Mini Apple Crumbles

Being just 2 of us, I find it frustrating that so many recipes serve 6, 8 or even 10. This is especially true with desserts like crumbles. I went hunting for a small recipe for apple crumble, changed it slightly to use healthier wholemeal flour, used 4 small ramekins and viola, mini apple crumbles. 

Ingredients

  • 2 apples
  • 75g plain flour (I used wholemeal flour)
  • 45 g butter, cubed
  • 45g brown sugar
  • 25g porridge oats
  • 1tsp cinnamon

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180ºC
  • Peel and cut your apples into little bite sized pieces, and put them in a small saucepan with about 2 tbsp of water and maybe a tbsp of sugar.  Cook on low heat for about 15-20 mins, to make the apple bits soft.
  • While that’s cooking, measure out your flour and butter.  Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the cinnamon, sugar and oats to the flour and butter mix, and take the apples off the heat.
  • Add your apples and the sugary liquid in the bottom of the saucepan to the bottom of the oven-proof dish ramekins.
  • Then sprinkle the oat mixture on top.  Bake in the oven for about 20mins.
  • Let it cool for a few minutes, then serve with cream or vanilla ice cream (or custard like we did)
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Fresh Tomato Soup

Too much baking and eating of cakes and cupcakes have left me in the position where I think I need to cut back a bit and strike out a little healthier. My first quick and easy is this fresh tomato soup. I whipped up a batch and took it to work for lunch for a few days. It’s fresh, filling and you don’t feel like you are are depriving yourself.

Ingredients

  • 500g Fresh Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Tomato Purée
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
  • 500ml Water (Or 500ml vegetable stock)

Method

  • In a large pot, fry the onion in the olive oil until it is cooked through.
  • While this is cooking, cop the carrot into thin rounds. These will be blended later so they need to be small and thin enough to cook through.
  • Then add the chopped carrot and tomato purée. A tip I learned was that cooking the tomato purée at the beginning rather than the end of a recipe prevents the purée adding that bitter taste. It also means that you don’t need to add sugar to the recipe to sweeten it. 
  • Cut the tomatoes into cubes and add to the pot, along with the bay leaves and cook until the tomato skins are coming away from the pulp.
  • Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil while stirring. Once the soup is boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 1/2 an hour.
  • Fish out the bay leaves from the pot, and using a hand blender blend the soup until it is the right consistency.

The soup can now be served, or let it cool and freeze.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This is the basic recipe for buttercream that I use. You can use it as is, or add colours or go wild. This is luxuriously soft and gorgeous. This recipe makes enough for about 18 cupcakes, or for icing a 9 inch cake.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  • Cream butter until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
  • Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.
  • Makes about 2 cups frosting.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

A friend of mine is a cupcake freak, she loves cupcakes and has tried cupcakes from all over London. This of course means that I really have to up my game for her. She’s coming around to play with my kittens (not a euphemism) and I’m making her a special batch of devil’s food cupcakes. The recipe is from Martha Stewart, but I have halved the recipe so that I don’t end up with a million cupcakes. The original yield is 32 and this recipe makes a dozen larger cupcakes. I then frosted them with my favourite chocolate buttercream frosting.

Ingredients

  • 45g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 90ml hot water
  • 190g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 225g sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 110ml sour cream, room temperature

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  • Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth.
  • In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low.
  • Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full.
  • Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  • Transfer tins to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
  • Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
Featured post

Baked Potatoes with Crunchy Skins

The initial intention of this blog was always to be my own personal recipe book and as such the recipes may turn out to be super boring. This is one of those, so feel free to walk away now. But if you just want to know how to make Jacket Potatoes, look no further.

Ingredients

  • Potato/es

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  • Stab the potato with a fork a few times
  • Place the Potato/es in the oven for about 1-1 1/2 hours (depending on the size of the potato).
  • The skin should be browned, and when you squeeze the potato it should give a little.
  • Careful when you take then out, they get really really hot!

Angela’s Chocolate Birthday Cake

I had really high hopes to create a giant chocolate cake for Angela’s birthday. I didn’t in the end, but what I gave up in size I made up for in flavour,. This is the most decadent, chocolatey chocolate cake I have ever tasted. The recipe comes from Hershey’s, but since we don’t get Hershey’s in the UK, I used the generic British varieties. The frosting recipe is also from Hershey’s.

Ingredients

  •  2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Method

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Bacon and Mushroom Quiche

I’ve decide to take some time off work, just a week but it feels like a big break. Taking some time off means some real indulgence time, and this means a time to catch up on what’s happening in the kitchen. For a starter, I decided to try making a quiche. As you can see from the picture, I am not the greatest at making quiche, but it’s a pretty good start. It was amazingly yummy! I based it on the recipe from the BBC. The recipe takes a little bit of time to make. The effort isn’t huge, but you need to keep refrigerating the pastry at a few points. The other option you have is to use shop bought pastry, which is much simpler, especially if you want to make this after work for dinner.

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 75g Butter
  • A little Water

Filling

  • 250g Cheddar Cheese (I used 4 slices of sliced cheese and 150g grated cheese)
  • 200g Bacon
  • 100g Mushrooms (I added these)
  • 5 Eggs (beaten)
  • 250ml Milk
  • Ground Black pepper
  • Fresh Thyme

Method

Making the Pastry

  • To make the pastry, sift the flour together with a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a soft breadcrumb texture. Add enough cold water to make the crumb mixture come together to form a firm dough, and then rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out the pastry on a light floured surface and line a 22cm/8½inch well-buttered flan dish. Don’t cut off the edges of the pastry yet. Chill again.
  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
  • Remove the pastry case from the fridge and line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans. Place on a baking tray and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another five minutes to cook the base
  • Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.

The Filling

  • Line the pastry straight from the oven with the sliced cheese.
  • Fry the bacon pieces until crisp and cook the mushrooms in the remaining bacon fat
  • Sprinkle the Bacon, then add the mushrooms in a layer and sprinkle the remaining cheese.
  • Combine the eggs with the milk in a bowl and season well.
  • Pour over the bacon and cheese. Sprinkle the thyme over the top and trim the edges of the pastry.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and set further.
  • Trim the pastry edges to get a perfect edge and then serve in wedges.

Oat Bran Banana Muffins

In another on my series of healthy option muffins, I’ve created a variation using Oat Bran. These are really good because they come out much blonder and not as sweet as some others. They also feel more like a treat than a healthy option. 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

For the mixing in this recipe, I just used a spoon, rather than using an electric mixer or a blender. It’s really quick and easy. 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F / 180°C / 150°C Fan assisted ovens. Line 6 muffin cups with muffin papers.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients.
  • Mix all the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, don’t over mix.
  • Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing equally. 
  • Bake muffins until tops are golden brown and tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes.

Apple Sponge Cupcakes with Custard Frosting

I love apple sponge, and I also love cupcakes that are made to taste like things that are not cupcakes.  So I decided to experiment and create a brand new kind of cupcake. Apple sponge cupcakes, and what apple sponge would be complete without custard? So I played around with a few combinations and came up with custard frosting.

Ingredients

Apple sponge cupcakes

  • 1 Bramley Apple
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 75g Caster Sugar
  • 55g Self-Raising Flour
  • 1 Egg

Custard Frosting

  • 40g Margarine
  • 110g Icing Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Custard Powder

Method

Preparing the apples

  • Peel and slice the apples into thin slices, then boil with the stick of cinnamon for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the water and allow to cool.

Making the Cupcakes

  • Line a cupcake tine with cupcake papers (makes about 6 cupcakes)
  • Mix together the caster sugar, flour and egg.
  • Place a small amount of batter in the bottom of the cupcake papers
  • Place a layer of apple
  • Now top with a layer of batter. Make sure you don’t fill the cupcake liners more than 3/4 full, this batter is prone to overflowing a little.
  • Bake in the oven for 15/20 minutes. While this is baking, you can start preparing your frosting.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in the muffin tray before transferring to a wire rack.
  • Wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting. The apple in these means that they take a little longer to cool.

Making the Frosting

  • Cream the margarine, icing sugar and custard powder together. My personal method for this is to cream it all together by hand first, and once its all combined, then use an electric mixer on it. I find it’s much easier to control the icing consistency and texture. If it isn’t creamy enough add a splash of milk and mix. 
Featured post

Lemon Cupcakes aka Little Drops of Sunshine

I am mad about these fresh little cupcakes for summer. they are bright and fresh and yummy. I based the recipe on a recipe from Stork, but halved the amounts to make smaller little cakes. These are beautiful and make either 6 normal size cupcakes, or about 8 small little ones. 

Ingredients

Lemon Cup Cakes

  • 57.5g (2 oz) Margarine/Butter
  • 57.5 (2 oz) castor sugar
  • 35g (2.5 oz) self-raising flour, sieved together with
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, medium
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Icing

  • 42.5g (1.5 oz) Margarine/Butter
  • 110g (4 oz) icing sugar, sieved
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Lemon zest to decorate

Method

Making the Cupcakes

  • Place all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon for 2 – 3 minutes until well mixed. Place mixture in paper cases placed in a muffin tray, if you don’t have a muffin tray you can use double cupcake papers in a baking tray.
  • Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven at 180ºC, 160ºC fan, gas mark 4 on second shelf from top for 15 – 20 minutes until soft and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire tray.

Making the Icing

  • For the icing, place all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. Spread evenly over the cakes and decorate.

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