Hi, I’ve done it!! I’ve managed to make Lemon Shortbread Cookies that are light, lemony and crumbly, but still taste of shortbread!
I can’t tell you how good it feels to get back to baking since my recent stay in hospital. I’m not out of the woods yet, but at least I’m on the right path! Baking relaxes me, allows my creative juices to get flowing and produces something scrummy to eat afterwards. Not bad eh???
Buttery, lemony, light Lemon Shortbread Cookies. The perfect biscuit, in my book anyway. I encourage you to try this recipe if you are a fan of lemon and shortbread. I think you get the picture – I LOVE THESE COOKIES!
Recipe : Makes 20-24 Lemon Shortbread Cookies
150g/5oz Caster Sugar
225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp
1 Large Egg Yolk – free range
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tbsp Lemon Zest – finely grated (approx 1 medium lemon)
1/4 tsp Salt
300g/10oz Plain White Flour
Extra Sugar for sprinkling
Whisk the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
Add the room temp egg yolk, vanilla, lemon zest and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
Add the flour and mix (I do this by hand) until all the ingredients are just incorporated and the cookie dough comes together.
Using your hands shape the dough into a log. Wrap tightly in the cling and repeat with the other half of the dough.
Tip: if you wipe your worktop/board with a damp, clean cloth, the cling film will lay flat and stay in place!
When ready to bake preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan.
Bake the Lemon Shortbread Cookies for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and set (cooking time will be slightly longer, if you’ve cut the dough rounds thicker – my first batch took 18 mins!).
Remove from the oven, when cooked and then sprinkle a little more sugar over the cookies (I use granulated sugar for sprinkling).
Leave to cool on the tray for 10 mins then transfer to a cooling rack.
These Lemon Shortbread Cookies actually improve on keeping, in an airtight container, if you can wait???
Now think of someone you know, who loves lemon, pop some cooled cookies in a cellophane bag, tied with pretty ribbon and make their day!
An unexpected gift is a wonderful way to show someone that you care and food ALWAYS tastes better when it’s shared.
Do you like to bake and share? I’d love to hear your stories.
Hi, have I got the easiest, tastiest, make ahead side dish for you?? Oh yes I have! Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – this dish does not disappoint – it is delicious.
Although I’ve said this is a side dish (& vegetarian), it also makes a fab light lunch. A few shavings of Parmesan would add extra oomph for lunch, served alongside some crusty, crunchy bread.
I’m getting hungry!!!!
I’ve used red onion, peas, sweetcorn and red bell pepper in this dish – but feel free to switch up the veggies (celery is good) with whatever you have on hand. All I would say is the Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo is best served at room temp, or even warmed – BUT NOT COLD!!! No matter how much lemon/oil you add, when served fridge cold the Orzo clumps together and not in a good way!!!! So there you go, an easy recipe that doesn’t take up any room in your fridge, or require any last minute fiddling. Yay!! We like easy!
Recipe : Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo serves 6-8 as a side dish.
500g/1lb Packet Dried Orzo
Juice of 1 Large Lemon
1 x Small Red Onion
150ml/5fl oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 x Garlic Cloves – crushed
200g/7oz Frozen Peas
Medium Can Sweetcorn
Salt and Pepper to taste
Put a large pan of water on to heat up for the Orzo.
Place the lemon juice and finely diced red onion into a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix together. Leaving the onion in the lemon juice will remove the acrid taste!
Once the water in the pan is boiling add salt and then the Orzo. Cook according to the packet instructions – taking care not to overcook or the Orzo will simply clump together!!
Whilst the Orzo is cooking gently heat the Olive Oil and garlic together, for approx 2 minutes on a medium heat so the garlic infuses the oil and is lightly cooked. Pour the garlicky oil over the onions and lemon juice.
Drain the Orzo as soon as it is cooked and pour straight into the bowl. Using a large slotted spoon immediately toss the Orzo in the oil/lemon juice – this will stop the Orzo from sticking together.
Place the frozen peas (I used petit pois) in the bowl and mix in with the hot Orzo.
Add the sweetcorn (drained) and the diced, red, bell pepper. Mix together and taste for seasoning – add salt/freshly ground pepper as necessary.
Take a handful of Basil leaves, roughly chop and sprinkle over.
Cover with cling film and serve at room temp.
This side goes fabulously with fish – Salmon especially, Chicken and Pork. It makes a fab alternative to roast potatoes and hot veggies for a Summer roast and completely seals the deal as part of a buffet. With very little effort. Gotta love that?!
Enjoy feasting on this scrumptious dish and may we have many sunny days ahead to spend with friends and family, having fun round the BBQ!
With hidden ‘Super-Soakers’ primed for action if it gets too hot – or boring!!!!
What do you look forward to now the days are longer and the sunshine is out??
Hi, have I got the easiest, quickest meal for you? Yep, I have – Easy Tex Mex Chicken!
I am talking 5 minutes prep in the morning. Leave in the fridge all day and then throw in the oven for 45 mins before you want to eat. I told you it was Easy!! This delicious dish is fab served in Tortilla Wraps Fajita style, or alternatively, as I have, with potato wedges – well if you’ve got the oven already on…..
Recipe : EasyTex Mex Chicken serves 5-6
750g/1.5lb Boned Chicken Breasts (approx 5)
1 Large Spanish Onion
3 Peppers – the colours are up to you!
1 Packet Fajita Seasoning
2 tbs Olive Oil
Pat dry the chicken breasts using kitchen paper.
Cut up the chicken into bite sized chunks (I used scissors) and place in a large, freezer bag.
Pour a couple of glugs of Olive Oil over the diced chicken then tip in the contents of a Fajita mix.
Next it’s time to get chopping!
Pop the chopped veggies into the freezer bag with the seasoned chicken and smoosh about a bit so they are covered in the spicy oil.
I prepared the Easy Tex Mex Chicken in the morning and then stashed it in the fridge until dinner time.
To cook, tip the contents of the freezer bag into a shallow oven proof dish. Place in a preheated oven 200C/185C fan and cook for 45 minutes.
To serve either warm some soft tortillas and load up fajita style, or, as I did tonight homemade potato wedges – simply cut 1 jacket potato per person, in half and then into long wedges, toss in Olive oil and season with salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet, put in the oven 15 mins before the Easy Tex Mex Chicken.
Hi, have I got a treat for you today – Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Ooh if you love cookies and need a chocolate fix then these babies are definitely for you!
I’ve been unwell lately, including a 2 week stay in hospital (I’ll save that for another post). Having been home for 2-3 weeks now, today was the first day I really had the energy to bake. So, unashamedly I decided to make these Extreme Chocolate Cookies for our gorgeous children and my wonderful hubby, who has taken THE BEST care of me. I really do love that man.
I know that I’ve said it before, but baking or cooking for others, especially my family, is one of the ways I like to show my love for them. Chocolate is not my go-to favourite Cookie, I favour nutty, fruity, oat cookies, BUT, I obviously had to try one of these and they are my favourite chocolate cookies to date!
Recipe : Makes 18 Extreme Chocolate Cookies
225g/8oz Unsalted Butter softened
150g/5oz Dark Soft Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg at room temp.
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp Sal
225g/8oz Plain White Flour
50g/2oz Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
100g/4oz White Chocolate Chunks
150g/5oz Milk Chocolate Chunks
Method : Preheat oven to 170C/155C fan
In a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk until well combined and fluffy.
Whisk in the whole egg and vanilla extract.
Now chop up the white and milk chocolate into chunks.
Add the flour, cocoa, bicarb and chocolate chunks to the bowl.
Mix all of the ingredients together until just combined. Take about a tablespoon of mixture, roll into a ball shape and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
Wash your hands, they WILL look like you’ve been making mud pies!!!! Now using your fingers squish the cookie balls, they will still spread a bit whilst cooking.
Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins. I rotated my baking sheets halfway through the cooking process so that the cookies baked evenly. This is fine with cookies NOT cupcakes!!!
Once baked remove from the oven and allow the Extreme Chocolate Cookies to cool on the trays for 5 mins, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
Whilst cooling I sent the children a text (at school – rebel mummy!!!) and put the kettle on for a lovely cuppa!!
I can’t tell you how good it feels knowing I’m getting back to being me. Sooo good.
Am I alone? Why do you bake? I’d love to hear what motivates you?
Until next time have fun, feasting, sharing and smiling.
Hi, sorry for not posting recently, had a spell in hospital but home now and couldn’t eat the rest of this Jerk Pulled Pork Watercress Sandwich without sharing it’s deliciousness with you all!!
I had already eaten half – I’m sorry was very hungry- of this Jerk Pulled Pork Watercress Sandwich, when I had an epiphany!! It was sooooo good, I stopped eating, grabbed phone, attempted to take photos – I was in bed, so apologies for crumbs and general absence of food/photo styling – then quickly polished the last half off!!
So, we had shoulder of pork, cooked with a couple of bottles of cider, for dinner on Sunday. It was delish with mash and veg! Will post recipe when I cook it again, promise. Anyway, cooked low and slow, pork shoulder makes the best pulled pork. It was quite a large joint and made fab Fajitas for dinner on Tuesday. Rummaging around in the fridge today I realised there was still some meat left and so, not wanting any to go to waste, turned it into a fab lunch.
Here’s how I did it:
I used leftover pork (shoulder, roast leg or tenderloin would also work), but you can easily buy packets of pulled pork in the supermarket. Just make sure the pork is already cooked.
It’s hard to give amounts as it depends in how many Jerk Pulled Pork Watercress Sandwiches you are making and how big those sandwiches are going to be. I used sourdough bread, unbuttered and allowed a generous handful of both pork and watercress for each of the two sandwiches made.
I chopped up the pulled pork and heated it up with a good dollop of Levi Root’s Reggae Reggae Jerk Sauce until bubbling and completely reheated. The Jerk Pork was then generously place onto the bread, topped with watercress and another slice of bread.
Hey presto, one of the best hot sandwiches I’ve ever eaten was created. The best way to use up roast pork leftovers. Delish!!
Now I’ve shared the 4 ingredient recipe, feel free to add, embellish (I’m thinking panini/melted cheese/jalapeño’s) the possibilities are endless. If you make this Jerk Pulled Pork Watercress Sandwich please share your detectable, taste bud tingling results with me?
Note: I came up with the idea, my gorgeous hubby takes all the credit for ‘pulling’ it all together.
Happy Feasting and I’m hoping to get back to baking ASAP.
Hi there, have I got a FEAST for you, Chocolate Chip Brazil Nut Buns. Delicious, easy to make and very more-ish!
Ooh are these yummy! Made with all butter puff pastry these Chocolate Chip Brazil Nut Buns could not be easier to make and disappear fast as soon as they’re out of the oven.
It may be worth making a double batch of these, as they make the perfect portable gift, just make sure you have enough to go around as well!!!
Recipe : Makes 12 Buns
For the topping :
100g/4oz Brazil Nuts
100g/4oz Unsalted Butter – melted
75g/3oz Dark Brown Sugar
For the Buns :
1 Packet 450g/1lb All Butter Puff Pastry – thawed if frozen.
1tbsp Melted Butter
1/2 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
100g/4oz Dark Brown Sugar
225g/8oz Milk Chocolate Chips
100g/4oz Brazil Nuts
Preheat the oven to 200C (185C fan).
You will need a deep muffin/cupcake tin to bake these buns in. No pre-greasing of the tin is required.
The topping of these Chocolate Chunk Brazil Nut Buns is actually placed in the bottom of the muffin tin. When the buns are turned out, the bottom becomes the top!!!
For the topping mix the melted butter and sugar together. Add in the roughly chopped Brazil nuts.
Place about a teaspoon of the butter/sugar/nut mixture into each muffin holder in the tin.
Now for the buns :
My package of puff pastry came in 2 blocks. If you have 1 block, roll out the pastry to twice the width.
Roll out the pastry to 26cm/10″ wide by 29cm/11″ long.
Grate the nutmeg directly over the buttered pastry. If using ground nutmeg, sprinkle evenly over the pastry.
Sprinkle first the sugar, then the chocolate chips and chopped Brazil nuts evenly over the pastry (only use half of the amounts if rolling out half of the pastry, as I have).
Trim either end and then cut the pastry log in half.
Place each nutty, chocolate portion on top of the butter/sugar/chopped nuts in the muffin tin.
Place the muffin tin into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then place a baking tray over the buns. Flip the muffin tin over and prepare to be amazed!
Allow to cool as the chocolate and sugar in the centre are very hot. The perfect time to put the kettle on, invite round family, friends and neighbours and prepare to FEAST on these amazingly yummy Chocolate Chip Brazil Nut Buns!
If you try this recipe I’d love to here how you get on and your thoughts?
Hi there, thank you for stopping by ; this really is the easiest Best Beef Casserole. Perfect for colder spring evenings, warming you through with minimum effort!
Even though it’s officially Spring, here in the UK, some evenings can still be pretty chilly and this Best Beef Casserole is the perfect antidote. Also I think I’m going down with a cold, so I wanted any easy meal (I’ve zero energy) that wasn’t too rich.
Recipe: Serves 4 Adults
1 Large Onion – finely diced
2tbsp Olive Oil
450g/1lb Beef Steak (braising/chuck)
3tbsp Plain Flour
3 Large Carrots – peeled and diced
2 Bay leaves
1 Beef Stock Cube
2tbsp Tomato Puree
Salt and Pepper to season
In a wide pan add the olive oil and warm over a medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until translucent.
Whilst the onions are sautéing chop the beef into bite sized chunks.
Now add the 3 tablespoons of flour and season with salt and pepper.
Toss the flour coated beef chunks into the pan. Shake the pan so the beef is in one layer. When browned turn the chunks over, repeat until the beef chunks are browned on all sides.
When the beef is browned all over add the diced carrots a 2 bay leaves.
Pour water over the pan contents, until just covered. As this heats up, the flour will thicken the casserole.
Crumble in a beef stock cube.
Next add the tomato purée.
Stir, scraping all the delicious dark, beefy residue from the bottom of the pan, so that it mixed into the sauce.
The beef should be tender enough, once cooked, so you can cut through it with a spoon! Delicious the Best Beef Casserole.
I served this casserole with mashed potato and broccoli.
This meal was absolutely scrumptious. Perfect for a weekday meal. A feast in a bowl!
Hi, how are you liking my new site layout? This is my first recipe post : CrustyWhite 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 CrustyWhite Bread.
This loaf of CrustyWhite 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 CrustyWhite 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 CrustyWhite 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!!
Convinced yet?? Make one loaf of CrustyWhite Bread and try for yourself!
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
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.
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.
Yummy Crusty White Bread!
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!
Hello there, thank you for stopping by. Do you mind me asking you a question? Am I being Silly about using Silicone???
The photo above shows gorgeous little chocolate spoons, made in a Silicone mould.
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……..
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…….
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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 OatCookie dough balls onto baking sheets (line with parchment paper if not non stick).
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.
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.