Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The latest of my doodles, working with a new ink pen of mine.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Here's an idea for you, for when chips or mashed potato doesn't quite do it for you anymore, and you just happen to have spinach that needs eating.

These are also a great one for kids, and it's surprising how many vegetables can be liquidized into them; whether carrots, broccoli or swedes, they'll fit!

Take one stale loaf (I'm guessing at 200g, but have some extra on standby)
100g spinach
1 regular baking potato
30g cheddar cheese
and if like me you love bacon, then you may as well put a few choice crispy bits in.
Any extra veg. (it will need to be pre-cooked, so this is a good way to use leftovers)
15g butter
1 large egg
Small dash of milk (10ml?)

Preheat your oven to 220'C.

Boil your potatoes and mash them, or if you're in a hurry then microwave your quartered potato in a suitable dish with a dash of water for say 3 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked.

Break your stale loaf into more food-processor friendly chunks and blitz them till they resemble chunky breadcrumbs: this will give your finished result a lovely crunchy texture. Set aside in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, break and whisk the egg.

Heat the butter in a saucepan on a low heat and wilt the spinach.

Mash the potato (add any other veg. at this stage) and add the milk to help bring it together, then incorporate the wilted spinach and residue butter thoroughly. Mix in the cheese.

Take a parts of the mixture and form around 6 or 7 small balls, depending on the size of the potato: this should be a lot less messy than it sounds. Roll a ball in the egg and then breadcrumbs, coating well, roll in the egg and breadcrumbs once more, and set aside on a baking tray.

Once you have used all the mixture put the [I haven't decided what to call these, so name them what you will] into the oven for 15 minutes, or until they are a golden brown colour and crisp.

The great thing about these things is that you can go pretty much anywhere with the recipe; in the near future I am considering adapting these to make vegetarian scotch eggs?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Apparently 3rd year is more time consuming than previously anticipated... However I have for you a couple of modifications from an old post about a perfect cookie recipe, sans some pictures because we ate them too quickly (Sorry, sometimes you just can't resist)! 

Triple Chocolate Orange Cookies (a mouthful to say and a mouthful to eat, yummy!)


115g softened unsalted butter
100g demerara sugar
100g light soft brown sugar
1 medium egg
2 tsp good quality orange essence
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp baking powder 
150g plain flour
50g unsweetened cocoa powder 
100g plain choc chips 
100g white choc chips 

Preheat oven to 160'C.
Cream the butter and sugars together until they form a smooth paste, and beat in the egg and orange essence. 
Fold in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips (the mixture will be quite stiff, so I've found it's a lot easier to put the choc chips in at this stage)
Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Cook for 14 mins and enjoy with a glass of cold milk or just on their own.

I usually make these cookies a medium size but feel free to make them as big as small as you want, though beware as the cooking time will vary then!
White chocolate and lemon cookies:

115g softened unsalted butter
100g demerara sugar
100g light soft brown sugar
1 medium egg
1 tsp good quality lemon essence (I bought mine from Waitrose, though Lakeland are also a good option if there isn't one near you)
1 tsp vanilla paste (from Waitrose)
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp baking powder 
200g plain flour
100g white choc chips 

Instructions as above.

Pics of white choc and lemon cookies to follow soon, hurray.

These cookies are particularly good for:
- eating whilst watching a film
- dunking in milk
- making others jealous whilst working (share the love if you're feeling generous)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

My Christmas take on Jammy Dodgers 

Yesterday evening my housemate and I decided it had been far too long since we'd done any creative baking together, and so decided on making these as the pudding for a dinner we were invited to. Needless to say they went down well...

Recipe: (makes 24 and some snowflakes)
125g butter (I used Flora, which meant I had to add more flour, but feel free to experiment!)
150b light brown sugar
2 egg yolks
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spices
Grated rind of 1 orange
Pot of jam of your choice- we used Bonne Maman Raspberry jam. Yummy!

Cream the butter and sugar together, add yolks and stir well, then add rind and spices, and finally the flour. Depending on which you used - butter or margarine -  don't be afraid to add more flour, if it's sticking to your fingers it's not going to work !

Wrap the mixture in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes (when you do this it firms the mixture up a little, gives the finished biscuit a nice crunch, and overall makes rolling it out/your life easier). Think of it as an opportune moment for a cup of tea and bit of relaxation.

Preheat your oven to 180'C and line a baking tray or 3 with baking parchment.

Flour your work-surface well and roll out the mixture till it is about 3 mm thick, or as thin as you dare. (We, as poor students, used a glass to cut out the circles and spend the money on the snowflake cookie cutter set instead. Well worthwhile.) Using a snowflake cookie cutter, or any Christmas-themed cutter, cut the middle out of 1/2 the circles. We decided to cook these too rather than recycle the mixture. Cook for around 6 minutes, take out of the oven and spread jam on the whole disks, placing the tops on etc. and put back in the oven for a further 3 minutes approx. , or until the tops have started to turn golden brown (see photo below). Be careful when taking the biscuits out the oven as the jam will be uncomfortably hot and has tendencies to randomly spill out from the sides if you aren't careful!

Enjoy, and happy 1st December. Christmas is officially coming :)

How cute do these look! Very nice as little nibbles, and would make great stocking fillers if you put a handful in a bag!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

There is something fascinating about writing just one sentence and creating so much intrigue, emotional response and curiosity. Reading novels nearly everyday since I began my degree, and not coming across such powerful language makes me ask: what is so different about these short stories? I think maybe it's because of the indulgence of the imagination, and being conditioned to expect a beginning, middle, and end from a story; there is no space for such tradition in a sentence, and so we form the rest in our heads for the biggest impact and emotional response. A few years ago, I read a book of Saki's short stories which were also very effective, yet I wonder whether postmodernism has taken the story one step further and shortened it to merely a sentence, or whether it is a less abstract and prosaic haiku. Food for thought there.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Enjoying this luxury called 'time', (I don't really have spare time, it's all a self-imposed delusion that I don't have essays to write and I don't have multiple books to read and analyse!) I have indulged in new music. 

Youth by Daughter, and all her other songs are really quite astoundingly beautiful and sometimes chilling, but gorgeous on the ears when reading. Finding 'reading music' is actually quite difficult because you don't want something that is too upbeat and be distracting, yet if it is too subtle it gets lost or makes you unhelpfully sleepy! So besides Daughter I have also been enjoying Tracy Chapman, The Cinematic Orchestra, Of Monsters and Men, Radical Face, Noosa, Penny and Sparrow and The Oh Hello's. Here are some links to get you guys started. If you like one I'm sure you'll like them all- no surprise dubstep I promise!