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. As soon as I checked my blog posts I realised it’s been ages since I have posted a cookie recipe. So, today I bring you my Cranberry Oat Cookies.
Although I haven’t posted a new recipe since my last Cookie post, that doesn’t mean I have abstained from baking cookies. Rather it means I’ve baked Cookies I’ve already posted. Confused yet? So I baked a batch of Cranberry Oat Cookies. I think these may be my favourite Cookies today!
Since one of my best friends has been unwell recently, a fresh delivery of Cookies will be just the boost she needs. As a dear friend, who also has a sweet tooth I know she will enjoy these. So I can stop by for a cuppa and chat while sharing these cookies. Because food always tastes better when it’s shared! Who will you share your Cookies with?
So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.
Hi, roadway I’m sharimg my recipe for Chicken Four Cheese Lasagne. It is a tasty twist on a classic dish. While there are a few steps to follow, each part of the recipe is easy to follow. And there is no need to precook the lasagne sheets. Making this recipe using minced chicken is a tasty twist on an Italian classic.
As a busy household, make ahead meals are a life, or should I say a sanity saver.
By substituting beef with minced chicken, the resulting baked lasagne becomes a lighter dish. Not lighter in calories, with the delicious four cheese sauce. Rather, not as heavy on the stomach. And the four cheese sauce was the result of me raiding the fridge for leftover Christmas cheese.
Since minced chicken may not be available everywhere, minced turkey is a great substitute. Alternatively, processing skinless chicken breasts, thighs or a combination in a food processor would be another way to make your own chicken mince. Another option, finely chopped chicken using a sharp knife would work and give the lasagne added texture.
Recipe : Chicken Four Cheese Lasagne Serves 6-8 portions.
1 Green Pepper – washed, deseeded and finely diced
2-3 Carrots – peeled and finely diced
3 Garlic Cloves – minced or crushed (using a garlic press)
3 x 400g Chopped Tinned Tomatoes
2tbsp Tomato Puree
1tsp Dried Mixed Herbs – or fresh basil, oregano, parsley and thyme – to taste
Salt and Ground Black Pepper – to taste
Cheese Sauce :
3tbsp Plain White Flour
750-800ml/Approx 26fl oz Whole Milk
6oz Hard Cheese – I used a 50/50 mixture of Mature Cheddar and Swiss Cheese cut into small cubes or grated
4.5oz/125g Riccota Cheese
250g/8.5oz Mozzarella Cheese
1 tsp Nutmeg – freshly grated if possible
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste.
Butter – For Greasing the Lasagne Dish
1 packet Dried Egg Lasagne Sheets 375g/13-14oz – dont worry if the packet requires pre-cooking you won’t need to.
A rectangular, ovenproof dish approximately 30cm x 20cm x 9cm (12in x 8in x 3.5in) is needed to make this lasagne.
Making The Chicken Lasagne Sauce
First of all finely chop 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 start to turn translucent.
Next add the diced celery to the pan and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes 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. Alternatively 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 large clumps of meat don’t form.
Unlike beef mince, the chicken mince will get lighter as it cooks.
Cook the chicken turns opaque but not browned.
Now add the carrots, green pepper and the minced garlic.
As soon as everything is mixed together add the tomatoes. Also fill each empty can almost to the top with water and add that to the pan.
Add the tomato purée, dried or fresh chopped herbs.
Give everything a good stir then add the sugar, half a teaspoon of salt 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.
Making Four Cheese Sauce Lasagne Topping
Place a medium sized pan over a gentle heat. Add the butter and cook until melted and starting to sizzle.
Next tip the flour on to the melted butter stirring constantly until combined and smooth.
Continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
Start slowly adding the milk, stirring vigorously as the paste thickens. Continue stirring while adding small amounts of milk.
As more milk is added lumps may form, switch to a balloonwhisk at this stage.
Continue until all the milk has been added and absorbed.
The sauce will be thick enough to cover the back of a spoon.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the ricotta and the other cheeses (except the mozzarella), stir vigorously.
Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ricotta cheese will give the Four Cheese Sauce a slightly grainy texture, that’s normal. While grated cheese will melt into the sauce easily, cubed cheese will almost never become completely smooth, that’s ok as it will when it’s baked in the oven later. Also the addition of freshly ground nutmeg elevates the flavour above and beyond, but please, if you can, grate your own nutmeg.
Set to one side to cool.
Assembling The Lasagne Layers
First of all liberally butter the ovenproof dish. Since I’ve made a LOT of lasagne buttering the dish before hand not only helps when serving, it also doesn’t require 3 days soaking to remove baked on lasagne.
I wasn’t joking when I said that you don’t have to precook the lasagne sheets. Since I’ve used lots of different makes, some with ruffled edges, green spinach lasagne sheets, egg versus plain AND this recipe works with all types.
As soon as you have buttered the dish place a layer of hot chicken lasagne sauce into the bottom of the dish, so that it is completely covered.
Next place enough lasagne sheets to cover the bottom layer. The layers should meet or very slightly overlap.
Repeat the sauce/lasagne sheet layering twice more finishing with a sheet layer.
Pour the cooled cheese sauce all over the top of the lasagne sheets.
Finishing The Lasagne
Drain and slice the mozzarella cheese.
And now arrange the mozzarella slices on top of the cheese sauce.
Finally leave the lasagne for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight. So that the dried lasagne slices have time to absorb moisture from both sauces. Also this dish can be made 1-2 days in advance, wrapped in cling film and left in the fridge.
Baking The Lasagne
As soon as the lasagne is ready to bake preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan oven, 350F, gas mark 4.
Place the lasagne dish on to a slightly larger baking tray; this dish can bubble up and over.
Bake the lasagne for 1 1/2 hours until piping hot all the way through and golden brown.
Remove from the oven 10-15 minutes before serving. Doing so allows the lasagne to cool slightly and more importantly, hold it’s shape when served.
This Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne is delicious on it’s own, served with a salad and freshly baked Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bead. Also 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 have enjoyed this recipe for Chicken Four Cheese Lasagne you may also like these:
While traditional recipes will stand the test of time, importantly it’s fun to change things up. And sharing those changes is especially important as is sharing the food we make. 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!
Hello everyone. A big shout out to all the Mums and Dads on half-term duty. So, I have created a deliciously CrunchyHomemade Coleslaw, that all my children and us adults love. Most importantly, it’s a really good way of getting fresh vegetables onto the dinner plate and goodness into us all. Also, I should mention that this Crunchy HomemadeColeslaw tastes seriously good!
While some may argue, “Why should I make my own Coleslaw, when it’s easily available and isn’t that expensive?” Which, if you think about it, is a fair point. On occasion, I used to buy Coleslaw from the shops and each time I did I regretted it, so I stopped! Either I find ready made Coleslaw is gloopy and smothered in creamy sauce, or it seems to contain only cabbage and onion, the latter having a strong, onion, overbearing taste. Truthfully, I really don’t enjoy shop bought Coleslaw. Finally, I’ve said it!
While I like onion in my Coleslaw, I don’t like it to have a nasal clearing, strong, over powering taste. So, I’ve come up with a solution. First of all, 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. And the acidity of the lemon juice draws out all the acridness from the onions, leaving them sweet and crunchy. Resulting in a balance of flavours.
Because we enjoy this coleslaw so much, I always make a big bowl. Since it’s great to eat alongside fish and potato wedges, fabulous with my Better Than Takeout Pizza, burgers, or in place of salad with any meal.
Recipe : Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw serves 6 as side dish.
Approximately 5 Heaped Tablespoons of Mayonnaise (I use full fat mayo)
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Making The Lemon Mayonnaise For The Coleslaw
First of all, take the lemon, cut in half and squeeze it into a large bowl, feel free to use your favourite citrus juicer!
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 using your fingers mix the onion half moons, breaking them apart as you go, into the lemon juice.
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.
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 mayonnaise. Add 1/2tsp of freshly ground black pepper.
Adding The Cabbage And Carrots To The Marinating Onions
The lemon juice thins out the mayonnaise, so the resulting sauce is smooth and creamy, but not gloopy, thick and claggy like some ready made coleslaw. Add the shredded cabbage on top of the onions and sauce in the bowl.
Trim off the tops and bottoms of the carrots, peel and then grate using the coarse side of a box grater.
Place the grated carrot in the bowl.
Finally, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and you have yourself some top notch, Crunchy, Homemade Coleslaw.
If not using straight away, cover in cling film and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. While this coleslaw is at it’s best the day you make it, you can refrigerate and eat the following day.
Also, this is a fantastically portable dish and is great for taking to family and friend gatherings. And it is ideal for buffets, it’s easy to double, triple or quadruple the quantities. While being easy to make, inexpensive, cheaper and way more delicious than the shop bought alternative. As soon as you try this recipe I can guarantee you’ll think twice before buying shop bought Coleslaw again!
Finally, please let me know how you get on, I love to read your comments.
If you have enjoyed this recipe for Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw you may also like these:
We love this coleslaw recipe here at home. Because it is so easy to make ahead and leave sitting in the fridge and it also tastes so good too. Since the ingredients cost very little, compared to ready made coleslaw, it makes good economical sense to make it myself. And, as with most homemade recipes, there isn’t any plastic waste either. Resulting in a great recipe that is good for us and good for the planet too.
So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.
No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Hello there, have I got a new take on Garlic Bread for you today? Oh yes I have. Homemade BreadstickGarlic 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!
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!
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!!).
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.
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.
Place the cooked breadsticks on a cooling rack to cool.
Recipe : Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil
4tbsp Virgin Olive Oil
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
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.
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!).
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!!!!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
To make these Peach and Banana Smoothies all you need is:
Recipe : Makes 4 servings.
2 x 400g Tubs/Cans Peach Slices in Fruit Juice
Tip the peaches and juice into a blender, or a food processor.
Next peel the bananas, break them into chunks and add them to the peaches.
Blitz the peaches and bananas until you have a lump free Smoothie.
And then pour your smoothie into a tall glass…
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!!!!
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!
Hi, there how are you? In the mood for baking these Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies I hope???
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!!!
I can honestly say I’ve never wanted to be an ice cream scoop before – but there’s a first time ……
Did I mention that these are GiantChocolate 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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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!
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 Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake. Chocolate and vanilla sponge swirled together, baked and then topped with a generous slather of Nutella and whole, toasted hazelnuts.
Yep I’m back to baking, after being out of action for a few weeks with horrid Migraines, see here. Frustrating, painful and boring, however today I did it. I finally got to remake the cake that I teased you about and as Nutella has been on special offer, I won’t get blasted by the children, for depleting their Nutella supply.
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.
Because, being completely honest, I’ll admit to eating a slice of this cake for lunch, three days in a row. It really is that tempting.
Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 2, 300F
Making The Chocolate And Vanilla Cake Batter
First of all grease thoroughly with butter a 9 inch/22.5cm springform cake pan and line the base with baking parchment.
Add the butter, sugar and salt 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!).
Next add the vanilla extract, and 1 egg. Whisk until combined. While 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 add one tablespoon of Self Raising Flour and the mixture will come back together.
All eggs added and no curdling – I added a tablespoon of flour, just in case!
Add the remaining flour and partly fold in. Now 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.
If my batter looks a bit pinky/orange, it’s because the eggs that 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!
Creating The Marble Effect Of The Cake
Spoon in large dollops of the chocolate cake batter.
Follow with vanilla cake batter dropped in between the chocolate.
Now add chocolate batter on top of the vanilla.
Likewise repeat with vanilla and then chocolate batter until it is all in the cake tin.
Using a butter knife swirl the two batters together. What you’re aiming for is a rippled effect. Since there is no precision to this method, swirl a few times, but not so many that the result is both cake batters completely mixed together.
Baking The Chocolate Marble Cake
Place the cake in the centre of a 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. Also an inserted skewer will come out clean.
As soon as the cake is cooked remove from the oven.
Place the cooked cake, still in it’s tin onto a baking rack and leave to cool, for 15 minutes.
After 15 minuntes unclip the springform tin and remove the tin, leaving the cake on the tin base to cool.
Decorating The Cake With Toasted Hazelnuts And Nutella
While the cake is cooling, lightly toast the hazelnuts.
Place the hazelnuts into a dry frying pan and toast over a high heat for approximately 5 minutes. Toasting the hazelnuts brings out the wonderful oils and flavour. As soon as the hazelnuts are toasted remove from the pan and place in a bowl to cool.
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.
Place the cake on a cake stand/board or plate. Place 5-6 tablespoons of Nutella on to the top of the cake. Spread the Nutella over the top of the cake right up to the edge. An off set spatula is ideal for spreading.
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 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.
Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.
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While it is nice to bake a cake, just to have in the cupboard. So that family members can cut a slice and enjoy with a cup of tea, there are other reasons to bake. For example, to give as a gift to a new family, or take round to welcome new neighbours. If you think bout it there are plenty of reasons to bake and share cake. Since an unexpected gift has a double feel good factor. Not only do the recipients receive a delicious gift, they also know that they’ve been thought about. What other reason do we need that that?
So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.
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