The Crazy Kitchen: October 2015

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Monday, 26 October 2015

Raspberry & White Chocolate Crumble Muffins

On a recent visit to our allotment I was surprised with a lovely crop of raspberries, just when I thought raspberry season was over. They don't last long once picked, so rather than filling my face with them I decided to make some muffins for the family to enjoy over the following few days.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Crumble Muffins

Raspberry & White Chocolate Crumble Muffins - makes 12

300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
225ml milk (I use skimmed)
50ml oil (I used rapeseed)
125g fresh raspberries
125g white chocolate chips

crumble topping
50g plain flour
25g butter
25g caster sugar

  • mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together in a large bowl
  • beat the egg, vanilla, milk and oil together in a second bowl or jug
  • add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine (making sure not to over mix)
  • fold the raspberries and chocolate chips carefully through the batter
  • pour batter into 12 muffin cases
  • add the crumble ingredients to a food processor and blitz until a breadcrumb type consistency is formed
  • spoon the crumble onto the batter
  • bake in a preheated 180C oven for approx 25 minutes until golden brown

Raspberry & White Chocolate Crumble Muffins

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Crunchy Asian Noodle Salad

Whilst browsing Pinterest one evening, I caught sight of a crunchy Ramen noodle salad, and it took me back to living in America, where I first came across such a thing. The ones I tried contained lots of shredded cabbage and carrot, along with crunchy noodles - the kind that you eat straight out of the packet when you're a student as you can't be bothered to leave your room to put the kettle on (allegedly!)

The following morning I was craving the taste of that salad and decided to make a similar version with salad leaves instead of shredded cabbage. I didn't plan to publish the recipe on here, but having been asked for it I thought it was my duty to share the simplicity of this Asian noodle salad. I'm guessing you could call this healthy, as all the fresh veggies kind of counteract the unhealthiness of the instant noodles.

Crispy Noodle Salad

Crispy Noodle Salad

salad leaves
1 spring onion, sliced
1 orange, segmented
1 carrot, peeled
1 pack of instant noodles per person (any flavour as you won't need the flavour sachet)

1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp clear honey
pinch of sesame seeds

  • add your salad leaves, spring onion & orange segments to a bowl
  • take your carrot & shave thin slices off with your peeler, add these to the bowl
  • crumble the instant noodles into the bowl
  • mix all the dressing ingredients together
  • add approx 1 tbsp of the dressing to the bowl and toss everything to coat, adding more dressing as needed
  • scatter a few sesame seeds on top and serve immediately 

Friday, 23 October 2015

Onion & Thyme Risotto

A few weeks ago I harvested all of my allotment onions. I then dried them out in the garage and strung them up like a pro (with the aid of a You Tube tutorial), and have been using them as and when I need them. I still need to get around to making some onion chutney before they run out, but in the meantime I made a delicious onion risotto for lunch the other day - a deliciously cheap & cheerful meal.

Onion & Thyme Risotto

Onion & Thyme Risotto - serves 2/3

2 tbsp olive oil (I used Truffle oil from Pomora)
4 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g Aborio rice
600ml vegetable stock
handful fresh thyme leaves
salt & pepper
  • heat the oil in a pan & add the onions and garlic
  • fry for around 3-4 minutes on med/high heat and then turn down, place the lid on & cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the onions are completely soft
  • stir in the rice
  • add enough stock to cover the rice and stir well
  • add half of the thyme
  • continue to add stock whenever the last addition has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through - towards the end of cooking time I like to turn the heat off, place the lid on and leave for 10 minutes to absorb any remaining stock without any risk of burning or sticking
  • add the remaining thyme and salt & pepper to taste
  • serve with grated parmesan over, and a sprig of thyme

Onion & Thyme Risotto Onion & Thyme Risotto

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Riverford Guest Chef Recipe Box

A few months ago I had the pleasure of trying out a Riverford recipe box, which included everything needed (apart from oil, salt & pepper) to make 3 delicious meals, using the finest quality organic ingredients.

Riverford are currently offering an additional set of vegetarian meals from guest chef Anna Jones, alongside their regular vegetarian, original and quick meals, and last week I received one of these recipe boxes to try.

As expected with any Riverford delivery, all of the vegetables are extremely fresh and colourful, and perfectly packed within the box. I completely forgot to take a photo of the contents when they arrived - terrible food blogger error there, but you can get an idea of what the boxes look like, in my previous post here.

Riverford Guest Chef Recipe Box

The three recipes included were as follows :
  • a warm salad of roasted kale, coconut & tomatoes
  • beetroot curry with spiked cottage cheese
  • puy lentil and sweet potato pie

Each recipe card has a list of ingredients and some notes on one side, and the method on the other side. It's worth reading both sides of the card through before you start, including the notes, and preparing all your ingredients.

Riverford Guest Chef Recipe Box Riverford Guest Chef Recipe Box Riverford Guest Chef Recipe Box

I would say that none of the recipes are something that I would normally choose to cook myself, but having now cooked them I can honestly say that I would definitely cook two of the dishes again - the roasted kale salad and the beetroot curry, which were both so nice and so full of flavour. I wasn't as keen on the lentil and sweet potato pie, and none of the kids liked this either (I served it as a side dish for Sunday lunch when my parents came), but my Mum loved it, and took a doggy bag home with her for the following day.

If you're looking for tasty vegetarian meals with a difference, then I would happily recommend the Riverford guest chef recipe boxes, from £33.95 for 3 meals for 2 people.

A little bit about Riverford
Riverford are a Devon based farm who are passionate about growing their organic vegetables, and as founder and farmer Guy Watson says 'food should be fit to eat out of the field'. They grow about 100 different varieties for the fruit and vegetable boxes to give the consumer an interesting variety throughout the year. 

In their online shop they sell so much more than vegetables.  Along with their recipe boxes and vegetables they sell organic meat and dairy, as well as pies, store cupboard staples and other useful items such as preserving jars, cook books and gift vouchers.

I was provided with a recipe box for the purpose of this review

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Bacon Onion Rings with Rapeseed Garlic Mayonnaise

We managed to get a great haul of onions from our allotment a couple of weeks ago, which were dried out in the garage before my first attempt at stringing them up (which you can see here).

I've been using them in cooking as and when I've needed them, and I also plan to make some caramelised onion chutney in the next week or so, but in the meantime I made something quite delicious that I'd spotted on Pinterest some time ago. Bacon Onion Rings.

Bacon Onion Rings with Rapeseed Garlic Mayonnaise

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Juicy onion rings surrounded by crispy bacon - pure genius.

Bacon Onion Rings with Rapeseed Garlic Mayonnaise

I made some garlic mayonnaise to accompany them, using Calvia rapeseed oil (you can find my recipe for Honey Fruit Cake made using Calvia honey, here), which gives the mayo an amazing colour.

Bacon Onion Rings with Rapeseed Garlic Mayonnaise

Bacon Onion Rings
2 large onions
8 rashers of dry cured streaky bacon
  • slice two thick slices from each onion
  • remove the centre of the onion slices, leaving around 3 rings
  • place the onion rings in a microwavable bowl and cover with milk (this softens the onions)
  • cook on full power until the milk boils
  • remove the onion rings from the milk & drain on kitchen paper
  • wrap the bacon tightly around the onion, using 2 rashers per ring
  • secure with cocktail sticks
  • place on a wire rack on a baking tray
  • bake in a preheated 225C oven for approx 15 minutes, until browned & crispy

serve immediately (I challenge you to try & keep some for later!)

Rapeseed Garlic Mayonnaise
1 egg
200ml rapeseed oil
juice of half a lemon
pinch of salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
  • add all the ingredients to a tall container (jug or wide glass)
  • blend with a stick blender until thick & creamy

Bacon Onion Rings with Rapeseed Garlic Mayonnaise Bacon Onion Rings with Rapeseed Garlic Mayonnaise

If you're in the Cheshire/Manchester area you can find stockists of Calvia here, or buy online here.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Baked Full English - a one dish breakfast

This month marks a double celebration for Branston Beans, as, along with it being their 10th birthday, the Good Housekeeping Institute has rated them best out of 11 leading brands tested. Their beans contain more tomato than the leading brand, and 4 out of 5 consumers prefer the taste, so it's no wonder they received this endorsement.

As part of the Branston Beans #LoveBranstonBeans campaign, I have been invited to create a breakfast dish in the 'Round-the-Clock challenge', to show how versatile baked beans are. Baked beans are definitely a store cupboard staple in The Crazy Kitchen, and I buy a few cans each week to use in dishes such as bolognaise and chilli, as well as to be eaten on toast and jacket potatoes.

If you think of a great British breakfast you would almost certainly picture a big fry up of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and tomatoes, and with this traditional breakfast in mind I came up with my one dish breakfast, containing all of those essential ingredients, along with a little continental addition of paprika.

Baked Eggs & Beans - a one dish breakfast

The beauty of this dish is that it can mostly be prepared in advance, and then popped in the oven for 15 minutes to cook the egg, which makes it a great way to eat your full English even in the middle of the week, before rushing off to work or school. If you wanted to save even more time you could cook the complete dish in advance and then reheat in the microwave in just a few minutes.

On the weekend it would make a great brunch, served in one large pan set in the middle of the table, which everyone can help themselves to.

Baked Eggs & Beans - a one dish breakfast

Baked Full English - serves 6

tsp Olive oil
6 good quality thick sausages
120g smoked streaky bacon, chopped
tsp smoked paprika
2 cans Branston Baked Beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
6 medium free range eggs
salt, pepper & parsley to taste
  • heat the olive oil in a large frying pan
  • add the sausages and cook until browned
  • add the bacon and fry until crispy and brown and the sausages are cooked through
  • remove the sausages and set aside
  • add the paprika and stir
  • add the baked beans and tomatoes and stir well
  • bring to the boil and turn the heat down to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes
  • place one sausage in each of 6 small shallow ovenproof dishes
  • spoon the baked beans, bacon etc into the dish, making sure not to overfill
  • make a well and crack an egg into the well (you may not need to add all of the white to fill the well)
  • place the dishes onto a baking tray and bake in a preheated 180C oven for approx 15 minutes, until the eggs are cooked to your liking
  • season with salt, pepper & parsley before serving with thick slices of fresh bread, lightly toasted

Baked Eggs & Beans - a one dish breakfast Baked Eggs & Beans - a one dish breakfast Baked Eggs & Beans - a one dish breakfast

This dish went down extremely well in our household, and is definitely one that I'll be repeating on a regular basis.

this post has been commissioned by Branston Beans

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Princes Corned Beef Hash Hotpot

Inspired by a corned beef hash made by a housemate from Lancashire back in the 90's, this version is flavoured by brown sauce, and topped with crispy sliced potatoes. It's a simple one pot dish that's now a firm favourite in The Crazy Kitchen.

Corned Beef Hash Hotpot

Corned Beef Hash Hotpot - serves 2-4

340g Princes Corned Beef
750g potatoes, peeled & boiled
400g baked beans
100ml beef stock
4 tbsp brown sauce
  • Slice the corned beef into 8-10 slices
  • Slice the potatoes into slices approx 1cm thick
  • Mix the baked beans with the stock and brown sauce
  • In an ovenproof dish, layer the ingredients, starting with half of the Princes corned beef
  • Pour over half of the baked bean mixture
  • Lay half of the potato slices in the dish next
  • Add the remaining slices of corned beef, then the remaining baked bean mixture
  • Finally, top with the remaining slices of potato
  • Bake in a preheated 180C oven for approximately 45 minutes, until the potato is golden brown and crispy

Head over to the Princes website to see more Corned Beef Hash Clash recipes, and your chance to win £1000!

recipe commissioned by Princes

Friday, 16 October 2015

Welsh Cakes and Amarula Cream #CelebrateTheNations

The 2015 Rugby World Cup is now well under way, and although sadly England have been knocked out, our two neighbours, Wales and Scotland, are through to the quarter finals this weekend. 

Ex England Rugby player, and World Cup Winner Phil Vickery has created a Pork, Pinto Bean & Sweet Potato stew which uses ingredients and inspiration from each of the 20 nations competing in this year's Rugby World Cup, as part of the Tesco Celebrate the Nations campaign. You can watch the video of Phil making his '20 nations on a plate' here.

My Celebrate the Nations dish, is inspired by two of the teams playing each other in one of the quarter finals on Saturday; Wales and South Africa.

Welsh Cakes are traditionally cooked on a cast iron griddle, and contain dried fruit and spices. I've never made them before, but after researching a few recipes it would appear that the basic ratios are all very similar, and the only differentiation is the type of dried fruit and spices added. I added raisins and mixed spice to my recipe, and made mini ones, which were the perfect size for sandwiching together.

Welsh Cakes and Amarula Cream #CelebrateTheNations

Amarula is a cream liquor from South Africa, very similar to Irish cream liquor, and when whisked with cream, it makes a lovely filling for the Welsh Cakes.

Welsh Cakes
150g self raising flour + extra for dusting
50g butter
50g caster sugar
pinch of mixed spice
60g raisins
1 egg
  • add the flour, butter, sugar & mixed spice to a food mixer, and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs
  • stir in the raisins
  • add the egg and mix with a fork until everything comes together & then knead into a ball with your hands
  • roll out the dough on a floured surface to approx 4mm thick
  • cut out discs with a cutter
  • heat a griddle pan or non stick frying pan over a medium heat
  • cook the Welsh Cakes for approx 4 minutes on each side & then dust with caster sugar

Amarula Cream
75ml double cream
splash of Amarula
  • whisk the cream and Amarula together until thick
  • pipe or spoon onto half of the Welsh Cakes and sandwich together with another one
    Welsh Cakes and Amarula Cream #CelebrateTheNations Welsh Cakes and Amarula Cream #CelebrateTheNations Welsh Cakes and Amarula Cream #CelebrateTheNations

Has my dish inspired you? Why not create your own culinary masterpiece and #CelebrateTheNations this Autumn. Head to for more recipes.

this post has been commissioned by Tesco

Thursday, 15 October 2015

#OnkenTips Instagram Cookbook & Garlic and Cumin Seed Bread

Instagram is a great source of inspiration, whether it's fashion, home interiors or food. Whilst I'm not that interested in fashion, I am interested in looking into other people's homes, and very interested in looking at mouth watering food. Onken have created the UK's very first crowdsourced Instagram cookbook, sourced from their community over a two month period, and have included recipes, tips and ways to use yogurt in everyday dishes.

#OnkenTips Instagram Cookbook
The book includes recipes for healthy breakfasts, mouthwatering mains and delicious desserts.

 photo Onken Instagram Recipe Book8_zpswuvz2tc6.png
 photo Onken Instagram Recipe Book11_zpsnzw1pisf.png

I decided to use some Onken fat free yogurt to make some garlic & cumin seed bread to accompany our curry, inspired by @MissMamo's Garlic Bread, and it was delicious. (add tsp cumin seed to the recipe)

Garlic and Cumin Seed Bread Garlic and Cumin Seed Bread

You can view the the recipe for the bread, along with other recipes and tips, in the Onken Instagram Cookbook online here.

this post has been commissioned by Onken

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Creamy Onion Soup (and a Thermos Flask review)

I was recently sent a Thermos stainless King 1.2l flask to review, so as the weather is getting a little cooler, I decided to make some soup for the husband to take to the allotment at the weekend. We've grown rather a lot of onions this year so I used a few of them to make a creamy onion soup to keep him warm whilst he dug up our remaining potatoes.

Along with the potatoes, onions and courgettes that were in plentiful supply, we also grew quite a few tomatoes, which unfortunately never reached the rosy red stage due to the lack of sun and warmth towards the end of the summer - green tomato chutney is now in the pipeline!

If you're thinking of venturing into the world of vegetable growing you could either wait until the spring before you start sewing your seeds, or lengthen the growing season with a polytunnel or cloche, such as the ones from Premier Polytunnels. This would definitely help me to grow some red tomatoes next year.

Creamy Onion Soup (and a Thermos Flask review)

Creamy Onion Soup

4 large onions
25g butter
150ml white wine
250ml stock (chicken or vegetable)
black pepper
50g sachet of creamed coconut (I used Pataks)
  • cut the onions in half & slice
  • heat the butter in a large saucepan
  • add the onions and cook over a medium/high heat, stirring regularly, until they're brown and completely softened
  • add the wine & stock & bring to the boil
  • season with freshly ground black pepper
  • simmer for 20 minutes before stirring in the creamed coconut

Creamy Onion Soup (and a Thermos Flask review)
Creamy Onion Soup (and a Thermos Flask review)

The retro looking flask in matte black, comes with a lifetime guarantee, and is one of the best selling Thermos flasks throughout the world. This flask not only looks great, but it's designed to keep drinks hot or cold for up to 24 hours. Although I haven't put the 24 hour claim to the test yet, I poured piping hot soup into the flask at 9.45am and it was still hot at 2.15pm.

rrp £29.95

I was sent a Thermos stainless king for the purpose of review

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Honey & Orange Filled Iced Buns

Well, that's it, no more bake off on a Wednesday night now that Nadiya has been crowned as the winner, and what a worthy winner she was too. She definitely improved as the series went on, and created some amazing bakes, especially her wedding cake and delicious looking filled iced buns. 

It's been a while since I've had the time to bake along with the show, but I managed to squeeze in some buns this week. I made a sweet enriched dough flavoured with orange zest, and piped in a cream & mascarpone filling, flavoured with honey and orange, with icing on the top and a sticky honey and orange sauce drizzled over (phew). I kept a few of the buns simple, with just icing, as I knew 2/3 of the kids wouldn't like the creamy filling.

Honey & Orange Filled Iced Buns

Honey & Orange Filled Iced Buns - makes 12

500g Strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
100g caster sugar
50g butter, softened
1 tsp dried yeast
1 egg
finely grated zest of 1 orange
225ml milk (room temperature)

250g mascarpone
100ml double cream
juice & finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp honey

200g icing sugar

honey & orange sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp butter
juice of 1 orange

  • add the bread flour to a bowl
  • add the salt, sugar, butter, yeast, egg & orange zest
  • add approx 200ml of milk & start mixing everything together, adding more milk if necessary
  • once the dough has come together, take it out of the bowl & knead for 10 minutes, until smooth & elastic
  • place in a large bowl & cover with clingfilm
  • leave in a warm place to double in size
  • once the dough has proved, turn out onto a lightly floured surface
  • divide the dough into 12 equal pieces
  • roll each piece into a ball and shape into a finger
  • place into a buttered baking tin, approx 1.5cm apart
  • cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to double in size again
  • remove clingfilm & bake in a preheated 200C oven for 15-20 minutes
  • leave to cool on a wire rack


  • whisk all the ingredients together until it's thick enough to pipe
  • slice the cooled buns across the top, but not all the way through
  • pipe the filling into the buns


  • mix a little water into the icing sugar, until a thick (but fluid) icing is reached
  • pipe the icing onto the top of the buns, on either side of the filling

honey & orange sauce

  • add the ingredients to a small saucepan
  • bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes until thick and sticky
  • allow to cool before drizzling over the buns

Honey & Orange Filled Iced Buns Honey & Orange Filled Iced Buns Honey & Orange Filled Iced Buns Honey & Orange Filled Iced Buns

Mummy Mishaps

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Staffordshire Lobby (Beef Stew) #AutumnWarmers

This month Waitrose have launched their #AutumnWarmers campaign, celebrating warming dishes from throughout the UK, to get us in the mood for those cooler nights when all we want is something warm and comforting to eat.

I've decided to share my recipe for a Staffordshire Lobby, which is basically a beef stew, traditionally eaten by poorly paid potters in the region, using cheaper cuts of meat along with root vegetables and pearl barley.

This can be cooked on the stove top, as per a traditional stew, but before I went to work for the morning I popped it into the slow cooker and was able to enjoy a nice steaming bowlful for lunch.

The recipe can be scaled down depending on how many you want to feed, but this quantity kept us going for a couple of days.

staffordshire lobby

Staffordshire Lobby - feeds a crowd

1.2kg beef (brisket, shin, skirt) - I used brisket
4 medium carrots
2 large parsnips
1 small swede
8 shallots
3 medium potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp plain flour
salt & pepper
1 litre beef stock
500ml beer
200g pearl barley

  • cut the beef into bite sized pieces
  • peel & chop the vegetables into bit sized pieces
  • add the flour to a large zip lock bag, and season with salt & pepper
  • add the beef to the bag and shake to coat
  • add the beef, vegetables, stock & beer to a large pan and bring to the boil
  • transfer to a slow cooker and add the pearl barley
  • cook on medium for 4-5 hours, until the beef is tender
Serve with thick slices of freshly baked bread, and butter, and maybe a little brown sauce on the side!

recipe commissioned by Waitrose

Monday, 5 October 2015

Japanese Beef Udon Soup

I don't get too experimental with meals very often, and unless I have any specific challenges to complete for this blog, I often rotate the same, or similar, meals on a weekly basis.

I was quite excited at the prospect of trying out some Japanese cooking when I received a parcel of ingredients from Japan Centre, as other than Miso soup and Udon noodles (which I used when I made healthy pot noodles), I've not eaten Japanese food, as far as I can remember. 

In the package I received the following :

After a spot of research, I decided that an Udon soup was the way to go, beefed up with slices of fillet steak spiced with Shichimi, a Japanese spice made from a blend of seven ingredients.

After making this amazing dish in under 15 minutes, I'm wondering why I don't make dishes like this more often, as it's the ultimate healthy fast food, and perfect for a lunch on a busy day.

Japanese Beef Udon Soup

Japanese Beef Udon Soup - serves 2

1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Sake
1/2 tsp Shichimi 

170g fillet steak
tbsp sesame oil
600ml water
1 dashi bag
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Sake
75g button chestnut mushrooms, sliced
175g dried Udon noodles
bunch of spring onions, sliced
  • make the marinade by mixing the soy sauce, sake & Shichimi together in a bowl
  • add the fillet steak and toss to coat in the marinade
  • refrigerate for a few hours or overnight
  • heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over a high heat
  • add the steak and fry for a couple minutes on each side
  • set aside to rest whilst preparing the udon soup
  • bring the water to the boil in a saucepan
  • add the dashi bag and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • remove the dashi bag from the pan
  • add the soy sauce, sake, mushrooms, noodles and 3/4 of the spring onions
  • simmer for 3-4 minutes until the noodles are cooked through
  • slice the steak
  • divide the soup into two portions and top with the steak and remaining spring onions

japanese ingredients
left to right : dashi bags, matcha tea, sake, arare, tea selection, shichimi pepper, sansho pepper

Japanese Beef Udon Soup

For the chance to win a 4 night trip to Japan, with 11 runner up prizes, make sure you pop over to the Visit Japan Facebook page here.

this recipe was commissioned for Visit Japan

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