Sunday, 9 October 2011

Flapjacks and cupcakes..

Today I have had some help baking from my lovely friend, Donna! She wanted to make some cupcakes and chose a yummy marshmallow frosting. I'm not going to repeat the vanilla cupcake recipe as it's in my previous blog which can be found here.
However, I will put the marshmallow frosting recipe up.

Marshmallow Frosting;


250g Caster Sugar

4 egg whites
1 tablespoon water

Pinch of salt


Place all of the ingredients in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat until all of the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches a temperature of 60 (Celsius) - then tip it all in to a mixer and whisk for about 3 minutes (or you can use a hand mixer) for about 3 minutes until it forms stiff, glossy peaks - use immediately.


Finally, the flapjacks. A couple of weeks ago I received some apple and cinnamon flapjacks in my graze box and they really are to die for!!

Last weekend I tried to recreate these delectable delights, but failed absolutely miserably and ended up with crumbly flapjacks that ended up in the bin.. gutting.
I have been determined to make the perfect, moist flapjacks since and I have now cracked the recipe - these really are delicious.. and I plan on taking them to work for breakfast for the next few days (if they last that long!!)

Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks


250g butter

250g caster sugar

1 cup golden syrup

100g rice crispies

100g rolled oats

300g porridge oats

cinnamon - about a tsp or two, depending on how much you like cinnamon

2 apples, peeled and grated


Place the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and slowly melt - once it has melted add all of the ingredients and coat evenly.

Tip the mixture in to a tin and firmly press it all down - place into a 180 (celsius) oven and bake for about 25 minutes until pale golden - it may seem a little undercooked when it comes out but it will set as it cools - while it is still warm, mark out the flapjacks and then leave to cool.. if you can resist temptation!!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The fattest blog yet!

So I haven't posted on here in quite a while.. I've been so busy with work and life, but that doesn't mean I haven't been cooking.. so you're in for quite a treat today!!

I had some friends over for lunch a couple of weeks ago so decided that I would make some home made soup with some fresh bread.. my boyfriend being my boyfriend had to be awkward and request different soup from everyone else, but I actually prefered the soup I made for him;

Potato & Leek Soup


1 tbsp vegetable oil and blob of butter

1 tsp minced garlic

1 onion, sliced

225g potatoes, cubed

2 medium leeks,sliced

1.2 litres/2 pints good vegetable stock

150ml/5fl oz double cream

salt and pepper


Heat the butter and oil in the pan and then fry the onions and garlic - when soft add the rest of the veg and cover, season and leave to sweat until soft for about 10 minutes. Add the stock to the pan and then leave to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Blitz with a blitzer, depending on how smooth you want your soup - then stir through the cream and enjoy!

Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup


15 ripe plum tomatoes

3 medium red bell peppers

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

handful of fresh basil or even some dry mixed herbs

tbsp olive oil


Drop the tomatoes in to a boiling pan of water for about 20 seconds and then take out - this makes the skins easier to remove. Meanwhile, halve and deseed the peppers then grill until the skin is blackened, once again making the skin easier to remove - the blacker the better! Once this is done, fry the onion and garlic in the oil, then add the tomatoes, peppers, basil and season- cook until soft. Add the stock and then leave to simmer for about 10 minutes - either blitz in the blender or leave it chunky - I blitzed mine and added a bit of double cream to thicken it up.

White Bread Rolls


500g strong white flour , plus extra for dusting

2 tsp salt

7g sachet fast-action yeast

3 tbsp olive oil

00ml warm water


You can either chuck all of the ingredients in to a bread maker, or you can make it by hand. If you are doing the latter, then sift the flour in to a bowl, add the yeast and the salt. Make a small well and then add the oil and water and mix until it makes a silky smooth dough.

Beat in to a pulp for about 10 minutes (just imagine someone you really dislike!).
Shape the dough in to whatever takes your fancy, place on to a greased baking tray - cover with a damp tea towel and leave for at least an hour to double in size.

Brush with olive oil (I like to add some freshly ground sea salt on top too) and then bake in a preheated oven (220 Celsius) for 25-30 minutes until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped.. enjoy the delicious smell wafting through your kitchen!!


Finally, this weekend the whole family has been over for a BBQ, making the most of the unusually warm weather.. so here's some of the delights;

Foccacia Bread with Rosemary & Sea Salt


500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tsp salt

1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast

80ml/3fl oz olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

150-250ml/5-9fl oz warm water

vegetable oil or oil spray, for oiling

1 bunch fresh rosemary

large pinch sea salt


Put the flour into a large bowl, add the salt and yeast, then add the olive oil, plus enough warm water to make a soft but not sticky dough.
The dough should feel quite loose and not tight and difficult to knead.

The more water that can be added (the full 250ml is what you're aiming for!) then the lighter the bread will be. But it can take some perseverance - although it's a lot easier using a mixer with a dough hook attachment. Also resist the temptation to add more flour as it will make the dough too heavy.

Knead for about 10 mins by hand, or 5 mins with a mixer. Shape in to an oval and leave to double in size for an hour, like in the previous bread recipe. Once ready, poke some holes with a well floured finger, place in some rosemary and add a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 25-30 mins at 200 (Celsius) until hollow and then drizzle over some more olive oil - yum!!

As you can see from the picture, my bread was already starting to be devoured before I could take a photograph!


These are from Ina Garten's book, they're basicall mini burgers but by gosh they're juicy and tasty!


2 pounds premium minced beef

1 tablespoon good dijon mustard
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
3 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 small


Really simple!! Just add the mustard, oil, thyme, garlic and seasoning to beef - mix together with a fork then form in to small patties and fry!! It really is THAT simple! Enjoy!

Potato Wedges

This was the easiest part of all! I chopped up some potatoes in to wedges, sprinkled over the season all and olive oil, then roasted in the oven for about 45 minutes! Deeeeelicious!

Buttermilk Chicken Wings

Nigella made these the other day on TV and I could not resist trying them - they really are divine!


12 chicken drumsticks (approximately 1.25kg/3lbs total weight)

500ml/17fl oz buttermilk (I got mine from sainsburys, nowhere else seems to sell it!)

60ml/2fl oz veg oil, plus 2 tbsp extra for drizzling

2cloves, peeled and lightly crushed

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tsp ground pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp maple syrup


Basically chuck all of the ingredients in to a bowl, leave to marinade overnight and then roast in the oven when you fancy! I roasted at 200 (Celsius) for about 30-45 minutes.

Salt & Pepper Bread Sticks

Again, I didn't get time to take a photograph of all of these beautiful breadsticks as they were completely devoured!!


450g/1lb strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

7g dried fast-action

1½ tsp salt

250–275ml/9-10fl oz warm water

vegetable or spray oil, for oiling

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp sea salt

2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper


Put the flour, yeast and the salt into a large bowl and add enough of the water to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead well for 10 minutes by hand on a lightly floured work surface or for five minutes if using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and roll in to sticks, or twists. Leave on a baking tray for about an hour to double in size, then brush with olive oil and add a generous amount of sea salt or fresh black pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes, until hollow, at 200 (Celsius)

Coleslaw & Potato Salad;

For this I just used the same basic dressing;


½ cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream

½ teaspoon cider vinegar

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard/Wholegrain Mustard or both!

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the coleslaw, add some shredded carrots, white cabbage and onion - then mix.. and for the potato salad add some cubed, cooked potatoes with some chopped up spring onions and enjoy!

Vanilla Cupcakes


110g/4oz butter or margarine, softened at room temperature

110g/4oz caster sugar

2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

110g/4oz self-raising flour


Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour slowly and then divide in to the cupcake cases. Bake at 160 (celsius) for about 15 minutes or more depending on your oven - you can test to see if they're ready by poking a skewer in to the middle - if it comes out clean they're good.

Maltesers Cupcakes

200 g softened butter

200 g
caster sugar

2 drops vanilla extract
3 medium eggs

170 g
self raising flour

30g horlicks
80 g maltesers


See the vanilla recipe, but add the horlicks in with the flour and add the maltesers once all the mixture is combined. Once again bake at 160 for about 15 minutes or so.

I decorated my cakes with some buttercream (Cream together 250g butter, 600g icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla - you can also add food colouring if you like; I decorated the vanilla cakes with a wafer flower with a sprinkle of beautiful glitter!! - and some crushed maltesers for the malteser cupcakes)