Sunday, 30 October 2011

Brunch: Nutty Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I had my stomach settled on apple and cardamom fritters for brunch this morning but a quick inspection of the fruit bowl soon put an end to that idea. Store cupboard brunch it was then!

I simply used this recipe, and added in 40gr mixed chopped nuts and 40gr of dark chocolate chips. Deliciously simple!

*scribbles apples on shopping list*

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Haunted Gingerbread House

If there is one time of year, you can go deliciously dark, it's Halloween. From scaring trick-or-treaters, snuggling in to watch a good horror, sneakily hiding away to read a horror novel (note: your imagination of a horror novel is scarier than the actual novel intended) to hitting up the kitchen and utilising some ghost shaped biscuit cutters, there is an aspect of Halloween that I'm sure a lot of people love.

I haven't had much time to get in a lot of Halloween themed baking, I sadly only see my house in daylight hours at the weekend, but there was one thing I saw last year that I definitely wanted to have a go at.

I made my own template, which I'm hoping I'll be able to have as a downloadable template in the tutorial post which is to follow. Are you splashing out at Halloween? Made anything delicious? I'd love to know!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Brunch: Breakfast Eggs

Jim and I both commute to London to work. Waking up in darkness doesn't make me spring out of bed an hour early and whip up a breakfast fit for a king. Breakfast for Jim is inhaling three weetabix. Breakfast for me is porridge at my desk. Saturdays aren't much better because we try and catch up on all the things we miss doing during the week. Laundry, gardening, shopping etc.

Sunday mornings are our solace. Brunch is my forte. So I thought I'd start sharing them with you.

These Breakfast Eggs are a delicious way to start the day. And perfect for clearing out the fridge!

Serves 2

4 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped into strips
1 small onion, chopped
200gr courgette, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
Pinch of black pepper
Small pinch of dried chilli to clear out the cobwebs
4 eggs

1, Warm a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat and add the chopped bacon. I like to render some of the bacon fat down, rather than adding cooking oil, or else it can end up a bit greasy.
2, When the bacon has released a bit of fat and is nearly cooked through, increase the heat, add in the onions and courgettes and cook these until they just loose their crunch.
3, Add in the chopped tomatoes, pepper and chilli and stir through until bubbling.
4, Make four small spaces in the vegetables, son you can see the bottom of the pan and crack an egg into each.
5, Cover the whole pan with foil and crimp around the edges. You want to steam the eggs rather than fry.
6, Turn down the heat to medium and cook for two minutes for soft eggs.
7, Divide and serve.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Apple and Cinnamon Galette

A galette isn't showy. Or extravagant. It'll hold whatever you ask it to, with no complaints. It doesn't care if it splits a little. It doesn't care if looks a little rough around the edges. It doesn't need fancy dressing up with icing and doesn't require special baking tins. All it needs is a baking sheet, a rolling pin and a hot oven. That's all it wants in life. Simplicity.

We could all learn from the humble galette.


Gingerbread dough (see below)

300gr chopped eating apples
2tbsp golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp lemon juice
Milk for brushing

You'll need 1/3 of the dough that the below recipe creates. The dough does freeze well and makes great gingerbread men if you want to use it up. You could make three galettes and freeze the spares. Or one giant one for a crowd.

Gingerbread dough
350gr plain flour
2tsp ground ginger
100gr cold butter, cut into cubes
175gr golden caster sugar
1 egg
4tbsp golden syrup

1, Put the flour and ginger into a large bowl and rub in the butter to a fine breadcrumb consistency.
2, Stir in the sugar and the add the egg and golden syrup. Mix this together until it forms a ball of soft dough. Divide into three flat round discs and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes before use.
3, Preheats your oven to 190o/c and roll out 1/3 of the dough to a rough circle about 12inches in diameter and slide it onto a line baking sheet.
3, Toss the apples together with the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice and pile up into the centre. You want to leave about an inch, maybe two, gap around the fruit.
4, Fold the edges up, enveloping the fruit slightly. Pinch shut any huge tears or breaks. Brush the pastry with a little milk.
5, Bake for 20minutes until golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.
6, Serve hot or cold, with cream or custard. The galette won't mind.

I'm entering my galette into Kate's Autumnal Baking Challenge. You can find all the details on her lovely blog. Happy Autumn

Monday, 10 October 2011

We Should Cocoa: Apricot Chilli Florentines

Did you see all the beautiful party food for We Should Cocoa's 1st birthday? If you haven't, click here and see all the amazing creations.

This months We Should Cocoa is hosted by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog and the ingredient of choice is chilli. You can see how to enter and view the rules here.

I had previously used chilli in a We Should Cocoa entry. I made white chocolate chilli blondies for the leftover challenge and they didn't seem to work well for me so I wanted to hit the darker end of the spectrum for this entry.

I have been testing out recipes for Christmas and these are my current favourite. Batches and batches of florentines have been coming out the kitchen with different nuts and fruit in it. The red chilli in these gives them a little kick and makes them look especially festive!

Makes between 10-15 dependant on size

55gr butter
80gr caster sugar
30gr plain flour
30gr flaked almonds
50gr chopped nuts
50gr dried apricots
1/2 small medium red chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely

100gr dark chocolate (at least 70%)

1, Preheat your oven to 160o/c and line two baking sheets with baking sheets. I use Teflon baking sheets but silicone ones would be just as good.
2, In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together and bring to a light simmer.
3, Stir in the flour until well combined and stir in the rest of the ingredients until they are evenly coated.
4, Spoon teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving gaps of about an inch apart.
5, Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and then remove them from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheets.
6, When they are completely cold, melt the dark chocolate and paint thickly over the back, flat side of them. Leave to set slightly before dragging a fork through the chocolate to create waves.
7, Store in an airtight container.
8, Alternatively you can bake the florentine mixture in shaped silicone moulds.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Mint Lemonade

I had been preparing for the beginning of autumn. Stockpiling slow cooker recipes, making notes on how to perfect my mulled wine recipe in time for winter (testing it frequently isn't such a chore), looking for a new scarf, hat and gloves. And possibly a snood. I was genuinely excited about starting to be able to wear thick woollen tights. And boots.

But instead, I'm typing this in the garden, wearing shorts and a bikini top. It's easily hitting 30 degrees in Kent. The garden is confused. The cats are melting. The smell of other people's barbeques is wafting over the fence. I was going to bake but it's too hot for that. I toyed with the idea of making sorbet but mint lemonade came up trumps. Quick and easy gratification on a hot, October, day.

2tbsp of packed mint leaves, no stalks
Juice and zest of a lemon
4tbsp level caster sugar
120ml water
Ice, soda water and lemon slices to serve

1, Pummel the mint leaves in a pestle and mortar until they have formed a thick paste.
2, Add this to a cocktail shaker filled with ice along with the lemon juice, zest, sugar and water.
3, Shake until the shaker is frosty and cold.
4, Fill short tumblers with ice and lemon slices and half fill with the lemonade. Lengthen with soda water.

Serves 2