Sunday, 29 June 2014

Chocolate Chunk Sundae Delight


I have a lovely dessert I wanted to re-share with you here this morning. This is a pirate's treasure! This is sooooo easy even the kids can make it, with your supervision of course! It started off as squares, but I thought, why not bake them in a round pan and cut them into wedges like a pie to serve.

And then I thought, why not top them with some ice cream and chocolate sauce and turn them into Sundaes!!! This one's for all the families out there that are looking for something special to do this weekend, or for a special Family Home Evening treat! 


*Chocolate Chunk Sundae Delight*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

A delicious chocolate chunk cookie wedge topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.  Moreishly delish!!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
For the topping:
Icing Sugar
a good quality vanilla ice cream
a jar of chocolate spread
(I used Waitrose brand)   

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F.  Grease and flour an 8 inch cake tin with a removable bottom.  Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Beat the vegetable oil and eggs together in a measuring jug and add all at once to the flour mixture.  Beat until throughly combined.  (The mixture will be very thick)  Stir in the nuts and chocolate.  Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and smooth it out evenly with your fingertips. 

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes.  Then remove the sides.

Warm the chocolate spread in the microwave until spoonable.  Cut the chocolate chip cake mixture into wedges and place one wedge on each plate.  Dust lightly with Icing Sugar if desired and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some chocolate sauce spooned over top.


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Lemon Meringue Cake


One of my favourite flavours is Lemon.  I just adore Lemon anything . . .  cookies, puddings, pies, cakes . . .  if it's lemon I am in taste heaven!  I love chocolate too, but when push comes to shove if I had to choose between the two, I think lemon would win every time!

That's why I am really excited to show you this recipe here today for Lemon Meringue Cake.  This is a recipe I clipped out of a magazine yonks ago and it is a real family favourite.  You have a lovely buttery sponge cake bottom, topped with a lucious tart lemon filling, covered with meringue and toasted.     It's like the pie, but it's not a pie.  It's a cake.  'Nuff said!

*Lemon Meringue Cake*
Serves 8

Printable Recipe

If you were to ask me what my favourite kind of pie was, Lemon Meringue would rank high in the list…I could never pick just one. This cake combines all the flavours of a lemon meringue pie with all the pleasures of a delicious cake. It’s fantastic!

¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup castor sugar
1 whole egg, plus 2 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
½ tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp lemon essence

2 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1 cup water
¾ cup castor sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup lemon juice
1 TBS butter

4 egg whites at room temperature
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup castor sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and egg yolks. Mix together the flour and baking powder and then beat into the creamed mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in the vanilla and lemon essences, mixing in well.

Butter and flour a nine inch round cake tin. Pour in the batter, level off and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Let sit in the pan for five minutes then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

For the filling combine the flour and sugar in the top of a double boiler. Mix together the lemon juice, water and egg yolks and then stir into the flour/sugar mixture along with the lemon zest. Place over simmering water and cook, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool five minutes, then stir in the butter until melted. Set aside until cool.

Place the cake layer on a plate (one that can handle some heat) and spread the lemon filling over. Beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until the mixture begins to turn foamy, then continue to beat slowly adding the sugar until mixture is stiff, but not dry. Spread over the sides and top of the cake. Place in a 180*C/350*F oven and bake until the meringue browns. Remove from oven and cool. Serve at room temperature, cutting slices with a wet knife. This helps to prevent the meringue from tearing as you cut it.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Double Chocolate Layer Cake


I don't deny it, chocolate is one of my favourite things to eat.  I try to control myself most of the time, and I admit it helps to have a husband who is not a lover of things Chocolate.  (I know!  It just ain't human!)  However once in a while my chocolate loving heart just has to indulge in something chocolatey.

This is an old, old recipe which I have been making for many, many years.  I am no longer sure where the recipe came from. It exists only on a chocolate spattered page in my Big Blue Binder.   And now I am sharing it with you.

Whatever am I doing to do with that whole cake.   With just the two of us and only myself loving chocolate, I guess I will have to just take care of it myself.


*Double Chocolate Layer Cake* 
 makes 12 servings 
Printable Recipe

Can you say "To Die For"? Repeat after die die die for...deliciously moist chocolate cake with a gorgeously rich and delicious chocolate ganache coating....  

3 ounces fine quality semi sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (well shaken)
3/4 tsp vanilla
16 ounces good quality semi sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 TBS caster sugar
2 TBS golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*F. Lightly grease two nine inch layer pans. Line bottomms with parchment paper and grease the paper. Set aside.

Finely chop the chocolate and put in a bowl along with the hot coffee. Let stand, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Sift together the dry ingredients, stir in the sugar and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are thick and lemon coloured, about 5 minutes with a hand held electric mixer. Slowly beat in the oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture. Mix well. Add dry ingredients, mixing only until they are combined.

Divide batter between the two prepared baking pans and bake in the centre of the oven for one hour up to one hour and ten minutes or until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool layers completely in pans on racks. When cold, run a knife carefully around the edges of the pans and invert onto the racks. Carefully remove the paper.

For the frosting chop the chocolate finely. Bring the cream to a boil along with the syrup and sugar, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate pieces and whisk until melted. Cut the butter into pieces and whisk in a bit at a time, until melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is of spreading consistency.

Sandwich the layers together on a plate with some of the ganache and then spread the remaining frosting over the top and around the sides of the cake. This cake keeps well, covered and chilled for 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving. Wonderful!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Cowboy Casserole


After all of the turkey and ham of the past week, we were craving something quite different for supper at the weekend.  We were also having company for supper and I thought they were probably a bit tired of turkey and the like as well.

I was right.   This casserole went down a real treat.  It is a little bit different than most Cowboy Casseroles which you may see out there in that I add herbs and vegetables to mine.


I still use the cream soup . . . but  the addition of Worcestershire Sauce, Mushroom ketchup, tomato ketchup really enhances the flavours of this lovely stand by.  It's like a cottage pie . . . but with a tater tot covering instead of mash.

If you keep ground beef, tinned soup and sweet corn, along with frozen tater tots in your store cupboard/freezer . . . then you always have the makings of this delicious and economical casserole ready to go.


This is a real family pleasing meal.  It's hearty and filling and so very tasty.  I like to make a salad to serve on the side and green beans.  The other night I added some garlic bread as it was a company meal.
Needless to say, the meal was well received.  I knew it would be.  Enjoy!


 *Cowboy Casserole*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

This may not look very tasty, but trust me when I say it's delicious.  I like to make the meat mixture the day before and let it ripen overnight.  I think it's even more delicious when you do this.

500g of extra lean ground beef (2 1/2 pounds)
olive oil spray
a knob of butter
1 large leek, split, washed and thinly sliced
1 small onion, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (or 3 tsp Gourmet Garden crushed garlic)
1 tsp mixed dried herbs (thyme, summer savoury, marjoram)
2 dessert spoonful's of tomato ketchup
a good splash of Worcestershire sauce
a good splash of mushroom ketchup
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (340g) tin of sweet corn, drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tin of condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
125ml of whole milk (1/2 cup)
4 heaped TBS sour cream
8 ounces strong cheddar cheese, divided (2 cups)
1 1/2 bags of frozen potato nuggets (tater tots)

Spray a large and deep nonstick pan with some cooking spray.  Add the beef and scramble fry, cooking until it is no longer pink and any liquid is totally evaporated.  Add the knob of butter and continue to cook,  until it begins to turn golden brown in places.  Add the leek, onion, garlic, and herbs.  Cover and cook over low heat until the vegetables are wilted.  Stir in the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mushroom ketchup, corn, soup, milk, sour cream and 1/2 of the grated cheese.  Heat through.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary with salt and pepper.  Allow to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not let it dry out.  You want it slightly loose.  (If you are making it a day ahead, pour it into a plastic container at this point, cover and refrigerate.   The next day spread it into a 9inch by 13 inch glass baking dish which you have buttered and allow to come to room temperature before proceeding.)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.

Scatter the frozen potato nuggets over top of the meat mixture.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese.  Return to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer until golden brown and the meat mixture is bubbling nicely.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  Serve hot.  I like to serve this with some salad and green beans.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Country Tomato Pie

I've always found recipes, cooking and food very interesting. I've been collecting recipes since I was 7 or 8 and have always found the chemistry of it fascinating. I can be cooking a cake, for instance, and I will start to think and ask myself questions . . .

Questions like, who was the first person that put flour, eggs, fat and sugar together and came up with cake? And why? What inspired them to do so?

I have always found it amazing that, by combining just a few simple ingredients together, you can create something totally edible and wonderfully tasty. . . and that you can then take the same ingredients and put them together in a different way, using a different method and come up with something equally as delicious, but totally different!

For instance . . . you can put together a starch (bread), some cheese and sliced tomatoes, and then, with a bit of seasoning, you have a scrumptious cheese and tomato sandwich . . .

or . . .

change the starch to a pie crust and layer in the tomatoes and cheese, add a bit of onion and herbs, and some mayo . . . and you have a really delicious pie.   Make something tasty from those insipid tomatoes you find in the shops in the colder months.   This recipe turns a sows ear into a silk purse every time!

*Country Tomato Pie*
Serves 4-6
Printable Recipe

This is a really tasty supper dish, just perfect for these summer days when the tomatoes are ripening on the vine fastet than we can get them used up! I also make this in the winter, but I use tinned tomatoes then. I use one tin of chopped tomatoes, and I drain them really well, and then, I squeeze as much moisture out of them as I can.

2 to 3 large tomatoes
1 small bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced
1 TBS julliened fresh basil (roll several leaves into a cigar shape and cut crosswise)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 to 1 cup good quality mayonnaise (I like to use French Mayonnaise)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 partially baked 9 inch wide, deep pie shell

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. If you are using fresh tomatoes, peel. This can be very easily done by cutting a small x with a sharp knife on the bottom. Dip into boiling water and leave for 30 to 40 seconds. Remove from the boiling water and plunge into ice water. The skin should now easily slip right off.

Slice the tomatoes into thick slices. Place them in layers into the pastry shell, sprinkling each layer with some spring onions, basil, salt and pepper. Mix together the mayonnaise and the cheese. Spread this mixture over top of the tomatoes. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the filling is nicely browned.

Remove and allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting into slices to serve. Delicious!

This is good . . . very, very good.


Chicken Kiev

I think Chicken Kievs have to be one of the most popular foods with children over here in the UK. The freezer section of most grocery stores are well stocked with little cartons of the same, and you can buy fresh and ready to cook versions as well.

But how really tasty is a piece of ground up chicken that has been reformed around a dab of garlic flavoured fat (is it really butter?) and then rolled in some egg and bread crumbs and fried??? Most end up dry and tasting of nothing but garlic . . . any resemblance to the real thing having been somehow lost in the translation from, what was once a delicious entree, into a pop culture fast food!

Making them from scratch is not really all that hard, and doesn't really take that long. Boned and skinned chicken breasts are wrapped around a delicious pat of frozen seasoned butter and then coated with egg and crumbs.

Fried just until golden brown, these bear no resemblance whatsoever to those pale imitations in the shops. By the time the chicken is done the butter is just melted and will gush out when you cut into it, bathing your noodles or rice, or whatever with a delicious buttery and herby sauce.

It's the real thing . . . Why settle for anything less . . .

*Chicken Kiev*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

This delicious dish hails from Russia back in the time of the great Czars. Chicken breasts wrapped around a delicious garlic butter and then breaded and fried, it is a real family favourite.

Herb Butter:
4 ounces butter, softened
1 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tsp dried tarragon leaves
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast portions
1/2 cup of seasoned flour
2 large eggs, beaten
8 ounces of seasoned dry bread crumbs
oil for frying

In a small bowl, with a rubber scraper, thoroughly mix the butter, parsleyk tarragon, garlic, salt and pepper together. Lay out a piece of foil. Shape the butter mixture into a 3 inch square. Wrap up and freeze until firm.

In the meantime, trim the chicken breasts of any fat and sinew. Place each piece,one at a time, smooth side down on a sheet of cling film. Cover with a second sheet. Very carefully pound the chicken out until it is 1/4 inch thick, being very careful not to break the meat. Cut the frozen butter into 6 equal pats. Place a pat of herb butter in the centre of each piece of chicken. Bring the long sides of the chicken over to cover the butt, folding the ends over and making sure that no butter is showing. Fasten with a toothpick to keep shut.

Roll each chicken piece in some seasoned flour, then dip into the beaten eggs. Roll into the dried bread crumbs, coating evenly. Place on a tray, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.

Heat some oil in a large heavy skillet. Once it is hot add the chicken pieces, 3 at a time and cook, turning with tongs, until browned all over. Drain and then place into a warm oven in a large pan that has been lined with some paper towels. Cook the remaining 3 kievs in the same way. Serve hot with some rice or noodles.


Friday, 14 March 2014

White Chocolate Dipped Gingernuts

 photo c0a81cec4749062cbdcdbb7890a320ef_zpsd7c96a80.jpg

An old family favourite in our house are Gingernut cookies.  
We have always been mad for ginger, and if you add the treat of dipping half of these tasty cookies
 into white chocolate, well . . .
they become even more gorgeous and impossible to resist!


*White Chocolate Dipped Gingernuts*
Makes 24
Printable Recipe

What’s better than a gingernut biscuit? A white chocolate dipped gingernut biscuit! Bet you can’t eat just one!

¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup molasses
2 cups plain flour
1 TBS ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 TBS finely minced candied ginger
1 further cup of sugar for rolling
2 cups white chocolate chips
2 tsp butter

Pre-heat oven to 189*C/350*F. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and the syrup mixture, mixing in well. Sift together the flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in, mixing in well. Stir in the candied ginger.

Put the remaining 1 cup of sugar into a bowl. Shape tablespoon’s full of the cookie dough into round balls between the palms of your hand. Drop into the bowl of sugar and coat all over. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until done. (Will look all crackly and be firm to the touch) Remove to racks to cool completely.

Melt the chocolate chips and the butter together. Dip one half of each ginger nut into the melted chocolate shaking off the excess. Place on wire racks covered with parchment paper to allow the chocolate to set and harden.