"Millie’s" Cookies (soft squidgy cookies)

These cookies are ridiculously easy to make but they taste AMAZING. You can alter the additions with whatever you fancy or have to hand. I am in use up my store cupboards before we move mode at the moment so we had macadamia nut, cranberries and white chocolate and plain chocolate chip for the boy who refused the extra addition of ginger or apricots, boo.

The recipe is adapted from this one.

For about 36 cookies you need
250g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
200g soft light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
450g self raising flour
2 eggs

For the macadamia, cranberry and white chocolate cookies you also need
75g chopped macadamia nuts
75g dried cranberries
100g white chocolate chunks

For the plain chocolate chip cookies you also need
100g plain chocolate chips

Begin by creaming the butter and sugars in a free standing mixer for 3-4 mins until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and mix well.

If you’re making just one sort of cookie then add your chosen additions to the dough and work in thoroughly. If, like me, you wanted to do more than one sort simply halve the dough and add your ingredients to each bowl, mixing well.

Onto lined baking sheets, place spoonfuls of the dough, well spaced apart. You don’t need to squish them down as they’ll do this naturally as they cook.

Bake at 175 degrees for 10 mins until they are starting to go a light brown colour. Leave to cool for 2-3 mins on the tray before attempting to remove as they will be VERY soft. Leave to cool for a further 5 mins or so then try not to eat an entire batch in one afternoon. They freeze well and retain their chewiness upon defrosting. Nomtastic.

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Red Lentil, Quinoa and Mixed Nut Roast (v)

I love a good nut roast. No, really I do. And I’d much rather see this on a pub/cafe menu for Sunday lunch than some god awful filo pastry thing filled with a suspicious cat sick looking filling going soggy in the gravy. Bleck. So, in an attempt to use up all those itty bitty packs of nuts lurking at the back of my cupboard I concocted this and it was a triumph (well we all enjoyed it and it was delicious cold the next day in sandwiches!).

For 8-10 slices you need
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup quinoa
2 tsp vegan stock powder
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup mixed nuts (I used walnuts, peanuts and cashews)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tsp marmite
2 tsp vecon stock paste
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp hendersons relish/veggie worcester sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp pine nuts

Begin by placing the lentils, quinoa and stock powder in a pan and covering with exactly 1.5 cups water (you’re going to cook them by absorption). Bring to the boil, stir, and then reduce the heat as low as it will go and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-15 mins until the lentils are just done. Turn off the heat and leave to steam for a further 10 mins or so.

Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic until soft. Chop the nuts until half are quite finely chopped and the other half are a little more chunky.

Combine everything in a mixing bowl, apart from the pine nuts, and mix thoroughly. Add a few more breadcrumbs (or even a crumbled weetabix or two!) if the mixture looks too sloppy. You want it to the reasonably firm but not too stiff.

Scrape out into a pyrex dish and smooth down. Sprinkle over the pine nuts and bake in a moderate (180 degree) oven for about 45 mins until it’s crispy on top. Serve with the usual roast dinner accompaniments. I also like mine with lashings of cranberry or mint sauce. And don’t forget the gravy! Any leftover roast will keep for a few days in the fridge and makes a fab sarnie filling or it will also freeze well. I find it’s worth making a large batch and freezing one half for another day.

Dark Sweet and Sour Vegetables with Sesame Cashews and Noodles (v)

This is very quick and easy to prepare and tastes lovely. A brilliant healthy mid week supper for all the family. The recipe is based on a Lorraine Pascale one in Fast, Fresh and Easy Food.

For 3-4 people you need
2 onions, chopped into big chunks
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 head broccoli cut into florets
425g tin pineapple in juice
5 tbsp tomato ketchup
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soya sauce
1-2 tsp agarve nectar (according to your taste)
2 tbsp raw cashew nuts
2 tsp sesame oil
3 nests of noodles
fresh coriander for garnish

Beging by placing everything apart from the cashews, sesame oil, noodles and coriander into a pan. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook on a low heat for 5 mins until the veggies are al dente. Remove the lid and increase the heat to reduce the sauce slightly.

Toast the cashews in a pan until lightly toasted. Toss through the sesame oil.

Boil the noodles for 1-2 mins until cooked. Serve garnished with the coriander. Yummy.

Sweet CousCous with Rose Jam and Cashew & Pistachio Caramel (v)

I made my first tagine in a proper tagine over the weekend and wanted something deliciously light and sweet to eat afterwards. This hit the spot perfectly and combined delicate middle eastern flavours with a light but tasty finish to the end of the meal. Serve with a light orange and cinnamon sorbet to really intensify the flavours if you want!

For 4 portions you need
CousCous
1/2 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp each of rose water and orange flower water
1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon, cardamon powder and freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp sultanas
1 tbsp rose petal jam (optional)
A few rose petals to decorate

Place everything apart from the jam and rose petals into a bowl and stir well. Leave to steep for 5-10 mins until the water has been absorbed. Pack into a lightly greased bowl and push down well before inverting on a serving plate. Top with the jam and some rose petals.

Cashew and Pistachio Caramel
1 tbsp raw cashew nuts
1 tbsp raw pistachios
1 tsp agarve nectar (or honey if you’re not vegan)
2 tbsp vegan marge (or butter if you’re not vegan)

Place the nuts and butter/marge in a pan over a slow heat and gently toast the nuts. Add the nectar/honey and boil for 1-2 mins until the caramel is a light brown colour and the nuts are deliciously toasted. Take care not to burn or catch the pan! Tip onto a well oiled surface and leave to cool. Break into bite sized pieces once cooled and scatter over the cous cous.

Baklava

This is not a dish for the faint hearted, cos when you see how much butter it uses you would be forgiven for having a heart attack there and then… But, you’re supposed to eat in teeny tiny slices so it’s all OK really. Promise. This has been made for the forthcoming Shipley Slump taking place on the 23rd Sept. Good job I’m on a diet or I’d be scoffing it all now and having to make another it smells SOOOOOOOOOOOO divine!!!!!

For about 40 pieces you need
Baklava:
1 packet of filo or feuille de brick pastry
250g butter, melted
2.5 cups mixed nuts (I used walnuts, pistachios and hazlenuts)
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Syrup:
1.5 cups caster sugar
1.5 cups water
3 tbsp rose water
3 tbsp orange flower water
3 whole cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup runny honey

Begin by brushing the sides and base of a swiss roll tin with butter. Lay 9 sheets of pastry into the tin, taking care to brush thoroughly and evenly with melted butter.

Take the nuts, sugar and spices (I can’t resist adding a picture here they looked so pretty!) and sprinkle half the mixture over the butter pastry.

Place another two sheets of pastry on top, again brushing each carefully with butter, and top with the remaining nut mixture. Place the remaining sheets of pastry on the top, buttering each layer. Trim the edges and brush the top with the last bit of butter. Cut into small pieces using a sharp knife.

Bake in a moderate (140 degree) oven for 30 mins. Check, rotate the tin to ensure even cooking, and turn up to 150 degrees. Cook for a further 30 mins until the pastry is light golden brown, crisp and fully cooked.

Whilst the baklava is cooking, make the syrup. Place the water, sugar, honey, cloves and cinnamon in a pan and slowly melt. Once all the sugar is dissolved, bring to the boil and boil fast for 15 mins until the syrup is reduced, thickened and gorgeous. Carefully add the lemon juice, rose and orange flower waters (it will hiss and spit when you do this) and leave to cool for a bit.

When the baklava is cooked, remove from the oven and pour over the strained, fragrant syrup. Leave well alone for at least 48 hours, preferably longer, to let the syrup steep into the nuts and pastry. Serve with very strong coffee and forget about the calories…

Apple, Almond and Blueberry Cake with Vanilla

Yep. You guessed it. This is yet another recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. P50 this time. And another recipe made and adapted to use up the contents of my cupboard. I had no apricots so I substituted dried blueberries instead. And I also added vanilla because I adore the mix of almond and vanilla together. My boyfriend declared this cake as GORGEOUS and was rendered speechless by it’s deliciousness. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

For one cake you need:
250g self raising flour
225g vanilla caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
150g butter, melted
225g peeled, cored and chopped apples. I used a mix of bramley and pink lady
100g dried blueberries
50g flaked almonds

Line a square baking tin with parchment paper. Mix everything apart from the apples, blueberries and almonds together well. Fold in the fruit and then scrape into the lined tin. Top with the flaked almonds and bake in a moderate (160 degree) oven for about an hour, till risen and golden. Leave to cool and then eat. It’s nice warm or cold and also freezes well.

Mixed Vegetable Noodles with Cashews (v)

I arrived home from work starving on Thursday and craving a Chinese, so this was created as I really couldn’t justify getting a takeaway… The cold leftovers were yumsome for lunch the next day too.

For two portions you need:
1 pack noodles
4 spring onions, cut on the diagonal
1/2 punnet mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 pack mange tout & baby corn, cut into bite sized pieces
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 tbsp dark soya sauce
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup raw cashews

Cook the noodles. Drain and refresh under cold water. Meanwhile heat a wok and stirfry the vegetables for 2-3 mins. Add the noodles, cashews and the mirin/soya sauces. Heat through and scoff.

Infamous Courgette Bread…

OK it’s only infamous cos it’s got courgettes in it and it’s called bread and people on twitter, instagr.am and facebook wanted the recipe. Maybe it should be called intriguing courgette bread instead… Anyway, I digress. This is a Rachel Allen recipe (p72 of Bake) and jolly fine it is too. A lovely crunchy sugary topping forms during baking and the whole flat smelled of yummy spices as it cooked. It freezes really well and is great for lunch boxes. As the week goes on it can be toasted and topped with butter or honey or whatever you fancy really. Peanut butter on it is suprisingly good. Honest.

For 2 2lb loaves you need:
400g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 freshly grated nutmeg
300g vanilla caster sugar
100g demerara sugar
3 eggs, beaten
200ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium courgettes, grated (skin an’ all…)
75g walnuts, roughly chopped

Mix everything together and scrape into two lined loaf tins. Bake in a slowish (160 degree) oven for 60-90 mins. The loaves are done when a cocktail stick comes out clean when inserted in the centre. Leave to cool and then slice and scoff as you wish. Et voila…

Cinnamon and Nutella Loaf Cake

The original recipe for this is on the BBC Good Food website. A friend posted it on FB for another friend and I thought it looked like a good one to make for lunch boxes. It certainly is. As it cooks, a crispy, sugary top gets formed. I think next time I might reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe as it’s a bit too sweet for me. I think I might also try adapting it with some vanilla sugar and crushed cardamon along with the cinnamon and maybe swap the blobs of nutella for plain chocolate chips. But anyway. The original recipe is still very good 😉

For one loaf cake you need:
175g soft butter
175g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
60ml milk
4 tbsp nutella
Place everything apart from the nutella in a bowl and mix well till thoroughly combined. Place 2/3 in a lined loaf tin and add the nutella in small blobs. Swirl around a bit and then top with the remaining cake batter. Place in a moderate (170 degree) oven for about an hour till cooked. Serve in slices with coffee or a glass of milk. Y-u-m.

Spicy Sweet and Sour Almond Stir Fry (v)

This was supposed to have been made with cashews but did Becka have any cashews in her cupboard? Nope, she did not… So almonds it was. It was delicious served with thai sticky rice to soak up the liquid sauce.

For 1-2 portions you need:
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 small can pineapple slices in juice, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 pack stir fry vegetables
1/4 cup blanched almonds
2 tbsp mushroom soya sauce
2 tbsp thai sweet chilli sauce

Begin by frying the onion and almonds in the oil for 5-10 mins till lightly browned. Add the pineapple juice, soya sauce, sweet chilli sauce and ketchup and mix well. Add everything else and cook for 5 mins till the veggies are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly. Serve with sticky rice.