Anything you fancy – Pancakes

This week is Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. We eat fried foods in memory of the oil (candle oil)  that lasted 8 days. Traditionally these fried foods included potato latkes (pancakes/rosti) and doughnuts. I decided to mix it up this year making not potato pancakes, but both savoury and sweet pancakes. I know – rebellious!
These are the simplest easiest pancakes!

Basic pancake recipe
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup milk
1 egg
pinch of salt

That’s it! whisk it all together and you have your pancake mix. Easy as. Now add any flavour you like. For my savoury pancakes I added wilted spinach, spring greens and spring onion. Add to a hot oiled pan and fry on either side for a couple of minutes or until golden.
You will be surprised at how many pancakes this mix makes!

A few savoury ideas:

  • Potato
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • Tuna
  • Onion
  • Mushroom
  • Leek
  • Parsnip
  • Honey and mustard
  • Chives or other herbs
  • A base topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon

I also made some sweet pancakes. Use the same recipe as above including the pinch of salt and add a few tablespoons of sugar. I added grated apple and pear.

Please note, once I had added my grated fruit the mix was a bit wet from the water content in the fruit. If yours looks the same add a few more tablespoons of flour. Had I only added one fruit it probably would have been fine.

A few sweet ideas:

  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Cinnamon
  • Blueberries
  • Lemon juice
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Bananas
  • Orange or lemon zest

These pancakes are great for a breakfast, brunch, a snack, glammed up as dessert or as part of a meal. They are also a basic Yorkshire pudding recipe.
As it is the season I’m sure you could use some Christmas leftovers the next day and turn it into something new. A Christmas pancake?

Enjoy :)

Bitter Sweet Orange Marmalade Cupcakes

I had really wanted to try out these cakes,and been thinking of new recipes to try and saw a blog post that gave me the push. I am really happy with the result. I used a basic cupcake recipe and added in the flavours I thought would go well using an orange cream cheese icing to top it off. Here’s how I did it.

Recipe
For the cake batter:
100g Butter
100g Caster Sugar
2 Free range eggs
100g Self raising flour
2 Tsp Orange marmalade
(optional to taste, drop of orange extract and or orange zest)

Extra marmalade for the centre

For the orange,cream cheese icing:
180g Cream cheese
350g Icing sugar
Zest of one orange

Makes 12 cupcakes
Baking time:15 minutes

Preheat the oven to 170′C. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and blend in. Then mix in the flour and marmalade ensuring there are no lumps. If you want more of an orange punch add orange extract and or zest. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 mins in the tray before transferring to a wire rack.

While waiting for the cakes to cool, using an electric whisk, mix the cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth and combined. Bear in mind, if the kitchen is hot the icing will become very loose and may need more icing sugar. Once cooled I added marmalade to the centre of the cake to give an extra bitter sweet marmalade yumminess when you bite into the cake.  Now you are ready to top the cupcakes with the orange flavoured cream cheese icing. I chose to pipe them but you could top with any design style you fancy.

I added thick cut orange marmalade strips to the top of each cake for the final touches :)
These bitter sweet cupcakes are perfect to serve with tea or to those who don’t particularly have a sweet tooth.

Enjoy.

All Purpose Rich Fruit Cake

The original recipe is by Dan Lepard and I’ve altered it slightly. This is a rich moist all purpose fruit cake. You can make it a few weeks before Christmas and feed it alcohol. Or, if like me, you live with people that just love fruit cake, it can be for any occasion. :)

Ingredients:

  • 105g golden syrup
  • 125g dark brown sugar
  • 100ml double cream
  • 7g mixed spice
  • 5g cinnamon
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • Zest of a large orange
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 500g currants, raisins,mixed peel (any dried fruit)
  • 250g natural glacé cherries
  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • brandy, whisky or alcohol of your choice
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 2 hours

Preheat the oven to 170C/335F/Gas 3 and line a round deep cake tin with non-stick paper. Place the syrup, sugar, cream and spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and add the butter in small chunks and stir until melted, then add the orange and lemon extracts (or zest). Then add the eggs beat slightly till the mix looks smooth, then stir in the fruit. Mix the flour and soda together in a separate bowl, then stir this through evenly. Pour into the tin and bake for approx 2 hours, using your own judgement and a cocktail stick. Leave to cool in the tin.

When cold, spoon the top liberally with your choice of alcohol, wrap well and leave for 3-4 days before icing or leave for a day and eat it as it is. Alternatively, you could feed it alcohol for a few weeks leading up to Christmas and then cover with marzipan and icing.

The cherries go all chewy and yummy.
Serve with a nice hot cup of tea. Perfect :)

For the love of muffins

A few weeks ago I had an order for a mixture of muffins. So I  went on the search for the perfect muffin recipe. After trying and experimenting with 7 different recipes with an array of different ingredients including buttermilk and sour cream I  created this recipe.


Basic Muffin recipe
Makes 12 large
250g self raising flour
2 tsp baking power
pinch of salt
175g caster sugar
1 egg
225 ml full fat milk
4 tsp oil
drop of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180′c.
Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl. Then add any additions or whatever type of muffin you want to the mix.

- chocolate chips
- Cocoa powder and chocolate chips. (Add 25g of cocoa powder but minus 25g flour. this keeps the muffin moist)
- mixed berries, with this recipe you can add frozen berries,  they are good quality and cheap
- Apple and cinnamon
-  any flavour combinations you fancy

Then add the wet ingredients mix quickly and spoon into muffin cases.
Bake at 180′c for Approx 20 mins.

Easy and delicious! :)


Store cupboard supper!

WE all have those days, even us foodies, when we’ve bits of leftovers that need to be used up and not much else in the fridge. This is simply what I made with chicken meat left over from soup.

Things I had in my fridge and cupboards and are therefore in the recipe:
Small piece of fresh ginger
1 large leek
5 mushrooms
small tin of sweetcorn
leftover chicken
1 egg

This is one of those recipes that you can ad lib with.  You don’t have to follow it religiously and if you don’t have one of those ingredient then just use something else you do have that you think will go well.

I started by wilting the leeks. Chop the ginger as small as you can and add to the leeks. Let them soften slightly.

Roughly chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan.
 Stir gently and let cook for a few minutes. (Note: do not add salt to mushrooms when cooking. This draws out all the moisture and you will be left with soggy mushrooms in a bowl of mushroom water). Season at the end. Then add in your leftovers. In my case chicken.
Now, in any professional kitchen they would throw away the carrots and celery used to flavour the broth. At home I don’t do this, so add them in! :)
 Let this cook for 5-10minutes as it’s cold from the fridge and needs to warm up. If the mix looks dry in the pan then add a little stock.
 If you feel you need more veg you can add in half a tin of sweetcorn or some peas from the freezer. You now have a basic filling. This can be used for a soupy noodle broth, a pie filling or a rice Jumbalaya. On this occasion I chose Jumbalaya! For pie recipe ideas see my sister’s blog. Wash and cook some rice. I tend to use basmati rice with the ratio of 1 cup rice, 2 cups water. While the rice is cooking, crack an egg into a bowl and beat with a fork. Then pour onto a hot frying pan and stir fry. (This gives you a kind of scrambled egg but more like the egg you get in fried rice)


When cooked add the rice to the chicken and vegetable mix to soak up all the juices.

Dish up, adding the egg to each plate and seasoning with a dash of soy sauce!
Enjoy! :)

Peasant heaven, bruschetta and panzanella

I have finally returned from my travels this summer and have had some of the most incredible food. This last trip was to Naples. I came home with a suitcase full of cheese, capers, pasta, oregano, figs and proper Neapolitan bread. Now, this bread is full of flavour, crusty and only found in the region. It also goes stale after a day or two so after enjoying it to mop up sauces here’s how I used it.

Bruschetta

First chop tomatoes, if you can get plum or cherry they have the best flavour, if not tomatoes on the vine will do. Then add some minced garlic, basil and  a drop of oregano. Dress with olive oil and set aside.

Now we need to grill the bread. When my family made this they used the barbecue to toast the bread, which as you can imagine adds even more flavour, but at home the oven grill will do. Slice the bread to the thickness you like and place under a hot grill.
Once toasted rub with garlic and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Now all that’s left to do is simply top with the tomato, be generous!

Enjoy! :)

Panzanella
Now the next day the bread is already stale. To make panzanella you need a stale bread, sourdough is best. This is traditionally a Tuscan salad using bread and tomatoes.

What you need:
Stale sourdough bread
Tomatoes
Red onion (if like me you had none in the house white will do)
Cucumber
Basil
Garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Vinegar
A few capers

First, chop the bread into cubes. In a separate bowl mince some garlic, add the oil and vinegar untill you have created a dressing to your taste. Then pour over the bread. It will soak up the liquid and become juicy and fragrant. Leave for 30 mins to an hour.

After allowing the bread to soak up the dressing add the chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onion and capers. Then get a nice big handful of fresh basil and tear into the salad.
 Give the salad a good mix making sure all the flavours and combined.


 The Panzanella is now ready to be served up and eaten or can be left for a further few hours to mature before eating. Both ways are bellisima! :)
 Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!