Saturday, 25 August 2012

Cherry, Cranberry and Chocolate oaty Cookies

Wow, just looking at the title would make my English langauge teacher proud with the use of three capital C's - a great example of 'the power of three'! And I am rather proud right now, as this past year I decided after many years to go back to college and resit my English Language and Maths GCSE's - and I am delighted to say I passed both! Got my first ever A for the English exam, and a very happy C for my maths! All those nights studying till the wee hours and tears of frustration have been worth it!

Whilst these cookies are not my most favourite biscuit in comparison to other oaty things I've ever baked but at same time were quite edible and vanished pretty quickly! I think the only thing I would change would be a touch more sugar...

This is also my first ever entry into the We Should Cocoa challenge run by Chocolate Teapot and Chocolate Log Blog that I have followed with both envy and forgetfulness for a very long time! This month the special ingredient was glorious Cherries, and is being hosted by the lovely Janice of Farmersgirl Kitchen

Whilst fresh cherries would have been delicious to play with, the weather outside was rather soggy and so I decided to use glacĂ© cherries instead for my entry, and baked these from what I had in stock already! The original recipe was found amongst a huge pile of magazine clippings that got finally sorted the other day into the proper sections of my ever expanding ringbinder (s)!, so I am sure where it came from..

Makes about 15

65g glace cherries, roughly chopped
65g craisins, roughly chopped
110g margarine
50g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp Runny honey
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp vanilla extract
75g oats
75g self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Pre-heat your oven to 190, line 2-3 baking trays with parchment paper

Cream together the margarine and sugar, until smooth and light in colour, whisk in the honey, egg and vanilla. (This is why I love my hand mixer!) Fold in the oats, cocoa and flour. Use a dessert sized spoon to blob the mixture onto the trays, keeping a gap in between as they will expand!

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until still soft on top but golden - they will harden on cooling. Once cooked, leave to cool on the tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack

Even Dory was excited to see all the cookies!

Win a seasonal Knorr box!

This year at Anne's Kitchen I have been bringing regular inspiration and recipes to you using Knorr products, after all a great stock can turn your dish from good to great! Whilst I do love to cook from scratch, sometimes its not always practical to make my own stock and I admittedly regularly use ready made stock , and I am very much converted to the Knorr stock pots!

This week I was lucky to receive another box full of culinary goodies to play with from Knorr and Forman and Field, and will bring you my recipe shortly - here's a sneaky preview for now:

So how do you fancy also receiving a box full of goodies to play with too? Inside your box is everything to make Marco Pierre White's 'Spatchcocked Chicken with Chipolatas and Rosemary' and some other summery treats perfect for picnics (providing of course the rain holds off!)

There is one big condition – delivery will be made on Friday the 31st August so its a very short competition so enter now – don’t delay! Also I need the winners details by Tuesday night - so check your inboxes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Crispy Honey and Spice Beer Battered Tofu with Vegetable Stir-fry

Growing up, I knew I was a bit different from other children my age. My dad took me to various food places and food festivals, including trips around Southall, which to those who are not familiar with is smaller version of India, and never fails to surprise me how late everything stays open compared to the sleepy town I live in!

In addition during these various trips and years, I had the opportunity to try lots of different cuisines and as a result, my cooking style is now rather varied and I happily dip in and out of various cuisines, loving all but with no particular favouritism, other than perhaps a genuine love for Oriental flavours. 

When I was at secondary school, a long, long time ago, I studied food technology at GSCE, and I remember my final piece of coursework was all about Chinese cooking and this cuisine as a result of the studies, and my above mentionned love of the Oriental flavourings, I am probably most experimental with. Somehow despite this, this was actually my first attempt at cooking with Tofu, having only ever eaten it very sparingly within spicy dishes or soups in restaurants.

During a venture into Chinatown the other week, following a very civilised afternoon tea with a girfriend, within a mecca of a supermarket spread over many floors and seemingly catering for everything it would appear from the Orient, I had picked up a block of ‘firm silken tofu’ on a whim and decided I would finally try and do it some justice. I’ve heard lots of people say how bland it was but in my head that’s how I feel about pasta/ rice etc – they too are bland, but with a little love are so easy to transform into something quite beautiful....

Just look at all that lovely crispyness! Try not to eat them all before serving!

This was also the first time deep frying where I live now, always a bit scary but it was fine apart from a couple of new blisters on my arm! Remember to never leave hot fat unattended and keep safe!

On a separate note Sharp’s brewery had sent me some beers from their 'Connoisseurs' range, one of them being a honey spice one, which I thought would work well with sort of Chinesey flavours… and it did a great job too! Very smooth with hints of sweetness of honey and lovely gently spiced notes to it. Also in their range is a rather drinkable Single brew, which is perfect for a warm summer evening, and last but not least a rather potent Quadrupel Ale, which I actually googled the units on as felt a little tipsy after 'testing'! I am unashamedly for a woman a keen ale drinker but whilst it was drinkable, was just a little too strong for me! 

In my next post I am giving away a set of the three beers so come back soon!

Serves two 

Tofu ingredients:

225g firm silken tofu  *I had too much batter - use the whole pack of tofu if desired or you could probably sneak some veg too with the excess!
125ml honey spice beer – chilled
125ml ice cold water
250g plain flour
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
Sunflower oil for frying

Honey and Soy Vegetable Noodle Stirfry ingredients:

Fine Noodles - Enough for two - I like the fine rice ones but choose any you like
½ red pepper, sliced into chunks
2 sticks celery, sliced at an angle into 1cm chunks
5 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp dark soy sauce
3 tsp Chinese cooking wine (or beer)
1 heaped tsp cornflour
Black pepper to taste - freshly ground
Squirt runny honey
1 clove minced garlic
Heaped tsp freshly grated ginger
Egg white

Once the batter has been made – it needs using so make sure everything else is ready to go!

Sunflower oil for frying - roughly 2cm in a large pan, allow plenty of bubbling space! Heat to when a small cube of the tofu browns within 30 seconds or so

Note: Chilling the tofu will probably work best - I did mine from the cupboard and was a little soft and I couldn't use the whole block, hence my note above saying to use it all up - would do three servings instead

Start by chopping the tofu into roughly 1cm chunks. Sprinkle with a little of the flour and gently toss in it to lightly coat

Beat the egg yolk, then add in the beer and water, stir in the remaining flour and salt. Gently add the tofu to the mix, use a slotted spoon to transfer to the hot oil, don't crowd the pan - it will need to be done in batches. Cook for around 3 minutes or until crispy and lightly golden, gently turning if needed. Drain on plenty of paper.

Meanwhile, heat a little vegetable oil in a wok or large saute pan, whisk the leftover egg white and fry quickly until just cooked, remove from the pan and shred. Then stir fry the vegetables for approximately 3-4 minutes until just cooked. Blend the honey, wine, soy, garlic ginger, black pepper and cornflour together, add a little water to loosen if needed. Pour over the vegetables and heat through - it should just lightly coat everything. 

Boil the noodles as per packet instructions, drain well and add to the cooked vegetable mix and stir together. Serve on plates and top with the crispy tofu and shredded egg white.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Baby Bundt buns

A couple of weeks ago I was caught at a weak moment out shopping alone (friends and family know not to allow me unsupervised into cook shops) and fell victim to a new baking tin.  I really have no need for any more baking tins. The fact also remains I have two boxes already of them, under my bed due to lack of kitchen storage. 

But just look at how cute it is! 

How could mere mortal me resist such beauty for only 64 pennies reduced as the shop was closing down? It also happened to coincide with using up the last egg from a lovely box of local farm eggs, and a chance to test a bottle of new Stork liquid margarine I was sent to try out.. 

Not knowing how much mixture the tin would take, I quickly threw together a basic 1 egg vanilla sponge mixture and it worked perfectly, creating 6 little strange planet shaped buns! 

Due to the er, rather generous size, most of them I cut through the middle and filled with jam, which was delicious but separately that week I had been given a couple of sticks of rhubarb from my mum's neighbour, which I cooked down with a little sugar, and when cooled down enough, used in lieu of the jam filling.

Looks a little alien like I think! However thoroughly delicious!

Whilst the liquid Stork was very easy to use, the cake batter does still requires a certain amount of mixing, something physically I struggle to do due to old health issues. After the mixing, I was a little scared as the cake batter looked very runny but the baby bun's rose beautifully! Since these I used it for another baking recipe but this time with the mixer - it was definitely just as runny but you could not tell in the finished results.

Being honest though I do just prefer to use my hand mixer and regular Stork margarine, something which my mum always baked with growing up (and still does) and I do too with nearly all my baking. I have heard a lot of people say they prefer real butter but no one’s ever turned down my cakes!

Many thanks to Stork and Clarion for the sample.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Turkey Escalopes...with Marmite love!

I know when it comes to Marmite, you either love it - me me me - or hate it - there are strange folk out there!! It has this weird, enticing lure. Savoury and delicious. Nothing really does compare!

Twice this week I have managed to include heavenly marmite in my cooking - I finally tried Nigella's marmite spaghetti, albeit with vermicelli pasta, which was quite simple and yet simply heavenly, and secondly the old brain went a bit awol (oh the joy of shift work), and I had seen the marmite jar earlier that day.... Saw my turkey steak. And thought hmmm......could I ...really?!

You see that night I had not planned to actually do anything remotely turkey related. My meal planner (ha)  said frittata but I really did not fancy frittata. Also I had been food shopping for the week that afternoon, and had randomly picked up 3 turkey breast steaks reduced for a measly £ could I say no? This despite having a freezer full of food....

On a separate note earlier on that particular day I had made some ginger biscuits (nice but not blog worthy), which involved only the egg yolk, and was left with the white, hence the frittata idea. But then ~I thought what about coating something - in this case the turkey was to hand - and went from there!

My steak was a bit chunky and I was worried about it drying out in the pan, so I sliced it though horizontally into two thin steaks, dried off with kitchen paper, massaged with marmite, floured, bathed in beaten egg white, then pressed into a good handful of breadcrumbs (top frugal tip - never throw away that end bit of crusty bread - blitz and freeze for future meal making!) and then fried in a drizzle of olive oil for about 3 minutes on each side. Super quick!

And the result? These turkey escalopes were a zillion times better than the ones I was brought up on! The marmite added a deliciously savoury note, and this is in no way the end of my love affair with having marmite other than on my toast!

This in no way a sponsored post. Just a marmite addict at the helm.

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