Saturday, 11 March 2017

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Oh, hurry up Spring! Yes. technically it's March, but it's still cold.

This is the kind of dinner that is a great big hug on a plate. It’s healthy and wholesome and packed of lovely veggies. And the sauce! Amazing.

I really love finding new delicious things to make in my slow cooker. I made this a little while back. I put it in the slow cooker in the morning before getting into bed post-night shift. When I woke up at 6pm, my dinner was cooked and ready to eat, and that stuff matters when you’re running on 5 hours sleep – I could have cried with happiness!

This ticks all my boxes-  simple, quick (relatively speaking, the work/prep involved to make it only takes minutes), tasty and healthy. A total winner.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Shortbread - My Mum's Recipe

Lent is upon us once again. But, everyone knows that you can break your Lent on a Sunday.

And when you break your Lent, you need to do it in style. Forget a few squares of chocolate, you need something amazing.

Enter shortbread.

Shortbread is amazing. Shortbread also eluded me for many years. My mum makes amazing shortbread, and I basically rooted through her recipes until I found it this Christmas. Sharing is fun.

I think they key is the cornflour, it gives it a beautiful “snap” and makes the biscuit deliciously crumbly and crunchy.  The butter is incredible. It’s all working. AND it got the seal of approval from my little godson on Christmas day (he had one in his mouth and one in each hand and was anxiously checking the box to see how many were left).

Apart from being gorgeous and buttery and delicious AND easy to make, its also a fairly versatile recipe. I’ve made it with just plain sugar topping, with lemon zest in the biscuits, and (a personal favourite) with chocolate chips in the dough!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Coconut Tiffin

Soon after, I ate this

I'm currently post-nightshift. I'm very delicate right now after 4.5 hours sleep, and I don't know up from down. All I know is that tiffin is amazing. I'm holding on to that right now.

Tiffin is a real crowd pleaser. I just want to experiment with different tiffin flavours and never make anything else ever again. I don’t think anyone would fault that decision. Try it, and believe.

I didn't make enough to quite fit right to that last corner.,

So, with that in mind – coconut chocolate tiffin!

Traybakes are amazing, they’re quick and delicious and easy to transport. This one is all covered in chocolate and coconut and it really is incredible. I got a bar of white chocolate with coconut through it in Aldi, so I’ve used that because it fitted the theme, but you could just use plain white chocolate chips if that’s all you’ve got. The Aldi stuff is about 80p though, so if you’ve got one nearby, it’s worth a trip in – the Germans know chocolate.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Ferrero Raw-chers

Valentine's day is coming, so the world is full of devilishly chocolate cakes and heart shaped boxes of sweets. And there's nothing wrong with that (seriously, take a look at the rest of the blog, chocolate is my bread and butter. As well as actual bread and butter). But since there's plenty of that chocolate indulgence around at the minute, I thought I would do something a little different.

I am obsessed with Ferrero rochers. Over the festive period I was mainlining these things. My record is 8 in a row, and I could have gone on, but the towering pile of empty wrappers was getting a little embarrassing.

New year, new leaf and all that, so I thought I’d fiddle around and make a healthier version. These are pretty delicious and the great thing is you can make a batch, freeze them, and have a treat ready for whenever the sweet tooth hits (which lets face it, is always)!

Now, you know I can’t lie to my blog. They don’t taste quite as good as the original,  BUT they are surprisingly really tasty, super duper easy, take about 5 minutes to make, and are better for you! Probably my favourite "raw" things I've made so far!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Peanut Butter Caramel Squares

Another use for my tins of boiled condensed milk-turned caramel! I'm posting this now so you have plenty of time to get everything sorted to make it next weekend. It's that good.

I’m still ridiculously proud of my foray into caramel, so I thought I would try something just a little extra special. This is a basic caramel square, with an extra layer of peanut buttery deliciousness. I don’t think peanut butter and caramel can ever go wrong together, and adding chocolate on top and shortbread on the bottom is just plain smart.

I adore this traybake, the caramel was a little squidgy, but that’s ok for me! The peanut butter layer set beautifully which made up for a slightly runny caramel. Also, the shortbread could have taken a few more minutes in the oven, so I’ve adjusted the timing in the written recipe to reflect that.

It's a slightly time-consuming recipe because there's a lot of stopping and starting and chilling required, but it's not very labour intensive. And it's definitely worth it.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

German Biscuits

German biscuits are a staple in Northern Irish bakeries, along with other such classics as snowballs and coconut fingers and fifteens.

They’re a very important part of my childhood, and whenever we would head to a bakery, my sticky little fingers would reach for this sweet round shortbread biscuit,with jam oozing out the sides and barely-set white icing dolloped in the centre.

As I've said, the classic combination is jam and white icing, so the caramel in half of these isn’t strictly “canon” but I had a little bit of caramel left over from another baking project so I thought I’d mix things up. It was delicious, as adding caramel to things normally is. If I had to choose, I think I have to favour tradition and give my thumbs up to the classic jam-filled ones, mainly because I'm a sucker for nostalgia.

You will note that the icing on top is a little.. slapdash. But that’s the way it is meant to be. A beautifully and finely piped topping of icing is great.. but it’s not quite right for these. So dollop away!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders

I really love chicken. Definitely my favourite meat to cook with, because it’s just so easy and versatile. Somehow I don’t think I’ve ever made little chicken tenders before, which is a real shame. The blog has been skewing sweet lately, because Christmas = sugar. So I thought these would be lovely little morsels to re-introduce some savoury and make the sugar crash a little more bearable.

These are delicious little morsels of spiced, crispy chicken that are super easy to make. They might be baked, but the little drizzle of butter before baking gives them that delicious fried taste, without using a potful of oil.

These can be served however you like, but I was using mine in lieu of a Sunday dinner, so I went with comfort food – gravy, mash and sweetcorn. Broccoli, peas and carrots could easily have been added to the plate also but I was feeling lazy. Or you could serve with a crispy peppery salad instead. Or in a brioche bun with a drizzle of mayo.

Versatile and delicious. KFC has got nothing on me.