Sunday, 7 November 2010

Thought For The Day: Thirty-something friendships

After a very stressful few months I've realised how grateful i am for am for my little circle of close friends, gone are the days of needing to surround myself with throngs of people, I'm more than happy with my lot ...some of them are halfway around the world but that seems to make the bonds even stronger that ever.

Thirty-something friendships certainly aren't easy; they come with baggage, they are emotionally demanding, they're tricky to maintain amid the hectic whirl of our lives. But they're keepers. Quality over quantity. I wouldn't have it any other way.....

Monday, 25 October 2010

EddyRose’s Chocolate Nut Brownies

These brownies are moist, dark and delicious and the perfect treat (the picture is from when they were used as a birthday cake- hence the candles!). 
The recipe makes 12 but as they are fairly rich you can always cut them into smaller pieces to make them last longer (however I cannot guarantee that will be the case, it doesn’t seem to matter how small I cut them up – they’re always gone in minutes!)

These brownies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3months.

Makes 12

150g plain chocolate chopped
120ml sunflower oil
215g light muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
65g self-raising flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
75g chopped mixed nuts
4 tablespoons milk chocolate chips


·         Preheat the oven to 180 °C
·         Lightly grease a shallow 7 ½ in square cake tin (I prefer using a loose bottomed one)
·         Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water (do not let any water get into the chocolate as it will ruin…)
·         With an electric whisk or mixer beat the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl.
·         Stir in the melted chocolate and then beat well until evenly mixed.
·         Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and fold in thoroughly.
·         Stir in the chopped nuts and chocolate chips.
·         Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly to the edges.
·         Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is firm and crusty.
·         Cool in the tin before cutting into squares.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Beautiful Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Tart

Bakewell tart is the famous British tart made in the picturesque town of Bakewell in the Derbyshire Peak District.  It’s crisp pastry, raspberry jam and a dense almond topping create a real, easy to make family favourite.
It is delicious dessert, a must for almond lovers and makes a delightful afternoon (or anytime ) treat!!

There are several stories about how the Bakewell tart was created. The following quotation from The Bakewell Tart and Coffee House is the one that is generally accepted as being correct..
"In 1820 Mrs. Greaves the landlady of the White Horse Inn, (now known as the Rutland Arms), invited friends round for dinner. She was busy entertaining, so gave instructions to her cook directing her to make a pudding."
"She told her to mix an egg mixture with a secret ingredient into a pastry case and spread raspberry jam on top. The cook was inexperienced so misunderstood Mrs. Greaves instructions, and poured the egg mixture onto the jam instead, therefore making a tart, not a pudding!"

Makes one 8 inch tart.

For the pastry:
125g cold unsalted butter
200g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 beaten egg

For the Frangipane (almond cream) filling
100g Unsalted butter
50g ground almonds
50g plain flour
2 beaten eggs
100g caster sugar
Few drops almond essence
1-2 tablespoons of smooth raspberry jam (mix it up so it makes a nice smooth paste)
2 -3 tablespoons un-toasted flaked almonds


·                    Butter an 8inch loose bottomed tart tin

For the pastry….this is the ‘hand method’ although you could make it in a mixer if you wanted to….
·                    Sieve the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter (do this lightly with your fingertips try not to over-rub.
·                    Beat the sugar and egg together and add to the flour mix.
·                    Mix together to form a smooth paste using the tip of a palette knife, try not to over mix or handle, keep the pastry as cold as possible.
·                    Remove from the bowl, place in cling film, pat out thinly and put in the freezer to chill.

For the Frangipane
·                    With an electric whisk or mixer (or by had if you’re feeling energetic) cream the butter until it’s white, light and fluffy.
·                    Add the sugar and mix.
·                    Gradually add the beaten eggs and continue to mix (do not add the eggs too quickly or the mixture will split.)
·                    Now mix in the flour and the ground almonds, almond essence and mix lightly. Leave to one side.
·                    Remove the pastry from the freezer, break into pieces and then roll until large enough to line the tin, line tin and trim excess from the sides.
·                    Prick the base with a fork.
·                    Spread a layer or raspberry jam (not too thin or too thick) on the bottom of the tart.
·                    Then cover the jam with your frangipane mix, use it all up!
·                    Sprinkle the top with the un toasted flaked almonds.
·                    Bake in the oven for 20-30minutes or until golden brown.
·                    Remove from the oven and leave to cool
·                    To complete either dust with icing sugar or brush lightly with boiled apricot jam to form a glaze.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Baklava Muffins & Me!

Well, this is the first entry and my first blogging experience and what better way to start with than the reason for the description of my blog…..gooey, crunchy, soft & filling!

Baklava Muffins
Every time I mention these to people they look at me like I’m a crazy woman and automatically ask ‘what’s in a baklava muffin??’…well, you know the sticky, nutty, sweet deliciousness that you find in traditional Baklava? That’s what in them!

I discovered these in one of my many cookbooks (Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess) but adapted them slightly, the original recipe was made with walnuts but in all honesty and no disrespect to the humble walnut but I’m not a massive fan, so I swapped them to pecans and also increased the amount of them! You can never have enough filling!

So here goes….

For the Filling
150g chopped pecans (don’t chop them too small)
75g Demerara sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
45g salted butter (melted)

For the Muffins
210g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
75g caster sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
45g unsalted butter (melted)
250ml buttermilk
(Or if you can’t find buttermilk- 175g yoghurt & 75g semi skimmed milk)

12 bun muffin tray lined with 12 paper cases.

For the topping
125ml runny honey

  • Preheat the oven to 200 °C
  • Mix all the filling ingredients together in a small bowl, put it to one side and then get started on the muffins…. (Try not to nibble at it like me…but honestly, it is delicious and very hard to resist!)
  •  In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb and sugar, then in a wide mouthed jug whisk the egg, melted butter and buttermilk (or yoghurt milk mix).
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the liquid and mix lightly and gently – do not over mix, keep the mixture bumpy rather than smooth (I know it’s against your instinct but trust me, any over mixing makes for heavy muffins…..
  • Fill the paper cases 1/3 full, add a tablespoon of the filling to them, and then cover with more muffin mixture until 2/3’s full.
  • Sprinkle and remaining filling on top of the muffins.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, they should be golden brown and ready….
  • Remove the muffins from the tin (still in their paper cases though), place them onto a cooling rack and drizzle them with the honey…. You might want to warm the honey a little first as it tends to be easier to pour.
  • Eat & Enjoy!!!

Note – these muffins are best eaten on the day that they are made or the day after (if they last that long!)