Tag Archives: food

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.

 

🙂

 

 

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!

 

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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Toffee Apple Cake!

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I had a Wright’s (<click here to see their site & more delicious bread and cake mixes) cake in the cupboard, I actually bought it with the intention of making a cake with the wee one. Oops!

 

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It’s ok though, he was busy with the play dough I had made, we’ll bake a cake another day 🙂

I wanted to bake something that was not just the regular toffee cake and I had some bramleys kicking about that I felt I should use up. Simple, let’s make a toffee apple cake!

Easy, tasty and quick what more could you ask for? By the way, this is MUCH yummier than you imagine a packet could ever taste, nobody will ever guess it was from a mix, honest!

 

What I used:

1x Wright’s Toffee Cake mix
3 medium Bramley apples, chopped and then stewed in 1tbsp water until soft
40mls Rape seed oil
100mls Milk
80mls Water
1/4 tsp Vanilla paste
1/4 tsp Baking powder
Small handful of pecan nuts, chopped
 

For the top:

4-5 Pecans, chopped
1tbsp Demerara sugar

 

What I did:

First off  stew the apples, until soft but not completely smushed*, set aside to cool

Tip baking mix into large bowl

Add other ingredients(and apple)

Pour into 9″x9″ lined pan

Sprinkle on the topping

Bake at 350(180) for about a hour or until a toothpick comes out clean

Remove from oven ad place o rack for 1-15 mins before turning out to completely cool

Eat! 🙂

*actual technical baking terminology

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My Favourite Cake(ever)!

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This really is my all time favourite cake recipes. It’s lovely, even my Granny Rose likes it, high praise indeed! It’s not too sweet, it’s just right. Be sure to add the cinnamon sugar to the top it really does add a lovely wee crunch! 🙂

I was given this recipe while on holiday in the beautiful Perthshire Highlands. The lovely lady who gave me it told me it was given to her by Scot Herbs. I was curious about the use of the herb rosemary in it(if I’m being frank, I thought it was a bit weird sounding).  Worry not though Dear Reader, it’s fabulous!

Here is the recipe, tweaked slightly(and added measurements in US cups[SO much easier than grams, right?] to my taste but click here for a link to the original Scot Herbs recipe!

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Blueberry and Rosemary Madeira Cake

 

What I used:

250g(1 cup/2 sticks) Soft Butter

200g(1 cup)  Sugar/white super fine

3 Large Eggs

300g(2  1/2 cups)PlaiFlour/all purpose

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract Paste

2 tsp Fresh Rosemary Needles, chopped finely(I use a pair of scissors for this)

4 tsp Milk

Two handfuls of frozen Blueberries

 
Cinnamon Sugar(for top)
2 tbsp Demerara Sugar
A  big pinch of cinnamon 

 

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What to do:

Preheat the oven to 170oC/Gas Mark 3.
Grease and line a loaf pan, or if you’re like me cheat and use a liner(life’s too short to always grease pans)
Cream the butter adding the sugar until it is pale and fluffy
Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour after each egg.
Add the vanilla.
Fold in the rest of the flour and chopped rosemary needles
Thin out with the milk
Fold in half of the frozen blueberries
Pour into  loaf pan
Add a few more berries on the top(helps so that not all of them are at the bottom of the cake)
 Sprinkle the spiced sugar over the top
Bake for 1 – 1 ¼ hour or until a toothpick comes out clean

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It’s got good staying power this cake if, like the Scot Herbs site says, it lasts that long! Freezes well too. 

🙂

 

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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A very lovely breakfast loaf(no need to knead)!

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This recipe is super simple and inspired by one I read from celeb chef wife-turned chef herself Tana Ramsay.

It’s delicious, healthy and with the added benefit of slow releasing carbs from the oats, a filling start to the day, without being as heavy as a bowl of porridge.

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You need:

70g Apricot chopped(go for unsulphured if you like, I just couldn’t get my hands on any at the time)

70g Cranberries dried

70g Walnuts chopped

150g Caster Sugar

500g Self Raising Flour

40g Porridge Oats(I recommend Stoats!)

1 Teabag, normal black tea here!

100mls Milk

2 Eggs

1tsp salt

1tsp Baking Powder

Topping:

1 heaped tbsp Demerara sugar

2 tbsp Oats

A little cinnamon if liked

What to do:

Have ready two 2lb loaf pans(greased & lined)

Set oven to 170c/gas 3/375f

Place the fruit in  saucepan with 400mls of water and the teabag, bring to simmer. Switch off heat, stir in oats, put the lid on and leave to cool.

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In a bowl whisk eggs with sugar until foamy and leave ribbon trails in mixture(you know sometimes I don’t even bother & nobody seems to notice much difference)

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the egg/sugar mix, stir to combine.photo-43

Next stir in the milk, followed by the tea soaked fruit(you’ll want to move the teabag probably before  tipping this into the flour!)

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Mix until combined and no flour is showing. At this point you may need a splash of milk extra to what I have said, you want a thick, but dropping consistency.

Spoon into your prepared loaf pans. I use paper liners as it’s quick and looks nicer, if you happen to be gifting one as I tend to do.

Sprinkle with the extra oats, demerara sugar and cinnamon and place in the oven for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

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Remove from oven. Leave five mins then transfer from pans to rack to finish cooling.

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I find the best way to eat these loaves is grilled as it makes the most delicious toast.  It does have a rather heavy texture, something I am working on improving(Tanas was the same incidentally) but once toasted golden, the taste and texture improve and it really is tasty. Honest!  Ignore this last wee bit of info, because once I have rejigged the ingredients it’s pretty much perfect now(& really good untoasted too)

*note to self “prefect recipe before posting blog”-doh! 🙂

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I have it on good authority these last a good week, but it never lasts that time in my house! FYI these loaves freeze well too!

Go forth, bake and enjoy!

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?

New Year-New Recipes

And so ladies and gentlemen for my first trick…I mean RECIPE, sorry always loved magic shows as a kid, don’t know what came over me, here it is in all it’s glory, tah dah!

Ps. It may be not quite a “magic” trick but I assure you these WILL vanish into thin air!

Pps. Click anywhere on the page to see the book at Waterstones 🙂

Cornflour Cakes

These were something of an intriguing find in my Christmas present Great British Bakes by Mary-Anne Boermans. Having never baked a cake with solely cornflour in the carb part of the recipe I was curious to give it a whirl, the promise of being “quite unlike any other cake” swung it! These little cakes are really rather good, and Mary-Anne is right, the texture is unusual and not something we in the 21st century are used to, but in a good way! Also they are GLUTEN free, which is nice 🙂

Don’t be tempted to not put the curd in the middle of these cloud-like morsels, you really DO need it. I’d cheated as I didn’t have enough lemons in the fruit dish, but did have a jar of bought lemon curd and a slightly past it’s best fruit to spritz juice into it(just was not cutting it on the tartness scale).

Here’s what you’ll need:

cakes:

80g butter

56g sugar

112g cornflour

1/2 tsp baking powder

zest of 1 lemon

pinch of salt

1 egg

glaze:

mix together icing sugar with fresh lemon juice to make a smooth lemony icing

filling: lemon curd, however you get to have it(bought in the shop, or making your own) is fine, we’re all friends here

preheat the oven to 200c/180f/gas6

line a bun tin with paper cases

cream the butter until very soft add sugar and beat again until light and fluffy

add the egg,  zest and beat until totally mixed

sift together flour salt and baking powder, add to the butter slowly a spoon at a time until combined completely

drop spoonfuls into the paper cases until 3/4 full

bake for 8-10 mins until golden

when baked and cool, slice a little cone out of the cake and plop ina little lemon curd(however you make it) put back the top and glaze with the sharp citrus icing

place on a fancy plate with a doily and impress the vicar, or not, they are equally delicious with a builder’s mug of strong tea on your own in the kitchen, honest!

enjoy! 🙂