Snicker Brownies

I am not ashamed to tell you I am eating brownies from the pan as I type. 

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Not these brownies though. 

These are snicker brownies. 

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These brownies deserve more than reruns of How I Met Your Mother and the dog stealing your slippers from your feet as you eat them. 

They are the Emma Watson of brownies. (Yes I compared brownies to Emma Watson, lets breeze past it). They deserve a plate and a folk and silence. They command silence.

They are sticky, sweet, salty and rich and they are insanely delicious. I have yet to meet a single person who doesn’t like these snickers brownies. In fact I met a person who doesn’t like brownies, nuts or salted caramel (he’s out of my life now, I don’t need that kind of negativity) and he still ate these. 

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They have a soft brownie base, a crunchy sweet nugget filling, a salty caramel layer and a thick dark layer of fudgey chocolate.

There are so many ingredients and it takes a long time, but man, they are so worth it in a way so many things aren’t. Remember these are the Emma Watson of brownies (I couldn’t move on).

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Snicker Brownies
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 batch of brownies
  2. 1 Cup (250ml) Salted Caramel
  3. 1 batch of nugget
  4. Chocolate Gnache
  5. Salted Caramel: (makes 2 cups - use the rest on ice cream and thank me later)
  6. 450g (2 cups) caster sugar
  7. 170g (6 ounces) unsalted butter cut into cubes
  8. 250ml (1 cup) Double Cream - room temperature
  9. 1 Tablespoon Moldon salt
Brownies
  1. 170g unsalted butter
  2. 225g (1 cup) caster sugar
  3. 130g (2/3 cup) brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 2 tablespoons water
  7. 1 teaspoon instant espresso
  8. 75g (3/4 cup) cocoa
  9. 90g (3/4 cup) plain flour
Nugget
  1. 55g (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  2. 225g (1 cup) caster sugar
  3. 60ml (¼ cup) evaporated milk
  4. 1½ cups marshmallow fluff (It's about one jar)
  5. 4 Tablespoons (¼ cup) creamy peanut butter
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 200g (1½ cups) salted peanuts, roughly chopped
Chocolate Gnache
  1. Dark Chocolate - chopped (I use Bournville, you could use 70% but I have a very unrefined pallet and much prefer a sweeter gnache.)
  2. 125ml (1/2 cup) Double Cream
Salted Caramel
  1. Place your largest sauce pan over a medium heat, add your sugar to the pan and allow to melt, you can stir and swirl, but once it starts to melt, your best to leave alone.
  2. You want your sugar to become a dark amber colour and if you have a sugar thermometer you want it to reach 350oF.
  3. Add in butter - it will bubble up and look scary. Whisk in butter as it melts.
  4. Remove from heat, add in cream, whisk consistently.
  5. Whisk in salt, and allow to cool completely.
  6. It sounds hard and burny, but trust me if your confident it's pretty easy.
Brownies
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350oF/180oC/ Gas 4.
  2. Line a 8x8 inch brownie pan with grease-proof paper.
  3. In a large bowl, melt your butter, add both sugars and eggs and whisk.
  4. Whisk in vanilla, water, and espresso.
  5. Stir in cocoa and flour.
  6. Pour into brownie pan and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  8. I keep mine in the fridge.
Nugget
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until completely dissolved
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, stirring every minute or so, making sure it doesn't stick or colour.
  4. Take the pan from heat and add the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add in the peanuts. Let the nougat mixture cool to room temperature before using, it gets super sticky, fyi.
Chocolate Gnache
  1. In a microwave bowl, heat the cream, about two minutes in the microwave.
  2. Add in the chocolate and allow to melt. Give it a stir to help it along the way.
Assembly
  1. Once the brownies are cool, spread the nugget evenly over the top. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Pour over 1 cup of salted caramel and again smooth over. Put this in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm.
  3. Once firm, pour over the ganche and spread evenly.
  4. Chill. Slice. Enjoy.
Notes
  1. I'd suggest making the salted caramel a couple of days ahead of time just to cut down on prep time, as the caramel needs to be cool.
  2. I also make the brownies the night before, again, just to spread the time of making them.
  3. It means like 30 minutes a night rather than a full 2 hours. I have no patients.
  4. The salted caramel and nugget recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker, she has step by step photos.
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
 This recipe comes from a couple of different places all smushed together, the salted caramel and the nugget is courtesy of The Brown Eyed Baker, and the trusty brownies recipe from Averie Cooks.

 

 

Guilt Free Lemon Bars

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I like health food. I love it even. I know a lot about the wellness benefits to a sugar-free lifestyle. I know that Maca will boost my energy like caffeine but without the sharp comedown. I know if I put Chia Seeds in my Granola, I will get an Omega 3 and fibre boost in one breakfasty hit.

My wages are spent equally between buying healthy cookbooks, health and fitness magazines, the newest superfood and a frightening amount of fresh ingredients.

I juice, I put beetroot in my stevia sweetened protein shakes. I don’t have sugar in my drinks and I make sure my carbs are as complex as a Blackilious rap.

I know that I need fats with my greens to absorb the benefits and I carry almonds in my handbag.

I know what Matcha and Lumicaca are and I understand supplements do not give you what their foodie counterparts do.

I know these things. I understand and I thrive from them.

So you would think that since the ‘Health is Wealth’ trend landed with a bang in Britain, I would be over the moon. But to be honest… I’m a bit fed up of it. I’m fed up of everyone cutting out meat, gluten, wheat, sugar, diary and joy. I’m sick of hearing that you shouldn’t be eating anything that doesn’t grow, walk or fly. I am over, hearing about the benefits of eating only raw food.

If you get caught up in this extremeness you loose sight of what food does, and the enjoyment it can bring. Healthy, pure and clean food is delicious but calling something clean or good – means other food is bad. This immediately leads to a cycle of guilt because you’ve eaten something someone fashionable told you wasn’t ok. It takes all the enjoyment away – leaving you feeling like you’ve done something wrong, which is a waste of time and energy and leads to binging.

I truly believe in looking after yourself. I believe you look good outside by doing good on the inside. What I don’t believe in, are desserts that are taken to pieces and made clean.

I buy the books, I cook the delicious healthy recipes – usually omitting the spiralled raw veg for something more substantial, but the desserts… the dessert sections are just too much.

Desserts are a treat, they aren’t meant to be eaten after every meal. They’re not supposed to make up your daily balance – but omitting them and replacing them with raw cocoa and pureed veg is not ok with me. I want my cake to taste like butter, I want my brownies to taste like chocolate and I want them to contain caramel.

Burgers are meant to have a bun and cheese, and they are meant to come with chips and onion rings. These things should be eaten with joy and abandonment. You should be smiling and covered in meaty juices and have you fingers dusted with salt. These things are to be kept special. If you eat with an awareness daily – you can factor these things in without worry or concern.

Health may well be wealth, but happiness if a far rarer fortune.

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Now, its Easter – spend it with a smile on your face – ideally eating one of these lemon bars.

They are gooey, sweet and sharp. They have a crisp butter base in stark contrast to the lemony, soft top. They are unashamedly made with butter, sugar and white flour. They were boxed up and shared with family. With good times and laughter – every bite was enjoyed and not a single crumb caused any guilt.

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Lemon Bars
Print
Base
  1. 125g Plain Flour
  2. 65g Caster Sugar
  3. 115g cold unsalted butter – cut into chunks
  4. Pinch Salt
Lemon Layer
  1. 2 Lemons
  2. 265g Sugar
  3. 115g Room temperature Unsalted Butter – cut into chunks.
  4. 4 Large Eggs – room temperature
  5. 2 Tbsp cornflour
  6. Pinch salt.
  7. Icing Sugar – optional
Base
  1. Preheat your oven to 180oC/Gas 4/350oF.
  2. Line an 8x8 inch square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. In a food processor, pulse butter, flour, sugar and salt until butter resembles small peas.
  4. Empty into the lined baking tin, pressing down to make an even surface.
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes until lightly browned.
  6. Remove from the oven, leaving the oven on.
Lemon Layer
  1. In the processor again add the sugar.
  2. Zest both lemons and add to the processor.
  3. You only need the flesh from one lemon. You zest both, but only use one, so you can use the second lemon for something else -maybe in vodka....
  4. Remove and discard the white pith from your remaining lemon. Slice and remove the seeds. Add the pithless, seedless flesh from the one lemon to the sugar in the processor. Blend for two minutes until smooth.
  5. Add in butter and blend until smooth again.
  6. Add eggs, salt and cornflour and blend until completely combined.
  7. Pour over the shortbread base and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, turning once half way through – depending on your oven, you may need 5 minutes less or 10 minutes more – keep a close eye on it. They can catch quickly. Remove from the oven when the sides appear set and the centre has a very slight wobble.
  8. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  9. Dust with icing sugar and slice into 16 squares.
  10. These bars keep well in the fridge. They lasted 3 days. Because we ate them. I have no idea if they'll last longer.
  11. Best eaten cold.
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/

Swinging Baked Camambert

Happy New Year! Want to know whats good about the New Year begining on a Thursday? That you can’t, CAN’T start a diet on a Thursday – so you get 4 extra days of Christmas eating. 4 DAYS! Tell me this is not a winner?!

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While inhaling food with friends the other day we got onto the topic of swinging and how you would ever go about initiating the whole idea. Like, how do you suggest it?

Stay with me, I promise this lead to food talk.

So, between the four us we’ve come up with some ideas. It would be a dinner party, there would be cocktails and shoulder rubbing and fondue. Apparently in the burger addled mind of my friends and I, this is all it would take. Basically a real life rendition of Mad Men. Don Draper knows.20141025_192827

The talk of fondue really made me want melty cheese, and since I have no actual plans of arranging a Mad Man swingers party, I was left to my own devices to find a way to get it.

There is no single thing in the world easier than this cheese. It is embarrassing easy but since I’ve just told u all about my swinging conversation, it doesn’t appear that embarrassment is a concern any more. While it is, stupidly easy, it is incredibly delicious and makes everything from a rainy afternoon snack to a laid back starter a million times more impressive.

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I have eaten this a frightening amount of times in the last few weeks, I’d like to say buy a decent Camembert but since I’m using a bargain £1 cheese I’m not one to judge. It goes with everything. I’ve literally served it with everything from rustic grilled garlic cibatta to crispy chicken strips and chilli doritos. 

Garlic and Rosemary Baked Camembert
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Ingredients
  1. 1 whole camambert - I have a dish which fits my cheese I perfectly. I imagine I bought a fancy cheese one year. If you don't have one your going to need a cheese that's in a sturdy box, with staples not glue holding it together so it won't melt in the oven - or ideally one in a fancy pants dish.
  2. 2 springs of rosemary
  3. 1 clove of garlic
  4. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  5. Olive oil.
Grilled Bread
  1. 8 slices of ciabatta or sourdough
  2. 1 clove of garlic
  3. Olive oil
  4. To serve (optional)
  5. Chicken strips
  6. Spicy Doritos
  7. Carrot sticks
  8. Crackers
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180/350/gas 4.
  2. Unwrap the cheese and put it either back into the box it came in and onto a baking tray or into a dish that it fits snugly into.
  3. Slice your garlic thinly, your going to stuff it into slits in the cheese so you want it thin but sturdy, get me? No? Ok, you want it thin but not Goodfellas slice it with a stanley blade thin.... Get me now?
  4. With a small knife, cut slits all over the top of the cheese, careful not to cut to the bottom.
  5. Push your garlic into half of the holes and small sprigs of rosemary into the remaining holes.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Rub the salt, pepper and oil into the top of the cheese, making sure the leaves of rosemary are all oiled up good, to prevent burning.
  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes until fully melted and oozy.
Bread
  1. When the cheese has about 10 minutes to go, heat a griddle and and brush the oil over one side of your bread, I used a couple of sticks of rosemary as a make shift brush to do this. Put the bread, oil side down, on the hot griddle for a few minutes, over a medium heat. Brush the other side (the one facing you) with more oil and flip the bread.
  2. Remove the bread, when both sides are slightly charred, and golden.
  3. Cut the clove of garlic in half and rub, cut side down, all over the hot toasty bread.
  4. Cut in half and pile up ready for serving.
  5. Remove cheese from the oven and peel back the top of the cheese.
  6. Serve wile pipping hot, with bread and anything else you can grab hold of, I'm yet to find anything that doesn't take good in gooey, melty garlicky cheese.
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
No mum, I am not a swinger. This was a joke. I promise. 

 

Bacony Sprout Pasta – A Tale of Pestosprouts

If you were to ask me my favourite meal, the conversation would last for hours. I would bore you until your ears started to bleed. I am forever changing my mind. I have one million favourites. I eat them, claim I could live off it forever, I would happily never, ever eat anything else again. I would eat this for breakfast, lunch and tea. Until I eat my next meal and exclaim the same thing about the new meal. I would happy eat spaghetti bolognese for breakfast, then eat anything Thai for lunch and then burgers for tea every day. Then I’d really like fish and chips in there too, and fried chicken, maybe an awesome salad? Maybe Arinchini…… Pies are real good too.

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However if you ask Dave what his favourite meal is, he will reply without pause, ‘chicken strips and chips with loads of dips’. This is a direct quote, said more than once. First I was crushed. I make an extreme amount of varying meals in a week. The number of different things he has eaten is astronomical. However, no matter when I ask, who asks him, no matter what he has just shovelled in his mouth and declared delicious, the answer remains the same.

Chicken strips, chips and loads of dips.

The first time I looked in Dave’s fridge I was mortified. It held, a tub of ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’, a half bottle of flat diet coke and a whole shelf worth of condiments.
Even with the chicken strip and dip obsession, there were way too many sauces, dips and things in that fridge for just chicken. When quizzed about it, the horrible truth was revealed. The man I was falling for, was spending his time eating frozen sprouts mixed with pesto. As a main meal. Like three times a week.

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I knew messing with his beloved breaded chicken was never going to end well, it’s just simply his favourite thing in the world. I could however, mess with the sprouts. Surely, I could only improve upon the plain bowl of soggy sprouts?

This meal is simple, easy, and quick to make. Hardly more work than mixing frozen sludge with jarred pesto.

It feels like a decadent meal, even though it’s just, bacon, pasta, sprouts and shallots. The addition of butter, make it so comforting. Also since it’s as much a sprouts as it is pasta, you can call it health food. I do.

It turns out sprouts as a main meal is a winner, it’s my new favourite. Obviously.

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Bacony, Sprout Pasta
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Ingredients
  1. 500g pasta
  2. 500g sprouts
  3. 5 rashes bacon
  4. 4 shallots - sliced
  5. 3 tablespoons garlic oil
  6. 1 tablespoon butter
  7. 70g parmesan - grated
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pan water to the boil.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the bacon up small and fry in two tablespoons garlic oil until crisp and all the fat rendered down.
  3. Remove from the pan, leaving the oil behind. Add the extra tablespoon oil, melt the butter and add in the shallot, once softened add the bacon back in..
  4. Using a food processor with the shredder attachment, shred the sprouts, you could do this by hand too, but it far easier the lazy way.
  5. Add into the garlicky shallot mix.
  6. Add your pasta into the water and cook following box instructions.
  7. Stir your sprout mixture and add 60ml water (1/4 cup). If you have stock or wine to hand use this instead, (dilute your white wine half with water).
  8. Allow to cook, down for 8 minutes.
  9. Drain the pasta, add it to the sprouts and cook together for 2 minutes, adding in your parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper.
  10. Check to see if it needs salt and serve with a hefty grating of parmesan.
Notes
  1. You could serve this as a side dish next to crispy chicken.
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/

Double Chocolate, Brown Butter, Pretzel Cookies

 So, let me tell you about today.

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Today was the type of day that had me smashing the phone in the receiver, repeatedly. The type of day that turned my regular car journey into a particularly rough game of grand theft auto, the type of day that I cried on the way home, in the car alone, thinking about the first time I realised they were going to kill their mother off and sang David Grey on repeat at the top of my lungs. I dropped F bombs like it was my chosen profession and instead of going the gym, I came home to sit in stretch pants and a scowl.

When these days hit, and they do, I suggest you make these cookies. Cookies require no brain power, so even when you can’t think of anything other than going back to key the car that parked to close too you earlier, you can still make these.

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These cookies have two types of chocolate in them, the milk chocolate chips keep there shape, while the dark chopped chocolate melts and becomes all oozey and puddlely. They have pretzels, which adds chunks of salty crunch but the star of these mood enhancing cookies is the browned butter. Seriously, they should bottle this stuff up and sell them to hormonal women and long suffering people who are forced to interact with them. 

The butter goes an incredible warm brown colour, with a nutty buttery heavenly scent. It envelops you in a buttery cuddle and transports you whole new level. I can’t describe the smell. I would never do it justice. Brown butter is the bomb. The best F bomb I’ve ever dropped. 

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Double Chocolate, Brown Butter, Pretzel Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 170g (1.5 cups) unsalted butter
  2. 200g (1 cup) light brown sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 250g (2 cups) plain flour
  6. 2 tsp cornflour
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  9. 3/4 cup broken salted pretzels
  10. 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  11. 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. To brown your butter, melt butter in a medium saucepan, once melted, turn heat up slightly to a low/medium heat. Allow to cook four 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Once foamy, keep a close eye on it, it goes from brown to burnt in no time. Lots of little brown bits will appear in the mixture, keep stiring and do not let them catch, once it smells all nutty (the most intoxicating smell you will find in a kitchen) remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool.
  2. Mix in sugar, vanilla and egg.
  3. Mix in flour, salt, cornflour and bicarb. Then add in the pretzels and chocolate.
  4. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper and using an ice cream scoop, place scoops about an inch or two apart.
  5. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, ideally 3 and upto over night.
  6. Preheat your oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 4/350oF
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, till browned at the edge and soft in the middle. Do not over bake.
  8. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes then remove and eat.
  9. They should keep for up to a week but they will go far faster than that.
Notes
  1. Once scooped and chilled, you can freeze for 3 months. Bake straight from the freezer for an extra minute or two.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addication
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/

Quick Leftover Fried Rice

This rice takes 10 minutes.

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Sure, I’m not going to win any nutritional awards for a plate full of white rice, but on a Monday night, when you’ve completed your first day back at work and sweated through an hour with an overly-perky, high-fiving gym instructor and are facing down another four days, this rice wins. Fiiiiine make it with brown rice if your going to bitch about it. 

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This uses up all the leftovers from the weekend. Rice from curry night; pineapple, since it’s still early enough in the week that you were organised enough to cut up fruit the night before; and peas from Sunday night Pie night. But use up all the stuff in your fridge that might be lying around, so play around with the ingredients. 

It’s so good, super easy and if you get someone else to make it it’ll be ready as soon as you get out the shower. 

Leftover chicken would be good in there too… As would lobster should you have this lying around in your fridge and be threatening to eat it with mash….Becky….!

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Leftover Fried Rice
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp garlic oil
  2. 1 tsp fish sauce
  3. pinch ground white pepper
  4. 1 egg
  5. 5 cups (each cup is about 200g) leftover cold rice.
  6. 1/2 cup (125g) cooked peas
  7. 1/4 pineapple cut up into small pieces
  8. 1 green chilli
  9. Thumb sized piece ginger
  10. 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  11. 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  12. 100g roasted, salted cashew
  13. Corriander, chopped
  14. Chilli Sauce - optional
Instructions
  1. Heat a large wok on a high heat.
  2. Whisk the egg with the fish sauce and white pepper.
  3. Add 1 tbsp oil to the wok and once shimmering hot add your egg. It should cook in about 45 seconds if the wok is hot enough. Remove from the pan, and slice. Leave to one side.
  4. Grate the ginger and dice the chilli.
  5. Add the last tbsp of oil the wok and allow to heat to shimmering hot again.
  6. Add in the chilli and ginger, stir fry for 30 seconds.
  7. Add in your rice, stirring and breaking up as you go.
  8. Add in fish sauce and push the rice to one side.
  9. In the space, put your pineapple chunks and leave for one minute, they should catch and turn a golden colour. Mix the rice and the pineapple together, continuing to fry.
  10. Add in the soy sauce and a good couple of pinches of white pepper.
  11. Mix in the egg, cashews and the coriander and toss until completely combined and serve.
  12. I topped mine with chilli sauce. It was a very, very good addition.
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/

Please remember to be safe with reheated rice. Make sure it’s cooled quickly, kept cold and reheated thoroughly.

Vanilla Cupcakes

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Sex in the City not only brought the time consuming habit of comparing every relationship I had to that of Carrie and Big, wondering if I kept my clothes in the oven and only ate when out with friends if I could have the body of SJP and how I could have a witty and moving monologue that narrated my life and summed up my thoughts in a tidy conclusion at the end of everyday. It also brings years of vanilla flavoured disappoint after they made cupcakes cool and everyone in the world opened up a cupcake shop/stall/kitchen window. 

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Now, I’m not a cake fan really. Unless you’re going to trash it up and make it unmissable, I can happily live my life without cake. However vanilla cupcakes are different. They are a life staple, and normally decorated in a sickeningly sweet, upbeat girly fashion which I can not resist, and that my friends is were the disappointment lies, right there hidden in the cleverly decorated mildly vanillary sawdust. Always too dry or dense, the crumb too course or bread like and the taste non-existent, topped with either dry sugary icing or synthetic tasting whip…(?). They’re all looks but man, do they fall short in the under the hood. Like a playboy bunny, or a Kardashian. 

But these. These are what I’ve been spending all my hopes, dreams and spare change waiting to find. These are moist, vanillary sweet and full of cakey goodness, topped with creamy sweet colourful frosting, they ticks all the boxes. The Sophia Bush of vanilla cupcakes if you will. 

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These are easy and I can guarantee that even if your turning up unannounced/late (the the only way I ever turn up) you will be welcome should you be brandishing a box full of these.

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Vanilla Cupcakes
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Cupcake Base
  1. 290g (2 1/3 cups)Plain flour
  2. 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp
  4. 180g unsalted butter at room temperature
  5. 350g (1 3/4 cups) caster sugar
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 250ml (1 cup) whole milk
Vanilla Frosting
  1. 160g Butter
  2. 500g (4cups) Icing Sugar
  3. 60ml (1/4 cup) Double Cream
  4. Food Colouring - I used pink and purple colour paste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350oF/ Gas Mark 4/ 180oC, and line a muffin tin with 12 liners. The mix makes 16, so you can just use the same tin, once the first batch has come out the oven.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Leave to one side.
  3. In a separate bowl ,mix butter with a electric mixer, until creamy, about 30-40 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. This can take around 3 minutes.
  4. Crack eggs over a separate clean bowl, leaving the whites in the clean bowl and adding the yolks to the sugar/butter mix. Add in the vanilla and continue to beat until combined.
  5. Add in 1/3 flour mix and combine, add in half the milk, combine. Continue to do this until all milk and flour is combined. This should end with the flour mix being added in last.
  6. Wisk the egg whites until foamy, about 2-4 minutes.
  7. Fold these through your batter.
  8. You should end up with a thick, smooth, pudding like batter.
  9. I use a ice cream scoop to spoon the cake mix into the cake cases and bake on the middle self to 19 - 22 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven, once the cupcakes spring back when touched, or a skewer comes out clean.
Frosting
  1. Mix butter with electric whisk for 1 minute, add in the icing sugar, little by little and once all in, add the cream.
  2. Mmix on high speed for 5 minutes, until light creamy and fluffy.
  3. Move half into a clean bowl and add in your indeviual food dolours. Mix untill the food colour is completed combined.
  4. Once your cupcakes are fully cooled, scoop a big blob of icing on top and with a palate knife spread it evenly over the cake. Cover with sprinkles and revel in the fact that you cupcake is worthy of a Sex and the City episode.
Notes
  1. *Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature, including your butter, milk, eggs and cream.
  2. *Because I used two separate colours, I needed a large amount of frosting so I could split them and colour them separately. If your just using one colour you may have a lot leftover, but to be fair, when it's good frosting, its always better to have too much that too little.
  3. *Keep the left over batter in the bowl, in a cool place until your ready to use it once the cooked cupcakes come out the oven
Adapted from Sallys Baking Addication
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
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Peach Crisp

Today instead of writing something witty and mouth watering to go along with this crumble, I looked at an obsessive amount of photos of Kylie Kloss and Taylor Swift. This is how I spent a large proportion of my day.

So instead of telling you how incredibly fragrant and juicy peaches are at the moment, and how sweet and summery this pie is or how intoxicating the smell of peaches baking with sugary, buttery juices is, I’m just going to show you a picture of some peaches in a dish.

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 And a picture of a bubbly cooked crumble.

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If this is not enough to make you want to dive in head first – I suggest you head over here to look at Taylor Swifts legs instead.

This crumble/crisp is slightly different to your normal crumbles as the topping bakes up like a crisp and spreads slightly giving it a crust rather than a crumble. It’s made in the same easy way, rubbing butter, sugar and flour together but I think the increased ratio of butter to flour ensures spreading, while the addition of oats and sliced almonds ensures a terrific bite and chew all at the same time. I forgot my lemon juice, but I highly suggest adding it, while no-one else missed it, I think it would have cut the sweetness slightly.

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The topping seems like a measly amount and I was left doubting it would work, but with patience (which I do not possess) it does cover the peaches and bakes up to be the right amount. An absolute winner for a summery Sunday.

Four of us devoured this. It serves 8. And we’d just finished an enormous roast dinner of which I had 3 helpings. This says more about the crumble than the people. Honest.

 I adapted the crumble topping from Brown Eyed Baker and stole the peach filling from Smitten Kitchen’s Pie.

Peach Crisp
Print
Crisp Top
  1. 125g (9 Tablespoons) Butter
  2. 85g (2/3 Cup) Plain Flour
  3. 60g (2/3 Cups) Oats – not instant
  4. 135g (2/3 Cup) Brown Sugar
  5. 4 Tablespoons Sliced Almonds
Peaches
  1. 7 Medium peaches.
  2. 4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  3. 4 Tablespoons Caster Sugar
  4. 1/8 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  5. About three or four swipes over a grater of Whole Nutmeg
  6. Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  7. 2 Tablespoons Cornflower
  8. 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
Instructions
  1. Peaches can be a bitch to peel. The peaches for this need to be semi ripe, not over ripe and not under ripe – if your peaches are either of these then peeling them will be near impossible without crushing them to death. IF your peaches are slightly under ripe, which would be the better of the two to use, then put them in boiling water for two minutes and the skins will pop right off, don’t bother trying to use over ripe peach as they’ll just turn to mush. Just stick them in a smoothie and they’ll be. If however you get your peaches at the perfect ripeness – with just a slight give when pressed, means your skin will peel of nicely, and the stone will come out easy too.
  2. Preheat oven 180oC/gas Mark 4/375oF
  3. Cut butter into cubes and in a bowl, add all the crumble ingredients. Add in the butter and rub together until a sandy mix is achieved. Leave to one side.
  4. Cut peach in half, twist and pull part, peel skin off and remove stone. Slice each half into three or four slices.
  5. In a small bowl mix sugars, flour cinnamon salt, nutmeg and cornflower in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  6. Mix the peaches into the dry mix, mix in the lemon juice and toss with hands.
  7. Put peaches into baking dish and cover with the crumble mix. Be patient – breaking it up and redepositing it so completely covered. It looks like its not enough but persevere.
  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbling.
  9. Allow to cool to room temperature or eat mouth scorchingly hot – either way eat it with thick cream or ice cream and bask in how awesome summer time eating is.
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/

 

 

Frying Pan Pizza

 

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So on the weekend, two weeks before I step out onto a beach in a bikini I decided I would play a game of ‘I went to the shop and I bought’. You know the game. Where you say ‘I went to the shop and I bought a banana’ then next person says ‘I went to the shop and I bought a banana and a melon.’ This continues forever until someone misses and item and looses. It’s normally a car game and I normally loose. However this time I decided the game would just include me and it would be called ‘On The Weekend I Ate’. Do you see where this is going?

No?

Really?

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At the weekend I ate, a handful of peanut M&Ms, I ate a Sausage and Egg McBagel and a McHashbrown (everything from McDonalds starts with Mc, right? I ate/drank a green smoothie, I ate a five guys burger and chips, I ate a bag of tropical skittles, I ate a bag of pick your own Jelly Beans, I ate a bag of salty and sweet popcorn and I ate another handful of peanut M&Ms, then I ate a pizza. I ate some toast, I ate 3 servings of a roast dinner and I ate peach crumble.

Yup. In the space of 24 hours I won at life and at my own game.

The pizza, was unplanned. Like a happy accident. I had left over dough in the fridge. Leftover sauce on the hob and I may have pre-empted my accident by buying some mozzarella.

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If you look anywhere in the world of blogging you will be hard pressed to find anyone not have mentioned Jim Lahey’s No knead Pizza Dough. He has a book, all about bread, which doesn’t need kneading.. awesome right?

The pizza dough takes some planning. But that is all it takes. Effort is not required. You mix flour, water, salt and yeast and you cover it. That is your work for 18 hours. Then you take out your flour, throw some into your worktop. Tip out your dough, split it into 4, make each quater round ball shape and that’s it.

The idea of cooking it in a frying pan means the effort stays minimal and means you can have homemade pizza any night of the week, and Pizza is a great way to use up all the rubbish in your fridge and claim it as a special tea.

Basic Frying Pan Pizza
Print
Pizza Dough
  1. 500g (3 ¾ cups) All Purpose Flour
  2. 1 ½ cups water
  3. 1/8 teaspoon dry active yeast
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
Basic Margarita
  1. 1 quarter pizza dough
  2. 60ml – 90ml (¼ – ½ cup) tomato sauce – this could be homemade if you've got some or just a jar of your favourite pizza sauce, or just pasata
  3. 1 ball mozzarella
  4. 100g (½ cup) grated melty stringy cheese – I used Edam
  5. ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  6. A grinding of black pepper
  7. A good grating of Parmesan
  8. Teaspoon olive oil
  9. Few Basil Leaves
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, salt and yeast, and add the water. Mix until combined.
  2. Cover with cling film and leave for 18 hours.
  3. Flour a surface really well. If you think you've floured it well. Flour it some more. The dough is sticky. Toss the dough about so it's well floured. Split into four equal pieces. They weigh about 200g should you be anal enough to weigh it. I was. I don't even know who I am.
  4. Fold the top corner to the centre of each quarter, then the other corner to the centre then each bottom corner to the middle. Turn the dough, seamside down and shape into a roundish ball. Do this each quarter. Wrap in oiled clingflim. You can keep it in the fridge for three days or freeze it.
  5. When your ready to eat, allow your dough to come to room temperature if you've kept in the fridge and turn your grill onto high. Flour a surface again, and shape into a roundish shape about 10 inches big. You can use or hands, or a rolling pin.
  6. Heat a frying pan until hot. Real hot. Drizzle in some olive oil, and wipe it around the pan. Carefully put your dough in your pan and leave for 5 minutes, the dough will bubble. Add your sauce, cheese, chilli, pepper and basil. After about 5 minutes, put your frying pan under the grill –how long you leave it there depends on how hot your grill runs. I left mine under for about 8 minutes.
  7. Remove and leave for 3 minutes to cool slightly – cut and eat.
Adapted from Jim Lahey
Adapted from Jim Lahey
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
I also ate Chinese food, so I lost my game. It definitely means however as I’m watching Crazy Stupid Love for the second time that I did win at life. Not so much at the bikini wearing. 

 

 

I left my heart with Five Guys.

I’ve been promising reports of foodie pleasures, forever. I spend an increasing amount of time letting others cook for me. I thought you should all know about them.

This week I found out the earth shattering news that Five Guys had made it’s Trans-Atlantic journey to the UK. Apparently, its been in London for a few months but in May it opened in the not so distant Manchester. The Trafford Centre to be exact. The day I learnt this was basically the best day of my life. My immediate drive to Manchester was halted due to a motorway closure. I think I was being punished.

We tried again yesterday and it was fully worth the wait. I don’t just mean the wait since Thursday but my life long wait to have a fast food place which offers filthy well made burgers. Not that I’d turn down McDonalds any time soon, but this, this is a whole world away.

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The burgers are made with fresh British beef, every morning, each burger is cooked to order and a normal burger is made with 1/2 lb of beef, the chips are cut that day and they even tell you which potatoes their using! You pick whatever fresh topping you like for the burger and your chips come in a sack. A. sack. of. chips.

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The burgers are what you would a expect from a 50’s diner, if you went after school wearing your boyfriends varsity jacket over your full skirted dress complete with a poodle on the bottom. The burgers are thick, meaty and juicy, filled with melting cheese (should you choose cheese. If you don’t, I don’t want to be your friend) and an abundance of various topping of your choice. I went for grilled onions, mushrooms, lettuce, pickles, jalapenos, mustard and relish. Dave had bacon, it was crispy, he was happy. It was incredible. Each bite was better than the last, the kind of burger that you never want to stop eating because it’s that good, despite your stomach tripling in size and you being ready to explode. The chips are crisp and salty and feel everlasting. Every mouthful was like a transportation to a place were life is good, people are friendly, food is fresh, big and tasty, and drinks are refillable. It was everything I’ve ever wanted and not one part of me was disappointed. We ate in silence only punctuated with me shouting ‘you’ve made a terrible mistake!’ to the people who walked passed in favour of one of the other barely comparable restaurants. The staff are friendly and explained the concept and portion size to those less obsessive than myself. I didn’t need to be told, I’d done my research.

To top it off, the soda fountain has 100 different drinks. ONE HUNDRED. Including Diet Dr Pepper and Diet Cloudy Strawberry Lemonade, which you can refill until you are no longer in control of your bladder.burger1

 

In a world where topping your burger with bigger and better things is increasing. A simple well made, old fashioned burger is a welcome treat. A step back to a slower, simpler time.

Should you need me, I’ll be in the 1950’s with the Five Guys. I full expect to see you there.  

 

I am fully aware that Five Guys opened in America in the 80’s. Let me have my dreams.