Friday, 15 October 2010
Thursday, 14 October 2010
150g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
2 x 15ml tbsp golden syrup
175g dark muscovado sugar
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
zest 2 oranges and juice of 1
1 x 900g (2lb) loaf tin
Preheat the oven to 170oC/150oC fan oven/gas mark 3 and line your loaf tin with baking parchment or a paper loaf-tin liner.
Beat the already soft butter with the syrup and the sugar until you have a fairly smooth caffé Americano cream, though the sugar will always have a bit of grit about it.
Mix the flour, bicarb and cocoa powder together, and beat into the syrup mixture 1 tbsp of these dry ingredients before beating in 1 egg. Then add another couple of spoonfuls of the dry ingredients before beating in the second egg. Carry on beating in the remaining dry ingredients and then add, still beating, the orange zest and finally, gradually, the juice.
Pour and scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, though check 5 minutes before and be prepared to keep it in the oven 5 minutes longer if need be. Leave to cool a little in the tin on a wire rack, then turn out with care and leave on the rack to cool.
Monday, 11 October 2010
Makes 12 (I ended up with 18)
2 eating apples
250g plain flour (or spelt flour)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
125g light brown sugar, plus 4 tsp for sprinkling
60ml runny natural yoghurt
125ml flavourless vegetable oil
75g natural (unblanched) almonds
Preheat the oven to 200oC/180oC fan oven/gas mark 6 and line your muffin tin with papers.
Peel and core the apples, then chop into small dice (about 1cm) and put them to one side.
Measure the flour, baking powder and 1 tsp of the ground cinnamon into a bowl.
Whisk together the 125g brown sugar, the honey, yoghurt, vegetable oil and eggs in another bowl or jug.
Chop the almonds roughly and add half of them to the flour mixture, and put the other half into a small bowl with the second tsp of ground cinnamon and the 4 extra tsp brown sugar. This will make the topping for the muffins.
Now fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Add the chopped apple, and stir to combine but don’t over mix.
Spoon this bumpy batter into the muffin papers, then sprinkle the rubbly topping mixture over them.
Pop the tin into the prepared oven, and bake for about 20 minutes, by which time they will have risen and become golden.
Take the tin out of the oven and let it stand for about 5 minutes before gingerly taking out the muffins and placing them on a wire cooling rack.
Sunday, 10 October 2010
For the white sauce:
750ml of whole milk
100g of unsalted butter
55g plain flour
100ml double cream
plus a good handful of grated extra mature cheddar cheese and Parmesan to sprinkle over the top
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or Gas 4
You will need a large frying pan, a large saucepan and a 2.5 litre oven proof dish. And also a balloon whisk and a wooden spoon.
In a large frying pan heat a about a tablespoon oil over a medium heat. Fry gently the onion and carrot for about 10 minutes, moving it around from time to time. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Then set this aside while you cook the meat.
Add another glug of oil to the frying pan, turn the heat up and fry the beef and pork to brown it, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Keep it moving so it browns evenly. When it's browned nicely, now you can put the onion mixture back into the frying pan with the meat. Give it all a good stir. Add the tomato purée and cook for one minute then tip in the tin of tomatoes including the juice, oregano and red wine. Add a little salt and pepper to season. Still stirring, allow it to come up to simmering point. Once everything is simmering away nicely, leave it to cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes. Be sure to give it a stir now and then so you know it's not going too dry. By now you should be well on the way to having a nice thick, reduced concentrated sauce, that has very little liquid left in it. If you haven't - no worries just leave it for another 10 minutes or whatever it takes - you might have the heat a bit too low. Have a taste to check the seasoning, when you're happy with the thickness of the sauce, put the pan to one side and make the white sauce.
Put the butter and flour into a large thick-based saucepan and put it over a medium heat whilst stirring with a wooden spoon. Let the flour and butter cook for a minute or so (or the sauce will be lumpy). Now, remove from the heat and using a balloon whisk, add the milk in a little at a time, whisking all the time. Once all the milk is in, put the saucepan over a gentle heat and whisk continuously until the sauce comes to simmering point and thickens nicely. Add some salt and pepper to season and have a taste to make sure it's okay. Don't leave the salt out or the sauce will have no taste. Then, with the heat as low as possible, continue to cook the sauce for about 10 minutes. When it's nice and thick, remove from the heat and stir in the cream, and a pinch of nutmeg.
Once that's done you can turn off the heat and cook your pasta - following the instructions on the packet. Go for very slightly undercooked 'al dente' because the pasta will continue to cook when it goes in the oven.
Drain the pasta and reheat the white sauce, stirring all the time. Tip the pasta into your meat sauce and gently give it a stir to coat it well - you don't want the pasta to break up.
Put half of the mixture into your oven proof dish (2.5 litre in size) and spoon over a little of the white sauce. Don't fuss about the evenness of it, just pour over randomly. Add the rest of the pasta and meat mixture. Now pour the rest of the white sauce over to cover the pasta as best you can.
Sprinkle the top with a good amount of grated cheddar and Parmesan.
Monday, 4 October 2010
Hi everyone I’m back from a lovely restful weekend at the lodge. The weather wasn’t the best and it rained on and off but we made the most of it. When the weather was dry we picked more cooking and eating apples, chopped up wood to bring back for our open fires and enjoyed our walks around the woodland and open field we have at the lodge. It was a very productive weekend and I came home with 2 gorgeous new tablecloths and matching napkins that my mother in law made with the fabric I recently bought from eBay. My Lemon Curd and Blueberry Loaf Cake was thoroughly enjoyed and didn’t last beyond Sunday evening, it’s definitely a must bake! In addition I also made this scrumptious Banana Chocolate and Pecan Loaf, I couldn’t go away for the weekend and leave the sad looking bananas in my fruit bowl. I adapted this loaf to my taste and added chocolate instead of raisins and Total Greek Yoghurt instead of buttermilk. The end result was a moist, chocolatey, nutty and very yummy banana loaf.
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Monday, 27 September 2010
I couldn’t wait to put my yoghurt to use and decided on this Prawn Curry that I have adapted in order to incorporate the 0% Total Greek yoghurt, which also made it low fat to suit my needs. This curry is mild, creamy and has a hint of mango sweetness from the chutney. A thoroughly enjoyable experience, although I will probably add a stronger curry powder next time as I only had mild. Watch this space for more recipes incorporating yogurt.
225g king prawns, rinsed
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp plain flour
300ml chicken stock or fish stock
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tbsp mango chutney
½ lemon, juice only
3 tbsp 0% Total Greek Yoghurt
Fry half the onion in a little vegetable oil over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until transparent.
Stir in the curry powder and fry gently for 1 minute.
Blend in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
Gradually add the stock and stir until the sauce thickens and comes to the boil (3-5 minutes).
Add the tomato purée, chutney and lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes, then strain the sauce through a sieve.
Heat the other tbsp of oil in a frying pan and fry the remaining onion until soft, then add the prawns.
Blend in the curry sauce and bring to the boil.
Stir in the 0% Total Greek Yoghurt and remove from the heat.
Arrange the prawns in the sauce on top of boiled rice and serve with naan or poppadums.
Friday, 24 September 2010
450g extra lean mince beef
extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
400g can chopped tomaotes
1 level tbsp tomato puree
600ml beef stock
freshly ground black pepper
400g can red kidney beans, drained
chopped fresh coriander, to serve
low-fat natural yoghurt or crème fraiche (optional), to serve
In a large, lidded saucepan, dry-fry the minced beef until brown over a hight heat. Drain off any fat. Turn down to a medium-low heat and add a splash of olive oil and then add the onion and garlic and cook gently until softened.
Add the chillies and all the spices and continue frying, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes, tomato puree and stock. Stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced.
Season with pepper and add the drained kidney beans. Cover and heat through gently for another 30 minutes, adding a little extra stock if required.
Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped coriander leaves and a dollop of yoghurt or crème fraiche, and accompanied by basmati rice or a fresh salad.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
When we were at the lodge a few weekends back I came home with a bag full of cooking apples from the trees in the garden. There is something really satisfying about picking your own and then using your apples to make something truly delish, rather than just buying them in your local supermarket! After much thought on what to make I decided on this Apple Dorset Cake. I love Dorset and have spent some lovely camping holidays there, 2 of my favourite haunts are studland beach and durdle door. We were hoping to have gone back there this summer but with hubby away on business a lot and family over from Miami and Oz we missed out this year. This traditional apple cake can be found everywhere in Dorset and is utterly scrumptious. Hubby brought a large wedge to work and the slices did not last long on the plate. This cake has juicy apple chunks within a soft, moist, lemony almond sponge and would work equally well as a dessert with hot creamy custard.
225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
450g bramley apples
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
225g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
3 large free--range eggs
225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
25g ground almonds
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
Using an electric hand whisk, cream together the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, adding a little flour with each addition to keep the mixture smooth.
Sift the remaining flour and the baking powder into the bowl and gently fold into the butter mixture with the ground almonds. Stir in the apple pieces.
Spoon the cake mix into the prepared cake tin, level the top and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until well-risen, brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the cake starts to look a little too brown, cover with a sheet of baking paper after about 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the tin and place on a serving plate. Dredge heavily with the extra caster sugar. Cut the cake into generous wedges and serve warm with a spoonful of clotted cream, if you like.
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Last night hubby and I enjoyed another healthy dinner, Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash. It is a recipe from this month’s Good Food magazine, which I have had my eye on. It ticked all boxes for my healthy eating objectives. The dish delivered so much flavour for a relatively basic recipe. The caramelised onion sauce added depth of flavour to the spiced chicken seated upon the sweet potato mash. I thoroughly enjoyed creating and eating this. Another successful day in the Goddess’s Kitchen!
1kg/2lb 4oz sweet potatoes, cubed
2 tsp ras el hanout, or a mix of ground cinnamon and cumin
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
200ml chicken stock
2 tsp clear honey
juice of ½ lemon
handful green olives, pitted or whole
20g pack coriander, leaves chopped
Boil the potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes or until tender. Mix the ras el hanout with seasoning, then sprinkle all over the chicken. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large frying pan, then brown the chicken for 3 mins on each side until golden.
Lift the chicken out of the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 mins until softened. Add the stock, honey, lemon juice and olives, return the chicken to the pan, then simmer for 10 mins until the sauce is syrupy and the chicken cooked.
Monday, 20 September 2010
I’m really proud of myself, I have stuck with my healthy eating for a whole week without falling off the wagon. I for one know how hard it can be to get back into the swing of things when you’ve spent the last couple of weeks indulging in not so healthy food. But I’ve gotten through that craving food all the time cycle, which was getting ridiculous and I’m starting to feel better again. I’m actually having fun looking for and planning new recipes to make and realising once again that cutting down on fat doesn’t mean you have to miss out on delicious food. Last night for dinner we enjoyed this Chicken and Broccoli Noodles, another instalment from 101 Low-Fat Feasts. It was quick, very tasty and one more to add to my definitely will make this again list!
250g packet egg noodles
350g broccoli florets
2 tbsp olive oil
2.5cm/1inch piece fresh root ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
bunch of spring onions, trimmed and cut in half horizontally, large ones cut in half again vertically
3 tbsp soy sauce
200ml chicken or vegetable stock
Cook the noodles in a pan of salted boiling water for 5 minutes, adding the broccoli for the last 2 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat a wok or frying pan until very hot. Add the oil, then stir in the ginger and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the chicken strips and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until tinged brown. Add the spring onions and stir briefly to heat through.
Mix the soy sauce and stock together and stir into the pan. Tip the drained noodles and broccoli into the pan, season with black pepper and toss everything together. Serve immediately.
Sunday, 19 September 2010
175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
1½ level tsp baking powder
175g (6 oz) butter, softened
175g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
3 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g (5oz) butter, softened
300g (11 oz) icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
1 tbsp milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Edible food colouring(s) of choice, optional
Sprinkle(s) for decoration of choice
You will also require 12 holed muffin tin lined with 12 paper muffin cases
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Sift the self-raising flour and baking powder into a large bowl, and then add the butter, caster sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Beat together until well mixes, trying not to over mix the mixture. Spoon the mixture equally into the prepared paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out to completely cool on a wire rack.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter until soft. Add the icing sugar and stir until it’s just mixed in, then add the milk and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Divide into as many bowls as you want different colour(s) and add edible food colouring (you only require a few drops). This is purely optional should you wish to leave out the edible food colouring(s) and keep the buttercream natural. Spread the icing on thickly with a palette knife on top of each cupcake or put the icing into a piping back and make a large swirl on top of each cupcake. Decorate each cupcake with your chosen sprinkle(s).
Saturday, 18 September 2010
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
350g large peeled prawns, thawed if frozen
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Rice or pasta to serve
Heat the tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add the onions and fry gently for about 7 minutes, until softened and light brown. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.
Throw in the prawns, season and cook gently for 5 minutes until the prawns are thoroughly hot.
Serve spooned over rice or pasta. Crumble over the feta and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Friday, 17 September 2010
2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
140g butter, softened
140g golden caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
200g damsons or plums, stoned, half roughly chopped into pieces and half cut into wedges
For the topping
1 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
200g golden caster sugar
25g rough sugar pieces (or sugar cubes), roughly crushed
Preheat the oven to 160oC/fan oven 140oC/gas mark 3. Butter and line the base of a 900g/2lb loaf tin. Lightly beat the eggs and egg yolk with a pinch of salt.
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Pour in the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour with the orange zest and 2 tablespoons of the juice, then fold in the roughly chopped damsons. Spoon into the prepared tin and scatter the damson wedges over. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack. Mix the remaining orange juice with the lemon juice and caster sugar. Spoon over the cooling cake and sprinkle with the crushed sugar pieces. Cool until set.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Hubby left for Madrid on Monday and was back last night so I kept myself busy in his absence making blackberry and apple jam, damson jam and this Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread. This has been another roaring success from the book, even with the unusual combination of coconut, cherry and banana, which I would never have thought to put together. It actually works beautifully and hubby was more than happy to arrive back to a slice of this home-baked goodness!
125g soft unsalted butter
4 small-medium bananas
150g caster sugar
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g dried cherries
100g desiccated coconut
1 x 900g (2lb) loaf tin
Preheat the oven to 170oC/fan oven 150oC/gas mark 3. Put a loaf liner into your tin, or line the bottom of the tin with baking parchment and grease the sides.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, and take it off the heat. Peel and mash the bananas in another bowl.
Beat the sugar into the cooled, melted butter, then beat in the mashed bananas and the eggs. Fold in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Finally, add the dried cherries and coconut.
Fold well so that everything is incorporated, then pour and scrape into the lined loaf tin and smooth the top.
Bake for about 50 minutes, but start checking after 45. When ready, the bread will be coming away from the sides of the tin and feel quite heartily bouncy on top.
Once of the oven, leave it in the tin for 10 minutes. Then carefully slip the cake out of the tin (still in the liner) onto a wire rack to cool.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Makes one 23cm/9 inch cake
butter, for greasing
8 plums, halved and stoned
225g/8oz butter, softened
225g/8oz soft light brown sugar
grated zest of ½ orange
4 large eggs
175g/6oz self-raising flour, sieved
½ tsp baking powder
50g/2oz ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 180oC/fan oven 160oC/gas mark 4.
Grease the line a 23cm/9 inch springform cake tin.
Place the plum halved, skin side down, on the bottom of the prepared cake tin.
Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest together in a medium mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon or free-standing mixer, until pale and fluffy.
Beat the eggs into the creamed mixture, one at a time. Add 1 tsp of flour to the mixture between each addition. This is quite a runny cake mixture so don’t worry. It might even look a bit curdled, but it’s absolutely fine. The large eggs make for a lovely moist eggy cake that tastes delicious.
Using a metal spoon, fold in the rest of the flour, the baking powder and the ground almonds and pour the mixture over the plums in the cake tin.
Spread the mixture evenly in the tin with the back of a metal spoon and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove, cover loosely with foil and continue to cook for another 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then turn it out onto a wire rack.