Ribes Uva-Crispa Crumble

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Ribes Uva-Crispa Crumble (gooseberry crumble to you and I)

Madly high in vitamin C, these sour suckers make a kick ass crumble.

Ingredients

Punet of gooseberries
150g of Plain Flour
75g of Butter (actual real butter)
75g Caster Sugar
2 handfuls of oats

Wash the berries and nip off the woody looking left over flower bud. Pop them in a large saucepan with a splash of water and gently brig to the boil. The fruit will begin tk pop and squelch down at this point add a generous handful of sugar. Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it away, so taste as you are adding ans get to the right sweetness for you. I like it on the pucker side, just tart enough to make you mouthwater. In its new mushy state leave to cool and prep the crumble.

Crumble is easy, experiment with different sugars, add nuts and seeds if you will. Whatever takes your fancy. I think light soft brown sugar makes an amazing caramel tasting top for Apple crumble. For the gooseberries I stuck to the oldy but goody, tried, tasted and loved standard recipe. But like I said experiment.

In a mixing bowl with your hands,rub together the butter and flour till it reaches a breadcrumb like texture. Add the sugar in along with the oats and run your hands through as though you were playing with sand to mix it.

In an ovenproof dish pour in the cooling gooseberry slush and pile on top the golden crumbly sand. Bake for 30 mins or unill the top is dark golden and the sauce from the berries bubbles up at the side. Serve with your chosen accompaniment. Man likes hot custard with everything but I’m much more of a vanilla icecream girl. If your mouth waters as you take the first bite, you know that a small victory has been won!

Love
L xox

Rustic Aubergine Lasagne

Monday? Already?

The weekend has been and gone in its usual hurry. Back to the daily grind.

This evening I took the time to make a personal favourite.  Currently fending of the smell of mans cheesey dorito feet while I write up this lovely. Luckily he only took his shoes off after we ate.

This recipe is originally a wonderful Italian lady’s take on a classic Italian veggie dish. It’s the most magnificent and authentic veggie recipe I know with a rich homemade tomato sauce base. A little fafy but sooo worth it. Most definitely a show stopper. It can be made as the star attraction or as a side dish to some simply cooked meat. It can also be made in advance too making it a dinner party go too. This is my twist on a beautiful dish by a very talented cook. I hope o can do it justice.

Aubergine Lasagne

1 large aubergine
1 egg mixed with a little milk
2 handfuls of flour

2 small onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 x Carton Passata
1 veggie stock cube
Massive handful of fresh basil (I’m. Currently growing so on our widowsill)
2 x small chillies (I’m also growing thes, but feel free to leave these out)
1-2 handfuls of your favourite hard cheese.

To prep cut the aubergine into 1/2 inch slices. I like them in rounds, but strips work as well. Dip each slice in the beaten egg mix and then proceed to flour them (just make sure they are throughly dusted). Slowly and lightly  fry these in sunflower oil until light golden brown. Put them to one side,  preferably on kitchen paper to drain any excess oil off.

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Meanwhile create a magnificent sauce by chopping onions very small and the garlic as small as you can. Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil if you have it, if not sunflower oil is great. Make up around a pint of stock with the veggie stock cube (use beef stock if you’re not worried about it being veggie friendly. When onions are soft add the carton of passata and stock to the pan and if using chillies add these at this point. Simmer and reduce until it’s  blipping pan of loveliness. Add in the chopped basil and stir through.

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In an oven proof dish, layer the battered aubergine slices and the sauce in alternative layers. Once the dish is full, top with cheese and bake till bubbling hot and golden on top (this normally takes me about 35-40 mins in a 190 oven. Serve with salad or meat depending on your mood.  We ate with a little  bit of gammon.

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I hope you enjoy.

Love and best,
L xox

Bitter Sweet

Today was officially my last day at my current place of work. I managed only to cry once. Which is a major victory for me, as emotions are uncontrollable most of the time. Poor work friends. Probably didn’t know what to do with me.

I will, with no doubt in my mind, miss the people. Some of the most wonderful people I have worked with so far. It’s been a strange transition year. I was made redundant April 9th of last year and ended up temping two weeks later out of pure panic because of my lack of employment. It wasn’t something that I expected to happen. I was happy in my job in a local family run business. I enjoyed the variety of work and loved the family I worked for. In all honesty, I think I’m only just coming to terms with the loss of such a massive part of my life.

It was more difficult still, when two months in to me temping, we were thrown into more stress as the other half ended up jobless too. It has been, at times, a rough year. Luckily the temp job I ended up with turned out to be a hidden gem. Okay, so I had a bad start. I’ve never worked in any kind of finance before and I found the transition hard. Spending most lunch times hidden away alone in my car across the road, in Morrisons car park. It took me sometime, but I came off of my lonely hermit road and joined the girls for lunch one day. I pushed myself to be more involved, and it turns out I met some pretty awesome people. I will miss them. But it is most certainly not goodbye. Only ‘see you soon’.

To mark my leaving, as you know, I baked. One of the recipes I used seems to fit the feel of today perfectly. Bitter sweet. Bitter as I don’t want to leave my new friends, but sweet as I am excited to see what’s on the horizon of my new career. So here it is. My lovely lemon loaf.

Lemon Loaf

Lovely Lemon Loaf

Ingredients

225g Butter
225g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
Zest & Juice of 2 Lemons
225g Self Raising Flour
85g Granulated Sugar

Method

Grease and line a loaf tin. The one I used was a 500g tin, which I found perfect for this recipe. Don’t worry if you don’t have a loaf tin, round tins, square tins are all good too.

Cream your butter and sugar together. Makes sure it’s smooth and light in colour. Add the zest of 2 lemons and the juice of half. Mix thoroughly and add the eggs one at a time. Any sign of curdling, just add a spoonful of the flour.

Once the eggs have been beaten in, fold in the flour. It really is as simple as that. If you are using a hand whisk its super quick as well, but don’t be tempted to whisk in the flour. This would knock all the air out giving your cake a reason to misbehave. Bake this in a 160 degree oven for around 45 mins. If the oven is too hot the cake will colour too quickly on the top, if this happens don’t panic, but cover with a foil lid to save the cake from burning.

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When the cake is golden brown and you can pull out a skewer clean from the centre of the cake, take it out of the oven and let it cool for about 10 mins. While the cake is cooling, combine the granulated sugar and the rest of the lemon juice in a separate bowl as well as any zest you have left. Poke a few tiny holes all over the loaf with a skewer and drizzle over the sugar syrup. The liquid will soak right into the cake, but some of the granulated sugar will sit lusciously on the top. The sugar will cling to the wonderfully tart lemon taste. Perfectly sweet and tasty when it’s cooled and great to share with friends.

Lemon Loaf

Enjoy!

L xox

Three Days To Go!

Not that I’m counting. My nerves are though. Three days to go until my work at my current job ends. In light of this I decided to bake…. Not that I need any excuse to bake.

Today’s spoils included chewy flapjack, chocolate orange muffins, lemon drizzle cake and gooey chocolate brownies. All tried and tested by Rob, who has wisely given them the seal of approval. Evidently trying the produce is a must according to him before I fall through works doors with a shed load of baked goods tomorrow and force feed my team mates. I actually cant wait to start my detox tomorrow.

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Gooey Brownies

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Ingredients

185g Butter
185g Dark Chocolate
275g Golden Caster Sugar
85g Plain Flour
50g Milk Chocolate
50g White Chocolate
3 Eggs

Method

Quick and easy this one, but really not for the fainthearted. Melt the butter, chocolate and sugar together in a large saucepan continually stirring so the chocolate doesn’t catch. In a bowl, mix the sugar, flour and the 3 eggs. Make sure it’s mixed in completely.

I used ordinary chocolate, so popped it in a plastic sandwich bag and smashed the hell out of it. Choc chips work just as well, but I think there is something charming about finding a massive chunk of chocolate in a bite size bit of brownie. Melt. On. The. Tongue. Good.

Add the chocolate chunks to the flour mix and pour over the chocolate and butter mixture and incorporate well. Mix until smooth and glossy. Pour this in to a lined baking tray and bake for around 30 mins in a 170ish oven. Keep an eye on it. If you want to serve it as a dessert its great a little more on the gooey side, add a little vanilla ice cream and enjoy. I’m serving mine as a treat to nibble for my work friends tomorrow. I left them in 5 minutes longer for a little extra set. They’ve turned out extra fudgy and devilishly delicious.

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Happy baking lovers,

L xox

Marmalade Tea Cake – Recipe

I’m currently trying to work my way through the cupboards at the moment before the ‘big shop’. This leaves me with somewhat random combinations for dinner, but some good cake combos.

So today’s cake was a Marmalade Tea cake. Admittedly this was supposed to be a Tea Loaf, but I made far too much mixture and divided it between a normal cake tin and a loaf tin. I ended up leaving the loaf version in the oven a little too long. It is okay, maybe to use as a door stop or even as a weapon of deadly destruction against armed burglars perhaps. I digress.

Ingredients

300g Dried Fruit (of your choice). I used a mix of raisins and apricots.
300ml of Hot Tea
60ml Brandy (Opptional)
60g Roughly Chopped Nuts (of your choice). I used Macadamia nuts and pecans.
50g Butter
100g Caster Sugar
1 Egg
225g Self Raising Flour
I Large Table Spoon of Marmalade

Method

Stick the kettle on and make up your favourite variety of black tea. I’m so very much an English Breakfast Tea woman at the moment, but anything you use will work. While the tea is brewing, chop your dried fruit if needs be. I find this a deliciously simple task, one that you can take pleasure in as the sticky dried fruit clings to the knife. Place all your fruit in a container. I have a boat load of Kilner jars knocking around and found one of these perfect for the job.

Apricots

Remove the stewed tea bags from the tea and pour over the fruit, slosh in the brandy at this point too. Give it a good stir so the brandy is well incorporated. The great thing about Kilner jars are the seals and lids are pretty dandy, so I could shake this instead of stirring. Nothing better than a good shake.  Leave this for as long as you can. I’m impatient so I lasted out two hours. Overnight would be best as the fruit would soak up more of the liquid.

Tea soaked fruit

Prepare the nuts. Sometimes the tricky little blighters can cause chaos, but I like a handful of chaos in my kitchen. So, if you are having any problems chopping these, stick them in a little plastic sandwich bag and smash the chaos right out of them with a rolling pin or something else heavy, like a tin of something from the cupboard.

Nuts

Cake mix as normal, the whole ‘cream butter and sugar’ thing. Insert the egg in to mixture and beat the hell out of it accordingly. Fold in the flour. The mix at this stage will be overly thick, it should look like an alcoholic well over due their next drink. To rectify this problem serve it the fruit, tea and brandy mix. Don’t forget to throw in the chaotic nuts.

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Cake mix done, stick it in a cake tin. I divided this between an 8 inch sandwich pan and a 500g loaf tin. Make sure each cake tin is greased. Pop it in the oven at about 180. It will need around 45 mins or until a skewer can be prodded in the middle and come out clean.

Marmalade Tea Cake

As soon as you bring this out of the oven grab your marmalade and smother the top of the cake with it. This will act as a sticky glaze, with most of it sinking straight into the cake. Wait till the cake cools, cut and enjoy with a cuppa.

Cake

Enjoy lovers,

L xox