Churros

If you are on a diet then move away from this page immediately.  These are naughty treats that I scoffed whilst on holiday once, and still I find them utterly delicious.  Dip them into melted chocolate or roll them in cinnamon sugar, and I am sure you will fall for them too!  Just remember the saying, … ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.’

churros

 

Ingredients
• 350ml of boiling water
• 250g plain flour
• 50g butter, softened
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 litre sunflower oil

Pour the boiling water into a jug and add the butter and vanilla extract. Sift the flour and baking powder (to ensure it is lump free) into a big mixing bowl along with a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre of the flour.  Now pour in the butter/water/vanilla mix. With a wooden spoon beat all the ingredients together until lump free and then set to one side to rest for 10 minutes.
Fill a deep saucepan with oil for frying.   Once the oil has heated to a high temperature, drop a teaspoon of mix into the oil, this is to check to see if it is going golden brown and crisp.  If it isn’t, wait for the oil to heat up a bit more.
Fit a star nozzle to a piping bag.  Fill with the rested dough, then pipe 2-3 strips directly into the pan.   When they are a couple of inches long snip off with a pair of kitchen scissors, so that the dough then drops into the oil.   Alternatively you can make longer churros, once you have mastered the technique of frying with the dough.  Do a couple at a time, anymore and they will not cook properly.  Fry until they are a light golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon.  It is best at this point to have a plate with kitchen roll on it, to lay the churros on to it to absorb the excess oil.  Keep repeating until you have used up all the dough.

Tea Loaf

This may be something that your granny used to make, but I think there is nothing nicer to have with your cup of tea in the afternoon, than a slice of tea loaf.  Smothered with butter, jam or even cheese, this tea loaf will stay nice in an airtight container for around a week. I find it best to eat after a couple of days.  I really enjoy this lightly toasted as well!

 

tea loaf

Ingredients

300ml of boiling water with 3 strong tea bags in.  Leave the tea to brew for ten minutes,  then remove the tea bags.
460g Mixed fruit
140g Light brown sugar
250g Self raising flour
1 Egg beaten
1/2 tsp Mixed spice

Optional: You can drizzle some runny icing over the top.

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.Prepare a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment.

Place the fruit into the tea and leave for around 2 hours. The fruit then plumps up.

In a bowl place the flour, sugar, egg, mixed spice and fruit mixture then stir well.

Spoon into your tin and bake for around an hour. Check that the centre of the loaf is cooked by placing a sharp knife into the middle. If it comes out clean it is cooked, if any mix if left on the knife, then place back into the oven and cook for a few more minutes.

Allow the loaf to cool before turning out onto a wire rack. When fully cool you can put it into an airtight tin or container.

Drizzle runny icing over the top.

Chocolate Caramel Shortcakes

This is probably my husbands favourite sweet treat.  They do not last long in my house and are certainly not for those who are on a diet.  However, as a treat every now and again, they are simply delicious!

IMG_1055

Ingredients
• 190g plain flour
• 120g cold butter in cubes
• 60g caster sugar
• 150g butter
• 4 heaped tablespoons of golden syrup
• 1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 300g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
• 3tsp vegetable oil
Pre-Heat oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
Line an 8″ square baking tray or use a disposable 8″  tray like I do!

In a food processor place the sugar, 120g of butter and the plain flour and blitz in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Place into the prepared tray and press firmly down, especially into the corners and sides.  Then place into the oven for around 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Take out of the oven and place into the fridge.
Whilst the base is cooling, place into a heavy based saucepan, the condensed milk, the vanilla extract, golden syrup and 150g butter.  Stir and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until it turns into a dark caramel.  Do not leave the stove, keep stirring and be patient.  Once it has turned thicker, place onto the biscuit base, then place back into the fridge for around about an hour, so that it sets.  This could take about an hour.
When the caramel has set you can then melt the chocolate, I usually place a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water on the stove.  Break up the chocolate in the bowl and add the vegetable oil, keep stirring until it is glossy and smooth.  BEWARE, do not let the hot water touch the bottom of the bowl as this will make the chocolate go grainy.  Once smooth pour on top of the caramel.  Allow to cool and then once chilled a bit further, cut into slices.

Christmas Gingerbread

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded my “A Taste of Christmas” recipe book.  If you have not yet had to chance to purchase it, then there is a link here to help direct you to the right book! BOOK LINK

If you love Christmas food as much as I do, then you will find some great ideas and recipes.  I thought it would be nice to share one of my favourites which is a fabulous Christmas gingerbread recipe.  I have had fun making these with my children over the years, although adults seem to enjoy making them and eating them too.  Christmas cookies are popular as you can make them your own, by being creative with your designs and styles.  They also are great for using as Christmas tree decorations, so have fun with fondant, icing and sprinkles and if you are feeling really festive try some edible glitter. If using as tree decorations don’t try eating them days after they have been on the tree, as they soon lose their taste and crunch, after being left in the air for a while.

I hope you are all having fun over the festive season.

gingerbread biscuits

180g Dark Muscavado Sugar
90g Golden Syrup
100g Butter
350g Plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
1Tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1½ Tbsp of Ground ginger
1Tsp Ground cinnamon
1 Egg beaten.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan place in the sugar, syrup and butter. Heat gently for a couple of minutes until it begins to bubble and then place to one side.

In a bowl place in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon. Mix well to combine. Then add the syrup mixture and mix well. Finally, add in the egg and mix together until combined and coming together like a dough.

Place some cling film over the bowl and place into the fridge for around an hour. If you try to roll out the dough now it will be a sticky mess.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Prepare a baking tray with baking paper. Dust the surface with flour and roll out the dough until it is the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out shapes of your choice and gently move them over to the baking tray. If you want to hang the decorations remember to put through a hole with a skewer so that you will be able to place a ribbon through it.

Bake for 10-12 minutes then leave on the tray for a few minutes. If you try to move them too quickly to a wire cooling tray they could fall apart. Finally once cool move them to the wire cooling tray and allow them to completely cool before decorating.

Toffee Apples

I love bonfire night, not for what it represents, but for the delight of eating food outside.  Warming soups, jacket potatoes and treats like s’mores taste even better on a cold frosty night.  I can never understand why it tastes better, no doubt some scientist has worked it out, all I know is that I enjoy it!

One popular thing to eat is toffee apples, which I have loved since I was a child, although you always hope that it is not too windy as otherwise your hair has a habit of sticking to the toffee – unless it is well tied back!  Although these are mostly eaten by children, I would not let them make them, due to high heat of the syrup and the worry of scalding.

More of my recipes are available to download from Amazon in my latest book here Amazon Cookery Book

toffee apples

Ingredients

About 6 Golden Delicious Apples
450g caster or even better Demerara sugar
100g butter
4 tbsp of golden syrup
1 tsp cider vinegar
Lollipop sticks
*If you want the toffee apples to turn out red, then you will need to add a few drops of red food colouring with the other ingredients*

Method

Get a baking tray and place a sheet of greaseproof paper on it. Wash the apples, dry them with some kitchen roll and stick the lollipop sticks firmly into the base of the apple. Get a heavy bottomed saucepan and put all the ingredients in together. Bring the mixture to the boil for around about 25 minutes (it could take longer). Your mixture needs to reach the temperature of 140°c. If you do not have a sugar thermometer then you can always take a drop of the mixture, place it into a bowl of cold water, remove the blob and if it is hard and cracks, you will know that it is done. If it is still sticky and mouldable then it is not ready. When the mixture is ready very carefully take an apple and roll it in the mixture. To stop it dripping too much, roll the apple round a bit before placing down onto the baking tray. If the coating looks a little thin, then just roll the apple in the mixture again so that it adds an extra layer. Leave to cool and set

You can roll the mixture in chopped nuts or sprinkles or grated chocolate, if you wish.