt that the base should have more structure. I then omitted the icing sugar and replaced this with chocolate digestives to give my base some more of an oomph. I also reduced the suggested topping of 200g milk chocolate and 100g plain chocolate to 100g milk chocolate and 50g dark chocolate. I have to try and save some calories somewhere!
    Here is how my peanut butter squares turned out:

    I first started by weighing the biscuit and peanut butter mixture. As per usual I ran out of a key ingredient, so I added two custard creams to bulk out the base.

    I then combined the biscuits and peanut butter in a food processor and let this pulse until everything combined. I then added melted butter to the mixture.

    Once everything was combined I placed in an oven dish. I also melted the milk and dark chocolate and poured and smoothed over the top of the mixture. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of this, but here is how the mixture looked pre setting.

    Overall, another quick and easy no bake dish. Perfect for children and grown ups alike.

    Ingredients (My adaptations are in red)
    For the base
    50g dark muscovado sugar
    200g icing sugar (I omitted this)
    50g unsalted butter
    200 smooth peanut butter (I used crunchy peanut butter).

    For the topping
    200g milk chocolate (I used 100g milk chocolate)
    100g plain chocolate (I used 50g dark chocolate)
    1 tablespoon butter.

    Stir all the ingredients for the base together until smooth. Press the sandy mixture into the lined brownie tin and make the surface as even as possible.
    To make the topping, melt the chocolates and butter together and spread on the base. Put the tin in the fridge to set. When the chocolate has hardened, cut into small squares.


    Thursday, 6 September 2012

    Nigella's American pancakes with crispy bacon and golden syrup.

    I've been meaning to try this recipe of American pancakes from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess for over a year, but never have managed to get round to making it, until now. I've never actually made or tried American pancakes before, but the picture in the book, with all the syrup drizzling over, tempted me to make this last weekend. The recipe is fairly simple, flour, milk and eggs, but the difference between the American version and the British version, is the American version uses self- raising flour whereas English pancakes tend to use plain flour. I followed the advice to put all the ingredients into the mixer and just whizz - how simple.
    Whilst I was mixing the batter for the pancakes, I remembered that some time ago, a recipe was posted on the Nigella website for American pancakes with waffer bacon and syrup. I've seen this combination - sweet pancakes, salty bacon and sweet syrup on various American food programes and have always been fascinated on how this combination could work.
    There was no time like the present to try this, so I placed some bacon under the grill whilst I poured two tablespoons of mixture into a hot frying pan. I am pleased to say it all worked, and my American pancakes with bacon and golden syrup turned out to be lush:
    Pancakes with bacon and syrup.
    The pancakes were slightly scorched in some parts but this did not effect the taste. As I reiterated earlier these pancakes were really easy to make. I mixed in my food processor.
    Mixture minus eggs
    I whisked all the mixture first and added the eggs when all the mixture was combined. I added the eggs towards the end as I did not want to over whisk the eggs.
    Here is a link to the recipe: Pancake recipe.

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