• Gooey Guinness Brownies

    2014-05-17 18.20.15

    So one of my first baking requests upon landing in Vancouver was Guinness brownies. So me and my mini assistant got cracking to make a pan for her Daddy…and Mummy (Mommy for the North American contingent)…and Aunty Chelsea and Uncle Chris and Uncle Clark….which is why we ended up making a second pan rather quickly!

    2014-05-13 12.56.34

    So ingredients

    1 c plain flour
    3/4 c cocoa powder
    1/2 t salt
    6 T butter cut into cubes
    1 c dark chocolate chips
    1 c white chocolate chips
    4 eggs
    1 c sugar
    1 c Guinness or Chocolate Stout (room temperature)
    1 c milk chocolate chips

    Pour the Guinness and let settle, as you need to make sure you don’t use the foam…and yes there will be some leftover for testers! Preheat the oven to 180c. Prepare a 9×13 pan…line with baking paper. In a medium bowl put the flour, salt and cocoa and whisk together. In a medium bowl over a pan of simmering water melt the butter and white and dark chocolate chips. Stir constantly, don’t let it burn! Put to one side. Get, yet another, bowl and whip the butter and eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy…this will take about 3 or 4 minutes. Then mix in the chocolate mixture until all combined. Next beat in the dry mix until combined the lastly pour in the Guinness..now don’t panic that the batter is thin…these are damn gooey, chewy brownies! Pour into the baking pan and then sprinkle the last cup of chocolate chips evenly over the batter. pop in the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. These definitely need no frosting as they are really rich with chocolate. They go very well with vanilla ice cream :)

    2014-05-22 20.47.08



  • Starbucks (ish) Ginger Molasses Cookies

    2014-05-21 16.40.00

    So these cookies have been a hit whenever I’ve made them…they are chewy and gingery and rather tasty with a latte! Or a good old Americano. Pretty easy to whip up the only frustrating thing is chopping up the crystallized ginger…if you can get some crystallized ginger chunks…do it! It will save you time and effort and stop you from slicing your finger trying to scrape them off the knife blade!

    2 1/4 c plain flour
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1 tsp cinnamon
    2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3/4 c butter
    1 c dark brown sugar
    1/4 c molasses
    1 egg
    3/4 c chopped crystallized ginger
    A sprinkle of sugar for coating

    Preheat oven to 170 c

    Mix dry ingredients into a bowl and put aside. In a stand mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy…add the egg and molasses and mix until blended. Mix the crystallized ginger in by hand. Roll into golf ball sized balls and roll in sugar then slightly flatten them on a lined cookie tray and put in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Pop into the oven for about 10 – 12 minutes. Careful not to overdo it…they are meant to be chewy…not hockey pucks!



  • Everything but the Kitchen Sink cookies

    2014-05-05 13.24.25

    So these cookies are an uber versatile recipe with options, which means decisions…eek…we aren’t good at making decisions in this house! But when it comes to cookies everything and anything goes. These are actually pretty healthy too :)

    Preheat oven 180c.

    1/2c butter
    1/3c dark brown sugar
    1/3c sugar
    1 egg
    1T buttermilk or plain yogurt
    1T vanilla
    3/4c whole wheat flour
    1/2t baking soda
    1/2t cinnamon
    1/4t salt
    1/4t ginger
    1/2c dried fruit…we used 1/4c dried cranberries and 1/4c raisins
    1/4c chocolate chips…or white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips
    1 1/2c rolled oats
    1/2c chopped nuts or seeds….we used 1/4c chopped cashews and 1/4c pumpkin seeds

    In a stand mixer mix the sugars and butter until soft and fluffy.

    Next mix in the egg, vanilla and buttermilk.

    In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda.

    Slowly mix the dry ingredients in to the sugar/butter mix. Turn off the mixer before adding the dry ingredients….unless you fancy being doused with flour! Not that I’ve EVER done that!

    Then take the bowl off the mixer stand and mix the rest in by hand.

    Drop by spoon onto a baking tray and cook for about 10 minutes.

    Makes about 24 cookies.



  • Masterchef Inspired Pan Fried Sea Bass

    Ok, new series of Masterchef UK..always gets my creative juices going to try cooking something new. Now never having cooked sea bass I thought I must give it a try…and it does sound posh!

    2014-04-30 16.27.17

    This was made for one…me!

    1 fillet of sea bass…skin on
    salt
    pepper
    25g butter 1T olive oil

    Heat pan to high. Put in the olive oil, let it warm up, then the butter.

    Season the fillet on both sides and score the skin side, not too deeply though.

    Once the butter is melted place the fillet skin side down and cook until the skin is crispy and the fillet has gone opaque about 2/3 of the way up.

    Flip it over and finish cooking…it is pretty quick 2-3 minutes each side. The fish is done when it flakes easily.

    I served mine with oven roasted balsamic veg. To make the oven roasted veg I cubed a sweet potato, some sweet mama squash, a courgette and a red onion. Popped them in a casserole dish, tossed in some salt and pepper and a couple of glugs of olive oil and pomegranate balsamic vinegar and baked at 180c until the veg were soft! It was a fairly quick easy meal that was tasty and healthy!



  • Brioche Buns

    2014-04-30 18.01.18

    Bit time consuming but pretty tasty and always worth a go.

    500 g strong white flour
    50 g sugar
    4 eggs
    4t water
    1t salt
    1 pkg easy bake yeast
    250 g soft butter

    Easy part first…put everything into a stand mixer!

    Turn on to medium and let it rip for about 5 minutes using the beater not the dough hook.

    Now 2 options….put the dough hook in and put on low for about 10 minutes…..or…..pop out onto the counter and work your muscles and knead it for 10 minutes or until it looks smooth.

    Cover with cling film and let stand for 1 hour, then pop in the fridge for 2 hours.

    Pop the dough out of the bowl and cut it into 8 equal bits, then roll them into balls. Flatten and then tuck the edges into the centre and flip over and roll with your fingers like a cage. This will make them evenly round and smooth.

    Pop these onto a baking tray and cover loosely with cling film and put aside to let rise. It will take 2-3 hours as the dough is chilled to begin with.

    Preheat oven to 160c.

    Double brush them with an egg wash and pop them in the oven on the middle rack for about 22 minutes.

    Allow to cool and make some burgers!



  • Chicken Bacon and Leek Pot Pie

    2014-05-02 21.05.38

    Good old classic comfort food! Can’t beat it! So when the end of the week comes and you need something to top you up ready for the weekend this ticks the boxes.

    This feeds 4 people or 2 of us as we always seem to make recipes for four and eat them just the two of us!

    2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    300 g streaky bacon
    1 cleaned thinly sliced leek (I used the food processor)
    3 medium carrots
    1/2 c frozen peas
    400 ml chicken stock
    1/2 c plain flour
    2 T whole grain mustard
    75g butter
    salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme to taste
    storebought puff pastry…I know, gasp, storebought, eek…trust me on a Friday night when you fancy comfort food…the last thing you’d want to do is piss about making puff pastry!

    Preheat the oven to 180c.

    Melt about 25g of the butter over low heat and then saute the leeks until soft and starting to caramelise. Pop them into a casserole dish to await the rest of the goodies!

    Cube the chicken and cut the bacon into chunks about 1″ square and then cook them together in a fry pan until browned, now pop those into the casserole dish.

    Cut the carrots into slices and parboil until slightly tender and pop into the casserole dish as well.

    Pop in the frozen peas.

    Grab a medium saucepan and pour the chicken stock in and add the flour and whisk together over a medium heat until slightly thickened. Whisk in the mustard, herbs and spices and then the last 50g butter. When it’s all combined and looking lush, taste and make sure it’s seasoned properly then pour over the mix in the casserole dish and mix to make sure it’s all covered.

    Cover with tin foil and bake for about 25 minutes then take out and bang the oven up to 210c. Pop the puff pastry over the top, egg wash and pop back in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and puffy.

    Now serve with whatever floats your boat…we had chips!



  • Onion Chutney

    2014-05-02 14.15.45

    So growing up in a house that LOVED cheese, having chutneys of all description was a standard. I think that my Dad had cheese and pickle sandwiches everyday for about 20 years! I’m not that boring but I love a nice platter with cheeses and pickle and tomatoes and the odd glass of wine :) So naturally after sucessfully making marmalade I figured why not give onion chutney a go. So here’s my go!

    1.5 kg of onions thinly sliced
    3 T olive oil
    300 g dark muscovado sugar
    200 ml red wine vinegar
    1 T crushed garlic
    1 T whole grain mustard
    1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
    1 t crushed chillies…or to taste…if you want kick ass then add more if not add less!

    Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan and slowly cook the onions until soft, but don’t let them brown. Stir in 3-4 T of the sugar cook for about 5 minutes until the onions have browned then chuck all the rest in and cook until it’s lovely and sticky and gooey and the liquid has reduced. I stirred it fairly regularly to stop it all from sticking and catching on the bottom of the pan. And voila! That’s it… now distribute into sterilised jars and you can keep for 6-12 months…that’s a laugh as there is NO way that it will stick around that long!



  • Chocolate Mousse Cake

    2014-04-10 13.53.01

    Not surprisingly this cake takes some doing…it requires a few different tasks…but trust me…it’s worth it!!! We’ve watched quite a few of the series Anna Olson Bakes and seen this cake made a couple of times and thought…man we really need to make that…sooooooo…here it is!

    And of course this is adapted from an Anna Olson recipe.

    Round One:

    Make the cake!

    1/2 c boiling water
    50 g plain chocolate chopped
    1/4 c butter, cut into pieces
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 t vanilla extract
    1 1/4 c plain flour
    1 t baking powder
    3/4 t baking soda
    1/4 t salt
    1/2 c hot, strong brewed coffee

    Preheat the oven to 160c
    .
    Prepare the 8″ pans by lining with parchment and dust with flour.

    Get that water boiling and put the chopped chocolate into a bowl and pop the butter in as well and then pour that boiling water over the chopped chocolate and butter and put to one side.

    Whip the egg, sugar and vanilla until it doubles…takes a couple of minutes but whip away!

    Then fold in the chocolate mixture by hand, don’t be tempted to use the mixer as it will whip out all the air that you’ve whipped in!

    Sift the remaining dry ingredients over the batter and then fold in and then stir in the hot coffee…and pour yourself a cup too to enjoy!

    Split evenly between two pans, pop in the oven for about 25 minutes…I’d check after 20! As per usual it’s done when a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely…now you’ll only be using one so you can freeze the other one of just nibble away!

    Round Two:

    Make the mousse:

    3 c double cream
    300g plain chocolate chopped
    3 egg yolks
    1/2 c sugar
    1/3 c water

    Whip up 1 1/2 c of the cream and chill….not you…the cream!

    Heat the other 1 1/2 c of cream to just below simmering and pour it over the chopped chocolate…leave for a minute, stir, and pop to one side.

    Now…this is the technical part…whip the egg yolk on high speed. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan…boil until it reaches 250c on a jam thermometer….be patient as this takes a while!

    Start whipping the egg yolks on medium in a stand mixer…now slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar down the side of the bowl to stop splashing and then whip on high until it cools to just above body temp. It should have doubled in volume.

    Check the temperature of that chocolate mixture to make sure it’s about the same temperature as the egg yolk mixture.

    Fold the two together…then let it cool for about 15 minutes.

    Fold in the whipped cream in two separate additions.

    Round Three:

    Assembly:

    Get a 9″ inch springform pan…I lined it with cling film to make it easier to remove and pour half the mousse into the bottom.

    Very carefully…slice the layer of cake in half and place half into the mousse.

    Pour the remaining mousse into the pan and then put the remaining half of cake on top and gently press it down so it’s level with the top.

    Carefully wrap the whole pan in cling film and pop it in the freezer for at least 4 hours…I was patient…unbelievable I know….and left it overnight.

    Round Four:

    Chocolate Glaze:

    1/2 c water
    1c sugar
    1/2 c double cream
    1/2 c cocoa
    1 1/2 T gelatine powder

    Bring the water, sugar and cream to a boil.

    Once it’s boiling whisk in the cocoa.

    Simmer for about 4-5 minutes.

    Soften the gelatine with 1/4 c water and whisk into the cocoa mixture until it’s dissolved and let cool to room temp and then chill for at least 3 hours….patience is needed again!

    Final Round!!!

    Glazing:

    Remove the cake from the freezer and remove from the tin. Helpful hint….use a hairdryer to gently heat the edges and pop the outside ring off.

    Place the cake on a cooling rack with a baking tray underneath.

    Warm the glaze slightly and slowly pour the glaze over the top and spread gently with a spatula.

    Chill for an hour and then take it off the tray and place carefully onto your presentation plate….and finally…..serve it!

    Enjoy…it goes really well with a chilled glass of Prosecco!



  • White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread

    2014-04-01 09.56.16

    100g softenend butter
    100g plain flour
    50g semolina
    50g caster sugar
    50g dried cranberries
    50g white chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 130c and lightly grease a baking tray. Mix the flour and semolina together in a bowl, add the butter and mix it with your fingers until its like breadcrumbs. Just take your time as this is the part that makes the shortbread nice and flaky and crumbly! Bang the rest in and mix it until it comes together. Then squish it all together to make a smooth dough. Roll this dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 20 cm circle that’s about 1-2 cm thick. Lift it onto the baking tray stab it all over with a fork…make pretty patterns if you like! Bang it in the fridge for about half and hour to chill it back down. Pull it out of the fridge and sprinkle it with sugar and score it into 8 pieces then pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes or until a lovely pale gold colour. Once you take it out…rescore and resprinkle with sugar and leave to cool. Cut into wedges and eat with a steaming hot cup of coffee..mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!