Thursday, 27 February 2014

Chocolate Fudge


Forget the calories involved in this dish... if you're bothered about them, then this recipe is not for you!  We've been trying to make fudge for a couple of years (not continuously!) and found this recipe online which seemed promising... it needs just one can of condensed milk (397g), 4 Tablespoons of butter (we used 62g) and a POUND of chocolate (eek).

Gathering the chocolate, we went for a mixture of bars (broken up), chips and nibs... milk and plain.

Then the butter and chocolate were placed in a metal bowl which went over a pan with boiling water in.

At this point the condensed milk was added and the mix was left to heat through.

We then stirred the mix regularly until it was smooth before turning into a greased and double clingwrap lined Pyrex dish.

The fudge was then left to cool before being covered with more cling film and then put in the fridge to set completely.  Once cooled it was divided into very small pieces and stored in airtight containers.  We put some in cellophane bags for gifts for friends and the rest was ALL FOR US!  (it did last a very long time)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Honey-roasted Nut Butter Brownies

Looking through the Waitrose Kitchen magazine whilst Sous Chef J was at a Minecraft club the other day, I spotted that the 'Star Bake' recipe for Honey-roasted  Nut Butter Brownies.  It caught my eye not only because it looked appetising but also because I thought it may 'convert' to gluten free relatively easily.  So, we gave it a go - although we only made half the quantity the original recipe was for...

So, the ingredients we used were -

125g mixed nuts
1 tsp honey
½ tsp salt
70g unsalted butter
125g dark chocolate chips
100g caster sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
100g Self Raising flour (we used Doves's Farm gluten free)

The nuts were roughly chopped then put on a baking sheet and into a 200ºC oven for four minutes to brown (use a timer... they'll burn if left too long)  Then the honey and seasalt were mixed through before returning the sheet to the oven (temp lowered to 180ºC) for a further two minutes.  Once removed, the nuts were left to cool.

Putting 100g of the chocolate and the butter in a pan, they were heated until fully combined.  Then the sugar, salt and vanilla essence were whisked in before adding the eggs and mixing through.  Finally, the flour was added and mixed until smooth.  At this point 37.5g of the nut mix was stirred through and the mix was poured into a greased and lined baking tray (we made a tray out of parchment, about 7" square or 17cm x 17cm).

The brownies were cooked for about 20 minutes and checked... they were removed from the oven when still slightly soft in the middle as we like a softer brownie texture.  Once taken out of the oven, they were cooled in the tin for 5 minutes before being removed and allowed to cool fully on a cooling rack.

Whilst the brownies were cooling, the remainder of the honey-roasted nuts were placed in our small food processor bowl and blended (takes quite a while) until they became a butter.  

Once the brownie was cool, the nut butter was spread on top and smoothed out.


To make the chocolate drizzle topping, the remaining chocolate drops were placed in a small freezer bag which was covered in hot water and left to melt for a few minutes.

Having melted the chocolate in the bag, a small snip across the corner of the bag was made and the chocolate was drizzled across the brownies.

Finally the brownies were cut into small squares ready for eating.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Kale Crisps

Having found something tasty to do with curly kale, we have also made these crisps using cavalo nero.  It really could not be simpler.

We wash the greens, shake them to remove excess water, lay them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with a little sea salt.  Then place in a hot oven (200ºC) for 8-10 minutes... and, hey presto, tasty veggie crisps.

Sometimes Cavalo Nero has quite thick stems - if so, cut them out and use the leaves for making crisps this way.  We use the stems, chopped fairly small, in stir fries.

If, by some miracle, the trayful isn't immediately consumed, they crisps can be crumbled onto soups, mince or pasta sauce as a tasty, crunchy seasoning.

Give it a go and let us know what you think.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Slow Cooker Meat Loaf

We wanted to see if a meat loaf could be made in the slow cooker.  Deciding to have a go with things we had in the house, we made use of a pack of sausagemeat (ours was from Marks and Spencer because it was gluten free), an egg, a tablespoon of gluten free Worcestershire sauce, some unsmoked streaky bacon, one chopped red onion and half a red pepper, also chopped.

Whilst the slow cooker was switched onto HIGH, to warm through, the egg and Worcestershire Sauce was mixed together.
This egg mix was then added to the sausagemeat, peppers and onions.
The meat mix was then combined thoroughly - we used a fork, but by hand would be best.
Once the slow cooker had warmed through (this took ours about 10 minutes) the crock was lined with half of the bacon rashers to form a base layer.
On top of the bacon layer, we placed the sausagemeat mix and patted it down, before layering the remaining bacon rashers on the top.

The slow cooker was left on high for about an hour, then turned to low (ours only has 2 settings) and left for about 5 hours.  At this point, we carefully turned it out of the crock and placed it on a baking sheet leaving behind the cooking juices.

It was then placed under a hot grill.....

... and this is what it looked like after about 5 minutes crisping up.
We sliced the meat loaf and served it with mixed root mash and peas.