Sunday, 6 August 2017

French Toast

Breakfast for KINGS

Would you believe, at the ripe old age of 29, I had never made French toast?

I had some eggs, bread and milk to use up, and I was very hungry one recent Sunday morning, so I decided that my life would be incomplete without some sweet crispy cinammony bread. A very quick google for the general technique later and I was off! Isn’t the internet wonderful? And the great thing about this recipe is that it's basically made up of kitchen staples.



I think one of the highlights of my week is a lovely, lazy, carbohydrate-filled breakfast of a Sunday. And this ticks all the boxes. Starchy and sweet. And if you serve it with bacon (which is fairly mandatory, I’m led to believe) then you get some added savoury saltiness.

But don't limit yourself to this being food you can only it at breakfast. It's an all day food. Ever heard of "breakfast for dinner?" And I leave you with the immortal words of Parks and Rec:



Sunday, 23 July 2017

Thai Green Cauliflower Soup

A pile of filled tupperware makes me happy.

"The diet starts Monday.."

But the meal prep begins Sunday night!

So, we all know of my vegetable woes.  I don't like them, as a group. I particularly hate cauliflower. It's a terrible substitute for rice and for mashed potatoes. It's just not starchy carby delicious and that's ok. It is its own thing.

Cauliflower can shine on its own without being something else. My boyfriend and I were on holiday in Croatia last year and found a little place with the most delicious food. Their fish was a revelation, but in particular the soup was the best soup I've ever had. It was like a veggie Thai green curry, and the thing that surprised me the most was that it had cauliflower in it. Delicious, healthy and silky-smooth with lovely background spice. 



Blending that veg up in a soup transforms it and it becomes magic.

Gold star for cauliflower.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Prinsesstårta

BEHOLD THE MAJESTY

It is my lovely Swedish boyfriend’s birthday today. A few months ago he casually mentioned that he really liked the traditional Swedish cake “Prinsesstårta” and how he hadn’t had one in years. You may know the cake from a Great British Bake Off technical challenge.



Not being one to shy away from a baking challenge, I decided I would have a good go at it as a birthday surprise.

I was nervous about this for a whole week  leading up to making it. And, just for an added level of technical difficulty, I decided to not practice any of this beforehand and just make it all on the day of his birthday dinner. I have never made crème pat before, I have never coloured marzipan before and I have never covered a cake in anything but buttercream or ganache before. I don’t recommend making this cake with all those firsts in one go, but luckily it worked out fine!

Instagram pic!


Tips to help get you through it:
  • Just use jam from a jar - for the small amount needed, making it from scratch feels pointless
  • Make sure to whip the cream until stiff peaks so that it holds the dome shape
  • Again, chill for a good hour in the fridge with the cream on to again help that dome stay formed
  • Youtube is a great resource for making those damn roses!
  • I’m terrible at cutting a cake into horizontal layers so I went non-traditional and used three cake tins and baked the layers separately
  • Don’t bother buying fondant for just the rose, use some of the marzipan instead
  • You could easily make the crème pat the day before, and probably the marzipan too

Amounts wise, I probably ended up with a little too much crème pat and a little too much marzipan – could probably have made a smaller second cake with the extras!

Phone photo of the inside


The cake itself was a revelation to me - perfect amount of sweetness, with a light sponge, and ridiculously ornate. Winner!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Green Soup



Healthy eating is really hard and I totally fell off the wagon big style. Like, from Christmas. It’s now summer. That’s not good. So this seems as good a time as any to try to get back on it while getting the blog back up to regular updates!

I have been trying to think of ways to get more vegetables into my diet because I am quite immature in my vegetable tastes. I will happily eat sweetcorn and peas and carrots, but I really struggle with things like aubergine and spinach and cucumber. And I just point blank refuse to eat a green shake.

But I have an ace up my sleeve. Soup! I really like soup. It’s quick to make, you can throw a whole host of veggies in it and the best part is you can hide the veggies by blitzing the whole thing up to make a smooth and creamy lunch.

I find it easiest to make changes for my lunches. Gone are the sandwiches and crackers, behold the era of soup! For this soup, I knew I wanted to have the main part be broccoli, and the rest I just kind of threw in based on what I like and what was in the cupboard.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Chicken Noodle Soup - Meal Prep with Sunday Roast Leftovers



I don’t know about anyone else, but I really like the concept of Sunday meal prep, so you have healthy and nutritious lunches set up for the rest of the week instead of relying on packaged sandwiches from the shop (which can definitely be a bit hit and miss!).

I also hate waste. I like to use everything I can and not waste food if I can. And on top of that I'm a bit lazy, so if I can get away with cooking one big dinner to serve as the basis for my meal prep then I’m all over that too.

Meal prep Sunday nights


So, this meal is perfect for me. It’s a really yummy, packed-full-of-veggies soup that is almost no effort, seeing as I am basically using all leftovers from the Sunday roast I already made. I already was chopping leeks and carrots for the dinner, so doing another one each wasn’t much more work, and the chicken was roasted for dinner and then the leftovers were shredded.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Caramel Chocolate Layer Cake



I've been saving this one for a little while now. I wanted to post it at the exact right time. And a bank holiday weekend coupled with it being my birthday weekend (yes, I'm taking the whole weekend) seems about right.

I know that I bang on about cake, but I really do love cake.

Cake is comfort. Cake is delicious. Cake is constant. You know where you’re at with a lovely slice of cake. Trends may come and go, but no one will ever be upset with being presented with a cake.

And it’s even better when it’s a four tier, ombre, chocolate caramel behemoth.

NEKKID - very trendy

Ain’t no one turning that down. There’s an entire tin of caramel in this. Don’t be scared.



One thing I love about cakes is that they are really easy to make look impressive. And this cake is absolutely kick-ass. Look at those layers! I am so proud of this. I want it for my birthday every year please. 



The inner amazingness even covers up for my somewhat questionable decoration skills. If in doubt, throw sprinkles EVERYWHERE. Solid tip right there.



Ingredients for the chocolate and vanilla cakes
  • 215g butter
  • 215g golden caster sugar
  • 175g flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp milk


Ingredients for the caramel and caramel chocolate cakes
  • 215g very soft butter
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 75g caramel
  • 175g plain flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp milk


And for the rest..
  • 275g dark chocolate
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 very generous heaped tbsp of caramel
  • The rest of the tin of caramel, to sandwich


Method

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare your cake tins by greasing and lining them.

For the vanilla and chocolate sponges, with an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar, and then add in the flour, almonds, baking powder and eggs and mix again.  Stir through the yogurt and vanilla sugar.

Pour half into one of the tins and set aside. Add the cocoa to the bowl with the remaining batter and mix well. Add the milk until you have a smooth dropping consistency.

Bake for 20-25 mins. Remove onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

While that’s cooking, whip up the third and fourth layer (caramel and caramel chocolate). It’s basically the exact same method, but add the caramel in with the sugars at the beginning.

Cooked and cooling!

When the sponges are cool, make the ganache. Melt the chocolate and pour it over the cream and caramel. Mix until you have a smooth mixture, and set aside for a little while until it hardens very slightly and becomes easy to spread (approx. 15-30 minutes).

When the sponges are totally cooled, spread a thin layer of caramel over the vanilla (palest) sponge, then place the caramel sponge on top of that and cover it with a thin layer of yet more caramel. Put the caramel-chocolate sponge on top of that, then another layer of caramel and top with the chocolate sponge:







Spread the chocolate ganache over the whole cake to serve, as neatly as you can and throw whatever sprinkles you’ve got at it to cover the patchy bits.


 Slice and serve to grateful loved ones:





Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Slow Cooker Honey Chilli Chicken


Ooh, this is a good one. I haven't had time to cook much with work and revision, so anything to make the process simpler is a good one for me!

The slow cooker is such a great invention. I use mine at least 2-3 times per month, normally on a weekend. There's nothing better than shoving some food into the slow cooker on a lazy Sunday morning and knowing that dinner is taken care of so that you can focus on the important Sunday activities which include sitting on the sofa and reading the paper.

I don't know about anyone else, but my favourite takeout is Chinese food, and I love a good deep fried honey chilli chicken. I'm always looking for ways to recreate those flavours at home and this one really hits the nail on the head.



This is one of the most simple meals I've made, and the first time I made it, I'll admit, I didn't have high hopes. But the flavours are insane! This is a really delicious dinner, and super simple. Make sure to scoop out some of the sauce because it is really amazing over rice. And apart from all the other things that make this meal amazing, it also is basically made from kitchen staples - I always have these items on hand which means I can have this dinner whenever I want. Which is often, no shame.

Mmm, gotta sop up that sauuce
serves 2 with leftovers

Ingredients
  • 3 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and chopped small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup tomato pasatta
  • ¼ cup runny honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds


Method

Chop the chicken breasts in half and line the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle over the onion, pepper and chilli.



Mix together the garlic, pasatta, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, oregano and paprika until smooth. Pour this over the top.



Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3-4 hours.




Remove the chicken and veg onto a plate, and pour over the sauce. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve with rice or noodles.


Thursday, 4 May 2017

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


Sorry about the hiatus, I was on my holidays eating obscene amounts of pizza, pasta and gelato.

BUT I'M BACK BABY. And with a corker of a meal.

I am excited about this post. It's nearly the weekend, and this is the perfect meal to pop in the slow cooker on Saturday morning, to give bountiful meals all weekend.

I love my slow cooker because it takes large hunks of meat that I would normally be super intimidated to cook with, and turns them into tender, flavourful meals with almost no effort.



And when you have that big plate of delicious meat, you can go ahead and cook up whatever you want with it! I got three meals out of this, it was basically the best week’s dinners of my life. None of the dinners took much time to do, and the meat was the star ingredient.

Day one, we had quesadillas:

Tortilla wrap, cheese, meat, veg, fold over and cook. Dream


Day two, we had nachos:

Tortilla chips, meat, veg, cheese. Sense a theme?


Day three, we had bbq mac and cheese:



For this, I mixed the pork with homemade BBQ sauce, topped with mac and cheese, and baked in the oven.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Spiced Chocolate Orange Polenta Cake


Are we ready for some more chocolate after the indulgences of Easter?

I am always looking for a way to use interesting or unusual ingredients. You don’t see polenta around too much, but I really like using it in baking. It is kind of coarse and I like the very subtle crunch that it gives to baked goods. I am a fan.



Now, real talk, I poured the batter for this into a cake tin that was way too small and it never would have cooked. So I removed some of the batter for cupcakes, and ended up with a smaller cake than was intended and 6 delicious cupcakes. Still delicious.



This is a good cake. AND it's gluten free! You will enjoy.


Friday, 14 April 2017

Tear and Share Cheesy Garlic Bread


Okay, I know that it's Easter, which basically means chocolate season. And I am all about the chocolate. I don't do much sweet Easter baking because I'm too focused on yumming chocolate eggs into my face.

But if you're anything like my family, Easter is a time for people to come together and eat. So I've found the perfect side for your Easter buffet. Everyone does an Easter buffet, right?

It is an acknowledged truth that everyone loves garlic bread.

It’s like the universal amazing starter/side – carbohydrate-loaded, highly flavoured, a wee bit greasy.. It ticks all the boxes.

I'm literally salivating right now

But, like all awesome things, it is also ridiculously decadent and should really be saved for special occasions. Oh, hello, Easter.

I could eat all of these right now/

This bread is really really simple to whip up. It takes a little time while you’re allowing the dough to rise, but that’s good if you’re also cooking lots of other things at the same time. This is why it is the perfect dish for a party, imagine throwing this down in the centre of a table – people would be so happy.



Serves.. well, it makes about 24 individual garlic bread balls. So that could serve 2-12, depending on how much the people at your table love garlic bread. I'm not judging.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli


I really need to get my blogging-self back into gear. I haven't had much time lately to cook, so the blog has kind of had a back seat because I haven't had the material to post. But I'm back, baby. I have found some recipes that I'm really excited about and I thought I'd start with one of my favourite styles of meal - homemade mid-week takeout!

Quick dinners are really important on days when you’ve been in work and all you actually want to do is bundle up on the sofa with Netflix and peanut butter.



Quick dinners that taste a bit like a Chinese takeaway are even more important!

I’m not a big veggie fan, but I do like broccoli and leeks, so I try to shoehorn them in wherever I can, and they really work here. It's a lovely plate of golden chicken and green veggies and it just tastes like a big hug of a dinner. Serve with noodles or rice, or whatever you fancy.