Chocolate orange cookies

Chocolate orange cookies

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So this recipe is a simple adaptation of a cookie recipe I have previously written about making during my formative years. Still, sometimes its nice to add a twist to an old favourite – I use less butter in this version as the dough can be quite sticky with the chocolate not being spread through the dough. Terry’s chocolate orange is something I traditionally associate with Christmas, however I made up a batch of these for my birthday gathering as they look wonderful and take hardly any time to make.

In this recipe everything is measured with mugs as it is one from a time before I owned a set of scales – I could weigh it out but to be honest its nice having a few recipes in my head that I can make without having to follow a set of instructions. I like to think if I really, really needed cookies at 3 am I could pull this recipe from my head with no bother.

For chocolate orange cookies you will need:

1 mug of soft brown sugar

110g softened butter

1 egg

1 and 1/2 mugs self raising flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 chocolate orange (eg. Terry’s)

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line 2 or more baking trays with baking paper or thoroughly grease them. Use a wooden spoon to cream together your butter and sugar. To this add your vanilla and egg making sure your beat the mix well.

DSC_1318To this mix add your flour. Once the flour is nearly incorporated into your mix bring everything together with your hands. Roll the cookie dough into balls. Flatten each cookie dough ball and place on your lined baking tray. Take care each cookie has room to spread as they will do so whilst baking.DSC_1319DSC_1320Break apart your chocolate orange into segments. Press a segment firmly on top of each cookie. Bake each cookie for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool slightly on the baking tray as the cookies will be sort fresh from the oven.

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What could be better than a delicious chocolatey orangey cookie on a slightly damp May day?

What

BBC Good Food Show Spring 2015

So the BBC Good Food Show returned to Harrogate once more and I was lucky enough to get press tickets for the event again (a massive thank you for that, we had a very welcome day off work and very fun day today). This year the show was even more popular than last year and there was an overwhelmingly large number of foodies of all ages gathered together to buy food, kitchen gadgets, watch cookery demonstrations and of course catch a glimpse of the legendary Mary Berry.

If you live in Harrogate (or around Yorkshire) and haven’t yet been to the event, you still have opportunity to attend the Sunday! I would really recommend going, even if you went last year as there are a whole host of new trade stands, as well as a few people I have seen before at various events. This is one event where you certainly don’t leave hungry whatever your dietary requirements. There was one lady selling gluten free pork pies, while another stand served vegan pastry items. I took my favourite Kiwi DC to the event with me and together we had opportunity to try a whole host of different foods. We also managed to catch an interview with the Hairy Bikers who are hilarious and knowledgable in equal measure. It was also lovely to see Si and Dave reunited; if my memory serves correctly Dave was at the show alone last year, so it was wonderful to see Si looking pretty healthy (and flirting a lot with the interviewer, which was highly amusing)

I think the excellent thing about going to the Good Food Show is how enthusiastic everyone is about cooking and food. Just by watching cookery demonstrations I feel like I gain lots of useful tips for cooking that I take away and use day to do. Even when I don’t exactly follow a recipe given to me I take inspiration from other chefs and cooks with years of training and experience. I also enjoyed meeting lots of lovely people, both working on the trade stands and attending the event who I talked to about the show, food and my blog. It was a real privilege to meet so many lovely people and to attend the event as a food blogger. The BBC Good Food site is a regular inspiration of mine and I regularly go on their website and read the magazine (both of which I highly recommend).

Lastly, do wear your comfiest shoes, there is a lot of walking around and standing around straining to see (especially if you’re 5ft3) and I was certainly glad to be wearing my trainers. I would also talk a sturdy shopping bag, poor DC had to carry my sausage rolls as I had put on my smallest cross body bag.

For more information about the BBC Good Food Show and Upcoming Shows visit here

Pancakes!

So today is pancake day and I expect the blogosphere is already inundated with pancake recipes. I for one am now so full of pancake that I can barely move from my sofa and it’s only Monday (we had pancakes a day early as we’re at a gig tomorrow). However, the combination of raspberry sauce and chocolate in these babies is truly decadent as well as delicious. Be warned though, they are rather filling so pace yourself rather than piling your plate high.

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To make your own pile of pancakes you will need:

200g plain flour

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

30g melted butter (you might need extra for frying)

300ml milk

1 large tbsp caster sugar

100g milk chocolate chips or milk chocolate chunks

For the raspberry sauce

150g frozen raspberries

1 tbp brown sugar

To serve

Vanilla ice cream/cream

(This recipe serves 4)

 

Put your chocolate in the freezer (to stop it melting too fast). Place your dry pancake ingredients in a bowl and mix leaving an indentation in the middle of the bowl for the egg, milk and butter. Beat together your milk and eggs and add to the dry ingredients along with the melted butter. Whisk until relatively smooth and put this batter to one side for at least 30 minutes.

During this time make your raspberry sauce by heating together your raspberries and sugar until the sugar and raspberry juice combine to form a syrup but while the fruit still has its texture.

Add your frozen chocolate to the batter. Put a non stick frying pan on a medium heat. If you have a really good non stick pan you shouldn’t need to use butter; but if not melt some butter in your pan. Pour a small amount of batter into the pan to form your first pancake. You can cook more than one pancake in your pan if you keep them a couple of inches apart. Cook until the batter is bubbling. Turn your pancakes over and cook the other side of the pancake until golden brown.

Serve with your ice cream and warm raspberry sauce. Any leftovers can be kept to eat later as these also taste pretty good cold. Just cover them and store in a cool place.

The good thing about pancakes is that they are so cheap to make and they feel like a massive treat. If you really want to keep the cost of this recipe down you could skip the berriy sauce in favour of a  sliced banana and use chocolate from the supermarket value range (most supermarket’s value chocolate is really decent).

Butterfly cakes

Sometimes I think with baking its nice to revisit something you loved as a child. Everyone remembers having these beauties at birthday parties or when your mum or grandma fancied doing a spot of baking. Sometimes going back to old school baking is best (and makes you very popular with all involved). As a coincidence this is also one of those recipes that is ingrained into my memory (including Yorkshire puddings and oaty biscuits).

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To make your own butterfly cakes you will need:

For the cakes

4 eggs

225g butter

225g flour

225g caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling

Your favourite jam

140g butter softened

280g icing sugar

A splash of milk

Food colouring (optional, but fun)

(Makes approximately 22 cakes)

 

Line a cupcake tin with cake cases. Preheat your oven to 180°C. In a large mixing bowl use an electric whisk to whisk up your eggs and sugar into a thick pale yellow mixture.

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Melt your butter and leave to one side. Fold in your flour and vanilla. Slowly add your melted butter.

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Fill your cake cases around 3/4 full. If you don’t have a enough room in your cake tins do 2 batches. Try to keep the level of cake mix consistent so they cook evenly.

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Bake for 17 – 20 minutes or until golden brown and so that a skewer comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool before you decorate them.

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To make your buttercream beat together your butter, milk and icing sugar until no lumps of butter remain. Then if using add your food colouring.

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To make the butterflies cut a small circle out of the top of each cake and cut the circle in half. Fill the hole with your jam and buttercream and use the cake pieces to make butterfly wings.

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Serve with a cup of tea or as part of an array of party food. (Presence of children entirely optional).

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Date and apple flapjacks

Flapjacks are one of the easiest and most versatile things you can bake. They are also delicious, the addition of the dates and apples was almost a stroke of genius on my part (check out my modesty). While I wouldn’t exactly say adding a bit of fruit to the mix makes this a healthy recipe, you could argue that it makes it healthier which is definitely a good thing. These have the added advantage of being really filling and giving you a nice hit of sugar so they keep you going for ages. A perfect snack an hour before you go out for a run or do some other form of exercise.

Also, the pack of dates were labelled “Date Me” which is a pun I could not resist.

To make these you will need:

250g Porridge Oats

125g Butter

125g Soft Brown Sugar

3 tbsps Golden Syrup

1 large apple

1 of those packs of dates you get from fruit shops in polystyrene tubs with a stick in it, or 1/3 bag of the ones you get in a packet it the dried fruit section of the supermarket

1 cup tea (I used Earl Grey)

 

Stone your dates and cut into small pieces. Put these into a bowl with the tea to soak for a few minutes. Grate the apple and add it to the mix and put to one side. At this point grease your baking tray and preheat your oven to 180°C.

In a larger bowl mix together your oats and sugar. Drain the apple and dates of tea and add to your dry ingredients.

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Melt your butter and golden syrup by heating gently in a small saucepan. Add this to the rest of the ingredients and make sure everything is well mixed.

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Put this into your greased baking tray in an even layer and make sure the mixture reaches the edges of the tray.Bake until golden brown (about 20 minutes).

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Cut into approximately 16 squares. Share amongst the people that you live with who have congregated in the kitchen attracted by the sweet sweet smell of your flapjacks. So easy you could probably train a monkey to do it (he might start eating any bananas you happen to have in your fruit bowl though!)

Two tarts perfect for the Summer – Lemon Tart and Easy Fruit Tart

I seem to gone on a bit of a pastry bender over the last few weeks. Forgive me – but tarts of all kind are perfect summer foods. The Company Sophie Conran who make some exquisite stuff very kindly sent me some products to review.

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The most adorable mini chopping board and oven glove. Having used cheap plastic chopping boards for so long it is wonderful to finally have something so beautiful and tactile. It also works well to serve things on in what my Aunt calls a “bit of everything” meal. I will definitely be buying more from this range in the future. The oven glove is such a sunny colour; I thought it would look put me in an instantly sunny mood while I was making my first tart (the lemon one).

Anyway, as the pastry recipe makes 2 things I froze half of the pastry and made a red fruit tart exactly a fortnight later.

To make your tarts you will need:

For the pastry

500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

140g icing sugar

250g unsalted butter, frozen and grated

4 egg yolks

1 – 2 tbsp cold water

(Makes 2 tarts, at least)

For 1 lemon tart filling

5 eggs

140g caster sugar

150ml double cream

The juice and zest of 2 big lemons

For the fruit tart filling

Your favourite soft fruits

1/4 of a pomegranate

250g marscapone (I used lighter marscapone)

Runny honey

Vanilla paste or a vanilla pod

 

Grate your butter and add to your icing sugar and flour. Either use your hands to rub together or whizz up in your food processor.

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Add your egg yolks and whizz up again. If the mixture isn’t binding very well add the water.

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Separate your pastry into two. Chill one in cling film for an hour and freeze the other for another day (or chill it and make 2 tarts at once!)

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Roll out your pastry and put it in your tart tin without trimming and chill again for half an hour. Press the pastry into the sides and trim it to size. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Prick your pastry with a fork.

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Bake the pastry for 10 minutes with baking beans and 20 minutes without. While this is baking make your lemon mixture by whisking together all the ingredients but the lemon zest. Sieve this and then add the zest. Add the lemon mixture to your tart and bake for a further 30 minutes.

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The oven glove in action

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Allow to cool and serve chilled. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

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To make the fruit tart roll out your pastry following the instructions above. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Bake the pastry for 20 minutes when lined with baking beans and 15 minutes without the beans.

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While your pastry base is cooling make your creamy base by mixing together the marscarpone with your vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla paste. Add your runny honey to taste (I used approx 1 tbsp). Spread this generously across the pastry.

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Oh honey, you’re so fine
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What cheese should you use to hide a horse? Mascarpone

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Prepare your fruits and arrange them across your tart in a charming yet casual way (ha!)

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Serve with whatever you choose – I like it on its own but cream, sorbet or ice cream are all delicious with it.

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There’s still time to enter my giveaway below if you like. But mostly I hope you attempt your own tarts if you fancy.

 

Also a massive thank you to Sophie Conran for sending me these product to review (which actually arrived on my birthday!). I loved them both and I found the single oven glove especially useful when I was trying to do several things at once in the kitchen. Also both have really brightened up my kitchen! I am a fan.

To purchase the exact oven glove and chopping board I was sent click on the links provided. The rest of the chopping boards in the set are definitely on my wishlist.

Caramel slices (Millionaire’s Shortbread)

I’m yet to find anybody who dislikes these beauties. There’s something pretty wonderful about homemade caramel slices that is even more decadent than the shop bought versions. Each step of making these is really straightforward but it is time consuming waiting for the caramel to cool – you really can’t add the chocolate layer while the caramel is too hot or it ruins the chocolate. Anyway, when I made these my friends all went a bit nuts for them and my boyfriend kept mentioning them until the last one was eaten (something that didn’t take very long).

To make these you will need:

For the biscuit layer
175g butter (plus extra for greasing)
75g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225g plain flour
For the caramel layer
200g butter
1 397g can of condensed milk
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp sea salt (entirely optional but it adds extra depth to the caramel)
For the chocolate layer
300g milk chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a small deep baking tin (approx 20 cm x 20cm). Rub the butter, sugar, vanilla and flour together to form the biscuit dough. Use your fingers to push this into an even layer in your baking tin. Prick this with a fork and bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 150°C and bake for a further 30 minutes, until the layer is golden brown.
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While your biscuit layer is cooling make your caramel. To do this melt your butter, condensed milk and golden syrup and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring to stop the bottom burning.
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Once the caramel is simmered stir in the salt and pour over your biscuit layer. Cool until the caramel is set.
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Melt your chocolate and spread it over the caramel.
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DSCN1881I like to use a form to make a slight pattern in the chocolate and to even out the layer.
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Once the chocolate has set use a sharp knife to cut this into squares.
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Serve with a cup of tea. These are particularly excellent when you’ve had a busy day or you think you deserve a treat!
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