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Tag Archives: Cooking

Coconut and cherry banana bread

This cake may not be the prettiest cake in the world but it sure tastes nice! As the chef, Nigella Lawson, herself says in the recipe book Kitchen “to look at, I grant you, this is not a joyous creation, but it’s damp and luscious taste is all the more heightened for being unforseen” I just love the way she talks, everything sounds so amazing! It is a very simple cake that has a brilliant taste and it also leaves hardly any washing up as everything is mixed in the same pan!

Ingredients

125g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing

4 small-medium bananas (approx. 500g with the skin on)

150g of caster sugar

2 eggs

175g plain flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

100g of dried cherries

100g of desicated coconut

1 x 900g (2lb) loaf tin

Preperation

1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/gas mark 3. Put a loaf liner in your tin, or just line the bottom with baking parchment and grease the sides.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, take off the heat and leave to cool. Peel and mash the bananas in another bowl.

3. Beat the sugar into the cooled, melted butter, then beat in the bananas and the eggs. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and bicarb. Finally, add the dried cherries and coconut.

4. Fold well so that everthing is incorporated, then pour and scrape into the lined loaf tin and smooth the top.

5. Bake for 5o mins, but check after 45. When it’s ready, the cake will be coming away from the sides of the tin and will be bouncy on top. Leave it in the tin for 10 mins before transfering to a wire rack to cool.

Yummy yummy!

Meggy x

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Spiced apple and raisin pie, by Delia Smith

After a huge amount of apples bought by my mum for an excessive amount of money (which doesn’t seem right to me…) my cooking thoughts have been revolving around apples and what I could do with them before they go out of date, even though my mum was told that they are magic apples that don’t go out of date for 6 months, I do not want any of them to go to waste, just in case. Half of them also taste like pears and the other half of lemons which is odd, but I won’t deny that they taste good. The first day I had a nice healthy salad with raisins and the normal apples that we need to use up before we start the “special” apples. Then I decided on an apple pie for saturday night, yum yum!

Delia Smith has been my parents cooking goddess since before I was born probably, we have loads of books by her and one has been used so much the cover has come of, been replaced, come off again, been replaced, etc. For me, she is like the fairy godmother of cooking. This was a very nice pie with spices, apples and raisins, my boyfriend was disappointed because he doesn’t like any of these things so he just had a bowl of custard but for those of us who have developed our taste buds beyond sweets and biscuits it was lovely!

Ingredients

For the pastry

110g of whole wheat flour

110g of self-raising flour

50g of margarine/butter

50g of lard

a pinch of salt

cold water, to mix

For the filling

700g of Bramley apples (or expensive ones that taste like pears in my case)

25g of soft brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

75g of raisins

1/4 whole nutmeg, grated

To glaze

milk and caster sugar

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/400 F/200 C. Grease a 9 1/2 inch (24cm) pie-plate.

2. Quarter and peel the apples then slice them thinly into a saucepan and mix them with the sugar, spices and raisins. Sprinkle in the water and cook for 10 mins or until the apples are soft and fluffy. Next, empty the mixture into a bowl to cool.

3. Make the pastry by mixing the flours together and rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingers. Add some water and the pinch of salt and you should have a nice ball of pastry. If it’s a sticky lump (which is what I had at first) just add a bit more flour. Cut the pastry ball in half and roll one half out to a round then transfer it to line the pie-plate. Spoon in the filling, then roll out the other half of the pastry and cover the rest of the pie like a lid. Trim it and decorate with the spare pastry, brush with milk and sugar glaze, then place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 30 mins.

Yummy yummy apple pie…

Meggy x

Chocolate digestive cheesecake with white icing

Another recipe that my Nan picked out over Christmas! This cake is very easy to make however, I have a few suggestions to make to Miss Lorraine. The biscuit base is very crumbly and she only puts it in a room to chill for 2 hours, which didn’t work. It was still quite runny and tasted too cheesy, but when I left the half that hadn’t been eaten in the fridge overnight the next day it was gorgeous! As you can see though the white chocolate design didn’t go as planned but I think it gives it a nice homemade look!

Ingredients

400g of chocolate digestives (I don’t think that 50g less would hurt though) crushed into fine crumbs

75g of butter, melted and cooled slightly

4 x 200g tubs cream cheese

icing sugar, to taste (I used about 25g)

400g milk chocolate (at least 35% cocoa solids), or a mixture of 300g milk and 100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

1 tsp of vegetable oil

100g white chocolate

23cm springform tin

piping bag with a very small nozzle

Preperation

1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted and cooled butter squeezing them together with the back of a wooden spoon until everything is well incorporated. Put the biscuits in the springform tin and use something flat to make it nice and flat. (At this point Lorraine just leaves the biscuits but I think I would put them in the fridge while the filling is being made.)

2. Put the cream cheese and icing sugar together in a bowl and mix together gently. This should only take a few turns of the spoon.

3. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl doesn’t toch the water. You can also simply melt the chocolate in the microwave. Pour about a quarter of the chocolate into a jug, add the oil and put to the side. Before this is used again put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm it up a bit again, if you don’t have a microwave put a tea towl over it to keep warm.

4.  Add a large dollop of the cream cheese mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Keep adding the cream cheese mixture, one dollop at a time, mix it like mad until the mixture until the chocolate mixture begins to look smooth and silky. At this point, tip all of the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix together until everything is completely incorporated.

5. Tip the mixture on top of the biscuit base and smooth the top.  Put the cheesecake in the fridge for 20 minutes or until the chocolate at the top is beginning to firm up a little.

6. Five minutes before the cheesecake is ready, melt the white chocolate and make sure the jug of milk chocolate is nice and runny. Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and quickly pour the milk chocolate ontop of it until it is completely covered. Now drizzle white chocolate lines across the top about 2cm apart so you have a grid. Using a cocktail stick drag it across the white lines (this is how Lorraine does it but you can do whatever you want). Leave the cheesecake in the fridge for 2 hours.

Meggy x

My cooking Christmas

What a lovely Christmas I’ve had! My grandparents are here and my mum and dad’s Christmas dinner was absolutely wonderful, as always! I didn’t want to try my hand at the Christmas dinner for fear of messing it up, maybe next year!

Guess what I got for Christmas then… 3 recipe books!!! Yes I’m going to be very busy this year! I got Kitchen by Nigella Lawson, How to be a domestic goddess by Nigella Lawson (finally I have some of my heroine’s cook books!) and Home cooking made easy by Lorraine Pascale.

You may be surprised that the first recipe I did was a Lorraine Pascale one and not Nigella, well, after promising my grandma that I’d make her something she spotted “Caramelised banana bread and butter pudding with toasted pecan nuts” in Lorraine’s recipe book and said how much she loved it so I said I’d make it for her! My dad is very sceptical about Lorraine Pascale because he says that somebody that young can’t cook well enough to have their own TV show, but as I pointed out he’s already had her Five spice baked ribs and I didn’t hear him complain about that! He’s also doesn’t like her because she was a model and then suddenly changed career paths and became a chef, he’s just upset his life isn’t that glamorous, but that’s just dad being dad. This was my chance to prove to him that Lorraine is a good cook so I concentrated very hard on the recipe to get it right…

I definitely proved him wrong! The bread and butter pudding was so gorgeous! Everybody loved it! So I am going to share it with you!

Caramelised banana bread and butter pudding with toasted pecans

Ingredients

75 g butter, at room temperature

1 medium loaf of crusty white bread, cut into 8-10 slices about 2cm thick

400ml double cream (I managed to substitute this with “creme epais” which is still a feeble replacement for double cream but better than nothing)

300 ml creme fraiche

75g soft light brown sugar, plus 25g extra for sprinkling

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod/vanilla extract

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

4 eggs

2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1cm slices

100g pecan nuts (I used brazil nuts which were yummy yummy!)

4-litre capacity baking dish, about 25 x 30cm

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Grease the ovenproof dish with some of the butter.

2. Using the remaining butter, butter the bread slices on one side and, them in half diagonally and arrange them any way you like in the prepared baking dish.

3. Put the cream, creme fraiche, the 75g sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon and eggs in a large jug and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and well mixed.

4. Now put the banana slices and pecans between the slices of bread, with a few landing on top. Pour the liquid over the bread and allow it to soak through for a few seconds, then use the back of a spoon to squidge everything down into the liquid. Finally scatter the remaining sugar over the top. Bake the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the mixture has just set and looks nicely caramelised.

5. Serve at once. This is delicious with a little more fresh cream poured over it.

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meggy x

Black Beer Gingerbread

Last night we saw my heroine, Nigella Lawson, on the TV and she was doing a Christmas episode! She was throwing a cocktail for her glamorous friends in her beautiful house that was covered in fairy lights, and was making lots of snacky things to serve. She also made candles out of apples and cucumber which was (as she admitted) quite crazy but I liked it. One of the snacks she made was Black beer gingerbread, it looked very nice and my mum and I were drooling in front of the screen, you could almost smell the spices… So I made decided to make it!

Of course nothing goes smoothly in my kitchen. The first thing that I had trouble with were the measurements, which is in cups, but I soon got used to it.  Then I NEARLY forgot the golden syrup, so mum, who had been waiting for my mistake, swooped in and tried to take over. But everything was soon under control and the mixture was put in the oven.

Here is a picture of my gingerbread (that I tried to make look just like Nigella’s with the reindeer, snow and trees)! It is very nice! Even my boyfriend who doesn’t like spices likes it!

 

Ingredients

10 tablespoons of butter, plus some for greasing

1 cup of golden syrup

1 cup of dark brown sugar (packed) + 2 tablespoons

1 cup of stout

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoons of ground cloves

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 ¼ cups of sour cream

2 eggs

1 rectangular aluminium foil pan, approximately 13 by 9 inches

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/ 325 Fahrenheit and grease your foil pan
  2. Put the butter, syrup, dark brown sugar, stout, ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves into a pan and melt gently over a low heat
  3. Take off the heat and whisk in the flour and baking powder. You will need to get rid of any lumps
  4. Whisk the sour cream and eggs together then beat into the gingerbread mixture, whisking again for a smooth batter.
  5. Pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake for about 45 minutes, when it’s ready it will be gleamingly risen at the centre, and coming away from the pan at the sides.
  6. Let the gingerbread cool before cutting it into slices or squares.

Meggy x

Saying goodbye with Brownies

I have been doing some work experience in an office in my town, I’ve been there for 7 weeks and today was my last day! I was very sad to leave, I had thoroughly enjoyed my time there, everybody had been really nice and I learned more than I think I would have at school! This will sound quite childish but I don’t want to go back to school!!! I haven’t been to school since the week before the october holidays and when I go back it will be the New Year, because of my work experience,  so I’m going to need some time to adjust to the getting up at 6am, getting on the bus, having horrible school dinners yuck yuck… Anyway, to say thank you to my “tutrice”, who took me under her wing while I was in the office, I have bought her a box of Quality Street (the perfect gift), which she loves and I also made A LOT of brownies for everybody in the office.

This is a recipe from Chocolate : Best Kept Secrets of the Women’s Institute, I wanted to use a Nigella Lawson recipe but I had the most horrible shock when I took a packet of flour out of the cupboard… Loads of tiny little mites were crawling around inside! It was so disgusting! My mum and I checked all the other packets of flour and they were all infected except one, which hadn’t been in the same place in the cupboard as the others. Luckily my neighbours lent me some flour, not the right kind for Nigella unfortunately, but I’m not complaining as everything was very rushed. Once the mixture was in the oven it took a lot longer to cook than it said in the recipe too so I was worried about that, but it turned out very nice.

This is a photo of the brownies that I finally managed to take into work, they were a big hit, everybody loved them and lots of people asked for the recipe! The gorgeous cake stand that I have used to model the brownies is a Vintage cake stand for sale on the Etsy shop Tour de Force http://www.etsy.com/shop/TourDeForce?ref=ss_profile just in case you are interested!

Ingredients :

150 g butter

50 g plain choc

200 g molasses sugar

2 eggs

A few drops of vanilla essence

Sift together 50 g of plain flour and a tsp of baking powder

150 g milk chocolate chopped into chunks

This makes 10 – 12 slices but I cut it up into chunks.

Method :

1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/electric oven 180/fan oven 160

1. Melt the plain chocolate and the butter in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water

2. In a seperate bowl, mix the molasses sugar, eggs and vanilla essence together until foamy.

3. Add the plain flour and baking powder to  the mixture, mix, then stir in the plain chocolate

4. Fold in the milk chocolate chunks then pour the mixture into a 900 g loaf tin (Save the mixture left in the bowl as a chefs perk because it is delicious!) and put the tin in the oven for 4o to 55 minutes.

5. Take it out of the oven, leave it in the tin for 10 minuted then transfer it to a cooling rack.

6. Enjoy!

Meggy x

Killer shortbread cake

This weekend I decided to make some chocolate shortbread biscuits with my boyfriend, I thought they’d be nice and pretty for the blog and we were going to make the biscuits in heart shapes ♥ I chose my recipe on bbc Good food (www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1272633/double-chocolate-shortbreads) and thought it sounded simple enough, there were only 2 steps. I made the dough, easy, wrapped it in cling-film and chilled it in the fridge for an hour, no problemo, but then… DISASTER!!!! When I got it out of the fridge it was so hard that I could have killed somebody with it! I left it for 15 minutes hoping it would become soft but it didn’t so I had to ask my mum for help… Yes, my mum fixes all my cooking disasters, or tries to. She got out the Magimix, which I think she’s had since before I was born, and put all the frozen dough inside, then she whirred it around a bit, added some water and we ended up with a very gooey mixture which I could definitely not roll out and cut into heart shapes. We got a pie dish and poured the mixture in, then put it in the oven for 30 minutes. The result tasted nice and chocolatey but it was the dryest cake I think I have ever tasted in my life, it was so dry that we had trouble swallowing it! That didn’t stop my sister and my boyfriend who managed to eat a quarter of it before giving in and admitting defeat!

What went wrong? Well, after some fierce interrogation my mum realised that I had put light brown sugar into the mixture instead of brown caster sugar… I had no idea that it would make such a difference!

So I’ve learned my lesson about sugar and I hope it’s a mistake I won’t be making again! Here is a picture of the dryest cake in the world, possibly fatal if too big a chunk is attempted to be devoured…

Meggy x