I have one very old trusty Be-Ro cookbook that my Nana gave me years ago. With new cookbooks sometimes the recipes are so complex you can’t always trust the results. This cookbook is simple and fool proof. It contains all the classics and I’m going to be trying a few more of them over the next couple of weeks! First up is coffee kisses! Part cake part biscuit they are similar to a whoopee pie or even a macaroon. Deliciously light and perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon! This recipe should make about 15!
175g Self Raising Flour
75g Caster Sugar
75g Unsalted Butter
1 Medium Egg Beaten
2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp of hot water
Coffee Buttercream (buttercream mixed with 2 tsp of instant coffee mixed with 1 tbsp of hot water)
NB: These can be made by hand but you can also make them in a food processor if you prefer!
1. Heat the oven to 180C, 350F and grease a large baking tray.
2. Mix the flour and sugar together and rub in the butter with your hands or by pulsing in the food processor.
3. Stir in the egg and all the coffee mixture. The mix should be quite wet!
4. Divide the mix and roll into small balls, slightly smaller than a walnut.
5. Bake the biscuits for about 15 minutes until the tops have hardened. Leave to cool on the tray.
6. When cool sandwich together with the coffee buttercream!
I realise I’m not the first person to create a cupcake like this but having seen pictures of something similar I wanted to try and recreate them myself! Every recipe I had seen called for shredded coconut to create the ‘straw’ of the nest. As far as I know this is slightly different to desiccated coconut and isn’t readily available in the UK so off I popped down the shops searching for an alternative! I finally settled on coconut flakes which I bought from Sainsburys. These pieces are larger than desiccated coconut but I was able to slice the large pieces into strips quite easily and mix them with the smaller pieces already in the packet!
The recipe I used made 12 large cupcakes but the mixture could easily be used to make smaller fairy cakes more suitable for kids!
175g Soft Unsalted Butter
175g Caster Sugar
3 Medium Eggs, Lightly Beaten
175g Self Raising Flour, Sieved
1 tbsp Milk
1 Large Lemon
3 tsp Caster Sugar
75g Unsalted Butter
75g Cream Cheese
Cadbury Mini Eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 190C (Gas Mark 5 or fan 170C).
2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
3. Cream the butter ad sugar in a bowl with either a wooden spoon or electric whisk until pale and creamy.
4. Gradually whisk in the eggs until just combined..
5. Add the flour and milk. Whisk with an electric hand whisk until combined and fluffy.
6. Add the zest of the lemon and 1 tbsp. of lemon juice. Keep the rest of the lemon to one side for the topping and syrup.
7. Divide the mix equally between the paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and risen.
8. While the cakes are cooking, squeeze into a bowl the remaining juice of half the lemon and mix with 3 tsp of caster sugar. When the cakes are removed from the oven, prick the cakes all over with a toothpick and spoon a teaspoon of the syrup mix over each cake while they are still warm.
9. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
1. To create the topping, mix the butter and cream cheese together thoroughly. Gradually add icing sugar until the topping will hold in medium peaks. To flavour the topping add 2 tsp of lemon juice and 2 or 3 tsp of icing sugar to prevent it from becoming too runny.
2. To prepare the coconut, slice the large pieces into strips and mix with the smaller pieces from the packet. Place a small frying pan on a medium heat and add the coconut to the dry pan. Turn regularly until the coconut colours slightly and remove from the pan.
3. When the cakes have fully cooled either pipe the topping onto the cakes or spread it on with a knife. It doesn’t need to be too tidy as it will be covered with the coconut! Sprinkle the coconut around the edges of the cakes and finish with two mini eggs in the centre.
I don’t often write product posts on my blog but sometimes something really catches your eye that you just want to share! In this case it is this fabulous ‘Bonne Nuit’ carafe from Rockett St George! Perfect for popping on your bedside table or in a guest room for those middle of the night thirsty moments! It looks fabulous and priced at £14 is an affordable little novelty that would look great in any setting. The carafe is available here.
My vice is most definitely snacking and sometimes I do get tired of my trusty, sweet and salty popcorn to nibble while watching a movie! With this in mind I went hunting for new snack recipes! After cinnamon baked apples were a disaster these were my next test! Dried flavoured chickpeas! And they were really really tasty!
I took inspiration from this recipe, and slow roasted a full can of drained chickpeas in a 180C oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
To begin a rinsed and dried the chickpeas on a tea towel.
Next I placed them on a baking tray covered with baking parchment and popped them in the oven. They do take a long time to become fully crispy so this could be an option for the bottom shelf of the oven while you’re roasting or baking something else.
When removed from the oven I popped them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a mixture of BBQ seasoning, chilli powder, paprika and garlic. Toss the seasoning over the chickpeas and you’re onto a new snacking sensation! Enjoy!
Now I’m sure the word ‘diet’ is the last thing you want to hear from a food blog more used to creating calories than cutting them but I figured this post would be as good as any to get me back blogging. I’ve been away from my blog for a while now as work commitments seemed to take up most of my time but after New Year I vowed to get back on it! Despite my good intentions, I also realised I’d put on a few pounds so baking cupcakes every week probably wasn’t a great idea, there’s only so many carrot cakes I can give away to friends and family! With this in mind I kept cooking but instead of fudge cake it was stir fry and instead of chocolate cookies it was mango, yoghurt and almonds!
I’m not going to lie. It’s nowhere near as fun to eat a rice cake as an actual cake. In fact, it’s worse. Much worse. So I’ve been brightening up my lunches at work with yummy fresh dishes that are filling, don’t taste like cardboard and are hopefully the envy of a few people hovering around the office kitchen! Hehe. With this in mind here are a few snapshots of the things I’ve been making along with a promise to get back blogging but maybe with my usual cake recipes mixed in with a few more savoury ones! (A girl can get sick of buttercream after all!……well, almost!)
I tried to make these cupcakes this week and I had a bit of a fail with the topping! I’m going to try it again soon but here’s a picture of my first attempt! For some reason I couldn’t get the topping to thicken! If anyone has a recipe for an amazing flavoured frosting please let me know!
For Christmas my friend bought me a jam making kit and up until two weeks ago I was yet to get around to using it! With so much end of summer fruit on offer I decided to give it a whirl and my first go was to be a traditional strawberry jam! While the kit I have is from Kilner and contains a funnel, jars, labels etc there is nothing to stop you using the contents of your own kitchen cupboards! You will need a solid, thick based pan to make the jam in. Don’t use a non stick pan because it will get ruined! You will also need some sterilised jars! You can re use old jam jars and sterilise them with boiling water or in a dishwasher. You can then dry them in the microwave so as not to contaminate them with damp dishcloths!
Aside from all the equipment the jam is actually quite easy to make! I used a Delia Smith recipe and made 3 medium jars. Before you start cooking the jam you will need to chill a small plate in the fridge or freezer. You will see why soon! So! Here’s how to do it…
450g Jam Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
1. To begin the jam making you will need to clean and dry your strawberries and remove the stalk. Make sure you dry them! Extra moisture is a no no!
2. To prepare your pan you need to grease the base with a tiny bit of butter to stop the sugar burning then layer the fruit, sugar, fruit, sugar in the pan evenly. Delia Smith recommends leaving the fruit overnight to allow the sugar to draw out the moisture. This keeps the fruit more solid when the jam is made. I included the step but left the pan for only a few hours. I also kept my strawberries whole but if you wanted you could cut them in half which would give you a smoother jam.
3. After the fruit has rested you can begin to heat the jam!!! Place the jam on a low to moderate heat to just melt the sugar and release some of the fruit’s juices. Try not to stir the jam too much as it will break up the fruit.
4. When the sugar has dissolved add the lemon juice (make sure there are no pips!). Next turn up the heat and get the jam really bubbling! (See below) When it’s really bubbling. Time it for 8 minutes!
5. After the 8 minutes remove the jam from the heat and get your chilled plate! Spoon a little jam onto the plate and push it with your finger. If the jam is done you will see the surface wrinkle! If it doesn’t wrinkle heat the jam for another 3-4 minutes then repeat the process and look for the wrinkles! You can do this a few times until the jam is set!
6. When you have removed the jam from the heat add a knob of butter and mix to disperse the scum from the jam. As the jam cools another ‘scum’ of bubbles will form on the top of the pan. To keep this to a minimum when the jam is slightly cooled fill the jars to prevent a large scum form forming. Leave the lids off and allow the jam to cool fully.
7. As a final step when the jam is completely cooled use either wax discs or 2 layers of cling film cut the size to seal the top surface of the jam. Then pop on the lids and label! The jam should keep for a few months in a cupboard but once open keep in the fridge!