Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Banna Loaf

Sweet, Healthy, Filling and tasty! This recipe is fab and a great way to get younger children to eat their fruit, as well as satisfy their sweet tooth without sending them up the wall. This is a great lunch box filler as well as fab for a healthy treat when your dieting :) Another great thing about this recipe is it makes the best raw batter ever if your a "lick-the-bowl" kind of person!

  • 115g Butter
  • 200g White sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 340g Mashed Banana (approx. 2-3)
  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  1. Preheat an oven to 170 degrees C, and grease a loaf tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy/smooth, then carefully beat in with the eggs, followed by the banana.
  3. Sieve in the flour and baking powder and mix together but stop as soon as the mix is combined.
  4. Carefully pour into your loaf tin, avoid any spillages on the side as this will most likely burn. Bake for around 1 hour until cooked all the way through, you will be able to tell if this is so when if you poke a skewer through the center, no uncooked mixture sticks to the skewer.
So simple and yet so tasty :) And if you have a busy schedule this is ideal as the preparation takes very little time, and you can get on with other tasks when your waiting for it to bake! This bread freezes down really well too if you find it makes a little too much :)

Sorry about the lapse this week, I am currently struggling to upload the photos! :L

Thanks for stopping by
Siobhan xoxo

Friday, 10 September 2010

Tasty Cheddar Crackers And Italian Dip

These tasty little crackers make a perfect snack for an afternoon tea party, mums meeting, appetisers or even as part of a buffet. The rich and spicy flavours of the crackers match effortlessly with the zingy, fresh flavours of the Italian dip.

(For the crackers)
  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 60 Twists of ground black pepper
  • 1 heaped tsp of English mustard powder
  • 170g Butter (Chilled)
  • 70g Cheddar
  • 6 tablespoons of cold water (but add only as needed)
(For the dip)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Large red onion
  • Oregano and Basil to taste
  • 1/2 a Red bell pepper
  • 1 heaped tbsp of tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp water
  1. In a large mixing bowl bowl, stir together the flour, salt, pepper and mustard. Using your finger tips (not palms) rub together the flour and butter (cubed) until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2.  Stir in the cheese, then water one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is able to hold together. Press the mixture into a ball, wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees.
  4. Grease a baking tray well with vegetable oil and set aside.
  5. Dice your red onion and pepper, then add to a pan with your olive oil, basil, oregano and season to taste, fry gently until softened.
  6. Add the pepper, water and pepper and cook gently until soft and well mixed, if the sauce is too runny, turn up the heat and reduce until thickened.
  7. Once cooked set aside to cool.
  8. Take out the dough ball from the fridge - by now it should be fairly firm.
  9. Flour a surface and a rolling pin, and gently roll out the dough until about 2- 3 mm thick, then using a square cutter cut the dough out, repeat this process until all the dough is used.
  10. Lay the squares on your baking tray, gently poke with a fork to create a quilted effect when cooked, then brush lightly with milk to help the crackers brown.
  11. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Once your crackers have cooled (though they are lovely to have a cheeky nibble when they are fresh from the oven and the cheese is gooey) serve with the dip. Easy :)

Let me know any variations you have tried on this recipe or simply what you think :)

Thanks for stopping by
Siobhan xoxo

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The best back to school cookies!

Thick, gooey, chocolaty and down right naughty!! Nothing will brighten you kids day more than one of these babies in their lunch box during a monotonous first week back at school! It's taken me about a year to get this recipe tweaked right, so I'm pretty confident that by this point, this is as good as its going to get :)

  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 170g Salted butter
  • 170g Light brown sugar
  • 100 g Caster sugar
  • 1 Capful of vanilla essence
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 150g White chocolate - cut into small chunks
  • 200g Milk chocolate at least 45% coco solids - cut into small chunks
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees, and grease a baking sheet or two well with vegetable or sunflower oil.
  2. Sieve the flour, salt and bicarb into a large mixing bowl and stir together.
  3. In a saucepan, gently melt the butter, once melted mix in the sugar until smooth and creamy, then mix in the vanilla, egg and yolk until creamy and smooth.
  4. Carefully mix in the flour and stir until the mixture has softened, then add the chocolate chunks (Don't worry if there looks like too much chocolate, its supposed to be that way), set aside to stand for about half an hour.
  5. Spoon lumps onto your baking tray and gently press with thumb slightly, bear in mind when deciding cookie sizes that your lumps will spread in the oven, for the same reason do not place the lumps too close together.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden, them remove from the oven and allow to stand for two minutes, then using a spatula carefully lift the cookies and place on a plate to cool for about 5 minutes.
I love to eat these cookies when they are fresh from the oven when they are at their gooiest, but they do stay gooey when cooled :) plus if this mixture makes too many for you, these cookies freeze down really well so you can keep some for another day :)

Thanks for stopping by
Siobhan xoxo

Blushed Nectarines In Light Syrup

I love this dessert as its delicious, simple and you don't feel guilty after eating it! Great as a light yet luxurious dessert, perfect if you are dieting!

  • 2 fairly ripe nectarines
  • 200 ml of boiling water
  • 4 tbsp Caster sugar
  • Lemon zest
  1. Put the boiling water in a sauce pan and dissolve the sugar into it, and reduce very slightly.
  2. Add the nectarines and place the lid on the pan, lightly poach the nectarines for 2 -3 three minutes, turning over once to allow both sides to cook. Do not poach for longer than three minutes, as the fruits will loose their firmness.
  3. Using a spoon with holes in it, remove the nectarines from the syrup (which should have turned a pink colour from the fruit skins) and place on a plate top side down.
  4. Turn up the heat on the syrup, add the lemon zest and reduce until fairly thick in consistency.
  5. Carefully peel the skins from the nectarines, place topside down again, and pop to cool in the fridge for about an hour.
  6. Remove the syrup from the heat and set aside.
  7. When the nectarines are chilled, carefully spoon the syrup over them, and serve with either a curl of whipped cream or luxury vanilla ice cream/gellato.
This recipe is so simple, yet has a classy feel about it making it a perfect choice for a dinner party :) Let me know your opinions :)

Thanks For Stopping By
Siobhan xoxo

Crunchy chicken ceasar salad (No anchovies, serves 2)

I adore Caesar salad, but I despise it when you can really taste anchovies in the sauce, so when I make it myself I always make my sauce without the anchovies, but with the same kick in flavour.

  • Half a Romain lettuce
  • 6 Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Bread crumbed chicken breast
  • 1 - 2 Slices of thick bread
  • 8 Medium cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 heaped tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 slightly heaped table spoon of English or Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper grinder
  • A slosh of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of fresh grated (finely) Parmesan
  • 2 table spoons of Parmesan shavings

  1. Par bake the chicken breasts in an oven at 170 degrees.

  2. Remove from the oven and cut into strips, then place in a pan flesh side down, with some olive oil, 2 of the cloves of garlic (crushed), and grind in some salt and pepper to taste, fry until golden on both sides of the exposed flesh, then set aside to cool.

  3. Cut the pieces of bread into little cubes and mix with three cloves of garlic (Crushed) and the olive oil until evenly covered, then gently fry off the bread until golden ad crispy. Set aside to cool.

  4. Place the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, 3 cloves of crushed garlic and grated Parmesan into a bowl, season well with freshly ground salt and pepper and mix together well, blend until smooth if preferred.

  5. Loosen the mixture with a table spoon of two of cold water, until the mixture runs easily from a spoon, the chill.

  6. Wash the lettuce leaves and tear in half then cut down the center, and cut the tomatoes in half.

  7. Toss the lettuce leaves in the mayo dressing, then arrange in two pasta bowls and season to taste.

  8. Sprinkle croutons over the leaves, and arrange the chicken strips in the center, and place the tomato halves around the edge of the bowls.

  9. Garnish the salads with a table spoon of Parmesan shavings each.
Quick, easy, healthy and flavoursome, how all salads should be :)

Comment and let me know how this recipe worked for you :)

Thanks for stopping by :)
Siobhan xoxo

Rich rum, white chocolate and berry cream cake

This is a lovely recipe that's perfect for afternoon get togethers as it goes perfectly with coffee, or as a super indulgent dessert. They best bit about this recipe is though the cake is only the size of a cheesecake, it is much more filling so it goes further :)

  • 150g Butter
  • 250g Short bread fingers (crushed)
  • 250g White chocolate
  • 300ml Sour cream
  • 2 tbsp Dark rum (You could always leave this out)
  • 300ml Double cream
  • 250g Summer berries (preferably strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
  1. Line a spring release cheese cake tin (20cm) with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt 90g of the butter in a pan, once melted remove from the heat and add the crushed shortbread.
  3. Press the shortbread mix into the base of the tin and place in the fridge to chill.
  4. Break up the white chocolate into pieces and place in a small heat proof bowl with the left over butter, then place into a pan of simmering water and gently melt.
  5. Once melted, removed from the pan and mix in the sour cream and rum.
  6. Whip the double cream and carefully and evenly fold into the chocolate mix.
  7. Spoon this evenly over the biscuit base and smooth out the top.
  8. Place back in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but  I always find leaving it overnight creates a lovely thick and creamy texture.
  9. Finally, when ready to serve top the cake with the summer berries.
You can always serve this recipe with single cream or a berry coulis, but I personally find the recipe rich enough to serve alone. If I were you I would make the cake a day in advanced, so that it really gets time to set well and become very thick and creamy in texture. :)

Let me know your opinions or even variations on this recipe :)

Thanks for stopping by
Siobhan xoxo

Home :)

Hay guys,
Sorry I have been on holiday for a few weeks and unfortunately the wifi in west wales isn't as good as that back here in the south so I haven't been able to upload any posts due to not having net access. I will make sure that by the end of the evening I am up to date :)
Thanks for stopping by
Siobhan xoxo

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Crunchy Ginger Biscuits

This is a great homey recipe and is great all year round but also makes a great festive treat! You could even use a gingerbread man cutter with this mixture. They are simple to make and great fun to decorate, a perfect way to keep kids occupied over the school holidays :)

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 75g Brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp of ground ginger
  • A fair sprinkle of ground mixed spice
  • A few shavings of fresh nutmeg
  • 25g lard
  • 25g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 a tbs of syrup mixed with about a 1 tbs of brown sugar
  • Your choice of decoration e.g. glace/butter icing, decorative sprinkles etc.
  1. Pre-heat and oven to 180 C / gas 4.
  2. Sieve the flour, sugar, bicarb and spices into a mixing bowl.
  3. Put syrup and sugar mix with the lard and butter and gently heat until all melted together.
  4. Pour the melted mix into the flour and carefully mix together, if the mixture is sticky and moist add more flour until the mixture is dry (not too dry) and firm enough to kneed with your hands.
  5. Kneed and tease the dough together until smooth and well mixed.
  6. Flour a smooth surface and rolling pin, put the dough ball on this surface.
  7. Carefully roll out until the dough is about 2-3 mm thick (the biscuits Will rise substantially when baking)
  8. Taking a cookie cutter of your choice cut out biscuit shapes and place on a well greased baking sheet/tray.
  9. Bake for around 10 - 15 minutes until firm and a rich brown colour, these biscuits cook very quickly so make you you do not burn them.
  10. Leave the biscuits to cool an then decorate them as you wish. I personally like using barbie sprinkles with glace icing - childish yes, but very fun :L
So there you have it, quick and tasty treats! I personally like alot of spice in my biscuits, but if you are not such a fan you  can always use smaller measurements and add a tad More sugar :) I'm on holiday for the next two weeks so who knows what I will be cooking up for you next time :L

Thanks for stopping by!
Siobhan xoxo

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Magic Lemon Pudding

Magic lemon pudding is quick and tasty, and a favourite amongst children. The best thing about serving this dessert to children is that its a really easy way to help them with their daily calcium intake, as it is far less boring than a simple glass of milk. Another plus of this pudding is it is not costly to make, so instead of breaking the bank on shop desserts, you can make this yourself :)! The 'magic' in this pudding is that you make on single batter, and while the pudding is cooking it separates, leaving a cakey topping and a creamy, sweet lemon sauce beneath - the more lemon juice you use the more sauce is produced, I personally like an even split of cake and sauce.

  • 1 large lemon
  • 50g of butter (ensure soft not cold and hard)
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 50g of self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 285ml milk (1/2 a pint)
  1. Grease a medium sized, circular baking dish with vegetable or sunflower oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl add the rind of the lemon, the butter and the sugar. Using a whisk, cream together until soft.
  3. Separate egg yolks from the white, putting the whites into another mixing bowl.
  4. Put yolks into the butter and sugar mix with a little flour an mix together.
  5. Now add the juice of the lemon (Strained) and the remaining sifted flour and stir together.
  6. Now leave you mix and whisk your egg whites until they are stiff, then gently fold the whites into the cake batter.
  7. Carefully pour hte mixture into the baking dish and bake at 150 for around 40 minutes until golden in colour.
  8. Eat warm or allow to cool to allow the sauce to completely separate from the cake.
Hope this recipe works well for you :) I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to be cooking next week just yet, I'm thinking along hte lines of a savoury snack or appetiser. If you have any requests leave a comment letting me know :)

Thanks for stopping by!
Love Siobhan xoxo

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Quick, Low fat prawn salad (serves two)

A friend said to me recently "I have no time to make healthy dinners that taste good", wrong. Everyone has the time to make a whole array of quick healthy meals. This salad doesn't even require any heat and makes minimal mess! This quick easy recipe is a personal favourite of mine :)

  • 3 Tbs of light mayonnaise
  • 3/4 tbs of tomato puree
  • 3/4 bag of pre-cooked and peeled prawns (defrosted)
  • 6 leaves of Romain lettuce
  • 1 Tomato
  •  5cm chunk of cucumber
  1. Bunch lettuce leaves together and cut into ribbons.
  2. Cut Tomato and cucumber into small cubes.
  3. Mix together the mayonnaise and tomato puree until smooth and the whole mix is the same pink colour - there should be no blobs of tomato puree left unmixed.
  4. Mix together the salad and place on two tea plates, cover with prawns.
  5. Spoon on sauce into the middle of both piles of prawns.
  6. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika and a lemon twist if desired :)
What did i tell you? Simple :) This salad also makes a great starter, instead of two large servings divide between 6 wine glasses and add a capful (whiskey cap) of whiskey into the dressing.

Next week I'm going to show you how to make a magic lemon pudding - It's as good as it sounds :)

Thanks For Stopping By :)
Siobhan xoxo

Friday, 23 July 2010

Healthy Granola Cake Bites

This recipe was an experimentation with an unwanted box of tropical muesli that went right I guess! These slices are great for a quick breakfast, lunch box fillers or even an afternoon snack :) Sorry about using the cup volume system for this recipe but as it was an experiment I don't have the grammage (exact amounts).

  • 1 Cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 Cup of natural honey
  • 2 Tbs of brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup of tropical muesli or a muesli with a large amount of rolled oats.
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 190
  2. Mix the oil, honey and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth, don't worry that the oil remains separate at this point.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and using a whisk mix until all the mixture has become one (no oil should be separate at this point) smooth mix.
  4. Sift in the flour and salt, and using either a silicon spatula or wooden spoon, work the mixture until it is lump free and creamy in colour.
  5. Now stir in the granola, ensuring it is distributed evenly in the mixture.
  6. Carefully pour the mixture into a small baking tray lined with grease proof paper, and gently spread into the corners. Make sure the mixture is evenly spread and flat as possible - if mixture is sticking up or higher in places it will burn.
  7. When the cake is golden in colour remove from the oven, it should be springy to the touch and when a skewer is pushed into the center no uncooked mixture should be visible on it.
  8. Turn the cake out carefully onto a plate, and peel away the grease proof paper.
  9. Turn the cake up the right way, cut length way in half through the middle, then proceed to cut each half into small slices.
  10. If the slices still look gooey in the center place the slices onto a larger baking tray and bake for a few more minutes.
  11. Once the slices are done place on a cooling rack and leave until completely cool.
I found these slices great when dieting or on the move as they are really filling, but if you prefer your cakes to be very sweet I would double the amount of sugar or honey :)

Next week I will show you how to make a really quick and easy prawn salad :)

Thanks For Stopping By :)
Siobhan xoxo

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Gooseberry and Rhubarb Compote

It's that time of year where British Gardens are brimming with strawberries, raspberries and all sorts of other natural delights, but no one knows what to do with all their gooseberries and rhubarb :/ Simple, Compote. Quick, easy and tasty, and leaves room to create various deserts with.

  • 250g washed gooseberries
  • 3 stalks of Rhubarb
  • 1 Lemon
  • 4tbs of boiling water
  • 3 slightly heaped tbs of caster sugar
  1. Twist off the remainders of the stalks from the gooseberries, as well as the fur from the bottom.
  2. Cut the rhubarb into 1 inch chunks.
  3. Place the rhubarb chunks into a fairly large sauce pan with 3tbs of boiling water (if necessary more can be added later but the fruit should reduce enough and produce its own fluids) and 3tbs of the sugar. Add 1/4 of the rind from the lemon, with a good squeeze of its juice.
  4. Put lid on pan and simmer on a medium-low heat until the rhubarb has softened.
  5.  Occasionally turn the rhubarb to ensure it does not stick to the pan. 
  6. Add the gooseberries whole to the pan and replace lid.
  7. Simmer until the fruit has reduced to a puree, do not remove any excess fluids.
  8. Add the final tbs of sugar to the pan, turn up the heat to high, and while constantly moving the mix (to prevent it burning on the bottom of the pan) reduce the mix until it has thickened.
  9. Place in a large bowl and leave to cool and thicken.

I love this recipe, its so easy and tastes so summery, and the best bit is that you can make an array of summery desserts with it too. For example using a tub of whipped cream with a table spoon of caster sugar mixed into it, fold in the compote to taste you can create a delicious fruit fool! Or even use it as a base to a fruit crumble. Another good thing about this compote is it freezes well so you can keep it or any leftovers to be used again, or for the coming winter months to serve with custard as a fab winter warmer :)

Next week I'm going to be making healthy granola cake bars.

Thanks For Stopping By :)
Siobhan xoxo

Grubs Up!

It's me again if you know me from my other blog, if you don't I'm Siobhan and its nice to meet you! In a nut shell I'm an A level student with a passion for blogging! I have been debating for some time whether to create a craft blog of some time and I have decided to give it a shot! The gist of this blog is to experiment with and trial different recipes, to save you the time and effort!

I adore cooking, I find it relaxing and satisfying! So, if there are any recipe's you want me to trial, offer a variation on or even if you need a suggestion for a meal or dinner party, anything you like, then pop a comment with your request, or if you know me you can always do it via facebook :) and I will do my best to help. Feedback is always helpful so let me know what you think :)

Thanks For Stopping By :)
Siobhan xoxox