Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Peanutty "African" Stew

A perfect pot of food.

Okay, the reason I’ve put African in quotes in the title is that I mentioned this recipe to a friend from north Africa and she was, to put it politely, extremely sceptical about the African origins of this recipe.

However, I have never let a cultural misunderstanding get in the way of a good meal. And this is pure deliciousness, a big bowl of warming, spicy, nutty and sweet comfort. On these freezing not-quite-spring nights it is the ideal meal for happiness.

I could eat this every damn day. I hate stew, but this has almost a broth-like, curry quality which I just adore. So, who cares where it is from, just eat!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Chocolate Cake Decadence aka Bruce Bogtrotter's Cake

I am in a celebratory mood today. Ireland have once again lifted the Six Nations trophy and I was there to see their winning performance in person!

With that in mind, the best way I can think to celebrate is to make a cake. A BIG cake.

I have a confession to make. It was one of my childhood goals to make and consume a “Bruce Bogtrotter” cake, from the book and movie Matilda. It was a reasonable goal, but also intimidating. That cake just looked so decadent and chocolatey. Could anything in “real life” measure up?

Just look at it!

Well, long story short, this isn’t a kick in the bum off what I imagine that boy feasted on in the book.
I love cake. Cake is the reason to sit through a main course. Cake is NOT a lie.

And I find a really quick way to make a cake look impressive is to make it three layers. Three layers just looks like you are a cake genius. I mean, I most definitely am, but it doesn’t hurt to show it off once in a while. I kid, I kid.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Happy St Patrick's Day! Guinness Cupcakes

Ok, full disclosure: I DON’T LIKE GUINNESS. With that off my chest, I am happy to report that I LOVE these cupcakes. The Guinness flavour is there in the background, but it manifests itself in the most amazing way: transforming these cupcakes into rich, chocolately, dense morsels with just a hint of spice in the background.

These are really moist little numbers, and the batter is quite thin therefore difficult to get neatly into the cupcake cases. Not that I’m overly concerned with being “neat” but I’ve found that ladling the mixture into the cases works much better than the traditional tablespoon method.

Despite not liking Guinness, I am still Irish, so I know how a pint of the dark stuff is meant to be pulled. Imagine my disgust when I was out at a gig the other day and saw Guinness being poured directly into the glass all at once. No resting time! No head! Needless to say, I was shocked on behalf of all Guinness drinkers everywhere.

But luckily you don’t have to know how to pull the perfect pint of Guinness to be able to make the perfect Guinness cupcake. Or else the barmaids of Newcastle would be out of luck.

Makes a little over a dozen

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Beef Burgers and Beer-Battered Onion Rings

I kind of love that the onion rings are about the same size as the burger..

Om nom nom.

This is just food that people want to eat. No one can turn down a homemade onion ring. And batter it in beer? You’ll have a queue outside your door! The absolute key to delicious onion rings is to soak them in buttermilk before cooking, it takes away a lot of the sharp taste that onions can have and both sweetens and softens them. They have a crunchy, yet melt in the mouth quality that I’ve just never gotten from any other onion rings.

Now, I know that I have made burgers before on this blog, but I am always looking for ways to improve recipes in my repertoire. The addition of cream crackers is, I suppose, a substitute for breadcrumbs found in other recipes. I feel like it added an interesting texture element but didn’t really alter the flavour. If I had crackers on-hand in the future I’d definitely add them to my burgers.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Nutella-Rice Krispie-Marshmallow-Chocolate Traybake

I am terrible at coming up with cute or quirky names for things. I think it comes from the fact that I am not the most imaginative person out there. What is in it is what’s in it. And that’s what it should be called, for clarity. </robot voice>

Now, these little crunchy, chewy, chocolaty bars are just perfect, despite not having a better name. And everyone knows that I love a traybake. Traybakes are probably my favourite thing to make - they are universally delicious and easy to make. Let's face it - normally it is just stirring random ingredients together with chocolate to make it all stick together.

I think because the ingredients are so perfect, that that’s why I can’t think of a better name for it.  Each ingredient addition is better than the last, and each one works with the others to form morsels of pure food gold. A real treat of a recipe, it’s not fancy and it’s not complex, but tastes fantastic and extremely naughty (not diet-friendly, soz). I mean, how else is food held together with a marshmallow glue supposed to taste?

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Chilli Beef Noodles

So, I received a book voucher for Christmas, and immediately went and bought cookbooks (fiction? I don’t need no stinkin’ fiction). One of which was an Asian noodle cookbook, full of recipes for stir fries and curries with a range of meat and veg. I have to admit, I have never been the biggest fan of a stir fry, because I love a bit of sauce in my meal, which is why this noodle dish is perfect! Feel free to change around the vegetables to your favourites or whatever you have on hand. I just love broccoli.

Every once in a while I find myself a little bit bored of chicken, but there is something very intimidating about all the cuts of beef you can get. So, I chickened (HAH!) out for this recipe and bought some stir-fry beef strips. Convenience!