Mushrooms on Toast

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I know I spend a whole lot of time complaining about the weather, but damn is it cold. I've always been a cold climate kinda girl and tend to spend the whole Summer fantasising about the leaves turning brown. Well I'm over it, Winter and I are through. I'm sick of pie, fed up with hot chocolate and bored stiff of steaming bowls of soup. OK, that last one may be a lie, I'll never be bored of soup.


Did you know mushrooms are a fantastic source of vitamin D if you leave them out in the sun for an hour or two? Mind blown, right? The spongy little blighters actually generate the feel good vitamin just like we would if we took a long stroll in the sunshine. Mushrooms now remind me of a brighter time; a time where I'm sat on a terrace sipping on an ice cold glass of wine, and nibbling on juicy garlic mushrooms tumbled over a slab of toasted sourdough. In reality I'd be inside frowning at the rain, it's always raining in Newcastle. 



This rustic dish is super simple and super fast to prepare; so chill your wine, turn the heating up and pretend it's Spring. Don't forget to activate those mushrooms first! 


Mushrooms on Toast 
Serves 2 

Ingredients
2 slices of parma ham 
Knob of butter 
200g mushrooms, I like a mix of wild and forestiere 
2tbsp crème fraîche 
1 large clove of garlic, crushed 
1tbsp thyme, leaves picked 
2 slices of sourdough bread 

Method
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the ham until crisp. Leave the ham to cool on a plate lined with kitchen roll, break into large shards and set aside. Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan and add your mushrooms. Fry for two minutes then add the crème fraîche, garlic and thyme. Cook for a further five minutes or until the mushrooms are nice and soft. Meanwhile, toast your sourdough and arrange on two plates. Tumble the mushrooms over the toast and top with the parma ham.
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Coconut Raspberry Macaroons

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Coconut macaroons were the treat of choice, visiting the local bakery when I was a little girl.  I'd always beg my mam for a macaroon and a meringue snake (can you remember those?) while out shopping, she'd always relent to shut me up and I'd happily trot along side her munching away in quiet glee.  In recent times the poor little blighters have fallen from grace, shoved from their English limelight by their French counterparts.  Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love French macarons but I will always have a nostalgic soft spot for the good old English version.  


 Unlike macarons, coconut macaroons are so super easy to make.  You're not fretting about the foot developing, cracking on the top or just overall failure, you just blitz and roll. 


The versions I'd have when I was small were always drizzled with chocolate with a sugar paper base.  This is because the stubborn little blighters are notorious for sticking to the baking paper; so if you do decide to make these, work fast and remove them while they're still warm.  Instead of chocolate drizzle, I followed the Smitten Kitchen in adding fresh raspberries. Although I'm sure a small dredge of chocolate wouldn't hurt.


Coconut Raspberry Macaroons
(Loosely adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:
300g dessicated coconut
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs whites
100g fresh raspberries
1tsp vanilla extract

Method:
Preheat your oven to 170C and line two baking sheets with parchment.

Blitz the coconut, caster sugar and egg whites in a food processor for around one minute.  Add the raspberries and pulse until they're mostly pureed but some chunks still remain.

Using your hands, or if you like smaller cookies use an ice cream scoop, roll around 2tbsp of the mixture into small balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet.  Keep going until you've used all of the macaroon mixture, I got 16 large cookies.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until starting to brown.  Remove the cookies from the baking sheet while still warm and place on a wire rack to cool. 




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Blueberry Cinnamon Waffles

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Happy 2014 everyone.  It's been a bit quiet round these parts recently and for that I can only appologise.  One of my resolutions is to try and update my trusty blog more and not be so neglectful.  It's quite difficult to get excited about baking at home when you spend all day covered in frosting, but I'm turning over a new leaf.  Reignite that passion and lets get in that kitchen!



Now, I'm not one of these girls who start  new year with the mission of losing two stone and hitting the gym with a vengeance.  I'm the exact opposite, my gym membership remains unused and the scales are shoved to the back of my cupboard.  I'm a baker for Pete's sake, you should never trust a slender baker.  Instead of green juices and flax seed I've been waking up to these amazing blueberry and cinnamon waffles.  If I'm totally honest, these waffles aren't all that terrible for you.  They contain no sugar, butter or oil and are bursting with fresh blueberries.  I guess they're almost a health food.  Plus, you get to walk around with that smug 'I've had waffles for breakfast' swagger all morning; come at me world, I've had waffles.


Blueberry and Cinnamon Waffles

Ingredients:
250ml water
125ml sour cream
125ml fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
150g blueberries, reserve some for decoration

Method:

Preheat your waffle iron (I use this one and couldn't recommend it enough).
In a large jug mix together the wet ingredients and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together till you get a smooth batter.  

Cook on a greased waffle iron according to manufacturers recommendation, around 6 minutes for mine.  

Serve warm, pile with blueberries and drizzle with maple syrup. Feel ready to tackle the day ahead with appropriate gusto.

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