I am alive…

… And i’ve been baking bread!

Ok, so this is just a quick post to force me to start posting again, but hopefully i will have some proper updates soon. My camera is currently dead though, so i can’t promise that the pictures will be of any decent quality. I have been cooking a fair bit, (carrot cake, coq au vin, veggie lasagne, muffins, and much more) i’ve just had a chaotic past few months so haven’t really managed to update.

So anyway, back to the bread… It turns out that you can put pretty much anything in bread and it’ll work. Latest one included tomato puree, tomato ketchup (we ran out of puree) and any interesting looking herbs we could find (coriander and some other nonsense). Making a new loaf tomorrow. Tempted to use beetroot to see if it’ll go pink. I’ll let you know how it goes!


Ice Lollies!

Ok so this is just a silly post, but i made ice lollies and it was so exciting that i had write about it. Just apple and blackcurrant squash chucked in the freezer, but it’s oh so good!

I also made a couple with lemonade. They were incredibly tasty but fell apart quite easily…

Chocolate Chip Cookies

So i’ve been playing about with this recipe for years and i think i’ve finally perfected it. It’s all to do with taking them out the oven after an exact amount of time, whether they look ready or not. That said, i do have a fan oven, so those of you without one should add a minute or two onto the cooking time. I also have to admit that when making some of these the other day, i completely failed to take any pictures of them before feeding them to my friends, so until i get the chance to make some more you’ll have to put up with the cartoon above, nabbed from the fabby folk at Webweaver.

Em’s Finest Chocolate Chip Cookies

4oz Butter
4oz Caster Sugar
3oz Soft Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
6oz Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Salt 
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
4oz Chocolate Chips 

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and line trays with baking parchment (or grease well.)
2. Cream the butter until pale.
3. Mix the sugars together and slowly add to the butter.
4. Beat the egg and vanilla together and add to mixture
5. Mix together the flour, salt and bicarb and add gradually rest of ingredients. The mixture should now be soft and sticky.
6. Fold in the chocolate chips.  (Note: it is best NOT to use a food processor to add the chocolate, as it breaks it up and prevents it from remaining in chips.)
7. Dollop onto a tray making sure to leave space between them as the mixture will spread in the oven
8. Bake in the oven for 11mins. (Slightly longer if your oven is not fan assisted.) When you remove them from the oven, they will be slightly crisp around the edges, and will still be very soft in the centre. This means that once cooled, the cookies will be soft and slightly chewy.
9. Leave to sit on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
10. Eat!

I fed these to my friends last week and they went down a treat. One (slightly tipsy) person was even heard to say that they were better than Millie’s cookies. I’m not sure of that but i do promise you that they’re good!


Cake or Death?

“Uh, death, please. No, cake! Cake! Cake, sorry. …”

So yeah i made a cake. A lemon cake. Except i only decided this at the last minute, mid way through making a plain sponge. So i mish-mashed a few recipes together and came up with this…


For the sponge:

110g/4oz butter or margarine
110g/4oz caster sugar
2 medium eggs
110g/4oz self raising flour
3tbsp Lemon juice (approx)

1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. 
2. Line 2x18cm/7in cake tins with baking parchment or grease them
3. Cream the butter and the sugar together until pale. 
4. Beat in the eggs. 
5. Sift over the flour and fold in using a large metal spoon.
6. Add lemon juice (more if you like it really lemony – i just chucked in as much as i could) 
7. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and gently spread out with a spatula. 
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
9. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning on to a wire rack to cool. 


For the filling and topping:

75g/3oz butter, softened
250g/8oz icing sugar, sifted
3 tbsp lemon juice

1. Mix together all ingredients until smooth and pale.
2. Once cakes have cooled, spread filling on one cake and use to sandwich the two together.
3. For added prettiness sprinkle the top with a small amount of icing sugar. 



Baked Aubergine and Mozzarella Rolls

So i found the recipe for these here and thought i’d try them for dinner last night. I’m not sure they turned out quite as they were supposed to, but they were still good.

For starters, i ended up with a lot of fairly runny sauce with quite a lot of onion in my sauce (using a gigantic onion when the recipe calls for a small one probably isn’t the best idea) which meant that every mouthful was full of onion. Could have perhaps been better had i blended the sauce, but i’m just too damn lazy. Thankfully both i and my other half like onion. Secondly, i didn’t quite fry the aubergine as it tells you too – i’m a scaredy cat and am feart of large pans of oil. So it didn’t go as crispy as it should.

Taking all that into account, putting it into wee dishes probably wasn’t the best idea. Too much sauce, surrounding the aubergine definitely took away any crispness it had in the first place. Oops. Better luck next time hopefully! Still it tasted damn good and it looked ok in the end. 


The Hunt for a Skewer

You wouldn’t imagine that a skewer is hard thing to buy, would you? Just one single metal skewer so i have something other than a fork to prod my baking with (forks make lots of holes which spoil the prettiness, skewers only make one.) But it really is. Even that wonderful place of magicalness that is Lakeland didn’t have what i wanted. They had posh, ridiculously fancy cake testers (that would be no more useful than normal ones) or packets of gazillions of metal barbecue skewers for some stupid sum of money. But all i wanted was just one single (preferably round) thin stick of metal. Apparently nowhere sells them. 😦

Eventually i went into John Lewis and bought a (cheap) packet of barbecue skewers which will do the job even if they’re not quite what i wanted. And i suppose they’ll be useful should i ever decide that kebabs and barbecues are the way forwards. Or perhaps i’ll just use them to have play sword fights whilst waiting for things to cook.


Vegetable and Paneer Smoosh

So Paneer is a new discovery of mine. Rather like Halloumi in that you can cook with it without it melting into a heap. I found some the other day that needed used up and this is what was created:

(Awful picture, sorry!)

It’s essentially a stir fry with some sort of sauce (i can’t for the life of me remember what it was – bit of tomato, wine and anything else i could find in the cupboard i suspect.) Otherwise it has paneer, cashew nuts, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic. I would suggest frying the paneer separately first – i didn’t on this occasion and it all wet a bit squishy. The nuts were a good idea as otherwise the texture of the meal would have ben a bit same-y (and we can’t be having that now can we?!)