Saturday, 28 January 2017

German Biscuits

German biscuits are a staple in Northern Irish bakeries, along with other such classics as snowballs and coconut fingers and fifteens.

They’re a very important part of my childhood, and whenever we would head to a bakery, my sticky little fingers would reach for this sweet round shortbread biscuit,with jam oozing out the sides and barely-set white icing dolloped in the centre.

As I've said, the classic combination is jam and white icing, so the caramel in half of these isn’t strictly “canon” but I had a little bit of caramel left over from another baking project so I thought I’d mix things up. It was delicious, as adding caramel to things normally is. If I had to choose, I think I have to favour tradition and give my thumbs up to the classic jam-filled ones, mainly because I'm a sucker for nostalgia.

You will note that the icing on top is a little.. slapdash. But that’s the way it is meant to be. A beautifully and finely piped topping of icing is great.. but it’s not quite right for these. So dollop away!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders

I really love chicken. Definitely my favourite meat to cook with, because it’s just so easy and versatile. Somehow I don’t think I’ve ever made little chicken tenders before, which is a real shame. The blog has been skewing sweet lately, because Christmas = sugar. So I thought these would be lovely little morsels to re-introduce some savoury and make the sugar crash a little more bearable.

These are delicious little morsels of spiced, crispy chicken that are super easy to make. They might be baked, but the little drizzle of butter before baking gives them that delicious fried taste, without using a potful of oil.

These can be served however you like, but I was using mine in lieu of a Sunday dinner, so I went with comfort food – gravy, mash and sweetcorn. Broccoli, peas and carrots could easily have been added to the plate also but I was feeling lazy. Or you could serve with a crispy peppery salad instead. Or in a brioche bun with a drizzle of mayo.

Versatile and delicious. KFC has got nothing on me.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Banana Caramel Cake

It's the weekend and it's time for cake.

I love making cakes. Baking fads will come and go (cronuts, anyone?), but cakes are forever. They're comforting, they're sweet, and they can look damn impressive if you pretty them up a bit. You know what you're getting with a cake. 

I'm slowly getting into the swing of cake decorating, and buttercream rosettes are my absolute favourite thing to do these days, quick and easy and pretty! I suppose I could have gone all out and iced the sides too, but there's something I find quite nice about leaving the golden brown edges of the cake exposed, so you can just get hints of the filling within. I suppose these days you'd call it a "naked" cake, so I think my laziness is on trend.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Leek, Chorizo and Sweetcorn Frittata

I don’t mean to brag, but I sometimes go to the gym. And my sessions are late in the evening, so it can be around 8pm before I’m getting home. And by that stage I’m utterly  STARVING. So I need something quick and filling. I’m often looking out for recipes that take no time to prepare from scratch, because I’m not a fan of ready meals and I don’t really like reheating leftovers.

Enter the frittata. I have so far avoided them because I really hate omelettes and for some reason I assumed that frittatas were the same. But I was wrong – they’re so much better!

Imagine an eggy, cheesy, golden and crispy dinner, filled with your favourite meat and veggies, that’s ready in less than 20 minutes? Imagine no more! Here it is! I had mine with a slice of buttered sourdough, but it would also be good with some wheaten bread, or a crisp salad. It's also crazy versatile, next time I might add in a little tuna with the sweetcorn and some red onion, and I think ham, broccoli and peas could also be a total winner. Hello winter warmer!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Nutty Fudge

I'm just assuming that by now everyone is sick of healthy eating and green shakes and kale soup.

Hello, fudge.

Fudge is really tricky. And I am not very good at making fudge. I’ve done this recipe a few times now, and it works about half the time, which is a better win rate than I had before! Sometimes it goes a little soft, but a few hours in the fridge hardens it up beautifully. And the softer is it, the better the toppings stay on top initially. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from making fudge, you just have to keep at it. And really, when it doesn’t go quite right, if it’s a little soft, or too crumbly.. It’s still delicious.

This actually makes excellent gifts: delicious, home made, toppings are infinitely customisable, and keeps for 2-3 weeks if stored in Tupperware or a zip lock bag! Dream.

Tips for fudge – get to the right temperature and beat constantly. There are no shortcuts in this dojo! ... Er, I mean there are no shortcuts in fudge!