Recipes

Here are some of my favourite recipes.  I must apologise that half the ingredients are in ounces and half in grams as I cobble recipes together from lots of different places and I'm just too lazy to convert them all, sorry!


Classic Victoria Sponge

Ingredients

Butter - 200g
Caster Sugar - 200g
Self Raising Flour - 200g
Eggs - 4
Vanilla Essence - 1 teaspoon
(oil and flour for greasing/dusting)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 190c. Grease and flour 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.  Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in a food processor (or by hand) until creamy.  Slowly beat in the eggs, one by one.  Fold in the sifted flour ensuring you don't lose all the nice air you beat in.  Pour mixture into tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.  Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool.  Sandwich with jam and whipped cream and dust with icing sugar.


Maple & Walnut Tart



Ingredients

For the Pastry: This shortcrust pastry can be used for any sweet tart. 

Plain Flour - 7oz
Unsalted Butter - 3.5oz (cold and cut into cubes)
Icing Sugar - 1 tablespoon
1 egg - beaten

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180c.  Sift the flour into a food processor along with the icing sugar and butter.  Mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.  With the blade still running, slowly add about half your beaten egg until the mixture starts to come together in a ball.  When this happens, tip it out onto a large piece of clingfilm, wrap together in a ball and bring together.  Chill in fridge for a least 30 minutes.  When the pastry has chilled, keeping the clingfilm its wrapped in, roll the pastry out with another piece of clingfilm on the top.  Roll it into a circular shape about the thickness of a £1 coin or until its big enough to cover your tin and the edges.  Take off the top layer of clingfilm and turning the pastry upside down, gently lay it into the tart tin, smoothing it into the sides and cutting the top edges between the tin and your finger.  Remove any excess pieces of pastry.  Leaving the clingfilm in, add the baking beans, wrap them in the clingfilm and blind bake your pastry for around 10 minutes.  I promise you the clingfilm will not melt!  Remove from the over after this time, remover the baking beans, brush with the remaining beaten egg and pop back in the over for another 5 minutes.  This will stop your filling making the pastry soggy.

For the filling

150 ml golden syrup, (or 2/3 golden syrup, 1/3 dark maple)
60 g butter
175 g soft dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 g walnuts (pecans work well too!), chopped 
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Put the syrup, butter, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Add the walnuts/pecans and leave to cool at room temperature.  Mix the cooled syrup with the eggs. Pour into the pastry case and put in the oven. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the filling is only just set in the middle (it will continue to cook as it cools down). Leave to cool completely before serving.  I have tried this both with and without blind baking the pastry and both worked equally as well! 

Mum's Super Easy Shortbread




Ingredients

Plain Flour - 6oz
Caster Sugar - 2oz (plus extra for dusting)
Unsalted Butter - half a block

Method

Pre-heat oven to 150c.

Place all ingredients into a food processor until the mix all comes together in a ball. 

Roll out on a floured work surface to desired thickness (I like them thin and crispy) and cut into desired shape.

Place on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 15 mins.  Keep an eye on them - if they are thin they may take less time.

Dust with a little caster sugar when they are still hot and place on a wire rack to cool.

Ideas

These biscuits are so quick and easy to make and ideal if you have some unexpected guests popping round for a coffee!  I like to make them thin and bake them until they are golden to get a lovely flavour.  They are great for all occasions - I cut them into heart shapes for a Valentine's gift for example or Christmas trees to have handy over the festive period.


Tomato, Chilli & Basil Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed
a pinch of dried chilli flakes (more if you like it HOT!)
400g tin of plum tomatoes
small pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
a handful of roughly chopped basil
2 tablespoons of low-fat creme fraiche (optional)

Method

Heat oil in a heavy based pan then add the chopped onion and garlic until translucent.  Add the chilli flakes and cook for another minute or so.  Add the whole tin of plum tomatoes then fill the empty tin with water, twice, and add to pan.  Season with salt, pepper and sugar then bring to boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook for 30 mins.  Add the basil and creme fraiche then blitz with a hand-held blender.  The soup will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. 95 calories per serving.


Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients

Plain Flour - 120g
Caster Sugar - 140g
Baking Powder - 1 and a half teaspoons
a pinch of salt
Butter (unsalted, at room temp) - 40g
Whole Milk - 120ml
Egg - 1
Vanilla Extract - half a teaspoon

For this recipe, use muffin cases and a muffin tin.  Makes 12.

Method

Pre-heat oven to 170c.  Put sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a mixer (or large bowl if hand beating) and beat on a slow setting until you get a sandy consistency.  Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.  Whisk the egg and vanilla with the remaining milk in a separate dish then pour into the flour mixture.  Continue beating until just incorporated, scraping unmixed bits from the side.  Continue beating for a couple of minutes until smooth.  Don't over beat it!  Fill your cases 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.  Cool in the tin for a few minutes before fully cooling on wire rack.

Tip:  Using muffin cases makes icing them easier.  Don't fill them too full, as you don't want the cake to rise higher than the sides of the muffin case.  When icing, use a spatula to create a smooth surface before piping.  The ones in the pictures below were done just using a spatula.








Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients

Icing Sugar - 250g (sifted)
Butter - 80g (unsalted, at room temp)
Whole Milk - 25ml
a couple of drops of vanilla extract.

Method

Beat icing sugar and butter together in mixer on (or with hand mixer) on medium-slow speed until well combined.  Turn down to slow.  Combine milk and vanilla in a separate bowl and add to the mixture a spoonful at a time.  Turn up to high speed and beat for at least 5 minutes.  The longer the frosting is beaten the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

This makes enough for 12 cupcakes.  Double the mixture for a 20cm Victoria Sponge.


More recipes to come!

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