Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Brownies (v)

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I made these today. They are lush. I urge you all to try them as well. Perfect with a large black coffee 🙂

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Baklava

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I’ve been meaning to blog this for a while and just haven’t had time, sorry! I made a big batch for our engagement party and it got rave reviews. It’s dead simple to make but tastes far more complicated than it is! The recipe says it makes 30 pieces but that comes down to how big you make them. I prefer bite sized pieces to bigger chunks. The recipe is taken from Tess Malos The Complete Middle East Cookbook.

For 30 or so pieces you need:

For the pastries

  • 20 sheets of filo pastry
  • 3/4 cup melted butter (that’s 190g to you and me…)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

For the syrup

  • 1.5 cups caster sugar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup runny honey – use a good quality one
  • thinly peeled strip of lemon rind
  • small piece of cinnamon bark
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 crushed cardamon pods
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Butter the sides and base of a 33cmx23cmx5cm tin.
  2. Layer up 9 sheets of  filo pastry into the base of the tin, buttering each well before placing in the tin.
  3. Mix the nuts and sugar with the spices then sprinkle half over the pastry.
  4. Layer a further two sheets of pastry on to the nuts, buttering each as before.
  5. Spread the remaining nut mix on top of these sheets.
  6. Top with the remaining filo, buttering each.
  7. Trim the top and sides and tuck in neatly.
  8. Sprinkle some water over the top to stop it from crisping too much in the oven.
  9. Score into pieces, taking care not to cut all the way through to the base.
  10. Bake in the centre of a 180 degree oven for 30 mins. After 30 mins, move one shelf up and cook for a further 30 mins. You want the pastry to be golden brown and crisp all over.
  11. Whilst the baklava is baking make the syrup. Place everything in a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Once all the sugar has dissolved, boil rapidly for 15 mins until reduced and syrupy in consistency.
  12. Take the baklava out of the oven and drench in the hot syrup.
  13. Leave for at least four hours before eating. Then scoff!

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Peanut Butter Flapjacks

These are based on a recipe by the huge furry whipping tool. I’ve adjusted the quantities of dried ingredients to suit our tastebuds and preferences. Don’t be tempted to ditch the orange and lemon zest, it makes a real difference when you include rather than omit them. 

For 16 bars you need 

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • 125g crunchy peanut butter
  • 75g honey
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 200g oats
  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 50g coconut
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 100g chocolate chips
  1. Begin by melting the first six ingredients together until mingled 
  2. Add everything else apart from the chocolate chips. 
  3. Press into a lined tin 20cm x 20cm tin
  4. Scatter over the chocolate chips and bake in a 160 degree oven till browned all over.
  5. Leave to cool completely before trying to scoff. They do not slice well hot! 

Spiced Apple Cake

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This recipe is based on a Mary Berry one and is so quick and simple to make. Serve warm with custard as a pudding or just scoff au natural, it really doesn’t matter. I didn’t have almond essence or flaked almonds as per the original recipe so used nutmeg and ground cinnamon instead, and used up some dying dessert apples instead of using cooking ones. This recipe works just as well with pears too, and you can add some cocoa to make a chocolate version. The possibilities are endless!

For 8-10 pieces of cake you need:

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 250g apples, peeled and cut into wedges
  1. Line a baking tin – I’ve used a 23cm springform tin and a 20cm x 20cm brownie tin with equal success.
  2. Make the cake batter by placing everything apart from the apples into a bowl and mixing thoroughly.
  3. Put half the cake batter in the bottom of the tin. Add all the apples into the centre in a mound. Scrape over the remaining mixture – don’t worry that it doesn’t reach the edges of the tin, it will as it bakes.
  4. Bake in a 160 degree oven for about an 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours until the cake is golden brown, risen, shrinking away from the edges and cooked through.

Dairy Free Peanut Butter Brownies

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I’ve long wondered what peanut butter brownies taste like, and now I know. These are a doddle to make – done and dusted in under 45 mins. Not bad for a work night when you’ve run out of cake and need a chocolate hit quick stat! They’re very rich so eat is small pieces! The original recipe is here but I’ve tweaked the method, mainly because I didn’t read it properly but they don’t seem to have suffered for it…

For 16 squares you need

  • 225g peanut butter
  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 280g light soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g plain flour

Gently heat the chocolate, peanut butter and sugar in a pan until gloopy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the flour. Scrape into a lined brownie tin and bake at 175 degrees for 25-30 mins. You want a serious amount of goo left in the middle once cooked as they’ll firm up on cooling.

Cut into 16 squares and devour. They’re especially nice served warm with raspberry sorbet.

Moroccan Rose Water Cookies

 

These are delicious little bites of buttery perfection. The rose water adds an exotic note which nicely offsets the richness of the butter. Perfect for serving alongside some homemade ice cream on a lovely summers day like today 🙂

For 32 cookies you need

  • 200g butter, melted and left to cool
  • 140g sieved icing sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp rose water

When the melted butter has cooled enough to not feel warm any more, add the sieved sugar. Don’t try and cheat like I did once and skip this step as the lumps in the sugar will ruin the finished cookie. Add the flour and rose water and mix to a soft dough 

Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins in the fridge. 

Unwrap the cookie dough and cut into 32 slices. Bake in a 160 degree oven for about 10-15 mins until golden brown. Leave to cool and then scoff. 

  
 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love soft, squidgy cookies, especially when they have peanut butter in them. This recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook.

For about 30 cookies you need
225g softened butter
200g soft brown sugar
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
240g crunchy peanut butter
340g plain flour
2.5 tsp bicarb
75g chocolate chips

Begin by creaming the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and peanut butter. Once these are combined add the flour and bicarb and mix until a soft dough forms. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Place dessertspoon mounds onto a lined baking sheet, ensuring they are well spread out. Bake in a 170 degree oven for about 10 mins until cooked and lightly browned.

Leave to cool for a few mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Delicious with a glass of milk or a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

24 Hour Risen Garlic Bread (v)


I love baking bread, especially now I know that leaving it to rise slowly in the fridge not only makes it a lot easier to control and ensure it works, but it also tastes divine. The recipe below was supposed to make two meals worth of bread but, er, we ate most of it in one go because it was so tasty.
For 2 garlic breads that will feed 3-4 each you need
500g plain flour
7g dried yeast
½ tbsp. sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml water
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Simply place everything in a bowl and mix till it forms dough (I use my kenwood). Tip into an oiled bowl, cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to slowly rise in the fridge for 24 hours. Gently shape into ovals and top with olive oil and crushed garlic. Bake in a hot oven for 20 mins and then scoff. Feel utterly smug you have home made bread on a weekday work night. 

Salted Caramel Shortbread Slice aka Millionaire’s Shortbread

This is to die for. Literally. Scroll down the list of ingredients and you’ll see why. But don’t let that put you off. In the immortal words of Masterchef’s Greg Wallace it’s got the perfect buttery, biscuity base topped with oozing salted caramel and then a thick layer of slightly bitter chocolate. An orgasm on a plate if you will. What’s not to like… Adapted from Nigella’s Roxanne’s Millionaires Shortbread in Domestic Goddess.

For 24 pieces you need
225g plain flour
75g fairtrade caster sugar
375g unsalted butter
397g can sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons golden syrup
250g fairtrade plain chocolate
2 tsp salt, preferably something flaky like Maldon

Begin by making the shortbread. Place the flour, sugar and 175g of butter in a food processor and blitz till it turns into sandy rubble. If you don’t have a food processor you can do this by hand by rubbing the fat into the flour and sugar.

Tip the sandy mixture into a lined 23x23cm tin and press down. Bake in a 160 degree oven for 35-40 mins. You want a crisp, golden brown bottom so take care not to have the oven too hot or it will brown before it cooks through.

Meanwhile make the salted caramel by placing the remaining 200g butter into a pan with the condensed milk and golden syrup. I learnt previously when I made this that using a cheap pan separates the butter fat out and splits the caramel. This is NOT a good thing. I managed to resolve it by beating the caramel in the pan submerged in a washing up bowl of cold water but it’s tricky so I recommend using a pan with a deep a base as possible (a Le Creuset is brilliant but admittedly perhaps too middle class for this…). Anyways. Melt the butter into the condensed milk and syrup and then bring to the boil stirring constantly until it’s thickened and a light golden brown in colour. This will take about 20-25 minutes and can’t be rushed. To ensure you don’t let it catch you need to take it slow and steady, stirring all the time. Beat in 1 tsp of the salt and leave to cool.

The shortbread should be baked by now, and if it is, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15-20 mins before pouring the likewise cooled caramel over the top. Tilt the tin to coat the base properly then sprinkle over the remaining 1 tsp of salt. Leave to cool while you melt the chocolate.

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie/bowl over a pan of water. I like to use 75% plain and 25% milk chocolate on mine, but do as you wish. Once the chocolate has melted, pour over the caramel, again ensuring it’s covered properly and leave until fully set. This means overnight unless you cheat like me and put it in the fridge.

Cut into squares and scoff. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Love Cake (Vanilla and Raspberry Heart Shaped Cake)

We only exchange cards in our household to mark commercialisation of love day, but we’d also run out of cake today so I decided to bake something yummy to welcome my man home after a busy week working away on t’other side of the Pennines… This went down a treat. The soft, sharp raspberries contrasted nicely with the sweeter vanilla scented cake. The boy also appreciated licking out the cake mix bowl after breakfast, win!

For a heart shaped cake that serves 8-10 and also makes 7 cupcakes you need:
For the cake
4 eggs
8oz self raising flour
8oz vitalite
8oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
A handful of frozen raspberries

For the icing/topping
1 pack red fondant icing
6oz icing sugar
3oz vitalite
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Seedless raspberry jam

Begin by mixing the vitalite and sugar in a food mixer for 10 mins until light and fluffy.

Slow the speed of the mixer and add the eggs one at a time, alternating with a spoonful of the flour. Once all the eggs are added, incorporate the rest of the flour and the vanilla extract.

Pour into a greased heart shaped tin until it’s 2/3 filled. Poke about 8-10 raspberries into the batter, evenly spacing them out.

Meanwhile put the rest of the batter into cupcake cases in a tin and add one raspberry to each in the middle.

Bake in a 180 degree oven till done – the cupcakes will take 12-15 mins and the heart cake about 20-25.

Leave to cool and make the icing. Mix the vitalite slowly in with the icing sugar and vanilla paste until throughly mixed. Increase the speed and mix on high for about 10 mins. This gives a lovely light texture to the icing once it’s set. Roll out the fondant and cut/stamp into whatever shapes you want.

Once the cakes are cooled, pipe a swirl of icing onto the top of each cup cake and top with a heart stamped out of the red fondant. For the heart cake, slice in half and fill with jam and some of the buttercream. Use the red of the buttercream to decorate the top of the cake as you wish. Be as slushy or restrained as you like 😉 Happy Valentines 🙂