Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday Fave: Flapjacks

I love, love, love oats!! Not only are they delicious, but they are provide a slow-release of energy, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer, plus they are a heart healthy food! They are delicious in all forms- from porridge, to oat topping on a fruit crumble, and especially flapjacks!!! 

Homemade flapjacks are always nicer but can sometimes be dry, or else overly buttery. To combat this I added some special ingredients...

Without a doubt this is the best thing I have ever baked! These are beyond delicious!
I adapted the recipe found here. This literally took five minutes from stove top to oven, so they are a quick treat to whip up!

For perfect flapjacks you will need...

  • 8oz rolled oats
  • 4oz margarine
  • 4oz brown sugar
  • 3tbsp golden syrup
  • Half packet glace cherries, chopped
  • Handful miniature chocolate chips
  1. Line a 9x9 tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180degrees Celsius.
  2. Melt margarine, sugar and syrup over a medium heat.
  3. Empty pan into a mixing bowl. Quickly add oats, cherries and chocolate chips.
  4. Mix until binded. Work quickly or the chips will melt.
  5. Pour into baking tin and flatten using spatula or back of spoon. Ideally it should be between 1/2-3/4 inch thick. 
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown. Don't overbake or they will be too dry!

After all of this hard work comes....


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cheat's Apple Tart

At home, we always make apple tart from scratch. But this weekend my mum experimented with pre-made puff pastry sheets, and it went down a treat! Bonus- it takes far less time!

Although Mum used her tried-and-tested method of stewed the apples with sugar and then folding the pastry over to form a kind of pie crust (and prodded with a fork before baking, to allow the steam release), the recipe on the Greenvale Pastry  packet was much easier, and would give a kick of unexpected flavours.

Here is the recipe as indicated on the packaging, and I think would be well worth a try!

Serves 4-6 people.

  • 375g pre-rolled puff pastry
  • 5 large eating apples
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 25g butter cut into small pieces
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 3tbsp apricot jam
Preheat oven to 200deg Celcius.

  1. Unroll the pastry and trim to about 35cm diameter.
  2. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and toss in the lemon juice, Spread over the pastry to within 2cm of the edges. Curl up the edges slightly to stop the juices running off.
  3. Dot the top with butter and sprinkle vanilla and caster sugar.
  4. Bake for 15-20mins until the apples are tender and the pastry crisp. 
  5. Warm the jam then brush over the apples and pastry edge.
  6. Serve hot with ice-cream or cream.
Whether you follow this recipe, use your own family secret, or throw some apples and sugar into a sheet of pastry and see what happens, enjoy! This time of year, apple tart and ice cream is the perfect after-dinner treat!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Fave: Roald Dahl Day

Yesterday was international Roald Dahl day. As an avid reader of this genius' books, I felt he earned a mention here! Not only for his gift of creative writing, but also for his insatiable imagination, especially when it comes to food! 

Of all his books, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory seems to be the most well-known. The book, the movies, all have the same core idea: nothing is impossible. Obviously Willy Wonka applies this to his candy more than anything else, which begs the question- if you were to whip up your own concoction what would it be? 

So far, I have created a Half a Smore Sandwich- not for the faint of heart!
For this I spread Nutella on one slice of bread, topped this with marshmallow halves, covered with another slice of bread, and placed in the George Foreman grill for approx. 3-4mins. This gave me my recommended calorie intake for about a month!! I've only ever made this little piece of deliciousness twice, but the memories are sweet!

I wish I could combine marshmallows, chocolate, strawberries, condensed milk and jelly babies into a dessert Willy Wonka would be proud of! Some day maybe!

Until then, perhaps a Matilda chocolate cake
... Or if I'm too lazy, maybe I'll just watch the new version of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, featuring Johnny Depp! 

However you celebrate this literary giant, enjoy your weekend! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thank You!

Sometimes the best way to say 'Thank You!' is with a cake.

For this cake I followed the same basic recipe as found here. This time I used raspberry flavour jam. As the icing on the birthday cake was too milky, and never really set properly here I used a simple buttercream frosting, directions as follows.

  • One 350g of instant icing sugar
  • About 100g of butter
  • About 20-30ml hot water, depending on the consistency you wish
  • One teaspoon vanilla essence
Beat all together until satisfactory.

I used miniature chocolate chips to spell out the message, a much easier task than piping! Simple, yet effective!

I loved this cake, it almost hurt to give it away! But the recipients were delighted and that made the cake all the sweeter!

Bake a cake for somebody who you appreciate this weekend, it really will give you a dose of the warm and fuzzies!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Friday Fave: French Toast

With the school back, depressing every father, mother and child, what better time to indulge? Despite our recent sunshine-filled days, we cannot deny that Autumn is well and truly here! French toast is the perfect comfort food, pick me-up, big breakfast or indeed, "I want to love every bite of my breakfast" breakfast!
Obviously only for special occasions, it's also a great way to use up stale bread!

Here I use a tint of vanilla essence to add some depth and flavour to the dish as well as a pinch of cinnamon which gives this breakfast a pop!

Read on, and salivate at the photos!, to discover how to make the best French Toast! 

For 2-3 people...
You will need:

  • 2-3 slices of bread- white stale brioche is the best, but I prefer a healthier wholegrain!
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
-Lightly whisk all of ingredients together in a bowl with a fork, before steeping the slices of bread into the mixture. Allow to rest in the mixture for a few moments; generally the longer it rests, the better! Some recipes even call for you to soak the bread overnight in the fridge but that's not necessary here.
-Melt butter in a hot pan.
-When fully coated, on both sides, place bread into the pan. Cook until golden and stiff on each side.

* For the sake of full disclosure, a Dutch guy I met once insisted that they invented this toast and the French stole their mouth-watering delicacy! He also served this dish with powdered cinnamon on top, which I find super festive and would be great come December!

With this in mind, I should add that my topping of choice is... You guessed it, golden syrup!! Nom nom nom!! However other delicious toppings include berries, bananas or any fruit of your choice, powdered confectioners sugar, maple syrup with bacon, or as my boyfriend eats- RELISH!! As you can see, taste is a varied thing!! Flourish this basic recipe however you want, just make sure to enjoy! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pink Velvet All-In-One Sheet Cake

This cake is super easy to make! It doesn't take any fiddling with batter, or measurements, you just throw all of the ingredients in at once and beat! The one thing to watch out for is to cook the cake straight away, otherwise it won't rise... As seen in the future pics (the problems of a blogger!)

This sheet cake could be divided into two and iced in the middle as a sandwich- beware this will make a gigantic cake as it's measured to fit a large sheet tray, the dimensions of your oven! 

I cut the bake into small squares which are perfect for afternoon tea or a large gathering. 

Here's the recipe:

  • 12oz Flour (Sieved)
  • 12oz Sugar
  • 6oz  Margarine
  • 6     Eggs

-Beat together and bake in the oven at 175degrees Celcius, for approx. 25mins, or until a knife comes out clean.

I used red food colouring here- just a tint!- due to my love of pink! It's not totally necessary but does add a fun twist, especially if baking for a pot-luck kind of event where there will be lots of Madeira cakes this one will definitely stand out from the crowd! 

The cake is frosted using buttercream, as shown before, and decorated with sprinkles. 

....Feel free to use lemon/coffee/cocoa or any other additions to this basic recipe! 
The results will be delicious!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

White Chocolate Krispie Clouds

Rice Krispie buns or cakes?.... CAKES! A childhood right of passage, a teenage comfort food, an easy peasy "I baked you something" product- their allure never dies.

My friend always had white chocolate Rice Krispie cakes at her birthdays, serious party envy! So a few weeks ago I whipped some up for my little cousin's birthday, they were a quick hit!

I melted a bar of white chocolate (I used Wondercook) in a bain marie and then mixed in Rice Krispies in the glass bowl, (don't add too many Rice Krispies or the delicate white chocolate will be overpowered!) before scooping into muffin cases in a cupcake tin. Delicious!

I forgot how delicious they are, and not in a heavily indulgent way, moreso light, fluffy and moreish!

As a hungry man once said, the only problem with these treats is everybody knows how many you've eaten!