• Category Archives Uncategorized
  • Vanilla Cake

    So…everyone needs a “go to”…reliable….guaranteed tasty white cake. White cakes are so flexible they can be grand…

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    or simple

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    The wedding cake is the four tier wedding cake I made for my daughter last year. It is this vanilla cake recipe made numerous times over…by the time I was done I could quote this recipe and make it in my sleep! Each layer is split and filled with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and strawberry jam then crumb iced (the base layer to make the cake smooth) covered with marzipan and then covered in fondant and then decorated….what a challenge but it was worth every minute of stress! The simple cupcakes are topped with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and sugar baby feet. Hope this shows you that this in ONE versatile cake. I found this on a site called Sweetapolita…check it out…the cakes she has on there are amazing! Her cakes are to die for…I get fat just looking at them.

    1 1/2 c whole milk
    7 …yes 7…large egg whites
    1 whole egg
    1 T vanilla extract
    1 t almond extract
    380 g plain flour
    450 g of caster sugar
    50 g cornflour
    25 g baking powder
    1 t salt

    170 g butter ….cubed
    85 g vegetable shortening

    Preheat the oven to 180 c. Prepare the pans by greasing, lining the pans with parchment and flouring. Now….one batch of this will make 4 8″ pans with a cake about 1″ deep. Perfect for a 4 layer cake…or I can do a 6″ and 8″ and 6 cupcakes. As I use it for lots of different sizes you just have to play about with how much you need to make.

    In a large measuring cup put 1/2 c of the milk, the egg whites and whole egg and both the extracts….mix the whole thing together. Pop it to one side.

    Sift the flour and cornflour into your mixing bowl, add the sugar, baking powder and salt and mix with the paddle attachment on low to make sure it’s all evenly combined.

    Add the butter and shortening and mix for about 30 seconds then add the left over 1 c of milk and mix on medium for about 90 seconds.

    Scrape the side of the bowl and add the mixture you have in the measuring jug in 3 separate additions. Mix for about 30 seconds inbetween each addition.

    You should have lovely silky batter. Pour into whatever size pans you have prepped.

    Pop into the oven on a middle shelf…now no peeping for at least 20 minutes! I find that cupcakes take about 18 minutes…a 6″ cake that is about 3 inches deep when risen takes about 40 minutes….8″ pan that is 1″ takes about 20 minutes. If you are making anything larger than about 9 inches will need a flower nail popped into the middle to help convect the heat and help it cook more evenly…also a baking tray over the top of the pan works as well.

    Cool on a wire rack and then decorate and top as you wish. Of all the times I have made this cake not one person has said they don’t like it!

  • Red Wine and Chorizo Starter

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    Now considering the other half hates red wine…sacriledge I know…more for me though 🙂 He loves this starter. It’s easy peasy and super tasty!

    Preheat the oven to 180c

    Cut up about 2 Chorizo sausages per person and put them into a shallow glass dish. Pour enough red wine over until the chorizo is submerged. Don’t worry there will be some left over for drinking purposes! Sprinkle with dried thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper and put in the oven for about 20 minutes. About half way through turn the chorizo to make sure it gets fully covered by the wine and evenly cooked. While it’s cooking, cut up a baguette into approximately 1 inch discs and put on a plate to use for dipping into the wine and chorizo oil that is left in the dish after cooking. When it’s ready put something heatproof (the dish is stinking hot!) on the table and put the dish onto the table…arm everyone with forks and dig in. Dip the bread in to soak up the warm wine and chorizo oil………….mmmmmmmmmmmm! Great cold evening starter. I find Merlot is a good choice for this!

  • Beef and Chorizo Stew

    Options, something we aren’t great with…having to make decisions isn’t our strong point…so with having different ways to cook this I went for easiest on the day! The ingredients are the same and it’s easy as pie!

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    400-500g diced stewing beef
    3 or 4 chorizo sausages
    250 ml red wine
    rosemary, thyme, cracked black pepper,and garlic to taste we used about 1T of each
    1 can of chopped tomatoes
    1 onion or 1 leek
    3 or 4 carrot
    2T corn flour

    Now…I put the beef in the red wine and spices to marinate overnight…it’s not necessary but adds flavour. The next day after work I popped the whole shebang into a crock pot, chopped up the chorizo into one inch pieces so you’d get about 4 or 5 to every sausage. Bang them into the pot, peel and cut the carrots to about the same size and bang them in too as well as the onion or leek…or hell use both. Then chuck in the can of tomatoes and mix it all throughly. Put the lid on and I put it on for 3 hours on high. About 30 minutes before you want it take some of the juice out of the cooker and mix it with the cornflour to make a paste and tip it back into the cooker and mix thoroughly. Lid back on and 30 minutes later….dinner! We had ours with mashed potatoes. Now as I said you can cook this a couple of different ways…in the oven at 160c for about 2 1/2 hours…or even in a heavy saucepan on the stove…but you’d need to watch it closely and stir quite often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. I’m lazy so I prefer the crockpot method 🙂

  • Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie

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    Perusing the cheap bookshops nets some fantastic bargains at times and we love books both old and new. So I’m having a snoop and find this cook book for the whopping price of £2.99 called Bite Me. The title drew me in and after a quick flick it was in my bag heading home…paid for of course! So this book is full of great recipes and each one has a little anecdote from the 2 sisters who wrote the book.

    So on with the recipe

    Pie Crust…buy a ready made one….or….

    175g plain flour
    1/4 t salt
    115 g butter cut into cubes and chilled
    4 T ginger ale…yup ginger ale…honestly
    1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

    Preheat the oven to 200c. Pop flour, butter and salt into a food processor and whiz it up on pulse until it looks like coarse crumble. Put the lemon juice and ginger ale into a cup and mix together. While the food processor is running add the liquid and process until it magically turns into a ball of dough! should take about 10 seconds. Carefully take it out of the processor, watch the blades as they are bloody sharp and taken my blood a few times! Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough about an inch wider than the diameter of your pan. I use an 8″ pie pan. Place the rolled out dough into the pan and then flute the edges (make them look pretty) Line the dough with baking paper and fill with baking beans and blind bake the crust for about 15 minutes. Take the beans out (they’ll be hot!) and prick the base of the crust with a fork and pop back in until the crust is a loverly golden brown. About another 10 – 12 minutes. Let it cool a bit before putting the lemon filling in. turn the oven down to 180c.

    The filling….lovely, tart, lemon filling!

    4 large egg yolks
    200 g caster sugar
    45g corn flour
    1/4 t sea salt
    350 ml water
    125 ml lemon juice…fresh is preferred…about 3 lemons…what I do is juice 3 lemons and then if if’s not enough I top up with the bottled stuff. I have used all bottled stuff and it’s not as nice but still enjoyable.
    the zest of the 3 lemons you squeezed!
    50 g butter

    Separate the eggs. Put the whites aside and put the yolks into a bowl, whisk em up and put the yolks to the side. Grab a medium saucepan and put the sugar, corn flour and salt in and whisk them to combine. Stir in the water and lemon juice until it’s smooth and heat over a medium heat until it thickens. Don’t panic that it’s not that lovely sunny yellow. That happens at the next part! Gently pour a bit of the hot mixture into the egg yolks stirring constantly so you don’t end up with lemon scrambled eggs….yuck! When it’s combined pour the egg yolk mix back into the saucepan and whisk it all up to a lovely smooth sunny yellow mixture. Bring to a slow boil and stir constantly for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat and mix in the butter and lemon zest until the butter is all melted and the zest evenly distributed. Put to one side to cool slightly.

    The mile high meringue part!

    6 egg whites….save the 2 yolks from the filling and use them somewhere else…as an egg wash for scones perhaps? (they can be frozen for later use)
    1/2 t cream of tartar…NOT tartar sauce!
    150 g caster sugar

    Get a squeaky clean bowl and beaters…I use glass bowls for this and if I’m concerned at all about grease, which ruins meringues by the way, I’ll rub everything down with lemon juice. Whip the egg whites up until they form soft peaks. Whip in the sugar and cream of tartar until you get stiff peaks. If you can turn the bowl upside down and not end up with a mess it’s spot on!


    Pour the slightly cooled filling into the pie crust. Then scoop the lovely soft meringue onto the bright yellow filling. Start at the edges so that when it goes back into the oven it doesn’t shrink away from the sides of the crust and covers it completely. Pile it on and pile it up1 Pop it into the oven until the meringue is golden and lovely…about 10-12 minutes. Let cool for at least an hour then dig in! Slice it carefully to reveal that sunny yellow lemon…mmmmmmmmmmm…one of my all time favorites!

  • Blueberry Banana Smoothie

    Ok, so all the recipes so far aren’t really all that healthy. This smoothie is quickly whipped up and is tasty and pretty good for you. I find it’s quick and keeps me full for quite a while! I use almond milk as I like the slightly nutty taste.

    1 c Blueberries
    1 medium banana
    1 c Almond milk….or you can use regualr milk…whateve your preference is
    1 scoop of vanilla protein…you can use other flavours but this is my favorite.

    Chuck it in a blender and whip it up…pour into a large glass and down in one!

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  • Courgette Sticks with Lemon Dill Dip

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    Now a little prep needs to be done so the flavours can take hold!
    To make the dip take 1 cup of Greek Yogurt and squeeeeeezzzzeee the juice of 1/2 a lemon into it…don’t forget to take the pips out…nothing more romantic than cracking a tooth on a pip! I bought a package of fresh dill from Tesco and chopped aobut 1/4 of the pack into itty bitty bits and then mixed it all throughly and chucked it in the fridge to fill with flavour overnight!

    Take 1 courgette per person wash it and pat it dry and cut it into stick sized bits…I cut ours in half and then into 4 so we got 8 manageable size pieces each.

    Get 2 eggs and beat them into a bowl that is big enough to dip the courgette. Get another bowl and fill with Panko breadcrumbs. Dip the courgette into the egg then into the breadcrumbs and put to one side.

    While all the dipping is going on fire up your deep fryer to about 180 c ready to give these babies a hot oil bath!

    You might find the bread crumbs aren’t sticking all that well..just give em a squeeze and there will be enough stuck to it to taste yummy! For a bit of variety you can grate some Parmesan into the Panko 🙂

    Now gently….ever so gently…pop the courgette into to bubbling oil and watch them get a lovely golden brown. Gently scoop them out and let them drain on a paper towel until they are all done and ready for dipping.

    Pop em on a plate and either divvy up dip between eaters or just have one free for all bowl!

    Dip away!!!

  • My Bloody Valentine

    Valentine’s day….love it or hate it it’s pretty unavoidable! For me it’s one of those days that is kinda weird. My son was born on Valentine’s day….17 days late…thank you very much for that kiddo! So….it made Valentine’s day his birthday for the next umpteen years. Now he’s grown up and flown the nest…my fridge is quite happy as it’s door is no longer constantly open with boy wonder staring into a full fridge saying “There’s nothing to eat!”… Valentine’s day is back! I do still give him a pressie and card (when I remember to post it) but the romance….cough…cough…is back!

    Now we don’t go mad and really I only expect a card as it’s a kinda silly occasion but this year my partner in crime excelled himself by surprising me and having flowers delivered 🙂

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    In return my contribution was a chocolate rose, a set with a brush, Chili Oil and Chili rub and a dinner on the 15th (recipes to follow!) We did our dinner on the 15th as Friday night is X Box night and I have to go to bed early as I work ridiculously early on a Saturday morning!

    So read on and the next couple of posts are the recipes for the following menu:

    Deep Fried Courgette Sticks (Zucchini for my North American friends) with Lemon Dill dip

    Beef Wellington with Herby Potatoes and grilled Green Beans and Asparagus

    I love you more than a fat kid loves cake….cake…now don’t get all pc on me…I was a chubby kid who loved cake, and I’m a chubby adult who loves cake and there are skinny kids who love cake and fat kids who hate cake….it’s just a term! and it fit for the cake…do deal with it! 🙂

  • Rip Roasting Vegetables

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    Now this is a highly technical recipe….get a bunch of vegetables…cut em up and put them on a tray…drizzle with olive oil and throw in the oven at 200 c for about 40 minutes!

    Ok…we used…carrots, swede, jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, beets, celeriac.

    Easy peasy lemon squeezy! You can add onions, red and/or white, sweet potatoes,normal potatoes, squash, courgettes…whatever takes your fancy.

  • Now for the accompaniments

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    Potato Gratin…with a twist!

    2 medium white potatoes
    1 large sweet potato
    50 g butter melted
    200-300 ml of double cream
    salt and pepper to taste
    grated smoked cheddar…the amount depends on how cheesy you like it…I’m a cheese hound and he’s not a huge fan but he does like these potatoes as the cheese I used isn’t too strong!

    Grease a casserole dish and pop it to the side. Crank up the oven to 180 c. Get your handy dandy food processor or a very sharp knife and some plasters! Peel your spuds and slice them very thinly…hence the food processor…I’m lazy and like to keep the end of my fingers in tact! Layer the potatoes alternating white potato and sweet potato. Season and brush with butter between each layer and srinkle with cheese. Keep layering until full and then pour the cream over the top and grate extra cheese on top and throw in the oven for about 40 minutes! When done the potatoes ar all squidgy and soft and the top brown and bubbly…mmmmm!

  • This Little Piggy went to my plate!

    Sorry for the delay in posting the recipe but work has been mental this week! Sunday lunch…slow roasted pork belly…mmmmmmm…not a quick meal but one that is tasty and decadent. After a long busy week we decided to have a full blown yummy dinner. So inbetween shifts on Saturday the prep began! Life in our house is work…work…work…so we throw food in as much as we can to spice up life and we love being in the kitchen together. So the menu for sunday dinner was as follows:

    Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Grain Mustard sauce courtesy of Olive Magazine and Tom Kerridges Recipe

    Potatoes Gratin…with a twist

    Creamed Spinach

    Roasted Vegetables

    Rhubarb and Ginger Meringue Cake

    So read on and start to drool!