So I have been gone awhile, Christmas fun and an old slowly dying oven the main culprits behind my absence. But now 2013 is well and truly underway. I have a lovely shiney new oven which can cook 12 cupcakes without leaving me with 6 burnt ones, 2 undercooked and the rest somewhere in between. I can follow recipes again and trust that if says cook for 15 minutes, I won’t return to smoke or uncooked blob.
My baking cupboard is almost empty after flurry of holiday season bakes, so I thought I would share a simple recipe made from what I have left.
250g Porridge Oats
125g Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Place the oats, margarine and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix.
- Once this is well combined add the Golden Syrup and mix
- Greese a baking tray and spoon in the mixture.
- Use the back of a spoon to flatten the mixture and smooth the corners.
- Bake for 20mins until golden brown.
- Wait for the flapjacks to cool before cutting.
Makes 12ish, depending on how big you cut them.
I thought I would do a quick post today to share a favourite weekend lunch of mine Cheesy bacon potatoes. It is nothing fancy but it is very yummy, it’s basically baked potato, soft cheese and bacon. I think I originally picked up the idea from the weight watchers website, so it is relatively healthy too, especially if you use light or extra light cheese.
I used Blue Belle potatoes as they were on offer in the supermarket and are oh so good. They have a distinctive purple splash to the skin along with a beautifully fluffy texture and crisp skin which make them perfect for this recipe and as baked potatoes in general. Obviously, if you don’t have any Blue Belle Potato’s to hand other varieties will do just as well.
This recipe makes enough for one, but can easily be double, tripled etc to feed more. You will see from my pictures that I was cooking for more than one, usually I just make this for me though.
1 Blue Belle Potato (or other jacket/large potato variety)
1 1/2 Tablespoon low fat soft cheese (I used light Philedephia)
1 lean bacon slice
Black Pepper (optional)
- Bake your potato, if you have time I always think potatoes are best baked in the oven for an hour or so. However, if you are like me and don’t always have an hour, 10 minutes in the microwave will do just fine.
- If you are microwaving your potato, remember to pre-heat the oven to 200C for the next stage
- Grill (or cook as you like best) the bacon
- Once the potato is cooked, allow to cool slightly so you can handle it and cut in half length ways. Scoop out the potato flesh and place in a small bowl. Leave a small rim of potato around the skin so you have a little potato boat.
- Chopped the cooked bacon and add to the potato flesh. Add the soft cheese and mix well
- Spoon the cheesy potato flesh back into the potato skins.
- Season to taste with ground black pepper and bake in the oven for 15 minutes
You can use cooked meats such as ham or pastrami to save time or use up what you have.
If you have any chives or spring onion to chuck with the potato flesh this is also good.
I havent tried it myself yet but I think this would also work well will one of those flavoured soft cheese that you get. (Not the chocolate one tho! )
If you are looking for other quick meals these might be of interest:
Mozzerella Tortilla Pizza
Cheesy Tomato Pasta Bake
I am still suffering from post holiday blues, 105 days until my next holiday! Oh so so long away! To cheer myself up I decided to make a quick dinner with some of the things I bought on my trip to Italy. It turned out rather nice and was super quick so I thought I would share it with you all.
I wanted something light after the gluttony of the holiday, so went for a dinner of mainly cherry tomatoes and pasta. I used my Orrecchiette pasta from a lovely rustic deli in Bologna. It is a small pasta that I think looks like little hard hats, although Wikipedia says ‘it reminds one of a small ear’ with Italian word orrechio translated to ear and etto to small. Glad I read this after I cooked the pasta though, not overly inspired to eat ear shaped things! I wonder if I should change the title to Cherry Tomato and Ear Shaped pasta? This pasta works well with chunky sauces apparently and it worked very well with my little cherry tomatoes. If you don’t have any Orrecchiette than I think spaghetti would be great with this.
I chucked this together with the a spice mix I also picked up. It is called Sugo Alla Pizzaiola and it smells divine. I google translated its ingredients which are listed in italian and they are as follows: tomato, pepper. red basil, parsley, marjoram, garlic and pepper. Pepper is listed twice for some reason even though the italian words are different: peperone and peperoncin, the rich variety of italian peppers lost in translation I suspect.
I made this just for me, but it would upscale easily if you are feeding a crowd.
3/4 cup Orrecchiette pasta
15 cherry tomatoes halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (ish) tablespoon Sugo Alla Pizzaiola
- Cook your pasta as per packet instructions.
- In a saucepan heat good quality olive oil over a medium heat.
- Add the Suga Alla Pizzaiola spice mix and stir
- Toss the cherry tomatoes in the oil.
- Lightly fry the tomato until they are warmed and their juices mix with the oil. About 5 minutes
- Drain your pasta and place in bowl.
- Top with the cherry tomato mix, stir and enjoy.
Sorry for the lack of posts, my laptop broke and I have only just been able to borrow one to keep me going.
I have also been away in Italy for a few days with my boyfriend which was so lovely, relaxing and much needed. We visited Verona and Bologna which I would highly recommend, they are both full of beautiful architecture, interesting streets, churches and museums.
Did you know that Bologna has the worlds oldest University? I always find the antiquities in Italy so fascinating, I just can’t get my head round the fact that a building, wall, column etc has been standing for 2000 + years and I start thinking about all the people who must have walked past it before me.
In Bologna in particular there were some amazing deli type shops/market stalls selling the most delicious smelling array of meats, cheese and olives. They also had every type of pasta & olive oil you could dream of and were laden with fresh vegetables a cooks dream, I wish I could shop there every week so much more fun than tesco!
I picked up quite a few bags of pasta which I am looking forward to using: including Orrecchiette and Mezzi Rigatoni. I also got some dried Tortellini stuffed with cheese and ham which was everywhere in Bologna. I would have loved to bring back the fresh stuff I was just worried it would not keep in transit. We tried some of this stuff for lunch one day in a local eatery and it was delicious. I also picked up the yummest looking Fette di Sila which is a salami and some Lemon infused Olive Oil. There was sooooo much more amazing stuff but alas my euros ran out and the space in my suitcase was too easily filled.
I also was also sucked in by the prepackaged spice mixes they had on sale for as few euros. There was a slight communication issue between me and the store owner, mainly that my Italian is limited to about three words. So I am not completely sure how you are to use it. The instructions I received were mimed and involved (I think) adding oil to a frying pan, sprinkling the mix and then adding tomato followed I assume by the pasta. I will let you know when I have a go.
Prepare for a few pasta based, Italian inspired dishes this month…..
My laptop officially died last week which was very sad, we had got through many a late night essays together and lost many an hour to facebook and the blogsphere. Hopefully I will be able to rescue most of my files, got a techno type looking at it next week, would be heartbroken if I have lost all my photos- all the good times of the last 5 years or so.
To cheer myself up I made these White Chocolatye & Peanut Butter Blondies (like brownies but um..blondier), they are quick/easy too make and have mostly storecupboard ingredients. I picked up the cutest Christmassy tin in Poundland the other day, which is perfect for gifting home bakes such as this, think I will be buying a few more.
125g plain (all purpose flour)
1 tsp baking powder
150g crunchy peanut butte
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g chopped white chocolate (I chopped each sqaure of chocolate into 4)
- Preheat the oven to 170c and line baking tin with grease proof paper
- Sift the flour and baking powder in a bowl
- In another bowl cream together the margarine and peanut butter.
- Next add the sugar, vanilla and egg. Beat until well combined.
- Tip in the flour/baking powder mix.
- Add the chopped white chocolate and mix well. It should form a dough.
- Spread the dough in your baking tin and cook in the over for around 25 minutes, until golden brown.
- Allow it to cool in the tine before cutting into squares.
This recipe was created from a moment of why not the hell not, when a box of oreos fell out of the cupboard while I was making my usual banana bread a few months ago. The oreos loose their crunch while baking so texturally they work really well in the soft cooked bread. They also add lovely interesting chocolately dark patches to the bread.The oreo taste is not overtly strong – this is def Banana-y bread but you get a wee touch of something else every so often.
285g plain flour (All purpose flour)
1 tsp bicarnate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
110g butter, plus a wee bit spare for greasing
250g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
4 ripe bananas
85ml buttermilk (or normal cow’s milk mized with 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
1 tsp vanilla
5 oreo cookies
- Preheat your overn to 180C/350F and grease a 20cm x 12.5 cm x5 inch baking tin
- Grab a big mixing bowl and sieve the flour, salt and Bicarb soda into it.
- In a different bowl, add the butter and sugar. Cream the two until light and fluffy.
- Next beat the eggs and milk into the butter/sugar mix.
- Mash your bananas and add them to the butter bowl.
- Fold the mixture into your large flour bowl and add the vanilla.
- Crush the oreo cookies into the mixture (I just broke them with my hands into smallish pieces) and stir.
- Pour the mixture into the greased loaf tin.
- POp in the oven for about an hour or until the bread is golden brown and nicely risen.
- Let it cool in the tin for a couple minutes before easing out and onto a wire rack.
Just a quick wee recipe for a Friday night. I lived in Canada from 2-6 years old and my early years there taught me an enduring appreciation/love for two things, really good proper maple syrup and the oatmeal & raisin cookie. The best of all the cookies if you ask me.
This recipe is really super simple and pretty foolproof. It also tricks me into thinking its not so unhealthy, raisins are fruit after all….
1 cup Butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Cup Plain (or all-purpose flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1tsp baking soda
1 1/4 rolled oats
1 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F
- In a large bowl cream the softened butter and sugar together.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Seize the flour and add to the bowl along with the salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
- Add the rolled oats and raisins, mix until combined.
- Roll the cookie mixture into small balls with your hand (I find this is the best way to get a well shaped cookie from this recipe)
- Place your cookie balls on a greased baking sheet and press lightly to make the flatter and more cookie shaped.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
I made 32 small-mid sized cookies with this recipe.