It’s officially January and in a bid to keep the infamous January blues away I’m going to try my hand at something new.
Normally every morning, my routine roughly begins the same, alarm clock snoozes, hot shower and a big cafetière of strong coffee – not anymore!!
Lemon, ginger, cayenne pepper and cinnamon (I also add raw honey to alleviate the acidic smell and taste).
I chose to shot mine (in memory of the good old days) but you can add hot water and sip it as a longer drink if you should do choose.
- X2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- X2 tablespoons lemon juice (from fresh lemons not shop bought)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon of raw honey (available at most supermarkets or wholefoods)
Then mix it all together and then only for the brave – straight down the hatch!
Ps…ok I still have the coffee afterwards!! But I’m human and breaking myself into 2018 with a cushion!
Pps also sneaking into shot is my overnight yogurt, banana and blueberry oats – these are delicious!!
Let me know how it goes?! I will keep you posted with how long it lasts for me…
It’s New Years Eve – so firstly the happiest of new years eves to everyone!!
Now the main event and a personal favourite of 2017 – we attempted to make a Beef Wellington to beat all others (it was our first attempt and trust me once the January new years resolution healthy eating is out the way we will be brushing this one off again!)
Fillet beef is an expensive cut of beef but make sure you get the middle section and not the tail ends- the plumper the better – also make sure the butcher does not fold/roll up the fillet to make it look rounder. It needs to be the middle cut of the fillet.
- 1kg fillet Beef (trimmed)
- Parma Ham
- Olive Oil
- Large knobs of butter (no pun intended!!)
- Bunch of thyme – generous amount – just the leaves!
- 200g shallots
- 300g chestnut mushrooms
- x2 cloves of garlic
- 100g free range chicken livers (cleaned) – I chose the Duchy range in Waitrose
- 1tbsp Worcester sauce (thank you Jamie Oliver for this tip!)
- Handful of breadcrumbs
- Shop bought pre-made puff pastry
- 1 free range egg (for the glaze)
- Colman’s English mustard
- Waitrose Heston Blumenthal Jus
Instructions for the chef:
- Preheat the oven to 200’C
- Season a wooden chopping board with sea salt, black pepper and herbs then roll your fillet over the top to ensure an even coating
- In a large frying pan, add a large generous knob of butter and a splash of olive oil, seal the beef for 4 minutes in total- turn the fillet with tongs
- Remove the fillet back on to the board and let rest till chilled to touch
- While the beef is chilling (pour yourself a drink and start to prep the pate)
- Just wipe over the frying pan till its “clean ish” then add another generous knob of utter
- For the pate: When the butter is bubbling and hot add the chopped mushrooms, shallots and garlic, cook till caramelising then add the chicken livers – cook for a further few minutes
- You then have the option to rough chop the pate mixture on a board or cheat like me and add to the nutribullet and blitz up for a smoother pate style mixture.
- Make sure you add in the breadcrumbs at this stage – the pate needs to cool and be dry in consistency
- Roll out the pastry or like me choose pre-rolled ( I love this style its so easy and simple). Let the pate chill before the next step
- Layer the parma ham over the pastry then add a generous layer of pate over the top (roughly 1 to 2cm thick)
- Brush the pastry edges with egg wash (ensure you keep some left over for the topping glaze
- Add the fillet and roll over until fully covered, tuck the fold underneath and using a fork push the edges down
- Using a knife make a design of your choosing on the top or add a pastry lattice effect (there are some snazzy devices available online to do a better job than I did such as the Tesco Farringdon Lattice Pastry Cutter – maybe Father Christmas will bring me one next year)
- Glaze the top with the remaining egg wash
- For a medium rare cook for 20 to 25minutes (add an extra five minutes for medium)
Serving suggestion: spring onion mash and green beans (we added Philadelphia cream cheese to the mash for some extra decadence)
Dinner is served…
Yummy Belly full of Welly 🙂 Sorry I couldn’t resist!!
- 3 small cups of strong black coffee, preferably espresso, cooled ( I used 2 nespresso pods)
- 3 tbsp caster sugar.
- 6 tbsp Amaretto liqueur (could be substituted for masala wine).
- 2 eggs, separated.
- 150ml custard.
- 250g/8¾oz mascarpone cheese.
- 250ml/8¾ fl oz whipped cream.
- 3 flake chocolate bars, to dust between layers (I used 3 bars because I wanted a rustic finish but you could use less or sprinkle cocoa instead, for a more subtle finish).
- 100g milk chocolate
- 2 packs of Savoiardi (sponge lady finger biscuits- I usually make two layers and normally nibble a couple while prepping).
Instructions for the chef:
Place the coffee in a bowl, add three tablespoons of the Amaretto and put into the fridge to cool.
In a mixing bowl beat together just the egg yolks (save the whites separately for later) and sugar for about three minutes until it looks thicker and pale.
Add into the mixing bowl, the mascarpone and mix well. Fold in the whipped cream gently with a metal spoon.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (from experience this is quite painful without an electric whisk but if without an electric helper its worth the whipping for the end result). Fold the egg whites quickly but gently into the creamy mixture.
Add the remaining liqueur to the creamy mixture, taking care not to loose the volume.
Dip three or four biscuits into the coffee& Amaretto mixture for about three seconds on each side and shake of the excess. Then create the first layer of ladyfingers across the bottom of your dessert dish (another way to serve for a dinner party is to make individual desserts in jam jars or martini glasses).
Grate milk chocolate and add a dust a decent layer across the top of the ladyfingers.
Spread some of the cream mixture over the chocolatey biscuits. Repeat this process again to make the second layer, using up the biscuits, grated chocolate and finishing with a cream layer then more flake chocolate.
Refrigerate for about three hours or until firm. The longer it is left, the more the flavours will develop.
When it was all gone “I tira-missed- you!!” Until next time!!
I was really pleased with how this turned out… I had it for dinner and then packed it for lunch too the next day. I combined a couple recipes to find the nicest combination.
- x3 small/medium sweet potatoes
- x1 teaspoon cayenne pepper , plus extra for sprinkling
- x1 teaspoon ground cumin , plus extra for sprinkling
- x1 teaspoon ground cinnamon , plus extra for sprinkling
- splash of olive oil
- x1 red onion
- x1 red pepper
- x1 yellow pepper
- x2 cloves of garlic
- (you could add x1 bunch of fresh coriander but I hate the stuff!!)
- sprinkle of chilli flakes
- 2 x 400 g tinned beans, such as kidney, chickpea, pinto, cannellini
- 2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes
- x1 or x2 cup/s black beans (these have to be pre-soaked and boiled- I tend to boil for ten minutes and simmer for 40 before adding to the chilli) alternatively – stick a tin of black beans instead (the packets of dried beans are often cheaper but a bit more fiddly).
Instructions for the chef:
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas 6.
- Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into bite-sized chunks, then place onto a baking tray.
- Sprinkle with a pinch each of cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, sea salt (I used pink Himalayan salt- my mum bought it for me as a stocking filler and I am obsessed with it but it is a bit more expensive than normal sea salt so either is fine) and black pepper, drizzle with oil and coat.
- Roast for 40 minutes, or until golden and tender.
- Peel and roughly chop the red onion.
- Halve, deseed and roughly chop the peppers, then peel and finely chop the garlic.
- If you choose to add the coriander leaves (finely chopped)
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat, add the onion, peppers and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the coriander stalks, chilli and spices, and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Drain and add the beans. Tip in the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a spoon, then stir well.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce to medium-low and leave for half an hour on a low-ish heat, or until thickened and reduced – keep an eye on it, and add a splashes of water to loosen, if needed.
- Stir the roasted sweet potatoes through the chilli, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.
Serving suggestion: Sliced avocado, sour cream and some tortilla chips!
From experience: It is even better the next day and there is plenty left over for a few pack lunches or to make for a small dinner party (to bulk it out you could serve with fragrant rice or nachos- maybe a side of tequila!! then it would be mex-cellent!!)
Instructions for the Chef:
Start by making the pastry
- Mix 175g plain flour with 75g chilled small cubes of butter. I mixed the two ingredients together with my hands until it began to look similar to breadcrumbs. Next add 3tbsp water and combine to make the mixture into one doughy ball.
- Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the ball to your desired thickness, ensuring the pastry will adequately line your chosen flan tin. Then, place this mixture into the fridge for 30mins.
While your pastry is cooling, turn on the oven.
- Bake pastry blind for 15mins
- Remove foil and baking beans and bake for 5-8mins until light golden and dry.
To make the filling:
- Melt 125g of butter into a saucepan. Once this is a yellow liquid remove it from the heat, add 125g caster sugar ( I always use golden caster sugar), add 125g ground almonds and one beaten egg (optional to add a splash of almond or vanilla essence). Put filling mixture aside.
- Add a generous amount of raspberry jam to the pastry (once cooled).
- Top with filling.
- Sprinkle the top with flaked almonds
Bake for 35minutes or until the flaked almonds turn a golden brown (you can always cover with foil if they are turning brown and continue to cook).
ps. Optional: Add some icing sugar and water together to combine into a icing and drizzle over the tart in a rough and ready zig zag effect.
This dessert calls for a bit of pre-planning as it takes about 2-3 hours to set. (Who knew you could chill or bake cheesecake? It will probably become increasingly apparent this was my first attempt at making cheesecake).
Instructions for the chef:
- Grease/ line the base of a spring-form cake tin.
- Crush 200g digestives (could experiment and use gingernuts or a similar crunchy biscuit for the crumbly base). To do this, I used a freezer bag to try and contain the inevitably messy crumbs.
- Melt 50g of butter and all this to the biscuit crumbs, then press mixture into the tin, to form the bottom base.
- Stir 400g of soft creamy cheese, 150g caster sugar and 1tsp lemon zest (as I took my inspo from a Philadelphia cookbook I used full fat philly – no new year calorie counters were welcome at this dinner party) (recurrent theme of this dish was I only loosely stuck to the recipe and also added a whole lemon’s zest- whyyy not!). Mix together until creamy and smooth.
- Heat a pan of water on the hob until boiling then reduce the temperature and place a glass bowl over the top (ensure water and the bottom of bowl are not touching).
- Into the glass bowl, add a sachet (11g) of gelatine to 50ml of water and then add 200g of your favourite white chocolate (no contest- Milkybar!), stir mixture until smooth.
- Take bowl of the heat.
- Fold 200ml whipping cream into the creamy philly, sugar and lemon mixture, add the melted white chocolate and gelatine. Then ass 150g frozen raspberries (do not defrost!)
- Pour the filling into the cake tin over the top of the prepared biscuit base.
- Refrigerate and let your cheese cake set for 2-3hours.
- To decorate, add fresh raspberries (and crushed malteasers for an extra treat), sparkler is optional.
Some action photos: (say…CHEESE!)
I searched high and low for a simple hummingbird cake recipe and although this is in American cups it seemed to turn out ok (I bought a set of bright pink measuring cups which served me well). The recipe was from a woman called Barbara Knight from Pinterest and it now comes tried/tested and it was very tasty!
Until this year I had not heard of Hummingbird cake but a friend introduced us and now the pair of us are good friends! So it was only fair that I try my hand at creating one for her birthday – we did share, promise!!
Recipe is photographed below and my step by step photos follow.
I wanted to share a Christmas cheat recipe with you all. The end result is some seriously cutesy pies!
For a really easy peasy Christmas party cheat, grab some ready made shortcrust pastry, mincmeat and a small bottle of Baileys.
12 Hole Tart Tin
Instructions for the cheating chef:
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Have a 12 bun tin ready and take the pastry out of the packaging 10-15 minutes before you are ready to use it (keep it at room temperature).
Roll out the pastry and using a 7.5cm/3″ cutter cut out 12 discs and line the base of the tin. Cut out 12 smaller stars with another cutter for the lids and set aside.
Fill each case with 2 teaspoons of mincemeat, lightly moisten undersides of pastry lids with water and use to top tarts, pressing gently at edges to seal.
Make a hole in the top of each pie with the tip of a sharp knife (to allow any steam to escape), brush with water, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Sprinkle with a little more sugar; allow to stand in the tin for 2-3 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack.
Then… ENJOY !!
N.B. Couldn’t resist one of my favourite festive jokes…
Q. Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?
A. Mince spies
I want to lick the screen this cake was so good.
- 175g self-raising flour
- 2tbsp cocoa
- 1tbsp bicarbonate soda
- 150g caster sugar
- x2 eggs
- 2tbsp golden syrup
- 150ml semi-skimmed milk
For the topping:
- Double cream
- Dark Chocolate
- Chocolate and sugar stars for decoration
Instructions for the chef:
Pre-heat the oven to 180’C. Grease the Cake tin. Sieve the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate soda into a large bowl. Mix together and make a well in the middle of the ingredients. Add the eggs, milk and syrup. Beat it all together using an electric hand whisk until the mixture looks smooth. Spoon into a cake tin (heart shape optional). Cook for 30minutes or until risen and the cake is firm to touch. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
While the cake is cooling, make the ganache topping. Break the chocolate into small pieces and pour on top the double cream. Place this into a bowl and put on top of boiling water (do not let the boiling water touch the bowl). Stir and then let the ganache cool.
When the cake cools spoon on the ganache and then decorate with chocolate stars (or chosen topping).
Next time I will try spooning the mixture into two cake tins and add then sandwich the cakes together.
I took this cake to a friend’s house warming and it went down a treat! It would also work well for a birthday cake.