Speedy Rice Pudding

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You know when you get a craving for rice pudding, or rather one of your brood does, there is no way you want to wait three plus hours for the oven(or even longer the slow cooker)? Well, this is the recipe you need.

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You need ONE of these, whatever your vessel of choice, cup, mug, vase…

In this case, for two toddler sized bowlfuls or one big adult one, I used:

1/3 cup of arborio rice

1 tbsp butter (this was Moose Maple Butter-tasty stuff!)

5 x your 1/3 cup (or 1 & 1/2 cups) milk

1/2 of your measure of sugar

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What to do:

Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat until foaming.

Add the rice and stir to coat the grains, cook for a minute or two.

Add milk, stir.

Cover with lid and cook on a low flame for 25-30 mins(you can lift the kid and stir half way through to make sure the rice is not sticking)

Once the rice is thickened, creamy and cooked stir in the sugar to melt.

Serve.

🙂

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Caramel Wafers

Being Scottish there a number of things you’re required to be fond of; whisky, haggis, the songs Flower o’ Scotland and 500 Miles, shortbread, rugby, and a Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer(or at very least a teacake)*

I love all of those things, ok my haggis is a veggie version and my whisky tends to be in the hot MacDonald form but what’s a wee bending of “the rules” between friends, eh?

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A long time ago I tried a type of caramel wafer in a coffee shop and decided I could do a homespun version myself, and aye it works! In fact it works really well!

What you need:

4oz butter

4oz sugar

4tbsp syrup

1 can condensed milk

1 packet Ryvita(trust me it works!)

2 big bars or so of chocolate for covering

What to do:

Put sugar, butter, syrup, and condensed milk in a pan and slowly heat over a low flame until the sugar is dissolved. Don’t rush this part because if not fully melted, the sugar will remain gritty in your caramel. 

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Turn the heat up to med/high and bring to the boil, stirring all the while. 

Boil until thickened and slightly(!) darkened in colour. This will take about 10 minutes or so. 

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Remove from the heat. 

Being very very careful spread a thick layer of caramel on the bumpy side of 7-8 Ryvita. Next do the same on the smooth side of 7-8 Ryvita. 

Place a smooth, caramel down Ryvita on to the bumpy side, caramel up Ryvita, and press lightly together. Do same with the others. 

Spread a layer of caramel onto the bumpy side of the Ryvita that is now on the top. Spread caramel on the bumpy side of 7-8 more single  Ryvitas then press onto the “tower” you’re building. That’s bumpy side down on top of bumpy side up(both carameled). Orrrrrrr something like that. Basically make a tower of Ryvitas ending with a smooth side on top facing you. 

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Set aside to set.

Melt the chocolate then use to coat your wafers. 

Set aside to dry. 

Tah daaaah! Caramel wafers.

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*this is the shortened list, I may have left a few things off like; pies, and tablet and golf and kilts and Irn Bru and bridies and The Beano(or Dandy) and bagpipes…oh and the Krankies

Meatloaf Rocks!

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That’s probably the cheesiest blog title I could write isn’t it? But it is very early in the morning l, and it does convey how I feel about this yummy, versatile, easy-peasy food(conveys none of my true feelings on the singer, but that’s more about my dislike of soft rock ballads and less about the man).

If you’ve never tried to make meatloaf I would urge you to do so, even cooked(and eaten) only once you’ll fall in love. There are so many ways  to “pimp” your loaf(spices/herbs in the mix) and SO many ways to eat it(think sandwiches, a slice as a “burger”, or a snack in your hand at 3:24am, not that I’ve done that one. Ever.)!

I’d marry meatloaf if I could. See? Told you it’s power is immense!

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Here’s what you need for two BIG loaves(you can stash one in the deep freeze so I recommend making this much):

2lb of turkey mince(you can use other meat too, go on knock yourself out!)

1 onion chopped as fine as you can manage

5 slices of white bread made into breadcrumbs(I use the shop bought “plastic” stuff here but if you’re a baker of artisan bread use that)

1/2 cup of porridge oats(I used Scottish oats from Stoats)

1 cup milk

1/2 cup mushrooms chopped small

1 cup of Parmesan grated

1/2 tsp salt

Good grinding of back pepper

4 eggs

8 slices or so of GOOD bacon(regular rashers or streaky is fine the important thing is to have good bacon. Seriously I tried inferior stuff and it was less than impressive. I used Cure & Simple’s Old Fashioned)

For the topping:

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup BBQ sauce

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

 

Here’s what to do:

Preheat oven to 180/350

Fry chopped onion until soft and translucent(if you’ve minced it, save time and skip this step).

Add herbs to onion.

In a large bowl put breadcrumbs and  oats, pour over milk and set aside for 5 minutes.

Put your favourite song on the CD machine/record player/iPod/gramophone and dance around the kitchen.

Next add to the breadcrumb/oat mix the mince, tip in the cheese, salt and good grinding of pepper, throw in the onions, crack in 4 eggs, do a little dance, get down tonight!

Squish together with your hands(that you’ve washed) to combine, don’t go too mad here, overworking is the enemy of a nicely textured loaf!

Form into a loaf shape.

Lay bacon over top.

Place in oven for 35-40 mins.

While the magic is happening make the topping sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Wow, hard work right?  you deserve a cup of coffee!🙂

Take the loaf from the oven and spread the sauce in a line down the middle(lengthways).

Put back in the oven for 15-20 mins.

After the time is up, take meatloaf(loaves) from oven. Cool a little before cutting as this makes slicing easier(the next day is even easier still)!

Serve with mash and veggies, that kind of thing.

Eat.

Go out and buy an engagement ring & hire a tux/white frock.

 

🙂

 

 

Crazy Good Hot Chocolate Mix!

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This is a great gift! Who wouldn’t love you forever if you gave them a jar of yummy chocolatey creamy hot chocolate mix? Nobody that’s who, especially if you put cute mini marshmallow in it too!

I love good hot chocolate. But rarely does a coffee shop get it bang on. My brother(with my help as taste tester-yay! best job EVER!) found the perfect chocolate for his customers. This mix(tested/tweaked extensively by me for your pleasure) evokes the same memory I had back then, tasty, rich and creamy. YUM!

If you can get your hands on Nido full fat dried milk please do, otherwise a tin of Marvel(or similar) will suffice(and me a tad healthier).

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What you need:

This amount of mix makes between 9-10 mugs of hot chocolate.

1 cup Dried milk powder

1/3 cup Cocoa

1oz Chocolate pudding mix(such as Jello)

1/2 cup Sugar

39g Chocolate(of at least 70%) I used one Taza Stoneground Organic Orange Chocolate disc  from  The Stateside Candy Co online

A few drops of Orange oil(available in most supermarkets)

What to do:

First grind your bar/block of chocolate. I used my trusty coffee grinder for this but you can use your processor too. You want it as fine as a powder (“fine” on my grinder).

The next part is so easy that I’m not even going to add photos or even much in the way of instructions.

Stick the ingredients in a food processor(even easier if you are already using one!) and whizz to mix up.

Seriously, this is the easiest “recipe” ever, but brilliant all the same. There are endless ways to tweak the mix, and with the variety of Taza flavours it could get very interesting !

To make up the hot chocolate put two well rounded tbsp in a mug add little hot water(yes really) and mix to a paste. Make up to a full mug with warm milk OR if you’re feeling virtuous and healthy(ish) you can make up with all water.

Remember to attach a note if you’re gifting this(unlike me, who got all caught up in how brilliant this was and then had to text everyone afterwards. Don’t be me.) & then make up another batch(or three) to gift to yourself!

🙂

Biscoff Cinnamon Apple Rolls

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You just know these are going to be good right? I mean good even before I tell you they are super duper easy peasy to make and quick to boot. For minimal effort(doesn’t take long to stew apples  does it?) you get maximum results. Even if it is using ready made pizza dough I don’t care. Sometimes life is just too short to make your own dough!

BOOM! <as the kids these days say!😀

 

What you will need:

For the dough:

one tube of JusRol pizza dough

 

For the cinnamon filling:

1/2(ish) a jar of crunchy Lotus Biscoff spread

 

For the for the apple filling:

Here’s the hard part make some stewed apples! 2 Bramley apples chopped plus 1-2 tbsp water and 1-2 tbsp light brown sugar(depending on your taste). Place everything in a small pan and cook over low heat until apples are soft and tender.

However, if you have been making apple butter(or have scored a jar from a kindly neighbour/relative/friend) then this would be perfect here!

 

 

What to do:

To make the rolls open the tube of dough and roll out.

Spread half of the dough with Biscoff and then the other with stewed apple(or apple butter). Remember to leave a gap at the top edge so your filling won’t squish out!

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Carefully roll up.

Cut into two inch pieces, this size makes a perfect two bite roll, and place into a baking tin(or a muffin pan).

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image <this is a photo of the Biscoff spread only rolls so don’t write to me and tell me they look odd, I know. I forgot to take a picture of the apple ones! oops

Brush with a little melted butter and bake at 200c for 12-15mins.

Remove from over and cool before drizzling with a little icing.

Chomp.

🙂

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^that is a photo of the Biscoff only rolls again, but they are so pretty I had to show you! I rolled these from the short end(left to right) this time which made lots of lovely cinnamony layers-yum!

 

Depression Cake(otherwise known as Vegan Choc Cake)

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Wow! You know sometimes you’re surprised by just how well a thing turns out? Like the Impossible Pie? This is one of those times…just wow! This  has to be the ULTIMATE make do & mend recipe(I can’t wait to share it with Jen and everyone on Thursday’s Twitter meet #makedoandmendhour)! Created during the Depression era in the US when expensive items were hard to come by, this egg/butter less cake is a godsend to Vegans or those with an intolerance to eggs/dairy! I trialled a number of vegan recipes when I worked baking for the coffee shop, oh how I wish I had this recipe then!

I wondered for a long time about this cake, not convinced it could ever be good with no eggs. Having now made it you can trust me when I say this cake is not only good for a vegan but a good one for EVERYONE!  It’s an easy recipe is a great activity for kids(I let my toddler help) I plan on letting my eldest try it out next, I figure everyone needs to know how to make at least one great cake!

I tweaked the recipe slightly as I didn’t have any vinegar(usually a Depression Cake has vinegar as it reacts with the baking soda to cause a rise in the cake) but did have some flat-ish cola! It works really well as the “acid” part needed for the reaction.

I used a rectangular cake pan but you could use an 8″ round too.

 

What I Used:

1 & 1/2 cups plain flour

1 cup caster sugar

1 tsp baking soda(bicarbonate of soda)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup of flat-ish cola(if yours isn’t flat open the can into jug half an hour before needed and stir it about every now and then to get rid of some bubbles)

1/4 cup oil

 

What I Did:

If you Google this cake the method is usually to dump the dry in a cake pan make wells(one for oil, one for vanilla and one for vinegar) but I decided that I’d rather do it this way…

Sift the dry together into the pan, then in a jug measure out the wet, THEN pour that over the dry.

Mix with a fork(plastic one is best if your pan is non-stick) until no floury bits are visible.

Bake at 360/180 for 30 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frost with your favourite frosting(I made buttercream) or glaze.

 

Eat, all the while marvelling at how good the cake is and wondering why we even bother with eggs in cakes at all!🙂

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Ps. If you don’t have cola but do have vinegar you can just use plain water in place of the cola and add 1 tbsp of white vinegar!

*EDIT* I have since tried to make the cake without sieving the ingredients(like recipe on the net said) I also used cold coffee in place of cola(water) DO NOT DO THIS!

If you want the very best cake you can make use what I did and use a sieve to combine the dry ingredients. This might be a frugal recipe but there’s little point in making it not taste the best it can taste, what’s thrifty about a cake that you’d only eat if you had to as opposed to one you’ll make just to eat it?😉

No-Need-For-Frosting Carrot Cake Muffins!

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I LOVE carrot cake!

Invariably though I often find myself contemplating, as I scoff my shop bought, homemade or bakery slice, whether actually it’s the cream cheese frosting that I adore. When the realisation dawns that in 90% of the situations that is the truth, I am always left disappointed and little perplexed as to why this should happen. Surely a cake/confection/meal/whatever is only as good as the sum of it’s ingredients? *see my post about Rocky Road

I think you should be able to eat a cake and enjoy both the frosting and the cake part individually. Or say a biscuit and the filling(particular pet peeve of mine is a dry Empire biscuit with horrid jam, and glace icing)? When the two constituent parts are good the end result should be FABULOUS. Sadly in a lot of my carrot cake experiences this has not been true. One good thing and one rubbish thing does NOT equal a good wedge of cake!

Anyhow, I rather think these carrot cake muffins do the trick, so much so that (this time) I didn’t even bother to slather them in frosting and the boys in my house still were crazy for them, praise of the highest order! In my mind these might just be the perfect healthy(my eldest eats no veggies!) after-school snack!  :)

 

Here’s what I used:

 

1 egg

3/4 cup plain/all purpose flourimage

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup caster sugar

2.5 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup oil(I used Borderfields Lemon infused oil <click for link)

1/2 cup grated carrot(I like organic carrots cause I read somewhere once they are the veg that absorbs most pesticides & I’m fancy like that)

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Wee handful of raisins

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 ginger

 1-2 tbsp milk if needed

 

What I did:

Basically I put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then dumped in the carrots, oil and egg. 

Mixed it all together and added the milk, I had to use 2 tbsp, to get a soft dropping consistency.

Divided between 6 muffin cakes.

Baked for about 30 mins(or until a toothpick comes out clean) at gas 180/350

Cool on a wire rack.

Eat!

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These muffins are moist, tasty and in my opinion don’t need a cream cheese frosting . The lemon oil is not overpowering but does add another level of flavour without going to the bother of faffing about with zesting a lemon(I didn’t actually have one in the house anyway!)

Although I made a small batch of muffins this time you can easily double up the recipe to make a full tray. By the way, they freeze beautifully too!🙂

I’d love to hear what you think. If you try these please drop me a line to let me know how you get on!

🙂

How to Make Rockin’ Rocky Road!

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I recently posted on Twitter about Rocky Road and got a few comments, seems people love Rocky Road(a wee bit of internet snooping revealed that it is in fact an Australian food creation!  Invented to sell on confections that had spoiled! Who knew?).

Rocky Road is, in this house, the ultimate chocolate overload. A bar/cake/sweetie thing so awesome my boys only request it every now and then for the fear of “over doing” it and making themselves sick of the decadent treat.

 

Here, I’m going to share my recipe with you, this is the recipe that has been asked for by neighbours, by rival coffee shop owners(she lived very far away she assured me!) when I made it for my family’s business, and is the recipe my mother said she overheard someone on a train talking about! That does indeed sound a bit big headed, but I was(& still am) completely in love with baking and that was/is the ultimate compliment! To have a person ask for the recipe, or recommend something you have made to another is just the icing on the cake, to use a baking related pun. If you try it out, I’d love to hear what you make of it too!🙂

 

This is my  original recipe, pretty dark and “adult” in taste, but you can lighten it up by swapping out some dark for milk chocolate. I did this recently and made a tray bake of 150g milk to 50g dark choc and reduced the condensed milk to 3/4 tin and butter to 1oz. If you do go with a much higher percentage of milk(or in fact ALL milk) just remember to adjust the butter and condensed milk also!

Another thing worthy of mentioning here is that Rocky Road is all about quality ingredients(like a rice crispie cake) if you use cheap things in it, the end result will be cheap tasting. I’m not trying to be all fancy pants here, it’s quite simply the truth. Don’t waste your money making something that just tastes “ok” make something that you’d rate “AWESOME” because let’s face it, you’re worth it!🙂

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What I use:

200g dark chocolate
200g milk chocolate
1 can condensed milk
1tbsp syrup
40g butter  (please, PLEASE, use ok butter! Salted is good)
12-15 ish biscuits (I used Border Biscuits Chocolate Chip Shortbread, but you could use any other biscuit as long as you’d be happy to eat it plain, without all the chocolate etc you may use it here) crushed, not finely, we want chunks not dust!
7-8 large marshmallows, chopped into quarters (I used some homemade caramel ones I had lying about[yes, I DO know how ridiculous that sounds], but don’t go nuts, I give you permission here to just add regular mallows, gourmet ones would be a complete extravagance, and making them solely for this purpose quite honestly a madness!)
Fruit, some(a handful) glacé cherries or raisins, or even apricots or dried cranberries here would be good <shock & horror! Something healthy?😉
1-2 Mars bars (you decide how much you need here, if it looks like 1 and a half bars is enough, I won’t tell if you eat the other half, ok?) Chopped into small ish chunks
*If you like, you may gild the lily by adding things like sprinkles, mini smarties, M & Ms etc for a bit of colour(and let’s not kid ourselves, more chocolate!)🙂
 

What to do:

Put chocolates, condensed milk, syrup and butter in pan.
Heat on low until melted and glossy.
Take a little of the biscuits, Mars bars, mallows and fruit and put in small bowl, to pretty up the top.
Stir in remaining biscuits, chopped Mars bars, marshmallow quarters and fruit.(work quite quickly as the mallows will melt!)
Pour into a foil-lined(or cling film or parchment would be fine also) tray, loaf tin or cake tin and leave to set.
Sprinkle over the reserved biscuits, mallows, fruit and any other toppings*(see note above)
Cut into slices, squares or wedges.
Eat!🙂
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Granny’s Shortbread Recipe

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This is my Granny Rose’s recipe, it’s basic, in fact so much so I’m pretty sure it is the same one almost everyone’s Scottish gran knows. Homebaking doesn’t get much simpler than this traditional biscuit, and it’s a great first recipe for baking with wee ones!🙂

It goes by ratio. 6:4:2

6 of flour(plain/all purpose)

4 of fat(I use unsalted butter but you can use margarine)

2 of sugar(caster/superfine)

I also use a pinch of salt in my shortbread

 

Whatever your measurement is (grams or ounces) follow this formula for traditional Scottish shortbread.

Beat the butter with a wooden spoon until creamy then beat in the sugar until light & fluffy.

Add in the flour(and salt) little by little until you have a dough.

Work the dough on the work surface to bring together then, either roll out and cut shapes or press into your tin(or mould like me).

Place on a baking sheet if making biscuits, prick all over with a fork and bake at 180(gas 3) for 35-40 mins or until golden.

If your shortbread starts to look too dark, cover with a piece of foil!

Remove from the oven and whilst still hot dredge with more sugar. Mark the pieces, if you have baked in a tin and leave to cool completely.

 

You can of course do all this in a machine, but Granny Rose always gives me a stern look when I mention such things, like that one time I suggested SEMOLINA(makes a grainy, crunchy, rather pleasant non-trad[in her eyes] biscuit) in the shortbread recipe!😉

 

By the by….Saturday (17th May) was World Whisky Day so in light of that fact I made “shortie” in my thistle mould to go with a wee dram at night, suitably patriotic don’t you think? … Slainte!

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Stout Marshmallows

 

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Marshmallows are something I have wanted to try for ages, I just never seemed to get around to it. In truth it was a lot to do with the idea of faffing around with a candy thermometer and the idea of the mess too.

I can however now say that having made them that the faffing(which in reality is not much) and mess(easy to clean with hot water) is absolutely worth it! PLUS if you do gift these to your father on Fathers Day you’ll heaps of brownie points-bonus!🙂

As with most things I do it’s never enough to just make plain, simple  ones and leave it at that. These stout(STOUT? heck yes! delicious, sweet, cloud-like with a rich stout taste that comes second, they really do work!) The stout flavour take the kiddie confectionery to another, more adult level.

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This recipe uses stout from my local brewery Williams Bros here in central Scotland. March of the Penguins to be precise, but any dark, rich, malty stout would work, try Guinness if you can’t get my delicious local brew.

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Everyone here loves them and they would be the perfect thing for Fathers Day. So I urge you to get the pots out and get your mallow on!

 

What you need:

A sugar/candy thermometer is essential here!

A med/large pot, I use one with high sides. This recipe has a tendency to foam a lot so get yourself something kinda big, but not too big that your thermometer doesn’t reach the sugar syrup.

A pan, I used a regular loaf pan. That is about perfect size for this amount. Oil the pan and dust with a mix of half icing sugar and half cornflour.

 

The sugar syrup:

3/4 (6oz)cup sugar

1/2 cup & 2 tbsp(5oz) golden syrup

1/4 cup stout(flat)

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract, I used 1/4 tsp vanilla paste

 

For the gelatine bloom:

1/3 cup stout(flat)

1.5 tbsp powdered gelatine

 

For the icing sugar/cornflour dusting:

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup cornflour

Mix together in small bowl and use to dust pan and top of mallows.

 

What to do:

First off let your stout go flat, I mean proper flat. If you’re rushed(aren’t we all?) pout it into a jug and stir it around with a fork until flat

Then take the stout pour into the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle the gelatine over the top in a even layer. Mix to make sure there are no big lumps. Fit the whisk attachment to the mixer.

Put the sugar, stout and golden syrup and salt into your pan, clip the thermometer to the side, if yours is swanky like that, and bring fairly quickly to a rolling boil. You want this stout, sugar syrup to reach 240 on the thermometer, once it’s been boiling for a few ins keep checking, towards the end the temp seems to rise rapidly!

Once you’ve reached the 240 take the pan from the heat and start your mixer running, slowly(ish) at this part! Boiling sugar is not something you want splattering over yourself, please be careful.

Gently pour the sugar into the gelatine until combined, now you may increase the speed.

Let the mixer do it’s thing. The mixture will grow and change to a paler colour. At this stage add the vanilla. You know the mallows is ready when you can trail mallow on the surface and it retains it’s shape. This can take about 10-12 mins to do. You can feel the side of the bowl for this too, you want it to feel only barely warm to the touch.

Once at the setting stage, work quickly with a silicone spatula and pour the mallow into your pan. Don’t worry too much about getting everything or it will start to set!

Smooth as much as you can, but again do it quickly and don’t “faff”.

Sprinkle a little more icing sugar/cornflour mix over the top and leave to set for at least an hour.

Gently pull the mallow away from the edge of the tin to release and using a knife cut into pieces. Dip your knife into any remaining icing sugar/cornflour between cuts. If it is proving hard to come off the sides, ease a knife down the edge and push a little of the sugar/corn flour mix down the gap. Work your way along the sides of the pan like this and it *should plop out no bother!

 

🙂

Ps. Just had a thought, how AMAZING would these be as s’mores?! Yum, I’m off to buy half covered chocolate digestive biscuits and try!

 

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