Strawberry jam pie pops!

I needed another treat to take to the party I went to at the weekend. Googling ensued to find something that wouldn’t melt in the car. I already had cheese twists and cookies so wanted something different. I decided to look at a favourite website of mine http://www.bakerella.com It’s a fantastic website and I love looking at the many recipes. Eventually, after spending many minutes drooling;  I came across these: http://www.bakerella.com/easy-as-pie/ pie pops. They look so cool, right?! I had to give them a go. 

All you need is pastry, a filling of your choice (I used strawberry jam), whisked egg, lollypop stick and sugar. Easy peasy.

I used this simple shortcrust pastry recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/shortcrustpastry_1278

I rolled it out and cut out circular shapes

On a lined baking tray, place a circle of pastry and gently push in a lollypop stick

Spoon a little jam into the middle of the circle and brush the edges of the circle with the egg

Place another circle on top of the jam and press down the edges. Crimp along the sides with the edge of a lollypop stick  and brush the top with the egg

Repeat with the rest of the pastry

Cook for approx 20 minutes on gas 6 or until golden

When they are cooked, sprinkle on a little sugar. I also wrapped them in cellophane to keep them fresh

They must be good as there were none left! I think I’ll try with a savoury filling next time, as I definitely have to make more!

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The best big, fat, chewy cookies ever

These are THE best cookies, I’ve ever made. People said to me when they tried them that I should sell them, they’re that good. There were resounding ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ when they were being gobbled down.

Here’s the recipe http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/4807/best-big–fat–chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies.aspx

I used milk and white chocolate chips for a hit of two lovely chocolates. They are soft, chewy, sweet and are by far, my favourite cookie, homemade or shop bought. You must try them!

If you try these (which I really think you should!) You will not be disappointed, I promise*

*Please don’t hunt me down if you don’t like them! 😉 Though I think you will…

Psychedelic biscuits!

Here’s another batch of food I took to the party. They look so vibrant and appealing that everyone will want one. Both adults and kids of all ages loved them and went back for more…and more…and more!

I used this basic recipe but divided it into two and made one half in one bowl and the other in another bowl.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3468/basic-biscuit-dough

In one of the bowls (before I added the flour) I added some red food colouring gel and in the other, blue gel (the gel is so much better than the ‘normal’ liquid food colouring, as you only need a tiny bit to make the vivid colour)

When the dough is made and has been in the fridge for a bit, divide both balls of dough into two

Taking one half of the red, roll it into a rectangle on a floured surface. Then next to it roll out the blue to the same shape and size

Put one on top of the other. Roll gently so they merge slightly

Gently roll into a sausage

Carefully cut into thin biscuits

Repeat with the other halves of the dough

Cook at gas mark 4, on a grease proofed tray for approx 12 minutes 

This picture shows how bright the are. They taste a bit like shortbread and look cool! 

Cheese twists

I went to a party at the weekend and wanted to take some food along. I was thinking and looking on Google for things to make that would be easy and would travel well, as it would take 3 hours to get to the party. Then I came across cheese straws. I’d never made them before but they looked pretty simple, and they wouldn’t melt or anything in the car, so they seemed like a good idea.

I looked at loads of different recipes and adapted them to make my own version.

Ingredients:

Ready made puff pastry 

Egg white

Parmesan- about 5/6 large tablespoons

Black pepper- to your taste

Paprika- to your taste

Cayenne pepper- to your taste

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6. Put grease proof paper on an oven tray. Roll the puff pastry on a floured surface into a rectangle about 0.5 cm thick

2. Brush all over with the egg white

3. In a bowl, mix grated Parmesan with the pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika

 

4. Sprinkle over half of the cheese mix and spread over to cover the pastry sheet and gently press down so it sticks to the pastry

5. Turn the pastry over and repeat the above. Cover with egg white and spread the cheese

6. Cut the pastry into strips about 1 cm wide

7. Taking one strip at a time and twist the strip, pressing the ends down gently so it doesn’t unravel

8. Place on the tray and cook for about 15 minutes or until golden brown

9. Cook all the remaining twists 

These are SO simple to make yet taste amazing, they went down a storm. Definitely worth a go!

(I’m sorry I forgot to take pictures of the finished product, doh! Just imagine the twists a little golden brown and delish and there you have it!)

 

Sweet and spicy soup

Cold, miserable day outside? Check!

Need warming up? Check!

Want comfort food? Check!

Have soup!

This is such an easy yet satisfying soup that will warm your cockles and fill you up, leaving you feeling happy.

Makes a huge saucepan, enough for 4 and leftovers.

Ingredients:

2 butternut squash

2 carrots

2 parsnips

2 chopped onions

4 garlic gloves, finely sliced

1 tbsp butter

2 green chillies, finely chopped

Olive oil

Turmeric

Salt and pepper

2 vegetable stock cubes

Creme fraiche

850ml hot water

Chives

1. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6. Peel and chop the butternut squash, carrots and parsnips into large chunks. Place them on a baking tray and drizzle over some oil. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes, turning half way through

2. Whilst the veg is cooking, in a large saucepan, sweat the chopped onions with the garlic and chillies until soft.

3. When the veg is soft, add them to the pan of onions.

4. Make up the stock with the hot water and 2 stock cubes and salt & pepper. Pour over the veg in the pan. Stir in 4 tbsp of creme fraiche and a good shake of turmeric. Blitz with a hand blender until smooth.

5. Reheat when ready to serve

6. Swirl over some creme fraiche and sprinkle over some chopped chives

The sweetness of the butternut squash and the spiciness of the chillies make this dish divine! Serve with some buttery crusty bread! Delicious.

Spicy fries with a sour cream and chive dip

We love a good tv snack here at RDK towers :p and what with the weather being quite frankly, rubbish! What’s better than a hot tv snack?!

What we need is a big bowl of comfort. This is where spicy fries come into place.

What you’ll need:

Potatoes (I used 3 for 2 people)

Handful of flour

Cajun spice mix

Smoked paprika

Turmeric

Ground cayenne

Chilli powder

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

Sour cream

Chives

1. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6. Wash and peel the potatoes and cut into thick wedges. Put in a pan full of water and boil for 4 minutes

2. In a large bowl, put in the flour and all of the spices and mix together

3. When the potatoes have cooked for 4 minutes, coat thoroughly with the spice mix and leave to cool slightly

4. Put the fries on a baking tray and cover the fries in a little oil. Cook on the top shelf of the oven on gas mark 6 for approximately an hour, turning every so often until golden and crispy

5. When the fries are cooked, in a small bowl or ramekin, pour in some sour cream and mix in some chopped chives

Nom nom, a great snack to share whilst watching trashy tv.

Reginette bolognese

I was shopping in Aldi the other day, when I came across pasta that I hadn’t seen before (and I did a massive piece of coursework on pasta for my food technology GCSE a few years ago) It was called Reginette. It looks really pretty; like wavy edged tagliatelle. And tagliatelle is my favourite pasta. So obv, I was going to like it 🙂

Here it is in all its glory:

I just had to use some asap. So what to make? I’ve been having a lot of creamy and rich sauces later, so to balance it out a little, I decided to make a tomato based sauce. Bolognese it was.

Serves 2-4 (I made it for 2 plus saved some for the next day to have with baked potato)

Ingredients:

1 large white onion

3 mixed peppers

Garlic (as much as you like, I use loads!)

6 tomatoes

Oil

Salt & pepper

Basil

Tomato puree

Large glass of red wine

Box/jar of passata

500g lean minced beef

Balsamic glaze

Sweet chilli sauce

Worcester sauce

Pasta

1. Chop the onion and peppers. Fry in a pan with a little oil until soft. Slice and chop the tomatoes, chop the garlic and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes

2. Stir in some tomato puree, salt & pepper and basil. Cook for a few more minutes

3. Pour in the wine and the passata and stir

4. Turn the hob onto simmer

5. In another pan, pour a little oil and add in some chopped garlic. Add in the mince and some balsamic galze, sweet chilli sauce and Worcester sauce. Cook on medium until brown

6. Add the mince into the sauce and continue to simmer on low for about an hour or until the sauce has reduced and is thick and rich

7. Cook the pasta in a pan full of water with salt and a little oil to stop the pasta from sticking.

8. When the pasta is cooked and drained, serve it with the bolognese spooned on top. I love to add some grated parmesan too.

I know it’s a rubbish photo (which ones of mine aren’t ha!) But I hope this kind of shows how rich the sauce is 🙂

Bellissimo!!

Filled Yorkshire pudding

They say you should only have Yorkshire puddings with a roast beef dinner, but I like to break that tradition (obviously a wild child! Ha!) and have them with every kind of roast. Sunday dinners wouldn’t be the same or as nice in my opinion without 1 or even 2  me, greedy?! of the fine Yorkshire puds.

Now, I really love toad in the hole too (sausages cooked in the yorkshire pud batter) but I can never, ever get it right. It either comes out as flat as a pancake (…which I suppose the mixture is really….) or it rises and the top is nice, brown and crispy but the middle is like a cake. Or just stodge.

So. I thought about how I could do toad in the hole, but actually make it nicer (the above does taste nice, but it just isn’t right) And I thought about it and remembered having a huge pudding filled with the sausages inside and not actually cooked in the batter.

I thought about how I could make a big pudding, big enough to fit in the rest of the food, and came up with a cake tin. The kind that you have two of, and you sandwich the two cakes together.

So now I had to think what I’d like to go inside the pud. Obv some nice sausages and some fluffy buttery mash is a must. Then one of my favourite vegetables and what seems to be a staple with sausage and mash. Peas. Then it’s the gravy. Now, I must admit that I’ve never made gravy totally from scratch. Yet. But I didn’t this time either. Sorry. I like to brown and caramalise onions in some butter and brown sugar, then simmer and reduce in red wine and I also cook the peas in the wine. Then when the rest of the food is nearly done, I add some water, bring to the boil and add the ever trusty Bisto gravy granules.

So, here’s what I did:

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the Yorkshire puddings-

75g plain flour

1 egg

75ml milk

55ml water

Oil to coat the pans

Salt and pepper

——————-

3 potatoes

4/6 Good quality sausages

Peas

1 onion

Knob of butter

Brown sugar (I don’t measure, I normally just put a little tip of the bag in)

Red wine

Water (use as much as you want for your desired amount of gravy)

Bisto gravy granules

Butter for the mash

——————

1. Peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces, put in a pan of water, set aside

2. Turn the oven on to gas mark 7. Grease the two cake tins. Put the oiled tins into the oven, to get them sizzling hot. Put the potatoes on the hob and bring to the boil

3. Make the batter. In a bowl, sift the flour and make a well in the middle

4. Break the egg into the well and beat, gradually incorporating the flour until it vaguely resembles dough, and then beat in the milk, water and salt and pepper, only a little bit at a time. Each time you add the liquid, mix until it’s smooth

 5. Chop the onion and put in a frying pan with the knob of butter and brown sugar, cook until soft and caramalised. Then pour in some red wine and bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced

6. When the oil is sizzling, divide the batter mix into the two tins evenly

7. After the Yorkshire puddings have been in the oven for about 15 minutes, cook the sausages under the grill, turning every few minutes for about 15 minutes

8.  Add the water and peas to the onions

9. Drain the potatoes and mash well with some butter and salt and pepper
 
10. Add in the gravy granules to the onions and mix
 
11. 30 minutes after the puddings went into the oven, they should be done. Take them out of the tins and put them on a plate. Put the mash and sausages in and then pour the gravy over. Ta dah! Beautiful, even if I do say so myself 🙂
 
I’m SO pleased they turned out right for once. Mmmmmmm yummers.
 
Great ol’ comfort food for the cold weather that is drawing in! And I’ll definitely be cheating and making toad in the hole this way again.

Stuffed chicken breasts, wrapped in Parma ham. Served with asparagus, garlic and parmesan and potatoes with garlic, spring onion and wilted spinach in a stilton cream sauce

Calorie overload! But SO worth it!…

This is a plate full of oozy, cheesy goodness. Not one to eat everyday, but makes a great special Saturday meal in.

It does take quite a while and there are a few things that have to be done at the same time, so the kitchen can get a bit heated. But, if you prepare ahead, it’ll help.

Ingredients:

Chicken breasts

Parma ham

Garlic and herb cream cheese

Asparagus

Garlic

Olive oil

Grated parmesan

New potatoes

Butter

Salt and pepper

Spring onions

Spinach

Double cream

Blue cheese (I used Stilton- currently obsessed!)

1. Prepare the chicken. Remove all fat and flatten the chicken with a rolling-pin in between some cling film. Make a slit in the side to make a pocket. Spoon in some of the cream cheese

2. Lay down 2 pieces of Parma ham, slightly overlapping. Place the breast about half way down the ham and roll. Ensuring the slit is covered well. Repeat with all the chicken breasts and then set aside, covered, in the fridge

3. Wash and quarter the potatoes, place in an oven proof dish with a little oil. Chop in some garlic and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper. Put a bit of butter around the potatoes. Put in the oven on gas mark 6 for 20 minutes, then turn and put back in for another 20 minutes and turn again

4. Wash and chop the asparagus to fit into a small over dish. Rub the asparagus with a little oil. Chop in some garlic

5. Put the chicken in the oven for 6 minutes then turn and return for another 6 minutes. In a frying pan, cook the chicken on high for a few minutes on each side to crisp up the ham. When the chicken is crispy, leave to rest in the pan for a few minutes. Whilst in the frying pan cook the asparagus

6. Place the asparagus in the oven for 12 minutes. After the 12 mins, grate over some parmesan and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

7. Also whilst the asparagus is cooking, in a pan, melt the blue cheese in the cream. When totally melted, add in the spinach until melted. Add to the dish of potatoes and cook until the asparagus is done

(My camera steamed up!)

8. Dish up!

Parmesan chicken, spanish style potatoes and salad

I’m missing Spain already! So had to have something to remind me of that wonderful place, and my favourite ever meat is chorizo. Can you get more Spanish?!

Ingredients:

New potatoes

Garlic

4 tomatoes

Chorizo

Chicken breasts

Grated parmesan

Flour

Basil

Cajun spice mix

Smoked paprika

Pepper

Balsamic glaze

Sweet chilli sauce

Olive oil

Lettuce

Rocket

Spring onions

1. Start of by preparing the potatoes. In a glass Pyrex dish, put in some washed and quartered new potatoes, along with some olive oil, 2 sliced tomatoes, garlic, chorizo, sweet chilli sauce, balsamic glaze, smoked paprika and pepper

2. Put the potatoes in the middle shelf of the oven at gas mark 5, turning every 20 minutes for an hour

3. In a bowl crack in one egg white. In another bowl, tip in some flour, grated parmesan, basil, cajun spice mix, pepper and smoked paprika

4. Flatten the chicken with a rolling-pin and slice each breast into 4 slices

5. Take the chicken strips one at a time and first dip in the egg white then roll into the flour mixture. Set aside on a plate

6. When the potatoes are nearly done, cook the chicken under the grill for approximately 6 minutes on each side

7. Whilst the chicken is cooking, prepare the salad on the plates. Mix the lettuce with the rocket. Slice the spring onions and tomatoes. Drizzle over some balsamic glaze

8. Time to plate up. Next to the salad, stack the chicken and spoon on the potato mixture

I wish you could smell (and taste!) just how good this is.