Crusty White Bread

Hi, how are you liking my new site layout? This is my first recipe post : Crusty White Bread. Delicious and Homemade, since recovering my site from WordPress Help The WhiteScreen Of Death. It’s not completely ‘fixed’ yet – so I’m going through, remaking some of my earlier recipes and posting them, starting with Crusty White Bread.

Ooh yummy. Perfect, Crusty, White Bread
Ooh yummy. Perfect, Crusty, White Bread

This loaf of Crusty White Bread is for a small loaf (450g/1lb flour) baked in a 2lb loaf tin.

I just want to take a moment to talk about ingredients; as there are only 5 ingredients in this Crusty White Bread it really pays to use good quality flour. Shop brand, cheap bread flour WILL make a perfectly good loaf, however, if you want the BEST tasting loaf; organic, unbleached, strong bread flour will REALLY make a difference!

Yes this flour is more expensive (I buy in bulk online – it really helps bring down the cost), but when comparing the price of a homemade, organic, loaf of Crusty White Bread to a shop bought, plastic wrapped loaf, not only is the difference astoundingly smaller, but the quality of the homemade loaf is way, way better!!

The perfect slice. Lovely soft crumb inside with a nice crunchy crust.
The perfect slice. Lovely soft crumb inside with a nice crunchy crust.

Convinced yet?? Make one loaf of Crusty White Bread and try for yourself!

Buttered and slathered in strawberry jam. The best Crusty White Bread ever!!
Buttered and slathered in strawberry jam. The best Crusty White Bread ever!!

Recipe :

300ml  Tepid Tap Water

1 Sachet/7g  Active Dried Yeast

450g/1lb  Strong White Bread Flour – I use Organic, unbleached.

3/4tsp  Sea salt (1/2tsp free flowing)

25g/1oz  Unsalted Butter – cubed

Method:

For ease I use a bread maker to mix, prove and knock back the dough.

You can also make the Crusty White Bread by hand,  or use a stand mixer with a dough hook attached.

For the purpose of this and every other Bread recipe, the bowl is a large bowl/the bowl of the stand mixer/the removable container from a bread maker.

Pour 300ml of warm water into the bowl. Sprinkle over the yeast. Add the flour to the bowl. Next add the salt and butter.

Set your bread maker to mix and prove, press start, make a cup of tea!!

Set your stand mixer to slow mix, allow the dough hook to mix and knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film, place in a warm, draught free spot until doubled in size 1-2 hours.

*If making the bread by hand, rub the butter into the flour, sprinkle over the yeast/salt  and mix through the flour using your hand, make a well in the middle of the flour and add most of the water (280ml). Bring all the ingredients together using your hand (in a claw like position). Mix thoroughly adding the rest of the water if the dough seems dry. Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, using the heel of your hand push out the dough from the centre. Fold the dough back into the centre, rotate a quarter turn and repeat for 10-15 minutes until the dough feels, smooth, springy and elastic in your hands. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm draught free spot until doubled in size 1-2 hours.

Once doubled in size gently punch the dough in the oiled bowl (if using a bread maker, set to mix for 20 seconds – this will ‘knock back the dough and is the main method I use).

Turn the knocked back dough onto a lightly floured surface. Stretch the dough lengthways, then fold the ends into the middle. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and repeat the stretching/folding/rotating 3 more times – this technique builds structure into the loaf and my bread baking really improved once I’d adopted this small extra technique.

Place the dough into a buttered 2lb loaf tin. Cover with a clean tea towel, leave again to double in size, as before.

Preheat the oven to it’s hottest setting (250C in my oven). Place a deep tray, half filled with hot tap watering the bottom of the oven – this will create steam, helping build a crunchy crust.

Once the dough has doubled in size remove the towel and place the tin in the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 225C (or down 1 gas mark).

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown (30 minutes for a thick crust). I then turn my loaf out directly onto the oven rack and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes, this allows the base and sides to get really crusty.

When baked remove from the oven and turn out of the tin immediately (if not already done). The base of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped with your knuckle. Leave to fully cool on a rack.

Nothing beats the smell of homemade bread! Mmmmm
Nothing beats the smell of homemade bread! Mmmmm

Inhale deeply, enjoy the smell of freshly homemade bread! No matter how many times I bake bread, the smell still warms my heart every time.

Ideally you should leave the loaf to cool completely, it will cut much better when cold. Who am I though to deny you warm bread, smothered in butter???

If you try to cut through the loaf, hot, straight from the oven, the inside will squish together and it will be almost impossible to spread butter on! Give the loaf at least 30 minutes to cool a bit before you start slicing.

The perfect slice. Lovely soft crumb inside with a nice crunchy crust.
The perfect slice. Lovely soft crumb inside with a nice crunchy crust.

Yummy Crusty White Bread!

The same loaf baked the following day for 20 minutes in its tin - I forgot to turn the oven temp down!!!!!
The same loaf baked the following day for 20 minutes in its tin – I forgot to turn the oven temp down!!!!!

Bread is the ultimate sharing food. Everyone sitting round the table having toast for breakfast, or dunking thick slices into warming soup. Even Jesus took bread and shared it with His disciples and when feeding the 5000. Wow what a feast that must have been?

Bake a loaf for someone – it will make them smile and feel loved?

Until next time remember Food Tastes Better When It’s Shared!

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Am I Being Silly About Silicone?

Hello there, thank you for stopping by. Do you mind me asking you a question? Am I being Silly about using Silicone???

Cute little chocolate spoons made in a Silicone mould.
Cute little chocolate spoons made in a Silicone mould.

The photo above shows gorgeous little chocolate spoons, made in a Silicone mould.

 

Silicone chocolate spoon mould, available from Lakeland.
Silicone chocolate spoon mould, available from Lakeland.

 

The little choccie spoons are made in this lovely, flexible, Silicone mould.  I’m pretty ok with that.  It’s a mould!  It doesn’t go in the oven, so I have faith that it’s ok to do the job of setting chocolate that’s poured into the little spoon shapes.

So all good so far.  Now here comes the bit I struggle with.  Baking, in the oven, using Silicone as cupcake cases, cake tins (Silicones???) and finally, as well as all the other shapes and sizes that Silicone bakeware comes in, this……..

A Silicone macaroon mould/template.
A Silicone macaroon mould/template.

 

I just can’t get my head around using something ‘plastic’ in the oven, in heat, where it’s hot, to cook something in.

I know it must be fine for use as baking equipment.  I’ve seen chefs and cooks (including Nigella – she wouldn’t steer me wrong – would she???!) use Silicone for baking on the TV and they seem fine.  It’s just, well, it’s not metal.  Cake tins are metal (the clue is in the name!!)!  They are sturdy and strong and don’t, for one moment look like they are going to MELT in the oven (don’t even get me started on whether they are safe, or if they are going to leach poisonous, plastic, chemicals into my food????).

Am I alone??? Are they really safe??  Is Silicone better than metal???  You see I’m just not convinced.  I’ve been wanting to make Macaroons for ages.  Every time I get a new Lakeland catalogue through the post, the Macaroon mould speaks to me – not literally!!! I want to make these…….

Perfect, precise, pretty Macaroons - cooked on a Silicone sheet - help???!!!
Perfect, precise, pretty Macaroons – cooked on a Silicone sheet – help???!!!

 

Please help me?  Have you cooked/baked with Silicone. Does it work?  Did you get poisoned – I’m serious here people.  Is it fiddly to work with – the Macaroon mat looks very floppy and not sturdy, if I have to put it on a baking sheet doesn’t that defeat the object of using Silicone in the first place?  Does it make food taste odd??

I really need your help to decide if I should invest in Silicone bakeware or stick with my solid metal (very reassuring that solid and metal bit!) bakeware???

Please share your thoughts and experiences with me? I really would appreciate your help with this.

Thank you.  Sammie x

Note : All pictures taken from the current Lakeland catalogue.

 

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Cranberry Oat Cookies

Hi, there. How are you today? I woke up and felt the need to bake – it’s been too long. Then I checked my posts and realise it’s been ages, I mean like a gazillion seconds, since I’ve posted a Cookie recipe!! So, today I bring you my Cranberry Oat Cookies.

Cookies - I need Cookies!!!!
Cookies – I need Cookies!!!!

 

Now that doesn’t mean I haven’t baked Cookies since the last Cookie post, just that I’ve baked Cookies I’ve already posted. Confused yet??? Any how I baked a a batch of Cranberry Oat Cookies. Oh my!! I think these may be my favourite Cookies today!!!

 

These Cookies are a mash-up of two previous recipes I’ve posted – Cranberry and Almond Cookies and Apricot and Oat Cookies!

So these delish Cranberry and Oat Cookies also have Almonds added!
So these delish Cranberry Oat Cookies also have Almonds added!

 

I really fancied Cranberries, Oats and Almonds. So I made these Cookies throwing in all the ingredients hoping they would turn out ok. Oooh they are so much more than ok they are scrumptious.

 

Scrumptious Cranberry and Oat Cookies - yum x
Scrumptious Cranberry Oat Cookies – yum x

 

Recipe :  Makes 18-20 Cranberry Oat Cookies

150g/5oz  Caster Sugar

225g/8oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

1  Large Egg Yolk

1tsp  Vanilla Extract

1/2tsp  Almond Extract

1/4tsp  Salt – I use Kosher (no additives)

175g/6oz  Plain White Flour

175g/6oz  Oats – not quick cook

50g/2oz  Flaked Almonds

Method :

Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan).

Into a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt.  Beat together until pale and fluffy – I used an electric whisk, a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fixed is fine.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla/almond extracts and thoroughly mix in. Next add the flour, oats, cranberries and flaked almonds.  Mix until just combined.

Take about a heaped tablespoon of the Cookie dough and roll into a ball using your hands.  Place the Cranberry Oat Cookie dough balls onto baking sheets (line with parchment paper if not non stick).

Cookie Dough Balls
Cranberry Oat Cookie Dough Balls

 

Gently press down on the cookie dough balls so they just become flattened.
Gently press down on the cookie dough balls so they just become flattened.

 

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Then remove from the oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Then remove the Cranberry Oat Cookies from the oven.

 

Once golden, remove from oven and allow to fully cool on the baking sheets.  This allows the Cranberry Oat Cookies to firm up.  These Cookies are particularly scrumptious with a nice, cold glass of milk.

Cookies and milk - the perfect combination.
Cookies and milk – the perfect combination.

 

One of my best friends has been unwell recently, a fresh delivery of Cookies will be just the boost she needs.

Who will you share your Cookies with?

Remember, food always tastes better when it’s shared.

Sammie x

 

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Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne

Hello, I really hope you enjoy this post – Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne.  It’s extremely easy to make, there’s no need to precook the lasagne sheets.  This lasagne is also a lighter version than the traditional beef lasagne.  If you wanted to really cheat you could buy good cheese sauce, but it’s not a complicated process to whip up your own!

Delicious, cheese sauce topped, chicken lasagne - delish!
Delicious, cheese sauce topped, chicken lasagne – delish!

This is a perfect make ahead meal as it only gets better the longer the lasagne sits. It will keep, unbaked, in the fridge for 4 days and double wrapped in cling film, again unbaked, it can be frozen for up to 3 months.  It is also the perfect, portable meal.  Ideal for delivery to a new mum, a family going through tough times or a bring and share meal with friends.  Truly an all-in-one feasting dish!!!

A perfect, portable meal for sharing with others.
A perfect, portable meal for sharing with others.

By substituting the beef, usually used in Lasagne, with minced Chicken, the resulting baked Lasagne becomes a lighter dish. Not lighter in calories, with the delicious four cheese sauce – but not as heavy on the stomach and a delicious change from the norm!  The four cheese sauce was simply me raiding the fridge for leftover Christmas cheese!!!

The Four Cheese Sauce tops of this lasagne perfectly!!
The Four Cheese Sauce tops of this lasagne perfectly!!

I realise that minced Chicken is not  available everywhere, minced Turkey is a great substitute.  Otherwise processing skinless chicken breasts, thighs or a combination in a food processor would be another way to make your own chicken mince.  Alternatively, chopping up chicken with a sharp knife would work and give the lasagne added texture.

Recipe : Serves 6-8 portions.

Chicken Lasagne Sauce

450g/1lb  Chicken Mince

1  Large White Onion

2tbsp  Olive Oil

2  Celery Stalks (the larger outside stalks)

1  Green Pepper (washed, deseeded and finely diced)

2-3  Carrots (peeled and finely diced)

3  Garlic Cloves – minced

3 x 400g  Chopped Tinned Tomatoes

2tbsp  Tomato Puree

1tsp  Dried Mixed Herbs (or fresh basil/oregano/parsley/thyme – to taste)

1tsp  Sugar

Salt and Ground Black Pepper – to taste

Cheese Sauce :

3tbsp  Butter

3tbsp  Plain White Flour

750-800ml. Whole Milk

6oz  Hard Cheese (I used a 50/50 mixture of Mature Cheddar and Swiss Cheese)

125g  Riccota

250g. Mozzarella (drained)

1 tsp  Nutmeg – freshly grated if poss

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste.

Butter – For Greasing the Lasagne Dish

1 packet Dried Egg Lasagne Sheets 375g – NO NEED TO PRECOOK!!!

Method: Chicken Lasagne Sauce

Finely chop/dice the onion/celery/green pepper and carrots.  Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes over a medium heat until the onions just start to turn translucent.  Add the diced celery to the pan and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes, just until the celery starts to soften.  Push the onions and celery to one side of the pan and add the Chicken mince to the other side (if you don’t have a large sauté pan, remove the onions and celery, into a separate dish and then add the Chicken to the pan).  Cook the chicken, using a wooden spatula to break up the mince so big clumps of meat don’t form.

Having a large sauté pan means you can cook all the ingredients in one go!!!
Having a large sauté pan means you can cook all the ingredients in one go!!!

Unlike beef mince, the Chicken mince will get lighter as it cooks. I don’t cook the Chicken until it is browned, just until it is cooked through (lighter colour).  Now add the carrots/green pepper and also the minced garlic (I use a garlic press!!).

Mix all the veggies and garlic with the Chicken mince. Inhale the gorgeous aroma!
Mix all the veggies and garlic with the Chicken mince. Inhale the gorgeous aroma!

When all the veggies and garlic are well mixed add the tomatoes (rinse each can out with water, fill the can almost to the top and add that to the pan as well), tomato purée, dried or fresh chopped herbs. Give everything a good stir add the sugar and add salt 1/2tsp and a good grinding of black pepper.  Turn the heat to medium/low and leave to gently bubble away on the stove for an hour, stirring occasionally.

This gorgeous Chicken, vegetable and tomato sauce just bubbles away happily on the stove! Pop the kettle on for a cuppa!!!!
This gorgeous Chicken, vegetable and tomato sauce just bubbles away happily on the stove! Pop the kettle on for a cuppa!!!!

Method: Four Cheese Sauce

Into a medium heavy based pan add the butter. Over a medium heat melt the butter until just sizzling. Add the flour and keep stirring as the two become a paste. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes, this removes any floury taste.

This is what the butter and flour should look like.
This is what the butter and flour should look like.

Now gradually start adding the milk, approx 50mls at first and stir vigorously. The milk will become incorporated into the flour/butter paste making it a thicker past. Keep adding small amounts of milk, stirring continuously.

The sauce will become very thick. DON'T WORRY!!!!
The sauce will become very thick. DON’T WORRY!!!!

Now you can add larger amounts of milk, keep stirring, lumps will form, if you want to you can switch to a whisk at this stage (I do!). Keep stirring and adding the milk until all the milk has been added and you have a beautiful, lump free white sauce. The sauce should be thick enough to cover the back of a spoon.

No lumps here - if you squint!!!!!!
No lumps here – if you squint!!!!!!

Remove the pan from the heat and add the Ricotta and all the other cheese (except the mozzarella), which if you are a patient person you certainly may grate. I almost never bother to grate, I just chop the cheese into smallish (1/2″) cubes and the sauce turns out fine.

The Ricotta gets dumped in and then add the hard cheeses.
The Ricotta gets dumped in and then add the hard cheeses.

Stir vigorously. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste. The Ricotta cheese will give the Four Cheese Sauce a slightly grainy texture – DON’T WORRY – that’s normal! If you’ve grated the cheeses they will melt into the sauce easily. With the cubed cheese the sauce will almost never become completely smooth – but that’s ok as it will when it’s baked in the oven later! Also the addition of freshly ground nutmeg not only elevates the flavour above and beyond, but please, if you can, grate your own nutmeg. I know I was lazy with the cheese but, freshly grated nutmeg is a million times better than pre-ground nutmeg, trust me.

Assembly :

You will need an oven proof rectangular dish.  Mine is  12″ x 8″ x 3.5″(deep) – measurements were taken from the top.  But you can always use an oval dish and break the lasagne sheets to fit the curves – I have made many lasagne dishes this way, or alternatively split between 2 small dishes. As long as the dish is ovenproof, this really is an adaptable recipe!!!

I always butter my lasagne dish, it makes the cooked lasagne much easier to dish up!
I always butter my lasagne dish, it makes the cooked lasagne much easier to dish up!

I’ve found, after making more than a gazillion – slight over exaggeration – lasagnes, that buttering the dish before hand not only helps when serving the cooked lasagne, but also, it doesn’t require 3 days soaking to get the stuck bits off of the dish!! It’s the little things you know???

These are dried lasagne sheets. Any brand will do!
These are dried lasagne sheets. Any brand will do!

I REALLY WASN’T JOKING, when I said that you don’t have to precook the lasagne sheets. I’ve used lots of different makes, some with ruffled edges, green spinach lasagne sheets, egg vs plain AND this works with ALL TYPES – I guess you could even use fresh lasagne sheets, you would need to cook the Chicken lasagne sauce for longer so that it was thicker – otherwise I can’t see it being an issue. If you try it please let me know how you get on?

Once you have buttered/oiled your dish place a layer of HOT Chicken lasagne sauce (check the seasoning and adjust if necessary) into the bottom of the dish, so that it is completely covered.

The first layer is down, time to start building!!!
The first layer is down, time to start building!!!

Next place enough lasagne sheets to cover the bottom layer – I got luck and this dish takes 4 exactly. I like the layers to meet or very slightly overlap.

If your lasagne sheets don't fit exactly, just snap bits off to adjust them.
If your lasagne sheets don’t fit exactly, just snap bits off to adjust them.

Repeat the sauce/lasagne sheet layering twice more finishing with a sheet layer.

All the bits and pieces of the lasagne sheets will be covered by the Four Cheese Sauce.
All the bits and pieces of the lasagne sheets will be covered by the Four Cheese Sauce.

Now pour the cooled cheese sauce all over the top of the lasagne sheets. I gently tap the dish to ensure any trapped air bubble rise to the surface.

Ooh this is going to be sooooo good - look at that yummy cheese sauce layer!
Ooh this is going to be sooooo good – look at that yummy cheese sauce layer!

This baby is still not finished!  Drain and slice the mozzarella.

The final gooey, stringy, adornment for this fab lasagne dish!
The final gooey, stringy, adornment for this fab lasagne dish!

And now arrange the mozzarella slice on top of the cheese sauce.

The Four Cheese Sauce tops off this lasagne perfectly!!
The Four Cheese Sauce tops off this lasagne perfectly!!

The Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne should be left, ideally for 4 hours, to allow the dried lasagne slices time to absorb moisture from both sauces. This dish can also be made 1-2 days in advance, wrapped in cling film and left in the fridge.

When ready to bake preheat the oven to 180C (165C fan oven). Place the lasagne dish onto a slightly larger baking tray; this dish can bubble up and over – it’s much easier to clean a baking sheet rather than scrub out the bottom of your oven!!!!!

Cook the lasagne for 1 1/2 hours until piping hot all the way through and gorgeously, golden brown.

Delicious, cheese sauce topped, chicken lasagne - delish!
Delicious, cheese sauce topped, chicken lasagne – delish!

Remove from the oven 10-15 minutes before serving. This allows the lasagne to cool slightly and hold it’s shape when being served.

This Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne is delicious on it’s own, served with a salad or garlic bread. It can be frozen at the pre-bake stage or in individual portions, wrapped tightly in foil and popped into the freezer. Or why not double the quantities and make an extra meal for the freezer?

If you try this recipe please let me know how you get on. Do you have alternative lasagne combinations that are scrumptious? If you do please share them.

But most of all if you know a new mum, or someone who has been ill for a while, or just a very busy family that you would like to bless, then this is THE perfect, portable, all in one meal for sharing!

As ever, remember food always tastes better when it’s shared. Happy Feasting.

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

Hello everyone.  A big shout out to all the Mums and Dads on half-term duty.  I’ve created a deliciously Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw, that all my children love. It’s a really good way of getting fresh veg onto the dinner plate and goodness into us all.  Not only that but this Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw tastes seriously good!

Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw - easy on the eye, tasty on the tongue!
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw – easy on the eye, tasty on the tongue!

Some may argue – ‘Why should I make my own Coleslaw, when it’s easily available and isn’t expensive?’  Which, if you think about it, it a fair point.  I do, on occasion, buy Coleslaw from the shops aaaand each time I do I regret it!  The Coleslaw is either really gloopy and absolutely smothered in a creamy sauce, or else it seems to contain only cabbage and onion, the latter having a strongly, oniony, overbearing taste.  I don’t like shop bought Coleslaw!  There I’ve said it!!!

Homemade Coleslaw really is better than anything you can buy.
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw really is better than anything you can buy.

Now I like onion in my Coleslaw, but I don’t like it to have a nasal clearing, strong, over powering taste.  I’ve sorted this problem.  Firstly I use red onions, which are generally sweeter than white onions, then I slice them thinly and soak them in lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt.  The lemon juice draws out all the acridness from the onions, leaving them sweet and crunchy!

Pretty red onions add a super sweetness to this Coleslaw!
Pretty red onions add a super sweetness to this Coleslaw!

I make a great big bowl of this Coleslaw which we eat alongside fish and potato wedges, fabulous with homemade pizza, great with burgers, or in place of salad with any meal.  Let’s get on with the –

Recipe :  Serves 6 as a main side dish.

1/2  Medium White Cabbage

1  Medium Red Onion

3  Medium Carrots (or 2 large)

1  Lemon

Approx 5 Heaped Tablespoons of Mayonnaise (I use full fat mayo)

Method :

First take the lemon, cut in half a squeeze it into a large bowl – feel free to use your favourite citrus juicer!!!

Watch out for any pips!!!
Watch out for any pips!!!

Now cut the red onion in half and slice as thinly as possible into half moons. Break up the onion and add to the lemon juice in the bowl. Sprinkle over the sea salt and mix the onion half moons, breaking them apart as you go, into the lemon juice.

Set aside for 10 minutes whilst you prep the cabbage.
Set aside for 10 minutes whilst you prep the cabbage.

Take half a medium white cabbage and remove the tough core.  Cut the cabbage into 3 sections and finely shred them with a sharp knife.L

Shredded, Crunchy, White Cabbage.
Shredded, Crunchy, White Cabbage.

In the bowl with the onions and lemon juice add 4-5 heaped tablespoons of your favourite mayonnaise.  Mix thoroughly so that the lemon juice becomes incorporated into the Mayo. Add 1/2tsp of freshly ground black pepper.

The onions should now be in a thickish, lump free sauce.
The onions should now be in a thickish, lump free sauce.

The lemon juice thins out the mayo so the resulting sauce is smooth and creamy, but not gloopy, thick and claggy like mayonnaise only Coleslaw sauces.  Put the shredded cabbage on top of the onions and sauce in the bowl.

All we need now are the carrots!!!!
All we need now are the carrots!!!!

Trim off the tops and bottoms of the carrots, peel and then grate in the coarse side of a box grater.

This is gonna be grate!!!!!!!
This is gonna be grate!!!!!!!

Place the grated carrot in the bowl.

"Hi there - you've been Tango-ed!!!"
“Hi there – you’ve been Tango-ed!!!”

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and you have yourself some top notch, Crunchy, Homemade Coleslaw.

I'm not a side dish - I'm the main attraction!!!
I’m not a side dish – I’m the main attraction!!!

If not using straight away, cover in cling film and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  This coleslaw is at it’s best the day you make it, but will keep for a day in an airtight container.

Put me on a jacket potato and dive in!!!!
Put me on a jacket potato and dive in!!!!

Again this is a fantastically portable dish, that makes it great for feasting with family, friends, work colleagues, in fact ANYONE.  This Coleslaw is ideal for buffets (it’s easy to double/triple/quadruple the quantities. It is so easy, inexpensive, cheaper and way more delicious than the shop bought alternative.  Try this recipe once – feel free to adjust the lemon/mayo ratio – and I bet you’ll think twice before buying shop bought Coleslaw again!

 

Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw - another batch made - we eat this ALL the time!
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw – another batch made – we eat this ALL the time!
Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw
Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw equally as good made with red cabbage.

Oh and please let me know how you get on, I love to read your comments.

This Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw is the ideal accompaniment to:

Better Than Takeout Pizza

Better Than Takeout Pizza
Better Than Takeout Pizza – crispy edges, chewy dough, gooey melted cheese. Once you’ve made this you’ll never want to order a pizza again! www.feastingisfun.com

Ciabatta Based Pizza

Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza
Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza.

Until next time happy feasting, sharing and having fun!

Sammie x

 

 

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Breadsticks Garlic Herb Dipping Oil

Hello there, have I got a new take on Garlic Bread for you today? Oh yes I have. Homemade Breadstick Garlic Herb Dipping Oil – deeeelish!! A fab recipe to make with the kids any day, but especially this week, during half term, here in the UK. Just like at Cafe Rouge except everyone has their own pot of dipping oil!

Crunch Breadsticks with Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil
Crunchy Breadsticks with Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil

We first had a version of these at Cafe Rouge a few years ago and we all thought they were yummy. So my mind started whirring, thinking that these couldn’t be ‘that hard’ to make at home – and guess what, they’re not!! And, dare I say, they taste better!

 

THE perfect sharing food. Perfect with pasta
THE perfect sharing food. Perfect with pasta.

Usually, when I’m feeding a crowd, I double up on the recipe and two people share one plate. But last night, with our Spag Bol we each had our own bowl of Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil and Breadsticks (some of us are getting over colds – so thought individual was best!!).

Crunchy Breadsticks, perfect for dunking in the Garlic and Herb Oil.
Crunchy Breadsticks, perfect for dunking in the Garlic and Herb Oil.

Firstly to make the breadsticks, for me it really is easier to have a bread maker or stand mixer. There is no way I could do all that kneading by myself, but if you’re happy to make the dough by hand, feel free.

 Recipe : Breadsticks Makes 10

1lb/450g  Strong White Bread Flour

2tsp  Dried Fast Acting Yeast

300ml Water – Approx 37C Body Temp

2tbsp Olive Oil

3/4 tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I used Maldon

Method : see below for hand kneading

Place the warm water into the bowl of your bread maker or stand mixer with the dough hook attached.  Add the dried yeast and mix with your fingers.  Place the flour on top of the water/yeast.  Pour the oil on top of the flour and sprinkle over the salt.

* For bread maker set cycle to knead and prove.

* For the stand mixer, mix the ingredients for 10 minutes. When the dough is soft and elastic remove to an oiled bowl, turn once, so the sides and top are slicked in oil, cover with cling film and place in a warm place to double in size (1-2 hours).

* For hand kneading, place all the ingredients into a large bowl, as per the other methods. Bring together with your hand, in the bowl, until a complete lump of dough is formed. Place the dough on a lightly floured worktop and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic – proceed as for stand mixer.

Once the dough has doubled in size knock back – gently punch down into the bowl to knock out the air (in a bread maker set to mix and allow 30 seconds of slow rotating to knock back your dough).

Tip your dough out onto a floured worktop.

Form the dough into a flat, done shape.
Form the dough into a flat, dome shape.
Divide the dough into half - using a dough cutter or knife.
Divide the dough into half – using a dough cutter or knife.
Divide the first half into 5 equal pieces of dough.
Divide the first half into 5 equal pieces of dough.
Pull each piece into a length.
Pull each piece into a length.
Twist each length of dough, pulling as you do so, to make a long twisted, uncooked bread stick and place on an oiled baking sheet.
Twist each length of dough, pulling as you do so, to make a long twisted, uncooked bread stick and place on an oiled baking sheet.

Repeat the same process for the other half of the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm draught free place until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 215C (200C fan).

Place the baking sheets into the hot oven and bake the breadsticks for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Crunchy, golden breadsticks.
Crunchy, golden breadsticks.

 

Place the cooked breadsticks on a cooling rack to cool.

Recipe : Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil

4tbsp  Virgin Olive Oil

4tbsp  Butter

3  Fat Garlic Bulbs

1tbsp  Fresh Finely Chopped Herbs – I used Thyme and Rosemary – or 1tsp Mixed Dried Herbs

1/2 tsp  Flaky Sea Salt

1/2 tsp  Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method :

Firstly I have to admit I didn’t actually measure the butter or olive oil when I made this!!  But you are aiming for a 50:50 mix of Olive oil and butter!  My laziness is your gain, as you can add more oil/butter if you want to stretch this recipe out for more servings!!!  And I get called Cheeky – can’t think why?????

Anyway back to the dipping oil for the breadsticks!  Put the Olive oil and butter into a small pan. Chop the herbs finely and add to the cold oil/butter.

Finely chopped Thyme (left) and Rosemary (right).
Finely chopped Thyme (left) and Rosemary (right).

Either mince finely, or use a garlic press to chop/squish the garlic bulbs and add to the pan.  Finally add the salt and pepper – you can add less salt if you’ve used salted butter – too little salt however, will result in this dipping oil having a very bland flavour (sorry Cafe Rouge, but it’s the seasoning in your dipping oil that let’s it down!).

Ooh a little heat, a little time and this will become the MOST delish Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil x x x
Ooh a little heat, a little time and this will become the MOST delish Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil x x x

Place the pan over a very low heat.  The idea is to melt the butter, infuse the oil/butter with the garlic and herbs and of course NOT BURN THE GARLIC!!!!

As soon as the butter is melted take the pan off the heat.
As soon as the butter is melted take the pan off the heat.

Leave the pan off the heat to sit and infuse with the Garlic and Herb flavours.  Even a few minutes makes a big difference to the final oil.  I made the oil whilst the Breadsticks were baking.  10 minutes before serving place the pan over a medium heat. As soon as the oil is bubbling and the Garlic is sizzling, remove from the heat and decant into individual serving bowls – I used ramekins.

THE perfect sharing food. Perfect with pasta
THE perfect food for sharing. Perfect with pasta.

Breaking into the crunchy Breadsticks and dipping into the Garlic and Herb Oil is a taste explosion in your mouth!! It’s a fun change from the usual Garlic Bread.  As always these Breadsticks go amazingly well with all pasta dishes.

NOTE: The Garlic and Herb Oil can also be spooned over Ciabatta or Baguette for a more traditional style Garlic Bread.

The Breadsticks can be made smaller (this will stretch out the number of servings), just remember to reduce the baking time – I’d start checking at 15 minutes.

Any leftover breadsticks can be frozen, in a freezer bag, for up to a month.

If you do try this recipe I’d love to hear how you get on?

Have fun making these and most of all sharing them!

Sammie x

 

 

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Peach and Banana Smoothie

Hi and thanks for dropping by.  Are you having a good Monday or is it a bit of a drrrraaaagggg?  Mondays can be a real dichotomy.  If you’re on holiday, honeymoon or just cos the sun’s shining, then Mondays can be great!! If it’s another week at work or school, with deadlines looming, meetings pressing and the sun nowhere to be seen, it can be the hardest thing ever having to haul yourself outta bed and start another working week.  This super easy Peach and Banana Smoothie not only looks like sunshine in a glass, it tastes amazing, is made in moments and it’s good for you!!  Just the pick me up needed on a Monday, or any other day of the week.

Peach and Banana Smoothie - a glass of sunshine to brighten your day!
Peach and Banana Smoothie – a glass of sunshine to brighten your day!

So whatever day you are having this super easy, super delish, Peach and Banana Smoothie is exactly what you need to give you the energy to face the day!

Peach and Banana Smoothies - ideal to have with Breakfast!
Peach and Banana Smoothies – ideal to have with Breakfast!

Although I’ve pitched these as ideal for breakfast, I actually made this mid afternoon!!! We’d had a late breakfast, skipped lunch and I didn’t want us (me included) snacking on sugary treats whilst waiting for dinner.  So far, so good! Dinner’s still an hour away and no ones hungry.

A healthy, filling, sunshine Smoothie.
A healthy, filling, sunshine Smoothie.

To make these Peach and Banana Smoothies all you need is:

Recipe : Makes 4 servings.

3  Bananas

2 x 400g Tubs/Cans Peach Slices in Fruit Juice

Method :

Tip the peaches and juice into a blender, or a food processor.

Peaches in....
Peaches in….

Next peel the bananas, break them into chunks and add them to the peaches.

Your Peach and Banana Smoothie is a few pulses away.
Your Peach and Banana Smoothie is a few pulses away.

Blitz the peaches and bananas until you have a lump free Smoothie.

Get ready to pour....
Get ready to pour….

And then pour your smoothie into a tall glass…

It's like pouring liquid sunshine!!
It’s like pouring liquid sunshine!!

Next enjoy!

Such a scrummy smoothie
Such a scrummy smoothie

During the summer you could add frozen bananas, or substitute tinned peaches for fresh and add some ice to make this a cool drink.  But for mid February this Smoothie was fab as is. Enjoy!!!!

Easy, quick Peach and Banana Smoothies - delish x
Easy, quick Peach and Banana Smoothies – delish x

I hope you give this a try and that it makes you smile on a Monday, Tuesday, in fact what ever day you make it!

Sammie x

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Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi, there how are you? In the mood for baking these Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies I hope???

A Tower of Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies - scrumptious
A Tower of Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies – scrumptious.

These cookies deserve some serious (only kidding!!) respect.  They are sugary crisp on the outside and gooey, meltingly, chocolately on the inside.  This is THE cookie you have been waiting for – and you didn’t even know it!!!

See I told you!! That's a large ice cream scoop - lost amongst the Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies (bet it would be nice to be that scoop??!!).
See I told you!! That’s a large ice cream scoop – lost amongst the Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies (bet it would be nice to be that scoop??!!).

I can honestly say I’ve never wanted to be an ice cream scoop before – but there’s a first time ……

That's only 8 cookies people - nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower (artistic license allowed!!)
That’s only 8 cookies people – nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower (artistic license allowed!!)

Did I mention that these are Giant  Chocolate Chip Cookies – oh I did and you want me to get on with the recipe – fair enough: here goes!!

Recipe:  This recipe makes 14-16 Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies.

225g/8oz  Light Brown Sugar

150g/5oz  Unsatled Butter

1  Large Egg +

1  Large Egg Yolk

2 tsp  Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt – free flowing

275g/10oz  Plain White Flour

1/2 tsp  Sodium Bicarbonate.

400g/14oz  Chocolate Chunks/Chips

Method :

Preheat the oven to 170C (160C fan).

In a large, microwave proof bowl, add the butter and sugar.  Place in the microwave and heat until the butter is just starting to melt : it’s very hard to give exact timings here, as it depends how cold your butter is to start, what power (wattage) your microwave is etc.  The only advice I would give is to heat it slowly, on medium.  Once butter melts in a microwave it starts to spit and bubble.  Whilst this is going to have a small impact in your recipe, it’s a real pain to have to clean out the microwave, mid baking, before the butter sets hard.  Just trying to help!!

Next get whisking and I mean you really do need an electric whisk for this.  I made these cookies a fair few times before I realised the importance of really whisking the butter and sugar together properly and then again when you add the egg, extra yolk and vanilla extract. Bi have absolutely no idea why it makes such a difference, but it does and so much for the better!

The whisked butter and sugar, ready to be whisked again with the egg and vanilla.
The whisked butter and sugar, ready to be whisked again with the egg and vanilla.
Lovely fluffy, whipped eggs/butter/sugar and vanilla - almost doubled in size.
Lovely fluffy, whipped eggs/butter/sugar and vanilla – almost doubled in size.

Whisking the eggs and vanilla extract into the butter/sugar mixture for a good 5 minutes makes all the difference to the finished cookie.

Now sift in the flour/bicarb and salt.  Then add the chocolate (I used Milk Chocolate Chunks – you may use whichever chocolate you prefer!!).  Using a spoon gently fold all the dry ingredients, including the chocolate  chunks into the whisked mixture.  I’ve found the cookie dough comes together very easily.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - yummeeeee!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – yummeeeee!

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I’m sorry I just don’t get along with greaseproof paper, it always sticks!!).  Then using a large, spring operated ice cream scoop ( see 1st photo! ), proceed to scoop out 4 portions if cookie dough, well spaced apart, on each sheet.  Using damp hands, slightly flatten the dome top of each unbaked  cookie. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the biscuits have a sugary, crackled sheen, turning golden and are starting to set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minute before placing each cookie on a baking rack.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Then proceed as before to bake the rest of the Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies – or make smaller cookies: take a golf ball sized piece of cookie dough, roll into a ball in you hands, place on the lined baking sheet and press down lightly as before.  Bake for approx 15 minutes.  The cookie dough left, yielded 13 smaller (but NOT small) cookies.

The second batch of smaller, Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies - now there's a contradiction!
The second batch of smaller, Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies – now there’s a contradiction!

I had soooo much fun making these cookies.  The recipe was originally inspired by Nigella (thank you Ms Lawson) but I’ve adapted it over time and it is absolutely, one hundred per cent, our children’s and my Nieces favourite cookie that I bake – like ever!!!

A Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie with 2 not so smaller ones!
A Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie with 2 not so smaller ones!

The very best part of making these cookies is sharing them.  Children and the young at heart love being treated to a Supersize cookie (as the sugar content is quite a bit higher than my other cookie recipes, these don’t get baked very often – see I am a responsible mum – almost!!).

I hope that you give these Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies a try and enjoy sharing them and revelling in the smiles you see!

Sammie x

 

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Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake

Hi there, I hope there is something in your day today that makes you smile.  I’m definitely smiling because I’ve made this luscious, moist Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake!

Nutella and Hazelnut covered, light and moist, Chocolate Marble Cake.
Nutella and Hazelnut covered, light and moist, Chocolate Marble Cake.

Yep I’m back to baking, after being out of action for a few weeks with horrid Migraines – soooo frustrating, painful and boring – but today I did it.  I finally got to remake the cake that I teased you about (see Teasers!!!) and as Nutella has been on special offer, I won’t get blasted by the children, for depleting their Nutella supply!!!

Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Swirled together. Seriously luscious!
Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Swirled together. Seriously luscious!

I will be totally honest, the only other time I made this cake, I ate it 3 days in a row for lunch!! Something about the moistness of the cake, the Nutella topping and roasted hazelnuts just got me, good and proper!!

I should mention, given the number of times I’ve mentioned Nutella, that this is not a paid promotion.  It’s just Nutella is such an easy frosting for a cake and this particular combo is especially yummy.

Recipe :  Makes one 9 inch cake.

12oz/350g  White Caster Sugar

12oz/350g  Unsalted Butter – room temp

1/4tsp  Salt – I use Kosher (additive free)

2tsp  Vanilla Extract

6  Large Eggs – pref free range

240mls/8fl oz  Buttermilk

12oz/350g  White Self Raising Flour

3oz/75g  Cocoa Powder

5-6  Heaped Tablespoons of Nutella

4oz/100g  Blanched Hazelnuts

Method :

Preheat the oven to 170C (155C fan).

Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream together using an electric whisk (or stand mixer with paddle attachment). This actually takes a good 5 mins to get a really pale, light and fluffy mixture (so unless you want a thorough workout I don’t suggest you do this by hand!!).

Pale and fluffy!!
Pale and fluffy!!

Next add the vanilla extract, salt and 1 egg. Whisk until combined.  Then continuing to whisk gradually add the rest of the eggs, slowly, one at a time, until they have all been added.  If it looks like your mixture is going to curdle -DON’T PANIC!!- add one tablespoon of Self Raising Flour and the mixture will come back together.  Now sigh with relief!!!’

All eggs added and no curdling - I added a tablespoon of flour, just in case!!!
All eggs added and no curdling – I added a tablespoon of flour, just in case!!!

Add the flour and partly mix in, then add the buttermilk (it’s worth giving the container a good shake, as the buttermilk can settle).  Complete the mixing, by folding in the part blended flour mixture and the buttercream.  Watch in amazement as the batter takes on a mousse like consistency!

This St Ivel buttermilk is the only one I could find!
This St Ivel buttermilk is the only one I could find!
A lovely mousse type batter, that is really light and airy - and easy to stir!!
A lovely mousse type batter, that is really light and airy – and easy to stir!!

If my batter looks a bit pinky/orange, it’s  because the eggs I used had very orange yolks!!

In a separate bowl (I suggest that you use a larger one than I did!!!) add the cocoa powder.  Place half of your vanilla cake batter on top of the cocoa and whisk until blended – I did try mixing by hand, but it was hopeless as the bowl was too small!

Cocoa.
Cocoa.
Place half the batter mixture on top.
Place half the batter mixture on top.
And whisk!!!
And whisk!!!

This chocolate batter tastes yummy!

Next, in a buttered and parchment lined (only on the base) 9 inch, springform cake pan, it’s time to get creative with dolloping your two cake batters.

First I dolloped chocolate cake batter.
First I dolloped chocolate cake batter.
Then I added vanilla..,
Then I added vanilla..,
Finishing with the rest of the chocolate.
Finishing with the rest of the chocolate.

Then using a butter knife I swirled the two batters together.  What you’re aiming for is a rippled effect – but there’s no precise way to do it – just don’t get carried away over swirling, as you’ll end up mixing the two batters together!

Swirling finished, now level off the cake top.
Swirling finished, now level off the cake top.

Place the cake in the preheated oven and bake for an hour.  The cake is cooked when it is firm to touch and does not wobble underneath the set top.  You can also insert a skewer, when it comes out clean the cake is cooked.

Put the cooked cake, still in it’s tin onto a baking rack and leave to cool, in it’s tin for 15 minutes.  After 15 mins unclip the springform tin and remove the tin, leaving the cake on the tin base to cool.

Don't worry if there are a few cracks on the top. These will close as the cake cools.
Don’t worry if there are a few cracks on the top. These will close as the cake cools.

Whilst the cake is cooling, lightly toast the hazelnuts.  Place the hazelnuts into a dry frying pan and toast over a high heat for approx. 5 minutes.  Toasting the hazelnuts brings out the wonderful oils and flavour. Once the hazelnuts are toasted remove from the pan and place in a bowl to cool.

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan over a high heat.
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan over a high heat.
Once toasted the hazelnuts turn a gorgeous golden colour.
Once toasted the hazelnuts turn a gorgeous golden colour.

As I mentioned, any cracks in the top of the cake will close on cooling, but don’t worry, the top is going to be covered in Nutella!!!!!  Yummy!

Place the cake on a cake stand/board or plate.  Place 5-6 tablespoons of Nutella onto the top of the cake.  Spread the Nutella over the top of the cake right up to the edges – I used an off set spatula to do this.

Sorry, you do have to spread the Nutella as it doesn't set.
Sorry, you do have to spread the Nutella as it doesn’t set.
Nutella is so easy to spread!
Nutella is so easy to spread!
Oooh scrummy, this Nutella covered cake looks ready to eat - but we can add a final touch!
Oooh scrummy, this Nutella covered cake looks ready to eat – but we can add a final touch!

Time to get creative with the toasted hazelnuts!  You can place them randomly or in a pattern on top of the Nutella.  Once finished you finally have a Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake.

Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake.
Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake.

So scrumptious looking and the perfect cake for sharing.  Also the Nutella doesn’t set so invite a friend/neighbour round, or the whole family and pop the kettle on.  This cake is ready for slicing, so enjoy!

Remember food always tastes better when it’s shared.

Sammie x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes.

Hi there, I hope you are having a good day and hopefully this recipe for Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes will make you smile and encourage you to get baking!!!!

So late (7.30pm – that’s late for me!) the other night, I was in bed and our lil man popped his head round the door and said “Mummy it’s the school bake sale tomorrow.  Do we have anything that I can take in?”.  Looking at me with his angelic, freckled face and gorgeous green eyes, hopeful, expectant.  Mummy’s can sort anything out, at a moments notice – can’t they????

Well of course we can!  Improvisation is one of the most important parenting tools any mum or dad learns.

So, fortunately my cupboards are groaning under the weight of baking ingredients at the mo, due to being unwell over Christmas – see there’s a silver lining to every dark cloud!  If I was going to bake I was definitely going to blog about it.  Only problem with that is, have already posted Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes guaranteed to sell and make the most money!), I needed a different chocolate recipe.  So I invented a new recipe on the spot – Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes!

They look and taste soooo good!
Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes. They look and taste soooo good!

Given my desire to get back to bed ASAP I decided not to frost these cupcakes. Sprinkling each individual cupcake top with chopped up crunchy after dinner mints turned out better than I hoped for.  The crunchy mint chocolate shards didn’t melt, or lose their shape and once cooled provided an excellent topping in itself!  Ditching the frosting also made it much easier for my lil man to transport these scrumptious (WHAT?? – of course we had to try them!!!) cupcakes to school.

Recipe : Makes 33-36 Cupcakes

1lb/450g  Unsalted Butter – at room temp

1lb/450g  Light Soft Brown Sugar

8 Eggs – Large, room temp – pref free range

2tsp. Vanilla Extract

1tsp. Peppermint Extract

1/4tsp. Salt – I use Kosher (free flowing and additive free)

12oz/350g White Self Raising Flour

4oz/100g  Cocoa Powder

8oz/225g  Milk Chocolate Chunks (or chips)

4oz/100g  Dark Mint Chocolate

Method :

Preheat oven to 190C (175C fan).

Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and whisk (using an electric whisk, or beater paddle in a stand mixer) until completely combined (this is called creaming) and light and fluffy in texture.

A mix of sugars. Dark and light brown and white caster - it was late and it was the best I could do!!!!
A mix of sugars. Dark and light brown and white caster – it was late and it was the best I could do!!!!
It all whisked up beautifully - breathed sigh of relief!!!!
It all whisked up beautifully – breathes sigh of relief!!!!

Add the vanilla/peppermint extracts and the salt. Whisk in thoroughly.  Now add the eggs, one at a time, whisking between each addition – I break each egg into a separate bowl before adding it to the mixture –  it helps keep any errant eggshell out of the batter.  If the eggs are at room temp then the batter shouldn’t curdle, however, if it does start to curdle just add 1 tablespoon of your flour and the mixture will come back together again.

All 8 eggs whisked in and no curdling! I was relieved.
All 8 eggs whisked in and no curdling! I was relieved.

Next sift in the flour and cocoa powder.  Fold this in using a spoon/spatula, using a gentle figure-of-eight movement rotating the bowl to ensure the flour/cocoa become fully incorporated. The idea is to keep the mixture light and not lose too much of the trapped air from the whisked in eggs.

Add the milk chocolate chunks and fold these into the Cupcake batter so they are evenly distributed.

This mixture looks, smells and tastes scrumptious!
This mixture looks, smells and tastes scrumptious!

Line you cupcake/muffin tin with cupcake cases and using an ice cream scoop, fill the  cases 3/4 full (one scoop full).  Remember I’m not frosting these cupcakes so I want them to have a nice rounded top!

Ready....
Ready….
Squeeze.....
Squeeze…..
Plop! The exact amount of batter drops into the cupcake case - brilliant - and quick - and much less messy than using 2 spoons!
Plop! The exact amount of batter drops into the cupcake case – brilliant – and quick – and much less messy than using 2 spoons!

Sprinkle the crunchy, dark mint chocolate shards over the top of each uncooked cupcake, pushing slightly into the batter.

Ready for the oven!
Ready for the oven!

Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 mins depending on your oven.  I usually test if cupcakes are cooked by lightly pressing in the middle and if it springs back it’s cooked.   I DON’T suggest you do this – I did, forgetting there would be melted chocolate on the top – OUCH!!  So, when the Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes are risen, with a nice dome shape, lightly press the SIDE of the cupcake top.  If firm remove the cupcakes from the oven, if it’s still a bit sticky and wobbly, leave them in the oven for 3-5 minutes until firm and then remove.

Leave to cool for a good 5 minutes before removing to cool on a baking rack.
Leave to cool for a good 5 minutes before removing to cool on a baking rack.

If you’ve only got a couple of cupcake tins you can pop them on the garden bench to speed up the cooling process, so you can decant the cupcakes, wash the tins, get the next batch in the oven and get back to bed!!!!

Come on babies, cool quickly please?
Come on babies, cool quickly please?

When the cupcakes are all cool, pack into an airtight container, cupcake box for school bake sale or place one on a plate pour a glass of milk and take it up to bed to enjoy!!!!

All Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes were sold out in 2 minutes the next day, raising £10 for the charity Mencap!!!

The fun bits……..

Who needs a dishwasher......
Who needs a dishwasher……
When you have chocolate loving children
When you have chocolate loving children

You could easily halve this recipe, should you not have a cake sale to bake for, or, here’s a thought – use the recipe, as is, and surprise someone with a tin/box/plateful of scrummy cupcakes!!

Remember Food Tastes Better When It’s Shared. Happy Feasting!

Sammie x

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