Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

These cakes have been inspired by that icon of American confectionary, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. I love love love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but have never made a cake version of this previously. They work well, with a moist chocolate cake bottom (made from Nigella’s sour cream chocolate cake recipe) and a salty, but sweet peanut butter frosting. Not for the fainthearted, these cupcakes pack a punch. And calories to match!

For 12-18 cupcakes (depending on tin size) you need:

Chocolate cake base
200g vanilla sugar
200g plain flour
200g vitalite
2 eggs
40g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb
150ml sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Frosting
100g butter, at room temp
200g smooth peanut
200g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp milk

Mix everything for the cake together in a free standing mixer on medium speed till well combined. Turn the mixer speed to max and beat for 5 mins until light and fluffy. Place spoonfuls of the mixture into muffin/cupcake cases and bake in a moderate (170 degree) oven for 15-20 mins till risen and cooked through. Leave to cool.

For the frosting, again mix everything together in a free standing mixer till combined. Turn up the speed and beat for no more than 3 mins till light and fluffy. Place into a piping bag and pipe on top of the cooled cakes. Enjoy with an ice cold glass of milk if you want to continue the American theme.

Boyfriend Edition™ Tea Loaf

I have made this cake, a variation of St Delia’s iconic Irish Tea Bread, three times so far. And each time it’s been slightly different. The first time I made it, I heavily spiced it with mixed spice and cinnamon as the original batter mix was a bit insipid for me. The second time I made it was called the Baker’s Edition and it was rich, moist and succulent due to soaking in orange juice. Inspired by the Baker’s Edition, my boyfriend requested an extra special Boyfriend Edition cake. And this is it. It uses roobios tea and whisky as soaking fluids as he introduced me to roobios which I now adore, and we both love whisky. It’s the lightest in texture and taste of the three I have made, and filled with lurve. Enjoy 🙂

For two 2lb loaves you need:
225g sultanas
225g raisins
225g currants
125g chopped glace ginger
100g glace cherries
100g chopped candied peel
225g demerara sugar
275ml strongly brewed roobios tea
75ml whisky
1 large egg, lightly beaten
450g self raising flour
1/2 nutmeg, freshly grated
2 tbsp vanilla sugar

Begin this 24 hours before you want to make it. In to a large bowl place everything apart from the egg and flour. Mix well and leave to steep in a cool place, stirring once or twice during this period. The next day, pre-heat an oven to 170 degrees and line two loaf tins. Add the beaten egg to the fruit mixture and combine thoroughly. Then add the flour and mix well. Don’t forget to add lots of love at this stage too 😉

Scrape into the tins. Grate the nutmeg over the top of the unbaked cakes, and then sprinkle over the sugar. Bake for about 90 mins or until it’s risen, golden brown and cooked all the way through. Leave to cool. The cake can be eaten immediately, but it’s better if left to mature and served either cold, or toasted, with lashings of butter. Oh and a mug of strong tea. Roobios, natch 😉

Mushroom Double Swiss (aka cheese and mushroom omelette…)

Breakfast is such an important meal. And when I am at home it invariably involves eggs of some sort. I adore eggs, and the soft, oozy gooiness that an omelette gives makes me very happy indeed. This is called mushroom double swiss cos, like the burger of that name, it uses gruyere and mushrooms as a filling.

For one person you need:
75g mushrooms, sliced
1 knob butter
salt and pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp gruyere cheese, finely grated.

Begin by melting the butter in a small-ish frying pan. Once hot and the butter is bubbling, add the sliced mushrooms and season well with salt and pepper. Cook over a moderate heat till the juices have come out of them and they start to turn golden brown on their edges. When this happens, add the eggs to the pan and distribute evenly by shaking the pan. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and keep shaking the pan to move the eggs about and ensure they cook evenly. When the eggs are mostly set, flip one third of the omelette into the centre then turn the eggs out of the pan on to a plate, completing the fold as you do so. Scoff immediately with strong black coffee and copious orange juice. Delish.

Kai Look Kuoy (son-in-law eggs)

I remember my mum making this for her Thai son-in-law when he came to visit after the birth of his son. And I remember just how delicious they were too. But it’s taken me over a year to make them for myself (and my boyfriend ;-)). And OMG how awesome they are! Made with quails eggs, they make a lovely canape; or else serve 3-4 per person as a starter with a selection of other yummy Thai bites.

For 12 portions you need:

To serve:
12 leaves from little gem lettuces, washed and dried.

For the eggs:
12 quails eggs
vegetable oil for deep frying

For the topping:
6 shallots, sliced thinly
6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander

For the sauce:
2/3 Barts spice jar of tamarind paste
2 inch chunk of ginger, finely grated
2 thai chillies, sliced thinly
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp ground cumin

Begin by mixing everything together for the sauce. Leave to one side to allow the flavours to develop whilst you do the other stages.

Semi hard boil the quails eggs in simmering water for 3-4 mins. Refresh in cold water and then *carefully* peel the shells away (if the eggs are very fresh this will be tricky so take your time!).

Heat vegetable oil in a shallow pan to a depth of about 2cms. Deep fry the shallots and garlic and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the eggs, frying until they become crispy and golden brown all over.

Place the lettuce leaves on a serving dish and place a dessertspoonful of the sauce in each one. Top with an egg and then the shallots and garlic. Finish with some fresh coriander. Sigh in pleasure as you eat. Totally and utterly delicious!

Laab (v)

If you are veggie/vegan then substitute the fish sauce for mushroom soya sauce and some rice vinegar. Do not stint on the chillies. You need this to make your mouth dance and burn from the heat. Make sure you serve it with some plain jasmine rice to cool your mouth tho!

For 2-3 portions you need:
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
3 tbsp fish sauce (yes really) or 2 tbsp mushroom soya sauce and 1 tbsp rice vinegar
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 tsp hot chilli powder
2 thai chillies, finely sliced
1 tbsp toasted rice (buy ground rice and toast till golden brown)
1/2 pack marinated tofu

Place everything apart from the tofu in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Heat the tofu through until hot and add to the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Serve with jasmine rice to temper the heat from the delicious sauce.

White Chocolate Mousse Torte

I am a rubbish blogger at the moment. I know. I have been cooking, but I just haven’t been blogging. And I have, er, sort of fallen off of the veggie wagon in recent months and therefore haven’t felt able to blog. It’s disgraceful I know. I am climbing back on again. I just needed a bit of a hiatus…

This recipe is veggie. And it’s also sinfully good. It’s ridiculously easy to make, but O. M. F. G. it blows your socks off. It would be perfect as a Christmas pudding. It’s also perfectly yummy for breakfast. Becka bad. I have adapted the recipe slightly from the original which can be found in Celia Brooks Brown’s most excellent New Vegetarian cookbook.

For 10-12 slices you need:
200g amaretti biscuits, crushed to smithereens
75g butter, melted
500ml double cream at room temperature
30ml milk at room temperature
30ml amoretto liqueur (or cointreau if you want an orangey flavour or indeed any other liqueur you fancy and happen to have to hand…)
400g white chocolate, melted and left to cool slightly.

***Firstly remember to take the milk and cream OUT OF THE FRIDGE at least 2 hours before you want to make this as it’s crucial they are not cold or the chocolate will try and set too quickly when you combine everything together and you will not achieve the light, moussey texture you are after***

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave to cool to room temp. Meanwhile mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter and line a 20cm round silicone tin with the buttery mixture (or line a 20cm springform tin).

Whip the cream, milk and whatever booze you are using until the cream forms soft peaks. Be careful not to over whip as otherwise it will be impossible to combine the chocolate in.

Slacken the chocolate mixture with one spoonful of the cream, then carefully fold this in to the remaining cream. Pour on top of the biscuits and leave to chill for at least four hours.

Serve in thin slices with exotic fruit – cape gooseberries, persimmon and passion fruit work particularly well against the creamy richness of the torte.