A lazy Sunday

We haven’t had a Sunday without plans in a long time. That’s why today has been such a treat. We got up late, had a lazy breakfast, a very laid back morning and then an afternoon of cooking preperation and the football. As a Liverpool fan I was very relieved with the final result!

We watched Sunday Brunch this morning and my husband, throughout the duration of the programme, changed his mind about what we could have for dinner about 6 times!! We finally settled on hom bao which had been featured on the show.

We followed this recipe for Hom Bao and then made our own gammon filling.

For the gammon
Ingredients
2 gammon rounds, cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon of five spice
1 diced chilli
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
5 diced spring onions
1/2 chopped yellow pepper

The how to
1) Put the chopped gammon rounds, spice, honey and soy sauce into a bowl and stir, leave for 30 minutes.
2) Fry the gammon mixture and allow to cook for about 15 minutes until the gammon is almost cooked.
3) Add the peppers, chilli and spring onions and simmer for 15 minutes until the mixture has thickened.
4) Serve with the hom bao and some salad.

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The ingredient line-up.
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Kneading the dough.
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The peppers, chilli and spring onion.
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The gammon, spice and soy sauce.
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The hom bao ready to steam.
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Dinner!

The hom bao were really tasty, although having never tried them I’m not sure what they were meant to taste like!

Happy Sunday 🙂

A great Good Friday

Happy Good Friday! I hope everyone’s had a good one. The weather here has been pretty good which always makes me feel more productive.

My friend Holly came over today and we got our Easter bake on. I’d been meaning to make the cinnamon breakfast loaf since Monday, but a lack of eggs had prevented this…until today!

The following recipe comes forms The Great British Bake Off How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers
Ingredients
500g strong white bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons caster sugar
7g of fresh yeast or 15g dried yeast
125ml milk
50g butter
1 large, room temperature egg
125ml water

For the filling
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon plain or bread flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

The how to
1) Mix the flour, salt and sugar and then add the yeast according to the instructions (if dry) or with 7 tablespoons of milk if fresh.
2) Warm the milk with the water and the butter until the butter is melted.
3) Add the egg and beat with a fork.
4) Add to the flour mixture and work together with your hands.
5) Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes before leaving in a warm place, covered with cling film, for 1 hour.
6) Place baking parchment into the tin whilst waiting for the dough to increase in size.
7) Get the dough and punch it down before rolling it into a rectangle about 2cm thick and as wide as the length of the tin.
8) Brush the dough liberally with milk and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture.
9) Roll up the dough and then pinch the seams together and place in the tin ensuring there are now open ends.
10) Place the tin with the dough into a bag and tie the ends, leave some air inside the bag and then place somewhere warm.
11) After about an hour, brush with more milk and bake at 180 for 35 minutes until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
12) Leave to cool and then serve toasted, as it is or with a little butter.
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The ingredients.

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Sieving the flour.

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About to knead the dough.

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Holly with our well kneaded dough.

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Cinnamon and milk.

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Into the tin.

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After the second rising.

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Just out of the oven.

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The inside.

We also made Creme Egg flapjacks using the following recipe Creme Egg Flapjacks

We used 10 large Creme Eggs and scooped the fondant out and spread it over the top of the cooled flapjack before pouring over the melted ‘shells’ of the Creme Eggs.

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The flapjack mixture.

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Just out of the oven.

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Scooping out the fondant.

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Spreading the fondant after about 10 seconds in the microwave to make it easier to spread.

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The finished product.

Have a very happy Easter weekend.

A day in the sun.

Another week day post! After a day exploring Devil’s Dyke near Brighton and then Brighton itself, I’m feeling exhausted and a little sunburnt!

Here are some of the photos;

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Devil’s Dyke is a 100m deep valley which legend has it was formed after the devil became angry about Sussex changing to a Christian county. In the valley itself you can find the devil’s burial place alongside his wife. Which if you walk around backwards, 7 times, holding your breath it is said you’ll summon the devil.

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Legend has it that the valley was formed so the devil could flood the county, however he was scared off by an old lady with a candle, a sieve and a cockeral.

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A well deserved pint of Doom Bar after a 2 mile walk.

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Brighton Pier.

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The sea!

Today’s post is actually about the simple peanut butter curry that we made once we got home though. So here it is;

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The ingredients
250g diced chicken
1 finely chopped onion
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 finely chopped red pepper
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
1 chicken stock cube
1 tablespoon of balti curry paste
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of double cream

The how to
1) Heat the oil in a saucepan and then add the onions and garlic and cook until softened.
2) Add the curry paste and then the chicken, stirring to ensure the chicken is cooked. This should take roughly 5-10 minutes and the chicken should be white.
3) Add the peanut butter, tomatoes and stock cube and stir well.
4) Add the pepper and simmer for 5 minutes before stirring in the cream.
5) We had ours with noodles and peshwari naan but you could serve with rice.

Great comfort food after an exhausting day!

An Easter Bake Off

Blogging during the week is always a treat and a sign that the holidays are here!

Today my oldest best friend and I decided to have a day in baking. We try to do something exciting each school break and today was no exception!  We were really busy and managed to produce macarons and some savoury crackers.

The following recipe is taken from The Great British Bake Off How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers book.
Multi-seed savoury crackers
Ingredients
230g wholemeal flour
115g semolina
1/4 teaspoon crushed sea salt
55g sesame seeds
55g linseeds
55g pumpkin seeds (I managed to get seperate bags of each in Tesco)
1 tablespoon of runny honey
3 & 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (plus extra for rolling)
210ml of warm water

The how to
1) Put the flour, semolina and salt in a bowl and mix.
2) Grind the seeds roughly, a kind at a time and then add to the bowl and mix.
3) Whisk the honey and oil with the water and then stir into the dry mix.
4) Knead the mixture until the sides of the bowl come away clean. Cover with clingfilm and leave for 20 minutes.
5) Preheat the oven to 180°c.
6) Rub the worktop with a little oil and then split the mixture into 3 equal pieces. Roll them out one at a time so that it is roughly as thick as a credit card. Cut into rectangles.
7) Bake for around 16 minutes or until the crackers turn golden.

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Helen grinding the seeds.

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Weighing the seeds.

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The mix.

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Nom! The finished product!

We also made macarons (see previous posts for this recipe, or Google Mary Berry macaron recipe and find my previous post) following Mary Berry’s recipe. The only thing we did differently was dipping the macarons in the filling as it didn’t set!

These really worked and were a million times better than my attempts. Putting the almonds into a blender really helped!

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We put edible glitter on some – surprisingly these cooked better than the other tray!

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Half dipped macarons!

Now my hubby and I have plenty of picnic food for tomorrow’s adventure. I’m thinking brie and grapes to go with the crackers. My tummy is rumbling already!

Time for some R & R

It’s the Easter holidays and I found myself with a whole day entirely to myself. After a small dither (I’m not used to lots of time to myself) I found myself with a desire to bake.

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At Christmas time I’d been given a present from Next of a biscuit tin with a biscuit mix inside from my good friend Kirsty. I don’t usually make biscuits but I decided to give these a try as it only required 64g of butter, 10ml of water and 10-25ml of milk.

The smell as I made them was delicious and the raw (please don’t judge me) mixture was very sweet and vanillary. I would imagine they are similar to a butter cookie. I rolled out the mixture after chilling in the fridge
for 2 hours and baked for 10 minutes.

The second batch of biscuits was made following a Dutch recipe. At Christmas I was given the gift of a packet of Dutch mixed spice with a Dutch recipe. Subsequently I had to translate the ingredients from Dutch to English. I didn’t bother too much with the instructions though!

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Speculaasjes
Ingredients
250g flour
150g butter
140g dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
4 tablespoons of milk

The how to
1) Heat the oven to 170°c. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and spices together.
2) Combine the butter and milk and add to the dry ingredients.
3) Stir well and chill in the fridge for an hour.
4) Make small balls of the mixture and then push these down once on a baking tray.
5) Cook for 10 minutes for soft biscuits and 15 for crunchy.
6) Enjoy for elevenses as I did with a coffee.

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A Mother’s Day Meal

Happy Mother’s Day to any mums out there. I’ve spent a fair amount of today with my mum and I’m always reminded how ace she is.

Today for lunch my sister and I prepared a 3 course lunch. Nat served baked camembert with a range of vegetables and breadsticks for starters and then mini sour fruit cheesecakes for pud. I’ve asked for the recipe so watch this space!

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My part was the main course. I made 16 meatballs and served them on spaghetti with a sweet pepper sauce.

Sweet pepper sauce
Ingredients
4 sweet peppers finely chopped
Half a red onion finely chopped
A tin of chopped tomatoes
1 finely chopped fresh tomato
3 teaspoons of sugar
A sprinkle of dried oregano
A sprinkle of dry basil
Olive oil
3 whole cloves of garlic

The how to…
1) Heat the oil in a saucepan and then add the garlic cloves until softened.
2) Add the onion and sweet pepper and cook until softened.
3) Remove the whole cloves of garlic and add the chopped and fresh tomatoes along with the sugar.
4) Sprinkle in the herbs and leave to simmer.

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The meatballs
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g of beef mince
1 beef oxo cube
A tablespoon of tomato puree
The other half of the onion, finely chopped
A finely chopped sweet pepper
1 medium egg

The how to
1) Heat the oven to 180°c. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your hands.
2) Form the mixture into a large ball and then from it form 16 meat balls.
3) Chill before frying in oil until they are browned.
4) Pour the sauce into a heat proof dish with a lid and add the meatballs.
5) Place in the oven for around 30 minutes.
6) Serve with spaghetti, parmesan and salad.

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Happy Sunday!