Recipe: Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

These are my favourite. They are so delicious that if I could make them every weekend I really would. This time they were baked up for a family gathering and luckily I had people to share them with, otherwise they’d have been scoffed down entirely by me, and that wouldn’t have ended well. I encourage you to give these beauties a go, and try and tell the different between these and the fresh store-bought ones from the fancy supermarkets. Don’t forget to add that last bit of sugar on top of the warm shortbread right out of the oven, as that really makes them extra special.

Ingredients

  • 230g unsalted butter, softened
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 60g milk chocolate chunks
  • 60g white chocolate chunks
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  1. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix again briefly.
  2. On a slow speed, add the flour until just combined with the rest of the mixture.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
  4. Roll the dough onto a floured surface, til it’s approximately half a centimetre thick. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours, until firm.
  5. Unwrap the dough and cut it into squares. Place onto the baking trays and bake for 20 minutes, until the edges are golden. While still warm, sprinkle the shortbread with a little bit of caster sugar.
  6. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread 2

Chocolate Chip Shortbread 3

Chocolate Chip Shortbread 4

Chocolate Chip Shortbread 5

Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Twists

Cheddar Cheese Twists

I’ve made a couple of different versions of these now, and they’re always pretty popular at family gatherings – I don’t think there have been any left at the end of the evenings where they’ve been served. And yet, they are so simple to make, they literally take a couple of minutes once you’ve got the three ingredients required together. Now, that’s the kind of party food I’m into. Not to mention the delicious kind that you can easily wolf down in one sitting – maybe it’s best if you make an extra batch just for you on movie night, so you don’t have to leave any for other part-going guests. This recipe makes 12 twists.

Ingredients

  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • Ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
  • 120g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • One egg, lightly whisked
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Unroll your puff pastry and place it onto a chopping board or countertop.
  3. Use a pastry brush to lightly cover the pastry all over with the melted butter.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese all over the top, lightly pressing down to adhere it to the butter/pastry – you can use a rolling pin to do this if you like.
  5. Cut the pastry into 12 even pieces along the width.
  6. Pick each one up individually, taking each end of the pastry and twisting 5 times, before putting it on the parchment paper – it’ll have taken on a twisted stick shape.
  7. Once you’ve done this with all 12 of the pastry pieces, use the pastry brush to brush egg on top of each twist, to give it a shiny finish when baking.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and the cheese has melted.

Cheddar Cheese Twists 2

Cheddar Cheese Twists 3

Cheddar Cheese Twists 4

Recipe: Simple tofu stir-fry

 

simple_stirfry001

Ingredients

  • Fine egg noodles
  • Chow Mein stir-fry sauce
  • Tofu pieces
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1/4 onion
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 100g sweetcorn
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Olive oil, for frying
  1. Finely chop the pepper, garlic, onion and tomatoes, and add these along with the sweetcorn and tofu to the wok and stir-fry in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes.
  2. While that’s browning, cook the noodles as instructed on the packet. I let mine soak in boiling water for 4 minutes.
  3. Once the noodles are cooked, add them to the wok with your vegetables and tofu.
  4. Add the stir-fry sauce and cook until the sauce is heated through. This took approximately 2 minutes.
  5. Serve your stir-fry. This recipe was 1-2 servings depending on how much you wish to eat.

simple_stirfry002

simple_stirfry003

simple_stirfry004

simple_stirfry005

Recipe: Simple Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

I love putting these kinds of dishes together – either ahead of time as a lunch meal for several working days, or for get-togethers when people want a whole buffet of different kinds of food. About a week back Hana hosted a dinner for the family, a belated moving in celebration, where everyone brought a couple of items to fill the table with tasty treats – this was one of my offerings. It’s super simple to make and doesn’t cost a lot to put together, so is a cheap, large bowl of food that everyone can dig into, and it’s also really tasty and fresh. Here’s how I did it.

Ingredients

  • 300g dried pasta shapes
  • 400g fresh chopped vegetables – I used cucumber, red onion and sweetcorn, but it’s pretty flexible
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard
  1. Cook the pasta according to the packet’s instructions. Bare in mind, that you want it to be cooked, but still firm – anything too soft and it’ll turn to mush when mixed with the other ingredients. I cooked mine for 10 minutes, which seemed perfect.
  2. Once cooked, run the pasta under cold water to cool it and dry it off as best you can.
  3. Put the chopped vegetables in a large bowl and add the cool pasta, stirring to mix.
  4. In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, oil and mustard together to make a dressing. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetable and mix to coat thoroughly. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Place in the fridge, covered, until ready to serve.

Pasta Salad 2

Pasta Salad 3

Pasta Salad 4

Pasta Salad 5

Pasta Salad 6

Pasta Salad 7

Recipe: Flavoured water

Simple recipes are always something I’m on the lookout for and what I have below is about as simple as it gets. All you need is a selection of fruit and vegetables and plain old water. These recipes will add just a subtle taste to your glass of H2O without you needing to spend money on pricey shop-bought flavoured water, and it’s all natural. Another thing I love about these drinks is that once you’ve finished the water, you can then eat the fruit at the bottom of the glass, so nothing goes to waste. The combinations I’ve chosen are strawberry and cucumber, apple and grape, and orange with lemon, but you can choose whatever blends you want. All you have to do is wash your chosen fruit or vegetables, cut them into chunks and add them to your glass of water. The amount of fruit you use will depend on the size of the glass you use; mine were quite small so I only needed 1 or 2 pieces/slices of each.

flavoured_water001

flavoured_water002

flavoured_water003

Apple and red grape

flavoured_water004

flavoured_water007

Strawberry and cucumber

flavoured_water005

flavoured_water008

Orange and lemon

flavoured_water006

flavoured_water009

Recipe: Sweetcorn Fritters

Sweetcorn Fritters

I have to tell you before we start that these are delicious. Yes, I say that about a number of things that I post here, but these really are lovely, and I had a difficult job not scoffing them all myself the evening I made them. They’re not quite as ‘fritter-like’ as you might guess they would be, I think that would require deep frying them, but I suppose this just means that these ones are healthier, and a little more like mini pancakes – yum! This recipe has been adapted from this Tapas book.

Ingredients

  • 75g red pepper
  • 1 medium egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 50g red onion, chopped finely
  • 160g corn kernels
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • Olive oil, for frying
  1. Roast the pepper on a baking tray under a medium grill, until the skin blackens. Remove from under the grill, cover the baking tray with foil and leave to cool. Once it’s cool, you should easily be able to remove the skin and chop finely.
  2. Whisk the egg and milk in a large bowl, before stirring in the vegetables. Season to taste. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and stir until fully combined.
  3. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add as many teaspoonfuls of the vegetable mixture as you can, leaving space to turn them over. Heat for approximately 2 minutes each side, until browned.
  4. Serve.

Sweetcorn Fritters 2

Sweetcorn Fritters 3

Sweetcorn Fritters 4

Photo Credit: Lucy