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Chocolate Chip Squares

Saturday, 27 February 2016
This is another delicious recipe from my childhood, and my daughters love it too.  Great with a cuppa or as a treat in lunchboxes.  So quick and easy to make too.

Chocolate Chip Squares

125g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
110g light soft brown sugar
1 free range egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
225g plain flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
80g pack chocolate chips

300g icing sugar
2 heaped Tblsp cocoa powder
25 g butter, melted
2 Tblsp hot water, or more if necessary

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4/350F. Line a Swiss roll tin with non stick baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg then beat again for a minute or two. Sift over the flour and bicarbonate of soda and stir until completely combined, then stir through the chocolate chips.

Press the mixture into your prepared tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin.

Prepare the icing by combining all the ingredients to make a firm but spreadable icing. Add more water if necessary. Spread the icing over the cooled biscuit layer and leave until set. Cut into squares then serve.

Queen Cakes

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

I do love a bit of nostalgia, especially baking recipes from my childhood and vintage cookbooks.  I was asked by Waitrose to share with you a recipe that is my Mum's best dish and why it is special to me.  My Mum cooks a delicious roast dinner, it is her speciality and it is one of my favourite meals ever, so homely and comforting and filling.  However, I decided to share a different recipe.  

My Mum discovered I could cook rather well when my Queen Cakes turned out better than hers, every single time.  It was the start of my cookery journey and from then on my Mum encouraged me to cook and bake a wide variety of recipes as I was growing up.  By the time I left home at 17 years old I was well prepared to cook for myself and my flatmates, thanks to her letting me hone my skills at home.  She purchased The Edmonds Cookbook for me when I left home, just has her Mum had done for her.  I still have it, complete with labelled and dog eared pages, and I will never part with it.

I've therefore decided to share my recipe for Queen Cakes, adapted from the one in the Edmonds Cookery Book.  And from 24th February to 6th March Waitrose are going to be hosting a competition asking their social media communities to share with them the dish that their mum cooks best and why it is so special to them. 

Throughout the campaign Waitrose will be surprising and delighting their social media communities with a number of gifts to make Mother’s Day even more special, such as flower bouquets, gift hampers and the chance to win a grand prize which will be a day trip to the Waitrose’s King’s Cross Cookery School in London for a cooking class of their choice for them and their mum to enjoy together.

To enter, simply share the dish that your Mum cooks best and why on Waitrose social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using @Waitrose and the hashtag #ThanksMum.  You can also find out more by visiting the Thanks Mum webpage.

If you fancy a treat with a cuppa, or some fun baking with family, do try out these Queen Cakes.  They are easy to make, delicious, and great for a lunchbox treat as well as for morning or afternoon tea.

Queen Cakes

125g softened butter
125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 large free range eggs
300g self raising flour
125ml milk
100g raisins or sultanas

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. Preheat the oven to 210C/190C Fan.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add a tablespoon or two of flour to stabilise the mixture if it looks like it might curdle. Add the flour to the creamed mixture in two batches, alternately with the milk. Lastly, fold in the fruit, then spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for around 25 minutes.

Let cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar before serving if you wish.

**Sponsored Post **

Bramley Apple and Cinnamon Crepe Cake

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Displaying bramleyapplecake2.jpg
Bramley apples are over 200 years old and are delicious in both sweet and savoury recipes.  Bramley apples are unique because they contain a higher malic acid content and lower sugar levels to produce a stronger, tangier tasting apple whose flavour is retained when cooked.

Texture is also important and Bramley apples produce a ‘melt in the mouth’ texture when cooked.  Other eating and dessert apples can produce a chewy, dissatisfying texture, so for a delicious cooked apple the Bramley is perfect.  For fabulous recipe inspiration check out the Bramley Apple Week 2016 Pinterest Board or their Facebook page

I was delighted to be asked to share this show stopping recipe for Bramley Apple and Cinnamon Crepe Cake created by Holly Bell.  What a delicious addition to a Mothering Sunday lunch or dinner table, would also be a stunning addition to your next special occasion dinner or lunch.

Bramley Apple and Cinnamon Crepe Cake

For the cinnamon Bramley apple sauce:
8 large Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped (about 1.6kg prepared weight)
470mls cider
400g dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the pancakes:
200g plain flour
4 large eggs
400mls whole or semi skimmed milk
160mls cold water
30g melted butter
Rapeseed or other vegetable oil (but not olive oil)

For the cream cheese filling:
230g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
450mls double cream
80g icing sugar

For the topping:
1 Bramley apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm cubes
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp soft brown sugar

Make the apple sauce:

Preheat the oven to 120C/1/2 gas mark. Combine the apples, cider, brown sugar and salt in a large hob and oven proof casserole dish or saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes until the apples are soft.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla. Use a stick blender to puree the apple sauce then oven bake without a lid for 2.5 hours, stirring every half hour. The apple sauce is ready when it’s as thick as tomato ketchup. Leave to cool then transfer into a lidded container and store in the fridge. (The sauce keeps for 4 days so you can make it ahead).

Make the pancakes:

Measure the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Crack the eggs into the well and add about a quarter of the milk. Whisk well with a handheld whisk until the batter is smooth and thick. Add the rest of the milk in thirds, whisking well after each addition. Add the water and melted butter, whisk well, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. (This stage is important as it makes the pancakes tenderer).

Heat ½ tsp of oil in a non-stick frying pan (approx. 28cm wide) on a very high heat. Don’t be tempted to add more oil as it deep fries the edges making them thicker and rubbery. Hold the hot frying pan away from the heat then take a ladle (or use a jug) to pour just enough pancake batter into the frying pan to thinly cover the base. Tilt the pan to help the batter run over the base of the frying pan. The first one will always be a bit thicker than the rest – it’s a learning process to see just how much batter you need to spoon in.

Place the frying pan back on the heat and wait until the edges start to curl and the centre shows large bubbles – this takes about 40 – 60 seconds. Then shake the pan a little to see if the pancake comes loose. If it doesn’t use a slice or palate knife to loosen the edges, then flip the pancake over using a slice. (Or you can try tossing them!) Fry the other side of the pancake back on the high heat for about 30 seconds, then slip the pancake onto a plate to cool.

Add another ½ tsp of oil to the pan and repeat until all the pancake batter is used up. Add a layer of non-stick baking parchment between each pancake as you stack them – the mixture should make about 14. Leave to cool completely before assembling the cake.

Make the filling, topping and assemble:

To make the filling beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer or wooden spoon until smooth. Separately whisk the double cream and icing sugar to soft peaks. Stir 1 tbsp of whipped cream through the cream cheese to loosen it, then fold the rest of the whipped cream into the cream cheese with a metal spoon, using a slicing action.

Make the topping by combining all the ingredients in a saucepan and gently warming on the hob until the apples are just soft. Remove from the heat and drain away any excess liquid. Leave to cool.

Assemble by placing a pancake on your cake stand or serving plate, carefully spread a thin layer of the cream mixture over the pancake, about 1cm from the edges all round, them spoon over 2 tbsp of the apple sauce as evenly as possible. Stack a pancake on top and repeat until all 14 pancakes are stacked being careful not to press down on the ‘cake’ as you go. Finish the last pancake off with the cream and apple sauce then spoon over the cubed Bramley apple topping just before serving.

Cut into wedges, just as you would a cake, to serve. Serve immediately and keep any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

**Sponsored Post **

Easy Muesli Bars

Saturday, 6 February 2016
I have been baking these Muesli Bars at least once a week for a very long time now.  They are tasty, versatile and very quick to make.  Perfect for lunchboxes or for a snack with a cuppa, you can vary the dried fruit, and even add seeds if you want to.

Easy Muesli Bars

100g butter
125ml golden syrup
100g dried apricots, finely chopped
100g sultanas
50g mixed seeds (optional)
75g dessicated coconut
150g rolled oats
50g plain flour

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4.  Grease and line a 20cm/8 inch square cake tin.

Melt the butter and golden syrup together over a low heat in a medium sized saucepan.  Once melted and combined, stir in all the other ingredients.

Pour into the tin and press down well, I use a potato masher.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool in the tin then turn out and cut into squares.

Vegetable and Pearl Barley Soup

Wednesday, 3 February 2016
It seems like we've all had the lurgy for the past couple of months, it comes and almost goes but we never feel totally well.  I've decided to try and cram as many vegetables in to our diet as possible, to try and combat the lurgy and get us all feeling better.

I cooked this soup on a blustery and windy day, it was so comforting and warming, I was glad there was plenty left to stash in the freezer as well as giving a bowl to my daughters for an after school snack.

Vegetable and Pearl Barley Soup

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, roughly diced
3 carrots, roughly diced
3 stalks celery, roughly diced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
1 butternut squash, peeled and roughly diced
200g pearl barley
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
2 litres of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to season
Sweat the vegetables in a little oil for a few minutes until the onion has softened.  Add the stock, dried herbs and pearl barley, then simmer for around 40 minutes until the pearl barley has swelled and is soft and the vegetables are very tender.  Serve in bowls, season to taste and top with chopped fresh parsley if you have any.  We ate ours with Hidden Goodness Rolls.


Hidden Goodness Rolls for February Extra Veg

Monday, 1 February 2016
It's once again my turn to host Extra Veg, the blog linky created by Helen and I which encourages us to try and eat extra portions of vegetables.  Do link up your delicious recipes and inspire us with ways to incorporate more vegetables into our meals.

I baked these rolls on the weekend for our lunches this week.  They are wholesome and delicious but not heavy and are a good accompaniment to a bowl of soup, or make great sandwiches.  I added some finely grated carrot and a handful of oats, as well as some wholemeal rye flour, to the dough for extra flavour and goodness.

Hidden Goodness Bread Rolls

300g strong white bread flour
150g wholemeal rye flour
7g sachet instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
50g rolled oats
2 carrots, finely grated
1 Tblsp oil
300ml lukewarm water

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl until a sticky dough forms.  Knead well on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, this will take up to 10 minutes.  I used my stand mixer to knead the dough for about 7 minutes.  

Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with lightly greased cling film, then leave to prove until doubled in size.  Knock back the dough, portion into 12 rolls, then shape them and put onto lined baking trays.  Let the rolls prove again in a warm place for 30 - 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6.  Bake the rolls for 15 - 20 minutes until golden and cooked through.

I’ve linked up with Helen at Fuss Free Flavours for a blog event – Extra Veg – to encourage everyone to eat more vegetables and live healthier.

Taking up the Extra Veg challenge means that you get all the extra vitamins and nutrients from extra helpings of vegetables and the veggies help fill you up so you eat less helpings of unhealthy foods.

To participate in Extra Veg all you need to do is:

Simply blog about any recipe or idea where you eat an extra portion of vegetables.

There are a few rules:

Please link to the current host (me)and also to Helen

Tweet using #ExtraVeg and mention @utterlyscrummy and @fussfreeflavours

Please display the badge in your post

Closing date of the challenge is 28th of the month

By entering you are agreeing to let us use an image from your entry on this site, and to pin to Pinterest

Please be respectful of other people’s copyright

But feel free to send your recipe to as many other blog events as you like!

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