Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cake

I own only one, yes one Christmas cookbook. For me, no Christmas cooking or baking is complete without a visit to Nigella Lawson's Christmas cookery book. Bursting with recipes, I'm always inspired to try a new festive recipe. Whilst many may enjoy the traditional Christmas cake with marzipan and lots of fruit, I've been brought up on the rum laced Jamaican fruit cake which is what I always prefer. I do however have a soft spot for chocolate and when I rediscovered this spiced chocolate Christmas cake, I just had to bake it. With all the lovely Christmas spices cinnamon, cloves and zest of clementine complimented with chocolate, this cake is a perfect alternative to a rich fruit cake. What I found surprising is how gooey the chocolate was when cooked, almost similar to a brownie in texture, but with a warm hint of Christmas with every bite. It's surprisingly quick to make and can be made from start to eating within 1.5 hours. 





The recipe for Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cake can be found here. I added a sprinkling of icing sugar over the cake.
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Sunday, 10 December 2017

Jumbo Oat and Raisin Cookies

I haven't baked cookies in a very long. The last amazing cookie I ate was in New York, I can't say that these are remotely close but they managed to hit my desire to have a moerish and gooey cookie. I remembered that many moons ago, I brought a baking book which was dedicated soley to baking cookies. I didn't fancy making an extravagant cookie but something which had incredibly easy to make, soft and gooey in the middle such as these oar and raisin cookies.




Ingredients
85g rolled oats
100g plain  flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter, softened
soft light brown sugar
50g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
175g raisins
Optional 1 tbsp coco powder

Method
Preheat the ocean to 190C/37F/Gas Mark 5. Place the oats in a food processor and pulse briefly, then tip into a bowl and sift in he flour and bicarbonate of soda and salt and stir together.
Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Place the egg and vanilla extract in a separate bowl and whisk together, then add to the butter and mix well. Add the flour mixture, into 15 balls and place on 2 large non-stick baking sheets, spaced well apart. Press the cookies into rough rounds. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

xxx
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Saturday, 9 December 2017

November monthly eatings 2017

Where has the year gone, we are only a few weeks away from Christmas and I can't wait to share some of the Christmas baking I have been up to. But before that, I enjoyed a few meals in November, I hadn't planned to eat out much at all having just returned from Jamaica, but when meals out call ......

Verso Lounge, Stafford

Cedar Lebanese restaurant, Birmingham


Halfpenny Farm, Oldbury

Miller and Carter, Wolverhampton




The Shire Horse, Stafford


Frankies and Bennys 




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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Thai Food Made Easy Review and Recipe

I'm so glad I recently discovered the tropical and vibrant delights of Thai cuisine. As Thai cuisine is relatively new to me, I've fully immersed myself with learning all I can about this cuisine. I was delighted when I received a review copy of Thai Food Made Easy by Tom Kime. I've never heard of the author before, but having done some research he is a highly trained chef having worked at The River Cafe and with Rick Stein. This cookery book doesn't feel like a chefy book, there's no overly complicated cooking methods which is perfect for the home cook. The author describes Thai food as "electrifying and invigorating and makes the tongue tingle with excitement" and I agree.

This cookery book introduces the reader to easy to follow recipes and shares all the key ingredients necessary to make authentic Thai food. This cookery book is perfect for newcomers to Thai cuisine and due to the versatility in recipes it will also appeal to those who are experienced in cooking Thai food. There are accompanying colour photos for the majority of the recipes which is stunning. Thai Food Made Easy is currently on sale for £14.99



There are a number of gorgeous recipes to try and all bases are covered in the comprehensive chapters:
  • Introduction
  • Ingredients for Thai Cooking - a chapter focusing on key fresh ingredients, spices, pantry larder and liquids.
  • 15 must-have herbs & spices - including Thai basil, lemongrass and five spice. 
  • Snacks and finger food- everyone loves a good snack especially when it includes: Glass Noodle & Pork Spring Rolls, Spiced Prawn cakes on Lemongrass Sticks, Chicken Satay with Turmeric & Ginger and Curried Sweetcorn Fritters. 
  • Salads- stand out recipes include: Prawn Noodle Salad with chili & toasted cashews, Hot & Sour Grilled Beef Salad and Sesame Chicken Salad. 
  • Slow roast, smoking grill & hot wok: tempting recipes include: Kai yang Issan-style grilled Chicken, Thai Beef skewers, Barbecued pork and herb salad and Wok-fried Chilli & Basil chicken. 
  • Fish & seafood: Gorgeous recipes to try include: Sesame-seared Tuna with Lemongrass & Ginger, Turmeric Grilled Fish, Stir-fried Cod with Sugar Snap Peas, Ginger & Five Spice and Grilled Fish with Chilli, Garlic & Ginger.
  • Curries & Soups , stand out recipes include: Coconut Fish Curry, Thai Green Curry,  Hot & Sour Orange Curry with Grilled Salmon & Geng gari curry with Roast Chicken.
  • Rice, Noodles & Sides: recipes to try include: Pad Thai Fried Noodles, Pad Ki Mow (spicy beef noodles with kaffir lime leaves) and Braised Chicken with Rice, Turmeric & Spices. 
  • Desserts & drinks: stand out recipes include: Thai Citrus & Young Coconut Jelly, Sticky rice with Mango and Banana & Coconut Pancakes. 
  • Basics: recipes to try include: this chapter includes a number of dressings and sauces.
  • Menu planner.
So far I've made the prawn noodle salad and grilled fish .



Recipe for Prawn Noodle Salad with Chilli & Toasted Cashews
Serves 4
Preparation 10 minutes
Ingredients
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
juice of 2 limes
250g thin rice noodles, drained and chilled
250g cooked prawns, peeled and halved
4 spring onions, finely chopped
4 mint sprigs, leaves picked and torn

Spices
freshly ground black pepper

pantry/larder
2 tablespoons light soy sauce 
1 tablespoon blended sesame oil
3 tablespoon cashews
salt.

Method
Mix the chilli, ginger and lime juice together in a large bowl. Add the light soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the noodles and prawns and mix together. Add the spring onions and season well with a little salt and black pepper.
When ready to serve, add the herbs to the noodles and mix together (only add the herbs when you are ready to serve because the acidity of the dressing will turn the leaves black). Scatter with the cashews. Taste the noodles to check the balance of flavours and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this cookery book from the publishers. 

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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Andrew James 3 in 1 Hand Blender and Processor Giveaway

I have an exciting early Christmas present to readers of my blog. As a keen cook it's important that I have access to essential kitchen equipment as this makes my life much easier in the kitchen. I'd be lost with my food processor (perfect for chopping vegetables), blender (perfect for making smoothies and soups) and a hand blender (also good for blending soups). I often receive information about the latest kitchen appliances such as the Andrew James 3 in 1 Hand Blender and Processor, which I would of happily received and reviewed, however I already own an Andrew James Food processor so thought i'd share this fabulous products with my readers.

The 3 in 1 blender helps saves space in the kitchen is compact and stylish. It features the following:
  • Chopping blades, processor bowl, blending cup and whisk attachment.
  • Powerful 1000w motor with variable speed control and turbo button.
  • All detachable parts are dishwasher safe.
  • Ergonomic design with stylish black and chrome finish
  • 2 year manufacturer's warranty.





The lovely people at Andrew James are giving one lucky reader one of their 3 in 1 hand blender and processor. To be in with a chance, follow the below instructions:

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecoper widget.
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the right side of the website using Google Friend Connectior) tis is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT. 
  • For additional entries like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. 
  • All entires will be checked and verified. 
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random. 
  • The competition will run from 29.11.17 - 14.12.17
  • Winners will need to respond within 3 working days of being contacted. 
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over.
  • Andrew James is responsible for posting the prize.
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway.
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