Thursday, 24 November 2011

truffles .. Christmas again =0)

These are so easy it would be rude not to do them ...

Truffles (Basic and low fat)
·         1 (200g) tub cream cheese, softened( you could use quark here to reduce the fat content)
·         350g icing sugar, sifted
·         500g plain chocolate, melted
·         1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in icing sugar until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla until no streaks remain. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Shape into 2.5cm balls.
Roll truffles in ground walnuts (or any ground nuts), cocoa, coconut, icing sugar, etc. 
To flavour truffles with liqueurs or other flavourings, omit vanilla. Divide truffle mixture into thirds. Add 1 tablespoon liqueur (almond, coffee, orange) to each mixture; mix well.

Super duper truffles
5 oz (150 g) very best quality dark chocolate (at least 75 per cent cocoa solids) I use lindt stuff mostly but aldi and lidl are great!)
 5 fl oz (150 ml) thick double cream
 1 oz (25 g) unsalted butter
 2 tablespoons rum or brandy
 1 level tablespoon Greek yoghurt
 For the plain truffles:
 1 level dessertspoon cocoa powder
For the ginger truffles:
¾ oz (20 g) preserved ginger, very finely chopped plus some extra more randomly cut up for decoration
For the toasted almond truffles:
1 oz (25 g) flaked almonds, very finely chopped and well toasted
For the chocolate-coated truffles:
 2 oz (50 g) dark chocolate (at least 75 per cent cocoa solids)
 ½ teaspoon groundnut oil
 a little cocoa for dusting

1.    Break up the chocolate , I do mine in the food processor, it needs to look kinda like granulated sugar
2.    Heat up the cream butter and alcohol on the hob (this MUST NOT boil)
3.    Add this into the food processor through the tube thing
4.    Blend until smooth
5.    Add the yoghurt
6.    Throw it in the fridge
7.    Leave till the following day
8.    Roll it in to balls

For the plain truffles
Roll into balls and drop and coat in cocoa powder
For the ginger truffles:
As above after adding the ginger with a fork and rolling ,these are also nice with a crushed walnut covering
For the toasted almond truffles:
As above once the almonds are mixed in, you could also use pecans etc
For the chocolate-coated truffles:
Melt chocolate and oil over a pan of hot water, have a sheet of greaseproof nearby, roll the mixture into balls using cocoa powder... using a couple of cocktail sticks dip in the chocolate ... quickly put them on the paper allow to set ... you can add decoration then ie nuts/ginger/chilli .. or use cocktail stick to apply thin stripes of white chocolate over the set dark stuff .. simples ..
Box up and give to anyone and everyone =0) x

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Brandy butter ... before i forget ;0)

This is just the best addition to ANY hot or cold pudding at Christmas and so damned easy! We tend to steer away from the usual puddings here but Christmas for me would not be the same without at least one mince pie and some brandy butter ... oh yes!! 
Brandy Butter (or other alternatives)
·         125g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
·         125g/4oz icing sugar
·         2 tbsp boiling water
·         3 tbsp brandy/cointreau/whiskey/ drambouie

1.   Cream together the butter and the icing sugar
2.   Beat in the boiling water and brandy until smooth.
3.   Chill until needed and serve with mince pies or Christmas pudding.

Lebkuchen .. another from my grandad!

This is another blast from childhood really, I will be making these next week, this weekend is a bit busy I get to see everyone including my super special almost son who is home from 'Vegas baby' for a few days! These are delicious spicy biscuits just right for Christmas that bring back many memories for me, make them a part of your new traditions!! They are fat free... just full of sugar ;0) .. enjoy!!!


·         1 1/3 cups honey
·         1/3 cup darkbrown sugar
·         2 cups plain flour
·         1 teaspoon baking powder
·         1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
·         1 tablespoon light sesame oil
·         1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
·         1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
·         2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
·         1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
·         1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
·         1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
·         1 1/2 cups plain flour
·         Sugar paper

Vanilla glaze
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
This is heated until the sugar disappears
Chocolate glace 
200g (7 oz )  powder ( icing ) sugar, sifted
30 g cocoa, sifted
enough hot water to make thick runny mixture to brush on
Almond Glaze
200 g (7 oz ) powder ( icing ) sugar, sifted
1 or 2  drops of almond extract
enough hot water to make a thick runny mixture to brush on


1.    heat the honey and 1/3 cup sugar in a microwave for 1 minute. Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl.
2.    Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to the honey mixture. Stir well.
3.    Add and mix in by hand the oil, and spices.
4.    Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups more flour. Knead dough to mix (dough will be stiff).
5.    Cover and put in the fridge overnight
6.    Spray bottom and sides of a 10 x15 inch baking tray or baking sheet with a non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
7.     Spread into pan OR roll into balls and put on the sheet( I use sugar paper circles for this type just add the mix on top of the sugar paper)  the dough must be at least ¼ inch thick Bake for 20 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8.    Cut into squares. May be frosted with sugar glaze or eaten plain.
9.    Store in an airtight tin/container, these will keep, they are supposed to be fairly moist so if you find them dry store with a slice of apple in the tin for the right consistency

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Yule log christmas two =0)

This is one i do every year and will be doing soon promise a picture when its done =0) ... I have also been known just to cover shop bought swiss rolls .. 'it all goes down the same hole!' .... another from my mother, who come to think of it was a corker and no mistake ...


1.   300g Bourneville chocolate, broken up
2.   6 large eggs, separated
3.   175g golden caster sugar
4.   Icing sugar, to dust

For the filling choice 1

1.   4 tbsp Nutella spread
2.   250g tub mascarpone
3.   2 tbsp brandy

For the filling choice 2

250g tub or marscapone
5 drops of peppermint essence and five crushed mint matchmakers

1.   1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease and line a 28 x 38cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper. Put 175g of the chocolate into a bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth.
2.   2. Put the egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk until mousse-like, then whisk in the melted chocolate.
3.   3. In a dry, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Stir a little into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the rest with a metal spoon. Pour into the tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until spongy to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes, then cover with a damp tea towel. When cool, chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4.   4. While the roulade is chilling, make the filling. Mix the Nutella and mascarpone together until smooth. Gradually mix in the brandy. Cover and chill until needed.
5.   5. Carefully turn out the roulade on a sheet of baking paper. (At this stage, you can wrap it in cling film and freeze for up to one month. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature, then fill and roll.)
6.   6. Make the chocolate ‘bark’. Melt the remaining chocolate as before, then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and thinly spread out with a spatula. Chill for 8-10 minutes, until the chocolate is firm but still pliable. Tear the chocolate into small jagged pieces. Put in a single layer on a large lined baking sheet. Chill for 15 minutes until crisp.
7.   7. Spread half the filling over the roulade. Holding the baking paper, lift up the nearest short edge to you and carefully roll up the roulade – don’t worry if it cracks. Transfer to a plate. Spread the rest of the filling over the top of the roulade, then arrange the chocolate on top, overlapping. Chill for 1 hour. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

First Christmas recipe ...

Here is the start of a collection of Christmas goodies, all totally good and doable with small people in tow. These are great for the tree or even just as gifts for friends maybe? Icing is great fun for little (and large) hands =0)!

Christmas Biscuits

·         100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
·         100g/3½oz caster sugar
·         1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
·         275g/10oz plain flour
·         1 tsp vanilla extract/or cinnamon and nutmeg
·         To decorate
·         400g/14oz icing sugar
·         3-4 tbsp water
·         2-3 drops food colouring
·         Edible glitter/any other decorations you can think of!
·         Another option is to add some dried fruit/ crushed nuts.


1.   Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2.   Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale, light and fluffy.
3.   Beat in the egg slowly
4.   Stir in the flour until the mixture comes together as a dough.
5.   Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1cm/½in.
6.   Using biscuit cutters or a glass, cut biscuits out of the dough and carefully place onto the baking tray. To make into Christmas tree decorations, carefully make a hole in the top of the biscuit using a straw.
7.   Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to harden for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
8.   For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to create a smooth mixture. Stir in the food colouring.
9.   Carefully spread the icing onto the biscuits using a knife and sprinkle over the glitter. Set aside until the icing hardens.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Roasted sweet potato and vegetable chilli

        This was one of the chilli's that I made for our bonfire party ... it was absolutely smashing .... now i do sound old  =0). The sweet potato really made it .. and I hate hate hate quorn!!
Sweet potato and vegetable chilli

·         2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, (approximately 500g       
·         1 level teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus extra for sprinkling
·         1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin, plus extra for sprinkling
·         1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
·         olive oil
·         sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
·         1 onion
·         1 red pepper
·         1 yellow pepper
·         a bunch of fresh coriander
·         1 red chilli
·         1 green chilli
·         2 cloves of garlic
·         2 x 400g tins beans - try kidney, chickpea, pinto, cannellini
·         2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

     • Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas 6 

• Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bite-sized chunks 
• Sprinkle with a pinch each of cayenne, cumin and cinnamon, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with a pinch of salt and pepper 
• Toss to coat then put them on a baking tray
• Peel and roughly chop the onion 
• Halve, deseed and roughly chop the peppers
• Pick the coriander leaves and put aside, finely chop the stalks 
• Deseed and finely chop the chillies
• Peel and finely chop the garlic
• Put the tray of sweet potato in the hot oven to cook for 40 minutes until soft and golden 
• Put a large pan on a medium-high heat and add a couple of lugs of olive oil 
• Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook for 5 minutes 
• Add the coriander stalks, chilli and spices and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes 
• Drain the cans of beans, then tip them into the pan with the tinned tomatoes 
• Stir well and bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium-low heat and leave to tick away for 25 to 30 minute
• Keep an eye on it, and add a splash of water if it gets a bit thick
• Get the roasted sweet potato out of the oven and stir it through your chilli with most of the coriander leaves
• Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed 
• Scatter the remaining leaves over the top, and serve with soured cream, guacamole and rice or tortillas


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Chicken and Mushroom Stroganoff

Fleeting visit once more unfortunately!
Really must get a routine back! Here's one for tea time ;0)

Chicken mushroom Stroganoff

Couple of chicken breasts
A box of mushrooms (I used chestnut but you can use any)
One large onion
spoonful of mustard( the seedy stuff)
Tsp or two of paprika
Worcester sauce (about a tablespoon)
Three cloves of garlic (to taste really I use a lot)
Chicken stock cube
Half a tub of crème fresh

Slice the onion thinly add to the pan to slowly cook/sweat

Bash the chicken a few times ...  under cling film .. use a heavy pan or rolling pin, just tenderises it a bit ... then slice it up and throw it in with the onions cook till chicken is white all over
Crush the garlic and add
Add Worchester sauce
Add paprika (too taste)
Add the stock cube
 Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and allow it to cook
Add a little more if needed ( I go by eye there needs to be enough moisture but not too much)
Simmer for about 15/20 mins then before serving add the crème fresh and stir
Serve with noodles/rice .. I like the noodles option I really am not a rice eater ;0)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Time ..

Now where does all that time go?? It seems of late that time is in jolly short supply, as you can tell I have not been here in a while and the cracks have been showing. Mostly because of my completely full social life and a very almost all over the place Roo!
The social life was down to a double helping of half term and wonderful time well spent with all of my beautiful girls! I have lots of recipes and pictures to share at some point but you know how life is! I have to say here I am eternally grateful to my lovely mother in law for donating her old Kenwood Chef to my house, it has made my girls realise that the can indeed cook. I feel it must go on the list of 'things every home should invest in', maybe a blog hop in there somewhere (again when i have more time).
The to do list today is huge but I may be back ...