Monday, 25 July 2011

Mango and Chocolate Pudding cake

I'm fully back in the kitchen now, and thoroughly enjoying it all once again. I'm back meal planning and have even started taking my cookery books to bed me for a little light bedtime reading! Had some strange dreams afterwards though! This weeks book has been The New English Kitchen, its a couple of years old now but still a very worthwhile read if you are interested in making good food go that bit further, along with some great economical recipes.

Whilst I most definitely have a sweet tooth, I've doing a lot more savoury cooking lately but I just had to sneak this pudding cake in the other night - and I'm glad I did - it was delicious! So much so that quite disturbingly 3/4 of it went in one sitting......there was only two of us....! Note to self: dust off the Wii fit!

This particular cake came about as I was feeling all domesticated for some bizarre reason the other night, and whilst making dinner decided that we needed a nice cake for pudding. Not wanting all the faff of allowing it to cool, and icing it etc, I decided to make a simple sponge, tarted up and just made into a single layer, along with some tinned mango slices to turn it more into a ‘pudding cake’!

Delicious served warm with a lots of lovely custard

Makes 1 x 20cm sponge cake - would hypothetically serve 8..


45g light brown muscavado sugar
75g caster sugar
2 eggs
4 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tbsp good quality cocoa powder, mixed with 2 tbsp hot water
120g self raising flour
120g softened butter/ stork margarine
1/2 tsp baking powder
½ tin mango slices
1 glace cherry, halved

Line a 20cm sandwich pan with baking paper (or even better a cake liner!) and pre-heat oven to fan 160/ gas 180

If using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for a couple of minutes, add flour, baking powder, cocoa, eggs, sugar and coconut, mix well until smooth and creamy. Alternatively, beat all the above ingredients together bit by bit!

Place the drained mango slices in the bottom of the pan, in a daisy type of pattern, with the cherry in the middle, cut side up.

Spoon over the cake batter and smooth over, bake for 25 minutes or until it passes the skewer test. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then invert onto a suitable plate or cake stand. Dust lightly with icing sugar and serve warm, though it will keep for a day or so in a cool room.

I am particularly pleased with my cake plate - I had been looking for one for ages, with budget in mind and picked up the blue one shown in the picture for a whole pound in poundland! Amazing what you can sometimes find in the cheapy shops!

Love Cookery Blogs

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Creamy Onion and Bacon pasta

I picked this recipe out to try recently from one of the instore magazines from Sainsbury's which was advertised as being family friendly, and also was one of their ‘feed your family under a fiver’ recipes. At present it’s not available online, or at least I couldn’t find a valid link..

As it’s only the two of us adults at home, I halved the recipe and to boost the vegetable content I added some finely chopped carrot and a handful of sweetcorn to the mixture, as felt it was a bit lacking otherwise. Also I didn’t want to wash up another pan for the vegetables and this way I could add those two particular vegetables easily! Whilst the parsley does add a hint of greenery, I will experiment next time around with maybe some green beans or broccoli thrown in..however I do love my vegetables so feel free to omit all of them if you just want a bit of a carby comfort food!

Whilst I will definitely make the recipe again, I would cut down on the sugar as it was a tad sweet for me personally (I have adjusted it in the ingredients list), D also commented it tasted a little like hot coleslaw but apparently not in a bad way... Personally I can’t stand coleslaw so can’t really comment there!

Overall it’s a good worknight pasta dish and the caramelized onions make a nice change, as I tend to have both bacon and onions in the fridge it’s a handy standby recipe too! Sainsbury’s claim their original recipe works out at £1.24 per person based on 4 servings, and so based roughly on my adjusted recipe for two persons, I guess you would get change from £3, so its pretty economical!

Serves 2

4 rashers of smoked Bacon, cut into small bite sized pieces
200g Farfalle pasta
1 carrot, finely diced
1/2 cup of frozen sweetcorn
½ tbsp sugar
4 heaped tbsp. Half fat Crème fraiche
1 large white onion, finely sliced
Approx 1 tbsp Fresh parsley leaves to garnish and stir through
Black pepper to serve – I just added to mine as D isn’t keen on it
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely sliced

Gently heat the oil and add the carrot, garlic, onions and sugar, cook over a medium heat for around 15 minutes or until softened and have slightly caramelized – I put a lid on the pan to stop them drying out and burning

Meanwhile fry the bacon until brown and crispy, stir into the onions. Boil the pasta as per packet instructions, adding the sweetcorn for the final 4 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan. Stir in the bacon and onion mixture, along with the crème fraiche and parsley, serve immediately

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Crab, Red pepper and Potato cakes

I had some leftover mashed potato the other week and after trying to decide on what to make with it I came up with these cakes (patties?), mainly as I had a tin of white crabmeat in the cupboard, and not much else!

Whilst these would benefit from a little chilli perhaps, unfortunately I have had to pretty much give up anything spicy or tomato based due to ongoing stomach issues, however these were still quite tasty, both hot for dinner, and the next day eaten cold in my lunchbox with a salad.

As with a lot of recipes lately I’ve been making, I have been trying to make them slightly healthier and instead of pan-frying the fishcakes, I simply sprayed with oil and baked on a non-stick sheet in the oven, which worked perfectly. Next time around I will leave them to firm up in the fridge for a while, as they were a little too flexible on turning over halfway through cooking!

Makes 9 patties – serves 2

1 tin white crabmeat
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Quantity of leftover cold mashed potato – about 300g
½ cup or so of Fine breadcrumbs
Spray oil
2 tbsp plain flour
½ red pepper, finely chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 180o fan/ 200 regular

Fry the red pepper for a couple of minutes with a little of the spray oil, until lightly browned, remove from the heat

Mix together all of the ingredients, excluding the flour and breadcrumbs, and season with salt and pepper (taking into account if the mash has already been seasoned!), form into small patties, dust lightly with flour and press onto the breadcrumbs, place on a lined and greased baking tray.

Spray with a little more oil and bake for approx. 25 minutes, turning halfway.

Serve with sweet chilli sauce to dip into.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Florentine Grill

If there was one word I had to use to describe this dish it would probably be ‘magical’. You look at the picture, its nice enough, look at the ingredients, yep, got most of them in, should be alright. You make the dish….and suddenly your tastebuds go heh, we weren’t expecting this, whats going on, ooh its rather good. In fact more than good! So much so I was eyeing up D’s portion and using every inch of self control to stop me eating his as well as mine, and blaming a ghost for his missing dinner! With a teeny amount of pre-planning (thawing the spinach), you can have this on the table in under 20 minutes and it makes the perfect light supper.

I did make two minor tweaks to the original recipe by replacing the cream with crème fraiche as I happened to have some in, and using some grated cheddar straight from the freezer (bought on reduced a few weeks back!) instead of the gruyere, and you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing! A final flourish was a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs, which helped to make the dish complete. Oh and I baked it too instead of grilling. So minor adjustments really!

Ingredients with my adaptations:

Serves 1 as a light supper, double up for a main meal or when feeding a man!

1 egg
2 blocks frozen spinach, thawed
1 big slice of good quality cooked ham
1 heaped tbsp crème fraiche
1 tbsp grated cheddar
1 heaped tsp breadcrumbs (I liked Asda’s unless you have your own!)

Using a small pie dish or ideally a gratin dish (I really can’t justify buying any more kitchen stuff but it doesn’t stop me wanting one!) line it with the ham, add the thawed (and well drained!) spinach, leaving a well in the middle, add the egg.

Mix the cheese with the crème fraiche and dot mostly over the spinach outer, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over, and a twist of s&p:

Bake for 15 minutes in a medium hot oven, think was about 180o from memory…or until the eggs are set and it has lightly browned on top:

I served mine with home made little roasties, however a nice green salad would also work well with it.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Double Chocolate and Cranberry Muffins - Post 300!

I was going to bring you something savoury today.........however this being my 300th post I thought something more sweeter was a bit more fitting!! As much as I do like my savoury, I most definitely have a sweet tooth and find most forms of cake pretty irresistible!

These are the latest muffins I baked, and they are really rather delicious! I used my tried and trusty Mingle muffin recipe, with some minor tweakings. The muffins are so quick and easy to make, and come out perfect every time. They have a lovely light, cakey texture and are very moreish!

Makes 12


250g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder (I use extra dark Polish cocoa, do try and seek some out!)
2tsp baking powder
125g caster sugar 
50g light muscavado sugar
175ml milk
2 large eggs, beaten
100ml sunflower oil (though had to use vegetable as had accidentally run out!)
50g white chocolate chips

50g craisins or dried cranberries1tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC/ 150o fan (375ºF, gas mark 5).

Line a 12-hole deep muffin tray with paper muffin cases. 

Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder; stir in the sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and mix lightly together - do not over beat the mixture. It should have a sort of custardy texture - don't worry if it looks a little runny!

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases. Bake for approximately 20 mins or until springy to touch and a skewer comes away clean. Leave for 10 minutes in the tray and then transfer to a wire rack to cool down.

Dust with icing sugar if desired

I took a batch of the muffins into work with me, freshly baked yesterday morning and they vanished very quickly and were very popular with my colleagues! Can see these being a regular bake!

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