Archive of ‘Recipes’ category

Cooking – Lemon Curd

This recipe has been on my to do list for ages, and I don’t know why I didn’t get round to it sooner because it is so easy to make.

I had never tried lemon curd before I made this batch, it was something that mainly passed me by. And I had some bad memories of a school friend who used to take lemon curd sandwiches to school every day.
But now I am thinking this is not such a bad thing – lemon curd can really go with anything because it is amazing stuff – you know on a crumpet, in sandwiches, a spoonful on a freshly baked cake, or you know just straight out of the jar. That is ok right?

netbooks are very useful for cooking

This will probably take you all of half an hour to 45 minutes to make. The main thing this recipe requires is patience and attention, you need to be on hand to whisk the mixture at regular intervals so that the eggs don’t overcook.

Makes about 500g
recipe adapted from nami-nami (my new favourite blog!)

125ml lemon juice – about 2-3 lemons
zest of two unwaxed lemons (about tablespoon)3 large eggs plus one yolk – i was lucky enough to have double yolked eggs from the farm shop so my lemon curd is a little richer.150g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, softened and cubed

Juice and zest your lemons.
Add to a heatproof bowl (you’ll need to set this over a simmering pan of boiling water later) with the caster sugar and the eggs, combine.

Heat over a saucepan with about 1 inch of boiling water in it. Whisk every 30 seconds, your mixture should take between 10 – 20minutes to thicken up, you want the consistency of thick pancake batter.

Take off the heat once it has reached the right consistency, then whisk in your butter and zest.

Pour in to sterilised jam jars (sterilise by washing in hot soapy water and then leaving in a low oven for 30 minutes. Store in the fridge, it should keep for a couple of weeks.

Cooking – The Ultimate Pizza & No Knead Dough

I think I am putting pressure on this recipe by naming it the ultimate pizza, but it really is that good. The key to this recipe is slow fermentation, you want to prove the dough for at least 12 hours, preferably 24. Luckily the dough comes together very easily as there is no kneading involved, so there is very little involved other than waiting.

The fermentation produces a thick deep pan style base which is crisp on the top and bottom but light and fluffy inside. I’ve tried this dough twice now, once on a 24 hour prove and second on an 12 hour prove, both were great but the 24 hour prove was amazing!

I got the idea for this dough whilst making Pitta Breads, the dough is very similar to pizza dough but has more water giving a lighter and fluffier dough. I added a touch more yeast to get a better rise than pitta breads.
250g (or 1 1/4 cups) 00 pasta flour or strong white bread flour, sifted
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 packet of instant yeast – 7g
175mls / 3/4 cup of warm water

Add your dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix together. Make a well in the centre and add in your water and olive oil. Slowly incorporate with a wooden spoon until you have a soft wet dough – add more water or flour if your dough is too dry or wet.
Cover the bowl with cling film. Leave in a warm place for upto 24 hours, or at least 12.
If you want to prove it for longer, say 48 hours, leave it in the fridge.

After you have proved the dough, tip it out on to a well floured board and very lightly knead it to bring it into a round ball. Roll out slightly, you won’t need to a lot as it will stretch when you move it off the board. Place on a well oiled pizza tray (the type with the holes in, very good for getting a nice crisp base) or a baking sheet. Leave to prove once more uncovered for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat your oven to the highest heat and set your rack to the highest it will go.

Make up a simple tomato sauce whilst you are waiting for it to prove. This is so easy to do. Blend up a can off plum tomatoes, add to a hot saucepan with some olive oil, a couple of cloves of bashed up garlic, few basil leaves and some oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer on a high heat for 10 minutes. Blend up once more. You can freeze this sauce in little tubs or an ice cube tray to defrost as you need it, it makes about 5-6 pizzas worth.

Top your pizza with a couple of tablespoons of the tomato sauce and then mozarella and your choice of topping. We used some Laverstoke mozarella, this has a proper creamy flavour and much better than the usual rubbery offerings found. Then it was topped with crumbled sausage – do this by removing the skins, breaking up the meat and frying it in a pan with some chili flakes until crisp.

Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

I love this dough because it requires no kneading or rolling but has bags of flavour, I’m normally a thin and crispy pizza person but this deep thick crust has converted me!

Yummy Lunchtime Peanut Noodles

I’m always trying to find things to make lunch time more interesting, and as we are coming out of the Winter I am looking for things other than soup to take to work.

These noodles take no time to make, all of ten minutes, and pack a really great flavour punch. They are also a great way to use up vegetables in your fridge, I added peppers and grated carrot to mine. I expect lots of other vegetables would work, steamed broccoli, finely shredded cabbage, spring onions, spinach, pak choi…

I found some Sambal Oelek (Indonesian chilli sauce) in Waitrose, a lot of bigger supermarkets seem to stock it now so you might find it in others. If not try your local chinese supermarket. You might be able to get away with a very good quality chili sauce but you won’t get the same depth of flavour.

I prefer my noodles hot but you can eat these cold too.

To make 1 lunchbox size portion, this recipe is easily doubled/tripled/quadrupled.

Approx 50g wheat noodles – I used ramen noodles
1 carrot – grated
1/2 red pepper grated
small handful fresh coriander, chopped.

For the peanut sauce:
1/2 inch piece of lemongrass
50ml water
1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter (smooth is best but i only had crunchy and its fine)
2 teaspoons of sambal oelek (add more if you like your chilli)
teaspoon size of fresh ginger
dash of rice vinegar or juice of half lime
Cook your noodles according to the packet instructions, if you intend to warm your noodles up for your lunch cook them for a minute less than the instructions. Drain and return to the pan.

Simmer the lemongrass with the water in a small pan for a few minutes.

Meanwhile mix the rest of your sauce ingredients in a bowl.

Remove your lemongrass from the pan, turn down the heat and add in the rest of your sauce mixture. Whisk together to combine, if your sauce seems a little thin keep simmering it slowly for a few minutes to thicken it up.

Mix in your vegetables, coriander and your sauce with the noodles.
Pack up in a little box and wait until lunchtime!

Cooking – Spiced Carrot & Apple Breakfast Cupcakes

I love food but I am awful at making sure I eat breakfast everyday. It’s not that I don’t like breakfast foods but I like things that take time – french toast, scrambled eggs, pancakes, baaaaaacon.

I’m not a morning person so I prefer to ease into the day first before thinking about breakfast – which normally means I’m ready to eat about 10am.Which normally ends up in me having a bar of chocolate or a sugary sweet cereal bar about that time – not very healthy or satisfying.

I’ve been meaning to make something based on a breakfast muffin for a while. These cupcakes are based around a normal sponge recipe but with less sugar, a little more flour and quite a lot of grated carrot and apple.

The best thing about these cakes is that they are incredibly moist, without too much butter or sugar. And the spicing from the nutmeg and cinnamon means you don’t miss out on flavour.
I used white flour for these as I didn’t have any wholewheat, but I am definitely going to use wholewheat next time.

Spiced Carrot and Apple Breakfast Cupcakes
makes about 12 cupcakes.

175g butter, unsalted, softened
150g granulated or brown sugar
2 large eggs
juice of 1/2 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 level teaspoon nutmeg
1 level teaspoon cinnamon
100g plain or wholewheat flour
100g ground almonds (or you can substitute this for more flour)
3 tablespoons of wheatgerm (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large carrots, grated
1 apple peeled, cored and grated
shredded coconut to top (optional)

Cream together the butter and sugar until fully combined, then add in the eggs and beat til light and fluffy. Add in the juice of the orange, vanilla extra and the spices.

Then fold in your flour, ground almonds and baking powder – and wheatgerm if using. Then add in your apple and carrot and mix til combined. If your mixture seems a bit dry add a little bit of milk or extra orange juice.

Spoon approx 1 1/2 tablespoons into cupcake cases on a cupcake tray (I used a tablespoon here and it wasn’t enough to fill the case).
Sprinkle your coconut on top. You could also used chopped nuts here.
Bake in a medium oven for 15 – 20 minutes til golden.

If you are feeling a bit naughty a cream cheese icing woudn’t be a bad thing…
Or if you are being good add in some dried fruit or oats.

Cooking – Extremely Chocolatey Fudge Brownies

I love brownies. Who doesn’t love brownies? Do you know someone that doesn’t? If you do make them these and I assure you they’ll love them.

These are proper fudgey dense chocolatey brownies, no messing about here.I like making brownies because my terrible oven can cook them properly, mainly because you don’t need to cook brownies all the way through. I have trauma cooking cakes but brownies are a breeze.

I based them on this recipe on Joy the Baker, I swapped the walnuts for whole roasted hazelnuts (pop them on a baking tray in a medium hot oven for 10 minutes) because I think hazelnuts belong better in brownies. These may be the most chocolatey brownies I have made and it definitely helps that they are broken up by a few roasted hazelnuts.

1 2/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup cocoa (yes it is a lot!) – I use Green and Blacks

3/4 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons of water

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/3 cup plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup roasted hazelnuts

handful of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate to top

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 / 350f / 175f

Add your cocoa powder and butter to a glass bowl and melt together over a pan of simmering water, stir frequently to combine. Add 2 tablespoons of water in when it is melted.

Whilst it melts cream together your eggs and sugar til light and fluffy. Add in your vanilla extract. Then slowly add in the chocolate/butter mixture til combined.

Then fold in your flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in your hazelnuts. Save a few for the top.

Add into a greased and lined tin, I used a 9 inch round cake tin, a square one would be better.
Sprinkle your reserved hazelnuts and chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 18-25 minutes. I go for the longer option because I like an extra chewy crispy top, this is the best bit!
Once it is baked leave to cool for a few minutes and as soon as you can turn out on to a plate, then cut into pieces.

I was going to Easter-fy them by topping them with mini eggs but the chocolate content was really quite enough by this point, and there wasn’t much room for mini eggs.

These are best kept in the fridge and then brought back to room temperature for eating (if you can wait). They go a little too gooey and sticky if kept at room temperature all the time.

These are lovely warmed up a bit too and served with a dollop of ice cream or creme fraiche.

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