Makes enough for 4
1 onion, chopped
300g risotto rice
100ml white wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 red peppers, chopped
500ml vegetable stock
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6.
– Fry the onion in a little oil in a large, ovenproof pan until softened.
– Add the rice and fry for 1 minute.
– Add the wine an stir until absorbed.
– Add the tomatoes, peppers and 400ml of the stock.
– Cover and bake for 40 minutes in the oven.
– Take out of the oven and stir in the parsley. Serve with grated parmesan and creme fraiche.
For a more varied dish add other vegetables like mushrooms or meat like cooked chicken or smoked sausage. It’s a great throw it all in one pan dish and you can add just about anything you like to it.
Makes 12 Cupcakes, 1 8″ cake
4 eggs, beaten
113g caster sugar
113g plain flour
a pinch of salt
– Either grease an 8″ cake tin with a little oil or place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin and heat your oven to gas mark 5.
– Whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric hand whisk until i is pale and fluffy and has doubled in size.
– Sift in the flour and salt from a good height and fold in thoroughly using as few strokes as possible to keep the air in the mixture.
– Gently tip into the cake tin or muffin cases* and bake for 30-35 mins for a cake, 20 mins for cupcakes.
*This recipe doesn’t rise by more than a few mm so fill to within a centimeter of the top of the case.
Low Calorie Icing
Makes enough to ice about 36 cupcakes. A little goes a long way.
5 tbsp low fat cream cheese
1 tbsp skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract*
3 cups icing sugar
– Mix together the cream cheese, milk and vanilla.
– Gradually add the icing sugar a cup at a time and mix well to remove lumps.
* Or other flavourings like a tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp fruit puree etc.
This recipe came about because my mum has very high cholesterol and has recently been put on new medication that makes her feel ill if she eats something too fatty, such as the previous cupcake recipe. In order for her to indulge her sweet tooth I found this fat free sponge recipe and I am more than impressed. It’s light, fluffy, almost guilt free and takes half the effort a regular sponge does if you have an electric hand whisk. I am a convert, I just have to perfect the icing so it can be piped onto a cake and I’ll be very satisfied.
450g self raising flour
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g butter, softened
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp sultanas (I always put much more in I just do it by eye)
Just under 300ml milk
– Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7 and grease two baking trays.
– Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.
– Rub in the butter.
– Add the sugar and sultanas and mix together with just enough milk to give a soft dough.
– On a floured board, roll out to around 1.5cm thick and cut into rounds using a 6cm cutter.
– Place on the trays an bake for 13-15mins until golden and firm.
– Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.
– Serve warm or cold with clotted cream and jam.
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes
80g unsalted butter, very soft*
180g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
– Beat together the butter and 2/3 of the icing sugar.
– Gradually add the rest of the sugar and the milk and vanilla until you have a soft but spreadable consistency that holds its shape.
Raspberry Buttercream– Make vanilla buttercream but add raspberry puree at the end and thoroughly mix in.
– To make raspberry puree:
– Take a handful of fresh or frozen raspberries.
– Sprinkle with sugar and if frozen microwave for 1 minute.
– Crush the raspberries through a tea strainer with the back of a teaspoon until no solid lumps remain, repeating as many times as necessary. Once all the lumps are removed add it all to the buttercream.
Makes more than enough for 12 cupcakes
120g plain chocolate
150g unsalted butter
160g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
– Melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water then allow to cool.
– Cream together the butter and the sugar.
– Add the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate.
– Beat until glossy and smooth.
200g Golden caster sugar
200g Unsalted butter
4 large eggs
200g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
– Heat the oven to Gas mark 6 and place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.
– Cream together your butter and sugar in a large bowl.
– Beat together the eggs and vanilla essence.
– Gradually add the eggs, mixing thoroughly in between.
– Fold in the flour.
– Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases until around 2/3 full
– Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch.
– Leave to cool and then ice with butter cream (see next post).
– For lemon or orange cupcakes add the zest of one lemon or on small orange to the butter and sugar and don’t use vanilla essence.
– For chocolate cupcakes just add 2 heaped desset spoons of sifted cocoa powder along with the flour.
– Add approx 50g seasonal fruit to the mixture after the flour such as raspberries or even sultanas.
As shown in the previous entry, these make a lovely decoration for cakes and for not much effort look really impressive!! Theoretically they can be kept for up to a year if stored in an airtight container away fromdirect light but it remains to be seen if this is true.
1 Egg white
A few tbsp caster sugar
– Put a small splash of water into your egg white and whisk it lightly until a light froth develops.
– With a small paintbrush brush the flower all over with the egg white.
– Sprinkle the sugar all over the flower and place on a sheet of baking paper.
– When all of your flowers are done placethe baking paper in a warm, dry place and leave for at least 24 hours or until completely dry. Then, if you’re not using them straight away, place them in an airtight container and store.
This is my mother’s birthday cake. It looks great, doesn’t it? Well, the cake itself was a disaster!!! I had had the great idea of trying to make a new cake recipe that looked good the night before her birthday after she had gone to bed. To begin with it looked like it was going well and then in the final five minutes of cooking the cake collapsed in the middle.
So what to do?
I had already decided how it was going to be filled and iced so I had a load of butter cream and ganache on hand. I filled the cake with almost all of the butter cream in the centre and very little around the edge. All very well and good but the centre of the cake was still about half the thickness of the edges. In comes the ganache. I pooled it in the centre and then lightly spread it round the edges so that the whole cake looked as though it was all the same depth. Then I placed the crystalized flowers to disguise the slight dip in the middle et voila!! A beautiful birthday cake!!
(The only problem here was that the combination of the cake and the filling was so rich you could only eat one slice before entering a sugar coma!!)
I love this curry. It’s a bit more fiddly on the preparation than most things I do as you have to do the ginger, garlic and chillies along with chopping everything else but it’s worth it. It’s a lovely curry and because of the coconut it still retains its mildness even if you pump up the chilli.
1 large onion
2 chillies (red are nice as they add colour)
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp curry powder
4 chicken breasts
400ml can of coconut milk
– Finely chop the onion and chillies.
– Add the onion, chillies, garlic and ginger to a pan with olive oil and sweat over a low heat for a few minutes with a little salt.
– Add the curry powder and stir for a few minutes.
– Slice the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and add to the mixture. Cook until very lightly browned.
– Add to coconut milk and sliced courgette. Simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Add seasoning if necessary.
– Scatter with chopped corriander and serve with basmati rice.
Variation – I also add baby sweetcorn along with the courgette sometimes to bring in another colour and vegetable.