Saturday, 15 November 2014

Cheesecaklets

Nigella Lawson boldly declares these pancakes as "old-fashioned cheesecake-flavoured pancakes". I, however am unable to comment what old-fashioned cheesecake flavoured pancakes taste like, as I have never tried this particular dish before. As always, I love searching out new recipes for my weekend breakfast, these cheesecaklets caught my eye. I  was intrigued by the use of cottage cheese in pancakes and having a quick glance over the ingredients I realised if I made this, they would be nowhere near as calorific as other pancakes. I tweaked the ingredients a bit, which is one of the beauty of cooking and recreating your own recipes. I used cottage cheese with pineapple and instead of the strawberries, I replaced this with tinned pears. Unfortunately strawberries are not in season but the pears perfectly fit the bill.
These cheesecaklets or sweet cheese pancakes as I like to call them were incredibly easy to make. They were a bit weird looking in term of mixture but when the mixture hit the scorching hot frying pan they began to take a robust form. They cook super quick so do keep an eye on the pancake. The flavours really come through, they are bits of pineapple popping through alongside the subtly of vanilla extract. I would also recommend this as the pancakes, when stacked up high are incredibly filling.
Here is how my cheeselaklets turned out:
Cheesecaklets

Cheesecaklets


Recipe for Cheesecaklets
For the pancakes
3 eggs
2 tbsp caster sugar
225 cottage cheese
50g plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To eat with
250 g strawberries (I used pears, which were tinned)
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 - 1 teaspoon caster sugar

Method
Start with the fruit, just so that it can macerate while you make the pancakes. Depending on their size, chop the strawberries into quarters, sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar and sugar and swirl the bowl about a bit so the strawberries are coated before covering with cling film and leave to steep while you set about making your cheesecakes.
Separate the eggs. Mix the yolks with sugar, beating well. Add the cottage cheese, flour and vanilla. Then, in another bowl, whisk the whites till frothy (with a hand whisk only) and fold the fold the white spume into the cottage cheese mixture.
Heat a smooth griddle or non stick pan and dollop tablespoons of the curd-thick batter on to it to make cake lets of about 8 cm diameter. Each cheesecake let will take a minute or so to firm up underneath, when you should flip it and cook the other side. Remove to a warmed plate as and when ready.
Turn the strawberries in the ruby syrup they've made and squish some pieces with a fork at the same time. Decent them into a bowl, with a spoon for serving, and bring your cheesecaklets to the table at the same time.

xxx
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Monday, 4 November 2013

Cornbread topped chilli con carne.

It's been a long time since I've blogged about a recipe from Nigella's Feasts cook book, the 14th November 2012 to be exact. That's not to say I haven't flicked through the pages of one of my favourite cookbooks and have pencilled more "to cook and to bake on the list". I love so many recipes in Nigella's Feasts (especially the Chocolate Hall of Fame chapter) but the thing is, I rarely cook for 8 plus people. Unless you are one of the exciting people who has dinner parties, I doubt many would cook a dish which serves up to 20, as does the chilli con carne that I recently made.
I quite like the chili and I also like cornbread so I thought I would give this recipe a go. I used a 1/3 of the ingredients as stipulated in the recipe, and yet this was still way too much. I made this on a Saturday which suited me better as it does require some time, to make the chilli, then pop back into the oven when topped with the cornbread mixture. I thought the chilli was ok and I liked the cornbread placed on top of the chili and this was perfect for mopping up the mince. My only criticism of this recipe is that next time I will be making the corn bread from Nigella's Christmas cookbook as the cornbread was much tastier.

Here is how my cornbread topped chilli turned out:
Chilli topped cornbread.
Cornbread topped chilli.

Cornbread topped chilli pre-bake.

Cornbread topped chilli pre-bake.

The recipe for corn bread topped chilli can be found here.

xxx
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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:

Granola 

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.
Yum
Recipe for granola can be found here: granola recipe

xxx
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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 http://www.belleaukitchen.com/. 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 http://www.lavenderandlovage.com/ and Kate at What Kate Baked http://whatkatebaked.blogspot.co.uk/. 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 http://www.tinnedtomatoes.com/, 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.

xx






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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Review - Nigella Lawson Feasts

As i've stated many times before, I discovered Nigella's cooking pretty late in life (only last year). In my defence, I was only 11 when she brought out How to Eat, and not many 11 year olds would want to read a cooking manual. However, I have fallen in love with her Feasts cookbook. Having purchased this book way back in January, I promptly wrote a to cook and too bake list. There are pictures of the recipes on almost every page and the book is sorted out in sections of Feasts such as a chapter on Christmas feasts, chocolate feast and even funeral feasts.
 Some have turned out and looked delicious such as the lamb maharja and crunchy pork chops. Whilst some have been an absolute dissapointment (Georgian roast chicken and rigatoni al forno, I did use taglitelle for the latter). Although the majority of the recipes in this book serve 6-8 plus more for some, I had no problems reducing the quantities to suit 2 or so servings. Some of the pictures of the dishes based on feast have previously been mentioned in my other posts, where as some haven't.
Chocolate Guinness cake- lovely, moist and rich. This cake was very easy to make and one of the most well known chocolate cake from Nigella's feasts cookbook. The recipe can be found here: Chocolate guinness cake.

Crunchy pork chips- another easy to make dish, I also made the garliky spinach and tomato salad to go alongside this lovely dish (p.345).
Finger lickin ribs (p.150), this recipe is quite similar to the ribs that are featured in Nigella's Forever Summer and Kitchen cook book. I marinaded the ribs for several hours before cooking. Another successful dish.
Lamb maharja (p.324), this dish is featured as a prat of a curry feast. I attempted to also make the aloo gobbi, which was a healthy accompaniment to this curry feast.
Old fashioned chocolate cake (p.269).  So luscious, rich and indulgent. I added the strawberries to add 1 of my 5 a day lol. Recipe can be found here: old fashioned chocolate cake.

One pan sage and onion chicken and sausage bake with potato grating and broccoli. I must admit not the most appealing dish, but it tasted lovely. The recipe can be found here: Sage and onion chicken and sausage bake.
One of my favourite feast dishes. Pasta with ham and peas (p.244) so rich (I substituted cream for cream fraiche) - A must for any pastaholic.


                              xxx
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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Chocolate guinness cake

Although I'm attempting to eat healthily (I've lost over a stone now), every now and again I crave a chocoholic treat. What better way of quenching my cravings by diving back into Nigella's feasts cookbook and heading straight to her chocolate hall of fame. I've seen so many variations of this cake, it was almost like I've eaten it before. I can see why this cake is celebrated and one of Nigella's more popular recipes. Firstly, the cake is rich, has a beautiful texture, has spices coming through and is topped of by a wonderful cream cheese frosting. As this is my first time baking this cake I was expecting some flaws, and must say I thought the frosting could have been thicker. Does anyone have any ideas how to make the frosting thicker, if so, please share !
Anyway, here is my version of the chocolate guinness cake turned out:

The recipe can be found here: chocolate guinness cake

                                                  xxxx
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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Old fashioned chocolate cake

Happy Valentines day! I first discovered this cake after watching Nigella feasts on youtube, an episode that focused entirely on chocolate. As i've stated before I love chocolate, but wondered what made this cake different the chocolate cakes i've made before? The only difference I identified is the sour cream ingredient, which adds moisture to this cake. Making the cake was easy and simple, a lot like all of Nigella's other recipes. As I made this the week coming up to Valentines day I decided on using my new heart shape tins and decorate the cake with some refreshing strawberries. The recipe for Nigella's old fashioned chocolate cake can be found here: old fashioned chocolate cake. I really enjoyed eating four slices from this decadent cake, after eating all my healthy food in the week.

Am not sure how many weight watchers points this cake has but the strawberry has 1 point!

My cakes out of the tin and cooling.

My cake after I applied the chocolate icing.
xxxx


This is another entry I will be submitting to Maison cupcake for the Forever Nigella blog hop http://blog.maisoncupcake.com/forever-nigella-12/ .



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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Blondies and Quadruple chocolate loaf.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my three week break from university, moping around in my wonzie, drinking several cups of coffee a day and attempting to finish of my 12,000 word dissertation. But what really lifted my spirits is another opportunity/excuse to bake another tray bake to share with my uni amigos. I find that I can easily become fascinated with my latest new book, marking out recipes only to do the same in 30 days time (when I get paid) which means I do not get the full opportunity to enjoy the book. I looked at my bookshelves and Nigella's kitchen appealed to me. As I have mentioned in a previous first post this Nigella's kitchen was my first Nigella book, thus holding a special place in my heart. I have made one other tray bake in this book, the treacle slice, but thought I would attempt to make blondies. I've never tasted a blondie before but surely I couldn't go wrong with white brownies.
Here is how my blondies turned out

The stages of making blondies were very easy (as with most of Nigella's recipes)
Blondies mixture, the 1tablespoon of mixture tasted lovely!

Blondie awaiting to be cooked.

Cooked and ready to be eaten

I also made Nigella's quadruple chocolate loaf from my latest Nigella purchase, Feasts. I wish I could say the loaf turned out fantastic. In truth it was my fault as I did not let the cake cool when attempting to take it out the tin, leaving the loaf to crumble. The cake turned tasted lovely, moist, luxurious and rich. I will definitely make this loaf again but let it cool and not be so eager to eat!. The recipe can be found here: Quadruple chocolate loaf.
Here is how my chocolate loaf turned out
I've learnt it's always good to share my bakes as it tends to cheer everyone up.

I am entering the blondies to Maison cupcake http://blog.maisoncupcake.com/forever-nigella-12/ and will probably enter more as I will be cooking from her Feasts and Kitchen (date steak for one, anyone?!).
I am entering the quadruple chocolate loaf to mikes baking http://www.mikesbaking.co.uk/
                                       xxx
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Saturday, 4 February 2012

St Tropez chicken, smashed potato gratin and green beans

I purchased Nigella's feasts cook book after watching her feasts series on youtube (instead of writing/reading my dissertation may I add) and fell in love with her easy, no fuss approach to making comfort food appear easy. Immediately after receiving feasts courtesy of Amazon I began to make a "to cook and to bake" list of all the recipes that appealed to me. The St Tropez chicken which comes under the "wedding" chapter appealed to me alongside other chicken dishes. I've never been to St Tropez in France, only Paris but the idea of sun kissed chicken with wine sounded too irresistible to pass up. I decided of adding green beans and leeks instead of French peas as Nigella suggested, as I didn't think peas was filling for someone with a health appetite.
Here is how my dish turned out:


I thought attempting to type up the recipe would be very time consuming and luckily food.com have the recipe for Nigella's St Tropez chicken, it can be found here St Tropez chicken. I tweaked the recipe slightly and used white wine that my nan brought from Spain instead of Rose.
The recipe for the smashed potato gratin, taken from feasts (p.426) is as follows:
Ingredients
1.25kg floury potatoes
750ml milk
1/2 stick of celery
4 spring onions
black or white pepper
100g butter
2 tablespoons semolina

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/220c. Butter a shallowish roasting tin, approximately 36*25cm
Peel and chop the potatoes, and cut into approx. 1cm*3cm chunks. Put them into a saucepan with the milk, salt, celery, whole spring onions, a good grinding of black peeper and about 75g of the butter. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Fish out the celery and spring onions, and then pour the milky,buttery cooked potatoes into the prepared roasting tin and mash them lightly with a fork. You can leave them made up to this point to sit for a while.
When you are ready put them in the oven, sprinkle over the semolina and dot with the remaining butter. Cook the smashed potato gratin for 30 minutes or until hot through and beginning to catch and scorch in parts on the top.
I am entering this picture to a blog hop at Maison cupcake http://blog.maisoncupcake.com/forever-nigella-12/ A Blog hop is something I have recently discovered but would like to participate in more (ok pictures permitting).

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