Friday, 24 July 2015


Looking through ingredients, we needed something quick and easy to fill the oven whilst we made a double batch of choc chip nut butter cookies.  It had to be a bake that wasn't fussy or requiring kit like a mixer...

Grabbing 160g room temperature butter, 250g Dove's Farm Plain flour, 85g golden caster sugar (plus a little less than a Tablespoonful for sprinkling) and a teaspoon of baking powder.  This is what we did -

The sugar and butter was 'creamed' (mixed by squeezing with ONE clean hand - always keep the other free for answering door/tweeting/whatever). 

Then the dry ingredients were included and mixed until it came together in a sort of dough.

Lining a rectangular baking tin, the dough was pressed out to cover the tin. 

Placing the shortbread into a pre-heated 160ºC fan oven (top shelf) it was baked for 25 minutes, checked then returned to the oven for a further 20 minutes.  You may need to check your bake depending on your oven... we were also baking cookies at the same time so the oven temperature varied a little throughout the baking time.

Checking for baking, you can see a thumb print left in the shortbread... it was too soft at that point!

Once thoroughly baked and just starting to brown, the shortbread was removed from the oven, sprinkled with a scant Tablespoon of caster sugar and allowed to cool in the tin for five minutes.  The
shortbread was then scored (we used a metal palette knife) to make portioning easier later.

After cooling fully in the tin, the shortbread was lifted out on the greaseproof paper and cut through (we used a cheese knife from a set that's never been used on cheese!) to make bite sized pieces.  We made 18 biscuits with this amount of ingredients.

Some biscuits were stored in airtight containers and a couple were taste tested with an espresso after a damp dog walk.  The shortbread was judged as "wow" and I was told "you *need* to eat this".  Success on a plate. 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Coconut and Blueberry Cake

Spotting a tasty sounding cake recipe that made use of coconut flour and was also dairy free, we took a look and decided it was something we had to try.

The ingredients we used were -

4 medium eggs
125g caster sugar
100g Lucy Bee Coconut oil, melted
50g coconut flour, sifted
1 tsp gluten free baking powder (we used Dr Oetker)
50g desiccated coconut
150g blueberries

Quite a simple to make cake.  The eggs and sugar were whisked together using the electric hand mixer until they'd doubled in volume.  

The melted coconut oil was then slowly drizzled into the egg/sugar mix to combine.

Next, the dry ingredients were folded through to incorporate fully.

Finally the blueberries were added and stirred into the cake mix.

Pouring the cake mix into a lined, round 7" cake tin, the cake was then baked in a 160º fan oven for 30 minutes... after this time the oven temperature was reduced to 150º and the timer set for 20 minutes.  We checked the cake when the timer went off and saw that a knife blade came out clean so removed the cake from the oven.

Placing the cake on a wire rack to cool in its tin for 10 minutes, we allowed it to cool a little before turning it out of the tin and leaving
it to cool fully.

Dusting the top of the cake with icing sugar, we sliced it and served with fresh strawberries and cream (obviously leave out the cream if your aim is a
dairy free cake/dessert).

It was a lovely moist cake and, surprisingly, the texture was airy and light.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Simple Bolognaise Sauce

Sous Chef J is keen on foods that "don't take much eating"... by which he means he doesn't have to wield a knife and fork to cut up.  So dishes using mince, slow cooking and pasta are always requested.  This is our take on a pasta sauce - served with spaghetti or other pasta and oodles of cheese. 

Ingredients we used were -

400g mince beef
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2-3 white onions, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped finely
200ml rich beef stock (we used a Knorr stock pot)
1 Tablespoon tomato puree
oil (we used the remainder of the oil from a jar of preserved red peppers - thrifty as ever!)
freshly ground black pepper
grated cheese, to serve (we used mature cheddar today but parmesan or other works well too)

Having chopped the onions, they were cooked in some oil in our wok on a medium heat until they started to turn translucent.  Then the beef was added and cooked for a few minutes until it began to brown.  Next the tomato puree was added, stirred through and the wok lid was placed on and left to cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat.

At this point the carrots, which we'd chopped whilst cooking the mince mix, chopped tomatoes and stock were added to the wok.  The heat was turned up slightly and the sauce was left to cook down for about 25-30 minutes.... the lid left slightly ajar to allow some reduction (boiling off) of the sauce to happen. 

The sauce is served with pasta (today we used Salute spaghetti) and a salad.... and gone in a flash.  The spaghetti was cooked, drained and returned to a buttery pan, then the sauce was mixed through before serving.

We reserved half of the prepared amount, allowed it to cool, bagged and labelled it and froze to use later when time/inclination is lacking and a speedy supper is required.
This could be cooked in a slow cooker but it's supposed to be summer so we did it on the hob!