Tag Archives: cooking

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.

 

🙂

 

 

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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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American Eggs from The Silver Spoon Italian Cookbook

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This month saw the glorious return of the @belleaukitchen #randomrecipe challenge, hurrah! (incidentally, he’s teamed up with  Ros  and  Caroline from AlphaBakes for this one.)

 

 

I picked, the quite cool sounding American-Style Eggs from The Silver Spoon cookbook.

Looking at the ingredients list I was feeling rather underwhelmed, the curse of choosing a recipe by chance I guess… *shakes fist at Dom and the girls

Now given that there are only 3 constituent parts of the “recipe” it’s hard to not feel somehow it’s a bit cheeky to even call it one,  but considering the age of this Italian cooking bible I guess we can let off the writer for what basically amounts to bacon and egg, with a tomato on the side.

I’m not about to write out all the steps for frying an egg, or the steps for frying pancetta, OR the steps for grilling a tomato, I’m pretty sure Dear Reader, that you know how. I have however posted my photograph and now leave you with the thought that, even though ridiculously easy, the recipe for American Eggs is proof positive that sometimes the simple things are the best. It was DELICIOUS! 🙂 

 

What’s SO Impossible about Impossible Pie?

Holy Moly this is great!

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It’s not even a little bit great, but a whole big bit great! Yes, we like pies in this house but you know sometimes I find a the whole making pastry etc thang a bit of a kerfuffle. I’m going to introduce you to the kerfuffle-free “pie” of your dreams(possibly). You’ll make it, then be cursing that you didn’t find the recipe sooner!

If you are having guests and have no idea what to make for dessert but still want to look like you’ve put a bit more effort into it than buy a pie, do this. ALSO it would be fabulous for someone who is watching their carb intake as only the smallest bit of flour is used in making it.

Usually people make a coconut version. I have don that before but wanted to try a chocolate version. I still used coconut, next time I will leave it out comepletely and add pecans I think.

Don’t go expecting some sort of miracle here, I mean the mixture does form a kind of crusty outer but it’s not like a real pastry crust, what it does do though is create for you a custardy filling with edges set a little more firmly and it all mixes together and bakes in a matter of moments!

What you need:

35g(1/2 cup) desiccated coconut

2 egg

2 TBSP cocoa

30g(1/4 cup) flour

235ml(1 cup) milk

75g(1/4 cup) sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla 

40g(3 tbsp) butter

Handful of raspberries(I used some lovely Scottish ones I had pin the deep freeze-no need to defrost!)

What you do:

Mix everything together apart from berries

Pour into a baking dish(I used a 7″ skillet)

Dot the raspberries over the surface

Bake!  350f(180c for about 25 mins)

Check the pie after this time you want it pretty much solid but with the “slightest” jiggle, it will firm on cooling.

This is tasty warm(I like the plain coconut version warm) but better left to cool and eaten at room temperature. The result is a dense chocolatey(it is more chocolate tasting if cooled) pie, cut through with the sharpness of the rasps.

Quick make this!

Ps. I should mention that it will look WAY too runny but have faith, this does work! 🙂

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Maw’s sauce? it’s gid!

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OK so I took my time about it, but in my efforts to put Maw Broon’s(click the name for a link to the website!) sauce through it’s paces I had to take my time and give it a proper “road test” so to speak. I’d love to show you a better photo of  the Tomato sauce bottle alas it arrived with the bottom sheered off, there was some I managed to save (fear not, I did sieve before I offered it to hubby to make doubly sure glass shards were not present)!

The Broons family hold a special place in most Scottish folk’s hearts, It’s a tradition, a wee piece of history and dear to us. Along with Oor Wullie and The Beano it was the first thing me and my class mates really were obsessed over in Primary school. Remember when Gnasher went missing? Traumatic, doesn’t even cut it!

However that said, since I am no longer a bairn my tastes have changed somewhat, and if truth be told I am normally quite wary of something with a celeb name attached etc(want my bloke to smell like Peter Andre? um…no thanks). About as close as I come is the occasional tin of Peppa Pig spaghetti shapes lurking in the shadowy bit in the pantry. I like to pretend I don’t buy them. And also like to pretend when someone does spot them that they are for the children, and not me. I’m shameless I know.

My attention was still drawn to Maw Broon’s Sauces, not only for the nostalgic trip down memory lane, but I was hoping for something more. If the sauce doesn’t stand up on it’s own merits then it’s just cashing in on a name. It may appear to tourists or be a great gift for a ex pat friend, if it’s rubbish though I won’t buy it again.

Luckily having read through Maw’s cook books I realised this was no ordinary stick-a-cartoon-character-on-the-bottle-to-flog-to-the-kids affair.  The books have real recipes in them! I am coming to realise there is something “genuine” about seeing her famous form on a product and the sauces are a reflection of just that. Made in small batches, and with the best tasty ingredients these are the REAL deal.

The Tomato sauce is tomatoey with a tang and is reassuringly thick, nothing unlike the over processed, super smooth stuff I normally stick on my fish finger butty(the true test of a ketchup in my view. Hubby disagrees and had it on his fry up for the “ultimate” test)! In short we both thought it delicious!

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We have since tried the Broon sauce, it was fabulously spiced and fruity on the haggis, black pudding and crispy onion panini we had for lunch(and the vol au vents I faffed about making too)!

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If you have a friend who loves The Broons, who happens to be a foodie type too, you could do worse than get them a bottle of this. It’s no gimmick, just honest and tasty, just as you expect from Maw.

🙂

Maple, Vanilla Cheesecake

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It was the weekend, so in celebration of the fact I decided to make a cheesecake. We love cheesecake in our house it’s true, in fact my hubby even wrote a song about it(true story)!

I had some Borders Biscuits Butterscotch Crunch(baked in the lovely Scottish Borders hence the name) in the pantry so this was my starting point. The pain of having to crush these beauties(they are probably my favourite biscuit) was only do-able because I was pretty sure it was going to bake my crust a-MAY-zing! Without being all trumpet blowing etc, it WAS amazing!

Here’s what I used:

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Crust:

1 x (150g) packet Butterscotch Crunch

100g pecans

75g butter(I used normal butter not the spreadable kind I put in the photo! My bad. Use regular butter, though to be fair I am not sure it would have make a big difference if I had used spreadable)

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Here’s what I did:

  • Put the pecans on a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 8 mins at 180c.  Really do this, it’s totally worth it from a taste point of view!
  • While the nuts are baking,  whizz up the biscuits in my food processor, you could do it the trad way with a plastic bag and a rolling pin, if you are feeling all angsty and stuff. Just do what you need to do! Remember though you don’t want it all to be too small, some bigger pieces in the dust is a good thing. Texture is your not the enemy here!
  • Tip the crumbs into a bowl, then blitz the nuts the same way.
  • Melt the butter and add to the pecan/ biscuit crumbs. Mix.
  • Put the buttery crumbs into your pan(a springform one is best, I use a 8″ round one) which you have lined with parchment, or at the very least given a good buttering/oiling. Press into the base and up the sides of the tin by about 2-3 cms. Put into the fridge to set.

Filling:

3/4 can of condensed milk

300g Philadelphia cheese

1 egg

Vanilla extract

Maple syrup

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Here’s what I did:

  • Whip up the cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly pour in the condensed milk, mixing as you go. Once completely combined, add the maple syrup and vanilla. Beat again. Add the egg and beat until just combined, you don’t need to whip the heck out of it here!
  • Pour in the crust ad place in the oven(set at 180c/350f/ gas ) for 25 mins after which check for  the jiggle. We want a soft wibbly middle but not a full on wobble! Once you’re happy, turn off the heat leaving the cheesecake inside but open the door a crack. After an hour take the cake out and put on a cooling rack to continue cooling.
  • Once cooled(at least 3 hours, it’s worth it honestly!) slice. The best way to do this is with a warmed knife, wiping the blade between each cut.

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I urge you to go and make this right now! It’s not only REALLY tasty but quick, and pretty much no fail- what more could you wan’t? 🙂

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Cinnamon Apple Pie Toasted Sandwiches!

The idea for this struck me the other night when the Stroppy Teen had asked “what’s for pudding?” in that way he does, before anything savoury has passed his lips at the dinner table(do ALL teenagers do this? It’s beyond infuriating)! It was only until he got in today that I actually tried it out. Much to his amusement, here I was offering a sweet treat well before dinner time, not the norm by any means! I keep telling myself it was/is all in the name of “research” and that tomorrow it’s back to a sandwich or apple for chomping after school.

Anyhoo, let’s get on with this…

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Sometimes you just “need” a piece of apple pie don’t you? Thought so.

Well, if you’re stuck for such a thing and without the time to get to the supermarket/bakers/your Granny’s to get one fear not, I you have a jar of apple sauce in the cupboard, some bread, butter and spice you are a go! It’s great if you happen to have a fresh apple kicking around too, but this is totally do-able without it, I just think it adds a bit more crunch and taste but I wouldn’t not make these just because I am apple-less.

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I used:

The English Provender Co’s Bramley Apple Sauce with Calvados(get me all posh….ok it was in an Xmas hamper, I’m not usually that swish!)

A Braeburn apple

Bread(don’t be fancy here, you want that plasticky sort of bread so that you can mush* the edges together)

Soft brown sugar

Cinnamon

Butter

And here’s what I did:

  • Spread one slice of bread with a generous layer of apple sauce.
  • Chop up the apple, if using, and place small pieces o the apple sauce.
  • Place other piece of bread on top of that.
  • Press the top bread at the edges all around the edges to kind of “seal” them together.
  • Butter the top slice of bread a sprinkle with soft brown sugar, then some cinnamon. I like it very cinnamony but do this to your taste. Press sugar down on to the bread lightly to adhere to the butter.
  • Carefully, so as all the sugar doesn’t fall off, place your toastie sugar side down in a cold pan(I don’t wan’t you burning yourself!)
  • Turn heat on under the pan
  • Carefully butter and sugar the other side. If you think you might even burn yourself at this point, then please do this part when the heat is off also.
  • Cook until crisped and golden at the edges
  • Turn over and repeat

When cooked put on your plate and wait at least 5-10 mins! these are hot-Think McD’s apple pie hot!! I tried to eat my piece before I should have and burnt my tongue. Don’t be me, wait it out. Be warned.

These are so darned tasty I might just have to make them again for pudding tonight too.

Mellow Yellow Lady(or How to Make Lemon Curd)

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 I LOVE lemons!

Lemon drinks, lemon cookies and cakes, the colour of lemons is just so appealing to me also. That reminds me, you know I once(when a good bit younger) saw a lady dressed head to toe in yellow in the street! She had yellow hair accessories and yellow skirt and cardigan and jacket and nylons on, and even a lemon coloured handbag! Considering the small rural village I grew up in, this was quite and unusual sight I can tell you.  It was a sight, kind of  amazing and bewildering at the same time. Did I mention that she was an elderly lady? which kind of makes all the more cool/weird in my book! I want to be that lady when I grow old ad weird(er).

Soooo getting back to the recipe! It was after a trip to the local Waitrose, when I found unwaxed lemons with leaves(love that a few green leaves makes the fruit bowl look SO much nicer) had found their way into the trolley(how DO they do that?) that I decided to make some jars of lemon loveliness. Seeing as hubby had been craving it and had in desperation bought a lurid, almost fluorescent, jar of lemon preserve. I took pity on him and now I am the best thing ever, well, second I expect to a slice of toast and curd!

These are proper jars of sharp, citrusy, tangy, creamy loveliness, not something that is not dissimilar to the base of those horrid sweet, lemony-ish but somehow never quite “real” enough tasting lemon meringue pies you get from the frozen aisle of the supermarket. The colour is also just as pleasing as the taste, you can thank Mother Nature for that!

Here’s what you need:

Makes 2 jars(ish. Mine made about one and a half jars, they are quite big jars though!)

3 unwaxed lemons(or give them a good old scrub!) Zest, finely grated, and juiced

2 Eggs whole

2 Egg yolks

75g/3oz Butter

350g/12ozCaster sugar

Here’s how to do it:

First you want to zest and juice the lemons, don’t you love the smell of lemon?

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Place sugar zest and juice in a heavy based pan or double boiler, if you’re swanky like that, and slowly heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl.

When the sugar is dissolved, add a little of your hot lemon mixture into the eggs. Mix this together until combined and then return the whole lot to the lemon sugar mix that is still in your pan(double boiler).

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Heat over a low/med heat until thickened stirring continuously! You can tell when “done” by checking that it coats the back of the spoon, and you can leave a line in the curd when you drag your finger across it.

When ready, pour into sterilized jars, seal, and leave to cool.

These jars should keep for 3-4 weeks in the pantry. Though probably not if you are like my family. I can see a lemon Pavlova featuring in our future very soon!

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Go forward, cook and enjoy!

Ps. After describing the Lemon Yellow Lady to someone, I heard that she used to pick other colours to wear too! How cool is that?

Belleaukitchen’s Random Recipes

Ok so here’s the challenge;

step one: take newly gifted Xmas cook books(for me that’s GBBO Everyday, Great British Baked by Mary-Anne Boermans & Baking by Dorie Greenspan)

step two: randomly select a book

step three: randomly select a recipe

step four: cook/bake recipe

step five: blog link & tweet about it

simples!

Fancy joining in? Here’s the handy dandy linky bit for Dominic’s Random Recipes challenge

 🙂
UPDATE: my tiny helper, the toddler, helped me “choose” my recipe picked out of dorie’s book(well, if you were two & a half wouldn’t you pick the biggest book too?) the recipe on page 77 Sugar Topped Molasses Spice Cookies!

New Year-New Stuff!

2014 means lots of things to me. This is the year we will move home & relocate to a new part of Scotland, Fife! Having done the whole “flitting”(Scottish term for house move) many many times, let’s see…nine times(gosh even more times than I remembered!) I am dreading the actual shifting of possessions from one location to another. The fact however that this will be the last  time is something both reassuring and joyous too! It’s all a bit of a confusing one.

 

So, coupled with a house move, decorating the WHOLE place and serious toddler/teenager taming I shall also be  “cooking some books” which is to say I will be taking recipes from cook books and seeing how they work out. There  will, I assure you be much tweaking, fiddling and jiggery pokery, I rarely leave anything alone(sometimes a recipe just doesn’t “sound” right to me, y’know how it is? No? Just me then? My hubby might just be right, I AM a weirdo?) but the end result is usually always good.