I’ve succumbed…..

To buying another kitchen gadget. I’ve purchased a dehydrator. Brilliant way to save fruits and veggies before they go off, just bung veg in soups, stews sauces etc. Use fruit for baking, snacking, dried citrus fruits for christmas decorations, dry herbs for cooking and flowers for decorating. The list goes on and on! How many times have I had to compost fruit and veg cos I’ve not been able to use it all quick enough? No more waste in this house I tell ya! :)

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Baked Mac and Cheese

I recently stumbled upon a recipe for baked mac & cheese over at Not Exactly Bento

With kind permission from Jenn at NEB, I’m sharing my version of this amazing recipe with you!

 

This dish will serve 4 to 6 people as a side dish (or if your family are hungry hippos like mine, it will probably serve 3 to 4 on its own)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of macaroni  (Nothing fancy, I used Sainsburys Own Brand)

250g mature cheddar cheese

1 Stick of butter, this measures out as a quarter pound in UK measurements ( For me this made the recipe a little too oily when cooked so I would recommend that you cut the butter back to approx half of this, however feel free to stay with the original recipe)

three quarters a cup of milk ( I used semi skimmed cos that’s what I have in my fridge)

8 Rashers of streaky bacon ( Sounds a lot, but bear in mind this dish will feed 4 people, so that’s 2 rashers per person)

METHOD

Take a glass baking dish and grease thoroughly ( I used the wrapper from the butter)

Your dish needs to be large enough to hold 2 layers of pasta and cheese (My dish is a square pyrex measuring 25 cms x 25 cms)

Turn on oven to 180 degrees celcius or 350 degress farenheit or gas mark 4 if you are so inclined

To a pot of boiling water add a pinch or two of salt and throw in the macaroni

While the macaroni is cooking and the oven is heating, snip up the rashers of bacon into a frying pan and cook until cripsy. Transfer to a plate with kitchen roll to drain off excess fat.

Grate the whole block of cheese (yeah you heard me, the whole block!)

Drain the macaroni really well

Place a layer of macaroni into the bottom of the baking dish, cover the botom of the dish well, you don’t want a skimpy bottom layer!

Sprinkle over half the bacon

Place about half the butter in dots over the pasta and bacon layer

Cover the bacon and pasta with cheese ( this will use half the cheese)

Repeat with remaining macaroni, bacon and butter

Pour the  milk over the dish

Add the last layer of cheese

The milk will cook down into the milk and butter to create a sauce for the macaroni noodles

Place the dish into the preheated oven for approx 30 minutes or until all the layers are bubbling nicely

Just before bringing out ouf the oven, pop the grill on so you can give the top of the mac and cheese some extra crispy love. 3 or 4 minutes under the grill should do the trick.

Now the dish is only cooked and will be like molten lava, so obviously you need to let everything settle before you can eat it. This will also help the flavours develop.

So when the dish has rested, go ahead and scoop out a portion for yourself.

Take a forkful and tell me that isn’t the best mac and cheese ever!

 

Jam season!

 

And so jam season begins. My blackcurrant bush yielded 5lbs of berries. We have picked these and made blackcurrant jelly!

I didn’t follow an exact recipe, I simply washed and stewed the fruit in 500mls of water and then passed the pulp through a jelly bag. To the syrup I added one kilo bag of sugar and brought to a rolling boil. Stir continuously to prevent sticking.
Pour the jelly into hot sterilised jars when it reaches setting point.

Label jars when cold.

My currant crop had quite a few green berries in, this helps add pectin to set the jelly. If needed you can add pectin which you will find in most high street supermarkets under the brand name “certo”

Can’t wait to try this on some fresh crusty bread!

Thai Green Curry

My friend Claire’s recipe for Thai Green Curry :)

Serves 4 (or 2 very hungry people!)

4 chicken breasts

Thai Green Curry Paste ( I used Sainsburys own brand)

Fresh coriander

3 limes squeezed

2 sticks of lemon grass chopped in half

sugar – 1 tablespoon

4 red or green chillies chopped

garlic 2 cloves grated

ginger – grated (as much as you’d like)

2 tins coconut milk

2 onions choipped Thai fish sauce

Ground coriander 1 teaspoon

Ground Cumin 1 teaspoon

Chop chicken into bite size pieces and saute until almost cooked

add chopped onions

Add thai green curry paste, ginger, garlic, chilli and fish sauce

Add cumin and coriander

Add coconut milk, sugar and lemongrass

Add lime juice

Simmer gently until thick.

Cook egg noodles or rice to your liking and serve with curry and plenty of chopped fresh coriander

Banana and Walnut Loaf

This is a recipe from my Mum for a yummy tea time treat, I hope you enjoy it!!

Banana and Walnut Loaf

 4 oz margarine

6 oz light brown sugar

2 ripe bananas

2 eggs

8 oz self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 oz chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons milk (if needed)

Cream the margarine and sugar.

Mix in mashed bananas

Break eggs into the mix and beat well

Fold in sifted flour and baking powder

Stir in chopped nuts

Pour into a lined 2lb loaf tin

Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 1 hr (Fan Oven) or until a skewer comes out clean. You may need to adjust the cooking temperature and time to suit your oven.

Banana and Walnut Loaf 4 oz margarine 6 oz light brown sugar 2 ripe bananas 2 eggs 8 oz self raising flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 oz chopped walnuts 2 tablespoons milk (if needed) Cream the margarine and sugar. Mix in mashed bananas Break eggs into the mix and beat well Fold in sifted flour and baking powder Stir in chopped nuts Pour into a lined 2lb loaf tin Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 1 hr (Fan Oven) or until a skewer comes out clean. You may need to adjust the cooking temperature and time to suit your oven.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins

A delicious treat to have in the afternoon with a cuppa!

 

Ingredients

275g plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

115 grammes caster sugar

1 egg

250 ml buttermilk

4 tablespoons olive oil

150 grammes raspberries (I use frozen raspberries, easier to get hold of and cheaper too!)

Chocolate chunks (white or milk ) as many as you’d like to add!

Mix all the dry ingredients together in  a bowl.Include the raspberries and chocolate in this bowl. Set aside.

In a bowl or measuring jug, combine all the wet ingredients and mix throughly.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Stir until just combined, do not beat! The batter should be lumpy.

Scoop into muffin cases in a pan and bake at 190 degrees c or 375 degrees f for 20 minutes or until risen and golden.

Raspberry White Choc Muffins

Many thanks to my friend McCaff for the recipe :)

A M.I.Y (make it yourself) day

I’m in a make something from scratch mood today. So far I’ve 2 new jars of lemon curd made to add to the stock pile of preserves for Christmas and there’s yoghurt on the go too :)

I stumbled on a lovely recipe using haw berries over on Nip it in the Bud so I’ve just been out and raided the hedge at the front of the house (much to the disgust of the watching birds! Don’t worry there’s more than enough to go round.)

Right now I’m off to Mums.

We’re on a baking mission next, home-made sausage rolls and bread. Yummy!

Pavlova – a recipe and how not to make it.

So you’ve whisked your three egg whites to stiff peaks and then you whipped some more to get your six ounces of sugar dissolved in. You whipped and whipped until those egg whites were stiff and glossy.

Next you carefully folded in a half teaspoon of cornflour, a half teaspoon of vanilla essence and a half teaspoon of vinegar.

You lovingly moulded the shape of your pavlova on silicon paper and gently placed your pavlova in a 1250c oven to slowly bake and become crisp for one and a half hours.

You turned the oven off after this and allowed your pavlova to slurp up all the residual heat to make a beautifully crisp crust and mallow interior, all chewy and yummy.

You go to bed.

You get up the next morning and make dough for bread, you’d like nice handmade rolls for your potato soup tonight.

You turn on the oven to heat up to 180oc.

You go upstairs to sort laundry while your dough is resting and your oven is heating.

You come down the stairs and wonder what the burning smell is.

You remember you left the pavlova in the oven last night.

Oh B******!

Caramelised?

You scrape the offending article into the bin.

You retrieve three eggs from the fridge……………….