Recipe: Lemon Drizzle Squares

Lemon Drizzle Squares

With the heaviness of all the food at this time of year, I enjoy having something light and fresh every now and again, to cut through the richness of the other offerings around at Christmas. These lemon drizzle squares are just the ticket for a Christmas afternoon, with a cup of tea on the side, next to the twinkling of the tree lights. They are so incredibly easy to make and will be a hit with all the family. You can make them as big or small as you like, so the amount of people they serve varies, but you might not want to share them anyway! This recipe is adapted from On the Table in 30 Minutes.

Ingredients

  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 115g golden caster sugar
  • 115g self-raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Finely grated rind and juice of half large lemon

For the topping

  • 85g granulated sugar
  • Finely grated rind and juice of half large lemon
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius, 400 fahrenheit and lightly grease a 20cm square cake tin, before lining with parchment paper.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, flour, eggs, rind and juice in a large bowl and, using a handheld electric mixer, beat for 1-2 minutes, until pale and creamy.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level out, before baking for 20-25 minutes, until risen, golden and just firm to the touch.
  4. While the cake is cooking, mix together the remaining sugar, lemon rind and juice in a small bowl.
  5. Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and pierce the top all over with a cocktail stick. Spoon the topping over whilst still hot.
  6. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, before cutting into squares to serve. The topping will have become crunchy on cooling.

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Cinnamon Recipes

One of my favourite things about Christmas is cinnamon. The smell of it coming from scented candles, its taste in a warm drink, or baked into delicious sweet treats all through December. I’m always trying to come up with new recipes that can feature this lovely little spice, so for now I’m going to pick out a few of my past cinnamon recipes, in case you feel like whipping up a little something as Christmas arrives.

Cinnamon Recipes

1. Cinnamon Sugared Almonds / 2. Cinnamon Parmiers / 3. Cinnamon Berry Granola Bars / 4. Cappuccino, Cinnamon & Pecan Muffins / 5. Cinnamon Nutella Cake / 6. Overnight Cinnamon Rolls / 7. Cinnamon Churros / 8. Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes

The Best Hot Chocolate Recipes

I’m not a bigger drinker of your traditional hot drinks like tea and coffee, but I do make the exception when it comes to a creamy hot chocolate. I’m open to all sorts of flavours as long as the main ingredient is good quality chocolate. I’ve put together a selection of my favourite recipes for you to try on these cold winter nights, so wrap up warm in front of an open fire and sip on some of these delights.

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White Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of milk of your choice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • whipped cream or marshmallows for topping

Method

  1. Stir together milk, vanilla and chopped white chocolate in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the white hot chocolate comes to a simmer.  (Do not let it come to a boil.)
  3. Remove from heat and serve immediately, topped with whipped cream or marshmallows if desired.

Recipe from Gimme Some Oven

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Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4½ cups room temperature milk
  • 8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Big pinch salt
  • Whipped cream and caramel sauce, to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. In a small bowl, rub together the sugar and the lemon juice, until the sugar is damp and fragrant.
  2. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and let it preheat for several minutes until the pan is hot. Once the saucepan is hot, add the sugar. Begin stirring immediately and continuously. Because the pan was preheated, the sugar will start cooking very quickly. Soon after it liquefies it will start to take on color. Cook, stirring constantly, until it is a medium amber color.
  3. Continue to stir while you stream in the milk. The caramel may seize and form small chunks of sugar, but continue to stir and heat the mixture, and by the time the milk is piping hot, the caramel will have melted and you will have a smooth liquid.
  4. Once the milk is at a simmer (small bubbles forming along the sides of the pan) remove the pan from the heat. Don’t let the milk come to a boil! Add the chopped chocolates to the pan and whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is melted. Add a pinch of salt, taste the milk, and add more salt if desired.
  5. Serve Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and caramel sauce. It can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stove top.

Recipe from Sugar Hero

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Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups of milk
  • ⅓ cup hot cocoa mix
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • whipped cream or marshmallows

Method

  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisk together milk, hot cocoa mix, vanilla, and pinch of salt.
  2. Add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Heat thoroughly, whisking as the temperature rises. When desired temperature is reached, pour into 3 small mugs (or two large ones), top with whipped cream and marshmallows. Sprinkle a bit of pumpkin pie spice for a little extra love.

Recipe by Baking With Blondie

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Boozy Raspberry Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Chambord, to taste, plus another ⅓ cup for reducing
  • Whipped cream and raspberries, to top

Method

  1. Add everything but the Chambord, whipped cream, and raspberries to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the chocolate completely melts.
  2. After the chocolate melts, continue to cook, but stir more frequently. The mixture should thicken a bit and all of the chunks should dissolve. After 5-10 minutes, remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  3. As it cools, add ⅓ cup of Chambord to another small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes, until the Chambord has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Don’t over cook, or it will become hard like candy, rather than syrupy, which is what we want.
  4. Pour the hot chocolate into little mugs (servings should be small because it is so rich), add Chambord to your liking, and top with whipped cream. Drizzle with the Chambord reduction and top with a few raspberries. Serve.

Recipe by Host The Toast

Recipe: Mushroom, Celery & Cream Cheese Pasta

Mushroom, Celery & Cream Cheese Pasta

This is the kind of dish I’d whip up when we’re running low on supplies or when the Mr. is out and I’m just cooking for myself. It’s super quick, super easy and still tastes delicious, so I always feel pretty satisfied when I’m done cooking and am actually enjoying the work I’ve put in. Especially on a weekend, when I like to pair it with a small glass of wine and catching up on Scandal. This recipe makes enough for one person, but you can double up for multiples.

Ingredients

  • 100g pasta of your choosing – I used fusilli
  • 10g butter
  • Half a small white onion, chopped
  • A large celery stick, chopped
  • 100g mushrooms, chopped
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 20g grated hard cheese, like cheddar or parmesan
  1. Put your pasta on to cook following the packet instructions.
  2. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Fry for a couple of minutes, before adding the celery and frying for another couple of minutes, until both have softened.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook until they’ve released a little of their liquid.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, add the cream cheese and stir until melted. Add half of the other cheese and allow to melt. If the mixture is a little thick, add a tablespoon of pasta water to loosen it up.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, add the sauce and stir thoroughly to coat.
  6. Serve, adding the rest of the grated cheese on top.

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Recipe: Cheese-crusted Chicken

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Ingredients

  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 60g full-fat soft cheese
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 12g white breadcrumbs
  • 12g parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C/400°F/Gas 6). Oil the baking tray, and lay the chicken on the tray. Brush each chicken breast with a small amount of oil and season.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the soft cheese, garlic and black pepper.
  3. In another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, parmigiano reggiano and chives. Season well.
  4. Spread the soft cheese mixture over the chicken breasts, and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top, gently patting into the soft cheese.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked, and the topping golden brown.
  6. Serve as desired. I enjoyed mine with homemade potato wedges.

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Cookery Course.

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Recipes: Easy Bonfire Night Eats

We’re getting together as a family this bonfire night to enjoy some fireworks and some food at my sister’s new house. She previously lived in a flat, so didn’t have any space to host an outdoor display, but she now has a large garden, so we’re all looking forward to really getting to enjoy this firework season together. Here are just a couple of super simple recipes for you to whip up if you’re hosting or attending a display of your own. Recipes adapted from BBC Good Food.

Popcorn Bark

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Toffee Popcorn Bark

  • 200g white chocolate
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 60g toffee popcorn
  1. Melt the white chocolate and milk chocolate in separate bowls. While leaving to cool slightly, line a 20cm x 30cm baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Pour three quarters of each chocolate into the baking tray, swirling together to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle the toffee popcorn all over the top.
  3. Drizzle over the remaining chocolate and pop in the fridge until set. When you’re ready to serve, break or cut into pieces.

Mulled Apple Juice

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Mulled Apple Juice

  • 1 litre apple juice
  • Peel of 1/2 orange, cut into strips
  • 1 cinnamon stick, plus extra to garnish
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  1. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Serve with some orange peel and an extra cinnamon stick.