Strawberry Crumble Cake

imageimageWhat would happen if a¬†vanilla cake and strawberry crumble had a baby? Their offspring would be this delicious treat! Strawberry crumble cake ūüėč.

The idea for this recipe came from my love of both desserts and my inability to decide whether to make a cake or crumble after dinner.

The recipe for this is super easy and, if you’re a frozen fruit hoarder like me, will help to use up frozen strawberries (although you can use fresh strawberries if you prefer).

Ingredients:

For the strawberry cake:

8-10 frozen strawberries

225g flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

150g sugar

170g butter

1 egg

2 capfuls of vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk

For the crumble topping:

90g flour

2-3 tablespoons of butter

50 g sugar

1 capful vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ gas Mark 4 and grease a round baking tin
  2. Make the crumble topping first. Put the flour and sugar into a bowl. Add the butter and vanilla then crumble the ingredients together with your fingers until it resembles medium sized crumbs. Place the bowl of crumbs in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
  3. Next, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, then add the beaten egg and mix into the butter mixture until fluffy
  4. Seive the flour into the bowl, then add vanilla and the milk.
  5. Mix the ingredients together until all are combined and the batter looks smooth. You will notice that it will have a thick consistency. Add more milk if it is too thick and difficult to mix.
  6. Spoon the cake batter evenly into the cake tin and place the strawberries around the perimeter and a few in the centre of the batter. Push them down until they touch the base of the tin.
  7. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the cake then put in the oven to bake for 35-45 minutes.
  8. Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes before serving then enjoy with ice cream,double cream or simply a nice cup of tea!

 

 

Banana Cake

imageimageThis recipe is so easy to follow and the results are simply delicious.

The next time you see an overripe banana in your fruit bowl you should be filled with excitement because an overripe banana = banana cake! It is definitely an excuse to make this delicious cake and indulge with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Ingredients:

1 overripe banana

125g butter

130g  granulated sugar

1 tablespoon of demerara sugar

190g self raising flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 egg

3 tablespoons of milk

Method:

  1. Grease a round baking tin and preheat the oven to gas Mark 4/ 180c.
  2. Melt the butter and sugar in a pan. Turn off the heat when they have melted completely and then pour into a mixing bowl
  3. Mash up a banana and stir into the butter mixture
  4. Beat an egg, vanilla and milk into a small bowl and then slowly pour into the butter mixture, bit by bit, mixing as you go
  5. Add the flour and mix in until the cake batter is smooth and all ingredients are combined
  6. Pour the cake batter into the baking tin and sprinkle with demerara sugar then put in the oven to bake for 25-30 mins.
  7. Test whether the cake is cooked by pushing a knife through the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean then it is ready!
  8. The cake should have a golden brown topping. Enjoy!

 

 

Roast Chicken Bake

imageForget Greggs’ chicken or steak bake; making your own is the way to go and it’s super easy!

This recipe is ideal if you have leftover chicken from a Sunday roast,that you don’t want to waste, but have no idea how to transform it into another tasty meal without the chicken drying up from reheating it.

At my new favourite supermarket (Lidl ūüėä) I found puff pastry for a price I just could not refuse. It was only 89p! And it was an absolute dream to use; when baked the pastry was light and flaky withy a buttery taste.

Anyway, that (and my roast chicken leftovers) gave me the idea for this quick and easy lunchtime meal. It really is comforting and delicious! Feel free to experiment with other meats as a filling too!

Ingredients:

To make one chicken bake:

A 10x30cm rectangle of ready rolled puff pastry

2-3 tablespoons of shredded or finely chopped roast chicken

1 tablespoon gravy granules

1/2 teaspoon of thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200.c
  2. Put the pastry on the baking tray then place the chicken on one half of it, leaving a centimetre of space around the perimeter
  3. In a small bowl, make the gravy adding thyme to the mixture as you stir. Ensure that the gravy consistency is slightly thick but is able to run off the spoon
  4. Spoon the gravy mixture over the chicken and a little around the perimeter of the pastry to help seal it
  5. Take the empty half of the pastry and fold it over the chicken filling so that it meets the other pastry edge
  6. Use a fork to press and seal all edges of the pastry and then poke three holes in the top of the pastry package
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the pastry becomes golden brown.
  8. Enjoy your delicious lunch!

 

Jerk Chicken Curry Patties

imageI can’t resist a good patty. I grew up loving these traditional Jamaican snacks and took any opportunity to buy one whenever we we attended a church convention or festival.

Whilst commercial, shop bought patties are tasty, nothing beats the taste of your own homemade ones, especially when you can add whatever meat you want to them! When they come out of the oven and the delicious curried pastry aroma wafts around the kitchen, you will realise making them was definitely worth the effort.

Ingredients:
Serves 6

For the pastry (you could use shop bought pastry if you prefer, however nothing beats your own): 

200g plain flour

125g cold unsalted butter cut into squares

3 tablespoons cold water

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten (for the glaze)

For the filling:

200g diced chicken

1 tablespoon jerk seasoning (you can find this in all leading supermarkets- buy the jar type, not powdered)

1 red onion finely chopped

1 potato, peeled, sliced and diced into little chunks

1 tablespoon of gravy granules

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/ 180.c
  2. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl
  3. Add the curry powder, turmeric and salt
  4. Add the butter and crumble it into the flour with your fingers then add the cold water and knead together to make a dough. Put in the fridge until you are ready to use it
  5. Parboil the potatoes for 6-8 minutes and then turn off the heat
  6. Heat a pan with some oil and fry the onions until soft
  7. Add the chicken and fry until white then add the jerk seasoning. Continue frying until the chicken is fully cooked and then turn off the heat
  8. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out flat on a floured surface. Use a small bowl to cut out a circle shape from the pastry
  9. Drain the potatoes and put into a bowl along with the chicken. Take 1-2 teaspoons of the chicken and potato and place in the centre of the pastry circle
  10. Use the gravy granules to make some gravy in a bowl and add a teaspoon of the gravy to the chicken mixture
  11. Fold the other half of the pastry circle over and press the joined edges together with a fork.Follow the same procedure for the other patties
  12. Beat an egg use it to glaze the patties before baking for 25-30 minutes. Don’t worry if they aren’t beautifully neat (like mine below); the main thing is it that they will taste amazing!!! Enjoy!

 

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Mini Banoffee Tarts

imageI always liked the idea of ordering a banoffee pie whenever it’s in the menu at a restaurant but I’ve always been weirded out by fresh bananas in desserts. I don’t know, there’s just something about the texture!

I’m perfectly fine eating a banana on its own or making banana cake or fritters where it’s combined with the batter, but chop up some bananas and cover them in cream and I will vom. My dad puts fresh bananas in his cereal and I can’t even stay in the same room to watch or hear him eat it! Yep, that’s how bad it is. Maybe it’s just me, I’m just weird ūüėā.

Anywaaaay, my odd phobia is¬†what gave me the idea for this dessert, a delicious banoffee tart with the bananas blended and mixed into the toffee…so it really is banoffee!

The results are scrumptious; you get a crunchy shortbread crust mixed with the smooth and slightly chewy banoffee and the cold cream which cuts through the sweetness. It is simply perfection. Give it a try. And if you share my odd phobia too, you’ll be well pleased with this dessert ūüėČ.

Ingredients

6 miniature tire short crust tart bases ¬†(I bought Taste the Difference ones from Sainsbury’s for ¬£2)

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For the banoffee:

2 ripe bananas

A dash of milk

50g slightly salted butter

50g brown sugar

1/2 tin condensed milk

For the whipped cream:

1/2 300ml of whipping cream

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

2 teaspoons caster sugar

Method

  1. Blitz the bananas with a dash of milk until smooth
  2. In a small pan melt the butter and sugar and bring to a boil
  3. Turn down the heat slightly and pour in the condensed milk whilst stirring continuously
  4. Turn the heat up and pour in the banana mixture. Keep stirring for 5-8 minutes until the mixture slowly turns caramel brown and has a firmer consistency.
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  6. Take the banoffee off the heat and spoon into the tart cases. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then pop them into the fridge to set for 30 minutes
  7. When the tarts have set you can make the whipped cream. Pour the cream into a jug and add the sugar and vanilla. Whisk until the cream is stiff.
  8. Spread the cream over the banoffee tarts and voilà! These will be ready to eat straight away, however if you want to save them they can store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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Dangerously Good Seasoned Wedges

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It’s time to celebrate the humble potato. In desperate times of need, when the fridge is near empty, it is always there to save the day. Whether baked, mashed, roasted or fried I’m always partial to a potato side.

Today was one of those desperate days. I didn’t feel like eating rice again for the 3rd time this week so I had to whip out my bag of potatoes and conjure up an exciting side to go with the leftover chilli from yesterday!

So my gift to you today is my dangerously good seasoned wedges. They’re called dangerously good for a reason… make sure that you have someone to share these with or you might find yourself in danger of eating the lot! This is seriously cheap to make too, with the ingredients costing under ¬£5 (assuming you already have butter, oil and salt ūüėä). Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

5 medium sized potatoes

1 1/2 tablespoons of paprika

1 teaspoon of chilli powder

1 tablespoon of mixed herbs

1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of butter melted

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 7/ 220.c
  2. Drizzle the olive oil onto a large baking tray and place in the oven to heat up
  3. Cut the potatoes into wedges (cut them in half first then cut one half  longways into 4-5 wedges)
  4. Put the wedges into a large pot and boil them for 15 minutes until slightly soft
  5. After the wedges have boiled, drain and place them onto the oiled baking tray
  6. Lightly brush the wedges with the melted butter then evenly sprinkle the paprika, mixed herbs, garlic powder, chilli powder and salt over them
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway, until browned and crispy. Enjoy!

 

Sweet And Spicy Chilli With Crunchy Pitta Chips

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I was really struggling to think of what to cook for dinner today. I didn’t want to make another boring mince and pasta dish but I had already defrosted the mice meat so I was stuck with it. Then I had an idea…

Initially I thought of making chilli con carne with nachos but to be honest I couldn’t be bothered to go to the shop to buy any. Then I remembered that we had a few pitta breads that needed using up and that’s when it struck me. I could make my own nachos! Well…pitta chips.

They went down extremely well with the chilli and were lovely and crunchy! I was well impressed if I do say so myself.

This cheeky little dish will spice up your evening for sure ; ).

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the pitta chips:

2 large pitta breads

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/4 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoons of garlic powder

A pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of butter

1/2 tablespoon of olive oil

For the chilli con carne

500g of beef mince meat

1 red onion

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of bbq seasoning

2 squirts of tomato ketchup

3 mushrooms chopped

Half a tin of kidney beans

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon of chilli powder (less or more depending on how much of a spicy kick you want!)

Method

For the pitta chips

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/ 200.c
  2. Cut the pitta breads in half and then quarters so that they form triangles and place on a baking tray
  3. In a small bowl, heat the butter in the microwave for a few seconds then add the turmeric, garlic powder, oregano, paprika and salt then mix in
  4. Brush the butter mixture over the pitta triangles
  5. Lightly sprinkle a little olive oil over the pitta triangle and then put in the oven to bake for 10-15 minute, turning them over once, until crisp

For the chilli con carne

  1. In a large pan heat some oil and when hot add the onions. Fry them until they become soft
  2. Add the mince meat and brown it, then add the garlic powder, bbq powder and chilli powder. Continue to fry the mince for a further 4 minutes
  3. Add the mushrooms and then stir in the chopped tomatoes
  4. Now add the red wine vinegar, tomato ketchup (sounds weird I know, but it makes all the difference!), sugar and  finally the kidney beans
  5. Leave to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally; the con carne sauce should be bubbling and a rich brown colour
  6. Serve with the pitta chips and rice. Enjoy!

 

Toffee Apple Crumble

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One of my favourite desserts is fruit crumble; it could be any fruit: apple, pear, blueberry, whatever just let me eat it!

I had a craving for crumble after yesterday’s roast dinner, however I decided to add a twist to the classic British pud…I created toffee apples. It was sooooo good and extremely comforting. I was only experimenting but will definitely make it again in the future!

Again this is another easy peasy ¬†recipe that will help you to use up some cupboard items and apples if you’ve just been staring at them rather than actually eating them (like I had). There’s no need for you to use cooking apples for this dish, ordinary eating apples will do, trust me! I happened to get mine from my new favourite supermarket Lidl for a lovely ¬£1.49.

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Serves 6

Ingredients

For the toffee flavouring:

100 fl oz of water

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

3 tablespoons of golden syrup

1 cap of vanilla essence

1 1/2 tablespoons of butter (I just used Clover, but you could use unsalted butter)

For the fruit base

5 gala apples peeled, cored and chopped into little wedges (use more if you are using a bigger dish)

For the crumble topping:

150g plain flour

1 tablespoon of oats

100g of granulated sugar

1 tablespoon of Demerara sugar (optional)

100g of butter (add another teaspoon or two if you feel that the mixture is too dry)

2 caps of vanilla essence

Method

1.Preheat your oven to gas mark 5/ 170.c for fan ovens/190.c for electric ovens

2.Add the apples to a pot and cover in boiling water. Heat until the apples have become slightly soft and then take off the heat.

3.In a small pot, add the water and sugar. Heat until the sugar melts and the water comes to a boil.

4.Lower the temperature and then add the golden syrup, vanilla and butter, stirring until they melt. Bring back up to the boil again.

5.Drain the apples and add them to the toffee flavouring. Fold all of the apples in until they are covered in the liquid and then leave them to cools and absorb the flavour.

6.Whilst you leave the apples to cool, create the crumble topping: Add the flour, oats and sugar to a mixing bowl.

7. Next add the vanilla and butter then use your fingers to rub the ingredients together until it forms crumbs (I like to form big crumbs to create a crunchier texture- you can achieve this by adding a little more butter if the texture is too dry, but not so much so that the texture becomes sticky).

8. Spoon the apples from the toffee mixture into an ovenproof dish. Add a few spoonfuls of the toffee juice too for extra flavour.

9. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apples until they are all covered. For extra crunch, you could sprinkle some Demerara sugar on top which will caramelise.

10. Put the crumble in the oven on the top shelf and bake for 20 minutes. Check to see if the topping is golden brown, if not leave in for a further 5-10 minutes.

11. Leave to cool until warm and then serve with lashings of custard, yum!

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Sticky Honey And Mint Chicken

I cooked this for our dinner tonight and what a treat it was indeed!

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I remember when my husband first introduced me to this recipe. This was years ago, before we got married,so the dish obviously impressed me if I’m still going on about it til this day!

Initially though the thought alone of the flavours honey and mint combined with chicken made my head spin. I was very sceptical of how it would turn out. But then I tasted it…and it changed my life. Slight exaggeration there… but really, the flavours are tantalising and all you need to achieve it are a few simple ingredients.

Serves 3

Ingredients

6 chicken drumsticks

4 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of mint sauce

2 tablespoons of mixed herbs

1 red onion chopped and diced

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 7/ 220.c for electric ovens
  2. Place the drumsticks in an oven proof dish
  3. Drizzle the honey over the chicken, then add the mint sauce and red wine vinegar
  4. Add the chopped onions, garlic powder and mixed herbs
  5. If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, coat the drumsticks in the mixture. Ensure that each one is covered in minty honey goodness
  6. Place the drumsticks in the oven and leave to cook for 45 minutes, rotating throughout. Check them after this time and baste them with the juices
  7. Turn down to gas mark 5 and leave them to cook for a further 20-30 minutes
  8. Serve with boiled rice or roast potatoes (or both! Treat yourself ūüėČ)

Jamaican Banana Fritters With A Twist

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When I was little there was one thing I always used to look forward to when visiting my nanny… her amazing banana fritters. She didn’t make them all the time which meant on the odd occasion when she did decide to, they tasted even more delicious.

I remember watching the way she made them very carefully, counting how many bananas she used, how many spoonfuls of flour she added as I was determined to know the recipe off by heart so that I could enjoy these delicious treats when I was old enough to make them myself.

Well now I am and I have! I made some this morning just for nostalgia’s sake and they tasted just as good as I remembered. They took no time at all to make and are great to cook if you have over ripe bananas. I did twist my nan’s recipe slightly though by drizzling the fritters ¬†in honey and adding blueberries just because I could.

Looking at the pictures, some of you might be wondering aren’t they just pancakes? The answer is no my friend! No they are not. Fritters are slightly different. The consistency of the batter is more dense than pancake batter and when cooked they have a crispy, almost caramelised outer skin. Anyway here’s the recipe if you fancy giving them a go:

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas (the riper the better as you can use less sugar!)

2-3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

1 egg beaten

100 grams of plain flour

A pinch of baking powder

1 cap of vanilla extract

A splash of milk (add more if you want a thinner batter)

Serves 2

Method

1. Crush the bananas in a bowl until they form a pulp

2.Add the sugar, vanilla, egg and milk the whisk until smothish (there will be some lumps from the banana of course)

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3.Add the flour and baking power. Fold into the banana mixture until you have a batter which slowly drops off the spoon (if it is too thick, add more milk)

4.Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add two tablespoons of the batter. Quickly smooth it out into a circle before it sets. Leave to cook for 1 minute.

5. Flip the fritter over and leave to cook for another minute. Voilà  banana fritters are served!

6.(Optional) Drizzle with a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup and add blueberries to garnish

 

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Delicious with a drizzle of honey and blueberries