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Sausage rolls with tomato chutney

“I love sausage rolls!” (sang in the style of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts). Seriously I do. You do too. These ones are dead easy. I use ready rolled puff-pastry. Gasp! It’s true. Don’t judge me.

Sausage rolls

Follow these 13 easy peasy steps to make these little savoury bites of goodness (recipe taken from Lorraine Pascale ‘Baking made easy’ and adapted slightly):

  1. Take the pastry out of the fridge 20 minutes before using it
  2. Preheat the oven (200 degrees C/400 degrees F/Gas 6)
  3. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to about 48 x 32cm and bash it with the rolling pin. This reduces the amount it puffs up otherwise they’ll be too puffy and no-one wants a sausage roll that is too puffy
  4. Cut the pastry in half lengthways with a knife, then cut each half into eight pieces. You should have 16 pieces in total
  5. Brush one end of each pastry piece with beaten egg. This helps to seal them
  6. Spread a thin layer of your relish or chutney of choice onto each pastry piece. I use a spicy tomato and roasted red pepper chutney
  7. Put a small bit of sausage on top and sprinkle some thyme leaves over it
  8. Seal the rolls by bringing together two opposite ends of pastry (the one brushed with egg)
  9. Put them in the fridge for about 20 minutes to harden
  10. Then score the tops with a sharp knife, for decoration only but it has to be done
  11. Brush all over with beaten egg
  12. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and looks crisp
  13. SCOFF (as soon as they’re cool enough to eat).

Claire x

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Key lime pie

A pie! With keys and limes in it. Mmmmm. This one had no keys in it, but it still came out pretty good. The recipe was taken from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

IMG_1586

Here’s how I did it:

Stuff to use

  • 8 egg yolks (I know…)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 x 397g tins condensed milk
  • Juice and zest of 5 limes
  • 500g digestive biscuits
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Natural green food colouring, optional
  • Greased pie dish 23 cm – I used a 25 cm pie dish and there was still loads of everything left over.

How to do it

  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (325 degrees F/Gas 3)
  • Roughly break up the digestive biscuits (I don’t have a food processor so I put them in a small plastic bag, tied the end and smashed them to bits with a rolling pin – you’ll be grateful for a bag with no holes in)
  • Tip the biscuits into a bowl and add the meted butter slowly, mixing after each addition
  • Press this mixture into the tin and up the sides. It sticks together quite well.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until it is golden and firm. Leave it to cool completely.

Key lime pie base

  • Turn the oven down to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F/Gas 2)
  • Put the egg yolks, condensed milk, lime juice and zest in a glass bowl and mix gently with a balloon whisk until everything is mixed together. Mine wasn’t all that green so I added a few drops of natural green food colouring to snazz it up a bit
  • Pour into the cold pie crust and bake for around 20-30 minutes. The filling should be firm but still slightly soft in the middle (not wobbly). Leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight
  • Whisk the egg whites in a bowl (preferably glass or stainless steel, just not plastic – there is some science behind this) using an electric whisk until frothy (bubbles on top and a it’s turned a bit opaque)
  • Gradually add the sugar 2 tablespoons at at time, whisking well after each addition. Once all the sugar is whisked in, add the vanilla extract and whisk until soft peaks form (when you take the whisk out it should leave a peak that flops over at the top, and when the bowl is tipped the mixture shouldn’t slide out). This shouldn’t take long. It took me 25 minutes. That’s because one of the two whisk attachments fell off…*looks peeved*
  • Spoon the meringue onto the cold pie, completely covering it and use the back of a spoon to make peaks

Key lime pie meringue topping

  • Warning: The recipe says to bake it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. It also says that with this method the eggs are not cooked through so it should not be served, and I quote, to ‘the very young, the very old, those with compromised immune systems or to pregnant women’. Just don’t share it with anyone. I actually baked mine for about 45 minutes because that’s when it looked golden brown. That and I had to go out so no more time for baking. The meringue was crisp on the outside and a bit gooey on the inside. Yes.

Alternatives: Next time I’ll use ginger biscuits instead of digestives. The recipe book suggested that you could use whipped cream (450ml) instead of a meringue topping and grate some lime zest over the top.

If anyone makes this let me know how you get on.

Claire x

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Goth skull cake

skull cake2This skull cake was made by the very talented Loren Pereira. She made it for a friend of ours we like to call The Gothic Princess. And what better way to honour a goth than with a skull cake! We were so impressed. And look at the cute little grey skulls on the side! It seemed a shame to cut into it… but obviously we did. And check out the inside!

IMG_1567Have you ever seen such a bright cake?! Luscious red sponge and smooth steal grey buttercream icing. Just amazing. I’m sure there will be more of Loren’s cakes featuring on this blog in the future.

Sasa x

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tarte au fraise

Sometimes we are not in the mood for baking (this is rare). Sometimes we like to treat ourselves (this too, is rare). So sometimes we take a much needed trip to the delectable Patisserie Valerie (ok this is fairly regularly). We made the brave decision to share a dessert (well we had just eaten a huge melty cheesy croque Italienne each). After much deliberating/fighting/tears and eventual agreement, we went for the tarte au fraise. Feast your eyes:

IMG_1592A perfect Sunday treat if you ask us.

Sasa & Claire x

 

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Jambalaya

Behold the mighty Jambalaya. Of all the ricey-comforty-eaty foods I think this is king. Better than kedgeree… risotto… paella even??? Just look at it:

jambalya

Now I don’t really know the exact traditional roots of this dish or what is ‘supposed’ to be in it. but my one had chicken and chorizo. And lots of veg. And rice (see recipe below). Prawns would have been great too but I didn’t have any… so they didn’t go in… I’ve made this dish plenty of times from various recipes so now every time I make it I just cobble various ingredients together in the hope it vaguely resembles a jambalya. I love that ingredients can be varied in this dish but it always tastes immense. It’s up to you which meat/fish/veg you put in. This is what I did:

Ingredients (no exact measurements. Rough guessing is perfect for this recipe)

  • Brown rice (controversial for this kind of thing. What can I say? I’m healthy like that. Sometimes)
  • Chicken stock
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – cut into chunks
  • Chorizo sausage – sliced
  • Onions – diced
  • Garlic crushed
  • Peppers- diced
  • Courgette- diced
  • Tin of chopped toms
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Parsley – chopped
  • Limes
  • Spring onions – chopped
  • Tabasco

Method

  • Brown rice takes about 40 minutes so I cooked it for about half an hour in some chicken stock.
  • Whilst the rice is cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients. Season the chicken with paprika and salt and pepper.
  • Fry the chorizo. When it’s cooked and has released lots of it’s flavoursome oil take the meat out the pan but leave in the oil. Now fry the chicken in said oil for about 5 mins. Then throw in the onion, then garlic.
  • Add the herbs and spices and cook for 1 minute
  • Pour in the chopped tomatoes, add the pinch of sugar (this takes away the bitterness of toms). Throw the chorizo back in. Add the veg (minus the spring onions). Let it simmer away for a few minutes.
  • Hopefully the rice will be nearly done by now so drain it and add to the tomato pan. Add some more stock and leave to simmer for 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Be careful with the stock, add a small amount at a time as you won’t want it to be too liquidy when its all cooked.
  • Once cooked take off the heat and add the parsley and spring onions. Leave for about 5 mins for two reasons. 1) it’s so hot even these strange ‘asbestos mouth’ people will struggle and 2) it’ll get all nice and gloopy
  • Serve with a wedge of lime and Tabasco sauce. Enjoy!

Sasa x

 

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Strawberries and cream whoopie pies

Strawberry and cream whoopie pie

Whoopie for the whoopie pie! Had never made these before so thought I would give it a go for Father’s Day. They were quite easy to make (you may have gathered by now that I like to keep the baking simple). The trickiest bit was making sure that the pies were all the same size, or at least that there were pairs of pies that were the same size so that they could be sandwiched together. I would also add more whipped cream next time. Anywho, here’s how to bake these little yums…

Ingredients

  • 175g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g (5.5oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 75g (2.5oz) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150ml (8 fl oz) milk (I used semi-skimmed)
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt or thick plain yoghurt
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) double cream, whipped
  • 250g (9oz) strawberries, thinly sliced

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F/Gas 4). Line several baking sheets with baking paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy (electric whisk time again). Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients and the milk into the batter alternately, a spoonful at a time. Fold in the yoghurt.
  • Put heaped tablespoons of the batter onto the baking sheets, trying to put the same amount down each time so that they are the same size. Remember to leave a space between each one because they do spread. Have a small glass of warm water handy and then using the back of a teaspoon smooth over the surface of each pie.
  • Bake for 12 minutes until well risen. They should be springy to touch and a skewer will come out clean. Leave a few minutes then put them on a wire rack to cool.
  • Once cool, grab two pies and spread some whipped cream onto each half. Layer the thinly sliced strawberries onto one half and then sandwich together.
  • These don’t really store because of the fresh cream, so best eaten straight away. What a shame.

Claire x

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Blueberry upside down cake

The upside down cake has to be one of the easiest and tastiest cakes to bake. Having decided to indulge in a bit of baking I found a great recipe for a blueberry version in one of my cook books ‘Step-by-step baking’ by Caroline Bretherton (highly recommended by the way, it has everything in it with yummy photos). I managed to convince myself, again, that it was healthy. What? *looks shifty* It contains fruit! Plus it’s purple. Hurrah! If you would like to know how I baked this cake then read on…

Blueberry upside down cake

Ingredients

  • 150g (5.5oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 150g (5.5oz) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract (not essence. Never essence)
  • 100g (3.5oz) self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 50g (1.75oz) ground almonds
  • 250g (9oz) fresh blueberries

I used an 8 inch loose bottom cake tin.

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F/Gas 4) and place a baking sheet inside. Grease the cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use an electric whisk to save time!)
  • Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, whisking well between each addition, until well combined.
  • Sift together the flour and baking powder, then add the ground almonds, and fold into the batter.
  • Tip the blueberries into the tin so that they cover the whole base and spread the batter gently over them.
  • Bake the cake on the baking sheet in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. A skewer should come out clean.
  • Leave to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin. Now for the fun bit…place a plate on top of the tin, turn everything upside down and then carefully lift off the tin. Ta-dah! Blueberry upside down cake.
  • Eat immediately.

Claire x