Leftover Christmas Muffins

I had a sad looking apple in the fruit bowl and a jar of mincemeat from Christmas.

I made these.

INGREDIENTS

400g Jar of Mincemeat

250g Self Raising Flour

2 teaspoons of Baking Powder

1 giant apple/2 medium apples, diced

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

50g sugar

1 egg, beaten

Butter/Oil

METHOD

Sieve the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl

Cook the diced apple in the butter with the cinnamon in a pan, add the mincemeat and cook till slightly thickened.

Add the wet mix to the dry mix and add the egg. Combine.

Grease a 12 hole muffin tray with a little oil and divide the mixture.

Cook for 30 minutes at gas mark 4 or until a skewer comes out clean.

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Festive Chocolate Chip Shortbread

I decided to make some shortbread as it is Christmas and I wanted to use my lovely Christmas cookie cutters.

You might not believe me but I actually used white chocolate chips, they do look like milk chocolate in the photo though.

Also you can’t see it but one of the shortbread cut using my snowman cutter got a bit elongated and bent and looked very phallic.

INGREDIENTS

125g Caster Sugar

250g Butter

125g Cornflour

250g Plain Flour

100g Chocolate Chips

METHOD

Cream the butter and sugar.

Sieve the flours into the mix and blend to form a dough.

Roll out into traditional shortbread formation or use biscuit cutters to make shapes.

Bake for 20 minutes at Gas Mark 5.

Give to the boy to take into work as you don’t want to get too fat before Christmas.

 

Cheapskate Puttanesca

Hi everyone,

In a bid to use up my stores I discovered a tin of plum tomatoes that expired in September. Knowing that I have the house to myself tonight I decided to make a puttanesca sauce, but wanted to do it on the cheap.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t usually look for reasons to not eat anchovies and capers, but after introducing sardines to my diet back in the summer (when I realised how cheap they are) I noticed they had an extremely similar taste to anchovies, but are generally half the price.

Next time you make a puttanesca sauce, why not give sardines a go? A tin is 33p in Lidl (I am now obsessed with Lidl).

A Tale of Two Biscuits: Spiced Christmas Cookies

I tried to make gingerbread, and this is what happened the first time I made it today:

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So, just like the Boy was when I told him I made gingerbread, you’ll be wondering what the hell that is.

I don’t really make biscuits. And I was going half on remembering how I made gingerbread when I went to visit my sister and her kids, and half on a recipe in Sam Stern’s Student Cookbook for fiery ginger biscuits.

I also ran out of baking parchment and decided that the cookies would all be fine on the same baking tray.

Instead they all melded into a big gingery blob, and since they had no semblance of the original Christmas Cookie Cutter shapes I had carefully cut them into, well I just started tearing them into little pieces until they resembled kindling.

They were delicious, but I knew I needed to go back to the recipe and tweak it. The dough was far too sticky and couldn’t be saved. So I had a second go at them.

IMG_7456

They turned out better.

This is not a recipe for Gingerbread, because gingerbread typically involves an egg, and these didn’t. These are very spicy ‘ginger influenced’ biscuits that can be cut into the shape of gingerbread men, if you wish.

These are very spicy, so if you have a cold then chow down as these will definitely clear your sinuses. You may want to adjust the measurements to something that is more reasonable, but I say it’s Christmas, go bold.

INGREDIENTS

3 tsp Ground Ginger

1 tsp Cinnamon

0.5 tsp Mixed Spice

1.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

150g Self Raising Flour

75g Butter, diced

3.5 balls of Stem Ginger, cut into tiny diced pieces

60g Soft Light Brown Sugar

2 Tbl sp Molasses*

1 Tbl sp Golden Syrup

*You can use either all Golden Syrup, or honey, or anything really, I just wanted to use up my molasses.

METHOD

Sieve the ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice, bicarbonate soda and flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter pieces and mix with hands until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the molasses, sugar and the diced stem ginger, and combine with a fork. It may be at this stage you will have to add the golden syrup, but go carefully. You want a dough that is combined and mixed well and soft, but not sticky, otherwise it will be a nightmare and you will end up with this:

IMG_7455

Either cut into whimsical festive shapes, or roll into little balls and flatten. Place across two lined baking trays and bake at Gas Mark 5 for 10-15 minutes.

 

Mystery Squash Curry

So you know the squashes I picked up on OLIO this week? Well, it inspired me to add some stray items I had in my cupboards that I wasn’t going to use, and funnily enough one of them was picked up by the squash lady. And she said that the striped squash would be very sweet taste wise.

To remind you here is a picture of the squashes I picked up.

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I decided that the best thing to do with them was to turn them into a curry.

They are very sweet as well, they smelt a bit like melon when I was cutting them.

Anyway, the curry was absolutely lovely.

MYSTERY SQUASH CURRY

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste

1 teaspoon Mild Curry Powder

1 teaspoon Turmeric

1 teaspoon Garam Masala

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Onion

1 Carrot, diced

2 small Squashes (or 1 large), diced

400g tin of Chickpeas

400g tin of Coconut Milk

400g tin of Chopped Tomatoes

400ml Vegetable Stock (optional)

A little Rapeseed Oil

METHOD

Make a cheats curry paste with the ginger garlic paste and spices.

Start to cook the onion in the rapeseed oil. When covered in oil and cooking lightly add the curry paste and mix with the onion.

Add the rest of the vegetables and then the coconut milk, the stock (if using) and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil, and then simmer until the vegetables are cooked.

IMG_7451

Realise you now have a ton of curry and will be eating it for the next week.

Add ‘make best curry in the world’ to your to do list, so you can cross it off, because this was a mighty achievement.

The Rum ‘n’ Coke Tropical Cake

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Last night whilst waiting for the boy to get his butt to bed I was flicking through/salivating over the recipes in Matt Tebbutt’s ‘Guilty Pleasures: Your Favourite Sweet and Savoury Indulgences in 130 Easy Recipes’. 

I had been thinking about doing something with a free fridge pack of pineapple I was given in a Morrison’s food delivery, and wanted to combine it with rum (after the success of my Banana, Date and Rum Bake )

Plus, as usual, I had a million bananas in the fruit bowl that needed eating.

Matt Tebbutt’s book is great, full of new and interesting ideas, and it got the cogs in my brain thinking about what delights I could combine in this recipe. Why stop at rum when I could add coke to the mix as well?

I didn’t add dried fruit to this as I go a bit heavy on dried fruit but feel free to add some, but I recommend soaking in rum for a little while first.

INGREDIENTS

50ml Rum (You will definitely taste this, as I am half pirate I can handle it)

50ml Coke (I used coke zero because it is what we had to hand, feel free to use any type and brand you like)

3 ripe bananas

220g Pineapple chunks, cut into small pieces

200g self raising flour

2 eggs

70g Demerara sugar

METHOD

Preheat oven to gas mark 5 and grease a cake tin. (I used a 22cm one)

Place the cut pineapple chunks in a bowl and pour over the rum and coke. Give a little stir.

Mash up the bananas and mix in the bowl making sure everything is combined.

Add the sugar, flour and eggs and mix all together.

Place in your lined/greased cake tin and bake for 50mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

Immediately text the boy telling him he can take the leftovers into work so you are not tempted to eat it all.

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I was thinking of maybe doing a coke and stem ginger icing, but decided to leave it plain this time, next time I make this maybe I will.

 

Apple and Almond Flapjacks

Inspired by the 5 ingredient flapjacks I made last week from Bowl of Delicious and a colleague at work bringing in an apple and almond cake which was quite frankly one of the nicest things I have ever eaten, I decided to give an apple and almond flapjack a go.

I will warn you, this is far from my cheapest recipe. I was feeling fancy. To compensate it is very easy to make.

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INGREDIENTS

3 Apples, grated (I used Braeburn’s as they are my favourites)

1 Cup Almond Butter

1/2 Cup Honey

1 Cup Flaked almonds (or almonds chopped up)

1 Cup Dried Apple Rings, cut into little pieces

2 Cups of Porridge Oats

1 Teaspoon Almond Essence

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

METHOD

Grate the apples and add to a large mixing bowl.

Add all the other ingredients and mix.

Spoon into a lined baking tray.

Bake for 30 minutes on Gas Mark 5.

Cool down.

Eat.

Say ‘Damn that’s good.’

If you don’t do the previous step then you have ruined them.