Tag Archives: Recipe

Bitter Sweet Distraction

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Sometimes life isn’t as perfect as you’d like it to be, sometimes even on the nicest of summer days it’s difficult to find a reason to stop you drawing the blinds and getting into bed, even if it is only 3pm. On days like these, it takes a distraction to keep you on your feet and on this day I had just the right ingredients in my cupboards to get inventive and knock up some bitterly, sweet lemon curd cupcakes…with frosting to match!

The recipe was based on the vanilla cupcakes I threw together here with 6 heaped tea spoons of lemon curd stirred into the batter. In a very similar vain I conjured up some lemon curd frosting, recipe below.

And there you have it, an afternoon well  spent. A lot more productive than a nap and significantly healthier for the mind!

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For the frosting, beat together the following until lump free:
250g Icing sugar
80g Unsalted butter
2 heaped tsps Lemon curd
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
2-3 drops Yellow food colouring

Posher Than A Ginger Nut.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ginger-nut…but when offering up a ‘Thank You’ to your hosts thrusting a packet of McVities into their hands doesn’t quite have the same impact as placing down a tray of freshly baked ginger cupcakes.

Although the recipe seems a little strange – it’s basically a cinnamon batter with several handfuls of preserved ginger thrown in before baking – it worked a charm and swapping out the frosting for some chocolate ganache and crystallised ginger just classed them up a little!!!

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Cupcake batter recipe (shown below) taken from : The Hummingbird Bakery, Cupcakes and Muffins.

Chocolate ganache: One small pot of double cream and one bar of plain chocolate heated gently until the chocolate has fully melted. Dollop on cooled cupcakes and allow to set.

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Bitter Sweet Goodness.

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Lemons are bitter, but lemon macaroons are perfectly sweet. A friend from work and I managed to squeeze in a ‘early bird’ baking sesh yesterday and the results (which came to completion just in time for lunch) were well worth the effort. We threw together chocolate woopie pies along with raspberry and lemon macaroons.

I was mainly in charge of the lemon macaroons (shown above) and having never attempted macaroons before – having assumed them complicated – I was pleasantly surprised. Although my piping skills leave a lot to be desired and I probably should have left them in the oven a little longer the end results were more than edible. Having now got over my preconceptions and realised that they’re basically meringues with ground almonds thrown in for good measure I’ll definitely be hunting out more recipes and working to perfect my piping skills!

Recipe from here: Lemon Macaroons.

Persimmon Taste Test.

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After reading this post over on Illustrated Bites – a brilliant blog full of amazing food illustrations – and then coincidentally finding persimmon’s on offer at my local shop I decided to give them a go… I browsed the internet and one of the recommended ways to indulge in persimmons was to cook them off in a little brown sugar and a knob off butter until soft. They were really good [a little like a cross between a peach and an apple] especially with a cheeky scoop of vanilla ice cream, but then perhaps most things taste appealing with a little sugar and butter!? I must make a mental note to hunt out healthier recipes in future, regardless of what my sweet tooth may be telling me…

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Cheese & spinach cake

After giving my first savoury cake a whirl I vowed to keep my creative juices flowing and give a spinach and cheese recipe a go – that I did!

I simply exchanged the prunes, goats cheese and pistachio nuts for a healthy handful (or two) of grated mature cheddar and a bag of roughly chopped (washed) fresh spinach. The results were better than I could possibly have dreamed of and lasted a meager 24hrs! Although I originally set out to bake a loaf cake, there was a little batter left over which went into muffin cases which turned out to be a revelation – giving me handbag size snacks at no extra hassle!

At first glance this may seem like a healthy recipe, but I’m under no illusion that the cake batter and the large quantity cheese hidden amongst the spinach tip it over into the ‘treat’ category…especially as I took a liking to toasting the loaf and smothering it in butter [although it can catch quite easily due to the fat content so be sure to watch it like a hawk!]. Now my challenge is going to be staying creative and not just throwing this little beauty together on repeat!

DSCF8521Cheddar Cheese & Fresh Spinach.

DSCF8530 modifiedReady for baking – 180°C, 45mins. 

DSCF8534 modifiedReady for baking – 180°C, 20mins.

DSCF8539Ready to indulge – best served toasted with butter! 

Recipe adapted from my previous post:
250g/9oz plain flour
15g/½oz baking powder
250g vintage cheddar
125g fresh spinach
4 free-range eggs
150ml/5fl oz olive oil
100ml/3½fl oz milk
50g/1¾oz plain yoghurt
1 tsp salt
pinch black pepper 

Citrus Surprise Cupcakes.

Can I call myself a domestic goddess after knocking up some vanilla cupcakes without an outing to the shops?…If so, I promise to wear the title with pride after throwing together these bad-boys on a whim:

After investing the time in making a couple of Key Lime Pies earlier in the week I had some left over home-made lime and lemon curd, which I have been indulging in at every opportunity – breakfast, lunch and tea!  In a moment of adventure I decided to put a curd surprise in vanilla cupcakes to spread the zesty-love. The zesty-love was well received and the whole batch (delivered to 5 mouths around Manchester) failed to last more than 24 hours!

1. I used a Hummingbird recipe and for once followed it to the letter (well, almost).

2. Once cooked and fully cooled I cut a well into each cupcake and added a generous teaspoon of curd before replacing the removed sponge (as you can see in the back ground of the photo I was a bit of a spoil-sport and lined up my ‘middles’ in order to ensure a perfect fit when replaced)

3. I then used a standard vanilla butter cream recipe adding a couple of drops of red food colouring and a few squeezes of lime juice to icing sugar and butter (previously combined) to achieve the colour and taste I wanted before adding milk drop-by-drop to achieve the desired consistency. Oh and not forgetting a little sprinkle of edible glitter to give them that something special!

Adapted from The Humming Bird: Cupcakes and Muffins.

Ingredients
[for 12 cakes…]
120g Plain flour
140g Caster sugar
1.5tsp Baking powder
Pinch of Salt
40g Unsalted butter [room temp]
120ml semi-skimmed milk (including 3tsps of natural yoghurt)
1 Egg
0.5tsp Vanilla extract
[…and for the frosting]
250g Icing sugar
80g Unsalted butter [room temp]
A few drops of Vanilla extract
A couple of drops of red food colouring
Squeeze of Lime juice
A few splashed of semi-skimmed milk

Cake batter: Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking power and butter to give a grainy consistency before adding half the milk and yoghurt mixture. Mix the reaming wet ingredients in another bowl, then add them to the above mixture and beat together until just combined – careful not to over mix! Bake at 170°C until a knife can be removed clean [20-25mins].

Falafeled.

After having a healthy week I felt more than motivated to hunt out an alternative to the cheese and carb’ filled meals which the lovely Miss K and I frequently pull together for each other.  In the end I managed to conjure up quite an eclectic feast which left us both stuffed and satisfied.

I followed (to a degree) two pretty simple recipes for falafel and tzatziki. I went for the ease of a throw-it-all-together meal with the help of a few chapatis (which I’d warmed in the oven), some fresh salad leaves and a dollop of sweet chilli sauce making the whole thing a pleasure to eat.

I do enjoy good falafel, but I had no idea just how easy it was to make until now! Something can definitely be said for knowing what goes into your food and how satisfying even the healthiest of meals can be when you’ve made them from scratch. The only change I’d make next time I rustle up this beauty would be to leave my falafel mix a little more chunky so it has a bit of bite…

[I added chopped fresh coriander instead of parsley]
[I added one teaspoon of paprika instead of dried coriander]
[I added one teaspoon of chilli powder instead of a half]