Crispy Mint Squares

Crispy Mint Squares

I was looking through all my recipes the other day and came across this one from my Gran’s old Cookbooks, one I hadn’t tried before. So with the wet weather to day was that day I was going to try these. Back in the day my gran always used margarine for baking, personally I think butter is a much better flavour so this was the 1 thing that I changed & I added in some pistachios to the base to give it a bit more crunch.

Mint Square

Makes about 16-20 squares (depends on how big a slice you want…lol!)

For the Base:-

200g Digestives, crushed

120g Butter

50g Light Brown Sugar

1 heaped tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut

40g Chopped Pistachios

1 egg beaten

For the Peppermint Centre:-

50g Butter

3 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

230g Icing Sugar

Green Food Colouring

For the Chocolate:-

140g Milk Chocolate (55% cocoa) I use Lindt, definitely my favourite.

40g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa)

1 tbsp butter

  1. Use a 9″ square baking tin and line with baking paper or foil
  2. In a saucepan over a low heat melt the butter, stir in sugar & cocoa powder, bring off the heat and whisk in the beaten egg, return to heat and whisk until thickened, this only take a minute or 2. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, digestives, pistachios and coconut, mix together so everything is coated well. Using a spoon, spread the biscuit base mixture into you baking tin and smooth. Refrigerate for about 1 hour until hardened.
  3. Using a mixer, stand or hand whichever you have, beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar, milk, peppermint essence and food colouring and mix until blended. Smooth this mixture over the top of your biscuit base and return to the fridge to set for about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate with the butter in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water and allow to cool slightly. (about 5-10 minutes)
  5. Pour chocolate over the buttercream and smooth, return to the fridge to allow chocolate to harden. (about 30 minutes).
  6. Once chocolate has hardened you can now decorate (if you wish), I just drizzled some green icing over the top and returned to fridge to set.
  7. To prevent the chocolate from breaking when cutting into slices, remove from fridge and bring to room temperature. I made that mistake of slicing too soon and my chocolate cracked.
Crispy Mint Squares

Homemade Butter

Homemade Butter

Since watching James Martin on his Saturday morning show making his own butter, I have longed to try this. Just like JM himself I am a fan of butter, loads of it too. It looked easy enough to do and it was, I urge you if you have ever fancied trying this, you must do. My next batch I will add some flavours to try, thinking herbs & chilli.

Step by Step process:-

1 x 500ml double cream – good quality (makes 250g Butter)

General rule is whatever quantity of cream, you get 1/2 amount butter.

  1. In a Mixer pour the double cream & whisk on medium to high speed until it resembles a whipped cream.
Step 1 – Whipped Cream

2. Keeping whisking, it will look like you’ve over whipped, but keep going……..

Over whipped cream

3. & keep whisking, soon enough you will see the butterfat start to separate from the butter milk. (sorry forgot to mention, cover top of your bowl with a splash guard or if you don’t have one a Tea Towel, as you can see if tends to splash everywhere)

4. Now that it has separated, drain the buttermilk through a sieve and keep to use later in another recipe.

5. Return the butter back to the bowl and you want to add about 200ml ice cold water and mix for about 20 secs, then drain again. This is to ensure to rinse away any buttermilk. Do this process 2 or 3 times until water becomes clear.

6. Using a spatula remove the butter from the whisk and put into a muslin or clean tea towel and squeeze, just to make sure you have removed all liquid. Place onto a sheet of greaseproof (baking) paper and using the paper as a guide roll up into a stick of butter…..yay! You’ve made butter! You can now store in your fridge. This will keep for up to 3 days. If you add salt, it will keep a little longer, about 2 weeks in fridge.

Ready to use Butter

Pistachio & Chocolate Bites

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I hope everyone is doing o.k. in these unusual times. If you are like me, I get bored very easily and need to be doing something productive with my day, so today I was talking to a friend and saying how we miss our coffee & cake dates at our fav coffee shop, then idea to use up whatever was in my cupboards to bake a cake and have a virtual coffee & cake date.  I do love pistachio’s and always have some on hand, so this little cake bite was perfect.

 

Makes about 16 squares

150g shelled pistachios

200g milk chocolate (I used Dairy Milk bar)

200g golden caster sugar or light brown sugar

200g soft butter

3 eggs

200g Self raising flour

100ml milk

50g butter for chocolate

100g icing sugar

Pinch salt

 

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg and line a square tin (approx 20cm) with baking paper
  2. Mix up 125g of pistachios and 75g of the milk chocolate with 100g sugar in a blender until finely chopped.
  3. Tip into a bowl with the remaining sugar, butter, eggs, flour & milk with a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly.
  4. Empty the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly.
  5. Meanwhile, break up the chocolate and place into a microwave bowl with the 50g of butter, microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir together until fully melted. Next pour the icing sugar into the chocolate and beat together until combined and thick.
  6. Pour over the top of the cake and even, using the remaining chopped pistachios, sprinkle over the top and allow to set. Cut into bite slices. Serve with a yummy cuppa!

 


Banana, Peanut Butter & Oat Choc Chip Muffins

 

Today was a day of using up leftovers and I had bananas that were crying out to be used. This little recipe is so easy to make and delicious too, you can store for 2-3 days in an airtight container or freeze if you are making a large batch. Gluten Free too.

A great healthier option too with the oats having 4 grams of fiber & 6 grams of protein. In addition to fiber, oats are rich in magnesium, zinc and iron. The bananas which are loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and various antioxidants. The Peanut Butter is a good source of magnesium too.

A great grab & go breakfast option or simply a little snack in between meals.

 

Makes 12

200g Scottish Oats

60g Peanut Butter

2 small bananas, mashed

1 egg

3 tbsp Maple Syrup

120ml milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Dark Chocolate squares, chopped (or you can used choc chips)

 

  1. Preheat your oven on fan to 175 deg and grease a muffin tin.
  2. Put ALL ingredients into a bowl or mixer bowl and combine together.                        20200209_113300
  3. Pour into muffin tin, filling approx 3/4 way.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean and muffins are set.
  5. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes. If freezing allow to cool completely.
  6. Best served slightly warm. Yum!

 

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Mini Loaded Potato Jacket Bites

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I do love creating with leftovers, I always amaze myself what you can do with leftovers in your cupboards or fridge.  Today was a quick, tasty & filling lunch. With potatoes to be used up, I decided on mini loaded jackets. Using my Automatic Jacket Potato setting on my Hotpoint  Class 9 Combi Microwave too they were ready in under 16 minutes too!

 

I made 4 small Jackets

4 medium sized Scottish Maris Piper Potatoes

2 tbsp butter

handful spinach – chopped

20-30g Cheddar Cheese – grated

Cracker Black Pepper

Salt to taste

 

  1. First wash potatoes and prick with a fork
  2. Place onto the Crisperplate or Microwave dish.
  3. Set to Automatic, Recipes, Vegetarian Dishes, Baked Potatoes, Set weight and Extra Done. Start. Turn half way through.
  4. When ready remove and allow to cool slightly
  5. Cut potatoes in half lengthways and scoop out potato and put into a bowl then mash
  6. Place butter and spinach into potato bowl and mix through & season
  7. Spoon the potato mixture into the Jacket Potato skins and sprinkle with cheese then place under a high grill for a couple of minutes until cheese is melted. Season with some Cracked Black Pepper. Yum!
  8. You could also add in some chilli and paprika for extra flavour & spice. Really anything of your choosing.

 

 

 

 


Cauliflower Pakora

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Oh yum! I still had some pakora batter left so decided to try these little bites….super good and tasty.

 

Pakora Batter

150g gram flour

200ml water

1/2 tsp chilli

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp gram masala

1/2 tsp Turmeric

2 cloves garlic or 2 tsp ground garlic

small handful coriander (chopped finely)

Pinch salt

1. Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together, make a well in the middle and gently add water little at a time while stirring, continue to add water until you get a smooth batter, it shouldn’t be too thick or too runny. Set aside.

 

1 x Cauliflower, cut into small florets.

I steamed my cauliflower using my steam pot for about 6 minutes, but if you don’t have this, you can cook in a pan of salted water on a gentle heat for about 20 minutes then drain.

Dip into the pakora batter and fry gently at 180 deg in rapseed oil for a few minutes until golden. Remove and place onto some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.

Serve. Yummy!

I served with my Pakora Sauce:-

Pakora sauce

50g tomato ketchup

2g Mint leaves (finely chopped)

100g Natural Yoghurt

Pinch salt and chilli

50ml milk

  1. Mix together until smooth.

Chilli Skulls

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I have seen Pizza Skulls on social media and gave me the idea to make these for my Horror theme Hogmany coming up. I changed it from Pizza filling to a Chilli Con Carne filling. These are amazing and so much fun too. I got my pan from Nordic Ware and opted for Black & Red dough too using Red Malt flour and Activated Charcoal powder.

 

Makes 6

For the Pizza Dough (I made extra, which I stored for later use)

3 x 350g Wholemeal Bread Flour (you can use strong white too)

3 x 1 tsp salt

3 x 1 tsp caster sugar

3 x 3 tsp baking powder

3 x 170ml warm water

20g Red Malt Flour, plus 1 tsp red food colouring for the Red

3 tbsp charcoal powder plus 1 tsp black food colouring for the Black

  1. Mix everything using a mixer until it come together like dough, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Mix 3 lots ie: plain, black & Red
  2. Once ready to use,  cut amount you need and store the rest. Place on a floured surface and roll out, not too thing or too thick. It will be stretchy, just keep stretching it until you have the size you need. Approx 7 x 4″
  3. Brush your skull pan with melted butter and lay the dough into each skull pressing gently. Place the filling in and fold over the excess dough, if you have too much just trim.

 

For the Chilli

350g Scottish Beef Mince

1 Red onion, finely chopped

1 Red pepper, finely chopped

1 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried chilli flakes (omit if you don’t like it too hot)

2 tsp chilli powder

200g Tin tomatoes

200g Kidney beans

200ml beef stock

light fry oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Grated Cheese of your choice.

 

  1. Heat the fry oil on medium to high heat
  2. Fry the onions and pepper with the garlic until softened
  3. Add the beef and brown
  4. Add in chilli powder, cumin, salt & pepper with chilli flakes (if using) mix through to coat
  5. Add in the tin tomatoes, kidney beans and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes cover. The uncovered for 10 minutes to thicken sauce. Allow to cool.

Once skulls are filled, refrigerate for 30 minutes then bake at 200 deg for 25 minutes. Serve.

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Egg, Smoked Paprika & Spinach Breakfast Boats

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Love these little baked egg boats, such a super simple dish for a lazy breakfast morning. Nutritious, tasty and low in calories and fat.

 

Makes 2

1 1/2 Wholemeal Sandwich thins (or you could use bread)

knob of butter melted

2 large eggs

small handful of baby spinach

Seasoning

1 tsp smoked paprika

Chilli flakes

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 deg
  2. Spray a baking tin with a little low fat spray oil
  3. Brush the thins with the melted butter, both sides & mould into the baking tin, bake in the oven for 5 minutes
  4. Place the spinach into the boats and whisk the eggs, pour into the boats, sprinkle with chilli and paprika and season.
  5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until set and browned.
  6. Serve. Yummy!

 

 

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Orange strip meringues

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I had some egg white left over from a recipe that only required an egg yolk, so I decided to try patterns on meringues, turned out o.k. I thought. I’m know dying to try more patterns and colours……watch this space.

 

You can get my original meringue recipe here, all I done was draw lines inside a piping bag with orange food colouring and then filled the bag and piped, quite simple actually but creates a great visual pleasure.

 

 

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Crispy Fried Onions

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Crispy fried onions are a great topper for a lot of dishes, I cooked these recently for my black bean taco dish. Just added that little extra crunch.

 

1 white onion

100g flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp smoked paprika

oil for frying.

 

  1. Combine flour, salt and paprika in a bowl.
  2. Slice the onion very thinly.
  3. Heat up a little oil in a fry pan to medium to high heat
  4. Coat the onions slices in the flour mixture, shake of excess and drop into the oil. Cook until browned and crispy.
  5. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.