Breakfast Squares

I have been looking for an easy way to get my teenagers to have a healthy, filling, easy (for them and for me!) breakfast even when they are dashing out of the door after lying in bed for as long as possible!! This recipe in a recent Sainsbury’s magazine seemed to fit the bill so I have adapted it for my store cupboard and Stoneware collection.  Not only is it really tasty (so they aren’t bothered that it is healthy!) but it is also supremely easy to make – just throw everything in the food processor, whizz and bung it in the stoneware and into the oven.  Perfect!

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As always, I like to make the mistakes so you don’t have to.  The first time I made this everyone loved except me, the flavour is good but I wanted it to have more of a flapjack texture.  So the 2nd time I made it I tried it in a bigger piece of stoneware (medium bar pan) which made for a thinner mixture.  The result – disaster!!  Really dried out, bad textured pap.  DON’T DO IT!!!  Oh, and it still didn’t get anywhere near to the flapjack texture I wanted!!

Ingredients

250g pitted dates (original recipe: medjool dates)
2 ripe bananas, peeled and broken into 3 or 4 pieces
200g porridge oats
60g plain flour (original recipe: wholemeal)
30g desiccated coconut
120ml olive oil
2tbsp milk (original recipe: almond or soya milk)
3tbsp golden syrup (original recipe: maple syrup)
2tbsp mixed seeds, plus a pinch
1/2 tsp salt (original recipe: fine sea salt)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/ Gas Mark 4.  Original recipe recommend lining 20cm square tin with baking paper.  I recommend using a Small Baker (Blue and Square) if you have one, or a square baker.  I do sometimes line it just to make it easier to take it out later!
  2. Put all the ingredients in the food processor except for the seeds.  Whiz until rough but well combined.  Then add the seeds and give a final blitz.
  3. Spread into the baker and sprinkle over the extra seeds.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm to touch and slightly golden on top.  Leave in the tray for 5-8 minutes to cool.  Use the baking paper as handles, if used.  Cut into 16 squares and leave to cool.

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Filed under Cake, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Quick Cooking, Square Baker, Vegetarian

Potato Salad

IMG_3187Following on from the success of sharing my coleslaw I thought I would share the other side salad which is a mainstay of our summers and BBQs!  This potato salad is absolutely divine warm but also fabulous cold which means it can easily be made ahead of the day.  It is also ridiculously easy – ANYONE can make this and feel proud of their own homemade brilliance!

Now, as an ex-Pampered Chef consultant I use my Pampered Chef tools to make my life much easier but you can, obviously, manage without if you haven’t got a Micro Cooker!

Ingredients

Bag of Salad Potatoes – Charlotte or Jersey Royals are ideal.
Mayonnaise
Chives

Method

  1. Wash potatoes.
  2. Put bag of potatoes into Large Micro Cooker (I buy a 1kg bag), and put the lid on.  Cook in the Microwave on high for 10 minutes.  (If you don’t have a micro cooker, or even a microwave, then gently boil the potatoes on the hob until soft enough for a knife to be able to stab into them.IMG_3183
  3. Drain the potatoes and allow to cool.  If aiming to serve warm just cool until the potatoes stop steaming and are just warm.  If serving cold or later allow to cool completely.
  4. Chop the potatoes into smaller chunks.  How small you go is up to you.  IMG_3184
  5. Add large dollop of mayonnaise, be generous.IMG_3185
  6. Snip 2 or 3 ‘blades’ of chives into small pieces into the bowl.  IMG_3186
  7. Mix well. Enjoy!

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Filed under Batter Bowl, Easy Cooking, Eggs, Family Cooking, Other, Potatoes, Quick Cooking, Super Quick cooking!, Vegetarian

Coleslaw – Susie Style!

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Finally, summer has decided to reappear here in Sheffield and along with the summer comes the desire to eat salads.  A few years ago my good friend Anne Brand said to me “once you have made your own coleslaw you will never buy one from the shops again”.  At the time I thought she was mad as we love a good coleslaw but Oh My she is soooo right!!!  I have taken the recipe she suggested and merged it with a Nigella one and this is the result.  The recipe is blindingly simple but this year I have had so many people ask for the recipe I decided to share on here.

Ingredients – (to serve 4/5 with left overs)

White Cabbage – half
Carrot(s) –  one large one or a couple of smaller ones.
Onion – 1.  (I usually prefer red for the visual effect, spring onions are fine, even plain white onions are OK if it is all that you have)
Mayonnaise
Salad Cream
Sultanas (optional)

Method

You will notice that all the ingredient amounts are all a bit vague.  (I understand if this frustrates you – I would much prefer to have specific amounts but this recipe really does need you to decide what you prefer!

  1. Shred/ Slice the cabbage, best done using a big and sharp knife.  Cut the cabbage into quarters and then cut the core out from each quarter.  Finely slice.  f you don’t like long slices of cabbage then keep rotating the cabbage and slicing from different  angles.IMG_3189IMG_3190
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to “peel” and entire carrot or 2.  Keep turning the carrot in your hand to get even slices.  Again, if you don’t like long strands in your coleslaw peel the top half first and then turn it around and do the other end.IMG_3191
  3. If using an onion, top and tail, quarter and finely slice. If using spring onions you obviously don’t need to quarter them.  IMG_3192
  4. If adding sultanas add a handful.IMG_3193
  5. Mix well.  Personally, at this point I use my hands (quicker and easier!)IMG_3194
  6. Add a good splodge of mayo and a good splodge of salad cream – about the same size.  Do not be sparing, you will almost certainly need more than you think you do!
  7. Add a good teaspoon of mustard.IMG_3195
  8. Mix well until all strands of the vegetables are covered with the sauce.
  9. Taste. You are looking for creamy, moreish, slightly tangy taste.
  10. More than likely you will need to add more mayo/ and or salad cream.
  11. Repeat 9 & 10 until you are happy.
  12. Serve!

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Filed under Batter Bowl, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Other, Quick Cooking, Super Quick cooking!, Vegetarian

Jam and Coconut Loaf Cake (adapted from Good Housekeeping Magazine)

The other day it was my husband’s birthday so he (obviously!) needed a cake!  Usually I would do him a chocolate cake because, well I don’t need to explain do I?!! This year however, I remembered a recipe which I had seen in the Good Housekeeping magazine which I had showed him and he said “what are you waiting for, just get on with it then!!” My memory says this was near midnight just before going to bed – so, unsurprisingly, I didn’t ‘just get on with it’.  In fact several months have passed and I still haven’t made it.  So, for his birthday I tried it.  It was a ROARING success.  It isn’t a classic cake with icing and decoration but I like to think he loved it as a birthday cake nonetheless.  I will, however, NOT be keeping it just for birthdays… it is far too yummy!  So, without further ado and any more waffling, here is the recipe!

IMG_2596Ingredients

200g (7oz) soft unsalted butter
200g (7oz) caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
2tsp vanilla extract
200g (70z) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
225g of your favourite jam (the recipe said seedless, mine wasn’t, it was fine!)
2tbsp desiccated coconut

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ Gas Mark 4.  Lightly grease Stoneware Loaf Pan (2lb loaf tin).  If you don’t have stoneware then line the tin as well.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter together with an electric mixer (handheld electric is also fine, you can obviously do this by hand but you will need biceps of steel and it’s more than I am prepared to do!).  Do this for way longer than you would think – 5 minutes was recommended…(I just did a long time!) until the mix changes to a much lighter colour and is really fluffy.
  3. While the mixer is still going gradually add the eggs and the vanilla extract.
  4. Fold (or turn down the mixer to its slowest setting!) in the flour, baking powder and 2tbsp of warm water until just combined.
  5. Pour into tin and bake for 55min-1hr 5mins until golden, risen and a cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Allow to sit in the stoneware pan for 5 minutes or allow to cool entirely if using a metal tin, then remove from the tin.
  7. In a small pan heat the jam over a low heat stirring with a Mix ‘N Scraper until smooth.  Spread evenly over the top.  When I first started I thought I had way too much jam to fit on the cake but I just kept gently pouring and it magically stayed on!  Sprinkle with the coconut.
  8. Serve – with a good old cup of tea.

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Creme Egg Cheesecake

Oh my days… I have just found this recipe waiting to be shared… why have i never shared this with you?  Anyway, as Easter is just around the corner I thought you might like it!

CREME EGG CHEESECAKECheesecake

INGREDIENTS

  • 280g Digestive Chocolate Biscuits
  • 140g Butter (Unsalted), melted
  • 560ml Double cream, lightly whipped until it forms soft peaks
  • 140g Icing Sugar, sifted
  • 2 x 280g Tubs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (Full fat)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 275g Mini Cadbury’s Creme Eggs (about 3 small bags)
  • 3 or 4 Full size Creme Eggs to decorate
  • 60g Milk Chocolate
  • 120g White Chocolate
  • Yellow Food Colouring (see notes below)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Crush the biscuits until they look like lumpy sand. (You can use Manual Food Processor or Food Chopper for this)
  2. Mix with the melted butter and press into your 7″ tin.
  3. Unwrap the mini Creme Eggs and chop them each into quarters.
  4. Combine the whipped cream, icing sugar, cream cheese, lemon juice and chopped mini Creme Eggs. Fold in gently until fully combined.
  5. Smooth on top of the biscuit base and flatten the top with the back of a spoon or a palette knife.
  6. Chill for 3 hours or, even better, over night.
  7. Use the knife tip (below) to remove the cheesecake from the tin.
  8. Melt your milk chocolate in the Double Boiler over a pan of boiling water and allow to cool very slightly before drizzling over the cake in zigzags.
  9. Melt your white chocolate in the same way, drizzle half of it onto the cheesecake.
  10. Colour the white chocolate that is left with a tiny amount of food colour. Add more until you reach a yellow you’re happy with, then drizzle this over too.
  11. (You can prep all of the chocolates, pop them into piping bags and drizzle alternately if you prefer.)
  12. Cut your large Creme Eggs in half and use to decorate the top of the cheesecake

Some tips:

  • Pop the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs in the fridge for an hour or so before cutting, it will make them less gooey.
  • When whipping the cream, be sure to watch it very carefully. It should be just forming soft floppy peaks, but still hold it’s shape. Too runny and the cheesecake will be sloppy, too stiff and it will be too dense.
  • Do sift the icing sugar, it will give a much smoother texture to the cheesecake.
  • I would stick to Philadelphia creme cheese for this (and full fat) it seems more stable than supermarket own brands.
  • Add more lemon juice if you’d prefer a slightly sharper tang.
  • This is the gel food colour used to colour the chocolate: Sugarflair Paste Colour – Egg Yellow
  • Only ever use Gel Food Colour to colour the chocolate. Liquid food colour will make it too thin.
  • Allow the chocolate to cool slightly before drizzling to avoid ‘melting’ the cheesecake. You’ll also get neater lines as slightly cooled chocolate doesn’t spread so easily.
  • For a neater chocolate drizzle, use disposable piping bags for each colour of chocolate. Just snip the end off to pipe.
  • Use a tin with either a springform (the type where the side unclips) or a removable base.
  • Warm a sharp, thin knife under a hot tap and then dry it. Use this to run around the outside of the cake, inside the tin, before removing. Remove the knife and wipe it as you work your way around the cake.
  • The recipe is for a 7″ tin. You can use smaller or larger but your cheesecake will obviously be taller or shorter

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Carbonara Recipe – that works every time!

It has been such a long time since I added any recipes to my blog but there are still recipes which I still want to share.  I have favourite recipes which are on scraps of paper which are getting more and more ragged as I use them!  So, today I have finally got back here and am sharing with you all again.

FullSizeRenderPasta Carbonara is a recipe which my whole family loves so over the years I have tried many recipes with varying degrees of success.  Sometimes it would be flavourless, sometimes there wouldn’t be enough sauce, occasionally it was that glorious creamy sauce that coated each strand of spaghetti (our favourite form of pasta for carbonara).  Then one day my daughter had to make Carbonara at school for Food Technology at school and she brought home this recipe.  I would love to name check the parent who shared this with us but Meg has never managed to find out who it was.  Soooooo if you are reading this, live in Sheffield and had a daughter who went to Silverdale secondary school and you recognise this recipe please shout up.  In the meantime many many thanks for a brilliant recipe!!  For those purists out there – I know that this isn’t how you make a classic Carbonara BUT it works… EVERY time… and we all love it!

Ingredients

Pasta for 4/5 people (for us that means 500g spaghetti packet and I always use wholewheat pasta.  Its a really easy switch that taste no different but is so much healthier)
Olive Oil
Six slices of back bacon or 12 of streaky bacon (the better quality you can afford the better and if you can go all the way to pancetta then please do)
2 Cloves of Garlic
250ml Cream (the original recipe says double but I usually have single so use that, and our pots are 284ml so I use a whole one – who needs 34 ml of cream hanging about in the fridge?!)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Dried Oregano
Dried Thyme
Parmesan Cheese Grated – good chunk at least 75g.
Frozen Peas/ Frozen Sweetcorn (optional)

Method

  1. First get a big pan of salted water on to boil (I use Nigella’s rule – enough salt to make it taste like the Mediterranean!).
  2. Whilst the water coming to the boil cut the bacon into small strips/ squares.
  3. Add your pasta to the boiling water and give it a quick stir with a fork to make sure it doesn’t all end up in one lump stuck together.
  4. Add some olive oil to a large sauté pan (I LOVE my non-stick Pampered Chef one for this so I only use a small amount of oil, maybe tsp).  Once the oil is warm add the bacon.
  5. Fry the bacon until it starts turning colour.  At this point add your garlic.  Sometimes I crush the garlic, sometimes I thinly slice it – depends on my mood and the tool I have nearest to hand!  Make sure the pan is not so hot that the garlic burns.  Season with plenty of pepper.  Do not add any salt – you will have enough from the bacon and cheese.
  6.  Once the bacon is cooked and nicely brown add a good pinch of both herbs.  Stir these in and cook for a minute or two, then add your cream.  Do not boil the cream just let it get up to a good simmer.
  7. By now the pasta should be cooked.  Drain the pasta – I like to leave just a little bit of the water with the spaghetti and toss it about at this point to help reduce clumping.
  8. Add the pasta to the sauce (my saute pan is big enough I add the pasta into that – if yours isn’t go the other way!), add plenty of grated cheese and mix well.  Sometimes I also add some frozen peas and/ or sweetcorn at this point.  This is just to increase the vegetable quota in the kids diet!  Taste to check whether you have enough cheese and enough seasoning.
  9. Serve.

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Jo Murphy’s Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is a slightly different version of a sweet and sour “Chuck & Bung”.  I really like the warmth from the chilli and using the pineapple juice makes this a really juicy family meal.  Try it – you will love it!

Ingredients

4 Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Medium Onions
2 Peppers (any Colour)
225g can Water Chestnuts, Drained.
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Small piece of fresh Ginger
Freshly Ground Pepper
640g of Tinned pineapple in Juice
4 Tbsp Corn Flour
260ml water
4Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
4Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
4Tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
4Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
Small Bag Basmati Rice

Method

  • Put oven on to 200C/ 180 fan/ Gas 6.
  • Chop the chicken into bite size pieces using Forged Cutlery Knife on the Cutting Board. Add to the Rectangular Baker.
  • Using a knife, peel the onions and cut into quarters. Finely chop using Food Chopper. Add to the Rectangular Baker.
  • Using a knife, cut the peppers into 3cm pieces. Add to the Rectangular Baker.
  • Open water chestnuts using Smooth Edge Can Opener and drain using Stainless Colander. Slice water chestnuts horizontally using the Knife. Add to the Rectangular Baker
  • Crush the garlic directly into the baker using the Garlic Press.
  • Grate the ginger directly into the baker using the Microplane Fine Grater
  • Add freshly ground pepper using Grinder.
  • Open Pineapple tin using Smooth Edge Can Opener. Drain the pineapple using Stainless Colander pouring juice into Easy Read Measuring Cup.
  • Using large Adjustable Measuring Spoon add 4 tbsp of corn flour to Classic Batter Bowl. Add 3 tbsp of pineapple juice and mix to a paste using Mini Mix ‘N Scraper.
  • Add the remaining juice to the Batter Bowl, and add the water using the same measuring cup
  • Using Mini Easy Read Measuring Cup and both Adjustable Measuring Spoons add all remaining ingredients (except for rice) into the Batter Bowl.
  • Add the sauce to the baker. Mix together using Small Mix ‘N Scraper.
  • Place in oven for 30 mins – until bubbling nicely.
  • Boil full Kettle. Using Large Easy Read Measuring Cup add 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of boiling water to Rice Cooker Plus. Place in Microwave for 15 mins or until all the water is absorbed.

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Filed under Chicken, Deep Covered Baker, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Food Chopper, Garlic, Ginger, Microplane Grater, Pineapple, Rectangular Baker, Rice, Rice Cooker, Stoneware