Stove Top Vegetarian Lasagna

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I'm always on the search for a good, simple weeknight meal that can be knocked up in less than no time. This Stove Top Vegetarian Lasagna certainly falls into that category, you'll never believe how easy it is to make.  You'll have this piping hot dish on the table in less than 40 minutes and feel super smug at the mountains of veg hidden within the folds of pasta.  The best thing about this dish, is it's cooked entirely on the hob.  No baking for hours on end, just 30 minutes on the gas burner and you're good to go. What a treat!

A fantastic, quick midweek meal made without even switching on an oven.

I absolutely love making this lasagna, it's such an undemanding dish and can be customised with whatever veg you have lying around.  My favourites are mushroom, peppers, courgettes and aubegine. 

A fantastic, quick midweek meal made without even switching on an oven.

If, like me, you have a bit of a weakness for crispy cheese, you can pop the lasagna under the grill for a few minutes before serving but it's completely up to yourself. There's no need to turn the oven on at all. Perfect for when the nights get warmer and the thought of switching on the oven fills you with dread.

A fantastic, quick midweek meal made without even switching on an oven.


Stove Top Vegetarian Lasagna
(Recipe addapted from Two Peas and their Pod)


Ingredients
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 aubergine, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2tsp dried basil
  • 1/2tsp oregano
  • 5 lasagna sheets
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes with herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 125g ricotta cheese
  • 150g mozzarella
  • 25g Parmesan, grated
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large casserole dish with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, courgette, mushrooms and aubergine, and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Snap the lasagna sheets into large pieces and fit them into the casserole dish, overlapping and piling them up a bit. Pour tomatoes over the pasta sheets making sure all the pasta is covered with the sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the dish with a lid. Cook for 25 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and dot ricotta cheese around the dish, cover with torn chunks of mozzarella and replace the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes until the cheese has melted. If you like a crispy top pop the dish under a preheated grill for 5 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and delicious. Serve piping hot with grated Parmesan cheese.
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Double Chocolate Banana Bread

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Banana bread is one of life's great pleasures. I love everything about this simple little loaf cake, the intoxicating fug it creates while baking is enough to make me weak at the knees.  I'm guilty of buying bananas with the sole purpose of allowing them to go black and gooey, just so I can mash em up and bake them into my absolute favorite cake. There's a reason we rarely serve up a banana bread in Pet Lamb, it's because I'll eat it all. No lie!

Double Chocolate Banana Bread, the best way to use up over ripe bananas.

There are so many versions of this cake all over the internet, it's amazing how versatile banana bread can be. This double chocolate version is so totally indulgent and rich that I only try to bake it on special occasions, I seriously have no control when it comes to this baby. 

Double Chocolate Banana Bread, the best way to use up over ripe bananas.

This particular loaf was whipped up so I could have an extra naughty birthday breakfast of dippy eggs followed by a slab of double chocolate banana bread, heated up in the oven of course.  Get that chocolate all nice and melty, it's no fun unless you get it all over your chops.  The perfect fuel for a busy day.

If you're a banana bread addict like me, check out my other favorite incarnation Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. It's a more sophisticated take on this loaf but equally as delicious!

Double Chocolate Banana Bread, the best way to use up over ripe bananas.



Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients
  • 50g (1/4cup) Butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 60ml (1/4cup) Sunflower oil
  • 3 Over ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 150g (3/4cup) Light brown sugar
  • 1 Large, free range egg
  • 1tsp Vanilla extract
  • 125g (1cup) Self raising flour
  • 60g (1/2cup) Cocoa powder
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 150g (1cup) Chocolate Chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 175C and grease a loaf tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl mix together your mashed bananas, melted butter, oil, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until combined. Sift your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt over the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir through 3/4 of the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared tin. Sprinkle over the remaining chocolate chips and bake for 60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean. Remember there are chocolate chips in there so you may have to test the cake in a few places to ensure you're not just hitting melted chocolate.
  3. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to finish cooling. Slice while still warm and sticky, enjoy and try not to eat the whole thing.
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Nutella Swirl Cookies

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A few weeks ago I was browsing the cookbook section of my local bookstore, something I do pretty damn often if I'm honest.  Normally I'll browse, fall in love with a book before dragging myself away, remembering I have a library of cookbooks at home sat begging to be used.  This time I caved, I'm a little embarrased to admit that the book that broke me was the baking book of world famous vlogger Tanya Burr, Tanya Bakes.  I felt like a thirteen year old girl handing it over to the casheer but I have to admit, some of those recipes are pretty amazing, and the one that really got my heart rate going was for these Salted Nutella Cookies. 

These giant salted nutella cookies from Tanya Bakes are the king of cookies.  Give them a try and see for yourself.

Let me start off by saying that these cookies are insane! Not only are they swirled with the godly nectar that is Nutella, but they're bloody giant.  I'm not kidding, these bad boys are two handers. In my eyes, that is never a bad thing.

The thing I love most about these cookies, more than the lashings of Nutella, is the fact the dough doesn't need to be chilled before baking.  That means you can have freshly baked cookies in he timne it takes to boil your kettle.  OK, I may be over exagerating there but you get the jyst, they're fast!

These giant salted nutella cookies from Tanya Bakes are the king of cookies.  Give them a try and see for yourself.



Salted Nutella Cookies


Ingredients
  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • 1 large, free range egg
  • 325g self raising flour
  • 200g Nutella
  • 1tbsp flaked sea salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°c and line 3 baking trays with baking parchment.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, mixing till combined. Add the flour and salt and mix into a crumbly dough.
  4. Marble the Nutella through the dough using a metal spoon and roll the mixture into 10 large balls and flatten slightly with your hands. Place the balls of dough on the baking trays leaving space for the cookies to spread. Sprinkle each cookeswith a little extra sea salt and bake for 13 minutes until set around the edges.
  5. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transfering to a wire rack to finish cooling. Or eat them warm with icecream if you know what's good for you.
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Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Cake

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Vegan baking used to have such a stigma surrounding it.  People automatically assumed because a cake is vegan it wouldn't be good, they were constantly passed over in the bakery and always ended up in the bin. That was until I discovered this recipe, and oh my god is it good! You seriously need to try this vegan chocolate raspberry cake to believe it, so moist and gooey. It really is something else.

The best vegan chocolate cake recipe ever, give it a try and see for yourself.

I whipped up this cake and tested it out on the Pet Lamb counter and couldn't believe the response. Never has a cake sold as fast as this one. Everyone was obsessing over it regardless of their diet, in fact I think the majority of people buying slices were non-vegan.

The best vegan chocolate cake recipe ever, give it a try and see for yourself.

The best thing about this cake is there's no weird and wonderful ingredients that call for a trip to the local health food store, everything can be bought at any supermarket and if you enjoy baking you'll probably have most of the ingredients to hand anyway.  Make sure your spread is certified vegan, I used Pure but any brand will work perfectly, and you're ready to roll.

Let me know if you'd like to see more dairy free, vegan baking on here. I loved whipping this baby up!

The best vegan chocolate cake recipe ever, give it a try and see for yourself.


Vegan Chocolate and Raspberry Cake
Recipe adapted from Veggie Desserts

Ingredients
  • For the cake :
  • 600ml unsweetened soy milk
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 300g vegan spread
  • 125g golden syrup
  • 350g golden caster sugar
  • 550g self raising flour
  • 1tsp espresso powder
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100g raspberries

  • For the frosting :
  • 200g vegan spread
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • splash unsweetened soy milk
  • raspberry jam
  • raspberries to decorate
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and line two 9" springform cake tins with baking parchment.
  2. In a large jug combine the soy milk and the lemon juice, stir and set aside to curdle.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the vegan spread, golden syrup and caster sugar together till nice and creamy. Turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and add in the milk, flour, cocoa, coffee and baking powder. Mix until fully combined, stir through the raspberries until evenly distributed.
  4. Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out cleanly. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes before releasing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting whip the vegan spread, icing sugar and cocoa powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Wrap a tea towel around the top of your mixer to stop the mess. If your frosting is too stiff add a tiny splash of soy milk to loosen.
  6. Spread a generous layer of frosting over one half of the cake followed by a good splodge of good quality raspberry jam. Top with the other cake, frost the top and decorate with fresh raspberries. 

I’m sharing this recipe with the blog challenge  #WeShouldCocoa with Tin & Thyme.
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Creme Egg Milkshakes

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Easter is right around the corner, and the iconic Cadburys Creme Egg is popping up in recipes all over the place and this blog is not one to buck the trend.  There's nothing I won't do for a creme egg, they're my absolute favorite Easter treat.  In fact, instead of an Easter egg I usually recieve a Costco-sized box of creme eggs to munch my way through.  I'd love to tell you they last longer than a week, but they rarely do.

This Creme Egg Freakshake is the perfect Easter treat.

These Creme Egg milkshakes are a super fun way to serve up my favorite Easter treat, and boy are they a piece of cake to make. Just throw everything in a blender, whiz it up and prepare to get messy.

This Creme Egg Freakshake is the perfect Easter treat.

I used Nutella to glue the mini eggs to the rim of my glass, but I'm sure melted chocolate will work just as well.  You don't have to go all out on the presentation, but look how fun they look!  When you're making milkshakes from Creme Eggs you may aswell go all the way.  Chocolate overload!

Still needing more Creme Egg action? Why not check out my recipe for Creme Egg Slutty Brownies. Man alive are they awesome!

This Creme Egg Freakshake is the perfect Easter treat.


Creme Egg Milkshake


Ingredients:
  • Jar of Nutella
  • Bag of Mini Eggs, chopped
  • 3 Creme Eggs
  • 450ml whole milk
  • 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream
  • Whipped cream
Directions:
  1. First of all prepare your glasses. Scoop out two table spoons of nutella into a heatproof bowl and microwave for 10 second bursts until it's melted and runny. Pour into a piping bag and pipe swirls of Nutella on the inside of your milkshake glass. Using a teaspoon paint a layer of Nutella around the rim of your glass and roll in the chopped Mini Eggs.
  2. To make the milkshake place the milk, ice cream and two of the Creme Eggs in a blender and whizz up until fully liquidised. Pour into your glasses and top with a big swirl of whipped cream and drizzle with the remaining Nutella. Cut the remaining Creme Egg in half and pop it on top of your masterpiece. 

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Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

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Do you like chocolate? Do you like peanut butter? Do you like them both together? If the answer to these three questions is yes, then you simply must make these cookies!

Deliciously chocolatey cookies stuffed with lashings of peanut butter. Get the kettle on.

It's been a while since I've filled my freezer with hidden treats, something that had to be rectified.  Knowing I can be munching on a warm cookie in as little as twenty minutes is the most comforting feeling ever. Plus you're always ready for those unexpected guests. My mam has a habit of just showing up unannounced, and woe betide the daughter that has no treats for her hungry mother.

Deliciously chocolatey cookies stuffed with lashings of peanut butter. Get the kettle on.

I absolutely love these cookies, they are utterly delicious warm or cold. I admit, they are a bit of a labour of love, but this recipe makes around two dozen so if you pop them in the freezer you can have a cookie a day for almost a month.  That's a pretty decent cookie pay off if you ask me.

Deliciously chocolatey cookies stuffed with lashings of peanut butter. Get the kettle on.



Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Cookies


Ingredients:
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped up
  • 80g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 75g peanut butter, smooth or crunchie
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 3 large, free range eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100g plain chocolate chips
Cooking Directions:
  1. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt the dark chocolate, stirring until completely melted. Remove from the heat and set aside while you make your batter.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, 50g of the peanut butter peanut butter and both sugars until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thouroghly between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time. Turn the mixer down to its lowest setting and slowly pour in the chocolate, mix until everything is incorperated.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and cocoa to the wet mixture and mix until just combined then stir through the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 175 ̊C, line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Roll walnut sized balls of the dough in your hands and using your thumb make a deep indentation in the ball. Fill the hole with 1/2tsp of peanut butter and take a small piece of the dough and cover the peanut butter, roll into a ball. Repeat until you've used up all of your cookie dough.
  5. If freezing, place all of your cookie balls on a lined baking sheet, making sure they're not touching, and place in the freezer for an hour. Once frozen the cookies can be transfered into a freezerproof bag and can be frozen for up to 3 month. If they even last that long. When cooking from frozen preheat the oven to 160 ̊C, arrange the cookies on a lined baking sheet lined with parchment, making sure there's enough room between them for spreading, and bake for 18-20 minutes.
  6. Arrange your cookies on the prepared baking sheets, allowing around 2" between each cookie to allow for spreading. Bake in batches for 15 minutes until cooked around the edges but still a little soft in the center. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Lemon Meringue Pie - Revisited

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Recently, on Facebook, I was asked to share the very first post I wrote for my blog. It was for a blogging group I'm part of and it was such fun to see how much everyone has changed over the years, especially me. Dark images taken at night on my little point and click digital camera, I truely had no clue. I bet you're desperate to see it, well here you go, Lemon Meringue Pie. My favorite dessert in the whole world and the very first recipe posted on this here blog.

Lemon meringue pie with a gingersnap crust.

When I looked back on this sad excuse for food blogging a thought hit me, I haven't made a lemon meringue pie since that day back in 2008! That is something I had to rectify immediatly.  One thing hasn't changed, I still prefer a buttery biscuit base, but this time I went for gingersnaps rather than digestives. The ginger crust is just the perfect acompanyment to the zingy lemon custard.

Lemon meringue pie with a gingersnap crust.

This recipe is addapted from Gorgeous Cakes, which is one of the very first baking books I ever bought and one I still refer back to today.

Lemon Meringue Pie with a Gingersnap Crust
Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • 250g gingersnap biscuits
  • 110g unsalted butter, melted

  • For the topping:
  • Zest and juce of 4 lemons
  • 1 tin of condensed milk
  • 4 large, free range eggs seperated
  • 110g caster sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Whizz the biscuits in a food processor untill finely chopped. Put the crumbs in a bowl, add melted butter and mix until the crumbs are evenly coated with the butter. Press the mixture into a 20cm tart tin with a removable base. Start with the sides then move onto the base, using your fingers to press the mixture down.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C. Before juicing the lemons roll them on the counter to release as much juice as possible. Combine the zest and juice with the condensed milk in a bowl, whisking till you have a smooth cream. Now, whisk in the egg yolks and pour onto the biscuit base.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk the egg whites until they rise to a froth. Sprinkle over the sugar 1tbsp at a time, whisking well with each addition until you have a stiff and glossy meringue.
  4. Mound the meringue mixture on top of the lemon cream, taking it to the edge of the tin. bake for around 30 minutes or until the surface of the meringue is lightly golden and crusty, and the custard set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing it from the tin.
  5. The pie is best eaten on the day it is baked. 
Of course, if you decide to give this a go please do tag me in your instagram posts, I'd love to see. I'm over at Katie_Petlamb.


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Strawberry Prosecco Cupcakes

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My love of prosecco is well documented on this blog, there really is nothing better than popping that cork and settling down for a good gossip with the girls.  Last week we went extra with our flutes, topping them with a plump, red strawberry before adding a dash of wild strawberry liquor. Needless to say it was utterly delicious, which got me thinking about cupcakes.  How can I incorporate this delicious flavour into a little bun, thus these strawberry prosecco cupcakes were born.

Strawberry Prosecco Cupcakes, the perfect treat for Mothers Day

The best thing about these cupcakes is the surprise on peoples faces when they bite through the sponge to discover a full, juicy strawberry hiding inside.  What a treat.

Strawberry Prosecco Cupcakes, the perfect treat for Mothers Day

With Mothers Day on the horizon I can imagine many a deserving mother who would be delighted with the gift of these babies.  Serve them up alongside a chilled glass of prosecco for the queen of Mothers Day treats, you'll even get bonus points for making them with your own hands.  No store bought cakes for you, oh no!

Strawberry Prosecco Cupcakes, the perfect treat for Mothers Day


Strawberry Prosecco Cupcakes

Ingredients
  • For the cake :
  • 175g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g (1 1/2 cups) self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp whole milk
  • 12 strawberries

  • For the frosting :
  • 125g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g (2 1/2 cups) icing sugar
  • 100ml prosecco
  • popping candy and straws to decorate
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat your oven to 170C and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with liners. Set aside. 
  2. In the the bowl of an electric mixer whip the butter and sugar together till light and creamy, around 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time mixing between each addition. Add half the flour and mix, add the milk followed by the rest of the flour and the baking powder. Mix till combined the mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop fill each cupcake liner to 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes until risen and springy when touched. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to a baking rack to finish cooling.
  4. To make the frosting first mix the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and soft. Add the icing sugar and 3/4 of the prosecco. Turn the mixer on low and gradually increase the speed. Whip for 5 minutes, if the frosting looks too stiff add a touch more prosecco until you reach a nice piping consistency.
  5. One the cupcakes have cooled slightly brush the tops with the remaining prosecco then take a small knife and hollow out a cone in the center of each cupcake, pop a strawberry in each hole. Fill a piping bag, fitted with an open star nozzle, with the prosecco frosting and pipe a cute swirl on each cake. Sprinkle with the popping candy and pop a little straw in the top.
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Lemon Madeleines

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Madeleines have always held a whimsical fascination for me. Their delicate crumb, distinctive shell shape and the cute hump, without which it isn't really a madeleine, is it?!

Lemon Madeleines, delicate shell shaped tea cakes perfect for dipping in your cuppa.

 When LionsHome got in touch with me and asked me to create a recipe for them, my mind skipped right over to madeleines. I've had a hankering for the adorable little tea cakes for the longest time but always put off baking them as my madeleine pan is of the vintage persuasion. Beautiful to look at but the non stick coating is, to say, non existent.  That's where I decided enough was enough, I just had to invest in a new Madeleine Cake Tin. No need to over grease the holes, no need to gently jimmy a knife around the edge of each cake only to completely destroy their beautiful shape.  They just slipped out like a dream.  I can see many more madeleines in my future.

Lemon Madeleines, delicate shell shaped tea cakes perfect for dipping in your cuppa.

One thing I must say about baking these little delicacies, you must follow the chilling advice.  The chilling of the batter is what helps the cake form their distinctive hump.  Chill the batter, chill the pan and you should have perfectly formed little cakes. 

Lemon Madeleines, delicate shell shaped tea cakes perfect for dipping in your cuppa.

With a plate of still warm from the oven lemon madeleines, a piping hot cup of tea I had nothing else to do but peruse the Kitchen section of LionsHome for a spot of window shopping.  One of my favourite things in the world is to just sit and pour over online shops full of gorgeous home wares and imagine what I would buy and where I would put them in my home.  If only I had a bigger house to fill.



Lemon Madeleines

Ingredients
  • 3 large, free range eggs
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 175g plain flour
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature.
  • 1tbsp unsalted butter, melted for greasing the moulds
Cooking Directions
  1. Brush the holes of a madeleine pan with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer while you make your batter.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the eggs and caster sugar for 5 minutes until frothy and thick.
  3. Sift the flour into the whipped eggs, fold in gently. Once the flour is just incorporated add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter a little at a time, folding the butter in as you pour until it is all incorporated.
  4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
  5. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 175C. Pop around 1tbsp of batter into each mould and bake for 9-10 minutes until the cakes just feel set and have gone golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes and slide the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy. 
*Sponsored Post
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Orange Drizzle Loaf

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With Valentines day a mere 24 hours away, I'm feeling the love in the air and the romance in the water. This year I decided to join in on Food Blogger Love and share a little bit of loveliness for my fellow online foodies.  My chosen Valentine is Kelly Lynn from Kelly Lynn's Sweets & Treats. Happy chocolates and flowers day Kelly!

Super zesty orange drizzle loaf, perfect with a cup of tea and a good book.

Kelly's blog is jammed full of tasty treats and I just loved drooling over her recipes.  For the purpose of Food Blogger Love I thought I'd whip up my take on her delicious looking Orange Loaf Cake.  My orange drizzle loaf is a bit different from Kelly's version, hers is a traditional pound cake smothered in yummy frosting where mine is a fluffy loaf soaked in an orange syrup. I think between us we've got everyones preferences covered.

Super zesty orange drizzle loaf, perfect with a cup of tea and a good book.

I have to admit, I'm super jealous of Kelly's orange tree, imagine having a bounty of fresh fruit right in your own back yard! I'll have to make do with my local green grocer, oh well.

Drizzle cake is my absolute favorite cake in the world. Normally you attribute this style of loaf with lemon but it lends itself perfectly to any citrus fruit. I've had excellent results from lime and even grapefruit.  There's nothing like breaking through that sugary crust and letting the zingy citrus sponge melt on your tongue.

Super zesty orange drizzle loaf, perfect with a cup of tea and a good book.


Orange Drizzle Loaf

Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2tbsp orange zest from 2 oranges

  • For the drizzle :
  • juice from 2 oranges
  • 250g caster sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 170C and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer mix all of the cake ingredients together untill fully combined.
  3. Pour batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45-55 minutes until risen and springy to the touch. Allow to cool while you make the drizzle.
  4. Stir together the sugar and orange juice, once combined pour over the loaf and leave to cool in the tin for 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Once cool, use a sharp knife to release the edged of the cake from the tin and remove. Slice and enjoy. 
Super zesty orange drizzle loaf, perfect with a cup of tea and a good book.


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Matcha and Raspberry Cupcakes

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There's a bit of a theme with the tea based recipes here, I promise I'll give you a break after this one but I just couldn't hold it in any longer.  I love a cup of green tea, the health benefits are off the charts. It helps with bloating, is packed with antioxidants, boosts metabolism and lowers cholesterol.  Matcha is the heavy hitting big brother of a normal cup of green tea, and boy is it delicious.  I don't drink coffee so a matcha latte is my favourite go to drink when we're out and about.  We'll not mention the Starbucks version though, godawful!

Green tea infused cupcakes filled with a sweet raspberry jam. A match made in heaven.

I was gifted a pot of ceremonial grade matcha tea from The Tea Makers a while ago, and I just couldn't bring myself to drink it. It's like killing a unicorn.  So, instead I decided to incorporate it into some recipes and share the joys of matcha tea with my friends and family.  First up I baked up a batch of matcha and raspberry cupcakes and boy are they something special.  I fed them to my boyfriends bandmates and they went wild, something I was just not expecting from a bunch of hairy musicians.  I was overjoyed, these cupcakes are gold medal winners.

Green tea infused cupcakes filled with a sweet raspberry jam. A match made in heaven.

Matcha has a bit of an earthy undertone, which I personally love, but it's not for everyone.  With that in mind I decided to fill the cakes with a sweet and sticky raspberry jam to balance out the flavour.  It worked perfectly, matcha and raspberry are a match made in heaven.

I picked up these adorable matcha pocky from my local Asian supermarket for less than £1, and you can get freeze dried raspberries from Waitrose and Amazon.  

Green tea infused cupcakes filled with a sweet raspberry jam. A match made in heaven.


Matcha Green Tea and Raspberry Cupcakes

Ingredients
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 175g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g (1.5 cups) self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • 50ml whole milk
  • 1 jar of good quality raspberry jam

  • For the frosting:
  • 125g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 250g (2 cups) icing sugar
  • 1/2tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • 2tbsp whole milk
  • freeze dried raspberries to decorate
  • green tea pocky cut in thirds to decorate
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat your oven to 170C and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with liners. Set aside.

  2. The the bowl of an electric mixer whip the butter and sugar together till light and creamy, around 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time mixing between each addition. Add half the flour and mix, add the milk followed by the rest of the flour, the baking powder and matcha powder. Mix till combined the mix in the vanilla extract.

  3. Using an ice cream scoop fill each cupcake liner to 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes until risen and springy when touched. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to a baking rack to finish cooling.

  4. To make the frosting first mix the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and soft. Add the icing sugar, matcha powder and the milk. Turn the mixer on low and gradually increase the speed. Whip for 5 minutes, if the frosting looks too stiff add a touch more milk until you reach a nice piping consistency.

  5. One the cupcakes have cooled take an apple corer or a small knife and hollow out the center of each cupcake and fill with raspberry jam. Fill a piping bag, fitted with an open star nozzle, with the matcha frosting and pipe a cute swirl on each cake. Sprinkle with the freeze fried raspberries and top with 2 pieces of the pocky. 

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Earl Grey and Blueberry Layer Cake

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Settling down with a good cup of tea is one of lifes little pleasures, pop some fairy lights and a softly scented candle in the mix and you're living the hygge life.  I have to admit, usually I opt for a bog standard builders brew. Yorkshire Tea with milk, no sugar please.  However, when I'm feeling a little frazzled and stressed out there's only one thing I want in my mug, a beautifully scented Earl Grey.  I take this with milk too; I know, I'm sorry.

A delicate Earl Grey tea infused sponge topped with fluffy vanilla frosting and lashings of blueberry jam.

What on earth could be better than a steaming cup of perfumed earl grey tea I hear you ask? How about a freakin' cake, infused with earl grey tea?!  OMG right?!  A pillowy tea infused sponge, creamy vanilla frosting and lashings of blueberry jam.

I present to you the Earl Grey and blueberry cake.  Hot Damn.  Blueberries pair perfectly with the bergamot in the tea, if you're feeling super fruity you could even add a handful of fresh blueberries to the sponge. 

A delicate Earl Grey tea infused sponge topped with fluffy vanilla frosting and lashings of blueberry jam.

Did you guys know that Newcastle, oh all right, Northumberland, is the ancestral home of British Prime Minister and tea enthusiast Charles Grey? Legend has it that the tea was specially blended to suit the lime heavy water at Howick Hall.  The Greys enjoyed the tea so much they brought the infusion with them to London where it caught the eye, and taste, of Twinings.  And so, an icon was born.

A delicate Earl Grey tea infused sponge topped with fluffy vanilla frosting and lashings of blueberry jam.

The key to this cake is the tea infused milk.  Steeping the teabags in the milk for a good hour before baking the cake is essential to get that strong Earl Grey taste.  While you're waiting for the infusion you might as well brew yourself a cup, it's a hard life. Just don't forget those fairy lights and candles.

A delicate Earl Grey tea infused sponge topped with fluffy vanilla frosting and lashings of blueberry jam.


Earl Grey and Blueberry Cake

Ingredients
  • For the infused milk :
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 4 Earl Grey tea bags

  • For the cake :
  • 350g unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 350g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

  • For the frosting :
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 4tbsp milk
  • blueberry jam
  • fresh blueberries to decorate
Cooking Directions
  • First of all pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Allow to bubble but remove just before it comes to the boil. Add the 4 tea bags, give it a stir and leave until completely cool. Once cooled down, remove the bags, give them a good squeeze and discard. Set the infused milk aside while you make the cake. 
  • Preheat the oven to 170C and line 3 9" cake tins with baking paper.  Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on a medium speed for 5 minutes until the butter is light and creamy. Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside. Turn the mixer down to a low speed and crack the eggs in one at a time. Once the eggs are fully Incorporated add half of the flour and mix to combine, add the infused milk and vanilla extract followed by the remaining flour and mix again. 
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking tins and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown and the cake springs back when you touch it. Allow to cool in the pans for 20 minutes before removing them and placing on a baking rack to finish cooling. 
  • To make the frosting first mix the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and soft. Add the icing sugar, vanilla and 2tbsp of the milk. Turn the mixer on low and gradually increase the speed. Whip for 5 minutes, if the frosting looks too stiff add the rest of your milk. You may find you need a little more, just go steady until you reach a nice piping consistency. 
  • Spread the frosting on top of your first cake followed by a good splodge of blueberry jam, top with the next cake and repeat. Pop your top layer on and spread the remaining frosting on top, scatter with fresh blueberries. If you have a piping bag and nozzle feel free to pipe your butter cream on for a more polished look. 

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Homemade Vegetarian Gyoza

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I've wrote about my undying love for gyozas before, nothing has changed. I still eat copious amounts of the blighters and I still have a warm fuzzy feeling when I have a freezer full.  The only thing that has changed is my house is now half vegetarian. Since I don't want to leave my poor boyfriend out of my frenzied gyoza eating sessions I decided to whip up some sans-meat. 

These little steamed dumplings are the perfect treat for vegan and vegetarian diets.

In fact, these homemade asparagus and tofu gyozas aren't just vegetarian, they're also vegan friendly.  The best thing about these little dumplings of joy is they freeze perfectly.  Simply freeze them in on layer before transferring them into freezer bags, you never know when an unexpected guest may drop by.  Plus, the kudos you'll get for steaming up a big batch of dumplings is amazing, nobody will believe you made these seemingly complex little parcels.

These little steamed dumplings are the perfect treat for vegan and vegetarian diets.

I get my gyoza wrappers from the frozen section of my local Asian supermarket, along with any of the harder to find veggies and sauces. They really are a total treasure trove of interesting ingredients, I could get lost for hours meandering through the colourful isles.  If you're in the Newcastle area, I recommend HiYoU, it's my go to.

These little steamed dumplings are the perfect treat for vegan and vegetarian diets.

These little steamed dumplings are the perfect treat for vegan and vegetarian diets.

Don't forget your dumpling press if, like me, you can't hack the fiddly folding process. I'm just too damn impatient, I'm sure I'll learn one day.

I used Cauldron Marinated Tofu in this recipe as there's no need to press it. Saves so much time and mess.

These dumplings are adapted from The Part Time Vegetarian cookbook. I cannot recommend this book enough for multi-diet households. Filled with vegetarian and vegan recipes with little notes on how to change it if you're partial to a bit of meat.  I have to say, it's one of my favourite cookbooks of last year.

These little steamed dumplings are the perfect treat for vegan and vegetarian diets.


Asparagus and Tofu Gyoza

Ingredients
  • For the filling :
  • 200g asparagus, thinly sliced into rounds, tips removed and set aside
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm root ginger, grated
  • 150g tofu, pressed and finely chopped
  • 2tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tsp sesame oil
  • good pinch of salt and pepper

  • For the dipping sauce :
  • 4tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp chinese black vinegar or balsamic
  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2" piece of root ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced

  • For the gyoza :
  • 25 gyoza wrappers
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix together all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.
  2. Mix all of the filling ingredients together apart from the asparagus tips. Slice the tips in half lengthways and set aside.
  3. Place 1tbsp of the filling into a gyoza wrapper, mosten the edge and fold in half, pleeting the edges. Or, if you have a dumpling press, place the wrapped into the press, pop your filling in the middle and fold. Repeat until you have used up all of your filling.
  4. Pour your vegetable oil into a large frying pan with a lid and place over a medium heat. Place 10 gyoza, flat side down, in the pan and fry for 2 minutes until the bottoms are crisp and brown. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining dumplings.
  5. Once everything is fried, place all the dumplins back in the pan in an even layer (do this in two batches if they don't all fit), sprinkle over the reserved asparagus tips and pour over 4tbsp water and quickly cover with the pan lid. Steam for 3 minutes and remove from the pan.
  6. Serve with the asparagus tips, chopped chilli and the dipping sauce.
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Blueberry and Elderflower Virgin Mojito

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Now that the excesses of Christmas are well and truly over, and the lashings of New Year champagne are a distant memory, most people find their minds drifting over to turning over a new leaf.  Health and wellness beckons, the spiaralizer comes out of the cupboard and the bottles of wine are replaced by green smoothies and gym gear.

Dry Janurary is the first port of call for a lot of adults; sick of glugging down the funny juice, you start to feel like your liver needs a bit of a break.  Did you know that 16% of UK adults took part in dry Janurary last year, I know, right?!

Dry January doesn't have to be boring with these delicious blueberry and elderflower mocktails.

This Janurary I've teamed up with Fentimans to bring you a delicious mocktail that will have you in the party spirit, without the need for booze.  This blueberry and elderflower virgin mojito is so damn tasty you'll forget that the rum is even missing.

I used Fentimans Wild English Elderflower as the base for this cocktail. It's so delicious I'd be perfectly happy drinking it over ice, but add a bit of bluberry syrup and mint and you're on a whole other planet!

Dry January doesn't have to be boring with these delicious blueberry and elderflower mocktails.


Blueberry and Elderflower Virgin Mojito


Ingredients
  • For the blueberry syrup :
  • 150ml water
  • 50g blueberries
  • 100g caster sugar
  • For each mocktail :
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 1/2tbsp blueberry syrup
  • juice from 1/2 a lime
  • Fentimans Wild English Elderflower Soft Drink
Cooking Directions
  1. For the blueberry syrup, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  2. To make each mocktail put 1 1/2tbsp of syrup in the bottom of each glass followed by the mint leaves. Muddle the syrup and leaves together. Add the lime juice, fill up the glass with ice then pour over the Wild English Elderflower soft drink. Give the drink a little stir and garnish with a little extra mint and some lime wedges.
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Oreo Swirl Marshmallows

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Marshmallows have a reputation for being difficult litte buggers to make.  The squidgy, flumptious nature of them just screams "don't bother, buy a bag instead". I'm here to tell you to ignore that voice, just push it down. Instead, gather together a few ingredients and prepare to be plesently surprised about how easy it actually is.

Give these homemade marshmallows a try, you won't believe how easy it is!

The best thing about making marshmallows is the fact your stand mixer does the majority of the work for you, all you've got to do is boil up some sugar.  This is not a job for little hands, so if you're making these with kids make sure they stand well back while you boss this bit.

Give these homemade marshmallows a try, you won't believe how easy it is!

If you're not feeling the oreo bit, or just can't face washing the food processor, you can just leave this bit out and make plain vanilla marshmallows.  Just as tasty but nowhere near as fun, if you ask me.

Give these homemade marshmallows a try, you won't believe how easy it is!



Oreo Swirl Marshmallows

Ingredients:
  • For the Oreo swirl 
  • 1 pack of Oreo cookies 154g
  • 50g coconut oil

  • For the marshmallows 
  • 3 envelopes of gelatin
  • 100ml cold water
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 250g corn syrup (found in the American section)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g icing sugar for dusting and coating
Cooking Directions:
  1. For the Oreo swirl put the Oreos and coconut oil into a blender and blend for around 3 minutes until it turns into a wet paste. Set aside.
  2. For the marshmallows grease a 9x13" tin with cake release or a generous amount of oil. If using oil line the tin with cling film, leaving an overhang around the edges.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer pour in the water and add the gelatin, let stand for 10 minutes until thick. In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan combine 50ml cold water with the sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a rolling boil and continue to boil on a high heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  4. Turn the mixer to high and while it's whipping carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the bowl in a slow, steady stream. Continue mixing on a high speed for 13 minutes until thick and sticky. Add in the vanilla extract, mix to combine. With a rubber spatular marble the Oreo paste through the marshmallow and transfer into the prepared pan. Smooth the top down as best you can and allow to set overnight.
  5. When set remove the marshmallow from the pan, spray a sharp knife with oil and cut into small squares. Toss the cut marshmallows in the icing sugar and enjoy. Marshmallows will last a few weeks in an airtight container.
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