Tag Archives: recipe

Rustic* Festive** Fruity Parcels

  • *Rustic = A euphemism for ‘looks like they were assembled by a toddler’.
  • **Festive = I wanted to use the seasonal ‘C’ word but felt I might get beaten up by scrooges if I did.

Hi everybody.

I haven’t been feeling 100% all week. Each day brings on a new symptom and today at work was tough.

The boy was going to a gig. I wanted to go to the gig but couldn’t afford it. Normally I would use a night in without the boy as a good excuse to get my bake on, but I felt so shattered after work that all I could muster the energy to do was to put anchovies on my pizza.

Then I saw in the fridge was a packet of frozen puff pastry I had taken out to defrost on Sunday with the intention of using it on Monday.

And the packet recommended using within 24 hours of defrosting. Aye Aye Aye.

So after a quick energy boost (double shot of fake Baileys) I got to it.

INGREDIENTS

1 x 500g Block of puff pastry

4 Apples

1 x 400g Jar of mincemeat

Caster Sugar

RENEGADE SUGGESTIONS

My cooking often involves a random ingredient that caught my eye. So at step 2 I also threw in 4 apple & rosehip tea bags and a bit of orange juice. You don’t necessarily have to copy me.

  1. Defrost your puff pastry the night before according to packet instructions and then roll out into a large square/rectangle shape and cut into 4 equal shapes.
  2. Cut your apples into small pieces and place in a large pot with the sugar (I didn’t give a measurement because, well, I just threw it in. If you like to be exact I would say 75g is enough). Cover with boiling water and bring back to the boil.
  3. Cook until tender.
  4. Once cooked, drain, and mix in the jar of mincemeat (true story, mincemeat used to contain meat, but generally doesn’t now, but I thought it did and didn’t eat a mince pie until I was something like 17 because I thought it would compromise my at the time vegetarian beliefs).
  5. Divide the mix across the four puff pastry squares and then pull up the edges until you have little parcels (or you could be really neat and bring out a protractor or something and have something a bit more professional looking).
  6. BONUS STEP! I meant to do this, but then forgot. Lightly brush the parcels with a milk and/or egg wash.
  7. Bake in the oven on gas mark 4 for a very long time because you are watching the new episode of your favourite show ‘Eat Well For Less’ and don’t want to miss any of it (The episode was an hour long)
  8. BONUS STEP! Turn off the oven but leave the parcels in to stay warm and then go to the shops to get ice cream because the boy refused to do this for you earlier. What a d***.
  9. Watch today’s episode of Neighbours whilst eating the parcel. And then watch Eat Well For Less again.

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5 Ingredient Banana and Peanut Butter Flapjacks: From Bowl of Delicious

Once again lack of time has prevented me from eating my bananas before they went ripe.

At this stage you are probably thinking ‘How the f*** do you lack time to eat a banana? They are the natural convenience food?’

Trust me, when you lack the time during the week to keep up with basic hygiene levels (TMI?) then you also lack the time to eat a banana.

I felt like using up my peanut butter too, for sh**s and giggles, and you can never go wrong throwing in a few seeds, nuts and dried fruit.

So I found this recipe¬†and got my bake on (by the way, one of my catchphrases is ‘Get Your Bake On’ and I sing it to the tune of ‘Get Ur Freak On’ by Missy Elliot).

I am now very happy as I have something tasty for my on the go breakfasts this week. And I now have to buy more seeds, nuts and dried fruit which always makes me happy.

The boy was very unhappy that I made Banana, Peanut Butter, Seeds, Nuts and Dried Fruit flapjacks when Banana, Peanut Butter, Seeds, Nuts and Dried Fruit are some of his most hated foodstuffs. So I am now making him Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Cupcakes and is he grateful? No, he is now complaining that we have had to delay dinner.

Grrrr.

The Fabulous Baker Brother’s Spinach Muffins: Batch Cooking

There’s a bit of a story behind this.

The boy decided to revolutionise the hallway of our house, this meant I had to find a place for the relegated cook books, the ones I am debating whether to get rid of or not.

One was The Fabulous Baker Brothers which I inherited from my step mum. I was flicking through it this morning looking for inspiration when I saw the recipe for Spinach Muffins, and thought that would be great for my work breakfasts.

Then I totally made the muffins instead.

Then I did the weekly food shop and saw that Spinach was on special offer and forgot that I had decided against making them on account of the fact I had made muffins and bought some.

As soon as I got home I said s*** when I remembered.

And spinach doesn’t exactly last long, and I am planning something mega and not involving spinach at all for dinner which will involve leftovers for lunches, so this left me pondering.

And I decided f*** it and made the muffins anyway.

They are delicious. Of course I have eaten some already. I had to check for poison.

In other news somehow I have managed to get down to my lowest weight all year so I will celebrate with an extra muffin. Yes, I am stupid.

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Inspired by Nigella ‘Chop Chop Earl Grey Muffins’ (Batch Cooking my Work Breakfasts)

I decided to watch Saturday Kitchen Live today on BBC 1, a show I surprisingly don’t normally watch, and my watching it today has absolutely nothing to do with my crush on a certain TV chef.

One of the segments of the show featured the widely known Nigella Lawson who was making Chai Breakfast Muffins. This got me really excited as I was sure I had a packet of chai tea in the tea cupboard (I have a Tea cupboard, well, a hot drinks cupboard, how British am I?).

I didn’t.

BUT I did have an unopened packet of Earl Grey tea which is (wait for it) at least 18 months old, so it was probably time to use that up.

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Before this year I was so lacking in confidence with cooking that if I saw a chef making something on TV, no matter how thorough the demonstration I would not be able to copy the recipe and would probably fork out for the cook book.

Now I am brave.

My recipe is very similar to Nigella’s, I will show you mine, but bear in mind Nigella’s is probably far superior. Mine is cheaper.

INGREDIENTS

300ml Soya Milk (Or any milk, I don’t mind)

3 Earl Grey Tea Bags

1.5 Tsp Cinnamon

115ml Vegetable Oil plus extra for greasing

2 large eggs, as a personal choice my eggs are always free range

400g Plain Flour

2.5 Tsp Baking Powder

50g Mixed Dried Fruit

50g Almonds

100g Sugar

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METHOD

First thing first. Put your milk in a saucepan, open up the three tea bags and pour them into the milk and add the cinnamon. Cook over a very, very low heat and do not boil, just bring to bubbling stage.

Leave to cool/thicken.

Now the ‘chop chop’ bit. On a chopping board place your dried fruit and almonds. Using a nice long sharp knife (or if you have a fancy pants blade thing like Nigella did then use that) go up and down and along the nuts and fruit in a ‘see saw’ motion until everything is nicely chopped.

Weigh out the flour, sugar and baking powder and lightly mix together. Add the dried fruit and nuts.

Add 2 beaten eggs and the oil to the cooled milk mixture and mix.

Add the wet mixture to the dried ingredients and mix but don’t over mix. Remember, lumpy batter = light muffins.

Grease your muffin tray with oil and spoon in your mixture.

Cook for 20 minutes on Gas mark 5, or until a skewer comes out clean.

If you want to overload on sugar then have a muffin with a little maple syrup.

Chocolate ‘Weetabix’ Brownies

I think when you start living away from home as a young ‘professional’ (or un-professional in my case) you may go through a few teething problems when it comes to the food shopping.

If you are half curious about cooking and a bit of a foodie you may find you end up with exotic ingredients like flavoured oils and sake which you later give away on OLIO on the basis you had them for a year and never opened them. That’s one example. You may also find that the way you lived your life when living at home or University is different to the way you live now.

For instance I buy porridge oats and supermarket own brand weetabix in a belief that a normal person has cereals for breakfast, when really because I work in a different country to the one I live in (I live in Wales, I work in England) I barely have time in the morning to brush my hair, let alone have a breakfast. And usually at the weekends I go several hours of the morning just on coffee.

So that is why I had two boxes of ‘weetabix’ leftover from last summer.

One box I steadily worked my way through, and then became convinced I would use the other in good time so opened it up and decanted it into my cereal container.

I think that was around March.

It has been untouched since.

Luckily it was a good container and they weren’t even a little bit stale.

So inspired by a recipe that became so popular on the Money Saving Expert website forum it was given it’s own thread, here is my interpretation of weetabix brownies.

INGREDIENTS

4-6 Wheat biscuits (Brand leaders Weetabix are a bit bigger so you will only need 4 whereas own brand ones are usually smaller)

170g Butter/Margarine

115g Demerara Sugar

115g Self Raising Flour

2 tbsp of Cocoa Powder

100g Chocolate chips/Chocolate cut into chunks

1 egg

METHOD

Place the wheat biscuits in a food processor and reduce to crumbs, or do by hand.

Add the wheat biscuits to a mixing bowl, then add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.

Melt the butter/margarine, beat the egg and then add both to the dry mix and combine. It may be fairly stiff or sticky depending on how many biscuits you used, but this is fine, just adjust the cooking times. I had a fairly stiff dough and they still softened up and were deliciously moist when out of the oven.

Place in a greased baking dish and cook for 20 minutes on Gas Mark 4

Try to entice the boy out of bed by telling him you made weetabix brownies. When he is very confused because he didn’t think we had weetabix remind him you did. Lie when he asks if they were out of date.

Bad Boy Bean, Veg and Cheese Burgers

Get these in your face, NOW!

This was a result of trying to find a way to get rid of some tins of beans which I have been trying to get out of the cupboards since JANUARY after I realised the boy detests Red Kidney Beans and I’m not overly keen on them either.

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INGREDIENTS: Makes 8. I know the picture shows 6 but they were unreasonably huge! I misjudged.

250g Mozzarella

1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, rinsed.

1 x 400g tin of baked beans, rinsed.

3 small sweet potatoes diced.

Onion, frozen is fine.

3 slices of bread worth of breadcrumbs (I toasted ‘freezer bread’ for this and then put it a slice a time through my food processor).

Garlic granules, onion powder, paprika.

About 300ml stock.

METHOD

I’m not going to tell how I actually made it, I’m going to tell you how it should have been made.

Make up the stock and add the onion, sweet potato and drained beans to a big pan and boil till soft in the pan.

You may have used just enough stock to basically turn it into a semi solid mush, this is good.

Drain the mixture of excess water.

Grate the mozzarella (if you can, I gave up and just tore it into little pieces) and add that, the vegetable/bean mix and breadcrumbs into a mixing bowl.

MASH IT.

Leave to cool until you can safely touch it and mould into patties.

Place on a tray, cover in cling film, and then place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, ideally longer.

Bake in the oven for around 35 minutes on a high heat it you like them crispy like me, flipping half way through.

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Yes. I had two burgers. I was hungry. I didn’t have any sides if that somehow makes it better.

Banana, Date and Rum Bake

I am a Banana fiend. They are definitely my favourite fruit. They are versatile. They give you the get up and go in a breakfast smoothie, and they can also lull you off to sleep in a nice pudding.

As a Banana fiend, and you will know from my weekly financial reviews how often I buy bananas, I sometimes end up with too many that are going from yellow to brown very quickly and with worse spotted skin then me!

So as it was Zero Waste Week this week I was determined to use up the three way past their best bananas in my fruit bowl. I wasn’t allowed to buy new bananas until I did, and I have three whole freezer bags full of my previous abundance of bananas.

(I had so much planned for Zero Waste Week but not getting our new and shiny fibre optic broadband until this week meant I couldn’t blog what I wanted to in time. Boooo!)

I wouldn’t say I understand the rules of baking, and still often look up a general recipe beforehand for inspiration or to make sure I’m not going to do something crazy like the guy in the first week of GBBO, but I am confident now that as long as you don’t go too ‘renegade’ you’ll be fine.

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INGREDIENTS

Three very ripe Bananas, the sort a wasteful person would throw away.

50ml of Rum (Yum!)

50g of Dates

50g of Mixed Dried Fruit (but if you feel like 100g of dates or something else go for it)

120g of Butter/Margarine

100g Demerara Sugar

120g Self Raising Flour

1.5 Cups of Porridge Oats

As much Cinnamon as you like. 2 tspoons is reasonable. I am not reasonable. I like cinnamon (plus it’s good for you if you have PCOS, or ‘sort of’ do like me)

2 Eggs

Approx 2 Tablespoons of boiling water

METHOD

At least 30 minutes before you get your bake on chop the dates into small pieces and add the mixed dried fruit and cover with the rum (I will warn you, this is a generous portion size) and then add a little bit of boiling water to just cover the fruit and then leave to soften.

Do the washing up whilst you wait. Or, you know, don’t. I’m not the boss of you.

Melt the 120g butter/margarine in a bowl and mash in two of the three bananas. Add the flour, sugar, eggs, 1 cup of the porridge oats and cinnamon. Add the rum soaked dried dates and fruit-liquid as well.

Mix until you have a big sticky brown mess. Oooops. I just realised what that sounds like. Sorry.

Grease a square baking tray and add the bake mix, then cover with 1/2 cup of oats (this might be too much, so play it by ear) and chop the third banana into little pieces and add on top.

The great thing about cooking bananas is sometimes they go purple because of the reaction of the potassium in them.

Cook for 40-50 minutes on Gas Mark 4. I don’t know what this is on an electric oven.

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This will go really well with custard, toffee sauce or vanilla ice cream, or all three, though I have never done that, honest! Maybe 2 out of 3, and that ain’t bad.