Rocky Road

I’ve always fancied Rocky Road but traditionally it has raisins in it and I really don’t like raisins. So I’m going to make my own version minus the evil shriveled grapes.

Rocky Road

Ingredients

200g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa solids works best)

2-3 tbsp Golden Syrup

135g Butter or margarine

100g Mini Marshmallows (chopped regular marshmallows work too)

200g Digestive biscuits

Icing sugar to dust

Method

  1. Line a small to medium sized square baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place biscuits into a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin until they’re broken into a mixture of everything in between dust and 50p size lumps. Put this to one side.
  3. In a large sauce pan melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup over a gentle heat stirring it almost constantly until there are no lumps of chocolate visible, then remove from the heat.
  4. Take biscuits, marshmallows and any additional ingredients and pour into the pan of the chocolate mixture. Stir all this into the mixture until everything is completely covered.
  5. Tip the mixture into the lined baking tray making sure you get it all, and spread the mixture in the tray until it is flat.
  6. Refrigerate this for at least 2 hours then dust with icing sugar and cut into fingers.

These were marvellous little creations that Willy Wonka himself would have been proud of. Chocolate heaven, I needn’t say anymore!

I substituted the digestive biscuits for three Crunchie bars and some pistachio nuts. Just because I love Crunchie bars really, and I thought the pistachio nuts would give them a sophisticated edge! Make sure you melt the butter and chocolate in a large saucepan as it says or you will struggle to get all your biscuit, mashmallows etc in. They were set and ready to eat in 2 hours.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/12412/rocky-road

 

Honey Glazed Ham

A lot of recipes I have seen for cooked ham say that you need to soak the ham first, then either boil it or put it in the oven. But I’m only cooking a small one and I found the ham delicious, even though I skipped the soaking part!

Honey Glazed Ham

Ingredients

1 Small Gammon joint

2-3 tbsp clear honey

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190c/fan 170c/gas 5. Lay a sheet of foil in a roasting tin large enough to take the joint with some room to spare.
  2. Score the top and the bottom of the ham with a sharp knife in a criss cross pattern.
  3. Place your ham in the roasting tin and spoon on the honey, until the whole ham is covered.
  4. Cover the roasting tin with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 35 minutes per 500g.
  5. Uncover the ham and put it back in the oven for 35 minutes.

The possibilities are endless for this tasty ham. It makes a brilliant filling for sandwiches (something to really look forward to at work!) Or in salads, or go a bit retro and have it with egg and chips with pineapple on top. Such an easy and cheap recipe that you would not fail to enjoy! I promise.

Oozy Chocolate Pudding

I love the look of this pud! I am a little nervous of it as I like to be fully prepared before my guests arrive. With this recipe it doesn’t look possible. So I have consulted the cooking oracle that is my Auntie Ginny! Who is a whizz in the kitchen! She advised preparing the recipe up to the stage before adding the boiling water. Then later just before I serve the main course I will finish the recipe off and pop it in the oven (with all fingers and toes crossed!)

Oozy Chocolate Pudding

Serves 6

Ingredients

85g unsalted butter, melted

plus extra for greasing

125g plain flour

3 tsp baking powder

8 tbsp cocoa powder

120g caster sugar

250ml whole milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

185g light brown soft sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 1.25 litre pudding basin. Sift the flour, a pinch of salt, the baking powder and 6 tbsp cocoa powder into a large bowl, then stir in the caster sugar. In another bowl, combine the milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla extract, then whisk thoroughly into the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the pudding basin and set on a baking tray.
  2. Mix the brown sugar and remaining cocoa powder. Sprinkle evenly over the batter, then gently pour 250ml boiling water over the top of the pudding. Bake for 55 minutes until risen and firm on top. Serve immediately with double cream or creme fraiche, if liked.

This was AMAZING!! It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had built it up to be. It was actually very simple. Minimum effort with a big result. The chocolate was oozy on the bottom and the top was all firm and spongey. It makes me want to eat it all again! A definate one to try.

I did prepare the recipe in advance up to the end of the first section. I then mixed the brown sugar and cocoa powder together in a seperate bowl. Following that I then put the pudding basin in the fridge and the cocoa and sugar bowl to one side for later. I filled the kettle in preparation, so there would be less flapping about later.

Just before I served the main course I whipped the pudding basin out the fridge, sprinkled on the dry mix, added the boiling water and put it straight into the oven, which was already pre-heated from having the dinner in it. The smell of it cooking was delicious! When it came out the oven it looked just like the picture! I served it with double cream and it was a big hit. I was even asked for a doggy bag! Excellent recipe I thoroughly recommend it.

Recipe from Waitrose Kitchen magazine

Moroccan Lamb with apricots, almonds and mint

This is the second Moroccan Lamb dish I have made. The first one was a Jamie Oliver recipe with chickpeas and tomatoes in it. This one looks a little spicier. So we will see how it compares.

Moroccan Lamb with apricots, almonds and mint

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

550g lean lamb, cubed

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

700ml lamb or chicken stock

grated zest and juice 1 orange

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp clear honey

175g ready-to-eat dried apricots

3 tbsp chopped fresh mint

25g ground almonds

25g toasted flaked almonds

steamed broccoli and couscous to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the lamb and cook over a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes until evenly browned, stirring often. remove the lamb to a plate, using a slotted spoon.
  2. Stir the onion and garlic into the casserole and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened. Return the lamb to the pot. Add the stock, zest and juice, cinnamon, honey and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 1 hour.
  3. Add the apricots and two-thirds of the mint and cook for 30 minutes until the lamb is tender. Stir in the ground almonds to thicken the sauce. Serve with the remaining mint and toasted almonds scattered over the top.

I really enjoyed this dish. I am quite a big Jamie Oliver fan, but I have to say on this occassion I preferred this recipe. Sorry Jamie! It had a lot of tasty flavours in it, the lamb was very tender and the sauce was delicious. I always expect moroccan sauces to be thicker, but this was just right and not too watery. Very easy recipe to follow. It does take quite a while to cook, but I just got on with making my cous cous and grilled vegetables dish while it was all cooking. I prepared this dish in the afternoon and just re heated it in the oven on low later.  I served it with some natural yoghurt, which is idea I nicked from the other moroccan recipe. Very, very tasty.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3256/moroccan-lamb-with-apricots-almonds-and-mint

Cinnamon Swirls

Jus Rol ready pastry is one of life’s miracles! yes it is right up there with the creation of Earth, mankind, the pyramids etc…If you don’t have the time (or inclination) to make your own pastry then this is for you, and me! No one will ever know you didn’t make it yourself – unless you go on Come Dine With Me because that’s the first question they always ask!

So glad the swirls only take 15 mins to make. I don’t think I could wait any longer than that.

Cinnamon Swirls

Ingredients

1 Jus-Rol ready rolled puff pastry sheet

2 tsp Ground cinnamon

4 tbsp Caster sugar

100g Brown sugar

2 tbsp Butter

1 beaten egg for glazing

Icing

125g Icing sugar

1 tbsp Butter

2 tbsp Cream cheese

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Boiling water

Method

Preheat oven 220c / 200c fan / Gas 7

Unroll the pastry sheet onto a piece of baking parchment. Combine all the filling ingredients and spread evenly over the pastry.

With the long side nearest to you, roll up like a swiss roll.

Using a sharp knife cut 18-29 slices and lay, cut side down on a baking sheet.Brush around the edge with beaten egg. Bake for 10-15 mins until pastry is puffed and golden.

Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add the cream cheese and butter and enough water to make the mixture coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the vanilla extract, then drizzle over the cinnamon swirls.

 

Well these were a huge triumph! Delicious and so quick to make. I made mine various sizes, some thin, some fat. They were both excellent. The small one’s were cute and mouth size and the fat one’s were cute and big mouth sized.

Just in case you were not 100% sure about the part that says’ combine all the filling ingredients’ I understood that as melting the filling ingredients in a saucepan on a low heat. Otherwise it would have been hard to spread them. It worked anyway! I cut up a few pecans and put them on top just before I put them in the oven. Very yummy. I did my own glace icing, just out of icing sugar and water. You just follow the instructions on the side of the icing sugar box. A brilliant recipe, with only a little cheating!

http://kiss-keepitsweetsimple.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/cinnamon-swirls.html

Sweet Chilli Bangers

BBQ season is nearly upon us! Love the look of this recipe. And I’ve only had to go out and buy the sausages, everything else I had in the cupboard.

Sweet Chilli Bangers

Serves 6

Ingredients

12 Large meaty pork sausages

4 tbsp tomato ketchup

2 tbsp clear honey

2 tsp mild chilli powder

2 cloves garlic, crushed

0.5 tsp dried oregano, or tsp fresh

Method

  1. Heat oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7. Arrange the sausages in a roasting tin in a single layer and bake for 10 mins. Meanwhile, mix together all the other ingredients with seasoning and 1 tbsp water.
  2. Pour the ketchup mixture over the sausages and mix well. Bake for 30 mins more until the sausages are golden.

These were delicious! And I think they would be even better on the BBQ. I like my sausages really well done and crispy (that’s the only way my Dad knows how to BBQ!)  Can’t wait to give them a go – flame grilled style!

 

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8000/sweet-chilli-bangers

White Chocolate Berry Cheesecake

White Chocolate Berry Cheesecake

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 x 150g bars white chocolate

2 x 300g tubs soft cheese

284ml pot double cream

50g caster sugar

170g punnet raspberries

5tbsp raspberry jam

85g amaretti biscuits

200g small strawberries

a few blueberries (optional)

 

Method

  1. Break the chocolate into a glass bowl, then put it over a pan of just simmering water to melt, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Line a lightly oiled 900g loaf tin with cling film.
  2. Whisk the cheese, cream and sugar together, preferably with electric beaters, then stir into the almost cool melted white chocolate until well combined.
  3. Stir 50g raspberries with 2 tbsp of the jam. Spoon half the cheese mixture into the loaf tin, then spoon the jammy raspberries down the centre. Top with the rest of the cheese mixture, level the top, then press in the biscuits. Cover and chill for 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Set aside about 6 strawberries. Halve the rest, then warm in a pan with the remaining jam until soft. Whizz in a food processor or with a hand blender, then rub through a sieve to remove the seeds and make a sauce. Add a drop of water if the sauce is too thick.
  5. To serve, carefully turn the tin onto a plate, lift it away and strip off the cling film. Halve the remaining strawberries, then arrange on top of the cake with the remaining raspberries and blueberries (if using). Pour over a little sauce and serve the rest seperately for drizzling over.

 

Don’t do what I did and only buy 300g soft cheese! Why they have written 2 x 300g soft cheese I don’t know. Just write 600g! Rant over. Note to self-learn to read. Helper/Husband saved the day by running down to the shops, while I carried on. I did the first part of the recipe up to number 4 the day before and let it chill over night. This was all very simple and quick (if you have the appropriate ingredients). 25 mins is about right.

I took the cheesecake out the fridge the following afternoon. Turned it onto my new plate and it looked really good. I wanted to put the fruit on before my guests arrived and fiddle about with the sauce, which I’m glad I did because it took a while to sieve the fruit mix and it was bit messy. So it was all nicely put together and I was very pleased with myself. Very impressive, good looking dessert. And then….to my horror within 10 mins of my lovely dessert being in the fridge it had cracked down the middle and one end was starting to collapse!! I quickly whipped it out the fridge and wrapped cling film around all the sides to hold it up. Whacked the fridge up to the highest setting and prayed to the cheesecake gods to save my little pud.

When I came to serve it I took the cling film off and decorated the bottom of the plate with left over berries (to cover up its sloppy bottom). It was a lot softer to cut than I thought it would be, which was surprising as it had been in the fridge setting for quite a while.

Did I like it after all that? To be honest it was a bit too sweet for me. It was very hard to cut into small neat looking pieces, so everyone ended up with a big thick piece. I’m not sure it is really for me. But if you like really sweet puds it would definitely be for you.

I would say if you were going to try this recipe- Don’t do what I did! Leave it in the mould until just before you are going to serve it. Have the berries ready and the sauce prepared. It will then be very quick for you to remove from the mould, place the fruit on top and pour over some sauce just before you serve. Then hopefully it will be on your guest’s plates and melting in their mouths before any disasters can occur!

 

 

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/11289/

Roast Chicken with Chorizo

This was a great success. Mostly as my Husband loves anything with chorizo in it! It was very impressive looking. I just served it in the roasting dish I made it in and it was delicious, bags of flavour and sooooo simple to make!

Roast Chicken with Chorizo

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

4 chicken legs

150g chorizo, cut into 2cm chunks

400g enchalion shallots, peeled and halved lengthways

1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

3-4 thyme sprigs

3 bay leaves

1 tsp chilli flakes

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

250ml white wine

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220c, gas mark 7. Arrange the chicken legs in a large roasting tin and scatter with the chorizo, shallots, peppers, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and chilli flakes. Drizzle with the olive oil and season.
  2. Roast for 45 minutes, adding the wine to the tin halfway through cooking, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with crusty bread and a salad, if liked.

 

I will definitely be making this recipe again. It really was so simple, you just put it all in the dish and stick it in the oven. Brilliant. I did find I had to cook mine for extra time, so in the end it did take about an hour. I wasn’t sure what a ‘echalio shallot’ was so I put some small red onions in. Super yummy would definitely recommend.

 

Recipe from: Waitrose Kitchen Magazine March 2012

 

Onion Gratin

Onion Gratin

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 medium red onions, peeled and quartered

olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

a small glass white wine

4 tbsp creme fraiche

50g Gruyere cheese, grated

50g parmesan cheese, grated

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas 6. Break the onion quarters apart to give you little ‘petals’. Place these in an A4- sized dish or earthware oven dish.
  2. Drizzle with a couple of lugs of olive oil and a pinch or salt and pepper, and toss in your thyme and garlic.
  3. Mix up well, add the white wine, cover with a double layer of tinfoil, wrap tightly and place in preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the dish from the oven, take the tinfoil off and pop the dish back in the oven for 15 minutes to start caramelizing.
  5. Once the onion is looking lightly golden, stir in the creme fraiche and sprinkle over your Gruyere and parmesan.
  6. Turn the oven down to 180c/350f/gas 4 and let the gratin tick away for 15 minutes or until golden and gorgeous. you can eat straight away, or cool it down and flash it under the grill later.

This is very tasty! Even Mum liked it and she doesn’t even like cheese! I would say the recipe does only serve 3 people though. I will definitely be making this again, but next time I will use more onions or just larger ones. I used a smaller dish than the recipe said, probably A5 size, when the onions were cooked they only just covered the bottom of the dish. So if you were using an A4 size dish I would suggest you use a few more onions. Also next time I will use up all the creme fraiche, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the 2 tbsp left in the tub! A great recipe for when you have guests over for dinner, because it can all be done in advance. No fussing or worrying needed.

Recipe from: Cook with Jamie (Oliver)

Roasted Butternut Squash with Goat’s Cheese

I wanted to try out this dish as some of my friends and family are vegetarian, and I have already cooked the one and only veggie dish I know for them! So I thought it was time to learn a new one.

Butternut Squash Goats Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Small butternut squash

garlic clove, crushed

3 tbsp olive oil

a pinch dried chilli flakes

1 tsp thyme, chopped

courgette, cut into2cm chunks

red pepper, cut into 2cm chunks

2 small red onion, cut into thin wedges

200g cherry tomatoes

50g pine nuts

100g goat’s cheese, crumbled

1 tbsp breadcrumbs

1tbsp parsley, chopped

1 tbsp parmesan

 

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas6. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds then cut criss-cross patterns over the cut side of each one. Mix together the garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, chilli and thyme and brush this mixture over the flesh. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the flesh is tender.
  2. To make the filling, put the courgette, pepper and onion in the roasting tin and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season and roast for about 20-25 minutes until tender and starting to brown at the edges. Add the cherry tomatoes and pine nuts and cook for another 10 minutes.
  3. Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley and parmesan. Arrange the roasted vegetables and goat’s cheese in the squash halves, scatter with the breadcrumbs mix and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

 

Had a bit of a slow start with this one, struggled to cut the butternut squash in half! But I got there in the end (small hack saw would have been handy). The rest was all very simple to do. The butternut squash did take a little longer to cook, probably 50mins. It was smoking like mad at one point and did set the smoke alarm off, but after the smoky smell had gone it was starting to smell really nice. I didn’t bother with the bread crumbs, i just used some left over cous cous I had lurking in the fridge.

I’m not actually quite sure I like butternut that much, but the Husband thoroughly enjoyed it. It was gone in minutes! The roast veg and goat’s cheese topping was delicious. Next time I think I will do the top half the same but maybe the bottom sweet potato. But that’s just personal preference. Definitely an impressive veggie dish, better than the usual stuffed peppers vegetarians always seem to end up with!

 

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3938/roasted-butternut-squash-with-goats-cheese