Syrup Sponge

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Screenshot_2017-04-16-21-49-35-1[1] 18/04/2017

Fancy a hearty, warming pudding but don’t have much time? Look no further! You can whip up this mix and cook it in the microwave giving you a light fluffy sponge soaked in syrupy goodness in minutes. No need to thank me, just get some custard and enjoy!

You can try this recipe with lots of different toppings. Try different flavours of jam or marmalade. You can even try flavouring the sponge. Add lemon or orange zest, sultanas, chocoloate chips or even mashed banana.

Ingredients:

  • 4oz margarine
  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 4oz plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 3 tablespoons jam or golden syrup

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Method:

  1. Cream margarine and caster sugar together. Beat in the eggs and fold in the sieved flour and baking powder. Add the hot water.
  2. Grease a 1 ½ pint heatproof bowl with margarine and place the jam or syrup in the bottom. Heat on full power for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the sponge mixture. Cover loosely with cling film and heat on full power for 5-6 minutes. Timing will depend on the topping used. Remove from the microwave and leave to stand for a few minutes before turning out.
  4. Serve with loads of custard or ice cream – obligatory!

Lamb Kleftico

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Screenshot_2017-04-16-21-36-14-1[1] 17/04/2017

Amazingly tender, pull apart lamb is slow roasted together with potatoes and onion that absorb all the wonderful marinade and meat juices as they cook.

Ingredients:

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped oregano
  • 1 tbsp. roughly choppedrosemary
  • zest 1lemon and juice of 2
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp.olive oil
  • 400ml chicken or lamb stock
  • 2kg leg of lamb
  • 1kg Desiree potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 or 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 5 bay leaves

Method:

  1. Crush together the garlic cloves and 1 tsp salt using a pestle and mortar. Add the herbs, lemon zest, cinnamon and some black pepper then stir through the olive oil. Using a sharp knife, create lots of holes all over the lamb, and rub in the paste, pushing it deep into the holes. Transfer the lamb to a large food bag, pour in the lemon juice and marinate overnight.
  2. The next day, take the lamb out of the fridge 2 hours before you want to cook it. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Lay 2 long pieces of baking parchment on top of 2 long pieces of foil – one widthways, the other lengthways to form a cross. Pop the potatoes in the centre of the parchment and toss with the remaining oil and some seasoning. Bring up the sides of the foil, then pour the marinade from the lamb over the potatoes and throw in the bay leaves. Pour the stock into the pan. Set the lamb on top of the potatoes and scrunch the foil together tightly to completely enclose the lamb. Lift into a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 4½ hrs until very tender.
  3. Remove tin from the oven and increase the temperature to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Unwrap the parcel and scrunch the foil and parchment under the rim of the tin, baste the lamb with the juices and return to the oven for a further 20 mins until browned. Remove the lamb from the tin, wrap in foil and rest.
  4. Drain most of the stock and juices from the pan. Set aside. Turn the potatoes over and return to the oven for 30 minutes to brown then season with salt. Serve the juices, meat and potatoes with a fresh salad.

Raspberry & Coconut Loaf Cake

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Screenshot_2017-04-15-22-50-27-1 15/04/2017

An absolutely delicious bake with a hidden layer of jam and a beautiful coconut flavour throughout, what’s not to like?

Ingredients:

  • 150g Butter
  • 150g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 100g Desiccated Coconut
  • 4 tbsp. Milk
  • 6 tbsp. Raspberry Jam

For the icing:

  • 80g Icing Sugar
  • 2 tsp Raspberry Jam
  • 2 tsp Water
  • 2 tbsp. Desiccated Coconut

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Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract, before adding in the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
  3. Fold in the desiccated coconut, and then add the flour and milk a bit at a time.
  4. Spoon a third of the batter into the loaf tin, before spreading the raspberry jam in a layer on top of the batter. Cover the jam with the remaining cake batter.
  5. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, then cover with tin foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until cooked.
  6. Leave the cake to cook on a wire rack, and meanwhile you can prepare the icing.
  7. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add water until it reaches the right consistency. Then add the raspberry jam until you get the desired shade of pink.
  8. Once the cake is cool, spread the icing over the top, and then cover with some more coconut.

Welsh Cakes

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welsh 31/03/2017

This tasty offering is a spiced fruity drop scone that is baked on a griddle pan. You can whip up a batch in no time and enjoy them hot from the pan slathered with butter and jam or sprinkled with sugar.

Makes 18-24

Ingredients:

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g butter, cut into small pieces plus extra for frying
  • 50g currants
  • 25g mixed peel, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • splash milk

Method:                                            

  1. Tip the flour, sugar, mixed spice and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Then, with your fingers, rub in the butter until crumbly. Mix in the currants and mixed peel. Work the egg into the mixture until you have soft dough, adding a splash of milk if it seems a little dry. It should be the same consistency as shortcrust pastry.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of your little finger. Cut out rounds using a 6cm cutter, re-rolling any trimmings. Grease a flat griddle pan or heavy frying pan with butter and place over a medium heat. Cook the Welsh cakes in batches, for about 3 mins each side, until golden brown, crisp and cooked through. Delicious served warm with butter and jam, or simply sprinkled with caster sugar. Cakes will stay fresh in a tin for 1 week.

Baked Chorizo Dip

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chorizod 23/03/2017

My rubbish phone picture really doesn’t do this dish justice but for something I rustled up out of odds and ends in the fridge, it tastes and smells incredible! The rich, spicy sauce is perfect for dunking fresh garlicky bread into.

Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side

Ingredients:

  • 1 cooking chorizo, case removed and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • dash of balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil
  • Handful of spinach
  • Strong goats cheese
  • Garlic bread, to serve

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 200C. Place a frying pan over medium heat and add the sliced chorizo. Cook the chorizo gently until it begins to release its oils. Flip the slices and continue to fry until beginning to brown. Drain and set aside.
  2. Discard most of the chorizo oil from the pan but keep a little to fry the garlic and peppers in until slightly softened. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, balsamic, seasoning and basil to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Put the spinach in the pan along with a dash of water and cover the pan so the spinach wilts.
  3. Return the chorizo to the pan and stir everything well to combine. Transfer to a little baking dish. Top with crumbled goats cheese.
  4. Place the dish on a baking tray long with some garlic bread and bake in the oven for 12 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the garlic bread is crispy.
  5. Remove from the oven and try to resist the temptation of shoving it in your mouth instantly. This will result in searing pain although it would be totally justified and expected once you smell how amazing this is!

This dish would work really well with any bread or even as a stir through sauce for pasta as the meaty juices would combine beautifully.

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip

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17265144_10154996593121000_1847607797772112201_n 12/03/2017

Here you have a super speedy, easy and more importantly, delicious dip that can be spread on toast, be an accompanyment to a meal, eaten with nachos or provide a lovely filling for pitta breads.

I made my own pitta chips by baking some cut up pitta breads in the oven for a crunchy snack to take on the soft, salty feta and sweet peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 100g feta cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • balsamic vinegar, a splash

Method:

  1. On the oven hob, blister and burn the skin of the pepper completely. Turn with tongs to avoid burning yourself. Once the skin is completely black, place in a bowl and cover with cling film for 10 minutes to allow to steam.
  2. Once it is cool enough, scrape the black skin from the pepper. De-seed the pepper and very finely chop.
  3. Mix the pepper in a bowl with the crumbled feta, seasoning, oregano and a little balsamic vinegar.

Mushroom Stroganoff

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16832212_10154933293991000_6247086306092457628_n 21/02/2017

Sometimes, I don’t have time and my stomach doesn’t have the patience for me to stand and cook a long, complicated meal. As much as I love getting creative in the kitchen, it doesn’t have to take forever to whip up a tasty offering and this mushroom stroganoff is a case in point. It takes 10 minutes to make. The sauce is made while the pasta is boiling then the pasta is tossed through the sauce to soak up all the earthy, creamy flavours. The paprika lends the smallest hint of spice and the parsley provides a freshness against the luxurious sour cream

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 25g butter
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 200g chestnut mushroom, sliced
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 142ml carton soured cream
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • tagliatelle, to serve

Method:

  1. Fry the onion in the butter in a large frying pan until soft. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms and fry over high heat until browned. Add the paprika, fry for 30 seconds. Pour in the beef stock and bubble fiercely to reduce by two-thirds.
  2. Take off the heat and stir in the soured cream, parsley and salt and pepper. Serve with tagliatelle.