Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Homemade Passata

I was going to make tomato soup but something put me off.  Plus this is the easiest way to make passata!


Ripe tomatoes (at least 1.5kg)
For every 1.5kg of tomatoes, use:-
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced then diced
2 tbsp olive oil (I used the oil from these)
3 cloves of garlic
2 large pinches of sea salt


1, Turn on the slow cooker to high. 
2, Wash the tomatoes well and cut out any blemishes
3, Fry off the onion and the garlic in the olive oil until soft in a frying pan.  Stir in the salt and transfer into the slow cooker. 
4, Tip in the tomatoes
5, Leave for about couple of hours, stirring every hour or so. Depending how many tomatoes your using and the power of your slow cooker this can change everytime
6, Remove from the slow cooker and leave to cool slightly. 
7, Press the tomatoes through a metal sieve and return to the slow cooker.
8, Heat back through and reduce to a passata like consistency before decanting into sterilised bottles or Tupperware to freeze. 
It’ll last for about a month in the fridge or three months frozen

Monday, 27 September 2010

Funfair Bites: Admit One Cookies

Dead simple, this recipe is from Joy of Baking and produces the best sugar cookies!

All I did extra was roll them a little thicker, insert a lollipop stick and bake. Then simply spread a thick glacé icing, sprinkled on a little edible glitter and slipped on a little ADMIT ONE ticket. Voila, funfair cookies!

Here is the recipe for the sugar cookies!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Autumn Tomato Chutney

The glut is continuing! I’ve just picked a further three kilos of ripe tomatoes from the cottage garden!

The first kilo were destined for this delicious chutney and the rest are currently being passata-ed!


1kg of ripe tomatoes (halved or quartered if they are big)

4 large cooking apples (peeled, cored and chunky chopped)

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

4 small red onions (peeled and sliced)

1 small green pepper (deseeded and finely sliced)

Small handful of sultanas

350gr light brown sugar

200ml white wine vinegar

150ml white wine

2 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly grated ginger(or 1tsp of ground ginger)

Olive oil for sautéing


1, Lightly fry the onions and garlic in olive oil until just soft in the biggest saucepan you can find. This needs to hold 2.5ltrs (at least)

2, Tip everything else in an stir until well combined.

3, Bring to the boil and stir every couple of minutes until the sugar has fully dissolved

4, Turn the heat down and simmer the chutney until everything is soft and the sauce has thickened. Don’t be tempted to keep it on a high heat as the sugar will start to burn on bottom of the saucepan.

5, Cool slightly before decanting into sterilised jars. Leave in a cool dark place for at least a couple of weeks before eating.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Mini Baked Doughnuts

As part of my little work funfair bites, I made little baked doughnuts.

I used to be fascinated by those doughnut machines by the seaside when I was younger. The ones with the huge vat of batter at one end and the river of oil with the flipper in the middle? Like these ones!

I decided to make baked ones (not just because my new doughnut tin turned up *cough cough*) but because two day old fried doughnuts aren’t brilliant…

Makes around 24 mini doughnuts


140gr plain flour

80gr golden caster sugar

1tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 egg

2 tbsp melted but cooled butter (plus extra for greasing)

250ml buttermilk


Preheat oven to 180o/c

1, In one bowl sift together all the dry ingredients

2, In another bowl/jug mix in the wet ingredients together well

3, Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, like muffin batter

4, Line your mini doughnut tin well with melted butter and dust onto of that a little more plain flour, just to make sure they don’t stick. If your using a silicone mould then this shouldn’t be a problem!

5, Fill each little doughnut indent about half full with the batter. It is a pretty sticky and gloopy batter so I ended up putting it into a freezer bag, snipping off one of the corners and using it like a makeshift piping bag.

6, Bake for around 4-5 minutes until firm to the touch and risen.

7, Remove from the oven and take the doughnuts out of the tin and cool on a cooling rack.

8, Dip in icing and sprinkles, or chocolate, or douse with icing sugar or whatever takes your fancy. I know the next batch I’m making will involve cinnamon sugar…!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Funfair Bites

I always take a cake into work for my birthday. But I work in a small office (11 people!) and always make far to much for them! So, something a bit smaller this year. Something bite size.

ADMIT ONE biscuits

Cake Pop Ice Creams

Mini Baked Doughnuts

(Recipes to follow)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Rum Cupcakes

Avast me hearties!

It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day and the last day of National Cupcake Week so why not celebrate them both together!

I love how fun Talk Like A Pirate Day actually is. However, I share it with my birthday and that leaves me open to choruses of ‘Arrr! ‘Appy Birfday’ from my friends and family!

I got these little cupcake cases one of my friends for my birthday! I am actually in love with them!

Preheat oven to 180o/c


100gr golden caster sugar

25gr brown sugar

2tbsp golden syrup

125gr butter

2 eggs

25ml (1 UK measure) dark rum

135gr flour


1, Cream together the sugars, syrup and golden syrup

2, Beat in the eggs and the rum

3, Sift in the flour and mix until smooth

4, Line a 12 hole bun tin with cupcake liners and fill them equally with batter

5, Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

6, Transfer the cupcakes onto a cooling rack and make a simple buttercream recipe (cream together 175gr icing sugar with 75gr soft butter and mix in 2tsps of dark rum) and pipe or spread on top of the cool cupcakes.

Ghee Biscuits

We held a big Indian Food Night in with our closest friends for my birthday (which is actually today!)

I made a slow cooked lamb curry, roast Indian style chicken legs and an aubergine, chickpea and spinach curry for the vegetarian amongst us. Jim also made saag aloo, onion bhajis and vegetable samosas all from scratch (very proud!)

I umm-ed and ahh-ed about pudding though. I stockpiled some kulfi in the freezer just in case but ended up making these tiny ghee biscuits. Everyone was too full to think about anything sweet by the end of the night and these little bagged up biscuits we very much appreciated!

Unfortunately, it is very easy to demolish a whole handful of these bad boys. They have a beautifully Scottish shortbread-esque texture, literally melt in your mouthy and are sweet. Very sweet!


230gr of ghee

170gr icing sugar

400gr plain flour

Little pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 120o/c (gas mark ½)


1, Whisk the ghee and icing sugar together until pale and creamy. This should take around 5 minutes.

(Go, Rosie! Go! Yes, I named my Kitchenaid...)

2, Gently add the flour, a tablespoon full at a time. When it is all incorporated it will turn into a very silky feeling dough.

3, Using a ¼ tsp measuring spoon, scoop out bits of the dough and roll into balls. (Time consuming? Yes… Worth it? Completely!) You should end up with about 150 ish.

4, Place the balls on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in the oven. Turn the baking sheet around half way through cooking.

5, When cooked, leave on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Cool completely (this doesn’t take long because they are so tiny!) and store in an airtight container.

Finished product! Yum!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl Cookies

Cup of tea and a biscuit?

This magical combination can cure a large percentage of all bad things in the world. If you had the time to tally them up and work out a percentage, that is. Then I suppose you could do it over a cup of tea and a biscuit…

Adapted from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies and other tempting treats (recipe 120)


100gr unsalted butter

50gr caster sugar

50gr cornflour

100gr plain flour

1 large egg yolk

½ tsp vanilla extract

2tbsp cocoa powder


1, Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

2, Sift in the flours and mix well

3, Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and maybe a dash of milk to make a stiff dough.

4, Split the dough in half and knead in the 2tbsp cocoa powder to one.

5, Wrap separately in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

6, Roll each piece of dough out, in a rectangle to about 3-4mm thick and place one on top of the other. Trim the edges with a sharp knife so you have perfect rectangle

7, Roll up the rectangle lengthways and wrap tightly in cling film. Return to the fridge for another 30 minutes minimum.

8, Preheat the oven to 180o/c (gas mark 4).

9, Unwrap the dough and cut into 20 slices.

10, Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until firm.

11, Cool before dunking

Friday, 10 September 2010

Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia

My rosemary bush has finally picked up some growing speed and I couldn’t help but pull a few sprigs off for this. Plus it gives me an excuse to eat more of the oven dried tomatoes I made!

500gr strong bread flour
2tsp dried yeast
1tsp salt
4tbsp of olive oil (plus extra for brushing)
2tbsp freshly chopped rosemary (or 1tbsp of dried)
2tbsp of chopped sun dried (or oven dried) tomatoes

300ml lukewarm water

1, Sift the flour and slat together in a large bow
2, Stir in the yeast and rosemary and sundried tomatoes
3, Make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil and mix quickly.
4, Keep mixing and add in the water and form into a doughy ball
5, Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes
6, Place in a bowl that has been lightly brushed with more olive oil and cover with clingfilm. Put the bowl in a warm place for two hours
7, After two hours the dough should doubled in size. Turn back onto a lightly floured surface, knock it back with your fist and give it another knead, but only for a minute
8, Put the dough onto a well oiled baking tray and press down to form a large circle of flat dough
9, Cover again with clingfilm (oil the clingfilm this time though) and return to the warm place for an hour
10, After an hour, peel off the clingfilm, and dip your fingers in some olive oil and make dimples all over the loaf.
11, Bake in a preheated oven at 240o/c (gas mark 9) for 20 minutes until golden brown.
12, Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and garnish with more rosemary and tomatoes before serving.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

We Should Cocoa: Chocolate Chambord Truffles

I was looking through some baking blogs and I stumbled on two great blogs (here and here) and their new monthly challenge! I have a penchant of anything chocolate based so I thought I would give it a go!

The special ingredient this month is Raspberries and being hosted by Chele at Chocolate Teapot and the first thing that popped into my head is Chambord, a raspberry liqueur. It's the basis of my favourite cocktail (French Martini... Mmm...) so I thought I would make truffles with it!

So, Chocolate Chambord Truffles!


200gr plain dark chocolate (70% minimum)

200ml double cream

3 dessert spoonfuls of Chambord


1, Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and remove from the heat and heat the cream in a separate saucepan over a low heat until just simmering but not boiling.

2, Add the Chambord into the cream, whisk briefly and pour over the chocolate and whisk together until smooth and glossy.

3, Pour into a small bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave overnight to set.

4, When the ganache has set, lay out a dinner plate sprinkled with cocoa powder and using a teaspoon dig out lumps of the hard ganache, roll into balls and roll in cocoa.

5, Serve!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Oven Dried Tomatoes

Got tomatoes? A lot of tomatoes?

Cut the tomatoes in half, quarters if they are big.

Clean out the seeds, sprinkle them with salt and place cut side down on a wire cooling rack for half an hour.

After half an hour, wash the salt off the tomatoes, preheat the oven to 110o/c (or the lowest setting). Spread the tomatoes out in large roasting dishes and add a pinch of black pepper and some slice garlic.

Place in the oven and roast for 2 ½ to 3 hours until they have shrunken and dried out, but not all the way through.

Leave to cool and place in sterilised jars. Top up with olive oil and keep in the fridge.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Lemon, Black Pepper and White Chocolate Cookies

If I could pick a favourite type of chocolate it would have to be dark. Wave a bar of anything over 75% cocoa and I’m yours. This hasn’t got me into trouble yet but I suspect it will. But, every now and then I just want something sweet. And my sweet tooth can be very specific about what it wants…

I felt a pang of sadness when I found out Kshocolat had gone into administration. Sweet Tooth wanted one of their Lemon and Pepper white chocolate bars and there was an ominous gap in the shelf. Something bad had happened.

Adapted from this recipe

Makes 12 (ish)


100gr white chocolate

125gr unsalted butter

175gr golden caster sugar

1 egg

1tsp vanilla essence

Grated zest of one lemon

3/4tsp ground black pepper

150gr plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder


Preheat oven to 190o/c and line two large baking trays

1, Melt the butter and add it to the sugar in a bowl

2, Stir in the egg, vanilla, lemon zest and black pepper

3, Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix well

4, Place dessertspoonfuls onto the baking tray well apart

5, Bake for 8 to 10 minutes

6, Leave to cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes before moving onto a wire cool rack to cool through