Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas Cupkies

These soft chewy cupkies (cookies made in the shape of muffins) have bits of candy cane in them and are a big seasonal favourite with my boys. The recipe is super easy to make for all ages.

This recipe makes 12 cupkies.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius


1 cup of Stork (margarine)
1 cup of soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 tsp of cream of tartar
1/2 tsp of salt
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of candy cane broken into pieces no larger than 2cm.

Cream Stork and sugar together and beat until light and fluffy then beat in eg
g. Add rest of ingredients except for candy cane. Mix until the batter is sloppy and then add candy cane pieces.

Drop by heaping tablespoon into well greased muffin tin or into silicon
e muffin cases (these work best as it is easier to get the cupkies out after baking).

Bake for 10 mins if using the muffin tin or 15 minutes if using silicone cases.

Remove once cooled enough to handle.

Eat and repeat as above until the new year.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie

Like a slice of warm winter sunshine -

At long last here is the recipe!
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 lemons juiced and zested
2 tbsp butter
4 beaten egg yolks
6 tbsp caster sugar

In a saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, starch,and salt.  Stir in water, lemon juice and zest. Bring to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot sugar mixture.  Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture.  Bring to a boil and continue to cook until thick.  Pour into pastry shell.  Make the meringue with the egg whites and remaiing sugar, spread on top of lemon pie and bake at 190 degrees for 10 mins.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Apple cake

This cake is perfectly moist and so easy to make. It is a great way to use up those ropey apples or carrots left over from harvest time. It is alao brilliant recipe for children to use as good results are guaranteed every time.

1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 cup of peeled and coarsely shredded apple (drain the excess juice through a sieve before adding to cake)

1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of milk

Substitute 1 cup of finely shredded carrots for the apple and remove the all spice and nutmeg if you want to make a carrot cake instead.

Blend sugar, oil and eggs, add sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk and mix in drained apple pulp. Bake in a well greased tin at 180 Celsius for 1 hour (cover tin with foil for last 20 minutes)

Ice with a mixture of 1 tub of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of chunky apple sauce and 2 cups of sifted icing sugar. Substitute 1/2 cup of butter for the apple sauce if you are making carrot cake.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Pumpkin Soup

This is a is a great way to use up all those extra veg in your garden or fridge. You'll need a soup stock which is easy to make by combining any types of veg. The more variety you use, the better flavour you'll get.

For the one pictured below I used those ropey outside bits of celery that no one ever seems to eat, courgette, carrot, green beans, onions (cooked in a tablespoon of olive oil), a red and a green bell pepper, and half a garlic bulb. Add in 1 teaspoon of pepper and 1 of salt, a teaspoon of marjoram, parsley and basil. Add water until it comes up to the top of your veg and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat and simmer until the veg are tender.
Now for the pumpkin or you can use butternut squash if you prefer.
Peel, de-seed and chop half a pumpkin and add it to your soup stock.

Once the pumpkin is cooked soft, turn off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes or more. Then blend till smooth. Add a block of feta or any other soft cheese and blend again.
Serve with fresh warm bread and a dollop of plain yogurt on top.
Sorry about the poor quality of the photos. My camera batteries ran out so I had to use my mobile phone for the photos.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Christmas Condiments

By adapting my Crab Apple Jelly recipe you can make the most delicious warming jellies to enjoy during the coldest months.

To make the Christmas Condiments pictured above simply leave out the vanilla pod and add in 3 broken up cinnamon sticks, 12 whole cloves, a tablespoon of ground ginger and 2 roughly chopped oranges.
Once the apples have cooked into a mash stir in 5 blackberries to get jelly this colour. You can get any colour from a pale pink to deep purple by adding more or fewer blackberries. This jelly goes beautifully with meats and can be used instead of cranberry sauce.

Click here for the recipe for Vanilla Spice Jelly.

Vanilla Spice Jelly

By adapting my crab apple jelly recipe you can make the most delicious warming jellies to enjoy during the coldest months. To make my vanilla spice jelly, which is a delightful accompaniment to cheeses and warm bread, simply replace the blackberries with 2 teaspoons of nutmeg and 1 of ginger. Simples!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Crab Apple Jelly

Mid August to mid September is the best time for picking crab apples. Gather at least 5kg of crab apples from the ground under the tree and from the branches. Try to get a good mix of windfall apples and slightly greener ones from the branches.
Wash and then chop the apples making sure to retain the stems, skin and seeds. Place in a large pot with a vanilla pod and a cinnamon stick.
Add enough water to just cover the apples. Cook until the apples are soft. Add a handful of blackberries at this stage if you would like your jelly to be pink.
Place in a sterilized piece of muslin and rest this bundle in a colander suspended over a pot. Leave overnight to collect the maximum amount of juice in a large pan. Do not squeeze the bag or you will have cloudy jelly!
The next day heat the juice over a moderate to high heat, stirring constantly and once boiling add 1kg of jam sugar for every 24 fluid ounces of juice.Return to the boil for approximately 1 minute or until setting point is reached.
Pour into sterilised jars (I re-use sauce, mayo, pesto and other condiment jars and then discard them after they have been used once for jam), wipe tops and cover with lids.

Place in a boiling water bath for at least 10 minutes. Remove and cool slowly overnight covered with a tea towel.

The jar lids should be sunken in the centre by the next morning. If there is a stubborn one that wont seal, place it in the fridge and eat within 4 weeks. The sealed jars will keep for at least a year maybe longer but ours never last that long.

Your finished product will look like this! Isn't it pretty?

Crab apple jelly is yummy and we like to eat it on toast and porridge, as flavouring in home made ice cream, over store bought ice cream, pancakes, on muesli, over wheatabix and mixed in yogurt. If you think of any other ways to enjoy this jelly then please leave a comment below this post.