A-Z Foodie Challenge – H is for … Hazelnuts

HAPPY WORLD NUTELLA DAY!!!!!

I’m delighted to tell you that I especially saved my hazelnut challenge for today knowing it’s World Nutella Day…..but of course I’m lying and it is in fact a very happy coincidence, although I will be celebrating World Nutella Day from now on!

I copied Linda this month and looked on Pinterest for inspiration for a recipe. I was, in all honesty, looking for a savoury recipe but when I found a recipe for The Moistest Chocolate Mug Cake and read the details (Prep Time 1 min/Cook Time 1 min!!!!) I was sold. If you’d like to check out the recipe for The Moistest Chocolate Mug Cake, it appears on the Table For Two blog here. It may have taken a MASSIVE 2 minutes to prep and cook but it took mere seconds for Holly and I to demolish it! I added a swirl of double cream and some crushed hazelnuts just to cover up for my guilt of not using the “real thing” in the recipe!

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Linda’s gone down the microwave path too this time with her Microwave Nut Caramels which were absolutely gorgeous to eat and gave me a real energy boost in the afternoon when I was flagging. Check out her blog to find out all about them – this is they….

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Will add Frances and her culinary creation soon and look forward to I is for Icing next time.

 

 

No new toy for the kitchen :(

At this point I was hoping to tell you about my marvelous new find which I couldn’t live without, but instead I’m here having a good old moan as I reload it into a box and shove it in the car boot sale pile!

This is the offending item – if you have one and have found it to be fabulous, I apologise for my moaning but it’s left me a bit “narked” (to be polite about it!).

IMG_2638Looks great doesn’t it? I bought it in the sale (thank goodness!) at Lakeland. I ordered it online. I don’t think I’d have bought it if I’d seen it in the shop and read the back of the box. Of course I took it out of the cupboard the minute I intended making bread….and then read the care and use instructions. Here we go, ready for this (I might have been a bit naive not to expect this…)

1. Immerse the form completely in clean warm water allowing to soak for 30 minutes (okay, can go away for half an hour and then make bread.)

2. Rub veg oil onto inner surface to coat it entirely.

3. Place in a cold oven and increase the heat to 220 degrees c.

4. Bake the form for approx 25 minutes or until oil has dried completely (hmmm, an hour before I can get the bread in the oven….but then with proving etc that should still work).

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely and naturally.

6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 again.

Grrrrr. No bread today then. But I carried out all of the instructions (twice!) and put off the bread making until the following day.

IMG_2644So, up with the lark (ha,ha!) the following day and bread made and in the oven.  One of the attractions of buying this was that it came with two recipes and I’m always happy to try something new. I decided on the Cheddar & Red Onion Flavour Bread. It turned out to be very odd as only the middle roll had any of the onion filling, making it very strongly flavoured, and the others just had a sprinkling of cheese inside and on top.

When it came out of the oven it looked pretty good….but then I tipped it upside down so I could tap the bottom to make sure it was fully cooked….and it wouldn’t move….. After some prising not a lot was happening still…. It was well and truly stuck. Nothing for it but to rip and hang the consequences of pretty unappetising bread – although I guess with hindsight it had been called Tear and Share!

IMG_2647As the form of the rolls had disappeared during cooking I did wonder if my mixture had been too wet and perhaps I had caused the sticking problem? Not wishing to condemn it and never use it again I decided to give it another go the following day using a bread mix, with the thought that if it was “user error” making it stick, that might solve it. The result was exactly the same. I know I followed the prep of the form to the letter (twice!) so can only conclude that me and the flower form are not going to get on. Just to prove to myself that I hadn’t lost any bread making skill I might have ever had, I went ahead and made bread rolls the following week, free forming them into a flower shape and baking them. The results are far better. Erm, so good in fact that the sixth roll mysteriously disappeared before I could take the photo! This is how I will go from now on.

Roll on car boot sale season….unless anyone else fancies giving it a go to prove me wrong?!

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A-Z Foodie Challenge – G is for Goat’s Cheese

Apologies that it’s been a while – life don’t half get in the way of fun!

“G” was indeed for Goat’s Cheese and, as she was first off the mark, I’m starting with Frances and her gorgeous looking creation which she says is a firm family favourite. It has crumbled hard goats cheese, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, spinach, mushrooms and cream all mixed together between layers of filo pastry. Looks delicious doesn’t it?

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Makes my mouth water just looking at it!

As I’m usually a firm follower of recipes and patterns and don’t end up making a lot using my own brainpower (shame on me!) I thought I’d try something different this time. Having never used goat’s cheese before I was at a bit of a loss, but decided that it sounded like it would go very well with bacon (easy guess work really as most things do!). I placed the sliced up goat’s cheese between 2 layers of back bacon and wrapped it in shortcrust pastry, popped it in the oven for 20 minutes with fingers firmly crossed that the cheese wouldn’t burst out from its casing. I have to say I was pretty pleased with the results. I ate my version hot straight away (well why wouldn’t you?!) and Kev has one cold in his packed lunch today so no doubt I’ll hear how that went later on (even more finger crossing!).

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As for Linda…..she’s eaten her goat’s cheese!! And why not?! Read her whole “confession” on her blog.

Next month we have hazelnuts to experiment with…..

 

 

A-Z Foodie Challenge – F is for Flour UPDATE!

I missed a whole section out of my previous post, so I’d like to put that right as well as adding photos that Frances has let me have for her delicious looking creation using flour.

For my birthday this year my best friend Katherine bought me some “unusual” presents, one of which being a very classy egg separator….

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I won’t insult your intelligence by describing how it works but I just wanted to let Katherine know, despite her assurances that IIMG_2094 could just put it on eBay unused, I have used it and very helpful it was too! The first egg I used can’t have been too fresh as the yolk broke and became “bogey-fied” but second attempt, with a fresh box of eggs, worked perfectly and was indeed very helpful as I’m a bit squeamish about eggs (one of those childhood things that I won’t explain). Thank you very much Katherine!

So, from one section of cobblers to another – courtesy of Frances! Her flour recipe looks amazing and I’ve asked her for the recipe.

Frances says “It’s carrot and butternut squash casserole, slow cooked for 4 hours.  It’s topped off with Stilton cobblers which I browned off in the oven for 10 minutess at the end. Delicious and I’ve now made it 3 times!”

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Linda’s gone for the sweet option for flour with some delicious looking Oaty Cranberry Cookies. Check out her blog post for the recipe and let me know if you have a go at making them!

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A-Z Foodies Challenge – F is for Flour

I really love making bread. There’s nothing like the smell of it cooking and the magic that turns a lump of goo into something light, bubbly and delicious. However, sometimes there just isn’t time to get on and make a loaf (minus bread making machine), or….is that not really the case?

After deciding to have a soup making session I thought the best plan would be to have it with hot, just out of the oven bread. But, I was a bit short of time. Enter those inventive people at Wright’s with one of their very clever bread mixes. All you do is add water and/or oil and follow their very simple instructions to make a fresh loaf or rolls.

On this occasion I chose Parmesan and Sun Dried Tomato Bread Mix and decided to be REALLY hands off by letting my food mixer, with dough hook attachment, do all the hard work instead of standing and doing all the stretching (of the dough!) and kneading, leaving me free to get on with everything else I was trying to do. Could it work? YES, it could! It was quick, easy, very unmessy and still gave the satisfaction of a great tasting bread. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t go back to traditional bread making, but for a quick and easy solution, this was ideal.

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Not sure what Frances and Linda are up to for their flour-y challenge, but will add the details as and when. If anyone else would like to have a link in this post with their recipe using flour, please get in touch.

 

A-Z Foodie Challenge – C is for Chocolate

So we’re a little late, but honestly who feels like chocolate when the weather’s as hot as it was in July? Okay, perhaps don’t answer that. I didn’t feel like chocolate at all when it was hot but, in the spirit of things Googled “world’s easiest chocolate recipes” on 30th July and “cooked” Chocolate Fudge from a very easy (we’re talking a total of 7 minutes including prep and cooking) recipe on the 31st!

It really was that quick….well, apart from having to wait for it to go solid. I’m not a fudge fan but this is actually pretty good. I don’t think it has the texture of traditional fudge, but as that’s the bit I don’t like about fudge, that’s just as well! It is however very melty, hard to cut without leaving fingerprints and needs to be kept in the fridge. Of course this means that every time you open the fridge…..

Linda decided to cool things down a bit (very sensible given how hot it’s been) with her chocolate and banana ice cream – stop her to buy one here http://lindasmakes.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/c-is-for-culinary-alphabet/

So, here it is. Waiting to see photos from Frances and will post them as they’re added. (No, I’m not nagging!). This month’s date is with….dates!

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Foodie Photo Challenge – A is for Asparagus #A-ZFoodiePhotos

The first ever results for our foodie challenge are IN! Back in April we decided to do THIS and we have been busy!

Linda kept her dish simple and, with asparagus being so delicious, I really can’t blame her.  Her asparagus was lightly sautéed in butter with a grind of black pepper – my favourite way to cook it too. She’s blogged about the results HERE.  And here’s her asparagus sizzling away in the pan.

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Frances came up with a delicious looking family feast with her asparagus frittata which I think I’ll definitely be trying to replicate some time in the future. Makes your mouth water just looking at it doesn’t it?

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Kev and I had an asparagus and ham risotto. Yes, know the garlic bread looks like the main feature but it’s actually strategically placed to cover up the fact I put a little too much liquid in with the risotto. Still tasted great though!

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Already looking forward to seeing the results for B – Butternut Squash. Ready, Steady, Panic!