Friday, 30 October 2015

Tandoori Halloumi and Cashew Rice

God, I love spice mixing

This was utterly delicious. I’m really impressed with the flavours of this meal.

So, my favourite restaurant is a little vegetarian restaurant that is near my flat. It serves the most amazing and creative food I have ever eaten, and I am constantly impressed with what their chef cooks up. The menu is also seasonal, so every two months there is a whole new list of yummy food to choose from. This has meant that I have had to go several times in that period to get a good try of all the delicious dishes on offer. NO REGRETS. I never regret food eaten, only food missed out on.

Aaanyway. Since sometimes I like to have a vegetarian dinner, I decided to have a go at home as well. I have a reliance on chicken, and it is refreshing to find simple and delicious alternatives. Enter halloumi. I love halloumi, and I’m not a cheese fan. It is spectacular, meaty and holds its shape perfectly throughout cooking. It isn’t overpowering on its own so it really takes the flavour of the tandoori marinade beautifully.

The rice is my new favourite thing. It is the only way I want to eat rice from now on. I have a love for rice, but being able to bulk it out a big with veggies is always great for reducing the old carbohydrate count.

One last thing, don’t fret about the number of spices in the halloumi mix. If you would prefer, you can buy pre-made pastes or powders with tandoori flavour. I just happen to have a weird predilection for collecting seeds and spices.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies - THE BEST EVER

I’m so happy/excited/giddy!!!

I’ve just found the best recipe for chocolate chip cookies! I make a lot of cookies. A LOT. Cookies were one of the first things I ever learned to bake, and I baked them all the time.

I experimented through the flavours, and finally found the ideal chocolate version – peanut butter chocolate cookies which are flavourful, with perfect texture. And they just LOOK good, like real, proper cookies. I have made plenty of “plain” choc chip cookies, and I’ve never come close to that texture or look. So, I hunted.

..And hunted, and hunted. I read a lot of blogs, lured in by descriptions of perfect cookies that never just measured up to my expectations. I experimented with melted butter, non-melted butter, different sugars, different ratios of sugars, different leavening agents, chilling them beforehand…

But. Here we are. The perfect cookie.  I’m really happy right now, and it doesn’t even feel silly to care this much about a biscuit.

Ready, set, BAKE!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Dense, Dark Chocolate Cake

Okay. I have a terribly-kept secret: I LOVE CHOCOLATE CAKE.

So it is time for another variation on one of my very favourite things! You know how 
Mrs Doyle loves making tea? That’s the level of my feeling for chocolate cake. "Oh, won't you have a slice? You will! You will!" Which is why I’m posting a SECOND variation only a few months after the last one!

This cake is a little more grown up than the last iteration – it is dense and dark and moist and chocolatey and tastes extremely decadent. And it’s all in one bowl, minimal washing up! I made this cake as I was feeling inspired during the classic cakes finale of “Great British Bake Off.” I would bake a chocolate cake all day long for that challenge.

One thing that I wanted to show with this cake is that you CAN safely melt chocolate in the microwave. Sometimes there is just no time to melt over some hot water.

First, you break up the chocolate into a bowl:

Then, stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds:

Stir well, the bottom bits will melt quicker than the top, so mix them all up.  Stick in the microwave for another 15 seconds:

Now, this is the point where I STOP microwaving. I think this is where a lot of people go wrong and burn their chocolate. 

This is plenty melted enough, just keep stirring it. And pretty soon you will have this:

Don't stop, keep stirring!

I have fallen into a rut with my cake-decorating and that’s what I’ll be working on over the next few months, but for now, bask in the glory of chocolatey chocolate icing slathered dripping down the sides of your cake, and sprinkled with chocolate sprinkles for additional deliciousness.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Best Ever Squidgy Brownies

URGH. It's the start of a cold, miserable week. If you're anything like me, you'll need this to get you through to the comfort of the weekend..

I will concede that “best ever” is a bold claim. However, just make these and then tell me you feel differently. If your preferred brownie is dense and squidgy and moist*, unashamedly chocolatey, with the lovely crackly top, then this is the one for you. I brought these into work and they were a unanimous success!

The recipe that I present below is pretty much unadulterated from the source recipe (BBC Good Food), but I have made this several times since the original and I have changed it up slightly – substituting the half the chocolate for Nutella and adding hazelnuts with the choc chunks, or adding orange chocolate chunks and stirring through some orange zest.  No matter what you add, it always comes out delicious!

*this is the only situation in which that word is acceptable..

Monday, 5 October 2015

Chicken and Leek Cheesy Pasta Bake

Chicken and leek is one of my favourite flavour combinations. And everyone knows that I love a big bowl o’ pasta! There is something just unendingly comforting about tucking into a bowl of cheesy pasta, with vegetables and delicious roast chicken dotted between.

I feel like this is a perfect autumnal meal, and a great way to use up leftover chicken from the Sunday roast. This is a perfect weekday meal, and one I shall continue to perfect – next time I think I might do a b├ęchamel instead of just milk, and add some grated cheddar to make the cheesy-ness even stronger!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Chorizo and Pepper Risotto


I don’t like to mess with perfection, and I was so pleasantly surprised by the last time I made a risotto in the oven that I’ve decided to do it all over again! Of course, I’m changing the flavours around a little, but the basic method is the same.

I really stand by this kind of cooking, it is really simple to change recipes around by adding a different meat, or adding some spices, or even just changing the veggies can make a big difference and stop you getting fed up with dishes.

I decided to go kind of Mexican style with this risotto, with peppers, paprika and chorizo. Delicious for dinner and for leftover lunch the next day!