Friday, 13 June 2014

Chickpea and Lentil Burgers

1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 390g tin of green lentils, drained
100g fresh breadcrumbs
6 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper
75g mature Cheddar, grated
100g Stilton, crumbled
1 large egg, beaten
plain flour to dust

There are two ways of making these burgers.

If you like your burgers to have a smooth texture:-
1.  Place chickpeas and lentils in a food processor and chop with metal blade.
2.  Add chunks of bread and whizz into breadcrumbs.
3.  Add spring onions, garlic, peanut butter (smooth or crunchy), parsley, cumin, cayenne, salt and black pepper and process until smooth.
4.  Transfer ingredients into a large bowl and mix in both cheeses.
5.  Add egg and stir to form a dough.  You will need to use floured hands towards the end of mixing.

If you like your burgers to have a chunky texture chop each ingredient separately in the processor and combine them in a large bowl.
 6.  Dust your hands and a board with flour and form mixture into burgers.  This recipe makes approximately 11/12 burgers, depending on the size you prefer.
 7.  Place them on a floured tray and dust with more flour.
8.  Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until firm.  (I made mine in the afternoon and we ate them in the evening.)
 9.  Cook until golden on both sides and hot throughout.  My husband cooked some of them on the BBQ and I cooked the remainder in the oven the next evening at 190'C for approximately 20 minutes.
This recipe could easily be adapted by changing the herbs and spices and/or replacing the Stilton with another cheese.  Another time I might try one of the following options:-
Feta and cooked red onions with thyme,
 Goat's cheese and cooked white onions with rosemary,
Mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes with basil.
They could be spiced up with chillis or a curry powder.
Basically anything that you have in the kitchen.  I mostly make it up as I go along! :)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Cheese and Herb Crackers

175g/6oz plain flour
0.75 tsp salt
0.75 tsp English mustard powder
75g/3oz unsalted cold butter, cubed
fresh herbs of your choice, chopped finely
17g/6oz mature Cheddar, grated
2 large eggs, beaten
mixed seeds or smoked paprika - optional for sprinkling

1.  Preheat oven to 170'C fan.  Grease or line two baking trays.
2.  Sieve together flour, salt and mustard powder in a large bowl.
3.  Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4.  Add herbs and cheese.  I used 6 sage leaves and a small bunch of chives from my patio pots.
5.  Add enough of the eggs to form a soft dough.  I used approximately 1.5 of the eggs.
6.  Shape dough into a flattened round and wrap in clingfilm.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
7.  Remove dough from fridge and allow it to rest for a few minutes to soften slightly.
8.  Roll out on a lightly floured board to a thickness of approximately 3mm.
9.  Using a 5cm round biscuit cutter, cut out crackers and place on baking tray.
10.  Brush with remainder of egg and decorate if desired.  I put seeds on half of mine.
 11.  Bake for approximately 12 minutes, turning trays halfway through cooking, until golden and crisp.
 12.  Cool on wire racks.
Makes approximately 50 crackers.
 Great served with yet more cheese or as beer/wine snacks!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Gluten-free Chocolate and Almond Muffins

I borrowed this book "Primrose Bakery Celebrations" from our local library and this is the first recipe I have tried from it.  If the rest are as delicious I will be buying this book!  I have slightly tweaked the instructions, but the ingredients are the same.
In the book the muffins are decorated with butter icing, but we have enjoyed them without it.

Makes 12 muffins

125g unsalted butter
125g dark chocolate (I used Dr O, as it claims to be gluten-free)
4 large eggs, separated
125g golden caster sugar (I used ordinary caster sugar)
125g ground almonds

1.  Preheat oven to 160'C fan.  Line a muffin tray with 12 paper cases.
2.  Melt together chocolate and butter.  I did this in my microwave on the medium setting, at 30 second bursts, stirring each time.  Set aside to cool slightly.
3.  In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.  I used my hand held electric whisk.
4.  Fold in ground almonds with a metal spoon.
5.  In a separate bowl (or processor) whisk egg whites until at soft peak stage.
6.  Fold cooled chocolate mixture into almond mixture.
7.  Gently fold in whisked egg whites, again with a metal spoon.
8.  Divide evenly between paper cases and bake for approximately 20-22 minutes.  Test with a skewer.
9.  Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack.  Can be decorated once completely cool.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Squares

I originally found this recipe here via Pinterest.  Although I do have US measuring cups I felt it would be easier for myself if I could weigh the ingredients in good old ounces!

For the base:
1cup/7oz unsalted butter, melted
2cups/8+1/8oz (16 biscuits) McVitie's Digestive Biscuits, finely crumbed
2cups/10oz icing sugar
1+1/2cup/12oz peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

For the topping:
1/4cup/2oz peanut butter
2cups/12oz dark chocolate chips.

 1.  In a large bowl, combine all of the base ingredients until smooth.
2.  Spread evenly in a 9"x13" lined baking tray.
3.  Melt together topping ingredients.  I microwaved mine on a medium setting for 1 minute and then removed it and stirred until smooth.  Don't overcook - chocolate can hold its shape even when soft.  Stirring will remove any lumps.
4.  Spread topping onto base and place in refrigerator until set.
5.  Once set, remove from refrigerator and leave for 5 minutes before cutting.  This prevents the chocolate from cracking.
 I used crunchy peanut butter and therefore had little lumps in my chocolate, smooth peanut butter in the topping would prevent this, but I like the crunch.
 I started cutting my squares slightly too soon and you can see a couple of fine cracks in the chocolate.  Trimming off the edges will make the squares look more presentable.  The trimmings aren't wasted! ;)
 These are a hit with my family!

Dad's Boozy Ice Cream

 I have called this my Dad's recipe, because my Mum says it is so easy that he can make it ... and he does!  Originally my Mum clipped this recipe from a magazine, but I don't know which one.

2oz caster sugar
2tbsps rum or whiskey
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
0.5pint double cream
2oz raisins
6 glace cherries, quartered
2oz meringue, broken into small pieces.

1.  Place sugar, alcohol, lemon juice and cream in a large bowl and whisk until thick.
2.  Fold in lemon rind, raisins, cherries and meringue.
3.  Turn mixture into a pudding basin and freeze.  I lined my basin with cling film, but you can skip this and when ready to serve dip bowl in hot water.
 To serve, unmould and slice like a cake. Serves 6.

 I also tweaked the recipe for a second pudding and instead of using the raisins and cherries, I substituted some homemade mincemeat and replaced the rum/whiskey with brandy to match the alcohol in the mincemeat.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Ginger and Lemon Fruitcake

This is the recipe I developed for the body of my Christmas Cake Snowman.

100g unsalted butter, softened
100g dark muscovado sugar
2 medium eggs
130g plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
325g mixed dried fruit
50g crystallised ginger pieces
zest of 1 lemon
1 pint pudding basin

1.  Preheat oven to 140'C fan.  Grease basin and base line with grease-proof paper.
2.  Beat together the butter and sugar.
3.  In a separate bowl mix flour and spices together.
4.  Slowly add eggs to creamed mixture, alternating with the dry ingredients.
5.  Fold in dried fruit, crystallised ginger and lemon zest.
6.  Spoon into prepared basin and bake for approximately 1 hour & 45 minutes or until a skewer comes our clean.
7.  Allow to cool in basin before turning out.

Gingerbread Muffins

I found this delicious recipe via Pinterest and I'm saving it here as it was the best Gingerbread Muffin I have ever tasted!  I will definitely be making them again.  Here I have translated the recipe into English terms.  I had ran out of allspice so substituted ground mace instead and I upped the amount of ground ginger from 0.5 tsp to 1 tsp, because we like our ginger!

For the Muffins:-
0.5 cup/115g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
0.5 cup/100g dark muscovado sugar 
1 medium egg, 
0.5 cup/120ml milk, at room temperature or slightly warmed in microwave
0.5 cup/156g black treacle
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.33 cups/167g plain flour
0.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
0.25 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp nutmeg
0.25 tsp ground allspice
For the Buttercream:-
unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
icing sugar
vanilla extract
12 Muffin tin liners

1.  Preheat oven to 180'C fan and line a muffin tin with 12 liners.
2. Beat together butter and sugar, either in a large bowl with a hand held mixer or in a food processor.
3.  Beat in the egg until combined, then add in the milk, treacle and vanilla on medium speed. Don't worry about it curdling as the mixture will not fully combine at this stage.
4.  Mix together in a separate bowl the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices.
5.  With the mixer/processor on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
6.  Fill liners two thirds full and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
7.  Allow to cool on wire racks and then decorate.
The original recipe supplied a choice of frostings, but I used my usual vanilla buttercream recipe.  I don't measure my ingredients, but the usual ratio is 1:2 butter to icing sugar, although I use only a small amount of butter and soften the mixture with milk.