Tag Archives: ginger

Bonfire Cupcakes

Bonfire Cupcake

 

Bonfire Night is nearly upon us!  We had our village bonfire last light (and it was a good one, especially the plastic marquee nearly catching fire from the sparks!) with some spectacular fireworks too!  I love Bonfire Night, its a weirdly primal thing, standing around a huge fire in a field with your village eating hot dogs and jacket potatoes… well, may be not so primal there!

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From about the beginning of October I get obsessed with Gingerbread.  I just love it!  It’s such a unique taste and texture, my body just craves it around this time of year.  Little did I know there was a way to improve it!

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Gingerbread cupcakes!!! The gingerbread recipe transfers so well to cupcake form, it doesn’t get too dry or heavy, stays nice and lights and chewy!  Add to that speculoos buttercream and you have one of  the tastiest things I’ve eaten all year!

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Makes 12

2 cups self raising flour
1 cup light soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter/lard/Trex
2 tbsp golden syrup (One BIG dollop on a spoon works)

200g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
5 tbsp speculoos paste (Could go with 1 tsp cinnamon if you can’t get hold of the paste but that stuff is delicious and well worth the effort!)
red food colouring paste
red edible glitter
chocolate sprinkles and shards (Matchmakers are perfect here but I didn’t have any!)

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 200C and prepare a muffin tin with paper liners (I like the brown ones best here.)
– Measure out the flour, sugar, ginger and bicarb into a large mixing bowl.
– Measure out the milk, butter and golden syrup into a small saucepan.
– Bring the milk just to the boil, melting all of the butter and syrup.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and give a good mix around until you have a smooth, spongy batter.
– Divide equally between the cupcake cases.  You want to be filling them just over about halfway up.
– Bake for 20 minutes.
– Put the butter, icing sugar, milk and speculoos paste in a medium mixing bowl and beat well until a smooth buttercream is formed.

Now there are several ways to do this next bit:
– Paint a stripe of red food colouring paste up the inside of a piping bag in several lines.  Fill the bag as normal and pipe your icing onto your cupcakes.
– Add a bit of red colouring to your bowl and marble it so you have swirls of red.
– Use one of those two colour piping bags from Lakeland… this is what I did and I will never do it again, it was a nightmare!
I suggest the first method as probably the most reliable.

– Ice your cupcakes using a large star tip and then sprinkle the top with red edible glitter.  Get them nice and high, there’s plenty of buttercream here so don’t be afraid!
– Add small chocolate sprinkles and larger shards of broken chocolate as logs.
– Feast!

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Filed under Cupcakes and Muffins, Easy, Halloween

Condensed Milk Cookies

I’ve posted this recipe before calling it American Cookies but I’m British so all my cookie recipes are ‘American’ or I call them biscuits.  When people ask me to make these they ask for “the condensed milk ones” and so I have renamed them.  I’ve also discovered since I first made them just how versatile the basic cookie dough can be.  Today I made the final addition to everyone’s christmas hamper:  Individually flavoured cookies. 

My sister has become obsessed with peanut butter and chocolate and so I made her peanut butter and chocolate cookies.  Dad loves ginger and chilli and so that’s what he got.  Mum was harder as she’s a mum and so says she likes whatever I make her but I know she loves marzipan so she got a sort of bakewell cookie… a fakewell if you will.  I also made myself a batch of chocolate and hazelnut cookies for immediate snacking.  There are no photos of that flavour as my family immediately snacked on them!  The joy of this is I made one batch of dough and then simply divided it into 4 and carried on to do all the different flavours I wanted. 

Makes ~36 cookies

255g unsalted butter, softened
225g golden caster sugar
170g condensed milk
350g self raising flour

For the toppings: (no amounts as it depends how many you make of each flavour)
natural coloured glace cherries
marzipan
flaked almonds
stem ginger in syrup, chopped into eighths
ginger and chilli sauce (I used Tesco’s Finest ice cream sauce but it’s totallyoptional.) 
cocoa powder
peanut butter
chocolate chips
chopped hazelnuts

– First line 5 baking sheets with baking paper and heat the oven to gas mark 4.  (If you don’t have 5 then just prep the paper and then reuse trays as they come free.)
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until soft and fluffy. 
– Mix in the condensed milk. 
– Add the flour and mix until it is all combined in a soft dough. 
– Divide the dough into 4 if making 4 flavours. 

For Chocolate and Peanut Cookies:
– Take 1/4 of the dough and put it into a smaller bowl. 
– Add a few spoons of cocoa powder and knead in until it forms a nice even chocolate colour. 
– Pinch off a walnut sized (and I really mean walnut sized, it’s smaller than you’d think!) bit of dough and roll it into a ball. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Add a spoon of peanut butter to the centre. 
– Fold and pinch over the edges so that the peanut butter is completely enclosed in the dough. 
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies and flatten slightly and tidy up any really wonky ones. 
– Repeat with the rest of that dough. 

For Ginger Chilli Cookies:
– With the next 1/4 pinch off walnut sized bits and make into balls. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Place 4 chunks of ginger in the centre of the disc and fold up the edges of the dough to make a sort of bowl around it. 
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies and then pour over a little of the syrup from the jar or some of the chilli ginger sauce. 

For the ‘Bakewell’ Cookies:
– With the next 1/4 pinch off walnut sized bits and make into balls. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Pinch off a ball of marzipan about the size of a Malteaser and flatten into a disc. 
– Place the disc in the centre of the dough and fold over the very edges. 
– Place a glace cherry in the centre and then flaked almonds aroung that. 
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies. 

For the Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies:
– With the final 1/4 flatten the dough out and sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts. 
– Knead these in until well distributed throughout the dough. 
– Pinch off walnut sized bits and make into balls. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies. 

– Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  (I switch over the top and bottom trays after 10 minutes then give them both 5 minutes more.)
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes. 
– Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 NB. These cookies do spread a lot, almost double, so be very careful not to place them too closely together:

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Filed under Cookies and Biscuits, Easy

Sweet Chilli Jam

My mum LOVES sweet chilli sauce.  I honestly think she’d have it on everything if she could.  So I found this recipe for sweet chilli jam and knew I had to make it for her for Christmas.  It’s got a bit of a kick to it but if you’re not keen on spicy then just don’t use so many chillies.  I used a really big deep saute pan much wider than it is tall, which is a really useful pan to have around but any really large pan will do.  If the pan is deep rather than wide the jam will take longer to reach setting point. 

Makes about 4 small (~250ml) jars. 

8 red peppers, chopped (I used 4 long sweet ones and 4 bell as the supermarket didn’t have 8) < would you look at that, didn’t know I could do that I meant 8 then)!
6 large red chillies, sliced
about 2 1/2″ root ginger, peeled and chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g tin cherry or plain chopped tomatoes
750g granulated sugar
250ml red wine vinegar

– Put the peppers, chillies, ginger and garlic in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped and pulpy.  You may have to do this in two batches. 
– Put this into your pan and add the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. 
– Bring to the boil and then simmer at a rapid pace for about 45 minutes.  Keep stirring to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. 
– When there is a texture change and it goes very thick and sticky give it 5 minutes more while stirring. 
– Put into sterilised jars while still hot and screw the lids on immediately.

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Filed under Easy, Jams and Preserves

Pork Ramen

Pork Ramen

Serves 4

1 pork fillet (I’d give you a weight but I threw away the package.  Mine was about 6″)
sesame oil
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp mixed spices
1 litre chicken stock*
1 clove garlic, bruised (press down on it with the flat of your knife)
1 chilli, cut in half
1″ chunk ginger root, cut into smaller chunks
3 pak choi
2 packets instant miso (Mine has tofu in it too)
5 tbsp soy sauce
2 bundles of ramen noodles if you can find them or 2 nests of egg noodles if you can’t
1 carrot cut into matchsticks or julienned
1/2 can bamboo shoots (select the best looking ones)
2 hard boiled eggs

– Heat the oven to Gas mark 7.
– Drizzle sesame oil oven the base of an oven proof dish then put in the chilli flakes mixed spices and sesame seeds. 
– Roll the pork fillet in this until it is coated all over. 
– Leave it to stand for about 10 minutes to absorb the flavours and then roast it for 25 minutes. 
– Let the meat stand for 10 minutes then slice into thin slices. 
– Take the chicken stock and add the garlic, chilli and ginger.  Bring to the boil in a large pan for 5 minutes. 
– Fish out the bits so you’re left with a clear stock.
– Slice the pak choi into quarters and cook in the stock for 7 minutes.  Drain and put 3 quarters in each bowl.  
– Add the instant miso and soy sauce to the stock.  Stir until it’s combined. 
– Cook the noodles as per the packet instructions then divide equally between the bowls. 
– Divide the carrots, bamboo shoots, half a boiled egg** and sliced pork between the bowls. 
– Arrange everything nicely then ladle the stock over the top. 
– Serve with a dash of chilli oil. 

* See next post for how to make chicken stock from scratch. 
** Obviously you see no hard boiled egg in that photo.  That is because they are still sitting in the fridge.  I forgot them, oops!

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Filed under Easy, Japanese, Mains

Ginger Cake Recipe

I’d been making a lot of cake recently but my dad doesn’t like cake that much.  I asked him what kind he liked and he said ginger so I made him a ginger cake.  He said it was excellent but he’s probably a bit biased!!

Makes 1 cake!!

250g self raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
200g golden syrup (I used two really big spoonfuls)
2 tbsp syrup from the ginger jar
125g butter
3 lumps of stem ginger in syrup, diced
125g dark muscavado sugar
2 large eggs
240ml milk

– Heat your oven to Gas Mark 4 and grease and line a 20-23cm square baking tin.
– Sieve together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
– Put the golden syrup, and butter in a medium heavy bottomed pan and heat until they’re melted together and bubbling. 
– Add the stem ginger and sugar to the pan and bubble for 1 minute while stirring. 
– Beat together the eggs and milk in a jug.
– Pour the mix from the pan into the flour and mix well ensuring the flour is totally mixed in.
– Add the milk and eggs and mix well.  
– Bake for 40-45 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (Mine took a little longer than this but all ovens are different.)  

If wrapped in foil this cake should keep well in a sealed tin even though it is very moist.

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Filed under Cakes, Moderately easy

Chicken Curry Recipe

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. 

Chicken Curry

Serves 4

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
1 courgette
Fresh corriander

– 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.

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Filed under Easy, Mains