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Hassleback Potatoes

12 Nov

Hassleback Potatoes

I LOVE these Swedish roast potatoes. They’re very crispy and buttery and look pretty impressive. And let’s be honest, that’s the only thing that’s important.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes, I mean…
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

You want to try and find proper, oval potatoes. But don’t worry too much if you can’t. They’ll still work. You don’t have to peel your potatoes either, leave the skins on if you prefer.

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

Slice the potato into segments, cutting almost the whole way through, try and be as even as possible. A helpful trick to making these is using a wooden spoon: pop your potato on top and the lip of the spoon should stop you chopping through the bottom.

Hassleback Potatoes

 

Heat up a knob of butter and the same amount of olive oil in a roasting tray until sizzling, and then add your potatoes cut side down, turning them over and making sure they’re coated. With a spoon drizzle a little of the oil and butter over them. Sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven to cook cut side facing up. (I added some fresh thyme and rosemary to the tin.)

Roast for around an hour to an hour an a half, until they’re lovely, golden and crisp.

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

11 Nov

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

Everyone loves the Florentines from Fortnum & Mason, so to be a pain in the bum I decided to make some myself.  They seem to have gone down pretty well, and diminished in quantity rather quickly, so you’ll have to excuse the photos.

You’ll need:

  • 100g of runny honey
  • 200g of salted butter
  • 140g of light muscovado sugar
  • The zest of one orange
  • 150g flaked almonds
  • 4 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
  • Good pinch of nutmeg
  • 200g dark chocolate

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/gar mark 6 and pop a large pan on a very low heat. Add your butter, honey and sugar and let everything melt together until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in your orange zest well so that you don’t have any big clumps of it and then stir in your almonds, nutmeg and flour until everything has mixed together and the nuts are coated well in the caramel.

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper and spread over half or even a third of your mix. You want a very thin layer so go slow and let it spread out. Don’t just do what I did with my first try and shove the whole thing on there or you end up with something like a flapjack.

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

Pop it in the over for about ten minutes, until it’s lovely and golden. Let it cool completely on the baking tray and then place another sheet of greaseproof paper over the bottom and flip it over onto a flat surface so the bottom is now facing up.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave and then spread a thin layer over the nuts. Let this set completely and then with a biscuit cutter punch out your florentines. Eat, be merry. You’re done.

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

Three Layer Sponge

10 Nov

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I don’t have any photos of this really, as I was convinced it was going to be shit, but it was actually very.

I randomly found this recipe, and this is a lesson for everyone: always read things through before you start. It has no cooking times and I had to fiddle around with the amounts to actually have some cake. It also didn’t rise much at all which was a complete pain but meant that I could stack three of them up which looked fancy when it was sliced.

You need:

  • Five medium eggs
  • 340g self raising flour
  • 340g caster sugar
  • 340g unsalted butter
  • 200ml double cream
  • Raspberry jam

Butter three cake tins and line the bottoms with grease-proof paper. Pre-heat the oven to 160°c/gas mark 4.

Cream the butter and sugar together well and then beat in the eggs until combined. Whisk in the flour until you have a nice batter.

Put a third of the mix in each tin and bake for around 15 to 20 minutes or until they’re golden and a skewer comes out clean when you poke them.

This is when I decided this would be rubbish: SO FLAT!

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Let them cool completely and whip your cream until it’s very, very thick. Spread half of it over one of the cakes and then spread a thin layer of jam over the bottom of your next layer. Squish together. Add the rest of your cream on top, cover the bottom of the last cake with jam, plonk on top and dust with icing sugar. Do this neater than I did.

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It’s a very light, moist cake, and you won’t be able to stop eating it despite how much it pissed you off at first.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

7 Nov

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

I know that the idea of making your own pasta is absolutely terrifying – I used to think it must be the most difficult thing in the world. Well, revelation: it’s so easy even I can do it. You don’t even need a pasta machine, though it definitely helps.

Pasta is utterly basic. A one person portion is simply 100g of 00 pasta flour (it’s incredibly fine), one egg and a pinch of salt. That’s it. Double the ingredients for two people, triple for three etc etc.

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 100g pasta flour
  • 1 medium egg
  • Salt, pepper, ground nutmeg
  • Fresh spinach
  • Ricotta

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Put your flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Crack in your egg and add the salt. With a fork mix together from the edges until it starts to form a dough. Knead for about ten minutes, until you have quite a rubbery, smooth ball of dough. Don’t flour your surface to do this – you don’t want to add any more to the dough.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Cover with clingfilm and leave for about half an hour, forty minutes.

Now, if you have a pasta machine, this is the easy bit. If you don’t, get ready to get rolling. VERY LIGHTLY flour a surface and roll the dough out into a rectangle – try as I might, I absolutely cannot do this neatly – and keep rolling. You want to get the dough paper thin. This seems impossible but it’s very elastic, and not prone to ripping. It tends to take me about half an hour of constant turning and flipping and rollingrollingrolling but it’s pretty satisfying when you’re done. And when you think you’re done, you’re not. Keep rolling. You’ll be layering two sheets of this on top of one another and if it’s too thick it’ll be gummy and gross.

In a pan wilt a load of spinach – always use more than you think you need as it’ll reduce in size massively. To do this all you need to do is pour over a tiny bit of boiling water, pop the lid on and leave for one or two minutes. With your hands squeeze out as much liquid as you can, and you’ll be left with a ball of lovely green… stuff.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Chop this up and stir into some ricotta with a good bit of pepper and a big pinch of ground nutmeg.

Once you’ve got your pasta thin enough cut into wide strips – like I said, I am incapable of doing any of this neatly, it is my cross to bear – and add a little teaspoon of your ricotta and spinach at intervals.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

With your finger trace around the filling with a tiny bit of cold water, this will glue the pasta together. Very gently lay another strip of dough over the top and carefully squeeze any air out from around the spinach and ricotta.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Now either cut your pasta with a pasta cutter or a sharp knife. I used a biscuit cutter because I thought it’d look well professional. Ahem.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Use a bit of semolina to stop the ravioli from sticking rather than flour. You can either freeze them or pop them in the fridge for a day or two. Otherwise boil a large pan of salted water, add your pasta for a minute and a half to two minutes and serve. Make sure everyone knows you made it yourself because how impressive is that?!

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Simple Lemon Dressing

4 Nov

I know this isn’t really much of a recipe but I ate this for lunch yesterday and it was tasty.

Mix a tablespoon of wholegrain mustard, two tablespoons of lemon juice and a good slug of extra virgin olive oil until it has emulsified and season well with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Eat with butter lettuce and avocado. Yum.

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Red Onion, Courgette and Goats Cheese Frittata

3 Nov

Red Onion, Courgette and Goats Cheese Frittata

This is great as a nice, light meal that will fill you up but not leave you feeling all sluggish. It’s great served with a big green salad.

You’ll need:

  • Six eggs
  • Two large red onions
  • Two courgettes
  • Goats cheese
  • Pepper

Grate the courgettes into fine strands and then squeeze as much of the water in them out as possible. While you’re getting everything else ready rest on kitchen roll to really try and dry them out.

Slice your onions and sweat them in a frying pan on a medium heat. You don’t want them to brown but you want them to soften.

Whisk the eggs, mix in the courgettes and the onions and add a good pinch of pepper. You could also add half a finely diced red chilli or a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes if you fancy a bit of heat. (I added some grated cheddar to mine too, because I am greedy for cheese.)

Get the frying pan hot, wipe with a tablespoon of oil and pour in your egg mix. Tear the goats cheese over the top and let the frittata cook on top of the stove for a while.

Red Onion, Courgette and Goats Cheese Frittata

Once the bottom has set pop the pan under the grill to set the top. Once everything is cooked put a serving dish or a plate over the top of the pan, flip over and it should slide out.

If you’re not scared of carbs you can add slices of (cooked) new potatoes to the mix to make it a bit more stodgy.

Red Onion, Courgette and Goats Cheese Frittata

Blueberry Cheesecake

31 Oct

Blueberry Cheesecake

I bloody love baked cheesecake and I bloody love blueberries. So this had to happen. I’m afraid I can’t for the life of me remember where I found this recipe as it was about seven years ago as I’m so up-to-date when it comes to blogging. I’ve made it a few times and it never fails.

I covered the top with my blueberry compote which I added a bit of gelatine to while it was cooking. It worked out quite nicely but I think that’s why it isn’t shiny. Slowly trying to work out how to change this. You don’t need to add the gelatine, but obviously it won’t set on the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 200g fresh blueberries
  • 500g low fat cream cheese
  • One tin (397g) of condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 200g Digestive biscuits
  • 50g butter

Crush up your biscuits, either by going at them with a rolling pin or in a food processor until you have small crumbs. Heat the butter in a pan until it has melted, add your biscuits and mix it together well until you have a nice, sticky mix.

Butter the inside of a cake tin and then press the crumbs into the bottom, trying to keep it as level as possible. Really push down so you have a compact layer for the base of your cake. Pop it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes and pre-heat the oven to 170°c/gas mark 3.

In a large bowl whisk the cream cheese until it’s soft, this takes all of 30 seconds, and then add the condensed milk, vanilla, eggs and lemon zest and whisk again.

Pour into your cake tin over the base and then scatter the blueberries over the top. Try and make sure they aren’t all just in one clump.

Bake in the oven for around an hour, or until the top is firm. It’ll hopefully look something like this:

Blueberry Cheesecake

Let the cake cool completely before taking it out of the tin. I know. Sometimes I have to stop myself just putting my face straight in these things, but patience is a virtue blah blah blah.

Spoon over your compote and pop it into the fridge until it’s chilled and ready to eat.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Rosemary and Thyme Roast Chicken

30 Oct

Rosemary and Thyme Roast Chicken

Right. Yes, the photos in this are crappy. I apologise. And there are basically none of them. But this was lunch and I was busy cleaning and tidying and shouting at my boyfriend and other household chores.

I know roast chicken is SO easy and I can barely count it as a recipe but this is very tasty and makes me happy.

Apart from a chicken, because obvs, you need:

  • Two or three sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Three or four sprigs of fresh thyme – I like using lemon thyme for this
  • Half a white onion
  • Three cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and ground pepper

Strip the sprigs of rosemary and thyme of their leaves – you don’t want any woody bits – and finely chop. The smell is just beautiful. It makes me feel very homey and comforted.

Rosemary and Thyme Roast ChickenYou need to get a bit hands-on here, and very gently separate the skin from the breast, making sure you don’t tear it. Bit gross, I know.

Rosemary and Thyme Roast ChickenOnce you’ve done this take a handful of the chopped herbs and slip them under the skin, give it a bit of a rub to even then all out. If you’re feeling very decadent you can always mix the rosemary and thyme with a bit of butter and use that, but I’m too lazy most of the time. 

Pour over a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and massage into the chicken, this helps make the skin really crispy. Sprinkle over the rest of your herbs and shove your half of onion up your chicken’s bum (we can pretend to be shy about it but you’ve just had your hand in places it should never be, so…) along with the cloves of garlic.

Most chickens take around 40 minutes to cook, with an extra 20 for each kilo they weigh. An approximate cooking time should be on the packaging, or ask your butcher if you’re fancy and grown up.

Pop it in at 190°c/gas mark 5 and get ready for your house to smell like HEAVEN. Pull it out, leave it to rest for 15-20 minutes and then tear at it like some sort of animal.

Rosemary and Thyme Roast Chicken

Flourless Chocolate Cake

29 Oct

Chocolate Cake

It’s Wednesday and it’s rainy, so surely it’s the perfect day for chocolate cake. This is rich, moist and perfect for cheering everyone up when it’s grey and horrible.

This started life as me attempting a chocolate mousse cake of my own invention a few years ago after I’d been dumped, but in my distressed state, plus my incompetence, it went wrong. Thankfully in the best way, and I’ve ended up making this an awful lot.

You need:

  • 300g of good quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted, softened butter
  • Small pot of double cream
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Cake tin with a removable bottom

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c/gas mark 4  and lightly grease your cake tin and line the bottom with grease-proof paper. I know this is an absolute faff, but I promise it will make all the difference.

Chop the chocolate into chunks and mix with the butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, baking sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Alternatively put in the microwave in short blasts until everything has melted together. Give it a good mix to bring it all together.

Separate the eggs into two big bowls, and whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Whisk the yolks with the sugar until they’re gorgeously light and creamy and doubles in size.

Mix the chocolate into the yolks until everything has combined.

Fold the whites into this, it’ll look revolting at first but soon becomes a big, airy cake mix. Pour this into your cake tin and pop into the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes.

Pop a skewer into the cake and once it comes out clean it’s done – if the top is browning too much just pop some foil over the top. It should end up looking something like this:

Chocolate Cake

Leave the cake to cool completely, be warned, it will sink a fair bit. What this loses in looks it makes up for in taste.

Chocolate Cake

Whip the cream until it’s nicely thick and spread over the top of the cake, add raspberries, and then snuggle up on the sofa in front of a box set and eat until you feel slightly sick.

Chocolate Cake

Red Chilli Pesto

14 Aug

Red Chilli Pesto

I’m really pleased with this, it tastes lovely and so fresh with a bit of a bite from the garlic and chillies, but without that being overpowering. I imagine it’ll keep for a week or so in the fridge, too.

You need:

  • A jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • Two handfuls of fresh basil
  • Two to three cloves of garlic, minced
  • A red chilli, chopped – with half the seeds removed
  • 25g of pine nuts
  • 100ml of good extra virgin olive oil
  • 30g of freshly grated parmesan
  • A clean, sterilised jar

First things first, let’s sterilise the jar: give it a good wash and rinse really, really well. Pop it in the oven for 20-30 minutes on a low heat, about 140°c/gas mark 1. Leave it to cool and you’re done.

Red Chilli Pesto

The pesto is really simple – put everything bar the parmesan into a food processor (including the oil from the tomatoes) and BLITZ. Stir in the parmesan, pop in the jar and taadaa!

Red Chilli Pesto

Eat with anything you like but I’d recommend stirring it through some linguini, drizzling with a tiny bit of olive oil and heaps and heaps of parmesan. Buon appetito!

Red Chilli Pesto

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