Cheesy Lentil Bake

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lentil 13/06/2017

You could try using different veggies and cheeses for this. I just used what I had in at the time but this could be great with leeks, spring onions, parsnips, green beans, peppers… anything. Just remember that since you want this cheesy lentil slice to set nice and firm, you’ll need to thoroughly cook any particularly wet vegetables beforehand, and cut them nice and small.

This cheesy lentil slice is super high in protein and fibre and it’s still absolutely delish. The slice can be… well, sliced. This means that as well as making a great dinner alongside some homemade chips, garlic bread, salad or whatever else tickles your fancy, it can also be packed into lunch boxes to be served cold. Gotta love a versatile recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 190g red lentils
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, diced fairly small
  • 60g frozen peas
  • 75g rolled oats
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each oregano and thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 70 g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Add the red lentils, chicken stock and tomato puree to a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium heat until the red lentils are tender and any excess liquid has cooked off – around 15 minutes. You’ll need to stir regularly, especially in the last few minutes, to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped onion and carrot. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, until softened then add the peas for a couple more minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. When the lentils are cooked, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add the cooked vegetables, rolled oats, smoked paprika, herbs and a generous pinch of black pepper. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes then add about half of the grated cheese (hold some back for topping). Mix thoroughly.
  4. Spread the lentil mixture out into a greased baking tin (mine was 9 inches squared), and smooth out the top. Add the remaining grated cheese and a few slices of tomato. Bake at 180°C for around 45 minutes, or until the lentil slice is firm and the cheese on top is golden (cover with foil if you feel the cheese is browning too quickly). Either serve immediately, or allow to cool and cut into slices.

 

Treacle Slices

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IMG_20151110_153326[1] 10/11/2015

These are actually pretty easy to make, and although they may not be the most fancy to look at, the taste is an absolute TOUR DE FORCE. Try them and see!

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 50g vegetable shortening (I used Trex)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (reserve the zest of the whole lemon for the topping – and zest it BEFORE you cut it)
  • 2 tbsp iced water

For the topping:

  • 1 x 454g tin golden syrup
  • 25g soft unsalted butter
  • approx 150g fresh breadcrumbs, or around 550ml in a measuring jug
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 160C fan. Line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin with foil and grease, or grease a foil tray.
  2. Put the flour, butter and vegetable shortening for the base into a food processor and blitz until you have a ‘crumbly rubble’.
  3. Combine the lemon juice and iced water, and pour down the funnel whilst the processor is running until the mix clumps together making a dough.
    4. Press this out into your tray.
    5. When evenly spread to a satisfactory level, bake this in the oven for 20 minutes.
    6. Meanwhile, melt the golden syrup and the 25g of butter in a saucepan on a low heat. When combined, stir in the breadcrumbs, and then remove from the heat.
  4. Allow to cool a little, and then mix in the lemon zest and egg.
  5. When the pastry base is ready, pour this crumby mixture over it (no need to let the base cool or anything first, just go for it), smooth over, and pop back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

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When it’s ready, the filling should be slightly risen and look dry around the edges, but still a bit squidgy in the middle.

I think this is best served slightly warm so if (and I emphasise ‘if’ there are any left), warm them slightly before eating and serve with ice cream for a proper tasty pud’!

Lemon Bakewell Tarts

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IMG_20150904_180736[1] 04/09/2015

Makes 12-24

In case you hadn’t already gathered from looking through my blog, I like lemon curd! Here is another recipe for the wonderful stuff incorporated into a sweet, sticky, nutty cake encased in a rich, buttery pastry case that is the perfect bite-size to enjoy with a brew.

Ingredients:

For the sweet pastry:

  • 85g butter, at room temperature
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the filling:

  • zest 2 lemons
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 25g plain flour
  • 6 Tbsp lemon curd
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C. To make the pastry, place the butter and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until soft. Sieve in the icing sugar and blitz again until light and creamy. Mix in the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water, then add in the flour until it’s just combined.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, bring the pastry together into a ball, then wrap in cling film and flatten lightly to form a disc. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
  3. Roll out the pastry and cut out 12 rounds with a pastry cutter. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with the circles. Put in the fridge while making the filling.
  4. To make the filling, beat together the lemon zest, butter and caster sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, including a spoonful of the ground almonds with each addition. When all the egg has been added, mix in the remaining ground almonds and flour.
  5. Spread the lemon curd into the pastry cases. Spoon over the filling and smooth over gently. The tarts will be full to the top, which is fine. Scatter over the flaked almonds, sit tarts on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the tin and serve warm or cool, dusted with icing sugar.

IMG_20150904_180640[1] IMG_20150904_180710[1]

As you can see from the final picture, this mix can also be used to make transportable little Bakewell slices. Just place the ingredients into a greased and lined 20cm x 20cm baking tin and bake as instructed.

So good!

Lemon Curd Coconut Slices

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IMG_20150530_132941[1] 02/06/2015

 

Here is a real homely, feel-good, taste-good baking recipe for a gooey lemon curd slice topped with marshmallow-like meringue and a subtle coconut flavour running throughout.

This recipe would also work really well with a tangy jam such as raspberry or blackcurrant.

Makes 12 slices

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g white caster sugar
  • 85g desiccated coconut
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
  • 4-5 tbsp lemon curd

For the topping:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 75g white caster sugar
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • handful coconut flakes (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease a 20 x 23cm traybake tin with a little butter and line the base with a long strip of baking parchment that extends above the rim of the tin at either end – this will make it easier to get the slices out of the tin later.
  2. To make the base, tip the flour, sugar, salt and coconut into a bowl, mix everything together then rub in the butter with your fingers to make coarse crumbs. Stir in the egg yolks with the blade of a knife and bring the mixture together with your hands to make a dough. Press the dough into the base of the tin, smoothing it with the back of a spoon to make an even layer. Spread the curd over most of the dough, keeping it a little bit away from the sides of the tin.
  3. To make the topping, whisk the egg whites until stiff then gradually add the sugar to make a glossy meringue. Fold in the desiccated coconut then spoon over the curd layer. Scatter with the coconut flakes, if using, and bake for 25 minutes until golden.
  4. Leave to cool in the tin, then carefully lift out, using the parchment to help you, and cut into slices. These will keep in an airtight container for 2 days.

IMG_20150530_132757[1] IMG_20150530_132903[1]

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Flapjacks

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IMG_20150407_080543[1] 07/04/2015

Makes 16 squares

Ingredients:

  • 175g crunchy peanut butter
  • 75g muscovado sugar
  • 6 tbsp golden syrup
  • A pinch of salt
  • 175g porridge oats
  • 150g milk or plain chocolate

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm square tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Place the peanut butter, sugar, salt and syrup in a pan and heat gently until smooth. Tip the oats into the pan and stir until well coated. The mixture will be quite stiff
  3. Pack the mixture firmly into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 mins until just turning brown at the edges. Allow to cool in the tin.
  4. Break the chocolate into squares and place in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow to melt, then spread over the cooled flapjacks and allow to set in the fridge. Cut into squares. Eat.

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These flapjacks, as with pretty much all flapjack recipes, are much better after a couple of days of keeping. I don’t know why, they just are. So if you can resist buttery, chunky, peanutty, creamy, chocolatey goodness for just a few days then you’re in for an even greater treat.

Date Bars

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IMG_20141031_154359[1] 31/10/2014

These are great for a little afternoon pick-me-up, or for breakfast, or any time of the day really. They keep very well in an airtight box for up to a week and can also be frozen.

Ingredients:

  • 250ml water
  • 200g stoned dates, chopped
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 100g porridge oats
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 175g unsalted butter or margarine

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line an 8×8″ square cake tin with grease proof paper and margarine.
  2. Place the water and chopped dates in a medium saucepan and bring up to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, uncovered, on a medium-low heat until the date mixture is very soft and thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and oats and mix well. Add the butter or margarine and, using your fingertips, rub it in until moist clumps form.
  4. Press half of the oat mixture evenly over the base of the prepared tin. Spread the cooked date mixture over this then sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture. Press gently with the palm of your hand to flatten it on top.
  5. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown and set in the centre.
  6. Allow to cool completely in the tin then cut into 16 bars and serve.

Buttery, crunchy oat layers encasing a sweet and sticky date filling, these bars are so simple to knock together but deliver amazing results. I don’t want to hear that you don’t like dates. These are awesome. Try them now!

Coconut Slices

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IMG_20140902_133737[1] 02/09/2014

If I had my way, this recipe would serve one. Just take it out of the tin and give me a spoon.

Serves 12-16 normal people.

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp raspberry jam (or jam of your choice)
  • 3large egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 150g desiccated coconut

For the base:

  • 100g margarine, plus extra for greasing
  • 50g plain flour
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line and grease a deep baking tin (9 x 13).
  2. In a large bowl, rub the margarine into the flour then stir in the sugar. Mix in the egg yolks and approx. 2 tablespoons cold water to form a moist dough. Press evenly into the base of the tin. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a while then spread the jam on top. Leave the oven on at 180°C.
  3. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the sugar and coconut. Spread this over the jam and bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is golden. Cool in the tin and then cut into squares to serve.

I doubled up the recipe and made 2 lots of 9 x 13 pans. One had raspberry jam layered between the biscuit base and coconut and the other had lemon curd. You could experiment with all sorts of fillings and adapt to your taste.

Tip: when pushing the dough into the pan base, damp your fingers or the back of a metal spoon with a little bit of cold water to help you spread it evenly.