Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cake Monday: Gingerbread with caramel icing

It's been a long time since I've done a Cake Monday post, because it's been a long time since I did some proper baking, but this is what I'm taking into work tomorrow:

Gingerbread cupcakes (from here)

  • 140g unsalted butter
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 60g black treacle
  • 60g golden syrup
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 240ml milk
Preheat the oven to 190C.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  Beat in the treacle, syrup, eggs and egg yolks until well combined.

Sift together the flour, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.  Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then beat in half of the warm milk.  Add the remaining flour mixture and the remaining milk and beat until well combined.

Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and lightly firm to the touch.  Remove the cakes from the tin and set aside to cool on a cooling rack.

I didn't want to serve the salted caramel buttercream that was part of this recipe originally so I made my own caramel icing:

Caramel icing
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
First, make the condensed milk into caramel by boiling the condensed milk in a large pan for approximatly two hours.

Once the caramel is cooled, mix with the remaining ingredients until smooth.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Cocoa pasta - savoury this time

I used up some more of the cocoa pasta tonight.

I wanted to try something really unusual but the only thing I could think of to put with it was mushrooms, they are both really strong, earthy flavours to it seemed a good mix.

I boiled the pasta like normal and then started making the sauce.

I chopped up some chestnut mushrooms quite small and fried them in lots of butter (is there any other way to fry mushrooms?!).  I then added a big splash of sherry and bubbled for a couple of minutes until the 'sauce' was thick and sticky.

I then added some double cream and again, bubbled until the sauce was reduced.

My main worry was the dish was going to be too rich but I think the sherry cut through that a bit, and I added lots of pepper to the cream so it wasn't too sweet.

Having said that, the one thing I have learnt is that no matter what you're putting with it, you need to serve less cocoa pasta than you would normal pasta!!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Braised liver with lettuce and peas

This was a recipe from the latest issue of Good Food.

I chose it for two reasons - a) I love liver, and b) I had some lettuce that was just starting to look unappetising and I wanted to use it up.

Lightly braised liver with lettuce, peas, bacon and mint

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 500g liver, cut into 2-3cm thick pieces
  • 6-8 tbsp plain flour
  • 100g smoked bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 200g firm lettuce, such as Cos or Iceberg, finely sliced
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
Heat the butter in a large saute pan.  Dust the liver slices with seasoning and then flour them well.  Once the butter is foaming, add the liver slices and cook for a couple of minutes to get a nice colour.  Then turn the slices over and repeat on the other side, but ensuring the liver is still raw in the centre.  Remove the liver and set aside.

Add the bacon to the pan and cook until the fat is released, then tip in the onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring well.

Add the lettuce, peas and stock, and bring to the boil.  Return the liver to the pan, turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes on each side.  The stock will thicken from the flour on the liver (mine was thick enough without it).

Add the mint and combine well, season to taste and serve straight away.


I have written the recipe as it appears in the magazine but I did make one change and that was not adding the flour.  I find a lot of liver recipes advocate using flour but I prefer the taste and texture of the meat without it.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Last bit of cauliflower ...

I had removed all the cauliflower leaves before making my dishes at the weekend and was about to put them in the compost bin ...

But then I remembered, stock!

I boiled the leaves up in a pan of water with lots of seasoning and some dried herbs until they were really tender, and then stuck the mixture in the food processor.

I have frozen the result and will use it as a base for some soup when I have some other leftovers to use up.

p.s. Really want to try this type of cauliflower at some point in the future, looks very snazzy!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Cauliflower pasta bake

So I used up the remaining cauliflower today, to make a pasta bake.

I made another batch of white sauce,  like I did on Friday, but instead of putting cream cheese in it I added mustard. I mixed this with some spaghetti (I didn't have any other types of pasta in) which I'd snapped in half before cooking, and the cauliflower, which I'd steamed over the pasta pan.

I then placed the mixture in an ovenproof dish and topped with bacon, defrosted from the freezer.

As usual I got it wrong with the portions but I can use the leftovers for my lunch tomorrow.

I now also have half a packet of bacon to use up, that shouldn't be a problem!

At least all of the cauliflower has gone!

Friday, 31 January 2014

Cauliflower cheese

I had a whole cauliflower left over from last week's shopping, not quite sure how that happened.

One of my favourite things with cauliflower is the classic cauliflower cheese, but I didn't have any hard cheese, so I improvised.

I normally don't make a white sauce from a roux (I use this method instead) but as I wasn't using grated cheese I went back to the traditional method.

Cauliflower cheese

  • Half a head of cauliflower
  • 25g butter
  • 25g flour
  • 250ml milk
  • 100g garlic and herb cream cheese
Steam the cauliflower florets until tender, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan and then stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.  Gradually add the milk, still stirring, until you have a smooth, thick sauce.  Add the cream cheese and mix thoroughly.  Season if necessary.

Once the cauliflower is cooked, stir into the sauce and serve.


Normally I would place the mixture into a dish and grill but as I had no cheese to go on top I didn't bother.

I served mine with a piece of salmon (leftover from earlier in the week) and some roasted cherry tomatoes.

I always best remember cauliflower cheese served with a piece of gammon, like my mum used to!

There's still half of the cauliflower left so I'll have to come up with another way of using that...

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Honey mustard salmon with beans and beetroot

Another adapted recipe today ...

This was the original recipe, it sounded delicious as it was but I changed it slightly to make it a bit healthier and because I didn't have all of the ingredients in.

Honey mustard salmon with beans and beetroot

  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 frozen salmon fillets
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 5 spring onions, sliced
  • 150g cooked beetroot, diced
  • Can cannellini beans, drained
  • 100g packet of rocket
Preheat the oven to 190C.

Mix the lemon juice, mustard and honey together.  Place the salmon on a lined baking tray and brush with some of the dressing.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok and gently cook the spring onions and beetroot.  When the salmon is almost ready add the beans and the rest of the dressing to the wok and heat through.

Divide the rocket between two plates (or a plate and tomorrow's lunch box in my case) and top with the bean mixture and a piece of salmon.