5 Weekday Lunches

I’m absolutely useless when it comes to eating lunch during the week.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person to dive head first into the fridge at lunchtime, but I always seem to surface with my hands empty and end up heading off to the snack cupboard instead.  Jam Doughnut?  That’ll do.  Half a bag of Tortilla Chips?  Be rude not to.  I grab and I go and more often than not I end up swinging back in a couple of hours for round two because – you guessed it – I didn’t eat a proper lunch.

So this week I decided to shun the snack cupboard and sort myself out with some proper midday grub in under 15 minutes using whatever happened to be in the fridge.  It was really nice to take some time to cook (mostly) from scratch and treat myself to a little lunch date every day! 🙂

Monday: Egg on Toast

Yes, it’s simple and probably a little bit boring, but you can’t beat fried egg on a slab of toast.  I was going to mash up a little avocado to go with it, but since none of the ones hanging around in my fruit bowl were ripe, I had to go without.  I finished things off with some chopped chives, a little grated cheddar, chilli flakes and black pepper.  Yum!

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Hash

On Tuesday I found some leftover halloumi (…does such a thing exist?) when I was rummaging around in my fridge, so I quickly fried it up with some garlic, diced sweet potato, button mushrooms, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes.  I mixed in some salad and grated cheese (extra cheese!) and scoffed it in front of a brand new episode of Outlander (I’m so happy it’s back!).

Wednesday: Flatbread Pizza

Hump Day Treat!  Sunny was working from home and found some flatbread in the fridge and complained that it wasn’t any good – “You can’t make a sandwich with that!”.  Nope, you can’t.  But you can make pizza.  I spread some tomato puree over the top, sprinkled it with some grated mozzarella, added some chopped button mushrooms and tomatoes and then grilled it for ten minutes.  Mwah!

Thursday: Toasted Tea Cake

Change of scenery! On Thursday, I ended up popping out to the local garden centre coffee shop to catch up with my Mum and Dad.  My Mum and I love a good old toasted tea cake with plenty of butter; old habits die hard, so that’s what I had. 🙂

Friday: *Pheasant Tikka Masala by Wild and Game

A very gloomy Friday afternoon treat!  Okay, so this one didn’t take 15 minutes – but since it involved absolutely zero effort on my part other than turning the oven on and grilling a bit of naan bread, I’m counting it.  Wild and Game have a whole range of ready meals and pies made with meat from game animals like grouse, pheasant, partridge and hare.  I know what you’re thinking – you’re imagining dinner at Downton Abbey, aren’t you?  Well, while game used to be the nosh of the well to do, thanks to companies like Wild and Game you don’t need a spot on the civil list to get your hands on it.  When they got in touch and asked if I’d like to try their Pheasant Tikka Masala, I said “yes please!” and ended up trying it out this afternoon as a Friday lunchtime treat.  I’d never tried pheasant before (although I’m used to seeing them pottering around the field near where I live – Bungle loves to chase them!) and so I wasn’t sure what it was going to taste like or whether I’d even like it.  But it was delicious, with a flakey, tender texture and a taste slightly similar to turkey, and the curry was the sort of “little bit of what you fancy” Tikka Masala you’d happily pick off a gastropub menu and order with half and half (half rice, half chips for the uninitiated 😉 ). Tasty, and with a hefty portion of pheasant enough to serve two.

I’ve been a bit put off with chicken recently after cooking up a stringy, bad batch from the supermarket a few months ago.  The truth is chicken is terribly over-consumed in the UK and chickens incredibly poorly treated (over 20 million are killed every week for their meat – if you want your eyes opened on the subject then just watch this bbc documentary), and I’m personally a little fed up with being a part of that whole process.  Pheasant, to me, seems to be an ethical and affordable alternative.

What’s your favourite working lunch? 🙂

5 Recipes for Bonfire Night

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I love Bonfire Night!  Not just for the fireworks and sparklers, but for the food.  It’s THE night of the year for wrapping up warm, swigging a hot chocolate and stuffing your face with something sweet and fattening.  It’s my kind of night out.  So without further ado, here are five recipes that are perfect for cold and smoky November nights out (…or in!). 🙂

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1. Apple Pie Cake

I can’t stop raving about this apple cake – honestly, it’s just perfect!  Cinnamon-spiced apples and soft sponge due to the buttermilk.  Perfect warmed up with a bit of custard, or ice cream.  Yum!

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2. Gingerbread Hot Choc-tail

If you haven’t got a hot chocolate in your hand while you’re watching the fireworks, then you’re doing something wrong!  But this ain’t no ordinary hot chocolate – it’s hot choctail.  Definitely one just for the grownups with a pinch of ground ginger and a slug of amaretto.  Slurrrrrrrp, hic!  😉

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3. Leftover Pumpkin Traybake

Halloween is over!  But what did you do with all the leftover guts after carving your pumpkin?  Don’t throw them away, bake them into something sweet that’s worth scoffing while you watch those fireworks.  This easy tray bake made from spiced pumpkin goop is topped with a cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds – absolutely nothing goes to waste with this recipe! 🙂

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4. Bonfire Night Doughnut Balls

Doughnuts are so easy to make!  (Almost too easy…)  And this bag of bombs rolled in cinnamon sugar are the perfect snack for scoffing outside in the cold – especially if you warm them up.  You can also roll your dough around a chocolate truffle if you fancy taking things to the next level and giving your doughnuts a molten chocolaty centre. 😉

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5. Mars Bar Brownies

This time of year all I want to do is curl up in a baggy hoodie and pjs and eat things that are warm and gooey and ideally full of chocolate and these brownies tick all those boxes.  No regrets!

Happy Bonfire Night everyone!  Stay warm and look after your pets 🙂

 

Bloody Beetroot Freaky Fries

Beetroot Filthy Fries

Halloween is upon us! I love getting creative in the kitchen this time of year and serving up spooky recipes. I’m kind of like Monica Geller when she tries to out-cook herself at Thanksgiving; I challenge myself to come up with ghoulish-themed grub that’s never been done before.  There was the year of the pumpkin guts traybake (don’t bin your carved pumpkin flesh!), and how about the ghostly ring doughnuts (Doooooooonuts) I made last year?

This year, I’ve gone for something a little bit different.  There don’t seem to be many halloween inspired recipes for freaky fries out there, so I came up with my own!  These Bloody Beetroot Freaky Fries wouldn’t be out of place at Dracula’s Halloween Shindig or whatever party Hannibal Lecter’s throwing this year; the beetroots are sweet, the bacon’s salty, the sriracha gives everything a little kick, and the cheese… well, I don’t need to sell you on melted cheese, do I?  Also – bonus – cooking these will make you look like you’ve slaughtered someone; handling the beetroot is bloody messy – you’ve been warned!

Beetroot Filthy Fries

Bloody Beetroot Dirty Fries (serves two)

Ingredients

  • 3 large beetroots
  • 250g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 50g chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp sriracha seasoning
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • onion relish (optional, but this one from Marks and Spencer is the bomb-diggity)
  1. Peel and chop your beetroot into chunks shaped like fries.  Pop them in a saucepan and boil them with some salt for 20 minutes until soft.  Drain them, then leave them to dry out for an hour.
  2. Put the fries in a bowl and coat them with the olive oil, then spread them out evenly on a lined baking tray.  Set the oven to 200°, generously season the fries with some salt and pepper and then bake them for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
  3. While the fries are cooking, fry up your bacon, chop your parsley and grate your cheese.  Once the bacon is cooked, I like to coat it in some onion relish – but frying up some chopped onions is a good alternative.
  4. Once the fries are cooked, load them with the bacon and half of the cheese and pop them back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  5. Finish things off with the last of the cheese, and then sprinkle with parsley and sriracha seasoning.  Scoff!  🙂


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Happy Halloween everyone! 🎃

 

Biscoff Buns

My love for Cinnamon Buns isn’t exactly a secret.  I treat myself to one after I’ve done my weekly food shop – or at least I used to, until the Tesco bakery decided to stuff their buns with raisins.  Ugh!  For the record, I don’t mind raisins at all – I just don’t want them anywhere near my buns, hun.  I’m a purist, what can I say?  (Although, clearly not that much of a purist since this whole post is about me meddling around with the basic cinnamon bun recipe!)  So I decided to make my own Cinnamon Buns, and I wondered, how can I make them even better?

Another weekly shop treat of mine is a pack of Biscoff Biscuits – which barely last two days let alone the rest of the week (I mean they’ve literally got the word “Scoff” in their name).  I’ve even got a jar of Biscoff Spread in my cupboard, a dollop of which usually finds its way into my morning bowl of porridge.  So hey, I thought, why not work a dollop of the stuff into a Cinnamon Bun?  Why not, eh?

Biscoff Buns (makes 6)

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 100ml warm milk
  • 1 tsp of active yeast
  • 1 egg (whisked)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 25g butter (melted)
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 25g brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Biscoff Spread
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the frosting:

  • 100g icing sugar mixed with a little water to make a drizzle
  • A couple of crumbled Biscoff biscuits.
  1. Activate your yeast by sprinkling it over your warm milk and then leave for 15 minutes.  When you come back, the milk should be foamy on top – a sign that the yeast is read to go!
  2. Pour in the caster sugar, egg and melted butter (make sure it’s cooled slightly otherwise it’ll scramble your egg!) and mix.  Next, stir in your flour until everything comes together to form a sticky dough.
  3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, then leave to prove in an oily bowl for at least an hour.
  4. After an hour, knock back the dough and roll it out into a thin rectangle.  Spread the Biscoff spread over the dough, leaving about an inch gap around the outside.  Sprinkle the brown sugar and ground cinnamon on top, then roll it.  Cut the dough into six equal rounds, then arrange on a baking tray (I used a circular cake tin to create a tear and share kind of bun 🙂 )  Cover with cling film and leave to prove for another hour.
  5. Set your oven to 170 and then bake the buns for 30 minutes.
  6. Drizzle, sprinkle with the crushed biscuits and then serve warm.

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Anyone got any baking planned this weekend?  What are you making? ♡

Lemon and Rose Drizzle Cake

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I’m no stranger to a good old Lemon Drizzle Cake – it’s easy to bake and perfect just the way it is – nice and gooey and warm on the plate (especially after getting stuck out in a less pleasant kind of drizzle, eh?).  But it’s always nice to try a fresh twist on an old favourite.  Last time I tried pistachio, and this time I’ve gone for rose – which sweetens the lemon a little and takes out it’s sour edge.  So if you like your drizzle cake a little sweeter, then this one’s for you. 🙂

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Lemon and Rose Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs
  • 100g Butter
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • Zest of 2 Lemons
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 200g Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tsp of Rosewater
  • Handful of dried, edible rose petals
  1. Grease a small loaf tin and set your oven to 170°.
  2. Cream together the butter and caster sugar and then crack in the egg.  Pour in the lemon zest and rosewater, then stir in the flour.
  3. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  4. To make the drizzle, mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar.  While the loaf is still nice and warm (and still in its tin!), create some holes in it with a cocktail stick or a knife (make sure you only insert them half way or you’ll get a soggy bottom!), then pour the drizzle over the top.
  5. Once the loaf has cooled, remove it from the tin and then decorate it with the dried rose petals.

Happy Friday everyone!