Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Easy Christmas Treats

Recently a friend and I held a Christmas coffee morning to raise money for a charity.  We had the usual mince pies and mulled wine but wanted to offer some other tasty treats.  These are a few of the quick and easy morsels we had on offer.  Most were just foods you can assemble, some were ready made bits that we embellished and others were quick to assemble and cook.

 This cheese board was my favourite, it was so simple but really affective.  I had the christmas tree chopping board but it can easily be put together on a rectangular base.  The added herbs and grapes give it a bright fresh feel and make it even more inviting.  Having the cheese cut into cubes makes it so much easier for everyone to nibble at too.  The finishing touch was the mini babybel on top, I used a tiny cutter to remove the wax star.

This mince meat wreath was great to prepare in advance and bake just before everyone arrived,  I used a 500g Block of Puff Pastry.  Divide in two then roll out one on a floured surface into a rectangle measuring roughly 35cm x 25cm.  Spread with 300g Mincemeat then roll up into a swiss roll using the long edge.  Brush the edge with a little milk to seal then cut into slices about 3cm wide.

Place the slices onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and arrange into a wreath shape leaving a slight gap between each one so it has room to grow.  You can either make a small one or repeat with the rest of the pastry to make a larger one as I did.  Now bake at 180C fan for 20-25 minutes till lovely and golden.

To finish, toast 20g of Sliced Almonds in a dry pan.  When the wreath is cooked,  drizzle a little icing made with icing sugar and lemon juice then scatter on the toasted almonds.

These are so cute and brilliant for kids to do.  They are Tunnocks Tea Cakes topped with a little icing and some sprinkles to look like christmas puddings.  Genius!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Bacon & Eggs, a classic combination.  As part of a breakfast, in a sandwich and now in a muffin.  I make a pancetta pie with quails eggs in the middle and everyone loves the surprise hidden away when they bite in and discover the miniature egg tucked inside. I thought it would be a great idea to do the same in a muffin so I've come up with this, not to be confused with the  Bacon & Egg Mc version.

These muffins are flavoured with cheese, a little mustard and flecks of chive which also add some colour.  You could swap things about and add parsley, spring onion, chilli flakes or a different cheese such as Red Leicester.

12 Quails Eggs
300g Plain Flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
100g Grated Cheddar
Small Bunch of Chives
Salt & Pepper
6 Rashers of Bacon, cooked and chopped
60g Butter, melted and cooled
1 Egg
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 x 284ml tub Buttermilk

Boil the Quails eggs for 5 minutes then cool and remove the shells.  Put to one side while you mix the batter.  In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Put the wet ingredients in a jug and whisk to combine.  Pour the contents of the jug into the bowl and gently fold everything together.  Try not to over mix, it's fine if there are still a few dry bits.

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin papers.  Put a large teaspoon of the mixture into each then place one of the eggs on top.  Cover each egg with more mixture till it is all used.

Place the muffins in the oven at 180C / 160C fan for 20-25 minutes and they are cooked through and golden.

These muffins are perfect for kids luch boxes and picnics.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I recently took part in a recycled craft project which involved a lot of toilet rolls, peanut butter and bird seed.  At the end of it I found myself with a surplus of peanut butter.  I really love the stuff so not particularly an issue but I thought I should make use of it if only to stop me from eating the lot with just a spoon.

So here we have a Bundt cake flavoured with peanut butter, chocolate chips and a chocolate drizzle to finish it off. I used crunchy peanut butter because that's what I had, it gave it a nice texture but smooth would be fine too.

100g Butter
275g Peanut Butter
200g Light Brown Sugar
100g Granulated Sugar
3 Eggs
350g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
200ml Milk
50g Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Drizzle
100g Dark Chocolate
150ml Double Cream
1tbsp Golden Syrup

Heat the Oven to 180C (160C fan).  Grease and flour your bundt tin, I use a cake release spray which I find really effective, particularly in a bundt tin.

Use a free standing mixer or electric hand whisk to cream together the butter, both sugars and peanut butter.  Take a couple of minutes to do this so it becomes light and fluffy.

Now add the eggs, flour, baking powder and milk and mix to combine everything.  Finish by folding in the chocolate chips.

Pour the mix into the prepared tin and level out.  Bake for 45minutes till cooked through and a skewer comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Whilst the cake cools, make the chocolate drizzle.  In a pan heat the chocolate, cream and golden syrup till the chocolate is melted, do this on a low heat to save the chocolate from burning. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the cake.  You could also sprinkle on some chopped peanuts to even more nuttiness.