Fudge!

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One of the best things about Christmas surely has to be the food.

This fudge like creation has become a regular feature in my December kitchen.

It is eye wateringly simple!

I often pop a few pieces in a bag with a pretty ribbon and gift it.

Now it isn’t actually fudge in the true sense of the word, in fact I would argue because we are not using tons of sugar, just a tin of condensed milk, with dark chocolate, it is almost a healthy option, isn’t it?

Go on give it ago, get older children to join in.

Ingredients

350g Dark Choco;ate

1 tin of condensed milk

30g Butter

Whatever else you want to add -see end for inspiration

Step 1

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Add all the ingredients into the pan together.

Step 2

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Gently stir on a low heat until everything is melted and combined.

At this point you add whatever you want, then give it a good stir.

Step 3

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Pour the mixture into any foil lined dish.

Pop it into the fridge to set.

Step 4

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Cut it into pieces, any size you fancy.

I then pop it in a plastic container into the freezer.

It doesn’t actually freeze and can be eaten straight from the freezer.

Enjoy!!!!

Suggestions

Vanilla Extract

Cranberries

Pistachio nuts

Brazil nuts

A few dashes of rum and raisins

The possibilities are endless!

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Have a lovely day!

Cinnamon Apple Biscuit Parcels!

I love apple pie but like Paul and Mary (Hollywood and Berry), I cannot abide a soggy bottom.

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With that in mind, I decided to make individual apple parcels.

My thought was that they would be baked directly on a baking sheet rather than in a tin/plate, thereby preventing any soggy bottoms.

I also like the apple to look like apple not a brown sludge, so I added the flavour to the pastry rather than the apples.

The pastry is flavoured with cinnamon and handled so lightly that it tastes more like a crisp biscuit than pastry.

The picture is a little rustic, I grant you, but I didn’t want to waste any of the pastry by cutting it off and it was delicious.

 

Ingredients

225g plain flour

100g cold butter

25g golden caster sugar

1 generous teaspoon of cinnamon

2 – 3 table spoons of icy cold water

1 pinch of salt

5 Bramley apples – peeled, cored and chopped into 2cm cubes

1 table spoon of granulated sugar and a little more for sprinkling

Method

Step 1  – The Pastry

Sieve the cinnamon and flour together and either rub the butter in or,

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If you have a food processor, mix it all together until it resembles breadcrumbs.

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Don’t worry about the dark colour, this is biscuit pastry after all.

Add the water slowly to the breadcrumbs until they come together to form a dough.

Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Step 2 – The Apples

Gently heat the apples and granulated sugar until they form a lumpy purée.

Leave to cool.

Step 3 -The Construction

Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees.

Take the pastry from the fridge and divide into 8 pieces.

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This is really important because you will only roll the pieces out once and that will ensure a biscuit type of finish.

Roll each piece out into a thin disc and add a good spoonful of the apple purée to the middle.

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Fold over, seal with milk around the edges and press down with a fork.

Use the milk to coat the outside and sprinkle with the remaining granulated sugar.

Place side by side on a baking sheet.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the pastry has browned.

The kitchen will smell divine!

Enjoy with either ice cream, whipped cream or custard!

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Have a lovely day!

Tea bread

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When I was baking for the party last week, I decided quite late on that I wanted to make a fruit cake or two  for the adults, although that said, Miss Glade loves a slice herself!

I confess that I usually throw the ingredients in, mix and bake, it mostly turns out ok. This time I measured everything because I knew I would want to share it.

Orange marmalade is included in my tea bread recipe because it makes it so lovely and moist. I copied the idea from a fruit cake recipe that was printed in a book about The Archers that I was given a long time ago. I always include it now and I think it makes a real difference.

This cake will keep for days in an airtight container, given half a chance!

Ingredients

250g dried fruit

1/4 litre of strong cold tea

225g self raising flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon mixed spice

75g granulated sugar

2 table spoons of orange marmalade

Method 

1. Soak the fruit in the tea until most of the liquid has been absorbed. I find overnight is best.

2. Pre heat oven to 170ºC and line a 2lb loaf tin.

3. Add flour, baking powder, mixed spice, sugar and marmalade to the cold tea and fruit.

4. Mix until it is all well combined.

5. Pour it all into the tin and bake for about 1hr but keep checking after about 50 minutes. It’s ready when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

6. Enjoy!

 

I am linking this post to Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesday on a Wednesday because that is how I sometimes roll ha!

 

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Have a lovely day!

 

 

 

 

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Pasta Bake!

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This dish came about completely out of necessity and I am so delighted with it, that I might actually plan to make it again and shop for the ingredients next time.  As always you can swap and change the vegetable element to your heart’s content.

I put recipes on here in the hope that my daughter, who is at university, might be inspired and have a go. It has worked on occasion. This is a perfect one for you to try Ms Glade X.

It can be made in advance and popped into the oven whenever your ready!

 

Ingredients

1 head of Broccoli cut into spears

1 head of Cauliflower cut into florets

500g Pasta cooked in accordance to the instructions of the packet

2 sliced of Bread cut into breadcrumbs

50g Extra Mature Cheese grated

White Sauce

50g Butter

50g Plain Flour

900ml Milk

Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Method

1. Cook the Cauliflower and Broccoli in a steamer or boil until al dente.

2. Add the cooked vegetables and cooked pasta to a large oven proof dish.

3. To make the white sauce, add all the ingredients together in one pan.

4. Put the pan on a medium heat and stir continually until it boils and thickens.

5. Pour the white sauce over the top of the vegetable mixture in the dish.

6. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese on top of the dish.

7. Cook in an oven preheated to 200 degrees for about 30 minutes until the top is browned and crispy.

8. Serve with garlic bread and salad.

Enjoy!

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Have a lovely day!

 

Picnic Food – Cheese and Onion Pasties!

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Now given that I am always going on about picnics, I thought I would share with you the sort of food I sometimes make for a picnic.

Himself and the youngest both take sandwiches for lunch each day, so at the weekends I like add a bit of variation to their diet if possible. These pasties are ideal for picnics and are very filling.

You can also vary the fillings, I added ham to himself’s and made it a different shape so I knew which was which 😉.

I am not really sure what has happened to this photograph, the pasty looks burned but it wasn’t.  I have included the recipe for pastry but of course you could buy it ready made.

Ingredients

Pastry

225g plain flour

100g butter

Pinch of salt

Approximately 30ml cold water

Or a packet of ready made pastry

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk to make an egg wash

Filling

1 glug of olive oil

1 white onion

1 sprig of thyme (optional)

Pinch of white pepper

150g  cheddar cheese grated (I used 50g smoked cheddar because I had some left over)

Ham (optional – quantity to your taste)

Method

1. Make the pastry first by either popping all the dry ingredients in a food processor.

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2. Pulse until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.

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3. Then add the water a little at a time until it comes together.

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4. Place it in cling film in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Don’t miss this stage out because it will be much easier to work with if chilled.

5. While it’s chilling, you can prepare the filling. Sauté the onions, adding thyme if using and white pepper,  until they go translucent but then carry on until the liquid around them has dried up. Leave to cool.

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6. Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees.

7. After 30 minutes, assemble the pasties by rolling out the pastry. I use a cereal bowl to cut out the circles.

8. Add onion, cheese and ham (if using ) to one side of the circle.

9. Use the egg wash around the outside of the circle, then fold the pastry over to make a half circle. Use a fork to press around the matching edges to seal the pasty and cover the outside with the egg wash.

10. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up and bake for about 20 minutes until browned.

Enjoy!

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Have a lovely day!

 

Pasta Arrabiata!

 

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This is one of my favourite pasta sauces to order when we are out. Everywhere seems to have a different spin on it. I like to add whatever vegetables I have around, this time I had some spinach and it made a lovely addition.

Served with garlic bread, it’s a quick and simple, but satisfying dinner!

 

Ingredients

Glug of Olive oil

2 white onions finely chopped

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

200ml vegetable stock

1 teaspoon crushed chilli

1 handful of Spinach

1 packet penne packet cooked to al dente as per packet instructions

Grated cheese to serve

Method

1. Sauté the onions in the olive oil until translucent

2. Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock

3. Add the crushed chilli to taste but no more than 1 teaspoon

4. Add the spinach and reduce the heat to a simmer

5. Simmer for about 15 minutes, meanwhile cook the pasta

6.  When the sauce is reduced add the cooked pasta, mix and serve with grated cheese

 

Enjoy!

 

Have a lovely day!

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Spinach and Cream Cheese Lasagna – slow cooker style!

 

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We had picnic plans for Saturday so, on Good Friday I thought I would try to make a lasagna in the slow cooker, so it would be ready for when we got home on Saturday evening.

I have seen various recipes on the internet but ricotta isn’t terribly popular in this house, so I thought I would just wing it. Thankfully, it turned out well!

You literally just build the lasagna and let the slow cooker do the work – perfect!

 

Ingredients 

Olive oil to grease the inside of the slow cooker pot

I  bottle of tomato pasta sauce or passata – I made my own*

450g approximately of spinach – washed

400g cream cheese

1 teaspoon freshly grated  nutmeg

500g dried sheets of lasagna sheets – you may not use them all

100g mature cheddar cheese or mozzarella

Method

1. Grease the inside of your slow cooker dish – you will thank me afterwards!

2. Place a thin layer of  the tomato pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish

3. Add a generous layer of spinach and add random spoonfuls of cream cheese to the layer

4. Add about a 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg to sprinkled over the spinach and cover with pasta sheets, don’t worry about overlapping, it doesn’t matter

5.  Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients, finish with a layer of pasta and sprinkle the grated cheddar or mozzarella on top

6. Place in the slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours, serve with garlic bread and salad

 

Enjoy!

 

* To make tomato pasta sauce:

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 onion

1 clove of garlic – crushed

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

250g vegetable stock

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon Basil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Method

1. Soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a couple of minutes

2. Add tin of chopped tomatoes, stock, herbs and sugar

3. Simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes until it reduces slightly

4. Taste to check for seasoning

Enjoy!