Recipe: Flapjacks

Flapjacks

It can be tough to come up with healthy snacks to reach for when chocolate, or other sugary treats, seem like the easy option. Everyone gets that hunger pang in the middle of the afternoon and it can be difficult to resist all those things that you know are bad for you. Step in these delicious flapjacks, from Deliciously Ella. They require only a small amount of healthy ingredients and are a cinch to whip up when you get half an hour. I much prefer to know exactly what’s going into the food I eat, so there’s no excuse for me not to bake up a batch of these when I’m low on snacks and what something to keep me going until dinner. Give these a go, you won’t regret it.

Ingredients

  • 360g oats
  • 200g / 2 bananas
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 tbsp cashew butter
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius (180 fan).
  2. Place the oats in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mash the bananas with a fork and add them to a saucepan along with the maple syrup, cashew butter and coconut oil. Heat gently until the mixture forms a liquid.
  4. Pour the liquid over the oats and stir well, so that the oats are fully covered.
  5. Grease a baking tray with coconut oil or line with parchment paper. Transfer the mixture to the tray, pressing down firmly to compact it.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top starts to brown.
  7. Leave to cool in the tray before slicing up into flapjacks of your preferred size.

Flapjacks 2

Flapjacks 3

Flapjacks 4

Recipe: Black Pepper, Caramelised Onion & Parmesan Pastries

Pepper Pastries

These were some little pastries I whipped up during a Mother’s Day brunch we had at our parents’ house a couple of weeks ago – and they were just lovely. The heat from the pepper was perfectly offset with the sweetness from the onions and the parmesan was just the right thing to top it off. They are so easy to make and are the perfect finger food, so give them a go next time you’re entertaining a crowd, they’re sure to be a hit. The only tip I have is to chill the caramelised onions, so they keep their consistency better and don’t end up dripping all over the place. This recipe is from Afternoon Tea.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 115g plain flour
  • 60g butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • A few teaspoons of caramelized onions
  • 15g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4.5-5cm cookie cutter
  1. Crush the peppercorns with a pestle and mortar, then put in a food processor with the flour and a large pinch of salt. Pulse to combine, then add the butter and process for about 20 seconds, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the water until the mixture comes together into a dough. If necessary, add a drizzle more water. Press the pastry into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 15 minutes.
  2. Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thick. Cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter, using all of the excess. Arrange on the baking sheet, prick with a fork and bake at 190 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  3. Spoon caramelized onion onto the pastry discs, then top with parmesan.

Pepper Pastries 2

Pepper Pastries 3

Recipe: Chocolate Brownies

chocolate_brownies

Ingredients

Makes 12 squares

  • 225g (8oz) butter (room temperature), plus extra for greasing
  • 350g (12oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50g (1¾oz)cocoa powder, sifted
  • 250g (9oz) self-raising flour
  • 100g (3½oz)white chocolate, melted (for topping)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/Gas 4). Grease a large traybake tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder and flour in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on a low speed for approximately 3 minutes, or with a wooden spoon for a little longer, until smooth.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the tin, spreading evenly, and bake for approximately 40 minutes, covering with foil for the final 10 minutes.
  4. Test to see if they are cooked by inserting a knife into the brownie, and if it comes out clean, the brownies are ready. Leave to cool slightly before turning the brownie onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Once cool, melt the white chocolate and zig-zag over the top of the brownie. Once dry, cut into 12 squares.

Adapted from a recipe in Mary Berry’s Cookery Course.

chocolate_brownies2

chocolate_brownies3

Recipe: Corned Beef & Onion Pasties

Corned Beef Pasties

These have always been a big hit amongst my family (I don’t eat beef, so I’ve never tried them, but I’ve been assured that they are pretty tasty) and work really well if you’re hosting a buffet lunch or dinner as they’re super easy to make and can be made ahead of time so that you can just heat them up as required. This recipe makes 10 to 12, but that’ll depend on how big you decide to make them.

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 (340g) can corned beef, finely chopped
  • 2 packs of ready rolled puff pastry sheets
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Put the potatoes into boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes, until soft but still holding their shape.
  2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan and add the onion. Cook for 3 minutes, until just starting to soften.
  3. Add the potatoes and corned beef to the pan and cook for a further 7 minutes. In this time, the corned beef should break down and become softer, which is what you want, as it’ll make for a better filling. Add salt and pepper to taste and leave to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Roll out your pastry sheet. Take a side plate that has a circumference of approximately 6 inches and use this to cut out some pastry rounds. Collect together the unused cuts and re-roll it until you use up all the pastry.
  5. Fill one half of each circle with the beef and onion mixture, leaving a small margin around the edge. Brush this margin with the beaten egg and fold the other half of the circle over, sealing the pasties by crimping all the way around the edges.
  6. Place the pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush more egg over each one.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden and then leave to cool on a wire rack.

Corned Beef Pasties 2

Corned Beef Pasties 3

Corned Beef Pasties 4

Recipe: Vanilla Macarons

Vanilla Macarons

I have to start this post off by saying how apprehensive I was to make these macarons for the first time – they’ve got such a reputation for being difficult to make and so easy to get wrong, that I just put off making them for so long. Well, that changed over the last couple of days and I decided to jump in and give it a go. I bought the most beautiful book a couple of weeks back, which came with such clear instructions, as well as helpful tips and hints to help along the way that I felt confident I could make them work out okay. And they turned out so lovely for a first go. They make not exactly be completely uniform or as beautiful as in the pictures I’ve seen over the past couple of years, but they’re not bad at all, and they taste really quite delicious. This was the first recipe in the book, and is pretty simple, so I think I’ll be giving the more adventurous flavours a go soon, in fact, I can’t wait to keep developing the skill until I perfect it. Watch out everyone that knows me, you’ll getting these on every possible occasion! This recipe is from Macarons.

Ingredients

For the shells

  • 60g egg whites
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 7.5ml egg white powder
  • 120g icing sugar
  • 60g fround almonds
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

For the filling

  • 80g icing sugar
  • 40g unsalted butter, softened
  • 20ml double cream
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Fit a piping bag with a plain round tip.
  2. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl, before sifting in the caster sugar and egg white powder. Whisk with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the icing sugar and ground almonds. Add the vanilla seeds and the egg white mixture, using a spatula to gently fold the mixture together. It’s ready when the mixture falls in ribbons when lifted with the spatula.
  4. Fill the piping bag with the mixture and pipe 24 4cm rounds onto the lined baking tray.
  5. Preheat the oven to 130 degrees celcius and leave the baking tray out in a warm, dry place for at least 15 minutes, until the shells form a firm skin.
  6. Place the tray in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, before removing from the oven and leaving to cool on the tray.
  7. For the filling, place the icing sugar and butter in a bowl and whisk until crumbly. Add the double cream and vanilla seeds and whisk until you have a smooth buttercream.
  8. To fill the macarons, place a teaspoon of buttercream onto the flat side of one of the macaron shells and top with the flat side of another. Repeat until you have 12 macarons.

Vanilla Macarons 2

Vanilla Macarons 3

Vanilla Macarons 4

Vanilla Macarons 5

Vanilla Macarons 6

Recipe: White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies

These cookies are a dream – that perfect texture of part chewy, part crispy. And chock full of white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts, they are simply divine, and I’ll be heading back to this recipe time and time again. This recipe makes about 12-14 cookies, depending on how big you make them, but if you get 12 out of the dough then cooking times should be accurate here. Adapted from On the Table in 30 Minutes.

Ingredients

  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 115g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syruo
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 55g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 55g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and cover a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for a couple of minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the golden syrup, and mix again. Sift in the flour, and mix until just incorporated.
  3. Add the nuts and chocolate, and fold into the mixture, using your hands to form a dough, if necessary.
  4. Divide the dough into approximately 12 equal sized balls and put them onto the baking sheet. Slightly flatten each ball with your hand.
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until light golden. Leave on the baking sheets for 2 minutes after coming out of the oven, before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies 2

White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies 3

White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies 4

White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies 5