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Tag Archives: Cooking

English scones, by Delia Smith

Even though I have been living in France for 7 years I still crave english food ! I can’t stand going through the day without a cup of tea and when I visit my home country I HAVE to have double cream with every dessert as well as visiting my favourite restaurants, especially chinese restaurants, which aren’t english but my favourite chinese dish (crispy duck pancakes) IS NOT SERVED in France ! I think that if you own a chinese restaurant it should be law to serve crispy duck ! Anyway enough about crispy duck, this post is about scones, which are an english treat sorely missed in our household. We have managed to get our hands on some clotted cream and I decided to make some scones to go with it.

These are SO easy to make and I will definitely make some more ! Unfortunately I wasted half a scone by trying out a topping variation called “thunder and lightning” which is clotted cream and treacle, honey or golden syrup…

I used Black treacle which… I did not like at all, however, the golden syrup one was gorgeous ! Despite my untidy presentation !

Here’s how to make this gorgeous, english tea-time snack.

Ingredients

225g of self-raising flour

40g of butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons of caster sugar

a pinch of salt

150 ml milk

a bit of extra flour

Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 220 C/gas mark 7/425 F and grease a baking sheet.

2. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub the butter into it rapidly, using your fingertips.

3. Stir in the sugar and salt, then take a knife and use it to mix in the milk, little by little.

4. Flour your hands and knead the mixture to a soft dough, if it feels dry add some more milk. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll it out until it is about 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick. Take a 1 1/2 or 2 inch (4 or 5 cm) pastry cutter (I used a glass because we don’t have any !), place it on the dough and then tap it sharply so that it goes straight into the dough, don’t twist it unless you want funny shaped scones.

5. When you’ve cut as many scone shapes as possible out of the dough place the scones on a greased baking sheet, dust each one with some extra flour and bake near the top of the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

6. Cool on a wire rack and eat them as fresh as possible!

Meggy x

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My mum’s tuna bean bake, perfect student food

My boyfriend is a student living in a tiny studio apartment by himself. He likes his food but can’t be asked to cook so when I go to see him I like to cook some decent meals for him, to get him off the pasta diet. This backfired once when he said he was going to make dinner for a change and decided to make a curry… He boiled some milk in a pan, added curry powder, some rice and chicken. This was his homemade chicken korma. I don’t think that I have to tell you that it was not the best thing I have ever tasted, unfortunately he liked it and declared that he would take charge of the savoury stuff and I’d do the sweet things. Luckily, he seems to have forgotten about that and let me cook on my last visit. Once I had gotten over the pile of mouldy plates piled in the sink (ewwwwwww!!!) I took charge of the kitchen and made my mum’s lovely bean and tuna bake dish. I decided to make it because it’s nice and cheap, easy and does not require an oven, which my boyfriend does not have in his studio.

Ingredients

a tin of white haricot beans

a tin of canned tomatoes

a can of tuna

an onion

grated cheese

whatever takes your fancy to spice it up a bit !

Recipe

1. Cut the onion up into small chunks and fry them in a big pan.

2. Add the can of tomatoes and then can of tuna, aswell as anything else you might want to use.

3. Add the white haricot beans.

4. add the grated cheese and VOILA my mum’s tuna bean bake ! Yummy !

I am not going to put a photo on because, although this may be delicious it is unfortunately, not pretty.

Meggy x

Toffee caramel popcorn, by Lorraine Pascale

Me and my boyfriend (well me) decided to do a Disney night where we would watch our favourite Disney films. Unfortunately we couldn’t find all of them, the attic is a dark and scary place, so we made do with the ones that were within our reach: Snow White, Lady and the Tramp (one of my favourites), Fantasia (my boyfriend’s favourite, I was alright for the first 30 mins until I looked at the back of the DVD and saw how long the entire thing was) and Beauty and the Beast. What goes better with films than popcorn? I stumbled upon this recipe when I was flicking through Lorraine Pascale’s “Home cooking made easy” recipe book and thought it sounded fun and simple, which it is.

This is toffee caramel flavoured popcorn! YUMMY! Unfortunately we couldn’t fit it all in but you can store it for 2 days so we made it last.

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil

100 g popcorn kernels

100 g soft light brown sugar

100 g butter

150 g maple/golden syrup

Recipe

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium high heat then add the popcorn kernels and give the pan a shake to coat in the oil.

2. Put the lid on and every 20 seconds or so shake the pan, when you hear the first pop shake more often. Turn the heat down when the strangely fun popping begins and enjoy yourself by watching the mini firework display (if you have a see-through lid of course). Keep shaking it every so often until only a few pops can be heard, take it off the heat and leave to stand for a minute or so, then take off the lid and leave the popcorn to cool.

3. While the popcorn is cooling, heat the butter, maple/golden syrup and sugar in a small pan over a low heat. Simmer for 2 –  3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Take the pan off the heat when the mixture is syrupy and smooth.

4. Pour half of the sauce over the popcorn, mix it around with a couple of wooden spoons until the popcorn is covered and then pour the remaining half in, again mixing it all around until the popcorn is covered.

5. Let the popcorn cool right down before you eat it, otherwise things will get seriously sticky.

6. If, like me, you didn’t manage to finish it all you can put it in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Meggy x

Blondies, by Nigella Lawson

You may have been expecting a Valentine’s day recipe but, due to my boyfriend not being on school holidays yet, I am celebrating it next week instead and I will be cooking a 3 course meal and lots and lots of cakey snacky things to eat in front of a nice romantic film. Be sure not to miss that future post, either everything will go wrong or only a few things will.

These little treats are simply divine. Think of a brownie, then imagine it not brown and with oats et voila! Les Blondies! Nigella Lawson says that she came up with the name after baking some brownies then, a few days later, some of these. When I first made these we were amazed at how tasty they are, they’re everyone’s favourite cakey snack, even better than brownies! I have been meaning to show them to you, dear readers, for a while but I kept getting sidetracked. Once, I even got all the ingredients out and started weighing them, before realising that I was 150 grams short of oats. So FINALLY I have managed to make a batch, I highly recommend these to everyone, they are just so gorgeous.

Ingredients

200 g of oats, not instant

100 g of plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

150 g of soft, unsalted butter

100 g of light muscovado sugar

1 x 397 g of condensed milk (my boyfriend has a strange fetish for this ingredient and insists on licking the can out when I’ve finished with it, which I find quite disgusting as condensed milk is good but mixed with other things, not by itself)

1 egg

1 x 170 g packet dark choccy chips

Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line a 23 cm cake tin or a foil tray, approximately 30 x 20 x 5 cm with foil.

2. Combine the oats, flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.

3. In another bowl, beat or mix the soft butter with sugar until pale and airily creamy, then beat in the condensed milk followed by the oats, flour and bicarb mixture.

4. When these are well mixed, beat in the egg, then fold in the choccy chips.

5. Pour, or spoon, the mixture into your tin or tray and smooth it down. Cook in the pre heated oven for about 35 mins. When it’s ready it will be dark gold around the edges and coming away from the tin. It might seem squidgy underneath but fear not, this is normal. Leave in the tin until it’s firm then put it on a wire rack to cool. When it’s cool cut it up into squares, then devour it.

By the way, this lovely cake stands can be found on the Etsy shop Tour de Force, click on the link or on the button in my sidebar.

Meggy x

Sandra’s Gateau au Poire

My mum goes to her friends house once a week where they sew, drink tea and eat cake. Last week she came back raving about a cake that her friend had made and wanted me to make it. It’s a chocolate cake with pears, it’s a very very easy to make and it was very nice, it’s quite dry on the outside but nice and gooey on the inside. The recipe is a bit odd, the mesurements are in tablespoons,  it’s made with an entire packet of baking powder (about 11 grams) and only a tablespoon and a half of flour, I was very skeptical but followed the recipe and it worked!

This cake is perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.

Ingredients

3 eggs

6 tablespoons of caster sugar

1 and a half tablespoons of plain flour (I know it seems odd but trust me)

1 packet (11 g) of baking powder

150 g of dark chocolate

100 g of butter

a can of tinned pears, drain the juice first

A 20 cm cake tin

Preperation

1. Heat the oven to 190 C/400 F/Gas mark 6 then grease your cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan and while it’s melting beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl.

3. Add the baking powder and flour, still mixing, then add the melted butter and chocolate. Make sure everything is mixed together properly and then pour into the cake tin.

4. Put the pears ontop of the mixture, if they sink don’t worry, then put the cake tin in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Check after 40, just to be on the safe side.

5. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then take it out of the cake tin, sliding a palette knife round the edges if it’s stuck, leave to cool for a little longer, then serve with a good cuppa tea.

Meggy x

Rice Krispie brownies

My friends 18th birthday was on friday and naturally I was excited for her, though she didn’t seem to be. She doesn’t have many friends and is an orphan that lives with her boyfriend so she wasn’t really expecting much out of it, although she did say she was  going to go hunting and then have a birthday dinner with the hunters which, by the way was not invited to (the dinner, not the hunting) even though I am one of her closest friends which everyone else found very strange but I’m sure she had her reasons. Anyway, bad luck struck and she injured her knee in our sports class and ended up with a cast around her knee so the hunting trip was nearly canceled, but she went and ended up lying in a bush with a gun for the entire thing. I felt sorry for her because you’re supposed to have a fuss made of you for your 18th so I asked our friends at school if they wanted to throw a little surprise party. Our master plan was that on monday when we came in to school we would pretend to forget it had been her birthday and act like normal then, at lunchtime, we go outside and surprise her with a cake, sweets and “Champomi” (fake champagne for kids, basically fizzy apple juice). I was of course in charge of the cake and I wanted to make a batch of Blondies, brownies but made with condensed milk and oats instead of chocolate, but unfortunately we had not got enough oats… What had we got then? Well my mum had bought 2 huge boxes of Rice Krispies even though no one in the house likes them and so I decided to some classic Rice Krispie Brownies.

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter

5 x 15ml tablespoons (75g) golden syrup

150g good quality milk chocolate, chopped

50g good quality dark chocolate, chopped

150 g Rice Krispies

150g milk chocolate morsels or chips (or use half dark and half white choccy chips)

1 x 23cm square cake tin or 1 x foil tray approx 30 x 20 x 5cm

Preperation method

  • Line your tin with foil or get out a barbecue foil tray
  • Put the butter, golden syrup and chopped chocolates (not the chips) in a heavy based and fairly wide saucepan and melt over a low heat
  • Stir to mix the glossy mixture, take it of the heat, then quickly, pour and stir in the Rice Krispies
  • Still off the heat, quickly stir in the chocolate chips (I realised that you needed to do this very quickly so that they didn’t melt) and spoon the mixture into the tin.
  • Put in the fridge to set for about 4 hours before cutting

I didn’t have all the right chocolate for this but it was still absolutely gorgeous. I used 100g of dark chocolate, 100g of milk choccy chips, 100g of white choccy chips and some cocoa powder (not too much though I was scared it would make the mixture dry).

Everything went brilliantly until the next day when I triumphantly took the cake into school and then received a message from the birthday girl saying that she wasn’t coming in… Luckily I had put it in a Tupperware container but I was still worried as the Rice Krispie brownies should really be kept in the fridge. I left it in the locker overnight and the next day it was still there and hadn’t melted, but the (by now pretty annoying) birthday girl still wasn’t there, another day went by and in the end we decided to eat the cake and drink the fake champagne before they spoilt. Needless to say that my friend wasn’t very happy when she found out but hey, she shouldn’t’ have skipped school!

Meggy x

The fabulous (and ever so slightly gorgeous) baker brothers

I have just discovered Channel 4’s The fabulous baker brothers and oh yummy! The food didn’t look bad either! I didn’t know if I was watching it for the food or for the eye candy in the end. Henry Herbert (cute name) and Tom Herbert (my favourite) each showed us some recipe’s that all sounded gorgeous, especially the steak pie and the pitta bread which I plan on making soon. Everything is made in a traditional bread oven in their bakery and comes out looking lovely. They also have little competitions to see who can make the best food. The recipe’s all seem to take hours and hours to cook, one of them passed the time by chopping up some wood for their bread oven in a tight, white t-shirt, ok I’ll stop commenting on their good looks now! I can’t wait for the next episode which is, for all you English food fans that get channel 4, Wednesday at 8.30 pm (English time).