Friday, 28 September 2007

Bread and Butter Pudding

This is my husband's favourite pudding. It reminds me of being a child and eating it swamped in custard however he prefers his with dollops of vanilla ice-cream melting beside the warmth of the pudding. It makes a great dessert on a chilly autumn evening when the nights are drawing in and darkness is falling. The hot pudding covered in lovely hot custard will warm you through and through.

I made it using 1 1/2 pints of milk, granulated sugar, 2 eggs, butter, raisins and 4-5 large slices of bread (depending on the size of the dish you are using!).

Preheat the oven to a medium heat. Gently heat the milk and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a medium pan until just before boiling point. Take of the heat and whisk in the eggs. Take the bread, butter it and then slice into triangles. Layer it along the bottom of the dish and sprinkle over some sugar and raisins, place another layer of bread on top and again sprinkle on some sugar and raisins. You may add another layer depending on the size of the dish. Pour over the heated milk and sugar and then place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Serve with custard, vanilla ice-cream or double cream. Delicious!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Very Cherry Biscuits

This recipe must be the simplest and quickest recipe i've made so far. You'll love these cherry biscuits and they are lovely to eat on a lazy sunday afternoon while watching old black and white films. To make these, you will need:

100g/4oz unsalted butter
50g/2oz caster sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
150g/6oz self-raising flour (sieved)
10-20 glace cherries

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and grease two baking trays. Slice the butter into cubes and melt it over a low heat. Pour into a bowl and add the caster sugar, vanilla extract and then the flour. Use your hands to mix the mixture until it forms a firm dough.

Roll half the mixture into little balls and squash down with a spoon. Place a few chopped cherries onto the top of the biscuits and place them onto the baking tray and into the oven for 10-15 minutes. While the first tray of biscuits is cooking take the rest of the mixture and mix it with all the chopped cherries. Again, roll into little balls and bake for 10-15 minutes until they are golden. Transfer to a wire rack and try to wait until they are cooled before eating them!

This recipe is supposed to make 15 biscuits but mine were quite small so it might be better to make 10 larger bicuits. Enjoy!

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Cranberry Muffins

I don't usually make low fat cakes but I found this recipe in a weight watchers cookbook and the picture made them look so good. They do taste good and apparently each mufin only has 200 calories! I like them but I don not think they are quite as good as normal muffins made with butter. Try them for yourself and let me know waht you thought of them. This receipe makes about 12 muffins.

You will need:

300g (10.5oz) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
150g (5.5oz) light muscovado sugar
60g (2oz) craisins (dried cranberries)
1 egg
225ml (8 fl oz) skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
50ml (2fl oz) sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6. Line the muffin tray with paper cases.

Take a large bowl and sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together. Stir in the sugar and the craisins. In a small bowl lightly beat the egg and then add the milk and the oil and beat the ingrediants together. Fold them together with the dry ingrediants until they are mixed well to a dropping consistency.

Using a tablespoon drop the mixture into the paper cases. Place them into the the middle of the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Mine took 20 minutes but ovens tend to vary so keep an eye on them. Once you have removed them from the oven place them onto a wire rack to cool. You could change this recipe by adding sulatanas to it or maybe chopped up glazed cherries.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Autumn Plums

Last night I made a really quick pudding by heating up some plums in the oven. Before I put them in the oven I squeezed over some orange juice and sprinkled on some brown sugar and some ground cinnamon. When they were piping hot I removed them and served them with some organic vanilla yogurt and a mixture of nuts, seeds, sultanas and raisins mixed in honey! They were great as a quick dessert after a days work!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Chocolate and nut biscuits

You will need:

175g/6oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g/4.5oz soft margarine
90g/3oz light muscovado sugar
60g/2oz caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
125g/4.5 dark chocolate chips
30g chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 and lightly grease two baking trays. This recipe makes about 18 biscuits.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the margarine, caster sugar and light muscovado sugar and then add the egg, flour and baking powder and the vanilla extract. When all the mixture is combined add in the chocolate chips and nuts. I used chopped up dark chocolate squares and hazelnuts.

Place tablespoons of mixture onto the baking trays allowing about 4cm between each for them to spread. Place in the middle of the oven and cook for aboout 10-12 minutes until they look golden brown. Remove them from the oven and leave them on the baking tray for a few short minutes before transferring to a wire rack! Delicious at any time of day! I'm sure this recipe will work well with a variety of different chocolate, nuts or even chopped cherries. Let me know how you get on!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

The foodie Blogroll

I just wanted to say that I have joined the foodie blog roll that is a list of links to amazing food blogs set up by Queen over at Be sure to check it out and if you write a food blog be sure to join the foodie community!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Chocolate biscuit squares

This recipe is just delicious. I found it in one of my nan's old cook books and it tasted so good I had three slices last night!

You will need:

6oz plain chocolate (broken up)
2oz butter
8oz digestive biscuits (crushed)
grated orange peel
4oz sultanas
2oz chopped cherries

Melt the butter in a saucepan and once melted add the chocolate. This should be done over a low heat. Stir in the crushed biscuits, chopped cherries, sultanas and grated orange peel and mix until everything is covered in chocolate. Pour the mixture into a tray (with a sheet of grease proof paper on the bottom) and leave it in the fridge to set. Cut into squares.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Chocolate Cake

This mixture is enough for one cake tin only. Double the quantity for a double chocolate cake like the one I made.
125g soft margarine
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp golden syrup
125g self-raising flour (sieved)
2 tbsp cocoa powder (sieved)

Heat the oven to 190C (325f/Gas Mark 5) and line a 7inch/18cm cake tin with grease proof paper. Lightly grease the edges of the tin.

Cream together the margarine and the sugar and then add the eggs one at a time to the mixture. If the eggs start to curdle add one tablespoon of sieved self-raising flour. Add the rest of the flour and the cocoa powder and fold into the mixture. Stir in the the syrup and one tablespoon of hot water and mix together. Pour into the cake tin.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the cake is nice and springy. Cool for a few minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack. Remember to peel away the grease proof paper from the bottom of the cake!

To make the filling or to ice the top of one cake you will need:

30g butter
2 tbsp of hot water
2tbsp of sifted cocoa powder
125g of sifted icing sugar

Melt the butter in a pan or in the microwave if you like and pour into a bowl. Add the hot water and the cocoa powder and stir until the ingrediants form a paste. Add the icing sugar until all the mixture is combined. I used this chocolate icing to sandwich the cakes together and then sprinkled on some more icing sugar. If you really want death by chocolate then you could make a large quantity of the chocoalte icing and cover the whole cake!

Friday, 14 September 2007


Pancakes seem to only happen once a year in England but not in my house! Simple recipes are sometimes the best ones and nothing is simpler than pancakes!

All you need is:

125g plain flour
1 egg (lightly beaten)
pinch of salt
300ml of milk or milk mixed with water
butter or oil

Simply mix all the ingrediants together until you have a smooth mixture. Heat a large frying pan with some butter or oil and once hot, pour in a little mixture. Swirl the mixture around until it covers the pan and leave for about a minute. Flip over and cook the other side. Delicious! I had my pancakes with blueberries, vanilla ice-cream and dark chocolate drizzled over the top and then one traditional one with lemon, syrup and sugar. Other great combinations are banana and nutella, strawberries and vanilla ice-cream, honey with banana and nuts, maple syrup....
Here are some 'tips' when making pancakes: Make sure the mixture has no lumps whatsoever, heat the butter and then pour of any extra into a small dish to use again after about 3 pancakes, make sure the mixture covers the whole pan by swirling it around, add more mixture if you need to, practice the art of flipping! This mixture makes about 6 large panckaes!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Chocolate and oat cookies

I have attempted to make these cookies three times now, I will not be defeated! The first time i made them they tasted good but i used sunflower oil instead of vegetable oil, doh! The second time the ones at the back of the oven got a little well done (i.e. black!) and the third time-just right! phew! I'm off to buy an oven thermometer tomorrow so I can find out the real temperature inside my oven as i'm convinced that baby is too hot! This recipe is adapted from a student cookbook I bought at uni.

Here is what you will nedd:

125g oats
125g plain flour
75g butter
100g sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
75g chocolate (either drops or chopped)

Heat the oven to 180C, grab a bowl and mix the oats and flour together. Melt the butter and the sugar in a saucepan and when it has melted add it to the oats and flour mix. Mix together until the oats are covered and then stir in the oil and the egg, followed by the chocolate.

Put spoonfuls of the mixture on a greased baking tray and flatten them with a spoon or fork. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden but still slightly soft. Move them to a wire rack or plate to cool. Eat during the afternoon with your cup of tea. Bliss!

Okay, I'm off now to watch Jamie Oliver and Cook yourself thin! With all this baking i'll be the one who needs to cook myself thin soon!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Vanilla Cookies

On sunday morning I was awake bright and early and eager to get baking in the kitchen. I had seen a recipe in a food magazine called 'delicious' for vanilla cookies and they looked tasty. I have to say they tasted amazing!

Here is the recipe i followed:

250g of plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g butter, cubed and chilled
125g golden caster sugar
1 medium free range egg
vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a large baking tray (you may need two!) with baking paper. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl and then rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then add the egg and a few drops of vanilla extract. Use your hands to help form a soft dough.

Sprinkle a board with extra flour and then empty the mixture onto it. Gently roll out the mixture using a floured rolling pin and use a cutter to cut out shapes. Lift the cookies onto a baking tray preferably with a palette knife and place on the tray.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes until they look pale golden in colour. Remove them from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for about 10 minutes, then move them to a wire rack. When they are cool you can decorate them any way you like. I piped icing onto mine in pretty patterns but you could use sweets, or a variety of other things.

I just want to encourage you all that even if you don't think you have the equipment to bake there are all kinds of things you can use. I don't have a palette knife (yet!) so i just used a normal knife, i also didn't have a rolling pin and ended up using a shot glass (i've bought one now though!) and the only cutter i own at the moment is a heart shaped egg thing. Still they worked out well and they look good don't you think? :)

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Chocolate chip muffin recipe

Well, my first attempt at making chocolate muffins went really well apart from one slight hitch of the oven being slighty too high and them getting slighty burnt on the top, oh well! I managed to slice of the top bit, sprinkled them with icing sugar and they looked great! Well, everyone at our sunday roast dinner party enjoyed them. I love muffins, they remind me of america and starbucks and there's something about the soft texture with all that chocolate goodness that makes me go weak at the knees!

I followed this recipe from a cookbook i have called 'Chocolate', all you need is:

175g plain chocolate broken
350ml milk
60g unsalted butter375g self-raising flour1 tbs baking powder60g cocoa powder100g caster sugar100g milk chocolate chips100g white chocolate chips2 tsp vanilla essense
1 egg
1 egg yolk
icing sugar for dusting

Take out a muffin tray and place in the muffin cases in each hole and turn up the oven to 200C. (When baking it is important to make sure that the oven is turned before you begin mixing the ingrediants so that it has time to reach the required temperature).

Melt half of the milk, the butter and the chocolate in a pan until it has melted and leave to cool. Meanwhile sift the flour and baking powder together with the cocoa powder into a bowl. Stir in the sugar and the chocolate drops and mix them all together.

Beat in the remaining of the milk, vanilla essence, egg and egg yolk and add to the bowl with the chocolate mixture. Fold the ingrediants together using a metal spoon until the mixture is just combined and then quickly spoon the mixture into the muffin cases so that they are 3/4 full and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. (It is so important to keep an eye on your baking in case the oven temperature is too high as i found out! Still, it's all part of the learning process!)

I am off food shopping now to buy some ingrediants for my afternoon of baking, mmm, what will I make next?!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Oat biscuits

I've only just begun baking biscuits but they taste so much better than shop bought ones. I can't just eat one either, I love home made biscuits; I have two at a time! I've been reading lots of cookbooks recently and exploring the art of cake, cookie and biscuit making! Well, i found this recipe in an Asda cookbook i once got free at freshers fair at university. Asda had a stand there and every hour they would ask questions about the city and you could win prizes, so i listened to the questions and went back the next hour and won a cookbook! Naughty Naughty! I aslo won some plates :) Well, they should have changed the questions shouldn't they! haha!

So, thanks to the recipe in the Asda cookbook i made these lovely biscuits.

The recipe goes like:

115g margarine
115g sugar
115g self raising flour (sieved)
3 tbs custard powder
45g rolled oats
2 tbs golden syrup

Simply preheat your oven to about 180C and then take a large bowl and mix all the ingrediants together until the ingrediants stick together. Break off small bits and roll into balls (the mixture should make about 24) and place them on a greased proof tray, flatten them slightly with a spoon or fork and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire tray and eat with a lovely cup of coffee! The perfect bedtime snack. I chucked a full small handfuls of raisins in mine but i reackon they would also be good with nuts or chocolate-I will let you know!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Hot Chocolate

Chocolate really is a girls best friend. I just adore chocolate. I love it all and will never say no if someone offers me some. I especially like Divine fairtrade chocolate and Green and Blacks and since moving to London i keep discovering amazing chocolate shops such as 'Hotel Chocolat' and the chocolate stalls in Harrods! My husband and I fell out in Sainsburys the other day over whether or not Cadburys is real chocolate. I was like no way, he was saying it definitely was, i was like there is no way under the sun, i mean the main ingrediants are milk and sugar! I mean don't get me wrong i love cadburys cream eggs and double decker bars but there is no way it can be classed as 'Real' chocolate, I don't think so.....

Anyway, I decided to make some 'Real' hot chocolate last night (I'm preparing for the arrival of winter!). You don't need to buy sachets of hot choc from supermarkets it's so easy to make. All you need is some good quality chocolate and some full fat milk. First, shave the chocolate using a grater and then put two heaped tablespoons into a cup. Heat the milk until boiling. Put a small amount of hot milk into the mug and stir with the chocolate flakes to make a paste. Top up the rest of the mug with the hot milk, stirring continously. Sprinkle on more chocolate flakes and relax! Oooh baby!

Monday, 3 September 2007


Over the weekend I decided to be a bit creative and make some cupcakes. I used exactly the same recipe as i did for my Victoria sponge cake (down below). The mixture was enough to make about 10 cupcakes. I iced them with vanilla buttercream and topped them with chocolate swirls and chocolate flakes. I tried experimenting by melting chocolate and spreading it over a baking tin. I let it go cold and then carved the chocolate with a knife making all kinds of lovely chocolate swirls. I also tried shaving it with a potato peeler and grating it with a grater to make chocolate shavings. Check out my pictures! :)