Monthly Archives: October 2011

Coffee Soaked Gateau

My mum used to make this cake all the time when I was growing up and occasionally the craving for it rears its head again.  I loved this cake well before I could ever even think of drinking coffee for pleasure.  I’m finally getting this down on the blog rather than scraps of paper that I lose each time I want it!

Serves 12

150g butter
150g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g self raising flour
200g granulated sugar
375ml water
3 tsp instant espresso/coffee granules

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
– In a food processor blitz the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
– Add one egg at a time with the motor running, dropping each one down the funnel at the top.
– Do the same with the vanilla.
– Add the flour and blitz until smooth and all combined.
– Scrape the mixture into the tin and bake for 30-45 minutes.
– Leave the cake to cool for 5 minutes in the tin then turn out and place on a plate.  Your plate needs to be more dished than flat, preferably with sides.
– Stab the cake all over with a skewer.
– In a small pan heat the sugar, water and coffee until all the sugar is dissolved.
– Spoon 1/3 of the syrup over the cake as evenly as possible.  Leave for at least 30 minutes.  Then spoon over the next 1/3 of the syrup, leave it for half and hour and then spoon over the final 1/3 of the syrup.  Leave the cake to sit for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
– Serve with whipped cream (or squirty cream if the logistics of taking it into the office present themselves!)



Filed under Cakes, Easy

Lamb Kebabs

WordPress ate my whole post, I’ll come back and do an intro later, the important thing is the recipe!

Makes 8

400g minced lamb
40g bread crumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder
salt & pepper to taste

Yogurt sauce:
200ml natural yogurt
1 small red chilli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
~8 leaves fresh mint

– In a meduim sized mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients and mix well uing your hands or a spatula so everything is well combined.
– Divide the mixture into 8 and shape each portion into a sausage and place on a chopping board while you shape the rest.
– Skewer each sausage with a bamboo skewer.
– Heat the grill or bbq to a medium high heat and cook the skewers for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are nicely browned.
– For the yogurt sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl with a good pinch of salt.
– Serve the kebabs with the yogurt sauce, lettuce, cabbage, onion, tomato, chilli sauce and either naan or pita bread, all the things you’d get with a takeaway kebab.

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Awesome Sauce!

This recipe has been floating around the food blogosphere for years.  (No really, at least 6 years!)  We all know it takes me a while to pick up on trends.  I came across it on Smitten Kitchen last year and bookmarked it for later.  Ok, I admit it, I thought, yeah it looks nice and simple but no way it can be that good! How wrong can a girl be?

I’ll tell you, SO WRONG!

This sauce is amazing! It is honest to goodness, so good it hurts (when you make extra pasta coz it’s so good and eat it all and get tummy ache).  It takes me right back to ski trips to the Italian Alps and the ubiquitous pasta and tomato sauce that seems to be their beans on toast.  And I agree with Smitten Kitchen, doesn’t need parmesan at all! I will never doubt the internet again!  (Well, I’m still not convinced about all those bacon cookies a while back.)

At this very moment I have a pan on the stove trying it out around some meatballs, I’ll let you know how that experiment turns out but I predict good things! I think it would work as a pizza sauce too if you gave it a little longer and got it a little thicker.

Serves 2 coz you’re gonna want seconds!

800g tinned tomatoes (whole, chopped, whatever)
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
70g butter

– Put everything in a saucepan.
– Bring to a gentle simmer.
– Simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally and watching it at around the 40 min-45 min mark to see it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
– Taste to see if it needs seasoning (mine didn’t).
– Serve with pasta.


Filed under Easy, Mains

Mushroom & Chickpea Veggie Burgers

I’ve been trying to come up with a decent veggie burger recipe for a while now.  I had a jumping off point, knowing I wanted it to be chick pea based but with mushrooms for ‘meatiness’.  It was just a matter of trying to get that idea to taste good and act like a burger.

I wasn’t trying to create a vegetarian patty you could put in a bun, there are plenty of things in that category.  I wanted something satisfyingly meaty that could stand up favourably next to the real thing.  My sister may have happily given up meat but for those of us who still enjoy such things I wanted a burger that would be no hardship at all to eat alongside said veggie sister.  I’m very happy to say I think I’ve actually succeeded!

Makes 6

2 thick slices of bread (I use the heels)
400g tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed
200g mushrooms (closed cup, chestnut, whatever)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 eggs
1 tbsp ground corriander
1 tsp ground cumin

– Blitz the bread into crumbs and tip into a large mixing bowl.
– Blitz the chickpeas until just short of the same coarseness as the breadcrumbs, you want them to be all bitty, not a paste.
– Add the chickpeas to the mixing bowl.
– Roughly chop the mushrooms, you want them to be in small chunks and bits but with a range of sizes.  Add these to the mixing bowl.
– Add the onion to the mixing bowl.
– Add two of the eggs and mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.  If it looks rather dry add the last egg.  If it is moist enough to stick together in balls without crumbling then you won’t need the extra egg.  It depends on how big your eggs are and how moist your mushrooms are.
– Add the ground cumin and corriander and mix in thoroughly.
– Oil a baking tray and heat the oven to gas mark 5/190C if cooking now.
– Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions.
– Use your hands to shape each portion into a round patty.
– Place on the oiled baking sheet.
– Repeat with each portion then brush a little oil over each burger.
– Cook in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes.  The colour of your burgers will rely upon the mushrooms.  I’ve made some with very young closed cup mushrooms that are very pale, and others with more mature mushrooms that came out black.  Cook the burgers until firm to the touch and, if pale to start, a golden colour all over.
– Use a pallete knife to gently unstick the burgers from the tray if they’ve stuck.
– Serve in bread buns with your prefered burger accompaniments.  I’m a fan of plastic cheese, lettuce, onion and tomato.

Oh, and my top tip for any burger? Toast your bread buns once you’ve split them.  Makes a world of difference!

These burgers keep well in the fridge, freeze well and microwave very well.  Ideal for preparing in advance if time is an issue.


Filed under Easy, Mains