Category Archives: Food

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

I know there are thousands of oatmeal raisin cookie recipes out there, but this is the one my son and I make – and he does most of the work! LOL

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup (250g) butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins or sultanas

Preheat the oven to 160’C (350’F). Cream the butter and sugar together (we used an electric mixer). Then add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, mixing in between until the mix is fluffy. Add all the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.

Using dessert spoons, scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet, they do spread out, so give them room. Bake for 8-12 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Take off the sheet and place on a cake rack to cool. Try not to eat the whole tray at once. Makes about 4 dozen smallish cookies.

The dough will keep well in the fridge for about a week – we cook a few every day straight from the fridge, and just press the dough down a little before putting in the oven.

Close-up cookie

You can add chocolate chips, cocoa, more spices, wholewheat flour, meusli instead of the oatmeal… what’s your favourite combo?

Plate of cookies
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Snickerdoodles

These are my favourite cookie. I could eat the whole batch, so I rarely make them. However…. Son’s school has a cookbook fundraiser and they’ve asked for 1 from each family. This will be ours.

They are a plain cookie, but that’s an understatement. They are soft in the middle, and rolled in cinnamon sugar,so they are crisp on the outside, and should be a little wrinkled.

Ready to eat

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1.5 cups caster sugar
2 eggs
2.75 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Method: Preheat oven to 160’C. Cream butter and sugar together, then add in eggs one at a time. Add in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, and mix until it all comes together. Roll into walnut-sized (1″) balls and chill for 5- 10 minutes. I usually manage to make about 3 dozen from this recipe.

Mix the 3 tbsp caster sugar and cinnamon together, roll the balls in it then place, well-spaced out, on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove immediately from the sheet and place on racks to cool – they will be soft. Allow to cool for a few minutes before inhaling all of them at once. 😉 They will be thick, and wrinkled, crisp on the outside but soft in the middle once cool. If you can wait that long….

Ready to go in the oven
Just out
Ready to eat

Blackberry & Rhubarb Cobbler

I haven’t added a recipe in a while…. but here goes! lol Son and I made this for breakfast today. We decided not to make it sweet so only added a little sugar to the fruit. (And yes, as usual, the photo was taken after we ate!)

I used frozen fruit from last summer, and let it defrost a little before cooking it.

Blackberry & Rhubarb Cobbler

450g rhubarb, cut into pieces 3/4″ long
450g blackberries
75g white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
3 tbsp water

Cobbler:

330g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
120g butter
2 eggs
milk to make up to 250ml with the eggs

Put the fruit, sugar, spices into a pot and cook on med. heat until the mixture comes to a boil and the rhubarb just starts to fall apart. Mix the cornflour and water together then stir into the fruit — you might not need all of it depending on the water content of the fruit. Turn down to low, and simmer for 3 minutes while stirring, then turn off the heat.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then cut the butter into the mix. Crack the eggs into a glass measuring cup, then pour in enough milk to make it up to 250ml. Whisk together, then stir into the dry mix. You should have a thick, sticky dough.

Pour the fruit into a 9″x 13″baking pan, then spoon the cobbler mix on top, there should be space in between for the fruit to bubble up.

Bake at 190’C (375’C) for 15-20 minutes or until the cobbler mix is lightly browned. Eat warm as is, or pour on a little cream…

Blackberry and Rhubarb Cobbler
Blackberry and Rhubarb Cobbler

Chocolate Cherry Cake AKA Cheat’s Black Forest Gateau!

I haven’t put a recipe on here in a while, but son wanted to make chocolate cake this weekend, so we decided to add cherry pie filling to it to make a sort-of cheat’s black forest gateau. We decided not to put whipped cream on the cake and just have it on the side as our fridge isn’t working and we’d rather be able to leave the cake on the counter and just keep the cream on ice in the fridge. The engineer will be out on Monday!

The cake is a lovely light sponge cake that as long as you don’t over-mix, is lovely and with a tender crumb. It would also make a great chocolate Victoria Sponge.

Cake!
Cake!

Chocolate Cake:

6 oz/175g unsalted butter, softened
6 oz/175g caster sugar (granulated)
3 large eggs, beaten
6 oz/175g self raising flour (or 170g plain flour and 2 tsp baking powder)
1 oz/25g cocoa powder
1 tbsp warm water

Buttercream Icing:

2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 oz/75g softened butter
3 oz/75g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream:

250ml Double/Whipping Cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz/25g icing sugar

1 – 14 oz. tin cherry pie filling

Turn oven to 350’F/175’C

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy, then addin the eggs a little at a time. If it starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of the weighed out flour and keep mixing until it is smooth. Add in the warm water.

Mix the flour and cocoa powder (and baking powder if using) together in a bowl, then add to the butter and sugar bowl and fold in.

Divide the mixture between two 8-inch sandwich tins, buttered and floured or lined. Level with a knife and put both tins in the middle of the oven for about 20-25 minutes. They are ready when you gently push the top with a finger the sponge bounces back and the cake is pulling away from the sides of the tin. Cool for 5 minutes in the pans, then carefully turn out on a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, carefully cream together the ingredients for the buttercream icing, then once there is no danger of icing sugar going everywhere, whip with an electric mixer until it’s lighter in colour and fluffy.

Whip the double/whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla together until ti forms soft peaks.

Spread 1/2 the butter cream onto the top of a layer of cake, putting the remainder in a piping bag with a tip. Once it’s smooth, pipe the remaining buttercream in a circle on the edge, building it up to form a wall to hold the pie filling in. Carefully pour the pie filling on top (it may not take the whole tin), then smooth out. Place the top layer on top and gently wiggle it to center it and level it. Pipe any remaining buttercream on top of the cake, dust with a little icing sugar and serve with the whipped cream and remaining pie filling. Perfect with Earl Grey Tea!

You can also ice the cake with the whipped cream and cover in chocolate sprinkles to make a more authentic looking black forest gateau…

Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Fritters

I found this recipe a few weeks ago amid the madness of knitting uteruses, and finally got a chance to try it – http://www.thesugarhit.com/2015/01/sweet-potato-chickpea-burgers-with-tahini-yoghurt-recipe.html

I made a few changes to it – I made small fritters instead of large burger patties and added chives. I left out the paprika and added garam masala too. My son hoovered them up with Raita and fresh raw green beans in a tortilla wrap and ordered me to make them again! These would be great for a starter for a dinner party or if you want, a greedy meal for 2….

Here’s my adaptation:

Sweet Potato & Chick Pea Fritters

1 medium sweet potato, grated (not peeled)
3 tbsp chopped chives
1 egg
1/3 cup flour (could use gram/wholewheat flour if you wanted)
1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
1/2 tsp each garam masala, ground cumin and ground coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 can drained chickpeas, slightly mashed

Mix everything together with your hands and shape into flat discs about 1 1/2″ across (I made 13, but it will depend on the size of the sweet potato).

Heat a large fry pan with 1/2cm of oil and add the patties, cook on med-high heat until golden brown and crispy, and flip to cook the other side. Drain on paper towels while cooking the remainder. Serve with raita (see below), fresh veg, wraps and mango chutney.

Raita –

1/2 cucumber, halved and deseeded, then grated
3/4 c. greek yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp lemon juice or to taste

Mix together and let sit to blend flavours.

I’ll add a photo when I make them again….

Crisp Pecan Cookies

I made these yesterday for a “Thank You” to one of my lovely crochet helpers and sent (most of) them off yesterday. I hope she enjoys them as much as I do!

Crisp Pecan Cookies
Crisp Pecan Cookies

Easy to make, they make a crisp cookie perfect for dunking. I suspect with a tweak or 2, the same ingredients will make a nice shortbread too….

Ingredients:

280g butter
200g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
440g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
100g pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325’F (160’C).

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Stir in the vanilla extract then add the salt and flour and mix until the butter is incorporated into the flour and looks like bread crumbs. Stir the sides of the bowl into the center, then mix again with the mixer. Once it begins to come together, add in the pecans and use your hands to work the dough into a ball.

Cut the dough into 2 and roll out one half on a lightly floured board to about 1/4″ or a little thicker. Cut out in your cookie cutter of choice (mine was a 2″ fluted circle) and put the scraps aside to use with the scraps from the 2nd half of the dough.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are just beginning to brown. (This will depend on the size and thickness of your cookie). Cool on racks. They should be crisp, buttery and perfect with coffee. Bet you can’t eat just one!

Rocky Road Cupcakes

Yes, I know, 2 recipes in a row on a crafting blog (well it was meant to be one) but it’s turned into a bit of a meander into the road less travelled in my little world…..

So, back to cupcakes. It’s been cupcake central here this week as my son turned 6… somehow you’d think that he’d magically act older, fewer whinges… something. But no, he’s been 6 for……… almost 40 hours now, and no change from oh, say, 53 hours ago.

It’s practically become tradition at his school for the birthday boy or girl to bring some sort of baked treat, 99% of which are cupcakes, to celebrate their birthday… and this is the recipe I made to go in. It has all the things you’d expect in a birthday cupcake – big, chocolatey and decorated. (I tripled the cupcake recipe and doubled the icing recipe).

Rocky Road Cupcakes
Rocky Road Cupcakes

Rocky Road Cupcakes

3 large eggs
175g butter
175g sugar
175g flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
50g chopped walnuts (optional)
50g chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 160’C. Line a muffin pan with cupcake cases.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time.
Mix the dry ingredients together, then stir into the butter/sugar/egg mixture.
Use an icecream scoop, divide the cake batter into the cases, it should fill 12, depending on their size.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes spring back when slightly pressed in the middle.

Cool, then ice with:

Fudgey Chocolate Icing

60g semi-sweet/plain chocolate
115g butter
90ml milk
500g icing sugar
pinch salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Melt the chocolate, butter and milk together and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then using an electric mixer, pour the chocolate mix into the dry. Beat until smooth and thick. It will skin up as soon as you stop mixing it, so if you want to add decorations, then add them as you ice the cupcakes.

I used a piping bag to ice the cupcakes, but you can use a small spatula or dinner knife.

Toppings:

Mini-marshmallows
chocolate chips
glace cherries, cut in half
broken up digestive biscuits/graham crackers

I added them as I iced the cupcakes to make sure they stayed pushed into the icing.

Ready to go...
Ready to go…

Waffles!

We got a Waffle maker – the Belgian kind — from Santa Claus for Christmas, along with a bag of waffle mix. Ours is a Andrew James 4 Slice Red Belgian Waffle Maker. It works well, heats up quickly and evenly. We haven’t had any waffles stick to the non-stick plates, but who knows in a few years….

Home-made Waffle
Home-made Waffle

We used the waffle mix up the 1st 2 times we used it; they were OK, but very crispy and airy and went cold very quickly.

I used this recipe, which came with the machine, and it was much better — more like a ‘real’ belgian waffle (which is actually a yeast batter). They were softer, and more dense, with just a little crunch on the outside.

Waffle Recipe

3 eggs
200 ml milk
100 ml oil
30g sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
250g flour

Mix the liquid ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl, then slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, whisking well to get rid of most of the lumps.

Pour into a greased waffle maker – how much will depend on the size of yours; ours makes 4 so we get about 4 waffles from this amount. I don’t put too much in, I don’t want it to overflow.

Eat with whatever you fancy….. we like scrambled eggs and bacon.

Waffle!
Waffle!

Fruit Cake for Christmas

Fruit Cake. Most people who read this blog who are in North America will cringe. But this isn’t your store-bought fruitcake, heavy enough to use as a doorstop, a brick or as foundations for a house. British fruitcakes are different. They are lighter, have less fruit and more cake – and no glace cherries, at least in this one (we don’t like them). I make it in standard cake tins, not one deep one, so you get 2 cakes out of the recipe, one to eat and one to freeze. Or not.

Christmas Cake
Christmas Cake

I make this cake all year long for my hubby who loves fruitcake. It’s not a colourful, ooooh, look-at-me fruitcake, but it tastes wonderful…

At Christmas he gets one all to himself as I add his tipple of choice (it’s rum this year) to a cake baked at least 6 weeks earlier and once a week gets a tablespoon drizzled onto top and bottom then wrapped up again until the following week. Christmas week I unwrap it and cover it in marzipan and fondant icing. The fruitcakes through the rest of the year don’t get iced or boozed up.

The bonus of making and icing your own fruitcake for Christmas is that you can add in the fruits you like, leave out the ones you don’t, and make the icing and marzipan as thin or as thick as you like. This recipe is also not that hard to stir once everything is in it.

The recipe:

900g mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, chopped apricots, dried cherries, dates etc.)
300ml very strong tea, hot
8oz/225g all purpose/plain flour
5 1/2 oz/150g butter, soft
5 1/2 oz/150g dark brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp dark treacle/cane molasses
3 fl oz/ 100ml brandy, sherry or orange juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
4oz/110g ground almonds

Fondant (Royal) Icing
Marzipan to roll out
Tipple of your choice

Place the dried fruits in a large bowl, add the tea and stir well. Cover and leave at least for overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325F/170C/Gas 3.
Grease a 2 8″/20cm round cake tins with butter and flour or line with baking parchment.
Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl. Using a mixer, cream the butter into the sugar until light, smooth and creamy. Weigh out the flour.
Beat one egg into the creamed butter, then beat in a quarter of the flour. Repeat until all the eggs and flour are used up.
Add the treacle, booze or juice, spices, salt, lemon juice & baking powder to the cake mixture and stir gently using a spoon.
Drain the dried fruits and add with the ground almonds to the cake mix. Stir gently so as not to ‘flatten’ the cake mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tins and gently level the surface. Cook in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is golden brown. You may need to swap racks or move them about depending on your oven to have them cook evenly. Leave in the pans for 20 minutes, then remove. I have loose bottomed cake pans, so leave the cake on the bottom to cool completely.

To add the booze – rum, brandy, sherry, or port, drizzle sparingly over the top and the bottom of the cake, then wrap up well in plastic wrap. Leave in a dark place for 1 week, then repeat.

When ready to ice, roll out the marzipan on a little icing sugar. Brush the cake with a little warmed apricot jam then place a circle of marzipan on top of the cake and trim around the top edge. Roll out the royal icing large enough to cover the cake, then glaze the marzipan and sides of the cake with more jam. Cover with the icing, and smooth down. Trim around the bottom of the cake.

Christmas, Christmas Time is Here…

It’s getting close to Christmas! It’s almost time to put up the advent calendars, sort out what we are going to have on Christmas Day food-wise, and get all our presents sorted.

Son and I have made some clay ornaments to give to his teachers and a few other people. As he’s getting older I love that we can do more complicated crafts and that he can help so much more. He attempted to roll out the clay, then stamped it and used cookie cutters to cut the shapes out while I added the hole to put ribbon through. I have to spray-paint them and add ribbon and they are done.

We have Christmas for just the 3 of us on the day itself; and keep it as quiet and easy-going as you can with a very excited kid in the house.

We don’t go overboard on food either, which may surprise some people because I used to be a chef. I’d rather have a few really nice things in the house, either bought or made than a lot of cheap stuff that we don’t end up enjoying. I have a fruitcake that I made in Oct. and has been fed with rum (hubby’s choice) since then, and we’ll have nibbles on Christmas Eve that we buy but mostly we have some yummy homemade goodies — shortbread cookies, some chocolates, nuts and other nibbles. Friends always give us boxes of chocolates and biscuits and son gets enough sweets to sink a ship.

I’ll add a few of my favourite recipes for Christmas goodies in the next few weeks – roasted nuts, spiced nuts, chocolate bark and easy shortbread as well as some quick savoury party nibbles.