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I Was In The Express & Star!

E & S Article Jo's Kitchen 13th December 2014

 On Saturday 13th December, I was lucky enough to be featured in the Express & Star Weekend supplement showcasing three recipes for Sainsbury’s using their RSPCA Freedom Food Standard products.

An image of the article is above or you can read it online here. You can also download a PDF copy of the article from here until the next edition of Weekend comes out this Saturday.

You can also read my recipes regularly on the Express & Star ‘Trusted Voices’ section online. All my posts are here.

I originally submitted five recipes for the article and only three were used. Sainsbury’s have kindly said I can share them with you on here so you can read both recipes below.

Thank you as ever for your continued support. Jo’s Kitchen will be six years old in March 2015 and I am determined that next year is going to be my biggest yet! I hope you will stay along for the ride!

Tikka Chicken

Tikka Chicken Thighs & Drumsticks with Cucumber Salad and Mint Sauce
Indian Food is very popular in the Midlands. This is my take on one of our favourites, Chicken Tikka. By removing the skin from the chicken, it reduces the fat content of the dish and ensures all the flavour goes into the meat. This would make a great starter for a few people or a light main for a couple of people. It is easy to double or triple the quantities too so you can make it for a large gathering.

Ingredients (Serves 2 – 4 (depending on whether main or starter))
For the Tikka Chicken
● 2 tablespoons Tikka Curry Paste
● 250ml Natural Yoghurt
● 1 pack Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference RSPCA Freedom Food Approved Corn Fed Chicken Thighs & Drumsticks, skins removed
● Small bunch of coriander, chopped finely to garnish
● 1 chili, chopped finely to garnish
For the Cucumber Salad
● ¼ Cucumber, halved and watery centre removed (skin be removed to if preferred), finely chopped
● ½ red onion, peeled and finely chopped
● Small bunch of coriander, chopped finely
● 1 lime, juiced
For the mint sauce
● 2 tablespoons of Mint Sauce (the type you normally serve with lamb)
● 50ml Natural Yoghurt
● Few leaves of fresh mint, chopped finely to garnish
● 1 pack of poppadum’s to serve alongside all three dishes

Method
1. In a bowl, mix the Tikka curry paste and natural yoghurt together. Add the chicken, turn over in the marinate a few times then cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for as long as you can, preferably overnight.
2. Preheat your oven to 200°C and remove your marinated chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to use it to allow it to come up to room temperature.
3. Place the chicken on a baking tray covered with foil and bake for 40 minutes (or until juices run clear) turning every 10 minutes and coating with any extra marinade that you have leftover.
4. Meanwhile, make the cucumber salad. Put the chopped cucumber, red onion and coriander into a small bowl and add the lime juice. Toss occasionally and leave to sit until everything else is ready.
5. For the mint sauce (this is hardly a recipe!), mix the natural yoghurt and mint sauce together. Garnish with fresh mint and leave until chicken is cooked.
6. Once the chicken is cooked, serve all together in a platter style with poppadums’, eat and enjoy with a beer or two!

Pork Meatballs

Pork Meatballs with Mustard Mash and Mushy Peas
Faggots Mash and Peas is a very traditional Black Country dish. It is not so popular now as it once was because it is made with offal, which has fallen out of fashion too. However, traditional butchers around the Midlands do still make them. My version is made with pork mince and sausage meat, making an easy weeknight version of this traditional dish. Mace was a spice found in traditional faggots so I have added it here but have also added fresh herbs to liven it up.

Ingredients (serves 4)
For the meatballs
● 250g minced pork
● 6 Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference RSPCA Freedom Food Approved Ultimate Pork Sausages, skins removed
● ½ teaspoon onion salt
● 1 teaspoon mace
● Small bunches of parsley, thyme and sage, finely chopped
● 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs (dried is fine but can use fresh if preferred)
For the mashed potatoes
● 750g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and chopped
● 50g butter
● 2 teaspoons English Mustard (or less if you do not like it to strong)
● Salt and white pepper to taste
For the Mushy Peas
● 250g frozen peas
● 25g butter
● Small bunch of mint, finely chopped
● Salt and pepper to taste
To serve
● 500ml onion gravy (instant is fine), made to packet instructions

Method
1. In a mixing bowl, add in all the meatball ingredients and mix well to combine. I used my clean hands but you may be prefer to use a flexible spatula if you do not like touching raw meat. Roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls (makes 8-10 meatballs) and place on a greased baking tray. Cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally until brown, golden and the juices run clear.
2. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in salted simmering water until tender. Drain them, then mash with the butter, add salt, and pepper to taste. Once mashed, stir through the mustard and set aside until serving.
3. Cook the frozen peas in salted simmering water until tender (around 5 minutes) then drain. Using a handheld blender or food processor, blend the cooked peas with the butter, salt and pepper until desired consistency is reached. Stir through the chopped fresh mint.
4. Serve 2-3 pork meatballs per person, with a generous helping of mustard mash and a dollop of mushy peas. Top with onion gravy and eat.

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Goose Fat Roast Potatoes – Christmas #GuiltyPleasures using the Tefal Actify

I love potatoes especially if they are fried as chips or served as roast potatoes therefore I was happy to discover that I had been nominated by Jan at A Glug of Oil to receive a Tefal Actifry Family 1.5kg to review and to cook my guilty pleasure in it!
The Actify arrived and I eagerly set it up in the kitchen. I love homemade chips but hate the smell after you have used a deep fat fryer. Therefore, the first thing I tried in the Actifry was chips. It can cook 1.5kg of chips (enough for six people) with only one tablespoon full of oil. It has a paddle that rotates the food all round the pan and ensures even cooking throughout. The paddle did break a few of the smaller chips up near the end of cooking so I think I will be investing in a potato chipper so all the chips are exactly the same size.

My only negative with the Actifry is how noisy it is while it is in use. It sounds like an airplane is taking off! I am sure I will get used to it over time. However, bar from that it is really simple and easy to use. It has clear digital timer display and is easy to clean either in the dishwasher or by hand.

One of my favourite Christmas #GuiltyPleasures is goose fat roast potatoes. I love them and could quite happily eat a plateful of them and forget the rest! Did you know that goose fat is actually better for you than butter or lard? It is also high in monounsaturated (55g compared to 19.8g in butter) and polyunsaturated fats (10.8g compared to 2.6g in butter) which are both good for the heart (Source: here) However, all fats need to be eaten in moderation and although I usually cook roast potatoes the traditional way in lots of goose fat, I decided to see if the Actifry could give the same or similar result using a lot less fat.

Overall, I was very impressed. I let them cook for 45 minutes removing the paddle after 30 minutes to let them crisp up and prevent any smaller ones falling apart (using oven gloves and being very careful – you can remove it completely if you want to and turn the potatoes yourself using tongs. The Actifry pauses during cooking when the lid is opened.) I used two tablespoons of goose fat (it is Christmas after all!) although you could probably get away with one. I melted goose fat in a small saucepan before putting it in the Actifry as I wanted to ensure they were coated evenly. You can skip this step if you want too. I will definitely be making my roast potatoes this way on Christmas Day itself. They are healthier for you and it’s one less thing in the oven as far I am concerned!

I nominate Sarah of Taming Twins to take the #GuiltyPleasures challenge next!

Actifry Goose Fat Roast Potatoes

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 generous tablespoons of goose fat
  • 1kg of Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks (usually thirds or halves depending on size of the potato)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Melt the goose fat in a small saucepan until clear and runny.
  2. Put the raw potatoes into the Actifry, drizzle evenly with the goose fat (be careful, it is hot after all) and season with salt and pepper
  3. Set the timer to 50 minutes and either remove the paddle and turn manually during cooking or remove the paddle 30 minutes in (using oven gloves and being very careful!) and then turn manually a couple of times until cooking is finished.
  4. Serve with your Christmas dinner or with a quick midweek roast chicken dinner like I did above. Enjoy! (And remember the pleasure is not so guilty now!)
I received a Tefal Actifry Family and a hamper for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. There are affiliate links in this post.

 

 

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

Christmas pudding cupcakes
As I am sure you all know by now, I love a good cupcake especially ones that are very easy to make but look impressive at the same time. These Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cupcakes really hit the spot on both accounts!
They are a basic chocolate cupcake underneath topped with glacé icing, fondant holly leaves and half a glacé cherry each. They are so simple even children could make them!
Time is of the essence at this time of year with present shopping, card writing, present wrapping, nativity plays and so on, you sometimes just need a quick festive thing to make for presents (your children’s teachers!) or an impromptu festive gathering. These are quite quick and easy to make and are sure to please everyone.
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cupcakes
Ingredients (makes 12)
For the cakes
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the decoration

 

  • 200g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
  • 20-30ml of cold water
  • 100g of green fondant icing
  • 6 glacé cherries, cut in half

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a cupcake/muffin tin (I used this one) with cupcake cases
  2. In a food processor or in a big mixing bowl with a handheld whisk, add in the ingredients for the cakes and mix together until a batter is formed
  3. Divide the mixture equally between the cupcake cases and then bang the cupcake tin on your work surface to remove any air in the cake mix. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until a knife inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
  4. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Remove them from the cupcake tin as so as it is cool enough to do so and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, make the holly leaves. Dust some icing sugar on your work surface. Next, roll out the green fondant to about half a cm thick, then using a holly leaf cutter (I used this one), cut out the 24 leaves individually and set aside to harden for a few minutes while the cakes cool and while you make the glacé icing.
  6. To make the glacé icing, put the icing sugar and a small amount of the cold water into a bowl and whisk until a smooth thick paste is formed. Add a tiny bit more water or icing sugar if required.
  7. Using a teaspoon, spoon the icing on the top of the cooled cupcakes, followed by two holly leaves and a half of a glacé cherry each. Set aside and allow to set for as long as you have. Store at room temperature. Eat and enjoy!

What festive bakes/cakes are you making in preparation for Christmas?

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Spooky Carrot Soup and Soup Maker Review

This post is slightly belated but this recipe will be great if you are having a bonfire night party this coming weekend or you can make it at anytime of year without the spooky bit! Pumpkins are the main source of everyone’s enthusiasm at this time of year and although they look great as lanterns, they are quite fiddly to prepare and there are only so many ’50 ways to use up leftover pumpkin’ posts that I can read.

Therefore, I would like to draw your attention to the humble carrot. In the UK, We produce 700,000 tons of carrots per year (source here) and I wonder how many of those get thrown in the bin? I used to buy a bag of carrots from the supermarket then use 3/4 out of the bag and throw the rest away. I am sure I am not the only one who has done this. Anyway, I have the solution to this problem, my simple carrot soup recipe. The recipe is below and my simple carrot soup recipe has been made even easier by being sent a VonShef Premium Digital Soup & Smoothie Maker 

VonShef Soup Maker

VonShef Soup Maker

Until I had one, I always thought that soup makers were a gadget too far. I mean how hard is it to make soup really? However, in the two weeks that I have had the soup maker, my views have been transformed. A soup maker is basically a blender that cooks. You add in all the ingredients, add the stock, turn on and 40 minutes later you have hot puréed soup ready to go. I have been using it to make soup for me to take to work and heat up in my Crockpot Food Warmer.  It is a great way of using leftover vegetables and saves money too.

The only downside I have found to soup maker is that when I fried onions and garlic in it before adding the other vegetables and stock (which it says it can do in the instructions), it fried them very fast and burnt them, leaving a nasty taste in the soup and tiny black specks in the soup. However I discovered the soup maker has enough power to cook everything, just by putting all the ingredients and the stock in and leaving it to cook. The soup maker blends as it cooks so you do not even have to touch it when it is has finished unless you want to purée it more.  The soup maker can cook eggs and rice too (although I have not tried these functions yet).

Tell me, what gadget did you think you could live without in the kitchen but then once you had it, you discovered it was the most useful appliance ever? I would love to know!

Spooky Carrot Soup

Ingredients (make 2 large or 3/4 smaller portions)

For the soup

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 8-12 carrots (depending on size), peeled and finely chopped
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the spooky bit

  • 2 Babybel cheeses per soup bowl, packaging and red outer bit removed
  • 1 black edible ink pen

Method

  1. (In a soup maker) Add all the soup ingredients into the soup maker. Turn on to low heat mode and allow to cook for allotted time. Serve with the eyes, as described below
  2. (Without a soup maker) In 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, fry the onions and celery until softened then add carrots, vegetable stock and cook until the carrots are cooked through and soft. Season to taste then using a hand blender, blend until it reaches desired consistency.
  3. (For the spooky eyes) Draw a black eye in the middle of each Babybel cheese. The pen might stab into the cheese a bit so the do the best you can. Float cheeses on top of soup, eat and enjoy! Boo!!

Disclosure: I was sent a VonShef Premium Digital Soup & Smoothie Maker  for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review

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Simple Beef Stew for #crocktober!

Crock-Pot 4.7L Countdown Slow Cooker

Over the last few weeks I have been testing out the Crock-Pot 4.7L  Countdown Slow Cooker for the month of #Crocktober! Alongside I have also been testing out the Crock-Pot Food Warmer which is the ideal way to take your leftovers to work, especially if you do not have a microwave nearby.

I immediately impressed with the slow cooker when I set out to make my simple beef stew (recipe below) in it for the first time. Slow cookers that I have had in the past seem to ages to warm up and get going. This one was hot within 10 minutes of me turning it on. The stoneware pot is removable so you can take it to the table to serve the contents easily. The pot is very easy to clean either by hand or in dishwasher and if stuff gets stuck to the bottom, it is very easy to scrub off.  As well as making the beef stew in this slow cooker, I have cooked chilli con carne, chicken stew and slow cooked a gammon joint in it too. This coming weekend, I am planning on slow cooking a beef brisket joint in it. I can see me doing a lot more slow cooking in the future which is exactly what I need being a busy working mum of two little ones.

Crock-Pot Food Warmer
wpid-Photo-20141028211735.jpg
The Food warmer is a very handy piece of kit to take your lunch into work. All you have to do is put cold contents in at home (leftover beef stew for example!), seal it up with its plastic lid and tight fitting screw top, then take it into work and plug it in about 2-3 hours before you want to eat your lunch. The food warmer then heats your food up gently and it is ready to eat when you want it to be. Soup is quickest thing to heat up (about 2 hours) but the food warmer will heat up chills, casseroles, stews, curries – basically anything you can cook in a slow cooker! In the picture above there is home-made carrot soup in it (recipe to follow in next blog post). I think this will be very well used by me to take my lunch to work in as it saves me money (not having to go to the work canteen!) and is excellent way of ensuring that I use any leftovers up.
I know #crocktober is nearly finished so who’s up for #slowvember?
simple beef stew
Simple Beef Stew 
Ingredients (serves 4 -6)
For the stew:
  • 400g diced stewing beef
  • 2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2/3 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped into rounds
  • 500ml of beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the dumplings

  • 125g plain flour
  • 60g suet
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • a splash of water to form a dough

To serve alongside the stew and dumplings

  • 6-8 large peeled and cooked potatoes, chopped into big chunks

Method

  1. Put all the stew ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir and then cook on high for 6 hours. Stir the stew every 30 minutes or so once the first two hours of cooking have finished.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Mix the plain flour, suet, salt and pepper together and add a splash of water and until it forms a stiff dough. Roll into 8 small balls then aside.
  3. When 30 minutes of cooking time are remaining, add the dumplings into the slow cooker and replace the lid.
  4. Once the time has finished, serve the stew and dumplings alongside the potatoes. Eat and of course, enjoy! (Don’t forget to take any leftovers to work in your food warmer!!)

Disclosure: I was sent a slow cooker and a food warmer for review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review

Slow-Cooker-Sunday

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Start the Party Season With a Pimms Mojito!

Pimms Mojito

The Christmas and New Year party season will be here before we know it! There are only 65 days until the big day itself. Now, I do not know about you but I start planning for Christmas well in advance. I will have my Christmas menu sorted at least 6 weeks before the big day and this year, as I am not pregnant (unlike last year!), I have started thinking about the Christmas drinks too.

thebar.com is a website dedicated to the art of cocktail making. If you like a particular spirit, then you are bound to find at least a few new cocktails that you have never tried before on the website. If you are a member, you can submit your own cocktail recipes to website too. Whatever the occasion, thebar.com will have the drink(s) to match.

In terms of cocktails, I love the summer and my favourites are the Mojito and a Pimms and lemonade. I decided to combine the two and see what happened when my two favourite drinks met in one glass. To give it a bit of twist, I used mint sugar (recipe below) and lime juice to combine both drinks together and make it even more refreshing. I hope you will try this one over the festive season or at any other occasion. It really is that good, however if you plan on drinking more than a couple of them, then you may want someone else to look after the kids for the night so you can have a lie in in the morning!

Pimms Mojito

Ingredients (makes 1, although you can easily double/triple quantities to make more!)

For the mint sugar

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 8-10 mint leaves

For the cocktail

  • 2 teaspoons of mint sugar
  • the squeezed juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 25ml of white rum
  • 50ml of Pimms
  • 150ml lemonade
  • Selection of fruit to serve (I used oranges, limes and strawberries)
  • Crushed ice, to serve

Method

  1. To make the mint sugar – in a food processor, add in the sugar and the mint and whizz together until combined. Set aside until you are ready to make your cocktail.
  2. Put 2 teaspoons of the mint sugar into a large glass or jam jar if you would like the same effect as the above picture, then add in the juice of 1/2 a lime and stir together.
  3. Next, add in the white rum, Pimms and lemonade and stir again to combine.
  4. Finish with crushed ice, fruit and extra mint leaves (if desired) to garnish.
  5. Drink and of course, enjoy!

Cheers!!!

This recipe was commissioned by thebar.com

For other cocktail recipes please see:

Tinned Tomatoes

Fuss Free Flavours

Cooksister

Celebrating 20 Years of Freedom Food With Sainsbury’s – Spicy Sausage Pasta

Spicy Sausage Pasta

 I was recently contacted by Sainsbury’s asking if I could help celebrate 20 years of Freedom Food by making a recipe to feed a family of four for £10 or less. I believe greatly that all the animals we eat deserve a higher standard of living before they reach our plate and Freedom Food goes a long way in helping us achieve that. Sainsbury’s has the most Freedom Food products on its shelves than any other supermarket in the UK.

Ingedients

I was challenged to make a recipe using Freedom Food Sausages. There are a vast range of sausages in the Freedom Food range at Sainsbury’s and I was keen to show them off in my recipe to full effect. I decided on ‘Spicy Sausage Pasta’ and the ingredients and the costings for the recipe are below.

Taste the Difference Ultimate Pork Sausages £3.30 for 6 or 2 packs for £5 (used 3 sausages from the pack)

Taste the Difference Chorizo Style Pork Sausages £3.30 for 6 or 2 packs for £5 (used 3 sausages from the pack)

Fresh Egg Penne £1.20 (use whole pack for 4 people)

Chopped Tomatoes with basil, oregano and chilli 70p

1 large red onion £1 (for three)

2 cloves of garlic 30p for a bulb

Small bunch of Parsley £1.25 (used half)

Total cost to feed a family of four: £5.95

Well under budget as you can see. You even have enough to buy some garlic bread to serve with it or something delicious for pudding afterwards. It is really simple to make to so is perfect for an after work/school midweek meal. Here is how you make it:

Spicy Sausage Pasta

 Spicy Sausage Pasta

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 400g chopped tomatoes with basil, oregano and chilli
  • Small pinch of sugar
  • 3 pork sausages and 3 chorizo style sausages, cooked according to packet instructions and chopped into chunks
  • Small bunch of parsley, stalks removed and finally chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Penne pasta, cooked according to the packet instructions

Method

  1. In a large pan, add the olive oil and then fry the onion and garlic until softened
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, a small pinch of sugar and a splash of hot water and allow to simmer away gently while you cook the pasta.
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and set aside. Then, add the sausages and parsley into the tomatoes, stir and then season to taste.
  4. Add the pasta into the sauce, stirring gently then serve in pasta bowls with garlic bread and a glass of red wine, if desired.

This recipe was commissioned by Sainsbury’s

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Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 2: Nut Free Florentines

This week was the second week of the Great British Bake Off and the bakers were challenged to make biscuits. They started with savoury biscuits, had to make Florentines for the technicial challenge and finished with a 3D biscuit tower! I am baking along with the bake off again this year, along with Jenny of Mummy Mishaps and Lucy of Super Golden Bakes and many others.

Due to time constraints, a 3D biscuit tower was a bit beyond my reach and savoury biscuits are not really my thing either, so I settled on making Florentines. The only problem is that I do not really like nuts which are one of the main ingredients in a Florentines. After a bit of internet searching, I discovered that a few people had used oats instead of nuts. I also added in a bit of extra dried fruit into my recipe to give extra flavour and make up for lack of nuts. The traditional way of covering the Florentines with chocolate is to use a spoon to put it on the back and then make a swirl pattern with a fork. As my Florentines were anything but traditional, I decided to go for the dunking/smothering half the biscuit in chocolate approach. The majority of my Florentines are probably the fatter cousin’s of traditional Florentines, however a couple of them did have the lace effect that they normally. You just need to only put a small amount of mix for each one and flatten it slightly before baking. My NCT friends loved the biscuits and box was devoured in record time!!!

Nut Free Florentines

Ingredients (makes 12-14 biscuits)

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 10g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 65ml double cream
  • 80g jumbo oats
  • 50g candied peel
  • 50g mixed dried fruit
  • 25g glacé cherries, chopped
  • Milk chocolate, melted (I used 2 small child’s Easter Eggs worth but use what you have in the house)

Method

 

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C and line two baking trays with baking parchment or grease proof paper
  2. In a heavy base saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and flour together then add the double cream. Keep stirring throughout
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients (except the chocolate) into the saucepan and stir well
  4. Place teaspoons of the mix on the lined baking trays, well spaced apart and flatten down slightly
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 – 14 minutes (mine took 14 minutes) and then remove. Allow the biscuits to harden on the grease proof for a few minutes before putting onto a wire rack to cool completely. (I carefully removed the greaseproof paper with the biscuits on off the hot tray then used a palette knife to move them onto a wire rack).
  6. Once cooled completely, dip or spread the chocolate over them and allow to cool again so chocolate can set. Eat and enjoy with a cup of coffee and good company

Thank you to Getting Personal for my fabulous new personalised board from the Jamie Oliver range. I love it!!

 

Disclosure: I was sent the personalised board as a review item. A full review will be appearing soon. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014 Week 1: Swiss Roll

Unless you have been living on Mars, you cannot have failed to notice that The Great British Bake Off is now back on our screens. Like last year, Jenny of Mummy Mishaps is challenged bloggers to cook along with the bakers each week and blog the results. This week was cake week and the contestants had to make a Swiss Roll, a cherry cake and 36 miniature cakes.

I was going to do the easy option of miniature cakes but Jenny encouraged me to have a go at making a Swiss Roll. I decided to keep it traditional and hopefully easy so went with this recipe from Queen Delia. I made the sponge in my Magimix CS 4000 XL food processor, putting all the ingredients in together and then mixing it. Bar from that, I followed the recipe to the letter and it worked quite well until the ‘rolling’ stage. I am not really sure what happened. It did not really roll, it just sort of folded, despite following Delia’s advice.
Despite this, the sponge was light, airy and very tasty. I took the Swiss Roll (I nicknamed it the ‘Swiss Sandwich’ to a picnic with friends. It was soon devoured and declared delicious! I will have ago at making a Swiss Roll again as I was surprised at how easy it was to make. I just might follow a different method for rolling it!

 

Star Fruit Parcels For Fruitdrop

I was recently contacted by Fruitdrop asking if I would like to receive one of their fruit boxes and make a recipe from it. Fruitdrop deliver fruit, milk and snack boxes to businesses across the UK. We received a large (well, large for a family!) that would keep a family in fruit, if stored correctly for at least a week if not more. There were two large bunches of bananas, strawberries, selection of apples and pears, plums, peaches and oranges. I unfortunately forgot to take a photo of the box but you can see a selection of the fruit in the photos. It was all high quality and fresh as a daisy when it arrived. I highly recommend them if you are a small/medium business or even a large family who eats a large amount of fruit.

 The inspiration for my recipe for Fruitdrop is a traditional fruit pie however I wanted to put a bit of a twist on it, and make a fruit pie that would be suitable for children’s lunch boxes or after school snack time. You could even serve the fruit parcels warm with a dollop of cream or ice cream at a dinner party. The pastry star covers the join where the four corners meet and gives a neater finish. Thomas also loves stars and there is more chance he will eat these if I put star in the title! Feel free to miss out though if you like.

Star Fruit Parcels
Ingredients
For the pastry
  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • A splash of milk
  • Flour, for rolling dough out on
  • 1 egg, beaten to glaze and stick bits of pastry together)
For the filling
  • Selection of fruit of your choice (I used apples, oranges and bananas), finely chopped if required
  • Selection of seasoning’s to add addition flavour to the fruit if you like. (Cinnamon and sugar for apples, squares of chocolate for a chocolate/orange one and toffee sauce to go with a banana one – the choice is yours!)
Method
  1. In a food processor, blend the flour and the butter together until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add in the icing sugar and the egg and blend again until a ball of dough forms. Add in a small splash of milk to help form a ball of dough if necessary. Remove from food processor, wrap in cling film and set aside (not in the fridge) for about half an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Once dough has rested, roll the dough out to a large rectangle shape. Then cut into squares about 8cm by 8cm, leaving a bit to cut out the decoration from. Turn the square round so looks like a diamond and put some filling in the middle. About tablespoon of the filling is enough or 2/3 orange segments or banana slices if using them and not chopped up fruit
  3. Paint the sides with the beaten egg and then stick the four sides together like you wrapping a present. Cut out a star (or other shape) from the leftover pastry and then place on top of the parcel, covering the join in the centre. Cover with the beaten egg.
  4. Place on a lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve warm with custard or ice cream otherwise leave to cool and take to school/work for a lovely lunchtime treat.

For other recipes using fruit from Fruitdrop please see:

Ren Behan

Maison Cupcake

Lavender & Lovage

This recipe was commissioned by Fruitdrop.

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