Hello & welcome to my Blog.
I came up with the idea of this blog as I had been writing a cookery book for my Children after my eldest Son Simon left home and would ring me for all his favourite recipes. I thought that this way it would be easier to update & where ever they were they could cook their favourite recipes. This blog is that index card box of scribbled recipes, torn out recipes from magazines, lost somewhere in the house, all brought neatly together in one place.
What I didn't expect was the thousands of people that have looked at it since its creation, from all over the World, I have even created a Facebook fanpage so that I can chat to fellow foodies who have enjoyed the blog!
I really hope you enjoy the recipes, please feel free to post comments or recipes and I just want you to know that all recipes have been cooked time & time again by myself and all photographs, where possible, have been taken by me of the food that I have cooked.
I apologise in advance for any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, I bake better than I write.
Friday, 30 December 2011
Now this is not a recipe, but I just wanted to share with you my finished Christmas cake as I am so proud of how it has turned out.
I have kept it secretly hidden away until the Tuesday after Christmas when the Children were all coming over for dinner. While we had them all under one roof, we thought it would be a good time to share with them our big secret.
On the 31st December 2011, Hubby & I celebrate our 3rd Wedding Anniversary, nothing exciting you may be thinking, but the surprise is that we have never ever told anyone that we have got married. We snuck off to a gorgeous hotel in Kent and with two members of hotel staff as our witnesses we were married. It was the most magical, most romantic day ever and made even more special as it was just about us!
We then had a beautiful romantic meal and then joined all the other hotel guests in the evening at the New Years Eve ball, a few days later we honeymooned in the Maldives. Perfect.
We decided that after 7 years together and now 3 of those years being happily married it felt right to share our secret with our friends and family. The Children were all so happy for us, little Luca cried as he has been wanting us to get married for ages and was just so overwhelmed.
So now the world knows our little secret, hope you like my cheeky little snow bride and groom.
I would just like to wish my very gorgeous Husband happy anniversary for tomorrow, I love you truly, madly, deeply.
Well Christmas is over, the decorations and tree are all down and Hubby and I have been preparing today for tomorrow as it is New Years Eve and our 3rd Wedding Anniversary. We will be celebrating in style with lobster and I can not wait.
As I have finally sat down to enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of left over Christmas cake, I thought that I would share this recipe with you. I know its to late to make it for Christmas, but it would be great for New Years Eve or even at Easter.
I wasn't 100% happy with how it turned out, as we did struggle to remove the glass, our fault as we didn't use a straight glass, whoops! Also I wasn't sure that the doughnut balls were sweet enough for our liking (even though it is covered in a honey/sugar syrup, we have such a sweet tooth in this house) and so will be looking for another recipe to try and will report back if it is better, but for now I thought I would share this recipe with you, just because, as a family we had such fun making it.
I prepared the dough, Olly & Luca helped roll the dough into balls and Hubby deep fried them. When they were cool enough to handle, Hubby & I set the balls around the glass & left it to set over night. It looked so pretty when brought to the table on its stand, covered in gold balls, sugar stars & gold glitter. A real show piece.
So I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and successful baking New Year.
• 2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 large lemon, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
• 1/2 large orange, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
• 3 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon white wine, such as pinot grigio
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• Canola oil, for frying (Sunflower oil can also be used)
• 1 cup honey
• 1/2 cup caster sugar
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted (see Cook's Note)
• Vegetable oil cooking spray
• Sugar sprinkles, for decoration
• Icing sugar, for dusting, optional (I used edible glitter)
For the dough: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 2 cups of flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the eggs, wine, and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture forms into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 4 equal-sized pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough until 1/4-inch thick. Cut each piece of dough into 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip of pastry into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball about the size of a hazelnut. Lightly dredge the dough balls in flour, shaking off any excess.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don't have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.). In batches, fry the dough until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. (The rested and quartered dough can also be rolled on a floured work surface into 1/2-inch thick logs and cut into equal-sized 1/2-inch pieces. The dough pieces can then be rolled into small balls and fried as above).
In a large saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the fried dough and hazelnuts and stir until coated in the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan for 2 minutes.
Spray the outside of a small, straight-sided water glass with vegetable oil cooking spray and place in the center of a round platter. Using a large spoon or damp hands, arrange the struffoli and hazelnuts around the glass to form a wreath shape. Drizzle any remaining honey mixture over the struffoli. Allow to set for 2 hours (can be made 1 day in advance). Decorate with sprinkles and dust with powdered sugar, if using. Remove the glass from the center of the platter and serve.
Cook's Note: To toast the hazelnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before using.
If like me you are uncomfortable with measuring in cups, here is a handy conversion link for you:
Monday, 19 December 2011
I love baking for my Family, this is no secret, its my way of expressing my love for them and creating wonderful warm memories, no special occasion can go by without me baking them something yummy and delicious and one of our favourite family traditions are our wonderful breakfasts that we share when the Children are all on school holidays.
Over the years, pancakes have been a very firm favourite, with doughnut bread now coming in maybe as a first, especially with Rosie my daughter and her very sweet tooth, which I have to say she did inherit from her Mother !!
I am always on the look out for other recipes to make them for breakfast and over the holidays this Christmas I will be making them the waffles and epic hot chocolate which Jamie Oliver made on his Christmas show, 'Jamie's Christmas with Bells on', I will blog the recipe if it tastes as good as it looks. I have already made the hot chocolate mixture, I have the biceps to prove it from finely grating a whole bar of chocolate the other morning!
But for now, here is my latest yummy recipe for a late breakfast or if we get some snow, these would be perfect served with hot chocolate, warm from the oven to toasty them back up after a snowball fight or a winter walk. I know my brood are nearly all grown up now, two of them have left home, and all but one of them are taller than me, but when they are all here, under one roof, I can't help but spoil them, they will always be my babies.
140g golden caster sugar, plus 200g extra for dusting
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100ml natural yoghurt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
12 teaspoons of seedless raspberry jam
Heat the oven to 190c/ 170c fan/ gas 5.
Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tin, the recipe also suggests using a silicone one, but I hate them! Put 140g sugar, flour and the bicarb in a bowl and mix to combine. In a jug, whisk together the yoghurt, eggs and vanilla. Tip the contents and the melted butter into the dry ingredients and quickly fold with a metal spoon to combine.
Divide two-thirds of the mixture between the muffins holes. Carefully add 1 teaspoon of jam into the centre of each, then cover with the remaining mixture. Bake for 16 - 18 minutes until risen, golden and springy to touch.
Leave to cool for about 5 minutes before lifting them out of the tin, then roll them in the extra sugar.
You could use any jam you like, especially if you have some lovely homemade jam, I think I may try them with my homemade blackberry jam and add a little cinnamon to the sugar before dusting them, give them a warm seasonal feel & taste.
On Saturday I had my Mum & Dad over for the afternoon, Mum is diabetic now but absolutely loves my cakes, so I know I shouldn't but I couldn't resist baking for her, well it is Christmas!
I found this lovely recipe for the Eccles Sponge Cake in the January edition of Good Food Magazine and love that it uses up some of the ingredients that I have laying around after making my Christmas cake and mincemeat. It is also great for those that don't like the traditional Christmas cake but still enjoy a nice seasonal cake.
This cake is simple to make and the smell from the spices gives that lovely nostalgic feeling of Christmas as it cooks.
Don't worry if you don't have all the right ingredients for the filling, I didn't have raisins and if you follow my blog you will know that I absolutely hate with a passion, mixed peel, so I substituted these with glace cherries and crystallised pineapple, both loved by myself and my Mum.
I must admit that my finished result did look a little different to the one in the magazine, but this is because my lovely parents decided to turn up about an hour and a half early, the cake was still cooling and I had to put it in the garden to cool it down and it was still slightly warm when I rushed and iced it, but it still tasted delicious, which is all that counts really.
Mum loved it and I packed her off home with a quarter of the cake to enjoy.
Happy Christmas to my Mum & Dad, Buon appetito.
Serves 8 - 10
For the sponge:-
250g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
250g soft light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
100g plain flour
250g self raising flour
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm pieces, my lovely Hubby did this for me :)
Fot the filling:-
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (which I left out, vile stuff!!)
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
50g mixed peel - YUK !
85g icing sugar, sifted
zest and juice of 1 lemon
a few sugar cubes, roughly crushed
Heat the oven to 160c/ 140c fan/ gas 3.
Grease and line a deep 20cm cake tin with baking parchment. Mix together the filling ingredients and set aside.
Put butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until pale. Beat in the eggs (I always crack the eggs into a cup and give them a light beating before adding them, I just find they mix better then), then fold in the flours, buttermilk and apples. Spoon half the mixture into the tin. Scatter over the filling, leaving a 2.5cm clear border all around the edge. Spoon the remaining mixture on top, start by dolloping round the edges, then moving into the middle. Bake for 1hr 25 mins, it took a little longer in my oven, so just keep checking with a skewer, until the skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin.
Mix the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a runny-ish icing. Remove cake from the tin, drizzle over the icing, then scatter with the crushed sugar cubes and lemon zest.
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Friday, 2 December 2011
The gorgeous Vanessa Kimbell has come up with this lovely idea of 'Let's make Christmas' and I have just emailed her my recipes for boozy Christmas drinks, that can be beautifully bottled and decorated to be given as gifts.
Please check out the links below for more gorgeous recipes and fantastic ideas, in loads of different categories to make the most wonderful gifts for your friends, family & loved ones.
What better gift can you give to show you care than something you have made yourself.
Merry Christmas everyone.