Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m beginning to see a bit of a trend with my food posts, they all seem to be biscuits, cakes or puddings!I like to think that’s because they are the most appealing recipes rather than I eat more sugar than health-food but I’m beginning to wonder.

It doesn’t help having children of course. I’d rather bake and give my 7-year-old home-baked biscuits than rubbish stuffed full of aspartame and trans-fats. Still, it isn’t doing my waistline any favours, especially when the biscuits are THIS delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 250g/9oz butter
  • 150g/5.5oz caster sugar
  • 300g/10oz self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 50g chocolate chips

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/Gas 4/fan oven 160 degrees.
  • Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy
  • Stir in flour, orange zest and milk and mix well
  • Add the chocolate chips and mix gently
  • Divide the mixture into 18 portions and put flattened balls of cookie dough on your baking sheets, leaving room for the biscuits to ‘spread’ in the oven
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
  • Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets then remove to a wire rack to cool and crisp up.

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

Spectacular Slow Cooking: Moroccan Lamb with Apricots and Almonds

Slow Cooking recipe: Moroccan lamb with apricots and almonds

I’m not sure the photo really does this one justice, but WOW this dish is packed with flavour. It was one of those slow-cooked dishes which I really struggled NOT to eat before dinner time, it just smelled so GOOD!

It’s really simple to make but the flavours are fantastic, I really can’t recommend this enough.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 550g lean cubed lamb
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
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Making Brandy Snap Baskets

Making brandy snap baskets

I love those occasional weekend days you get when there’s nothing to do. The boys are entertaining themselves watching football/watching motorsport/playing cars/doing boy stuff (delete as appropriate) and I’m free to just potter in the kitchen for an hour or two.

What I really fancied making was a cake, but I’d run out of eggs and couldn’t be bothered to trek to the shop, so I searched for something else instead. And what I settled on was Brandy Snap Baskets.  Just because I’d always meant to try them but had never got around to it.

The mixture is easy to make, but the rest of it takes a little more patience and a bit of trial and error.  The spoonfuls of mixture spread ENORMOUSLY when they cook (a tablespoon spreads to be approx 6 inches across) so you have to leave MUCH more room than I did in the picture below. Also, watch the oven like a hawk for the last 2 minutes of cooking, they go from underdone to burned very quickly.  They’re well worth the effort though, they make a scoop of vanilla ice cream into something really special!

Ingredients:

Strawberry Swirled Meringues

Strawberry swirled meringues

There’s little in life as delicous as a home-made meringue, especially when they’re served with whipped cream *sigh*

I made these meringues for our Halloween Harry Potter party and thought that the strawberry swirl would make them look suitably ghoulish. I called them ‘Bloodthirsty Meringues’ and they didn’t last long at all!

They’re super-simple to make. Just make regular meringues and swirl some strawberry sauce through the mixture before you pop them into the oven. The strawberry sauce makes for a slightly gooey strawberry-flavoured toffee-type swirl on the top of the powdery meringue. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 3  egg whites
  • 175g white caster sugar
  • Strawberry sauce (like the kind you put on ice-cream)

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Heart Healthy Banana Cake

Heart Healthy Banana Cake

This is a cake you can feel virtuous about eating. Not only is it packed with over-ripe bananas that you don’t know what to do with (I seem to constantly have this problem), but it’s also bursting with sultanas and cinnamon and tastes *amazing*! (recipe below)

It does have butter in it, but only 50g for the whole cake. The way I look at it butter (in moderation) has got to be way healthier than margarine (which after all is a by-product of the petrochemical industry – yeuch) and I’m just not as keen on cakes made with oil. So the butter was worth it IMHO. You could alwasy substitute it with oil if you prefer. I tried to find the conversion and found that 50g of butter = approx 50 ml of oil, but I haven’t tried this so let me know if you have more experience please! 🙂

Also, I was trying my new silicone cake tin out – only £5 from Ikea – how good is that? I just wish I’d bought their loaf tin from the same range, cakes always seem to get stuck in my regular loaf tin! Gotta love Ikea! Anyway, it left such pretty patterns in the bottom of the cake that I decided to whip up some chocolate ganache and spend a calming half an hour piping melted chocolate into the pattern (see my finished efforts below). Very satisfying!

Plus it meant my 7-year-old was very keen to eat the cake and had 2 slices – any way I can get fruit into him has got to be a good thing!

It was also such a healthy cake that I felt justified having a slice of it for breakfast this morning. What a great start to the day!

Heart Healthy Banana Cake

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Saturday Morning Breakfast

croissants2

I don’t have a lot to say this morning except yum! Oh, and Thank You Mr (or Mrs) Waitrose for selling frozen (but uncooked) croissants, pain au chocolate and pain au raisin ready to pop straight into the oven when you wake up. Domestic bliss!

croissants

Holiday Flashback: Kleftiko in my Slow Cooker

Holiday Flashback: Kleftiko in my Slow Cooker

I bought a slow cooker this week, and much to my family’s amusement I’ve cooked pretty much every meal in it since!  The best recipe I did brought us all happy memories of our holidays to Cyprus. Plus it fitted in well with my 7-year-old’s World Cooking Challenge. We always love having Kleftiko whenever we go to Cyprus, and it’s something I was dying to try as soon as I collected my slow cooker.

I found a few recipes online, but none of them were really similar to the Kleftiko we’ve had on holiday, they all seemed to have lots of Rosemary in. Perhaps this is the difference between a Greek Kleftiko and a Cypriot one, but I left the Rosemary out.

I know it doesn’t look much, but slow cooker recipes rarely look pretty. The meat though was delicious and tender and succulent and packed with flavour. We always serve it with Tzatziki and a Greek salad on the side, which I think really lifts the whole dish. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • lamb on the bone (I used 6 lamb chops for 4 people – just because they were on offer)
  • potatoes, peeled and halved if large (1 largish potato each)
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