Food! Raspberry and White Chocolate Cookies

No knit night this week, but an urge to have raspberry and white chocolate cookies led to a late night recipe search and baking occurrence.

I’ve not baked cookies in a long while, so I did a bit of googling and adapting and I think they came out okay – my house mates agreed, with a chorus of ‘mmm…’ ‘delicious’ and ‘more please’

I used the recipe from here – but I of course  adapted it a little… my adapted version is below:

  • 125g butter – I used stork, and popped it into the microwave for a few seconds.
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract – 2 capfuls
  • 215g plain flour (I didn’t want to use cocoa so replaced it with flour)
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 200g (ish – one packet) raspberries

I creamed the butter and sugar together, then added the vanilla extract, followed by the egg and mixed until smooth.

Next I added in the flour and baking powder, mixing thoroughly and making sure the mixture is smooth.

I then folded in the chocolate chunks, followed by the raspberries, trying to get them distributed evenly.

Using a tablespoon, I made little piles of mixture on the baking trays – I got 12 cookies out of the mixture, but they were quite big!

I then put them in the pre-warmed oven at about gas mark 6 – but my oven is as reliable as an unreliable thing – for about 30 minutes in the end.

They cooled for as long as we could stand, then they were wolfed up 🙂

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Food! Baked Gnocchi Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Chocolate Fudge Cake (cheats version!)

Last week I managed – for the first time in a while – to both have Knit Night and take photos of the food!

Everyone – including me – was a little dubious about the success of Gnocchi based mac ‘n’ cheese, but as soon as forks were put to mouths that was shot out of the window!

I got the idea and recipe from here and bodged it a little by adding more sauce and spinach, but it really was yummy.

The recipe linked above is in cups, so below are the quantities I used.

about 450g gnocchi

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (vitalite in my case!)

1 clove garlic (diced as small as possible)

1.5 tablespoons flour

8 fl oz milk

150g baby spinach (chopped)

30g Parmesan

Handful of sharp strong cheese for sauce, plus some for over mix

Preheat the oven to around gas mark 5 (we have to guess what temperature ours is, but it’s about a medium heat!)

Cook the gnocchi in boiling water until a few pieces float to the top. Drain and set aside.

In a medium-large pan, melt the butter, then add the garlic. Keep moving until they’re mixed well  – about 30 seconds.

Sprinkle in the flour and keep whisking.  Slowly add milk until combined and the mixture thickens.

Lower the heat and add the parmesan and sharp cheddar while still stirring.

Add the spinach and stir in the Gnocchi until it’s all mixed in well.

Put in a dish, cover with cheese and pop in the oven for half an hour or until golden and bubbling on top.

Serve with salad (if, unlike me you actually remember to buy some!) and garlic bread.

Gnochi Mac n Cheese

For dessert I made a chocolate fudge cake. I cheated and bought a  mix from Morrisons, but ended up putting too much milk in so bodged it adding a bit of flour and milk too. Fudge icing and white chocolate drops and it was lovely! It kept well in a tin till Sunday :~)

Chocolate Fudge Cake

 

Food! Mash, Pesto Puffs and Carrot Experiments

Knit Night didn’t happen this week, but last – 14th, we had what I call Jamie Mash – because it’s a Jamie Oliver recipe surprisingly enough.

We had a bit of a mash-up (haha!) of the contents of my fridge and freezer.

Jamie Mash – Mashed potatoes with skins left on, mashed with peas and broccoli.

Look:

Pre MAsh

Which then turns into this:

Pre Brie Mash

I of course can’t leave anything alone (and housemate Katie bought a LOT of Brie that she didn’t really know why) so I chucked some Brie on top and popped it into the oven for 15 minutes or so and resulted in this:

Mash with BRie

Then I added some bakey things I had in the oven, and an experiment with carrots.

I wanted to do honey-roasted carrots (omnomnom) but I didn’t have enough time left, so Katie and I brainstormed and decided to fry them in a tinytiny bit of oil, then slathered them in honey and chucked some Thyme in too…they were rather nice, and looked like this:

Carrots Mmm

The whole lot together (well I know you’re just dying for a picture!):

All Together Now

Rather nice actually!

Pesto Puffs – these are a family favourite, my Mum makes them a lot, they’re really simple and very yummy. I stupidly didn’t take an ‘after’ photo, but this picture gives you an idea of what they are:

Pre Oven Puffs

Puff pastry, bit of pesto, with cheese on top (Brie this time – there was a lot of it to use!). Occasionally a bit of tomato (quarter of a cherry works well) but I didn’t have any, and don’t like it so I left it off!

Bit of a cobbled together dinner but I thought it was lovely and everyone finished, so it did!

I’ve had a strange week on annual leave, including a lovely but kick back heavy trip to London, and there are about 5 blog posts in the working! Off to see Dr Who! :~D

Food! Cottage Pie with Sweet Potato Goodness

I gave Knit Night a miss last week, but J, S and Housemate K were over for dinner last night.

I’ve been searching and googling for new recipes since I set myself the new challenge, and although I’ve come across some lovely recipes, this week I decided to try a bit of a ‘classic’ again. I’m not sure I’ve ever had cottage pie before – being really very fussy about food for years plus being a vegetarian seem to have conspired against the experience.

This week I rectified that.

I followed a basic recipe from Sainsbury’s again, modifying it with some additions and deducting ingredients.

I used Quorn mince, which doesn’t have as much moisture as the meaty sort (Something I didn’t know till I was cooking it!) so I put some stock in – a big cup of hot water with a veggie stock cube dissolved in. (Thanks to S for the suggestion and stirring skills!)

I also did a combination mash of white and sweet potatoes. I think It’s the first time I’ve cooked with sweet potato, but it certainly won’t be the last!

Served with honey roasted chantenay carrots (hurrah for the reduced fresh produce section) and peas.

Ingredients

 

 

Sweet Peelings

potato process

honey roasted carrots

 

Plated Up

 

Omnomnom…

Food! Double Take – Macaroni & Cheese and Banana Bread

I’m afraid I rather cheated on my new challenge to cook ‘proper food’ this week at Knit Night and used a rather unimaginative combination of sauce from a jar and pasta – but there weren’t any complaints so I think I was forgiven.

I decided on Macaroni and Cheese as I swore I had a bag of macaroni in my cupboard – well I’m really glad I bought extra pasta when I got salad, as the bag is nowhere to be found!

Very simple, I just par-boiled (about 8 minutes as opposed to the instructed 10) pasta, bunged it into the dish, mixed in the sauce (Dolmio Pasta Bake Sauce for Macaroni and Cheese), sliced some mozzarella on top, filled in the gaps with cheddar, then topped with sliced tomatoes and breadcrumbs (bought ready-made too :~/ )

Served up with a basic salad (optional olive oil or balsamic vinegar dressing) and mini garlic baguettes.

It looked pretty though :~)

macaroni and cheese

Today I decided to use up some of my excess nervous energy (which I can’t seem to convert into actually useful physical or mental energy at the moment) and make some banana bread. I’ve tested this a few times on housemates and work colleagues, and it’s always gone down well.

I can’t remember where I got the recipe from – somewhere online, but I’ve put my notes alongside.

Ingredients:

banana bread ingredients

100g Butter (I used good old stork)

175g Sugar (I used the equivalent of about 140g Golden Caster Sugar)

2 Eggs (Beaten)

2 Bananas – mashed (If you leave some lumps, they taste lovely but look a bit weird as they turn a pinkypurpley colour)

225g Self Raising Flour

1tsp Baking Powder

2tbsp Milk (I use Lactofree milk as I’m lactose intolerant)

Method:

Preheat your oven to a medium heat – the recipe says 180c/gas mark 4. (The temperature control on my oven isn’t particularly accurate, so I aim for around the middle.)

Beat all the ingredients together: I heat the butter (for about 20 seconds in the microwave), then add the sugar and cream them together till they’re a nice soft colour.

Mix in the Flour and Baking Powder(I tend to use a figure of eight and folding method, as I think it mixes them better!)

Add and mix in the Eggs and Milk (I’m always a little generous with the milk, probably adding another 25%)

Add the Bananas (Try to make sure they’re fairly even mixed in. This time I blended the Bananas  first to avoid lumps)

banana squish

Pour mixture into a tin (I always line with greaseproof paper) and sprinkle some brown sugar on the top if you’d like (adds a nice crunch to the top – I forgot!)

bread to go in oven

Bake for an hour, or until a knife (or other poking implement of your choice) comes out clean and the top is nice and brown.

fresh out the oven top

Leave to cool for as long as you can and enjoy!

(I usually bake a double batch, which takes about and hour and a half in my oven)

fresh out the oven angle

fresh out the oven bottom

fresh out of oven split open

A visit to a Toft Alpaca Open Day a few months ago prompted my experiments with Banana Bread again – me and J had a fabulous concoction from the Morning Glory Bus that was toasted Banana Bread with Chocolate Spread (or Peanut Butter – bleurgh!), nuts and mascarpone – it was just fabulous!

Obviously I had to taste test a bit…so I added a smidge of chocolate spread…omnomnom…

banana bread stack with chocolate spread

Food! Rice, Mushroom and Egg Pastry Roll – Kulebiaka

Mmm food! I’ve really enjoyed the last few knit nights – not only the conversation, but also the challenge I’ve set myself of cooking ‘proper food’ for my lovely friends.

Last week we had another recipe I found at Sainsbury’s –  it was met with a little more hesitation than last time, but overall I think it was a success!

Thankfully S and L came over in time to help with photo taking, folding and turning!

Doing it again, I wouldn’t change much – I’d roll out the pastry a little before adding the filling – I ended up with a little of bursting, and needed an extra set of hands to close the roll. I also failed to turn it over – but I’m not convinced that was vital anyway! I’m not sure I’ve made puff pastry from scratch before, so that’s definately something to explore too – I relied on Jus-Roll pre rolled this time!

I failed to take photos of it as it came out of the oven, or just before it went in, but here are the photos I did get!

(Rice with Dill – Mushroom, Spinach and Garlic mixture – Trying to hold the roll together while S takes a photo! – As it went into the oven – Finished! Served with a basic salad with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar)

Rice with Dill

Mushrrom, Garlic and Spinach Mixture

Trying to close it up

As it went into the oven

Yummy!

Someone at work is selling some recipe books really rather cheaply, so I have more ideas on the way. What are your favourites?

I’ve had an exciting few weeks, so there are a few posts in the works – the new library, an awesome gig and an amazing launch party!

Till next time…