Category Archives: Easy

Lemon and Raspberry Mini Loaf French Yogurt Cakes

I can’t remember where I first came across the recipe for French Yogurt Cake.  It’s always just been there. But I never once felt the need to try it.  There were always more exciting, more challenging cakes to try.  Why go back to basics with a cake intended to be made with the help of toddlers?

French Yogurt Cake

This is why, my friends!
Beautiful, light, fluffy cakes that are the perfect teatime pick me up… or breakfast, coz it’s got fruit and yogurt in and that’s a breakfast food, right?

French Yogurt Cake

And, even though I possess no toddlers of my own (Darcy isn’t too good at baking, even though he loves the tasting part!) I can say with my limited knowledge of the species that this would be an absolutely brilliant recipe to bake with kids.  No faffy weighing, just measure everything out using a yogurt tub and mix it up.  Simple!

French Yogurt Cake

And so quick.  The thing that takes the most time about this recipe is waiting for the oven to heat up!  (Or sometimes it’s the pressing need to pop to the Co-op as you realise you’ve run out of eggs half way through!) We all know there are some days when you just want to get something in the oven without any hassle, these can be whipped together and out of the oven in less than half an hour (although I assume if you do choose to involve kids it will take longer…)
Don’t delay, give them a go today!

French Yogurt Cake
Makes 6

1 x 125g tub natural yogurt
2 tubs self raising flour
1 tub golden caster sugar
1/2 tub rapeseed oil
3 eggs
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon, grated*
~ 1 tub frozen raspberries

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C.
– Prepare a tray with 6 mini loaf cases. Alternatively you can make this as a large loaf and just increase the cooking time.
–  Put all of the ingredients except the raspberries in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Use the yogurt tub to measure out each of the ingredients.
– Divide equally between the mini loaf tins. (Space them well as this mixture rises!)
– Scatter the top of each cake with frozen raspberries.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. (If cooking as a large loaf 45 minutes to an hour)
– Allow to cool until just warm them devour! Also excellent when you allow them to fully cool before consuming!

*
RECIPE VARIATION:
Instead of Lemon and Raspberry these can be adapted to any flavour you like.  I have also had great success with Chocolate Orange, just replace the lemon zest with orange zest and add 2 tbsp cocoa powder and a tub of chocolate chips instead of raspberries.

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Filed under Cakes, Easy, Teatime Treats

Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

This Sausage and Red Lentil Stew started as a riff on Cassoulet… but it just isn’t Cassoulet.  It’s lazy girl’s cassoulet!  It’s still deliciously comforting and a filling but not too stodgy recipe to bring some tomatoey brightness to these dull February days!

Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

It can work well with any sausages but I will say that my preferred ones are either Turkey (which are getting harder to find!) or sweet chilli sausages, which are just delicious in anything you put them in!  I would steer clear of chicken sausages though, I just don’t think they have the depth of flavour you want here and they get lost with the vibrancy of the tomato.

Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

Serves 4

8 sausages of your choice
2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 clove chopped garlic
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, chopped
5 tbsp red lentils
1/4 tsp salt
~200ml water

  • Brown the sausages in a large, lidded pan first.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, give it a stir, pop a lid on it and leave it to simmer for 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on the water level, make sure you keep stirring occasionally to stop the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan.  If you need to add a splash more water do so.
  • Leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving as this will be HOT!

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

These Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons are a lovely thing to make as a gift, or just to keep on hand for those chocolate cravings that spring up from time to time!

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

They’re quick and easy to whip up, you just need to allow time for them to set.

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

I’ve tried mine with Almond milk, which is my go to dairy alternative, and also with regular cow’s milk, which obviously negates their Vegan heritage!  But they’re delicious either way!  What you always need to make sure of when you’re working with chocolate is that you enjoy the chocolate you’re starting with!  If you start with a delicious chocolate then you will end up with a delicious finished product.

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

Makes ~14 spoons

200g dark chocolate (make sure it’s vegan!)
50g coconut oil
2 tbsp cocoa powder

– Melt the chocolate either slowly in a microwave or over a pan of boiling water, whichever method you prefer.  Heat it until 90% melted then take off the heat and allow the last lumps to melt with the residual heat.
– Stir in the coconut oil and the cocoa powder and mix until  smooth.
– Pour carefully into an ice cube tray so that each hole is just filled, clean up any spillages so you have a clean edge.
– Place in the fridge for 10 minutes until starting to solidify then poke the spoons so that they stand upright.  You can leave them to set at room temperature too but this will take a lot longer.
– Put them back in the fridge until fully set, an hour will do it, them unmould and place in plastic bags to keep them.
– To use, simply pop into a mug of hot milk (alternative) of your choice and stir!

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Filed under Drinks, Easy

Red Onion Refrigerator Pickles

This is one of the simplest things I’ve made in ages and yet it packs a big flavour punch! My recipe for Red Onion Refrigerator Pickles pack a heck of a punch visually too, who can resist bright pink food?  They are perfect paired with pulled pork as here, or even just in sandwiches (put them in a cheese toastie and be amazed!)

Red Onion Refrigerator Pickles

Darcy was poised and ready for any spillages!

Red Onion Refrigerator Pickles

3 red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
~1 cup/250ml red wine vinegar

  • Put your onions in a sealable tub, jar or bowl.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • Cover with the vinegar.
  • Leave in the fridge for 2 hours – 2 weeks.  Then enjoy!

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Filed under Easy, Sides

Chicken Katsu Kare (Curry)

Chicken Katsu Kare (Japanese Curry)

One of my favourite Japanese meals is Chicken Katsu Kare.  A breaded chicken (or sometimes eve pork) cutlet with a lovely thick, mild curry sauce and sticky rice, topped with lightly pickled red pepper.

Chicken Katsu Kare (Japanese Curry)

Its absolute rainy day comfort food for me.  I had a real craving for it the other week but didn’t have any of my usual short cuts in stock.  (In Japan I’d always make the curry with shop bought roux cubes as would everyone else!) So I set to and made it all from scratch.  I didn’t even have any curry powder!

Chicken Katsu Kare (Japanese Curry)

Its actually not hard at all, it just takes a bit of organisation in a small kitchen like mine as there are a lot of little stages you need to pull together.  I’m very happy I took the time and did a big batch though, this recipe will serve 4 so for singletons like myself I suggest you freeze ready prepped portions for the next rainy day craving!

Chicken Katsu Kare (Japanese Curry)

Serves 4:

For the curry roux:
50g butter
4 tbsp flour
1 tbsp curry powder
1tbsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp five spice
1/4 tap cayenne pepper

(Curry Powder:
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder)

For the curry:
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1 carrot, diced
1 medium floury potato,diced
500ml chicken stock

For the cutlets:
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp flour + salt and pepper
1 beaten egg
4 tbsp bread crumbs
3 tbsp rapeseed oil

Sticky Japanese rice and chopped pickled pepper* to serve (*I love Lidl’s jars of roasted peppers!)

  • First things first, make up your curry powder if you’re making that from scratch, just give it all a good mix.  There will be some spare so pop it in a small jar for later use.
  • Then prep your roux.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan and once it is all bubbly add the flour and spices.  Give it a good stir for 30 seconds or so and it will turn a golden brown. Set aside off the heat.
  • In a larger saucepan heat a splash of oil and sautee the onion and garlic until soft.
  • Add the carrot, potato and chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the curry roux to the saucepan gradually, stirring well to avoid lumps.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally as it thickens to avoid sticking.
  • Take your chicken breasts and lay them on a large chopping board, with plenty of room between them. Cover them with cling wrap.
  • Take a rolling pin and whack the chicken breasts to flatten them.  You will find you can slightly direct how the meat spreads, you want to get it all to a thickness of ~1cm.
  • Remove the cling wrap.  Cut each chicken breast in half to make approximately equal portions.
  • Place the flour on one plate, the egg in a shallow dish and the breadcrumbs on a final plate.
  • Coat the chicken in the flour, then dip it in the egg and finally cover with breadcrumbs.  Then set aside and continue with the remaining pieces.
  • Heat 3 tbsp rapeseed oil in a large frying pan (you may have to do this in 2 batches, or with 2 pans depending on size).
  • Place the cutlets in the oil and cook for 3-5 minutes, until you can see them cooked halfway up, then flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes until cooked through.
  • Serve the cutlet sliced into strips, with a heap of sticky rice, curry sauce and pickled red pepper on top.

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Filed under Easy, Japanese, Mains

Apple Pie Slices

These Apple Pie Slices are a quick and easy way to bake up some lovely pastries for guests, snacks, afternoon tea or even a naughty breakfast!  (What?  Apples are a fruit ergo it’s healthy!)

Apple Slices

They are deliciously flakey and actually not too sweet.  They are also super quick and easy to throw together!

Apple Slices

They use my Apple Pie Jam as the filling but you could substitute with a bought apple jelly if you preferred. I would add a pinch of cinnamon to it though for maximum tastiness!

Apple Slices

I also use bought puff pastry because nobody outside of the Great British Bake Off tent has time for that nonsense!

Apple Slices

Makes 8

1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry
1/2 jar Apple Pie Jam
3
 tbsp milk
3 tbsp demarera sugar

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and line 2 baking trays.
  • Cut your pastry into 16 equal pieces.
  • Put a spoonful of jam in the centre of half of them.
  • Prick the remaining slices with a fork to make little holes in the top.
  • Put these pieces on top of the jam ones and press down all around with a fork to crimp the edges closed.
  • Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown.  You will probably have to switch the trays over halfway through if they are on different shelves.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before you eat them.  They are equally good cold!

 

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Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef and Horseradish and Mustard Creme Fraiche

December is here and ’tis the season for cocktails and canapé at every turn!  I thought I’d take the opportunity to share one of my favourite canapé from last year’s Christmas festivities, Mini Yorkshire Puddings!

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef and Horseradish

These are a fabulous little morsel that are quick and easy to prepare, you can even cook the Yorkshire puddings in advance and then reheat them but I do recommend using an oven to reheat rather than a microwave as you get a much better texture.  You can even serve these at room temperature if there’s too much pressure on the oven space.  Keep it simple and enjoy your party!

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef and Horseradish

Makes ~24

100g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
300ml milk
1 egg
oil/lard/trex for cooking (I favour Lard unless I have a vegetarian about in which case I switch to trex)
200ml creme fraiche
2 tsp horseradish sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
~6 thin slices of roast beef
parsley sprigs for decoration

  • Put the flour, salt, milk and egg into a tall jug.
  • Blitz with a stick blender to combine (Keeping a good grip on the jug!)
  • Leave to sit for around 20 minutes, half an hour, or longer if necessary.
  • Get the oven nice and hot (Gas 6 / 200C or above)
  • Put a small knob of Trex, lard or a dash of vegetable oil (just enough to cover the base of the tin) in each hole of a 24 mini muffin tin (if yours is smaller do this in batches) and place in the oven to get piping hot.  (10 minutes or so)
  • Pour the batter in to just fill each hole of the tin.  (Careful of the hot oil!!)
  • Place carefully in the oven and close the oven door.
  • Leave to cook for 15-20 minutes until all poofed up and golden brown.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE THEY ARE COOKING!
  • Mix the creme fraiche, horse radish and mustard together in a bowl.  Test to see if its got enough bite to it (or too much!) and alter to suit your tastes.
  • Roll the roast beef up and slice into sections about 1″ long.
  • Carefully spoon a little of the horseradish mixture into the centre of each Yorkshire Pudding, insert a roll of beef and decorate with a sprig of parsley.
  • Grab and bottle of bubbly and go mingle with your guests!

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef and Horseradish

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Filed under Canapés, Christmas, Easy