Hot Water Crust Apple Pies

80ml hot water

75g butter

200g plain flour

1/2tsp salt

2 cooking apples

5 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp cornflour

1/2tsp cinnamon

Egg for egg wash

2-3tbsp Demerara sugar to top

⁃ Heat your water and butter in a pan until melted but don’t let it boil.

⁃ Mix with your flour and salt until a smooth dough forms and knead lightly.

⁃ Squidge the dough into 8 muffin tins using either a mould or your fingers.

⁃ Roll out the remaining dough and make 8 lids just larger than your muffin tin tops.

⁃ Mix your apple, sugar, cornflour and cinnamon together and spoon generously into the muffin tin. (If using cooking apples this will shrink considerably.)

⁃ Press down the lids around each pie and make a small hole in the top with a sharp knife.

⁃ Egg wash over the top of each pie and sprinkle with a little Demerara sugar.

⁃ Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes until the tops are a golden brown.

⁃ Leave to cool in the tin then run a sharp knife round each pie to loosen, they should easily life straight out.

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Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Very Berry Breakfast Muffins

These Very Berry Breakfast Muffins are nothing less than an experiment in how much summer fruit it is possible to cram into a muffin and still maintain structural integrity! (About 300g as it turns out.)

The summer fruits are cropping heavily with cherries, raspberries, strawberries all ready now and the blueberries soon to ripen (confession: some bought blueberries went in here too!)

I am the furthest thing away from a morning person it is possible to be so easy, quick to ‘grab and go’ breakfasts are a must for me. These are packed full of homegrown fruit and the oats add a nice breakfasty touch too! You can whip them up in about 30 minutes start to finish too, which is always nice!

Makes 8

50g dark muscoavdo sugar
125ml milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
40g butter, melted and cooled
150g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
~300g mixed summer fruits (can use frozen if fresh not available!)

8tsp porridge oats

8tsp Demerara sugar

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C and prepare 8 holes of a muffin tin with paper cases. 
– Beat together the sugar, milk, egg and vanilla essence then add the butter and beat again. 
– Add the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture.
– Fold in gently. 
– Add the fruits and stir in to the mixture to evenly distribute.  
– Divide the mixture evenly between the cases. 

⁃ Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a teaspoon each of oats and Demerara sugar.
– Bake for 25 minutes. (Check after 20)
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little in the tin then place on a wire rack to cool completely or serve warm. These will be much less stable when warm but the berries taste amazing!

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Filed under Breakfasts, Cupcakes and Muffins, Easy, quick

Wild Garlic Salt

I love wild garlic! It’s such a lovely, seasonal, easy to forage ingredient. But it has a relatively short season so I’m all about ways to preserve this fabulous flavour. This year I’ve made wild garlic salt and oh my goodness it is a game changer! Making this couldn’t be simpler, it just takes time to dehydrate the salt once the garlic is combined.

500g rock salt

Large bunch wild garlic

– First off, clean your garlic of any bugs or non garlicky bits.

– Put half of your salt and all of your garlic in a food processor and blitz until the garlic is finely ground into a paste with the salt.

– Add the rest of the salt and pulse until all evenly combined and browns down to your favoured consistency for salt.

– Spread evenly over dehydrator sheets.

– Leave to dehydrate overnight.

– Crumble up and store in airtight jars until needed.

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Filed under Basic, Easy

Wild Garlic Spring Soup

This quick and simple spring soup makes use of the wild garlic found in plentiful supply around the uk. You can easily identify a patch from the smell! I keep a small patch in my own garden for ease of harvesting.

The vibrant green is perfect for early spring and Easter themed meals. The creaminess comes from the courgette and as ever a good slip is built on a good stock! A stock cube is just fine but make sure it’s a good one!

1 large bunch wild garlic leaves, roughly torn

1 courgette, roughly chopped

1 small leek, sliced

1 cup frozen petit pois

1 vegetable stock cube

1 clove garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

– Heat a table spoon of olive oil in a large pan.

– Add the courgette, leek, garlic leaves and peas and cook over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the courgette is soft.

– Add half a litre of boiling water.

– Add your stock cube and garlic.

– Remove from the heat and blend with a stick blender until all the chunks are gone.

– Return to the heat and bring to a simmer. Season to taste.

– If you want to adjust the thickness you can add more water if necessary or simmer on a low heat to reduce further.

– Serve with a garnish of thinly sliced wild garlic leaves and a dollop of sour cream.

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Filed under Easy, Low Fat, quick, Starters

Glazed Maple Pecan Shortbread Recipe

Shortbread:

40g pecans, finely chopped

125g unsalted butter, softened

60g caster sugar

1 tbsp maple syrup

150g plain flour

30g corn flour

Topping:

40g pecans, finely chopped

1tbsp maple syrup

Pinch sea salt

Glaze:

1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

110g icing sugar

Up to 100ml maple syrup

– First, prepare your pecans either by finely chopping by hand or by pulsing gently in a food processor. (My stick blender came with a small chopper attachment, which is perfect for these kind of jobs when you just need a small amount of something.)

– In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter sugar and maple syrup.

– Add the flour and pecans and mix to combine. At first it will not come together but you can bring it together easily with your hands at the end.

– Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

– Prepare the pecans by roughly chopping them, leave a few bits that are chunkier.

– put the pecans in an oven proof dish and mix with the maple syrup.

– Sprinkle the sea salt on top.

– Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 170°. (You can do this at the same time as your first batch of biscuits.)

– Roll out your chilled dough to a thickness of 5 mm between two silicon sheets. (By using the silicon sheets instead of extra flour your dough will not get too dry. But if you don’t have these just sprinkle the worksurface and rolling pin with flour and work quickly to stop it sticking).

– Cut out your shapes, I prefer a maple leaf but they can be any shape you like, and place on a lined baking tray.

– Put the tray in the fridge to chill for at least 10 minutes. This will stop the biscuits from spreading when you bake them so if you’re not using a delicate shape and don’t mind this then you can skip that step.

– Re-roll your dough, but if it gets too sticky you may have to put it back in the fridge for a few minutes to solidify again.

– Heat the oven to 170°C and bake each tray for 10 minutes until just starting to turn golden brown then remove the tray From the oven and leave the biscuits to cool on the tray.

– To prepare the glaze mix together the icing sugar and melted butter in a small bowl. Gradually out of the maple syrup until you get a fairly thick but runny consistency. You may have to add a little more icing sugar or maple syrup to get the consistency you want. It wants to be somewhat like Greek yoghurt, not too thick but not so runny that it slides off your biscuit.

– Once your biscuits are cool, dip each one top down into the glaze then gently shake it back and forth so that the excess glaze falls back into the bowl. Then place back onto the baking tray and sprinkle with your pecan topping mix.

– Repeat for all of your biscuits then leave the glaze to set before serving or putting in an airtight box to store.

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Filed under Cookies and Biscuits, Moderately easy

Halloween Eyeball Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

These spooky eyeball chocolate chip cookies are great easy Halloween cookies! I bought a packet of these sugar eyeballs ages ago but never really found a need to use them until now! These cookies are a great Halloween treat and you can use the technique with your own favourite cookie recipe if you prefer, no need to follow this one (though it is great!) You simply press the eyes into the cookie when it comes straight out of the oven and then leave to cool.

Makes 18 cookies

200g melted unsalted butter
220g light muscovado sugar
100g caster sugar (If you like the grainyness of the M&S cookies feel free to use granulated, I don’t like it so I use caster)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
350g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
200g chocolate chips (I use one bag of dark and one bag of milk for variety)

One pack sugar eyeballs

– Heat the oven to Gas mark 3/170C and prepare two baking trays.
– Melt the butter, I put it in the microwave for 1 minute but microwaves vary so be careful!
– In a large mixing bowl mix the melted butter with both sugars until smooth.
– Beat in the vanilla and egg until smooth.
– Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until it forms a dough.
– Mix through the chocolate chips.
– Divide the dough in to generous balls, slightly larger than a ping pong ball is best. Roll briefly in your hands to make a round ball and place 6 on a baking tray. Make sure they cookies are well spaced apart as they spread.
– Bake one sheet at a time in the top of the oven for about 15-17 minutes. The cookies will still be soft but the edges should be a little brown.
– As soon as they come out of the oven press the sugar eyeballs randomly into the cookies. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely/eat.
– Repeat with the remaining trays of cookies.

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Filed under Cookies and Biscuits, Desserts, Easy, Halloween, Sweets, Teatime Treats

Easy Paella Recipe

When I saw these langoustines in the fishmonger yesterday I knew a special meal was needed!

I’ve never made paella before but I’ve eaten it plenty of times. I was a little nervous going all in on a recipe I’ve never experimented with before (langoustines aren’t cheap!) but I didn’t need to worry, it was amazing and so delicious!

Serves 4

125g chorizo, sliced

4 large chicken thighs, skin on (or 8 small ones)

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 red pepper, diced

250g paella rice (or risotto rice if you can’t get it)

500ml chicken stock

Pinch of saffron

100ml white wine

400g tin chopped tomatoes

150g king prawns

Handful of frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cooked langoustines

Lemon wedges

– Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy pan with a lid.

– Add the chorizo and cook for 3 minutes.

– Remove the chorizo from the oil (which should now be a lovely colour) and place in a bowl to the side.

– Add the chicken thighs and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes each side with the pan lid on.

– Remove the chicken thighs and place in the bowl with the chorizo.

– Add the garlic, red pepper and rice and stir well until the rice is well coated.

-Add the stock, saffron, wine and tinned tomatoes. Stir well.

– Add the chicken thighs and chorizo back into the pan and simmer on a low heat with the lid on for 10 minutes.

– Add the prawns and peas and mix through gently. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

– Add the langoustines on top and replace the lid. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

– Leave to sit with the heat off and the lid on for 5 more minutes before serving with lemon wedges.

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Mains

Tori Karaage (Japanese fried Chicken)

Super quick and simple to make this Japanese Tori Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) really hits the spot! You can add garlic and ginger to the marinade if you like for a little extra flavour but I don’t usually. For authenticity make sure you’re eating it with Kewpie mayonnaise!

Chicken breast (or thigh) chopped into bite size chunks

1 tbsp cooking sake

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp corn flour

Large pinch of salt

– Marinate the chicken in the sake and soy sauce (optional: garlic and ginger pastes) for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight in the fridge.

– Heat a pan of oil to 180°

– Drain any excess liquid from the chicken.

– Add the corn flour and salt and mix so the chicken is well coated.

– Drop into the hot oil a piece at a time, cook in batches if necessary so it’s not crowded.

– Cook for 3 minutes until golden brown.

– Remove from the oil with chopsticks (or tongs) and place on a sheet of kitchen paper to drain.

– Serve hot or cold with mayonnaise and a lemon wedge squeezed over.

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Filed under Easy, Japanese, Mains

Tempura dipping sauce

100ml dashi

25ml soy sauce

25ml mirin

1 1/2tbsp sugar

– Make up your dashi in a small saucepan however you are making it (I just use the sachets of powder, much easier!)

– Add all of the other ingredients and bring to a boil.

– Cool and use to dip your tempura in!

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Filed under Easy, Japanese

Orzo Cheese

25g butter

Splash of olive oil

250g orzo

2tbsp corn flour

100ml white wine

1 pint milk

1/2tsp salt

90g mature cheddar, grated

1 ball mozzarella, shredded

3tbsp Parmesan, grated

125g lardons (or chopped bacon)

– Heat a large pan and add the butter and oil.

– Add the orzo and stir so it is coated.

– Add the corn flour and stir well.

– Add the white wine, stir.

– Add the milk and salt and bring to a simmering boil.

– After about 5 minutes add the cheeses. Stir well until the cheeses all melt in.

– Simmer on a low heat until all of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is just al dente.

– Turn off the heat and leave to sit for 5 minutes.

– Heat a small pan and add the bacon lardons. Cook until crispy.

– Add the lardons to the orzo and stir in.

– Enjoy!

A pan fried chicken breast makes a great addition to this to make it a bigger meal, you could also add other things to the orzo such as spinach, mushrooms or peas to get a veggie in there.

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Filed under Easy, Mains, quick