Thursday, 31 January 2008

Big-Time Peanut Butter Cookies

My garden on this wet, windy and miserable day!

It’s a miserable wet windy day today and I tend to like staying home on days like today and doing what I enjoy best, baking! So what better way to spend a dreary day than in the kitchen baking up some treats for the family. My boys love anything with peanut butter, especially baked goodies. I decided to try something new and make up these cookies from my new book The Weekend Baker (I love this book). There is no butter in this recipe and the only fat is the peanut butter, which turns the cookie creamy and moist. They are so easy and super fast to make up, just add all the ingredients into your mixer until the dough comes together, shape into balls, flatten with a fork and into the oven they go. You can use smooth PB or crunchy PB, if you want a bit of crunch.

Recipe for Big-Time Peanut Butter Cookies

Meme (5 facts about me)

Madison my boy!

Coco my little princess!

I've been tagged by Rosie (Rosie bakes a peace of cake) to do a 5 facts about me:

1: I'm the oldest of 4 girls, yes my dad went grey early!

2: I'm bilingual and speak fluent spanish. Both my parents are from Spain.

3: I'm a cat lover and have 2 beautiful cats, Madison and Coco and they are spoilt rotten.

4: I love cosmetics, favorite brands are Chanel, MAC and Nars. I have A LOT of cosmetics and could open my own counter!

5: I would say my best feature are my big blue eyes and long eye lashes!

Above are pics of my 2 kitties ;o)

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Uncomplicated Fruit-Topped Yellow Cake

I really love the name of this cake, which is why it caught my eye. The reason why it’s called “uncomplicated”? Well you won’t come across an easier cake to make up on days when time is not on your side or you just want effortlessness. This is a very moist cake which can be topped with every type of fruit, the choice is yours! This cake would be gorgeous topped with apricots when they come into season in the summer. I have gone for the apple topping, and for me apples are the perfect fruit in winter. This cake can easily be doubled up as a dessert and served with lashings of hot custard, just the thing on a cold winter’s day!

This recipe is from, The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge. A must have in every cookbook addicts collection!

Monday, 28 January 2008

Pasta au Gratin

Pasta plays a big weekly repertoire in our home and this dish is one of many favorites, it is quick, easy and full of wonderful flavors’, what more could you ask for? This recipe comes courtesy of Nigella Lawson, which she wrote for the New York Times. I have passed this recipe on to friends and family and they all come back with great feedback. I am positive that any pasta lover would find this recipe heaven on a plate.

Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bakes

While browsing Amazon last week (one of my favorite past-times), I came across and bought this great book called No-Bake Cookies by Camilla V.Saulsbury, more than 150 fun, easy and delicious recipes for cookies, bars and other treats that are made without baking! I love baking but the idea of making cookies and other wonderful treats without having to turn the oven on is an attractive offer for times when you want ease and simplicity. These Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bakes are very popular and if you’ve never made no-bake cookies I would highly recommend you start off with these!

Tasty treats in no time at all ;o)

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Carbonnade of Beef with Double Potato Topping

During the winter months I think there is nothing more welcoming than a good hearty stew or casserole to hit that comfort spot. The real beauty of casseroles is how easy they are to make. All you need to do is combine the prepared ingredients in a casserole dish, then cover and place in the oven to cook. For me Sunday's is the perfect day for this, when all you want is to laze about and look forward to a plate of winter comfort food. As you know I am working my way through various recipes from Secrets from a Country Kitchen cookbook for the month of January and this wonderful recipe is from the book. I have made this dish before and it's been a success every time. "Carbonnade" means a casserole of beef cooked in beer and the double topping is a combination of sweet potato and normal potatoes, yummy!

Warm Cinnamon-Spiced Blueberry Cake

It’s a glorious sunny winters day here in Surrey and nothing beats getting up early and baking your family a cake to wake up to. So this morning I did just that. I had spotted the perfect cake for just an occasion, Warm Cinnamon-Spiced Blueberry Cake from my new book, The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge. In this easy but wonderful recipe the blueberry topping is added partway through the baking so that some of it can sink into the cake to provide that delicious moist filling. My boys were welcomed with that beautiful cinnamon aroma when they awoke and it was the perfect start to our Sunday.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Auntie Jill's Chocolate and Orange Cake

I can only describe this cake as a choc/orange lover’s idea of heaven. If you love Terry's Chocolate Orange then this cake will blow you away. This cake is really moist because of the evaporated milk and the icing also has evaporated milk, making it really dreamy and unlike any icing you’ve tasted. I’ve made this cake today for my son who absolutely adores this and put a request in for his favorite cake. It normally doesn’t last long from the moment it’s baked, assembled and the first bite is taken! The recipe comes courtesy of Secrets of a Country Kitchen cookbook.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Little Eccles Mince Pies

This morning I woke up and decided to use up some of the jars of home-made mincemeat left over from Christmas. So, while I was browsing my foodie magazines I came across this lovely recipe for Little Eccles Mince Pies using ready made puff pastry which I had in my fridge. These are absolutely gorgeous and so easy to make, and they are a nice alternative to your traditional mince pie. I think these would be lovely warmed up with hot custard and served as a pudding. If you would like to re-create these delicious pies click on the link below.

Little Eccles Mince Pies

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Whipped Cream Pound Cake

What is a girl to make when she has some left over double cream in the fridge? Well this girl knew exactly what to make! If you’ve never tried a cake made with whipped cream instead of butter, you are missing a special treat. This pound cake is made without butter and instead a pint of cream which is whipped and folded into the batter. You might think it sounds really rich but it contains only half the fat and calories a normal pound cake would. What I love about this cake is the finished texture, light and fluffy and really creamy. The first time I made this cake my hubby kept creeping into the kitchen and cutting himself slice after slice, now his not usually a greedy person but he really loved this cake and said it was unlike any other cake he had tried, so I think it’s safe to say that this cake is a winner and one I will be making again and again!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Golden Flapjacks

I think everybody loves flapjacks, they are sweet, satisfying and healthy. I love the fact that you can add just about anything to them for delicious alternatives to the basic recipe. I have gone for a basic recipe today of 100g butter, 100g demerara sugar, 100g golden syrup and 225g porridge oats. Flapjacks normally come in squares but i decided to be different today and make them in a round tin. If you are thinking of making these i would suggest using the breakfast porridge oats, i.e. rolled oats. Avoid the jumbo oats as they are too large for these flapjacks. This recipe also comes courtesy of Secrets from a Country Kitchen. I am on a mission this month to only cook recipes from this book, which i find is a great way of getting round to using the cookbooks sitting on my book shelf lonely and gathering dust.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

This morning I woke up and decided that some baking was much needed after a short stint of no baking since xmas. So while browsing through my cookbooks i came across this easy but wonderful recipe for Banana and Cinnamon Muffins in my Secrets from a Country Kitchen by Lucy Young cookbook. I've tried a few banana muffin recipes in the past but this recipe is by far the best, the combination of banana and cinnamon is gorgeous and the added bonus is your kitchen is filled with that wonderful cinnamon aroma whilst the muffins bake away. These are breakfast style muffins, as they are not overly sweet, but i think these are perfect for any time of the day with a cup of coffee or tea and kids will love these in their pack lunches, as will hubbys ;o)
Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

225g/8oz self-raising flour, sieved
100g/4oz light muscovado sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
1 ripe banana, peeled and mashed
125ml/4fl oz milk
2 eggs, beaten
50g/2oz butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6. Grease 12 non-stick muffin tins, or line the tins with paper muffin cases.

Measure the flour, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the banana, milk and eggs together until smooth. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture with the melted butter, and mix together with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Spoon evenly into the muffin tins or cases. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Serve cold or, even nicer, just warmed.