Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello lovely readers, I do hope that your Saturday is a very good day. I always start my day with a cup of tea and cookie and my Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies are perfect with my cuppa.

FF Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

So I’m going to be honest, I’m not a massive fan of dark chocolate, in any form, to eat, just as it is. Melted and mixed into a cake batter – not a problem – although if it’s a very chocolatey cake I usually don’t have more than one slice. Dark chocolate, although usually the best chocolate to use when baking, well, it’s just a bit too intense for me. Here, however, in these Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies it was absolutely necessary to use good quality, dark chocolate chips. The contrast against the sour, chewy, cherries balances the flavours in this buttery cookie perfectly.

Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies - the perfect balance of flavour and texture.
Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies – the perfect balance of flavour and texture.

 

You’d think with 3 growing teenagers in the house, everything I bake would get eaten and mostly it does! There have been a few failures over the years and I guess, because they’ve eaten good, home cooked food all their lives, they’ve become very discerning!!! Most goodies achieve an 8 out of 10 score (and that’s high praise indeed), these cookies got a gold star. 10 out of 10!! I love baking for others, especially my family. Their encouragement and honesty help make me a better cook/baker. It’s also another way for me to show them how much they are loved.

Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies - photographed alongside cherries from our own garden!
Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies – photographed alongside cherries from our own garden!

 

I find the process of baking very relaxing and rewarding. It’s lovely to bake a cake for someone, just because you love them, or remember a particular friend, who loves meringue but rarely eats it as her hubby is diabetic. Little thoughtful treats, to show, in this fast paced world, that you’ve taken time, for that particular person. Makes me go all warm and fuzzy inside.

So I’d better show you how to make these buttery, yummy, Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies so you can share them too!!

Recipe : Makes 20-25 Cookies.

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temperature.

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1 Large Egg Yolk

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

100g/4oz Dried Sour Cherries

175g/6oz Dark Chocolate Chips

Method : Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan

First of all in a large bowl whisk together the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

Next add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Continue whisking until fully incorporated.

My egg had a gorgeous orange yolk and I used golden caster sugar (it was on offer!!), so the mixture has more colour than usual!
My egg had a gorgeous orange yolk and I used golden caster sugar (it was on offer!!), so the mixture has more colour than usual!
Add in the flour, chocolate chips and dried cherries.
Add in the flour, chocolate chips and dried cherries.

 

Mix all the ingredients together slowly, I like to do this by hand using a spoon, until they just come together. The more you mix the tougher your cookie will be!

The dough for your Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies - resist the urge to taste - or not!!!
The dough for your Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies – resist the urge to taste – or not!!!

 

Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Using a 5cm/2" ice cream scoop, or your hands, make balls of cookie dough and place on the parchment lined baking sheet.
Using a 5cm/2″ ice cream scoop, or your hands, make balls of cookie dough and place on the parchment lined baking sheet.
With clean hands lightly press down on the dough balls to flatten them. The imprint of your fingers leaves a pretty pattern.
With clean hands lightly press down on the dough balls to flatten them. The imprint of your fingers leaves a pretty pattern.

 

Place in a preheated oven and bake for 18-23 minutes until golden brown on top.

Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies - remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking tray.
Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies – remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking tray.

 

The cookies will still be soft once cooked and will firm up on cooling.

Time to put the kettle on or pour a nice glass of milk. Once cooled enjoy biting into the buttery, chewy, chocolatey gooey Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies - perfect for sharing.
Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies – perfect for sharing.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies you may also like these:

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies

FF Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies

Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

FF Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Cherry Bakewell Cookies

FF Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

 

Do you find baking relaxing? If so, what do you enjoy baking the most?

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or replicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Hello lovelies, I have been a baking bread. Not any ole squishy, white, sandwich loaf – oh no – Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

Delicious Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.
Delicious Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

 

I honestly can’t begin to tell you just how yummy this bread is. It truly is proof that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread is taking bites of bread and then experiencing your taste buds explode with all the flavours,  in your mouth.

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

 

This Focaccia is perfect with pasta (we had it with Lasagne, perfect for mopping up tomato and cheese sauce). I also think it would be great to take on a picnic, served with some good cheddar and a glass of something cold!

I made enough for 2 loaves, so just halve the recipe if only one Focaccia is needed – as the tomatoes won’t freeze well. Alternatively make two and leave the tomatoes off of the loaf you intend to freeze. Double wrap in cling film and the bread will last 3 months in the freezer!

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia.
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia.

 

We love any kind of bread with our meals, especially if it has garlic added. This hit the spot big time and Snugs, who can be a little but careful when it comes to ‘different foods’ loved this!! I guess you could even add some shards of sharp cheddar before baking? Might have to try that!!!!

Recipe :

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

1 x 7g Sachet Fast Action Dried Yeast

1tsp Maldon Sea Salt (3/4tsp if using free flowing)

2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling.

Approx 300-350ml lukewarm water.

16-20 Cherry Tomatoes – halved (half the amount for one Focaccia)

2tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves (half the amount for one Focaccia)

4 Cloves of Garlic (half the amount for one Focaccia)

Method : Using bread maker or stand mixer with dough hook attached.

Place 300ml of water into the bowl of your mixer.

Add the yeast and then the flour.

Add 2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Now add the salt.

Set the bread maker to the mix/prove cycle.

If the dough seems dry add extra water 20mls at a time until the dough has a smooth elasticity, while being mixed. If the dough is too dry either machine will be clunking!

With a stand mixer mix on medium speed until the dough is soft and elastic. Using Olive oil on your hands to stop the dough sticking, roll the dough into a tight ball, place back into the mixer bowl, cover with cling film and leave to double in size.

Using either method, once the first prove is finished, knock back, restarting the mixing on the bread machine and removing the cling and mix for a further 10 minutes.

Oil 2 x 20cmx20cm (8″ x 8″) square tins.

Tip the knocked back dough into one of the oiled pans.
Tip the knocked back dough into one of the oiled pans.
Place half the dough into each pan.
Place half the dough into each pan.
Using your fingers spread the Focaccia dough so it covers the base of the pan evenly. Drizzle a little Olive oil over.
Using your fingers spread the Focaccia dough so it covers the base of the pan evenly. Drizzle a little Olive oil over.
Add the cherry tomato halves.
Add the cherry tomato halves.
Sprinkle the thyme and garlic over the top and give your dough a final drizzle with Olive oil.
Sprinkle the thyme and garlic over the top and give your dough a final drizzle with Olive oil.

 

Cover and leave to double in size. Whilst proving preheat your oven to 220C/200C fan.

When your dough is doubled in size place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

Breathe deeply. Mmm, that smell coming out of the oven is your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread. Enjoy, it smells amazing!

 

Remove your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the oven when it is golden all over.
Remove your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the oven when it is golden all over.
Remove the Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the pan and cool on a rack, if not eating straight away!!
Remove the Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the pan and cool on a rack, if not eating straight away!!

 

I cut my Focaccia into squares, what do you do?

This recipe is so easy and the taste is amazing. Let me know if you make this bread? I love to read your comments.

You may also like Sundried Tomato Olive Focaccia Bread

The perfect food for feasting and sharing.

Sammie x

 

 

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Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza

Hello lovely people, I have been wanting to share my Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza recipe with you for ages. The trouble is I always forget to photograph the pizza once it’s cooked. I’m sorry, too many blonde moments! Yesterday though, I was resolute. That pizza was getting it’s picture taken no matter what.

Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza - topped with a Spanish selection of ham, salami and chorizo.
Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza – topped with a Spanish selection of ham, salami and chorizo.

 

Now I have been making pizzas with our children and many of their friends who’ve come to dinner, since, well, they could stand on a chair and smoosh pizza dough about. Over the years we’ve had various shaped pizzas, including; guinea pigs, batman (and pretty much every superhero a little boy could think of), lemons, flowers, cats, hearts and many more. It’s a great cop out. Invite your children’s friends for dinner, then get them to make it. Firstly, they absolutely love it, secondly, I’ve never had a child who didn’t want to make their own pizza and lastly every single piece of their creation gets eaten. So no worrying about fussy eaters, just allow them to decorate their own pizza, whatever it’s shape, with a selection of toppings; pepperoni makes a great piggies snout.

The perfect child friendly combination : messy hands, creativity, they eat their creation. Each child’s pizza is different and happy chatter over the dinner table deciding whose is the biggest, most realistic, it literally goes on and on. I kinda miss those days. These days all 3 children can make large pizzas for the whole family, with a  bowl of salad or homemade coleslaw to go alongside.

These pizzas are made from scratch except for one teeny tiny cheat. I use a 500g bag of Ciabatta bread mix, instead of making the pizza bases from scratch. I have made pizza dough in the past, but Wright’s Ciabatta Bread Mix gives such a fantastically crunchy, crisp crust, it really is my easy pizza dough of choice.

Recipe: Makes 2 Large Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza – serves 6 Adults.

500g Bag Ciabatta Bread Mix – Olive oil according to packet instructions, plus 2 tbsp extra – I use Wright’s

Tomato purée – approx 4tbsp

300g Mozzarella – drained weight

Toppings – I used a Spanish selection : Serrano ham, Chorizo and Salchichon – use whatever you like, mushrooms, meatballs, more cheese.

Method :

Make up your  Ciabatta  pizza dough according to the packet instructions. I used my bread maker to mix, prove and knock back.

Oil 2 x  38cm x 28cm (14″ x 11.5″) baking sheets.

As soon as the dough has reached the knocked back stage tip the dough on to one of the baking sheets. Rub the palms of your hands over the oiled baking sheet, this will stop the dough sticking to them.

Using a dough cutter or knife, divide the dough in half.
Using a dough cutter or knife, divide the dough in half.

 

Now comes the fun bit. Especially for children or the child within us! Using your hands pat the dough out so that it is flat.

Keep patting with your hands, very gently stretching the dough as you do...
Keep patting with your hands, very gently stretching the dough as you do…
Work with the dough, gradually patting/stretching so that it reaches the edges of the baking tray.
Work with the dough, gradually patting/stretching so that it reaches the edges of the baking tray.
The base to your Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza is complete!
The base to your Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza is complete!
Drizzle a little Olive oil on your pizza base, smoosh about with your hands and then cove with cling film.
Drizzle a little Olive oil on your pizza base, smoosh about with your hands and then cove with cling film.

 

If you haven’t got a child or someone else to do the other pizza base, repeat with the second half of the dough.

Leave the pizza bases, covered in oiled cling film, in a warm place until doubled in size, or placed on separate shelves in the fridge for a few hours until needed.

When ready to assemble the pizza first preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan.

I find it easiest to have all the ingredients prepped and ready before I start assembling the pizza. In fact when I make pizza with little people, reckon on 1 x 500g batch of pizza dough to make 4-6 individual pizzas. I also have ham, cheese, sliced peppers (they make great light sabres) in bowls ready for little fingers.

Place 2tbsp tomato purée on each pizza base – smoosh to roughly cover the dough.

Now add the cheese and other toppings. I have learnt it is best not to overload with toppings, as you will end up with a soggy pizza base.

A beautifully, meaty Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza ready for the oven.
A beautifully, meaty Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza ready for the oven.

 

As soon as both of the Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizzas are ready, place in a hot, preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.

The pizzas are cooked when they are crusty around the edges and cooked through in the centre. I test this using a knife, the centre won’t be as crusty as the edges but you should feel resistance. If it’s still soft give the pizza another 5 minutes baking, reducing the heat slightly if the top is cooked.

Delicious Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza.
Delicious Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza.

 

Using a palette knife loosen the pizza around the edges and run it underneath. Slide the pizza out of the baking tray onto a large wooden board, or I have glass worktop saver (don’t use knives on glass it’ll blunt them) which I only use for pizzas. Cut into squares using a pizza cutter. There are usually get 15 squares per pizza.

And serve your Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza - here with salad.
And serve your Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza – here with salad.

 

This Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza is so easy, adaptable and reliable that makes it perfect for parties, buffets, weekend meals, sleepovers the list is endless. The perfect food for Feasting, Sharing and having Fun!

Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza.
Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza you may also like these:

Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw 

FF Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

Garlic Cheese Bombs

FF Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza
Garlic Cheese Bombs

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

FF Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Homemade pizza can be so much fun. Since you are fully in control of the toppings you can add as much, or little as you like of your favourites. Also you can adapt parts of the pizza to suit individual tastes. For example by adding chopped jalapeño pepper to one half and not the other. Likewise, for those who dislike cheese, it is easily omitted.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

When the sun is shining and the temperature gauge keeps going up, cool, refreshing food is what we need. My Tangy Lemon Potato Salad is cool, refreshing with a hint of crunch. The perfect side dish to, well, just about anything! We’re having this with fish tonight.

Tangy Lemon Potato Salad - a delish side dish!
Tangy Lemon Potato Salad – a delish side dish!

 

This Tangy Lemon Potato Salad does have mayonnaise in the sauce. If you prefer to use a light/lower fat mayo feel free. The mayonnaise is thinned down with the juice of a whole lemon. It’s this juice that permeates the warm potatoes, that once chilled, take on a tongue tingling tang, whilst at the same time stopping the mayonnaise from becoming gloopy.

Tongue tingling Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.
Tongue tingling Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.

 

If you’re organised (quite often I’m not!!) cooking the potatoes and getting this salad made first thing in the morning, or even the night before, not only allows all the flavours to merge together, but you are also guaranteed a cold salad. A wonderful contrast to hot fish/quiche etc and also perfect as part of a cold meal/picnic/buffet.

Wafer thin slices of lemon add extra texture to this Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.
Wafer thin slices of lemon add extra texture to this Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.

 

Recipe : Serves 5-6 as a side dish.

1kg/2.2lb Baby New Potatoes

Juice of 1 Whole Lemon

1 Lemon – for slicing

4 Heaped Tablespoons Mayonnaise

1/2tsp Sea Salt

1/2tsp Ground Black Pepper

2 Celery Sticks

3 Spring Onions

Approx 2tbsp Chives

Method :

Scrub the potatoes to remove any dirt. Cut any larger potatoes in half so that all the potatoes are roughly the same size.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.
Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.

Simmer the potatoes until just tender, drain, return to the pan and leave with the lid on, to finish steaming for 20-30mins.

In a bowl add the juice of one lemon, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

Stir until thoroughly combined.
Stir until thoroughly combined.

 

Drain the potatoes again.

Add the potatoes to the bowl.
Add the potatoes to the bowl.

 

Chop the spring onions and celery into small dice.

Add the chopped celery and spring onions to the bowl.
Add the chopped celery and spring onions to the bowl.
Give everything a gentle mix.
Give everything a gentle mix.
Snip the fresh chives over the top of your Tangy Potato Salad.
Snip the fresh chives over the top of your Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.

 

If you like you can serve the Tangy Lemon Potato Salad as it is. I prefer to jazz it up with a few, very finely sliced Lemon halves. They are perfectly edible (although if you just want to use them for garnish that’s fine) and taste delicious. The sliced lemon also let’s people know that there is lemon juice in the potato salad.

Tongue tingling Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.
Plus the finely sliced lemons make this Tangy Lemon Potato Salad look so pretty!

 

I would love to know if you make this and what you would serve it with?

Tangy Lemon Potato Salad. Perfect sunshine food!

Sammie x

 

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White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake


Ooh, Wimbledon starts today here in the UK and that can only mean 1, 2, well maybe a few things. But firstly it means Strawberries – beautiful, British, luscious, red, ripe berries. So to celebrate these gorgeous fruits I have created a White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake.

White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake - perfect with a glass of Champagne, or my preference, a nice cup of tea - pinkie fingers out darlings!!!
White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake – perfect with a glass of Champagne, or my preference, a nice cup of tea – pinkie fingers out darlings!!!

Which brings us onto my second point; many afternoons will be spent over the next fortnight watching copious amounts of Tennis. I kid you not, Wimbledon is a national pastime. Will Murray make it through to the final? Will the Williams sisters reign supreme? Second to our preoccupation with the weather (which is actually my third point!), Wimbledon lovingly becomes THE subject of conversation. Taking precedence over my third point. Will the weather hold? Will the roof be closed. Much speculation, umming and aahing takes place during Wimbledon AND it’s FUN!!

I love the way we British, whilst watching a well known player blast their way through three sets against a relative unknown ALWAYS pull for the underdog. It’s one of the Great British traits I really admire. For two weeks computers, iPhones, TV’s are all tuned to the BBC, for a glimpse of the All England Tennis Club’s freshly prepared, lawn courts, get thoroughly annihilated by some of the worlds top athletes.

I love Wimbledon – can you tell? Having had the opportunity to go, back in the day when John McEnroe reigned supreme, I’ve been sold on it ever since. In fact, should you get the opportunity to visit SW19 it’s a wonderful, Wimbledon, experience!

White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake - the perfect dessert for Summer.
White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake – the perfect dessert for Summer.

 

Recipe : Serves 8-10

275g/10oz Digestive Biscuits – or Graham Crackers

125g/5oz Unsalted Butter

750g/Approx 1.5lb Mascarpone Cheese

2tbsp Icing Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – or 2tsp Vanilla Extract

50ml/Splash of Whole Milk

200g/7oz Good Quality White Chocolate

250g/9oz Fresh Ripe Strawberries

Method :

You will need a 25cm/10″ Springform Cake Tin.

As it is quite difficult to remove the cheesecake from the base of the pan, I simply cover the base with aluminium foil and click into place.

Covering the base of the pan with foil protects it from knife marks!
Covering the base of the pan with foil protects it from knife marks!
Place the digestive biscuits into a sealed freezer bag.
Place the digestive biscuits into a sealed freezer bag.
Bash the biscuits with a rolling pin, until they are broken up and resemble dry sand.
Bash the biscuits with a rolling pin, until they are broken up and resemble dry sand.

 

Place the butter into a small saucepan and melt over a low heat. Once melted, tip in the biscuits crumbs and mix thoroughly. The mixture should resemble damp sand.

Tip the damp sand mixture into the springform pan.
Tip the damp sand mixture into the springform pan.
Press the mixture down evenly with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for an hour to set.
Press the mixture down evenly with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for an hour to set.

 

Next for the cheesecake filling – melt 75g/3oz white chocolate in the microwave, remove before completely melted and stir. The residual heat will ensure all the chocolate melts. Be careful, white chocolate is the easiest chocolate to overheat.

Into a large bowl add the Mascarpone, icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and a splash of milk. Whisk to thoroughly incorporate all the ingredients.
Into a large bowl add the Mascarpone, icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and a splash of milk. Whisk thoroughly to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour in the cooled, melted white chocolate. Whisk until the cheesecake mixture is silkily combined.
Pour in the cooled, melted white chocolate. Whisk until the cheesecake mixture is silkily combined.
Resist the urge to sit in the kitchen floor and eat the contents of this bowl with a spatula!!
Resist the urge to sit on the kitchen floor and eat the contents of this bowl with a spatula!!
Add the cheesecake mixture to the top of the biscuit crust and smooth.
Add the cheesecake mixture to the top of the biscuit crust and smooth.

 

Pop the cheesecake in the fridge whilst you sit on the kitchen floor and lick the bowl and spatula clean. Mmmm not too shabby!

Now melt the rest of the white chocolate, as before and set aside to cool a little.

Meanwhile select two strawberries for the centre of the cheesecake. Hull and halve the rest of the strawberries.

Arrange your strawberries in a pretty pattern, or just tumble them on top - it's your cheesecake!!
Arrange your strawberries in a pretty pattern, or just tumble them on top – it’s your cheesecake!!
Using a fork drizzle the melted white chocolate from side to side.
Using a fork drizzle the melted white chocolate from side to side.
Continue drizzling until your White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake is complete.
Continue drizzling until your White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake is complete.

 

Place the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set (overnight would be better – but who are we kidding?).

Run a palette knife around the inside edge of the cheesecake and release from the pan.
Run a palette knife around the inside edge of the cheesecake and release from the pan.

 

Behold the White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake:

Crunch base with a soft, light, vanilla topping.
Crunch base with a soft, light, vanilla topping.

Spectacularly beautiful and so simple to make.

This White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake screams out to be sliced and shared.

I’d to know if you watch Wimbledon and if so how celebrate the highs and lows of tennis?

Sammie xx

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Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake

Summer is well and truly here and with it an abundance of gorgeous summer fruit and vegetables. I’ve just joined a veg box scheme – which means I get a lovely box of fresh fruit and veg delivered to my door every Monday. First delivery is tomorrow, so I’m excited to see what recipes I can come up with! To get in the mood I decided to make a Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake!

Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake - with a tasty Garlic, Thyme and Lemon Sauce.
Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake – with a tasty Garlic, Thyme and Lemon Sauce.

 

This may sound odd, but generally as a family we don’t like dry meals. So a sauce or gravy is essential! For this Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake I made a delicious sauce using garlic, lemon, thyme and Olive oil. This was poured over the beautifully arranged veggies and WOW – even Snugs, our youngest daughter loved it!! Now she’s not exactly picky, especially compared to others the same age, however, let’s say her taste buds aren’t as accepting as the rest of our family. So for her to love this dish, well I knew I was onto a winner!

Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake - topped off with a generous grating of Parmesan.
Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake – topped off with a generous grating of Parmesan.

 

I used tomatoes, aubergines and green courgettes, but any squashes, potatoes, really any summer veg that you have an abundance of would work. Again the quantities I have given are for 4 adults, you could easily bulk this dish up with potatoes to make it go further, or even eat it as a main dish. The possibilities are endless!!

Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake - the thyme, garlic and lemon mix with the vegetable juices to create a sumptuous sauce.
Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake – the thyme, garlic and lemon mix with the vegetable juices to create a sumptuous sauce.

 

I’m excited to see what manner of unusual varieties of fruit and vegetables arrive in my veg box. I used to grow quite a few veggies with my lovely hubby’s help, one of the reasons being the ability to grow odd shaped squash or heirloom tomatoes. Most supermarkets only stock a scant supply of these during the summer months. Farmers Markets, however, are a treasure trove of different crops. I highly recommend, if you are able, to visit one. The experience itself is remarkable, with many stall holders happily sharing taste teasers of their wares. I’m waffling again……

Recipe : Serves 4 Adults as a Side

2 Medium Courgettes/Zucchini

2 Medium Aubergines/Egg Plant

6 Large Tomatoes

Juice of 2 Medium Lemons

Equal quantity of Olive oil (as lemons)

1 Clove Garlic – Crushed

Approx 1tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1tsp Sea Salt

50g/2oz Parmesan Cheese – finely grated

Method : Preheat the oven to 190C/175C fan

Firstly to make the sauce.

Place the lemon juice, oil, garlic, thyme, salt and a good grinding of pepper into a jug. Whisk until combined.

The sauce will emulsify - give a quick whisk again prior to pouring over the vegetables.
The sauce will emulsify – give a quick whisk again prior to pouring over the vegetables.

 

Next prepare all your vegetables by slicing them to the same thickness – approx 1cm/ 1/2″.

Arrange the round slices, on their side in the baking dish.
Arrange the round slices, on their side in the baking dish.
Continue packing the veggies tightly, they will shrink slightly on cooking.
Continue packing the veggies tightly, they will shrink slightly on cooking.
Pack the dish full. It looks soo pretty!
Pack the dish full. It looks soo pretty!
Pour the sauce evenly over the vegetables....
Pour the sauce evenly over the vegetables….
The lemon juice not only makes the sauce taste delicious, it also stops the aubergines from turning brown.
The lemon juice not only makes the sauce taste delicious, it also stops the aubergines from turning brown.

 

Now you can grate over the Parmesan.

Your Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake is now ready for the oven.
Your Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake is now ready for the oven.

 

Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours, until the vegetables are tender. Then remove from oven.

Mmm delicious - Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake.
Mmm delicious – Fresh Summer Vegetable Bake.

 

This light vegetable dish is perfect to accompany a Roast Chicken, baked fish – if the oven’s on let it do all the cooking!!!

I’d love to know if you are part of a veg box scheme, grow your own or enjoy Farmers Markets?

Sammie x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free

Hello lovely people, I have finally managed to come up with a Gluten Free cookie. As many of my regular readers may be aware, I’ve recently been having seizures. This has has had a MASSIVE impact on my life and the lives of our family. One of the biggest, non physical impacts is that I cannot drive for the foreseeable future. So my wonderful mummy has been collecting the children from school for us – everyday. Such a huge, selfless, commitment. As she is following a Gluten Free eating plan I wanted to make her a ‘treat’, hence Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free.

Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free - if you can't eat Gluten, you can have these!!
Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free – if you can’t eat Gluten, you can have these!!

 

I used Doves Farm Gluten Free Flour and Biona Hazelnut Butter, both items were purchased by myself. The Hazelnut Butter was bought to make Hazelnut Ice Cream (seriously good, will post recipe soon), the Gluten Free Flour was purchased for the sole reason of developing Gluten Free recipes, with Mum in mind. The texture of the cookies is very biscuity, not too dry, but definitely not a soft cookie. Using Doves Farm Gluten Free flour, there is no difference in taste or texture, when compared with White Wheat Flour in this recipe.

More than anything I am just so pleased to have made my Mummy some cookies and that I get to share the recipe with you! If you have a nut allergy you can absolutely substitute the Hazelnut Butter for Unsalted Butter. So hopefully everybody can enjoy Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free!

Mmm yummy - Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free.
Mmm yummy – Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free.

 

Our window cleaner happened to be cleaning the windows and offered to try a Cookie. Cheeky, yes! But he always does such a good job and I do like to share. He gave them a big thumbs up, remarking on how un-doughy they were for Gluten Free. Always good to have an unbiased opinion. The Green Goddess will be sent hers to try later today, but the opinion I’m most awaiting is my Mummy’s. After all she was the inspiration behind them.

So enough waffling, here’s what you need to make Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free.

Recipe : Makes 20-30 Cookies

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

175g/6oz Hazelnut Butter

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter

Pinch of Salt

1 Whole Large Egg – free range if poss

1tsp Vanilla Extract

250g/9oz Gluten Free Flour – Doves Farm

175g/6oz Chocolate Chunks

Method : Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan

Place the hazelnut butter, butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk until well combined.
Place the hazelnut butter, butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk until well combined.

The whisked butter/sugar mixture will seem a little grainy in texture – that’s normal.

Add the whole egg and vanilla extract. Whisk for a good couple of minutes, until the mixture is lighter in colour and texture.
Add the whole egg and vanilla extract. Whisk for a good couple of minutes, until the mixture is lighter in colour and texture.
Add the Gluten Free Flour and the Chocolate Chunks. Stir until all the ingredients are combined.
Add the Gluten Free Flour and the Chocolate Chunks. Stir until all the ingredients are combined.

I have used Callebaut Chocolate Chunks, these are coated in corn flour, which is Gluten Free.

This is how your Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough Gluten Free, should look.
This is how your Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough Gluten Free, should look.

 

On parchment lined baking sheets, form small, balls of cookie dough.

Space the cookie dough balls evenly apart.
Space the cookie dough balls evenly apart.
Using clean damp hands, use you fingers to press down and flatten the cookie balls.
Using clean damp hands, use you fingers to press down and flatten the cookie balls.

 

Place the cookies in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden.

Delicious golden Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free.
Delicious golden Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free.

 

Remove from the oven when cooked.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking tray for 10 mins and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free - these cooling cookies smell amazing. A mixture of chocolate, hazelnut and vanilla - sooo good!
Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free – these cooling cookies smell amazing. A mixture of chocolate, hazelnut and vanilla – sooo good!

 

I made 24 cookies. Next time I will flatten them a little more, I wasn’t sure how far they would spread. They don’t!!!!

Now I can’t wait to see my Mummy to give her some cookies and see what she thinks?

NOTE : These cookies are at their best eaten on the day they are baked.

To store the cookie dough, wrap in cling film and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Please let me know if you try these?

Happy Baking and Sharing.

Sammie x

 

 

 

 

 

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Wholemeal Cob Loaf

Hi, I’m so excited. I have a secret to share with you. 100% wholemeal bread that’s not heavy! My Wholemeal Cob Loaf is delicious, nutritious and so tasty – oh and did I mention it’s not heavy, like some 100% wholemeal loaves can be.

Wholemeal Cob Loaf - a gorgeous crust and delicious taste.
Wholemeal Cob Loaf – a gorgeous crust and delicious taste.

 

The trick, I’ve found, to make a Wholemeal Cob Loaf that ISN’T dense, is to triple prove the dough. This is most definitely a loaf that cannot be rushed. But hey, it’s not like you have to do anything while it’s proving! It’s very happy to be left alone!!! Also I used my bread maker to mix, prove, knock-back, prove etc. All I had to do was shape the final loaf. But it could easily be made by hand, with kneading and knocking back adding only a few extra minutes. Trust me it’s so worth it!

Wholemeal Cob Loaf - cutting through the top creates more crunchy crust.
Wholemeal Cob Loaf – cutting through the top creates more crunchy crust.

This Wholemeal Cob Loaf delivers massively on flavour. A deep flavoursome loaf that is part of a sandwich or toast, not just a medium for the topping or filling. Being 100% wholemeal ensures each slice is loaded with fibre and being homemade there are no artificial additives. A great tasting loaf that’s good for you. I also prefer to bake with Organic flour, so my loaf is as wholesome as it can be!

Lunch - as slice of Wholemeal Cob Loaf with Avocado, sliced Tomatoes and Strong Cheddar - delish!
Lunch – as slice of Wholemeal Cob Loaf with Avocado, sliced Tomatoes and Strong Cheddar – delish!

 

Recipe : Makes 2 Medium Wholemeal Cob Loaves (or 1 large)

450g/1lb Wholemeal Bread Flour

2tsp/1 x 7g Sachet Dried Yeast

1tbs Honey

300-350ml Water

1tsp Salt – or 1.5 tsp Maldon Sea Salt

1tbsp Butter or Olive Oil

Method : Given for bread maker/Stand mixer with dough hook.

Pour 300ml warm (body temp) water into the bowl. Add the honey and yeast. Swish around with clean fingers to mix.

Add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.

Next add the salt and butter/oil.

Set the bread maker to mix and prove the dough – the mixing cycle should last at least 10 minutes.

For a stand mixer switch on to a low/medium speed and mix for 15 minutes.In both cases check the dough, if the machne is labouring and the dough doesn’t seem soft, or it looks dry, add more water, 15ml at a time, until the dough is pliable and soft (no cracks).

The weather and flour can both influence how much water is needed. With wholemeal flour I would always err on the side of a slightly wetter dough, you don’t want to have dry bread!

With the stand mixer, after mixing place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film. When doubled in size return dough to the mixer bowl and mix again fo 15 minutes. Repeat proving and mixing process once more (total 3 proves,  3 mixes/knock backs).

If using a bread machine once the dough has been proved once, repeat the mixing (which will knock bake the dough) twice more.

Utimately this dough needs to be proved 3 times – trust me it’s worth it.

The third prove is the final prove, this is where you shape the dough.

Tip the knocked back dough onto an oiled baking sheet. Form into a round.

If baking one loaf, cover in oiled cling film and leave to double in size away from drafts.

 

For 2 loaves cut the dough in half.
For 2 loaves cut the dough in half.
Rotate the dough on the baking sheet to form a tight ball.
Rotate the dough on the baking sheet to form a tight ball.
Cut three lines through each loaf - this is optional, but does give a better crust.
Cut three lines through each loaf – this is optional, but does give a better crust.
Cover with oiled cling film - this stops the loaves socking and drying out during their final prove. Leave to prove until doubled in size.
Cover with oiled cling film – this stops the loaves sticking and drying out during their final prove. Leave to prove until doubled in size.
15 minutes before your loaves are ready, preheat your oven to it's highest setting.
15 minutes before your loaves are ready, preheat your oven to it’s highest setting

 

Preheat your oven to its highest setting 230C/gas mark 8

If you have a water sprayer (I keep one especially for bread), once the cling film is removed, spray the loaves and the inside of your oven as you put the loaves in. If not place a tin of hot water in the bottom of the oven whilst you are preheating it. The steam not only helps the dough to rise more fully before it sets, it also helps create a lovely, crisp crust.

Bake for 15-20 minutes (longer if you are baking one large loaf 30 minutes). The loaves are baked when they have a deep golden crust and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckle. Remove the loaves from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Gorgeous, golden, healthy, Wholemeal Cob Loaf
Gorgeous, golden, healthy, Wholemeal Cob Loaf.

 

I made 2 loaves and gave one to my mum. We were both really impressed with the flavour, texture and lightness of this bread.

This is without doubt the best 100% Wholemeal bread I’ve ever made, possibly ever tasted. I used Bacheldre Organic Wholemeal Bread flour.

Please let me know if you make this bread?

Also do you use your bread maker to do the hard work and then finish the loaves off in the oven, or is it just me??

if you enjoyed making this recipe how about trying these:

Wholemeal Loaf

Farmhouse White Loaf

Sammie x

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Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies

Hello lovely people, thank you for stopping by to read my blog. I really do appreciate each and everyone of you. So I thought I’d share my latest Summer cool down drink with you – Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies. A fabulously tasty way of recharging your system.

Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies - that gorgeous colour is enough to make you smile.
Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies – that gorgeous colour is enough to make you smile.

 

Why Superfoods? Blueberries are full of antioxidants and are known to be good for your nervous system and brain. Bananas are high in Vitamin C, fibre and can help regulate blood sugar levels. They can also help with mood enhancement. These fruits have many other positive affects on the body, especially when eaten raw, which is how they are in the Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies.

Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies - cool, delicious and gorgeous.
Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies – cool, delicious and gorgeous.

 

If you’re craving something sweet, as I was and don’t want to dive into a tub of chocolate ice cream, then these Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies will fix that craving and do your body good at the same time. Yes there is ice cream and whole milk in this recipe, you can totally switch this recipe up and use frozen low fat yoghurt and skimmed milk. The bananas will still give the smoothie a creamy taste.

So good for you - time to slurp up one of these Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies!
So good for you – time to slurp up one of these Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies!

 

I was actually really surprised that these smoothies didn’t need extra sweetening, considering the amount of blueberries added. Sometimes blueberries can be a but tart, but the sweetness of the bananas offsets this, leaving the perfect balance. I’ve used frozen blueberries but fresh are fine. To keep the cold in the smoothie just break the bananas up, pop in a bag and freeze.

Using bought frozen fruits keeps the cost down and gives them a longer use-by date. However, I have raspberries growing in our garden and if we have loads I would definitely put them in smoothies. Just do whatever works for you! We’re pretty chilled about things like that, bit like the smoothies!!!!!

Recipe :

400g/14oz Frozen Blueberries

3 Large Ripe Bananas

250ml Whole Milk

4 Large Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream – approx 1/2pint – 300ml

Method :

Peel the bananas, break into pieces and add to a liquidiser. Add the frozen blueberries, ice cream and milk.

Time to whizz up the ingredients.
Time to whizz up the ingredients.
Look at THAT colour! If the mixture is too thick add more milk. Whizz up and then pour.
Look at THAT colour! If the mixture is too thick add more milk. Whizz up and then pour.
Aah Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies - sip, relax and chill x
Aah Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies – sip, relax and chill x

 

I really hope you try this smoothie. Relax, chill out and know those Blueberries and Bananas are doing you good on the inside.

Let me know if you switch up the fruit combo and how it turns out.

Obviously I’d like you too try this one first, but hey it’s Summer, I’m chilled with your choices.

Also Raspberry Banana Ice Cream Smoothies

 

Sammie x

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Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake

Hello lovelies, if you’ve got the Monday, back to work blues, or just fancy cake, then I have the ultimate solution, my Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - light and moist.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – light and moist.

 

This Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake is so beautiful thanks to the Bundt tin moulding and the delicious topping of chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. It is so easy to make and delicious to eat!

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - delicious!
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – delicious!

 

Making this cake was only my second attempt at using a Bundt tin. I gotta tell you, I love them!!! The beautiful moulding of the finished cake makes it look way more professional than I could take credit for. I also made sure I used a skewer to check the cake was cooked through (something I never normally do). The only potential problem with using a Bundt tin, is that it’s hard to specify a size, for example if I’m baking a cake in a regular cake tin I can give you it’s dimensions, with a Bundt tin that’s not possible. It’s all curved and moulded, with a hole in the middle!!! Fortunately the tin I used had a 6 cup measurement mark on the outside. So I just kinda winged it with the ingredient quantities and prayed for the best – and it worked!

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - what's not to like?
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – what’s not to like?

 

Recipe :

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

Pinch of Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract

3 Large Eggs – free range if poss

100g/4oz Blanched Hazelnuts

100g/4oz Plain White Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder

50ml/2fl oz Whole Milk

150g Milk Chocolate – I used Green&Blacks

Method : Preheat oven to 180C/165C fan

Thoroughly grease the Bundt tin with butter.
Thoroughly grease the Bundt tin with butter.
In a bowl thoroughly whisk/beat the sugar, salt and butter, until light and creamy.
In a bowl thoroughly whisk/beat the sugar, salt and butter, until light and creamy.

 

Take half of the hazelnuts and process/chop them until they are very fine – similar to ground almonds.

Into the bowl add the eggs, chopped hazelnuts and sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Into the bowl add the eggs, chopped hazelnuts,milk and sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Whisk/beat until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Whisk/beat until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

 

Using a rubber spatula give the cake batter a couple of good stirs to ensure all the ingredients, especially at the bottom of the bowl, are combined.

Fill the Bundt tin with the cake batter, smoothing out the surface.
Fill the Bundt tin with the cake batter, smoothing out the surface.

 

Place the Bundt tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cake is cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Once cooked remove the cake from the oven.

Allow the Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins.
Allow the Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - soo pretty!
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – soo pretty!

 

Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Lightly chop the remaining hazelnuts and dry roast them, on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, after removing the cake from the oven. Remove and allow to cool.

To decorate the cake :

Break up the milk chocolate and melt either over a double boiler or in a microwave.
Break up the milk chocolate and melt either over a double boiler or in a microwave.
Remove the chocolate before it has fully melted and continually stir, allowing the residual heat to melt all of the chocolate.
Remove the chocolate before it has fully melted and continually stir, allowing the residual heat to melt all of the chocolate.
Pour the melted chocolate around the top of the cake. The chocolate will naturally flow down the sides and into the middle of the cake - yum!
Pour the melted chocolate around the top of the cake. The chocolate will naturally flow down the sides and into the middle of the cake – yum!
Milk chocolate topped Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake.
Milk chocolate topped Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake.

 

Next sprinkle the toasted chopped hazelnuts over the top of the cake. Now all you have to wait for is the chocolate to set – enough time to pop the kettle on, phone a friend and get ready to dive in and enjoy!!

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - slices into portions perfectly.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – slices into portions perfectly.

 

I really am so pleased with this cake, it’s scrumptious and easy – what more could you ask for??

Do you know a way of measuring Bundt Tins??

Sammie x

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