Lucy’s cauliflower and broccoli cheese

We’ll actually it’s Jamie’s really, but I love it so much I have adopted it in to my repertoire x I’ve been making it so much lately as it’s great in this cold weather with a nice bit of toasted Ciabatta lashed in butter x

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Ingredients

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 500 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 500 g fresh or frozen broccoli
  • 75 g mature cheddar cheese
  • 1 kg fresh or frozen cauliflower
  • 2 slices of ciabatta or stale bread
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 25 g flaked almonds
  • olive oil

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Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Peel and finely slice the garlic and put it into a medium pan on a medium heat with the butter. When the butter has melted, stir in the flour for a minute to make a paste, then gradually add the milk, whisking as you go, until lovely and smooth. Add the broccoli (cut up first, if using fresh) and simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is cooked through and starts to break down, then mash or blitz with a stick blender (adding an extra splash of milk to loosen, if using fresh broccoli). Grate in half the Cheddar and season to perfection.
  2. Arrange the cauliflower in an appropriately sized baking dish (cut into florets first, if using fresh), pour over the broccoli white sauce and grate over the remaining Cheddar. Blitz the bread into breadcrumbs in a food processor, then pulse in the thyme leaves and almonds. Toss with a lug of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, then scatter evenly over the cauliflower cheese.
  3. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden and cooked through, then enjoy!

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Happy Easter x

A very happy Easter to you all xx

I thought it would be appropriate today to mark the beginning of the Easter weekend with a festive recipe!! I came across Paul Holywood’s recipe for hot cross buns last week and then watched him prepare them with the same recipe on the Easter special of The Great British Bake-off Masterclass this week, which only cemented my determination to try them out for myself x

This is my first attempt at hot cross buns and I have to say I don’t think I will be buying them from now on!! They are gorgeous!!! Super tasty and they leave the house smelling amazing!!

Hot cross buns

 Ingredients:

For the buns:

  • 300ml full-fat milk , plus 2 tbsp more
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple , peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

 For the cross:

  • 75g plain flour , plus extra for dusting

 For the glaze:

  • 3 tbsp apricot jam

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Method:

  1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast  into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
  3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
  5. Heat oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  6. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

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I enjoyed mine straight from the oven with just a little butter along with a nice cup of tea, simple but effective x

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For me it wouldn’t be Easter without hot cross buns, but I realise that many of you are from other parts of the world with possibly very different Easter traditions and foods that you eat and share to celebrate! I’d love to hear about it x

What will you be making this weekend to celebrate Easter?

I’m off to hard boil and decorate some eggs now to roll on Sunday, ta ta xx

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Cookies and milk x

This weeks offering is my favourite cookies and milk combination. White chocolate chip cookies and Banana milkshake, so a double recipe for your amusement x Don’t say I’m not good to you xx ;p

Today I can’t take credit for the cookies recipe, it’s taken from my new favourite recipe book, The back in the day bakery cookbook, from Cheryl & Griffith Day!! I have however made one very small change to the original by using white chocolate instead of milk or plain chocolate x But they all work well, so feel free to decide for yourself if you are following this recipe at home x

It is however my own Banana milkshake recipe (although I’m sure if I googled it, I’d find some uses the same ingredients)!!

White chocolate cookies

White chocolate chip cookies:

Ingredients: 

  • 2½ cups Plain flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ pound of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated saugar
  • 1 cup light brown soft sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups chocolate chunks
  • Fleur de sel for sprinkling

White chocolate cookies

Method:

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 178°C/350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and sea salt; set aside.
  3. In a bowl of a stand food mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream together the butter, vanilla, and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and mix for no more than a minute; the eggs will not be fully incorporated. Turn the speed down to low and add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating until just combined, 1 to 2 minutes. With the mixer running, sprinkle in the chocolate chunks, beating until just combined, about a minute.
  5. Use a large ice cream scoop or a ¼cup measuring cup to form the cookies and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between the cookies to allow for spreading. Lightly tap each cookie with the palm of your hand and sprinkle the cookies with fleur de sel.
  6. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time for even doneness. The cookies should be golden brown around the edges but still light in the centres. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

White chocolate cookies

Banana Milkshake:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bananas
  • 8 generous scopes of your favourite Vanilla dairy ice cream
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 250ml of whole or semi-skimmed milk

White chocolate cookies

Method:

  1. Slice the bananas in to a food processor fitted with the liquidizer attachment, add the rest of the ingredients also.
  2. Process until think and creamy x
  3. Pour in to a tall glass with with a thick straw and serve immediately!!

And Ta da!!! Lovely cookies and milk x

Rocky road fudge and meeting new people!

OK, So…………. I’ve taken a huge step this week in getting out in the world and living by my recent post for this to be Lucy’s year!!!

After much humming and haughing I’ve finally committed myself to attend my first cake event run by and for the Edinburgh Cake Ladies which is being held in March. I must admit it’s terrifying and exciting at the same time! Most probably because I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to join one of their evenings for over a year now. Now all I have to do is stop myself  from pulling out if I get nervous………haha x

Only a few weeks ago I met my friend Sarah and her friend for lunch in town and I realised on my way there that it was going to be the first time meeting with someone as Lucy, that had never met Paul before and that felt like a huge day, now I’m signed up to meet 18 ladies at once and I’m up for the challenge x Wow, what a brave girl I’m becoming?!?! x ;p

So this event is called Tower of Terrific Traybakes Take Two or TTTTT for short!! Each of us has to bring a different traybake for everyone to try!! So I decided I would do my Rocky Road Fudge as my contribution!! Which obviously meant I had to have a practice run to see if it would be up to scratch for this event…….heehee x

And here are the results x

Rocky road fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1.4kg caster sugar
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 150g unsalted butter, cut in to cubes
  • 75g walnuts
  • 700g dark chocolate , cut in to small pieces
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 1.5ml salt
  • 90g black cherries in syrup, sliced in half
  • 130g marshmallows, cut in to pieces, or use mini marshmallows

Rocky road 2

Method:

  1. Line a loaf tin with clingfilm so that it comes out of the tin and well over the sides.
  2. Put the sugar, milk and butter in a medium, heavy pan. Heat over a moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Chop the walnuts roughly and set aside.
  4. When the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, bring the mixture to the boil. Without stirring, allow the mixture to cook at a slow rolling boil for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches the soft-ball stage (114ºC/238ºF).
  5. Stir in the chopped chocolate, vanilla extract and salt.
  6. Pour about one-third of the chocolate fudge mixture in to the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle with half of the cherries, marshmallows and walnuts. Cover with another third of the chocolate fudge.
  7. Place a piece of baking parchment over the fudge and press down firmly with your hands. Set aside to cool. This could take up to 8 hours.
  8. When ready to serve, lift the fudge up out of the tin by holding the sides of the clingfilm and transfer to a chopping board. Cut 1cm slices and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Peanut butter and chocolate fudge

I thought it was about time I put up more recipes, it’s been quite a while. But this a recipe worth a long wait for, it’s super tasty and the perfect texture for fudge.

My friend Anne has given me access to lot’s of new amazing homemade sweet recipes and this is the first of many I plan to try out.
Fudge

 

Ingedients:

  • 750g caster sugar
  • 250ml golden syrup
  • 300ml double cream
  • 75g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 200g smooth, natural peanut butter
  • 150g roasted and salted peanuts, chopped
  • 100g milk chocolate (34% cocoa solids), chopped

 

fudge

 

  1. Grease a 8in square baking tin and line with baking parchment or waxed paper.
  2. Put the sugar, golden syrup, cream and butter in a large, heavy pan and cook over a moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
  3. When the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, bring the mixture to the boil.
  4. Without stirring, let the mixture cook at a slow rolling boil for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches the soft-ball stage (114○C/238○F).
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Gently fold in the nuts and chopped chocolate.
  6. Pour into the prepared baking tin and leave it to cool completely. This can take up to 8 hours.
  7. Lift the fudge out of the tin by the sides of the parchment paper and place on a cutting surface. Cut into squares and serve. Store in an airtight container.

 

fudge

Melting moments

Ingredients:

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 60g icing sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 60g cornflour
  • Red food colouring (the gel type works best)
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

For the filling:

  • 125ml full-fat or semi skimmed milk
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, or less to taste
  • about 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

You will also need: 
2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper; a piping bag fitted with a star tube.

 

Method

  1. Using a wooden spoon or electric mixer, beat the butter with the icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for a few seconds. Sift the flour and cornflour together into the bowl and mix until smooth.
  2. Paint a straight line of red food colouring on the inside of the piping bag, from the tube to the opening of the bag. Spoon the biscuit mixture into the piping bag.
  3. Pipe into 32 swirls on the baking sheet. Each swirl should be about 5cm across and 2.5cm high. Chill in the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes to firm.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Bake the biscuits for about 12 minutes or until they are pale golden. Leave for a few minutes on the baking sheet to set slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the filling, heat the milk with the flour in a small pan, whisking constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Whisk over very low heat for a minute to cook out the taste of the flour, then pour the mixture onto a plate. Cover closely with clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming and leave until completely cold.
  6. Beat together the sugar and butter until very pale and fluffy – about 10 minutes by hand or 4 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the thickened milk mixture and beat until light, creamy and almost white. Add the vanilla.
  7. To assemble, spread a little jam on the bases of half the biscuits. Pipe small swirls of the filling onto the bases of the remaining biscuits and sandwich pairs together. Lightly dust with icing sugar.

I got this recipe from the second series of  The Great British bake off and was really straight forward to follow, oh apart from not softening the butter sufficiently and burning out my motor in my Electric hand mixer……..oops!! But the good old Kenwood chef came to the rescue in the end x

Strawberry tart

Hello………….I’m back!!

Most have you probably hadn’t even noticed that I had gone, but I’ve had no broadband for the last week and a bit which has been a little more than inconvenient to say the least!!!  I’ve had several blogs planned for quite a while  and I’ve been itching to share them with you!! So I’m sorry that you have had to wait so long, but I’m here now x

Today’s post is about the Strawberry tart that I made last weekend, it was extremely delicious!! And it’s already long gone….haha xx

But I think it is still worth sharing the recipe with you and as you can see I got some great photos and it looked amazing too!!!

The pastry recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 250g Plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 50g Icing sugar
  • 125g Cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for the tin
  • 2 Large free-range eggs
  • Dash of milk
  1. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and add the butter cubes. Using your finger tips, rub the butter in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. At this stage, either continue with your hands or transfer to a food mixer with a dough hook.
  2. Beat together 1 of the eggs with the milk, add this to the flour mixture and mix until it just comes together into a crumbly ball of dough. Do not overwork it: it should look a little dry. Add a little more flour if needed.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to a day.
  4. It is often necessary to ‘blind bake’ the pastry. To do this, remove the clingfilm and roll the pastry out on a floured surface,using a floured rolling pin, until 5mm thick. Use it to line a lightly buttered tart tin. Cover with clingfilm return to the rigrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180○C/350○F/Gas mark 4.
  5. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or raw rice, to prevent the pastry rising. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans or rice. Beat the remaining egg, use it to brush the pastry all over, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes to seal the pastry; this stops the base becoming soggy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before filling.

And for the crème patisserie I followed this recipe:

  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 15g plain flour
  1. Warm the milk and cream in a saucepan along with the vanilla pod split lengthwise. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand to infuse for 10 minutes. If you’re not using the pod, add the vanilla extract later, when you’ve combined all the ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until creamy, and then beat in the flour. With the point of a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod into the milk, and add this warm milk to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
  3. Pour back into the saucepan and stir or whisk gently over a low heat until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and let the custard cool by pouring it into a wide bowl and tearing off some greaseproof, wetting it, then covering the bowl with it. This stops it from forming a skin.Don’t put this in the fridge: something goes horribly wrong with the texture if you do, and you want utter, smooth voluptuousness here.

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Mix jam and lemon juice in small pan, bring to the boil and keep stirring until mixture becomes quite runny.
  2. Pour mixture on to a piece of muslin or fine sieve and drain off any excess water!!!

Then all you have to do is layer them all up and voilà!! x One tasty Strawberry tart x