Monthly Archives: June 2013

Blueberry & White Chocolate Muffins

Bastard WordPress ate my post. I was eating one of the blogged muffins whilst WordPress ate my post. I shall retype it now but it won’t be as good or funny or anything.

Anyway, I’m at home tonight, enjoying cereal for supper whilst the boyfriend squires my Ma to a gig in that there youthful Camden. NewHuman has been front-loaded with a massive feed and he’s currently passed out, snoring like a tramp after an unexpected cider bonus. Long may it continue.

I may* even crack a beer.

*Probably will**

** Probably won’t, but will spend ages thinking about cracking a beer.

Anyway the below is a bastardisation of a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe, originally found in The Guardian. He uses wholemeal flour and walnuts. Crazy man. I used plain white flour and substituted the nuts for white chocolate bits. I’m very smart.

Stick your oven on to preheat to 200C or Gas Mark 6.

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125g flour
125g porridge oats
100g light brown or muscovado sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 largish egg, lightly beaten
100ml whole milk
100ml natural plain yoghurt
50g butter, melted
150g blueberries
100g white chocolate bits
Bit of Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
Muffin cases, if you’re into that sort of thing

Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix together all the wet ingredients (not the fruit/choc, obv) in another bowl.

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I put the warm butter into the cold yoghurt and milk because I am an idiot. Don’t do this. Let your butter cool. Mine went well gross but I used it anyway. Things turned out fine.

Mix the wet stuff into the dry. Barely mix. I mean it. Kind of wave a spatula over the top of the bowl in a vague mixing kind of way.

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It’ll look like sick, in the way of all good baking recipes.

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Add your fruit and nuts. Barely mix it some more. BARELY. You basically want it on the verge of combined. Muffin making 101, that is.

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NewHuman has quite deeply set wrinkles and he’s not a month old yet. Whilst I fully appreciate that having me as a mother is a wretched and awful thing, I’m a little concerned at his appearance. Is there such a thing as baby Botox? Of not, why not?

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Spoon the mix into muffin cases. Or a muffin tin. Or, in my case, into muffin cases sitting in a muffin tin. Sprinkle over a generous amount of Demerara. Into the oven for about 25 mins.

Take out. Eat. Put the telly on mute and accidentally fall asleep whilst sat on the sofa, waking up about 42 mins later with drool (your own) on your shoulder, a hungry dog looking at you mournfully and a baby with a nappy so foul it should be illegal.

Bon appetite!

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Guest Post – Fancy Chocolate Tiffin

Afternoon, dear readers.

Been a little while, I suppose, since the last post but that’s because I’ve been dealing with the below:-

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NewHuman is in fact a relatively straightforward baby to care for, all evidence shows, apart from cocktail hour, at which time he turns into a devil.  I don’t know what it is about the late afternoon/early evening that turns babies into demons, but whatever it is must be stopped.  I’ve had to type this whole bloody post one-handed. Uncool.

I’ve found myself googling ridiculous things such as fluffy toys that play all sorts of sounds in an attempt to replicate the womb. I have, instead, decided that if it’s cocktail hour for him, it might as well be for me too. Wine ahoy!

Cooking has been happening but mostly repeats of stuff already blogged. E, who has guest posted a couple of times before, to great acclaim and massive page stats, obviously, has Officially Saved My Life and donated the following post.  I might actually love her for this. Someone get that woman a cocktail…nay! Get her three cocktails!

Chocolate tiffin. Get to it.

—–

Hi! Me again. Thought I’d do another post to give B some more quality time to work out – or just resign herself to –  the mysterious workings of a NewHuman.
Now, I wanted to write about this awesome strawberry bread that I like to make when strawberries are ripe and in abundance, but thanks the hateful weather we’ve been cursed with the strawberries in our garden currently look like this:

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Sad, isn’t it? And as I refuse to make use of the meh!flavoured impostors sold by our crappy local supermarket you are getting chocolate tiffin instead.
I found this recipe inside the wrapper of a bar of Green & Black’s cooking chocolate, and thought it seemed rather sophisticated and unusual. Of course,  Google swiftly disabused me of that notion, for chocolate tiffin is apparently common as muck. Nevertheless, this particular version was invented by Rachael Nimento, and she used to work at The French Laundry in Nappa Valley, CA, a restaurant where I shall at some point eat and then die happy, so….good enough for me.

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You will need:
90g whole blanched almonds
90g whole blanched pistachios (couldn’t find any in aforementioned crappy supermarket. Used pistachio kernels instead. No one died)
200g butter
140g honey (the original recipe called for golden syrup but I went for honey because TOBLERONE, baby! Though use golden syrup if you want)
400g ginger biscuits
70g good quality cocoa powder
80g sultanas
300-350g milk cooking chocolate
Preheat oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas mark 4.
Roast the nuts in the oven for about 5 minutes, until they are just about beginning to take on colour. Time this, and keep a wary eyeball on them. Nuts burn quickly, and pistachios and almonds are a little too pricey to just wantonly incinerate.
Line a suitably sized baking tin with greaseproof paper. Mine is about 15x25cm.
Melt together the butter and honey (or golden syrup).
Crush the ginger biscuits. You can do this bit in a food processor, but I prefer to do it by hand. It’s therapeutic. Remember that overgrown bully back in school? He used to mercilessly take the piss out of you for your awesome 70s style mustard and brown-patterned trousers? Yeah? SMASH HIM.
When the biscuits are crushed to your liking – I smashed about half up finely and left half in larger chunks – combine them with the nuts, cocoa and sultanas in a big bowl. Mix well, then stir in your butter mixture.

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Mix again,  then press into the lined tin as flat as you can.

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Chill in the fridge for two hours or so. Then break the chocolate into chunks and melt in your preferred way. I did it in the microwave like a barbarian – or Nigella – but doing it over a water bath is the the more widely accepted method. Either way, melt it. Look. Molten chocolate. NICE

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Get your chilled tiffin out from the fridge and spread half the melted chocolate on top. Using whatever suitable implement you’ve got to hand roughly smooth it over then return to the fridge. Chill for a couple of minutes, until it’s just set, then spread over the rest of the chocolate. Use a fork to create artful patterns:

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Not very arty, me.
Put back in the fridge for another ten minutes, until set, then cut into squares. This should yield about 20 or so squares.
It’s very rich, very unhealthy,  and very very nice. It’ll keep for about ten days in an airtight container. Next time I make this – and there will be a next time – I’m going to soak the sultanas in booze first. Possibly spiced rum. Yes.

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Lazy Bones Lamb Shanks

It’s technically Summer. I know I moan about the weather a LOT but seriously, it’s got its shit so utterly out of gear that I despair of ever really being warm again. Or, at least, warm for more than a day or so in a row. Currently spitting with rain, blowing a gale, requiring actual proper jackets if you venture outside. As I write this Mum is at the park walking the dog. I fully expect them to return telling tales of being tornado’d to another, mystical land.

Boyfriend has returned to work after 2 weeks of paternity leave, looking suitably unrefreshed and, I hope, garnering enough sympathy from colleagues to make up for the lost sleep NewHuman is presently responsible for.

I’m at home, habitually checking gmail for work emails that no longer arrive. It’s weird.

Right, so cause the weather is foul I have made a stew. I vaguely recall having seen the recipe ages ago on something called Daddy Cooks or similar. Terrible name. Anyway this is my version. Easy, contains booze, is cheap and unctuous. Take that, Summer, you bitch.

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I got:

4 smallish foreleg shanks. Get whatever ones you want. Foreshanks were all that I had available to me.
1 brown onion
2 or so carrots. More if you like carrots
2-3 sticks of celery
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 bottles of that little single serve wine you can get. I think really 3 is too much. I used 3. Mum doesn’t drink. I’ll let you know how that turned out.
Salt and pepper
Sage, rosemary, thyme – handful of each
Pancetta cubes, a tub of pre-chopped, or chop your own. I don’t mind which.
Tablespoon or so of plain flour

Pre-heat your oven to 170C or equivalent.

Chop as seen above, whilst you brown the shanks in a casserole dish. Oven-proof dish, please.

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On the stove-top, brown in a good glug of olive oil and a knob of butter. When browned, set aside for a sec.

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Throw in the pancetta for a minute or so, then add all the vegetables and the garlic. Stir and soften for maybe 3-5 mins or so.

Add the flour and stir around. It’ll go a bit gloopy. Add the wine and herbs, stir and then put the shanks on top of all the saucy veg stuff. I added a bit more water here as I think I’ve made enough gravy for twice as many shanks.

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Then put the lid on and shove in the oven after it’s come to a simmer. In my case the baby woke up. Made it difficult to pick up the buggery-heavy dish.

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See?

Put the baby down somewhere safe and appropriate. Definitely not the kitchen bench. No way.

Then stick the dish in the oven. It’ll take about 3hrs. Check it a couple of times, adding water if you need to.

Serve with mash. Also with cabbage is nice. We have some in the fridge that needs eating but I can’t be bothered prepping it.

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Speedy Crispy Oat & Orange Biscuits

More biscuits. Can’t get enough. I made these the same day as I made the previous slice. I was after something slightly more ascetic, bit cleaner. These sufficed. I was worried they’d be a bit too much like ANAZACs, but nay, they are not.

NewHuman Update : after a shaky start New Human has settled in and we think we may keep him. His speech and language skills are sadly lacking. Hoping he will have those sorted in the next couple of weeks so we can get chatting about politics, beer and whippets. Dog is behaving remarkably well. Definitely keeping her.

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100g butter

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 teaspoon bicarb soda

100g plain flour (or wholemeal if you fancy)

100g caster sugar

125g porridge or rolled oats

zest, fine, from a whole orange, preferably unwaxed

Stick your oven on to preheat at 180C/gas mark 4, and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper. You’ll have sent your Mum out on a trek to get more baking paper, she will have taken over 30 mins to get home and you’ll have gotten worried she’d been lost to the wilds of West London forever. Never fear, she returns eventually.

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Put the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan and melt together, gently.

Whilst you’re doing that, mix together the flour, oats and zest.

Add the bicarb soda to the melty mix and stir gently till it goes all fluffy. Is nice. Reminiscent of honeycomb. Definitely ISN’T honeycomb, so don’t be tempted to stick your face in the saucepan.

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Mix the melted stuff into the oaty floury orangy stuff, and spoon heaped teaspoons onto the baking sheets, as demonstrated above by mine own fair hands.

Into the oven, best just do one baking sheet at a time, for 8-10 mins or so.

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The dog, being pathetic. I LOVE HER.

Below are the finished biscuits. Surprisingly tasty little feckers, too.

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Deathslice – Tim Tam & Fudge No-cook Slice

So, in the final few days before NewHuman arrived and the sun had made us punchdrunk I got Mum to look through a couple of recipe books and choose something to make. I have a sweet tooth. Mum has a sweet mouthful of teeth. Having said that, even I was surprised she chose this slice. It’s essentially Death, masked as tasty chocolate sugary stuff. Mum and the boyfriend loved it. I tried one piece, and was done.

If you’re not Aussie don’t worry, you can make this with Penguins instead. Penguins are a shit replacement for Tim Tams if you’re eating as a pure biscuit, but they worked fine in this.

No cooking required. Barely even interaction with naked flame, bar a brief flirtation with melted butter and condensed milk. Piece of piss. Easier to deal with than baby piss, I’m guessing. Less endless than baby piss.

Suppose I’ll know more about that soon enough. T-2 days at the time of writing. Sheeyit…

Update: NewHuman arrived. He’s new. And human. I consider that a result.

Right. This is from an Aussie Women’s Weekly ‘Little Book of Chocolate’ or similar. Basically faux-gourmet filth. Brilliant.

I adjusted amounts slightly to fit with British ingredients, will try and remember both … If you’re American or living in another country I am Really Really Sorry but I’m no so au fait with your sugary shit. Substitute as you see fit.

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Gather:-

2 packets of Tim Tams (Oz) or 2 packs (18 single biscuits) of Penguins (UK)

185g of Jersey Caramels (Oz) or about 8 single Fudge bars (UK)

200g good quality dark chocolate

1/3 cup of condensed milk

50g butter

teaspoon tasteless veg oil

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Blitz half the biscuits to a powder, and roughly chop the other half. Boyfriend will help.

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Then chop your caramels/fudge bars up. Boyfriend will help with this, also.

While he’s helping, melt the condensed milk and butter over a low heat till combined.

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Stick the chopped up/blitzed stuff in a bowl and pour in the melted butter and condensed milk. Mix through.

You’ll go light-headed.

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Lay it all out in a slice tin around 20cm x 30cm or so, lined with greaseproof. Stick it in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up.

When cool, melt your chocolate with the teaspoon of oil, and pour over the top. Back into the fridge for another 30 mins.

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This is the beat up old Country Women’s Association Book I’ve yet to cook anything much out of. You Aussies out there might remember the Golden Wattle – actually it might be specific to West Aussies. Anyway, I love the Golden Wattle more.

I was toying with the idea of cooking some ginger biscuits the CWA book had listed, till I saw it called for 3 pounds of flour. No-one needs that many biscuits.

Right. Slice.

Wait.
Wait.
Wait.

DEATH!

Decant from the slice tin, chop up into small bits (you’ll only want a bite at a time, trust me) and then send to work with the boyfriend as they’re much too dangerous to be left at home.

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