The Crazy Kitchen: March 2014

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Monday, 31 March 2014

Raspberry & Apple Muesli Flapjacks

Last week I needed to rustle up a sweet snack quickly for the Mums of Jack's friends that were coming to his party. I knew that some of them would stay for a cuppa during the party or a cheeky glass of wine after and I wanted to offer them something other than cupcakes with grass green icing.

Flapjacks are nice and easy to make and only take a few minutes to prepare and not much longer to bake, and it's easy to add whatever flavours you want.

Some flavours that I've made previously are :

When I was sent some of the new Tasty Toasted Muesli from Dorset Cereals I knew that it would make great flapjacks, and I wasn't wrong. The muesli is packed with sultanas, cranberries, apple and raspberries, making the flapjacks lovely and fruity.

   photo muesliflapjacksjpg_zpsca124d99.jpg

Raspberry & Apple Muesli Flapjacks

150g Butter
150g Demerara sugar
150g Golden syrup
350g Fruity Muesli
  • Add the butter, sugar & syrup to a pan
  • Heat gently until all the butter has melted
  • Continue to heat, stirring regularly, until it just starts to bubble
  • Remove from heat & stir in the muesli
  • Mix well & press into a buttered baking pan
  • Bake in a 180C oven for 15 minutes
  • Allow to cool in the tin
  • Refrigerate until set before slicing into bars or squares

I was sent 3 boxes of Dorset Cereals Tasty Toasted in raspberry & apple, spelt, fruit & nut and hazelnut & brazil flavours

Friday, 28 March 2014

Lemon Yoghurt Madeira Cake

This is a nice easy recipe that could be made for your Mum this Mother's Day - or you could make one for yourself & sit back with a cuppa and a big spoon and indulge whilst your husband and kids are doing the chores! I don't think ours will last until Mother's Day as I made it this afternoon, just before the school Mother's Day assembly, and already there is only half left!
   Lemon Yoghurt Madeira Loaf Cake

Lemon Yoghurt Madeira Cake

175g Butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
125g Greek Style Lemon yoghurt (I used Rachel's Organic)
225g Self raising flour

150g  full fat cream cheese
100g Greek Style Lemon yoghurt (I used Rachel's Organic)
1 tbsp caster sugar
  • Beat the butter & sugar together until light & creamy
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then the yoghurt
  • Mix in the flour until well combined
  • Add mixture to a loaf tin, lined with greaseproof paper, and bake in a preheated 170C oven for approx 1 hour, until cooked all the way through and golden on the top.
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool fully
  • Beat the cream cheese, yoghurt & sugar together until smooth
  • Spread topping over the cooled cake


Lemon Yoghurt Madeira Loaf Cake Lemon Yoghurt Madeira Loaf Cake

I was provided with some Rachel's Organic lemon yoghurt to use in my cooking & baking

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Breakfast Pops

Yes, it's lollipops for breakfast and they are healthy too!

If your household is rushed in the mornings and you have trouble getting breakfast inside your kids before you leave the house then how about giving them a healthy breakfast pop to lick on the way to school or nursery.

These are just made from muesli and yoghurt so you can use whatever flavours you prefer.

Breakfast Pops

Breakfast Pops - makes approx 6

Half a pot of Rachel's Organic Greek Style Lemon yoghurt
Dorset Cereals Tasted Toasted Raspberry & Apple muesli
  • Add the muesli to the half pot of yoghurt until it is almost full
  • Mix well and leave overnight in the fridge
  • Spoon into lolly moulds or, as I did, a silicone dariole mould and place half a coffee stirrer in
  • Place in the freezer until set

Breakfast Pops

Breakfast Pops
I was provided with Dorset Cereals new Tasty Toasted & Rachel's Organic Lemon yoghurts to use in my recipes

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

An Early Mother's Day Tiramisu

As many of my readers would know, I do love a challenge. A challenge involving some luxurious chocolates is one that I'm never going to turn down, and if those chocolates are made by Lindt then that's even better.

 photo lindtdessertsjpg_zpsbe825873.jpg 
I was sent a couple of boxes of Lindt Creation Dessert chocolates and challenged to recreate one of the desserts. I've never made a Tiramisu before, apart from a mini one at a cookery masterclass in London (which was a joint effort so doesn't really count), so I thought it would be a great opportunity to give it a go.

Many Tiramisu recipes include alcohol of some sort, whether it be rum, Tia Maria or Marsala wine but I chose not to add any to mine as my kids don't like the taste of alcohol in food (I know, I know, give it time...). To be honest they don't really like the taste of coffee either but I wasn't prepared to omit the coffee too.

Alcohol Free Tiramisu

Alcohol Free Tiramisu

2 tbsp Instant coffee granules (I used Beanies Double Chocolate coffee)
250ml boiling water
200g Boudoir fingers 
250g Mascarpone cheese
300ml Double cream
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 Cadbury flake
  • Mix the coffee and boiling water together until dissolved
  • Add some of the coffee to a shallow dish
  • One by one roll the boudoir fingers in the coffee soaking some of the coffee up, making sure it doesn't go soggy
  • Lay the finger into your dish or trifle bowl (I used a round trifle dish so broke the fingers in half to fit around the dish)
  • Repeat with more fingers until the base of the dish is filled with one layer
  • Whisk the mascarpone, cream, sugar and 2tbsp of the coffee together until soft peaks form
  • Add one third of the mixture on top of the fingers and smooth over
  • Repeat the layers finishing off with the third layer of creamy mixture
  • Crush the flake and sprinkle over the top
  • Place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, until firmed up

Alcohol Free Tiramisu Alcohol Free Tiramisu

Surprisingly my kids absolutely loved this, as did my Mum, who loves coffee but has never enjoyed Tiramisu before. Definitely a big hit this one and quite an impressive looking dessert in my gorgeous little trifle dish that I picked up in Sainsbury's before Christmas but hadn't yet used.

Those eagle eyed readers amongst you will notice that the picture of the chocolates next to the Tirasimu are actually Creme Brulees and not the Tirasimu chocolate - whoops, my mistake. Once I noticed my mistake it was too late as all the Tirasimu's had all been eaten from one box and I had already given the other box to my Mum as an early Mother's Day present! Note to self to pay more attention in future.

I was provided with 2 boxes of Lindt chocolates for this fun challenge

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Taste of Majorca

I absolutely love going abroad on holiday and one of the most relaxing holidays that I can remember (apart from weekend breaks with the girls) is staying in a private villa with a pool. Whilst the kids are playing in the pool it's nice to take a break from the sun and come indoors and prepare lunch or dinner and then all sit outside still in your swimwear and eat.  When I was invited to enter a contest along with 9 other bloggers to recreate a local meal that could be cooked whilst in a holiday villa I knew that it was right up my street so couldn't refuse.

I was given Majorca as my holiday destination, where the local foods include olives, almonds, tomatoes and a chorizo type sausage called Sobrasada, to name a few.

Pork, Vegetable and Sobrasada Bake

When it's hot you don't want to be spending too long in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove so it's good to make something that can be cooked in the oven whilst you're sunbathing, swimming or playing with the kids. I decided to make a dish based on the local side dish 'Tumbet', with the addition of belly pork and Sobrasada to make it into a main, served with 'pa amb oli' - a toasted bread rubbed with garlic, tomato and drizzled with olive oil. I bought my Sobrasada and sweet paprika online from The Tapas Lunch Company who specialise in authentic Spanish food, and also provide next day delivery.

Pork, Vegetable and Sobrasada Bake

Pork, Vegetable and Sobrasada Bake - serves 5

Olive oil
700g Pork Belly slices, cut into 1-1.5 pieces
1 red onion, sliced
3 cloved of garlic, crushed
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 Aubergine, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
200g Sobrasada, sliced
150g pitted green olives
500g New potatoes, sliced
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
100ml water

  • Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the pork belly over a high heat for approx 5 minutes until browned
  • Remove the pork from the pan and set aside
  • Heat a little more oil in the pan and fry the onion, garlic & 1tsp of Paprika over a low heat for 2-3 minutes
  • Remove the pan from the heat
  • Using this pan if it's large enough, or a deep ovenproof casserole dish, start to layer everything up - start with the fried onions & garlic, then aubergine, peppers, pork, Sobrasada, olives, potatoes
  • Mix the tinned tomatoes with the water & 1 tsp of Paprika and pour over everything
  • Place a lid on or cover with tight fitting foil
  • Place in a preheated 140C oven for 2 hours 7 then uncover, turn the oven up to 180C and cook for a further 30-40 minutes

Pa amb oli

garlic clove, sliced in half
large tomato, sliced in hlaf
Olive oil

  • Lightly toast slices of bread
  • Rub with the cut side of the garlic clove over the bread
  • Rub the cut side of the tomato over the bread, squeezing some of the pulp onto the bread
  • Drizzle with olive oil

Pork, Vegetable and Sobrasada Bake

Total cost came in at just under £10, making this a great value meal.

Pork, Vegetable and Sobrasada Bake Pork, Vegetable and Sobrasada Bake

I was reimbursed for the cost of the ingredients

Friday, 21 March 2014

Mother's Day Cake

On Mother's Day last year my parents came for lunch along with my Mother in law, and I made a raspberry cheesecake. The year before my eldest made me a lovely chocolate cake, as well as writing me a tear jerker of a poem which he read out in school assembly.

 photo 73a181ca.jpg

This year it's going to be a quiet affair, with just the 5 of us (unless there are any surprises that I don't know about!) as my parents are going to my brother's for the weekend. Instead they are visiting us this weekend, which times in nicely with Coppenrath & Weise challenging me to decorate a cake for Mother's Day.

I'm the first to admit that my fondant icing skills leave a lot to be desired so I opted for the 'more is more' approach and loaded up the cake with double cream whipped with Galaxy caramel hot chocolate, topped with Morello cherries and a bag of mini eggs.

Mother's Day Cake

I found a free printable Mother's day bunting on Pinterest which I tied to some dowels from the design kit.

Mother's Day Cake

The cake looked pretty impressive when it was finished and didn't take me long at all. It goes to show that you don't always need to bake your own cakes for a special occasion and can make a shop bought one your own with just a few additions.

Mother's Day Cake

I was provided with the cake and some additional items in the design kit for the purpose of this challenge.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Sous Vide BBQ Sausages

Before I had my Sous Vide I used to think that it was just a posh way of cooking meat and not something that would fit into a family kitchen. Over the past couple of weeks the Sous Vide has definitely proved its worth in this busy family kitchen and has become and ideal solution to cooking dinner whilst I'm out of the house.

A slow cooker is great for making stews and casseroles but what about when you plan to have chops or sausages for your dinner.  With the sous vide the meat can sit in its warm bath of water for anywhere between one & four hours (depending on the cut of meat and temperature of the water) and then be finished off in a hot pan, or even a bbq.

Last weekend the weather was lovely again and perfect for a spot of outdoor cooking, but instead of risking the sausages ending up like a lump of charcoal I popped them in the sous vide at 65C for a couple of hours and then straight onto the hot bbq to brown off. Remember that the sausages are already completely cooked through in the sous vide hence avoiding any risk of them being undercooked.

Sous Vide BBQ Sausages

These were our usual brand of Cumberland sausages but I can honestly say that they had a much more intense flavour than normal, which I assume is due to the cooking method.

I can't wait until the Summer now for plenty of hassle free barbecues with friends.

I also managed to cook some boiled eggs, although I've realised that I didn't take a note of the temperature or cooking time after the 2nd successful attempt so I'm kind of back to square one with that one!

Sous Vide Boiled Eggs

The eggs were good though so I will be trying them again and taking notes next time.

Sous Vide recipes

I was provided with the Sous Vide Discovery Thermo Circulator for the purpose of review

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Easy Pizza

I cook meals from scratch most nights and we very rarely have takeaways or eat out, which can become a bit exhausting in the kitchen if I'm totally honest. Sometimes I just want to make something quick, but still want it to be tasty and not out of a box that I've plucked from the freezer.

Warburtons wraps have many uses, including as an alternative for naan bread with a curry as well as being great for making quick pizzas.  You can add whatever toppings you like but one of the favourites here is mozzarella, red pepper and pepperoni, with added Jalapenos for the adults.

 photo pizzaingredientsjpg_zps01d03b9e.jpg

The tomato sauce is simply made from a good quality ketchup mixed with red pesto and smothered over the wrap.

Add slices of mozzarella, pepperoni, peppers and a sprinkling of dried oregano.

Bake in a 180C oven for approx 10 mins and then serve with salad for a quick lunch or dinner.

 photo warburtonspizzajpg_zpsa4f35835.jpg

Monday, 17 March 2014

Galaxy Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Sometimes the things I get asked to review on this blog are for me, sometimes for all of us and sometimes for the kids. This one was definitely for the kids.

Hot chocolate milkshakes

I'm not a lover of hot chocolate, my hot drink of choice at the moment would be a strong coffee (with hot milk), regular tea (not too much milk) or Fennel (no milk), but I am partial to the occasional chocolate milkshake (great for a hangover) from time to time.

This new range of chocolate drinks can be made however you like, to suit whoever is drinking them - hot, cold, with milk or with water, and some even have chocolate pieces.

Just to prove how versatile these drinks are I mistakenly made a cold milkshake with the Malteser hot chocolate instead of the intended Mars hot or cold drink. 

chocolate milkshake

I then went on to make some mini cheesecake bites using the Galaxy Caramel hot chocolate.
  Galaxy Caramel chocolate Cheesecake Bites

Galaxy Caramel Cheesecake Bites - makes approx 30

100g Digestive biscuits, crushed
40g butter, melted
200g Philadelphia cream cheese
50g Galaxy Caramel hot chocolate powder
1 egg
Galaxy Caramel for decoration 

  • Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter
  • Spoon a little into the base of petit fours cases and press down
  • Beat the cream cheese, hot chocolate powder and egg together
  • Spoon a little onto the biscuit base and smooth out
  • Bake in a preheated 170C oven for approx 12 minutes
  • Allow to cool fully and then place in the fridge for a few hours
  • Place half a piece of Galaxy Caramel on top of each cheesecake

Galaxy Caramel chocolate Cheesecake Bites
Galaxy Caramel chocolate Cheesecake Bites

I was sent the selection of drinks for the purpose of this review

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Irish Soda Bread, Orange & Baileys Ice Cream

With it being St Patrick's Day tomorrow I thought it only right that I join in with the celebrations and make something a little relevant. I'm not saying that this is in any way an Irish recipe but it is made with two ingredients that I would associate with Ireland - Irish Soda Bread and Baileys. I got the idea for the ice cream from a recipe from the popular Irish chef Paul Rankin, who I had a little chat with last week.

The recipe he shared was for Brown Bread Parfait with Bushmill Prunes, which used Bushmill's Whiskey and Irish Soda Bread (recipe at the bottom of this post). During our little chat I asked Paul a few questions about St Patrick's Day and what he would be doing. He mentioned that if he wasn't working he would most likely be spending time with friends and family, enjoying the break and sharing some good food and drink. If he was to have friends over for dinner it would be likely that he would start off by serving Smoked Salmon followed by and good hearty Lamb Shank Irish Stew and ending with a nice Irish coffee.

He also mentioned that the secret to a good Soda Bread was to use a good quality buttermilk or yoghurt and a 50/50 mix of wholemeal and white flour. I found a recipe for Irish Soda Bread by James Martin, which fitted the bill and I made to use in my ice cream. I've heard of brown bread ice cream before but have never tried it but after making this I definitely think I will give it a go, the breadcrumbs add a kind of nutty texture to the ice cream which I think would work with lots of different flavours.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread, Orange & Baileys Ice Cream

397 can Condensed milk
300ml Double cream
100ml Baileys Irish Cream liquor
180g Irish soda bread, blended to crumbs
zest of 2 oranges
  • Whisk the condensed milk, cream & Baileys until it forms soft peaks
  • Stir in the breadcrumbs and orange zest & mix well
  • Pour into a lidded freezer safe container & freeze until set

Baileys Ice Cream Baileys Ice Cream


70 g. white chocolate, chopped
175 ml. Double cream
2 Tbsp. milk
¼ vanilla pod, split
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey
175 g. Irwin’s stoneground brown soda bread, crusts removed, and broken up to pea  size crumbs

200 ml. Water
50 ml. Orange juice
175 g. sugar
½ lemon1/2 orange
120 g. pitted prunes
4 - 6  Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey
  • To make the parfait, melt the white chocolate. Place half the cream, the milk, and the vanilla on to boil in a small pan. 
  • Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved.  When the cream mix has come to the boil, slowly pour it on to the yolk/sugar mixture, whisking continuously.  Return to a medium heat and cook out over a low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  When it is ready, strain through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl, and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the custard to the melted chocolate, and fold in the bread crumbs.  Place in the fridge to chill for about ½ hour.
  • Whip the remaining cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold it and the Bushmills together with the custard mix. 
  • Pour into individual ramekins, ( approx. 100 ml. Size ) and place in the freezer, for at least 2 – 3 hours, or even over night.   (  If it is too hard, take from freezer to fridge for about an hour or two before serving. )
  • Place the water, orange juice, sugar, orange, and lemon in a medium pan, and bring to the boil.  Add the prunes, cover, and summer gently until soft, about 20 minutes.  Take off the heat, remove the lemon half, and orange half, and add the Bushmills.  Set to one side.
  • To serve, demold by dipping each ramekin into hot water for a couple seconds, just to loosen, and then run a sharp knife around the edge.  Carefully tip out the parfait into the centre of each plate, and surround with the Bushmill laced prunes, and a little of the prune juice.  Garnish with mint and icing sugar as desired.  

Happy St Patrick's Day - how will you be spending yours?

Friday, 14 March 2014

Sous Vide 72 hour Barbecue Ribs

Last week I picked up some ribs from the supermarket to test how good they would be being cooked in the sous vide. After a bit of research it seemed that 72 hours was the optimum time for them to be in the water bath. It seemed like a hell of a long time but I was willing to give it a go in the hope of being able to enjoy some pretty amazing ribs by the weekend. 

I made up a rub and coated the ribs and popped them in vacuum bags. The plan to let the ribs cook for 72 hours didn't quite work out as by the third day I needed to use the sous vide to make some soup, but figured that the 60 or so hours they had already been cooking for would be enough, and the ribs were taken out and chilled in an ice bath before going in the fridge for a couple of days. 

Before eating the ribs I placed them back in a preheated sous vide bath to warm them through and then straight onto a hot barbecue (the first barbecue of 2014 and it's only March!). We had been out to collect my new car and were pretty pushed for time as I had four hungry kids to feed, otherwise I would've made a sauce to coat the ribs in before going on the barbecue. The picture below doesn't really do them justice but they were amazing, with just the right amount of flavouring and meat that fell cleanly off the bones. I will definitely be making these again, and maybe next time I will try an oriental flavour.

Sous Vide 72 hour(ish) Barbecue Ribs

1 tsp Celery salt, finely crushed
1 tsp Garlic granules
2 tsp Smoked paprika
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp Dark soft brown sugar
1kg Pork Belly ribs

  • Mix all the spices and sugar together for the rub and coat the ribs 
  • Seal the ribs in vacuum bags, making sure not to overfill the bags
  • Place the bags into a 63.5C sous vide water bath for 60-72 hours
  • Place on a hot bbq or griddle pan to finish off before serving

   photo ribsjpg_zps3c7e37cf.jpg  photo bbqribsjpg_zps7958d324.jpg

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Chorizo and Pepper Fried Rice

Last month I reviewed Degustabox, the monthly subscription surprise food box, but I was a little disappointed with it as not many of the contents were suited to us. However, as with all things like this, it's swings and roundabouts and what one person likes might not be suited to another and I saw lots of positive comments on the Degustabox Facebook page from very happy customers.

This month the box was very much more suited to us, filled with crisps, crackers, chutney, malt loaf and chocolate biscuits there was plenty to like.

Degustabox february 

Contents of the box

Ryvita chilli thin bites
Ryvita cheddar & cracked pepper thin bites
English Provender Co damson & port chutney
English Provender Co redcurrant & rosemary sauce
Soreen toastie loaf
Soreen banana lunchbox loaves
Scheckter's natural energy drinks x 2
Bahlsen Pick Up!
Bahlsen Waffeletten
Tyrell's apple crisps
Tyrell's cinnamon apple crisps
Peppadew peppers

I particularly enjoyed the Bahlsen biscuits and Tyrell's cinnamon apple crisps, which were so light and crispy, nothing like the dried apple that I was expecting. You can find more details on the products and previous boxes here.

I decided to use the jar of Peppadew sweet peppers in a rice dish for the family. It's a really quick recipe using pre-cooked basmati rice.

Chorizo and Pepper Fried Rice

Chorizo and Pepper Fried Rice - serves 4/5

2 tbsp Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
225g Chroizo, sliced
800g cooked Basmati rice
400g Peppadew Piquanté peppers

Heat the oil in a large pan
Add the onion, garlic and chorizo and fry gently for approx 10 minutes, until the onion has softened
Stir in the cooked rice and mix well and continue to fry gently until the rice is heated through
Stir in the peppers and heat for a minute or 2 longer before serving

Chorizo and Pepper Fried Rice Chorizo and Pepper Fried Rice Peppadew Peppers chorizo rice

I was sent the Degustabox for the purpose of this review - if you want to try out Degustabox for yourself you can 
use the code 84WZB to receive £3 discount when you register.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Sous Vide Pea & Potato Soup - A Budget Recipe

I've had the Sous Vide Thermo Circulator for a couple of weeks now and had only tried cooking meat in it. Whilst browsing the Internet I spotted some recipes for soup so I thought I would try it out for myself. One of the benefits of cooking vegetables in the sous vide is that they keep their colour - great for butternut squash or carrot soups but less so when it's potato as I was doing. I decided to add some peas to give the soup some more flavour as well as colour but in hindsight I should've added them to the water bath towards the end of the cooking time as they don't really need cooking as such and would have been a more vibrant green.

This recipe can of course be made in a saucepan or slow cooker, in which case you would cook the potatoes in the stock and add the peas towards the end of cooking. I only added a little rosemary, and a lot less than I would normally add if I was making this soup in a pan, but you could really taste it in the finished soup.

Sous Vide Pea & Potato Soup

Sous Vide Pea & Potato Soup

1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
350g frozen peas
pinch of salt, pepper and dried rosemary
1 litre of vegetable stock
Creme Fraiche for serving

  • Seal the potatoes and peas in vacuum bags, ensuring that they are spread evenly within the bag
  • Set the water bath to 82C
  • Immerse the bags and cook for around 2 hours
  • Blend the vegetables with the stock until smooth and heat through before serving
  • Serve with a blob of creme fraiche

Sous Vide Pea & Potato Soup Sous Vide Pea & Potato Soup

This is another of my budget recipes coming in at a little over £1 for the whole recipe which served all 5 of us.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies

It's Cadbury Creme Egg season once again so it's time to make the most of them before they disappear off the shelves until next year.

I've seen lots of Creme Egg Brownies across the Internet, including lots of great ideas on the Cadbury UK Google + page,  and I've been tagged in Facebook pictures with requests for me to make them, so I thought it was about time.

I decided to try individual brownies, baked in cupcake cases - they're much easier to share this way and you can eat them fresh from the oven, without having to wait for them to cool to cut into equal pieces.

I received my Creme Eggs in the post and some of them were a little worse for wear.  Any of the fondant not contained within the chocolate casing starts to cook and it goes quite chewy so it's best to try & keep the eggs from breaking if possible - unless you like the chewy bits of course.
Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies

Creme Egg Brownies - makes 12

180g Dark chocolate
180g butter
180g dark soft brown sugar
pinch of sea salt
3 eggs
110g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
6 Cadbury Creme Eggs, halved
  • Add the chocolate, butter, sugar & salt to a large pan
  • Heat gently until melted & smooth
  • Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly
  • Beat in the eggs
  • Beat in the flour and cocoa powder
  • Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases
  • Divide the mixture between the cases - fill to approx 2/3 
  • Add the halved eggs to the top, cut side up, and press down a little
  • Bake in a preheated 180C oven for approximately 15 minutes

Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies

No need to allow these babies to cool down - just eat warm from the oven with ice cream

Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies

I was sent 6 Cadbury Creme Eggs which I used in this recipe

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Baked Chilli & Wedges - a Budget Recipe

In a bid to save for Summer holidays I'm attempting to cut down on the weekly shopping bill by including more potatoes, pasta and rice in meals and cutting down on the meat further than it is already.

This recipe is similar to my lentil and brown bread bolognaise, however I have included red kidney beans instead of lentils before pouring over baked potato wedges and topping with grated cheese. The bread is a great alternative to minced beef and nobody ever realises that the dish doesn't contain meat!

It's a very thrifty recipe and came in at only £2.57 for the whole meal, which serves 4 people.

Baked Chilli & Wedges

Baked Chilli & Wedges - serves 4

1kg potatoes, scrubbed clean & cut into wedges
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp Oregano
2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 slices wholemeal bread, whizzed to bread crumbs
Knorr beef stock pot (or vegetable if you want to make this vegetarian)
1 tsp smoked paprika (you can add 1 tsp chilli powder to make it spicier)
1 400g tin kidney beans
150g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • Place the wedges into a large baking dish and drizzle or spray with olive oil
  • Bake in a preheated 200C oven for approx 40 mins, turning once
  • In the meantime make the chilli
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the onions and garlic over a low heat for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the Oregano, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, stock pot and paprika
  • Cook over a medium heat for around 30 minutes until the sauce is thick & rich
  • Stir in the kidney beans
  • Remove the wedges from the oven and pour the chilli over
  • Sprinkle with grated cheese
  • Return to the oven and bake for around 15 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling

Baked Chilli & Wedges Baked Chilli & Wedges

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Home-made Mini Peanut Butter Cups

I'm a little bit partial to peanut butter, it's one of my weaknesses, and like nothing more than peanut butter on a crumpet with a coffee in the morning. It's good with a banana, apple or celery too as well as a great thickener for curry (just don't tell the husband as he supposedly hates the stuff).

Unless you buy the 'whole' peanut butter then it usually has added sugar as well as other ingredients, and to be honest, I don't really think they need to add the sugar. I once watched a machine pumping out freshly made peanut butter in a deli in Pittsburgh and was amazed by it - the peanuts went in at the top and the peanut butter came out of the bottom, nothing added apart from a little oil.

I can now make my own peanut butter at home, albeit on a smaller scale than the machine I saw that day, thanks to the Peanut Butter Maker from find me a gift.

Not knowing how the machine would perform on my first attempt I just bought a cheap 200g packet of salted peanuts for 48p rather than more expensive unsalted roasted nuts.

home-made peanut butter

I set the machine up as per the instructions and popped a little sunflower oil in the oil dispenser before turning it on. The machine is quite loud and it spat a few bits of peanut out at me when I first turned it on, but after that it whirred and crunched away for a few minutes and produced a container of semi crunchy peanut butter. I say 'semi' crunchy as it seems to be half way between crunchy and smooth varieties. Hanna said 'it tastes just like peanut butter' - well would you fancy that! 

Unlike many home made versions of popular foods, this actually works out cheaper to make considering a 340g jar of SunPat is £1.79 and 400g of smart price peanuts only 96p, and there are no additives or sugar in it either - you could rinse the salt off the peanuts if you preferred but we like a little saltiness in our peanut butter. It's not just peanuts that you can use in the machine either - you can make your own nut butters out of any nuts that you like.

home made peanut butter

Apart from enjoying the peanut butter on crumpets I hadn't thought about what to do with it, until I spotted a picture of some Reese's peanut butter cups on Instagram and remembered that I had bought a mould a few months ago with the sole purpose of making some. They are really quite easy to make, as well as perhaps being a good way to ensure that you don't eat too many. Also, the husband loved them - I knew one day he would cave and eat peanut butter without it being disguised in a curry!

Home-made Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Home-made Mini Peanut Butter Cups

  • Melt some of your favourite chocolate
  • Pour a little chocolate into the base of each mould* & allow to set slightly
  • Spoon some of the home made peanut butter** into the mould
  • Cover with more melted chocolate
  • Allow to set fully before removing from the mould

* If you don't have a mould you could use mini cupcake cases
** I know some recipes out there call for sugar to be added to the peanut butter, as well as other ingredients, but I like the slightly salted taste of the peanut butter rather than a sweet taste, it goes well with the chocolate.

I was sent the Peanut Butter Maker for the purpose of this review

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