Chocolate Fudge

With all the snow today, I decided to make some fudge, i have no idea why really.  I have a really good recipe for fudge which never fails me…

1 1/2 lb sugar

4oz butter

6floz evaporated milk

5 oz dark chocolate (although i have used white in the past and it’s very good)

1 tsp mint or ginger essence

Put everything except the mint or ginger in a big pan, and stir, over a lowish heat until it’s all melted.

Bring it to the boil, then boil it for 10-15 mins, until a small amount dropped into a bowl of cold water forms a soft ball.

Take it off the heat and leave it for 5 mins.

Then add in the flavouring, and beat the fudge for a couple of mins until it’s thick and smooth.

Pour it into a tray. Mark out squares.

When it’s properly cold, the fudge will snap slong the squares you’ve marked out….

fudge

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Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 11:24 pm  Comments (2)  

Lasagne

It’s been years since i’ve had lasagne. Never keen on mince at the best of times, it dropped off the menu at our place years ago. I’ve never been too enthused by the idea of veg lasagne, I don’t know why but it’s just never appealed. But last week I was scanning round looking for new things to cook, and this sort of stood out.

lasagne

cut-lasagne

The recipe came our of one of my veg cook books. The ‘red’ layer is essentially onion, several red peppers, a tin of tomatoes, a splash of red wine and some tomato paste.

The ‘white’ layer is a mix of ricotta and goats cheese.

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 8:12 pm  Comments (1)  

Sunday Soup

As usual Sunday was soup day. A late afternoon call at the in-laws meant I didn’t have long to make soup for tea. Luckily the husband had made a loaf of bread in the morning, so it was just the soup to make.

I had some brocolli stalks in the fridge, along with some more brocolli and had picked up a piece of stilton reduced to 45p in the supermarket. As brocolli and stilton soup is quite quick, this seemed the obvious choice.

brocolli-stilton-soup

I roughly chop and fry an onion, then add in a diced potato. Then i roughly chop the brocolli and throw this in along with enough veg stock to just cover it. I then chop stilton into small chunks and throw this in too.

When the brocolli and psuds are cooked through and soft, i blitz it all to smoothness.

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Leek and Potatoes

But with a twist. And not one for those on a diet!

The leeks are cooked in white wine, then mixed with cream cheese, and enclosed into filo pastry parcels.

The potatoes are sliced, part boiled, then layered with fried onions, and gruyere. The finishing touch is cream poured over the top.

Both the leeks and the potatoes are popped into the oven to cook

leek-filo

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 7:55 pm  Comments (3)  

Oh the weather outside is frightful

but the snow is so delightful…yes i know that’s not the words. I love the snow! And we’ve had lots of snow today. None  of the cars in our street have moved, and finally we’ve had enough of the white stuff for me to be able to make snow ice cream!

This is something i discovered a couple of years ago, and thought that living in Scotland, there’d be enough snow at least once a year to make it. The last couple of winters we’ve had almost no snow at all, Which i’ve found terribly disappointing – no snow = no snow ice cream.

So imagine my delight at nearly a foot of snow this morning! I quickly put a clean bowl outside to catch some snow in and set about getting excited.

The recipe is simple – a can of condensed milk, 8 cups of fresh clean snow and a bit of flavouring. The recipes all suggest vanilla, but i used some strawberry brandy we made in the summer. You just mix the lot together and serve. It worked really well. The result is a creamy soft dessert, which doesn’t last long!

snow ice cream

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 7:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Toad in the Hole

Now, I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really eat meat. I still don’t.  I especially don’t eat sausages. I just can’t, they make me vomit. And you don’t really need to know that.

I do love toad in the hole though. Although not made with sausages. Obviously. I know that for many people it’s not toad in the hole without sausages, but according to wikipedia, a recipe from 1861 doesn’t mention sausages, but recommends using bits and pieces of any kind of meat, bought at the end of the day when it is cheapest. Seems that those of us who go supermarket shopping late at night for the bargains aren’t being as innovative as we think!

I make my toad in the hole using the large flat mushrooms, and rub them with oil, crushed garlic and some dried herbs before popping in the oven for 5 mins, to heat up the dish and start cooking the ‘shrooms. After that, the batter gets poured over. My batter comes from my excellent student cookbook (£5.24 from Amazon) and is made with 2 eggs, 4 oz plain flour and 14floz milk, whisked together. It’s never failed me, and the husband loves it.

toad-in-the-hole

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cakey bakey goodness

I love baking, and regularly make cakes to take into work or give to my neighbour. Of course, the husband and myself get plenty too, although if you listen to him, the last time he got home made cake was somewhere round about the same time as the civil war!

So here are a couple of cakes I have made which have gone down really well.

Firstly a cake I adapted from a Nigella recipe for chocolate cherry cupcakes.  I wanted a full sized cake, and wanted it to be gloriously moist, chocolatey, easy and visually stunning.  This cake is really dark, and topped with a white chocolate frosting is really striking when it’s cut.

chocolate-cherry cake

Here’s my amended recipe:

125g butter

100g dark chocolate

1 jar cherry jam – I use the Hartleys

150g sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

150g self raising flour

Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. Add in the chocolate and give it a stir. Take it off the heat and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add in the jam, sugar and eggs. When it’s well mixed, stir in the flour.

Pour it into a prepared cake tin – 23cm diameter. And pop into a preheated oven at 180 for about 40 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Keep an eye on it, as i can’t remember exaclty how long it was in the oven for. Let it cool for 10 mins in the tin before turning it out to cool completely.

For the frosting, mix 200g melted white chocolte with 250g mascarpone and spread it over the entire cake

Following my Christmas cake success I made my neice a cake for her 16th birthday too, and decorated it properly. She’s not got a sweet tooth, so the appearance was really more important than the taste, although, I did make a very tasty cake!

Birthday Cake

slice of cake

This was a cake made from the BBC Good Food recipe site – the middle layer fo their 3 tier wedding cake. I decorated with with ready to roll icing –  and some flowers cut from the same icing – some coloured lilac. Finished off with silver balls and edible glitter.

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 6:13 pm  Comments (3)  

Taking a leek

Yeah I know my post titles are getting worse!

Having discovered that I love leeks, I went on a journey of discovery to see what went well with leeks. White wine and butter are leeks’ best friends, and goats cheese can cope really well with the flavours, so I decided to make a leek and goats cheese galette.Hot out of the oven it was lovely, cold the next day for my lunch it was equally lovely, but completely different. Cold the flavours of the wine come through more.

I can’t believe how long I’ve been missing out on the fantasticness of leeks! I buy them most weeks now from the farmers market – sometimes just to make glamorgan sausages (a firm favourite in this house!), but every so often I try something brand new with them. leek and goats cheese galette

For the pastry:

4oz plain flour

2oz butter

a little cold water.

Put the flour and the butter into your food processor and blitz till it resembles breadcrumbs. Add cold water until it just starts to come together. Pop it in the fridge while you make the filling.

pre-heat the oven to 180c

For the filling:

1 leek, sliced

large knob of butter

1/2 cup white wine

fresh thyme to taste

1 egg, beaten.

120g soft goats cheese (the goats cheese ‘log’ is good for this)

heat the wine and butter in a small pan till the butter melts, add the leeks, cover and cook for about 5 mins. Take the pan off the heat, and stir in the thyme and the beaten egg.

Roll the pastry out into a circle about the size of a dinner plate, and pop it on a baking sheet

Spread the leek mixture over the pastry, leaving a 1.5inch gap round the edge.

Sprinkle the cheese over the mixture.

Fold the border over the fillingan inch at a time, pinching the overlapping bits together as in the pic.

Brush the pastry with milk, and pop in the oven for about 20 mins or until golden brown

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 10:42 pm  Comments (1)  

Brrrr – Chilli

One of my favourite things in the cold weather is a big pot of chilli. It’s easy to make, great to eat, and the leftovers heat up well the following day! My chilli is of course, not remotely authentic, but doesn’t lack in taste. What else can I say about it? Nothing except everyone should have one good chilli recipe!

Bean Chilli

Finely chop and fry 1 onion. Add in 1 crushed clove of garlic, and fry on a gentle heat until the onion is soft, but not coloured.

Slice a good handful of mushrooms and throw them in the pot.

After about 5 minutes chuck  in either finely chopped chillis or chilli powder to taste, and  2 squares of 85% chocolate.

Once the chocolate has melted, add in a tin of chopped tomatoes, and good squeeze of tomato paste, and two tins of beans – I tend to use Adzuki beans and Butter beans, but use what you like.

stir it all well, and bring to the boil then simmer gently while you cook the rice – adding more water if it gets too dry.

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Winter Comfort

I’d been hankering after a good hearty stew, but had drawn a blank trying to find a veggie one. Plenty of beef stews all of which looked mouthwateringly delicious, but I wanted good hearty veg food.  Eventually I managed to find one that fitted the bill exactly. This pumpkin and parsnip cassoulet from BBC Good Food. As it was cooking there was a fabulous aroma in the kitchen. The breadcrumb topping added a welcome crunch, and I felt I had had a good hearty meal to line my stomach and prepare me for the long winter nights.

We had it with just some fresh crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Pumpkin parsnip cassoulet

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm  Leave a Comment