Apple & Blackberry Flapjacks

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fff 05/09/2018

A visit from my family and a day spent walking around nature trails and foraging saw me gathering a rather large harvest of blackberries. Here is one of the ways I put them to good and tasty use.

Ingredients:

  • 100g blackberries
  • ½ Large Bramley apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g baking margarine
  • 2 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 85g soft brown sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp each ground cinnamon and mixed spice

ff f

Method:

  1. Place the blackberries in a small saucepan and put over a very gentle heat. Allow the berries to soften slightly and the juices to release. Remove from heat, fold through the grated apple and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line and grease a 20cm square tin.
  3. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a large saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the porridge oats, salt and spices.
  4. Spoon just over half of the oat mixture into the prepared tin. Spread evenly with the back of a spoon and push the mixture into the edges and corners ensuring the mixture is level throughout the tin. Squeeze the blackberry and apple mix on the side of the saucepan to remove excess liquid then distribute evenly over the first layer of flapjack. Leave a small gap around the edges so it doesn’t ooze out during baking. Add the remaining flapjack mixture and distribute evenly, again pushing the mixture into the tin with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until the top of the flapjack is a rich, golden colour. Cut immediately into portions (I made 16). Allow to cool completely in the tin.
  6. Store in an airtight container.
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Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crunch Topping

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ba 22/08/2018

Another ripe banana recipe to add to the repertoire. This one comes in the form of banana bread with a sweet and crunchy cinnamon streusel topping.

Unlike my traditional go-to banana bread recipe, this loaf has Greek yogurt and sunflower oil incorporated as the moist-makers and wholewheat flour and cornflour for texture.

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups wholewheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour or more wholewheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the crumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour plain or whole wheat
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf tin.
  2. Whisk together all wet ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle flour, cornflour (or extra flour), cinnamon, baking powder and salt on top. Gently fold in, do not overmix!
  3. For the crumb topping, place the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until crumbs form.
  4. Place the batter in the prepared loaf tin and evenly sprinkle with the crumb topping.
  5. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

 

Biscoff-stuffed pumpkin mini muffins with cinnamon crunch topping

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bis 20/08/2018

When university exams loom, what better way to procrastinate than with a spot of baking? While they’re in the oven you might possibly be able to fit 5 minutes of revision in for which you must be rewarded with incredible baked goods. The muffins are tender and soft yet still rich and bursting with spiced pumpkin goodness. The cinnamon sugar coating adds a nice crunch to each bite while the Biscoff filling is simply heaven. There are always retakes.

Ingredients:

Muffins:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (mashed pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup milk

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup Biscoff spread

Cinnamon sugar coating:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

For the muffins:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.

For the filling:

  1. Pour 1 tablespoon of batter into each case. Top with a 1/2 teaspoon of Biscoff. Top with about another 1 teaspoon of batter.
  2. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the batter is set. Let cool.

For the coating:

  1. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each muffin into the melted butter then coat in the cinnamon sugar. Serve.

Cinnamon Buns

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cinn 15/10/2017

The house smells incredible as these bake and there’s not much that comes close to enjoying them warm out of the oven. The buns keep for 3-4 days and if they last that long, you can microwave them for a few seconds to warm them through and it’s as if you’ve cooked a fresh batch all over again. Win!

Makes 12

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 7g active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk warm
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups (500g) plain flour

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup soft brown or demerara sugar, packed
  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

Cream cheese icing:

  • 6 tbsp margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast should start to froth up slightly.
  2. Add sugar, butter, salt, egg, baking powder and flour to a mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Pour the milk/yeast mixture in the bowl and mix well until well incorporated.
  4. Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approx 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking tin with butter.
  7. To make filling, combine the butter or margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  8. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough. Alternatively you can spread the butter first on the dough and then the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  9. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. The roll should be about 18 inches in length. Cut the roll into 1 ½ inch slices.
  10. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover them with a damp towel. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes until they double in size.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cooking time can vary greatly! If the tops brown too quickly before the dough is cooked, cover loosely with foil to prevent burning.
  12. While the rolls are baking make the icing by mixing all ingredients and beat well until fluffy.
  13. When the rolls are done, spread generously with icing.

cinna

You could leave them plain at this point as the icing is very sweet and I’m not normally a fan of overly sweet thing but this icing is amazing and melts beautifully into the warm buns giving them a sweet, sticky glaze that works perfectly with the pillowy soft dough and cinnamon.

Lebanese Turkey Meatballs & Cous Cous

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screenshot_2016-10-09-21-52-38-11 09/10/2016

Another brilliant meatball recipe! This time it’s succulent turkey flavoured with rich spices that taste like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen for hours. Really simple to make, this is a real treat and a lovely change from regular spaghetti and meatballs (not that there’s anything wrong with those).

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • 500g lean turkey mince
  • ⅔ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, finely grated
  • ⅓ cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • ⅓ cup parsley, chopped
  • A splash of milk
  • 1 Tbsp. (6 cloves) garlic
  • 2 tsps. each salt, sugar
  • 1 tsp. each allspice, coriander, chilli powder, cinnamon, cumin, fennel seeds

Sauce:

  • 1 Tbps. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsps. (4 cloves) garlic, grated
  • 1 can good quality crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. each black pepper, cinnamon, allspice

Instructions:

Meatballs:

  1. Combine meatball ingredients and mix well with your hands.
  2. Roll into golf ball size meatballs and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Preheat oven grill to medium-high and place rack in the centre.
  4. Grill meatballs 5 minutes.

Sauce:

  1. Start making the sauce by heating oil in a medium cast iron pan on medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a rolling boil.
  5. Add meatballs. Cover and reduce heat to medium/low.
  6. Simmer 15 minutes. Serve with fluffy cous cous.

Banana Pancakes with Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup

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Screenshot_2016-08-30-09-36-03-1[1] 31/08/2016

When life (your friend who buys way more bananas than she can possibly consume so gives you loads) gives you bananas, make a tasty breakfast! I’m pretty sure that’s how the saying goes, right? This recipe is super easy, super quick and super tasty. You might say, bananas! Fluffy pancakes are delicately flavoured with a hint of cinnamon and mashed bananas as well as slices of sweet banana for good measure. With salty, smokey bacon on the side, this is a winning breakfast.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon (or pancetta strips)
  • 2-3 heaped Tbsps plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 ripe, small bananas, 1 mashed, 1 thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • 10g butter, melted
  • 50ml milk
  • maple syrup

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Method:

  1. Heat the grill to high. Arrange the bacon on a baking tray lined with foil. Cook for 5-7 mins until crisp, then turn off the grill but leave the tray inside to keep warm. In a bowl, mix the flour and baking powder with a pinch of salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the centre and add the mashed banana, egg and milk. Whisk to a smooth batter without any flour lumps.
  2. Heat a little butter in a large frying pan. Once sizzling, ladle in small dollops of the pancake batter, leaving a little space between each, as they will spread out. Put a few slices of banana onto the surface of each pancake and cook for 2 mins over a medium heat. When you see bubbles appear between the banana slices, flip the pancakes over and cook for 1 min more, until puffed up and golden. Transfer to a plate and keep warm with the bacon while you cook the rest. Serve the pancakes with the crispy bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Spiced Butternut Squash Cake with Mexican Chocolate Mousse

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Screenshot_2016-08-12-18-14-12-1[1] 12/08/2016

It’s not even funny how good this cake is. I mean seriously good. The squash makes for an incredibly moist sponge brought to life by warming spices and it is sandwiched together with heavenly, creamy chocolate mousse spiked with a tiny bit of chilli heat for a tingling surprise.

This recipe came about as I had half a huge butternut squash to use up and didn’t fancy making another soup (from which the first half was used). Butternut squash is extremely versatile and when pureed it can be used in all manner of recipes too. Squash puree is also fantastic stirred into a cheesy sauce for a pasta bake amongst many other things. But before I go on a ramble about the many uses of the vegetable, let me tell you about its use here.

I have used squash in place of the popular tinned pumpkin puree which is full of additives, preservatives and sweeteners. While I am aware that this cake is not exactly a diet food, I at least know exactly what is in it and can add flavour with beautiful, natural spices.

To create squash puree, peel and deseed the butternut. Cut into small dice and place in a microwavable bowl. Cover with clingfilm and microwave on full power for 5-8 minutes or until the squash can be easily… squashed between your fingers. Drain away any water that may have collected from the steam in the bowl then mash until smooth. You can do this in a blender for very fine results but I was saving on the washing up and used a potato masher which gave slightly coarser puree that I personally really liked in the overall bake. You are now left with about 2 cups of puree, depending on the size of your squash, which is just perfect for this amazing recipe.

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⅓ cups golden caster sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup yogurt (I used yeo valley 0% fat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree
  • 4 eggs

For the chocolate mousse filling/topping:

  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa)
  • 1 cup cold double cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line 2 round 20cm cake tins.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Stir in yogurt, vanilla, and squash. Beat eggs in one at a time, mixing very well after each addition.
  3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the tins straight away and place on a wire rack. Cool completely.
  4. While that’s happening, melt the chocolate chips and allow the chocolate to cool a bit. Whisk together the heavy cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili powder. Whip just until the cream reaches the “stiff peaks” stage. Carefully fold about half of the chocolate into the cream. Then fold in the remaining chocolate.
  5. When the cake is completely cool, layer the cream in the middle and on top of the cake.