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the pudding stop

  A brief entry today and no recipe…

Last weekend was the local annual food festival – lots of pop up stalls and restaurants in the town de true showcasing their wares to encourage regular visitors I guess.

One that took my particular fancy was The Pudding Stop – a regular feature outside the station on my way me (yes, every evening I have to pit my will power against this little cart so that I don’t turn up at home with a dessert…)

And the item in question was a salted caramel and peanut butter brownie. I love salted caramel and I love brownies, but one thing I don’t normally like is peanut butter (that in itself is an oddity to me as a love butter and I love peanuts). Actually not strictly true, I don’t like peanut butter but I do like peanut butter flavoured things, such as Reece’s pieces or peanut butter cups.. Anyway I digress… 
So I bought said brownie and OMG it was amazing – it lasted me 4 sittings (I diligently cut it into 4 before I started otherwise it would have been gone in one and I would have felt very sick…) 

I am now just summoning up the audacity to ask him for the recipe so I can make it myself…

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Recipes

What do you do with unripe tomatoes….?

  For the first time this year I grew tomatoes – my mum gave me 6 plants and so I felt a little obliged to try and make them produce tomatoes…

They were a little (a lot) late going from pots to bags so unfortunately didn’t really benefit from the long hot summer (!!) we experienced, and whilst we did get a reasonable number of nice juicy red tomatoes we also had a lot of yellow/green and not ripe ones which I needed to harvest today as the plants are dying.

So, what to do with a load of unripe fruit? Add loads of sugar to it and turn it into something tasty – ,ugh as you can stew apples and make a lovely crumble, I decided to make chutney.

Using a recipe from ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly – preserves’ book that I was kindly given by my boyfriends father (more on that at another date) I gave chutney making my first try.

Ingredients

  • 8 medium tomatoes (or in my case, c. 1.5kg)
  • 3 medium white onions, finely diced
  • 300g brown sugar 
  • 375ml malt vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coarse cooking salt

I actually didn’t have a number of these ingredients (mustard powder and cooking salt – what is that anyway?) so used standard salt from my salt grinder and upped the cayenne in place of the mustard powder.

Method

  1. Peel and coarsely chop the tomatoes (I didn’t peel them)
  2. Mix with all other ingredients and simmer (uncovered) for 1 1/4 hours or until mixture is thick – stirring occasionally
  3. Spoon hot chutney into hot sterilised jars and seal while hot

  

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Worlds biggest coffee morning

Today offices around the UK forgot about their diets and stuffed themselves with cake all in aid of MacMillan Cancer support and their Worlds Biggest Coffee morning fundraising event.

Any excuse for a bit of baking and this was no exception – I wanted to do something different for my office so moved away from my fairly standard cupcakes and made Salted Caramel Millionaires Slices.

Or in other words, a heart attack in a slice! 

Recipe came courtesy of Simon Rimmer on BBC2s ‘Something for the Weekend’ (old programme I know) 

Ingredients

Shortbread

  • 175g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod seeds
  • 225g plain flour

Caramel

  • 200g butter
  • 1 x 397g can condensed milk
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp salt

Topping

  • 350g milk chocolate

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180/350/Gas 4 and grease and line 20cm square cake tin
  2. Rub butter sugar flour and vanilla together to make rough dough and press into tin. Prick all over with a fork. 
  3. Bake for 5 mins then reduce temp to 150/300/Gas 2 and bake for further 35 mins.
  4. Leave to cool in tin
  5. Place caramel ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil then boil for 10 mins
  6. Spread over biscuit and allow to cool until just hard
  7. Melt chocolate in Bain Marie and pour over caramel
  8. Leave to set in fridge. Once thoroughly cooked, remove from tin and cut into squares 

Went down a treat! 

  

Recipes

Valentine’s Cup cakes

Well, there not pink, red or covered in hearts, but they are pretty indulgent, and everyone loves chocolate!

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A combination of both simple vanilla and chocolate cupcake recipes from the hummingbird bakery, iced with vanilla or chocolate icing and topped with Oreo cookies or White choc chunks!

Chocolate cup cakes topped with vanilla frosting and Oreo cookies, vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting and white chocolate chunks!

Recipes
Vanilla cupcakes
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120ml milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
(Makes 12)

Chocolate cupcakes
100g plain flour
40g Cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120ml milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
(Makes 12)

Vanilla frosting
250g icing sugar sifted
80g unsalted butter
25ml milk
A couple of drops of vanilla extract
(Enough for 12 cupcakes)

Chocolate frosting
300g icing sugar sifted
100g unsalted butter
40g sifted cocoa powder
40ml milk
(Enough for 12 cupcakes)

Cupcake method
1. Put all dry ingredients in mixer and mix to create a sandy consistency
2. Gradually add half the milk until just incorporated
3. Beat egg, remaining milk and vanilla essence
4. Pour into main mixture and continue to beat until just smooth. Do not over mix.
5. Pour into cupcake cases and bake in preheated oven (170/325/gas 3) for 20-25 mins until springy
6. Allow to cool then decorate.

Icing method
1. Beat dry ingredients with butter until mixture comes together and is well mixed.
2. Combine wet ingredients in separate bowl then gradually add to main mixture.
3. Beat until light and fluffy – around 5 minutes. The longer you beat it the fluffier and lighter it becomes!

Uncategorized

Another Theo dish

My partner decided that 2015 is going to be the year when he cooks for me at least once a week.

The first attempt was last night – not entirely done alone, but a tasty and great start – Chilli Crab with Parpadelle (although we had linguine)

A little bit of a faff for a week night dinner, but tasty none-the-less.2015/01/img_2071.jpg

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 400g ripe plum tomatoes – peeled, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely diced
  • 300g fresh pasta
  • 1 green chilli – de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 300g fresh crabmeat (this is A LOT of crabmeat – I used a 100g pot from Seafood and Eat It)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • Freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Heat some oil in a frying pan, add half the garlic and cook until softened. Add tomatoes and cook on high heat for 5 -7 minutes until sauce has thickened. Take off heat and set aside.
  2. Add the fennel and pasta to a pot of boiling water and cook for 3-4 mins until pasta is al dente.
  3. Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic, chilli and crabmeat and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and chopped parsley.
  4. Drain the pasta and fennel and add to tomato sauce. Cook for a further 2 minutes, then serve seasoned with a squeeze of lemon juice and a crack of black pepper.

 

Restaurants

Burger and Lobster

A restaurant that literally does what it says on the sign!

Not sure of its origins but they are popping up with more and more frequency (in London anyway) and have brought lobster to the masses – I’d never eaten lobster prior to my first visit (to the Soho branch) and now I count it amongst my favourite meals!

For those unfamiliar to B&L they have a simple menu, burger or lobster (with options for cooking) with chips and salad. From now on I’m going to ignore the burger, not sure if it’s any good but when would I choose a burger when I can have lobster?! Particularly when it costs the same!

So it’s a 1 1/2lb lobster that’s steamed or grilled or served in a toasted brioche roll with a Japanese mayonnaise, or if you’re feeling piggy (or with a group of friends) you can buy a larger lobster from the catch of the day…

This is last nights 6lb delight…

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I doubt it’ll be long before I’m back for more…

Recipes

New Years resolutions…

So in addition to the ‘go to gym more’ ‘eat more healthily’ ‘save more money’ resolutions that I seem to make every year, this year I am determined to achieve the ‘eat more healthily’ one so I’m adding ‘try a new recipe at least once a week’ to the list…

Not sure how successful I’ll be once the full steam of work starts again…

But at least in going to try – I’ll keep you posted!

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