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! 

Perfect Porridge

I’m a huge fan of porridge for breakfast (…and lunch sometimes!).  I LOVE it.  It’s warm, it fills me up ’til lunch, and – if you’ve got a sweet tooth like me – you can easily fool yourself into thinking you’re having dessert for breakfast – depending on what you put in it.  And there are just so many different flavours and toppings to play with!  Porridge doesn’t have to be that gloopy bowl of gruel that Oliver Twist wanted more of and I dare anyone to tell me that it’s a boring breakfast.  But just in case you are one of those people who’s yet to fall in love with it, or are looking to change up your usual, here are five ways to sex up that steaming bowl o’oats that’ll have you begging for more.  (“Mooooooooore?”)  😉

1. Perfect Your Porridge Recipe

Before you can even think of playing around with flavours and toppings, the best way of ensuring a tasty bowl of porridge is to perfect the base recipe.  Ditching the microwave and instant sachets doesn’t have to be a hassle; doing it by hand will give you a much creamier and tastier porridge – and it doesn’t take as long as you might think.  Here’s my go-to:

Perfect Porridge (serves two)

Ingredients

  • 100g of porridge oats (save the cheapest oats for flapjacks – go for mid-range, rolled oats)
  • 150ml of water
  • 150ml of milk
  • A little boiling water
  • A pinch of salt
  1. If you want to really bring out the flavour of the oats, you can toast them in the oven for ten minutes the night before, but that’s extra work and definitely not necessary!
  2. The trick to quick, creamy oats I’ve found is to soak the oats in a little boiling water for 10 minutes or so before you actually cook them.  I measure them out, put them in the saucepan, cover them with boiling water and then head off to walk the dog.  When I come back, the oats have sucked up all that liquid, softened and are ready to heat up.
  3. Pour in the milk and water and warm up the oats on a medium heat, stirring them frequently with the handle of your wooden spoon.  Yep, you heard right – the handle is better than the actual spoon for creaming those oats.
  4. Once the oats begin to boil, turn down the heat and add your salt.  Even if you’re going to be sweetening your porridge later adding a little salt will help bring out all those flavours.  Keep stirring as it thickens up, and throw in any spices, spread or syrups you fancy at this point.
  5. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes before serving (it’ll save your tongue from scalding!). 

2. Use Flavoured Milk

Basic right?  But it’s amazing how just switching up your choice of milk can really change the flavour of your morning oats.  Obviously there are loads of nut milks to choose from – almond and hazelnut are my favourites – but have you ever thought of using strawberry or banana milk?  Is your mind blown right now?  Most supermarkets out there have got a whole shelf full of flavoured milks to choose from (I think I even saw a Rhubarb and Custard flavoured one in Tesco a few weeks ago…) and they’re great for adding a subtle base flavour before you go crazy with your toppings.  In the picture above I used strawberry milk (which turned my porridge pink!) and then topped it with the last of my summer strawbs, dark chocolate and pistachios.  Fancy!

3. Get Creative with Syrups, Spreads and Spices

Come on, we’re all guilty of stirring a hefty spoonful of nutella into our porridge on mornings when honey just won’t do.  But there are plenty of other ways to flavour your oats while they’re thickening up on the hob, from spices to syrups.

Spices:

  • Cinnamon is my go to, especially with purée’d apples.
  • Cardamom adds a nice twist if you’re using almond milk, or adding berries.
  • Ginger works well with pears and most dried fruits and nuts, and hey, add some boiled, shredded carrot and you’ve got carrot cake porridge!
  • Turmeric is a very strange one, but it’ll give you a very sunny looking bowl of oats that you can sweeten nicely with lots of honey and some chopped almonds.
  • Nutmeg can mixed with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves to make a Chai-flavoured porridge. Yum!

Syrups:

  • Maple Syrup is amazing stuff – and even more amazing when you pair it with bacon, baby.  It also goes well with coffee, pumpkin and sweet potato.
  • Coconut Syrup can be stirred in with pineapples and a bit of lime to make a pina colada flavoured porridge.
  • Toffee Sauce I like to add when I use apples and cinnamon to make toffee apple flavoured porridge, but hit up your ice cream aisle for similar sauces.
  • Honey is a easy one and works well with nutty and berry-flavoured toppings.  It also works well with citrus fruits.
  • Earl Grey Syrup – why not?  It’s lovely as a base for citrus-flavoured porridge bowls.  Make it by heating up 100ml of water with 100g of caster sugar and a few Earl Grey Teabags.
  • Golden Syrup is a classic, ’nuff said.

Spreads:

  • Biscoff is AMAZING stirred into porridge.
  • Peanut Butter with some jam or with sliced bananas is a classic.
  • Fruit Curds like Passionfruit or Raspberry are a great way to inject some fresh flavouring.
  • Nutella.  Need I say more?
  • Marshmallow Fluff.  Now that’s just filthy, especially if you add chocolate and some crushed biscuits – Smores Porridge!

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4. Top Things off

Probably the easiest way to pimp your porridge is get creative with your toppings.  Of course there are the obvious ones – dried fruit, fresh fruit, granola and nuts – but have you ever tried crushing biscuits into your porridge?  I was feeling inventive one morning and dropped a couple of broken Oreos into my morning oats and oh dear lord, it was beautiful.  The creamy filling melted, the biscuit went soft (but not soggy) and it was amazing. 🙂

You can also add a blob of your favourite yoghurt – flavoured or plain.  It’ll make your porridge even creamier.  But sometimes basic is brilliant; my Mum for example loves her porridge topped off with some demerara sugar and nothing else.


5. Swap Sweet for Savoury

Who says porridge has to be sweet?  In fact, most Scots would say that porridge should be made with water, salt and nothing else.  But there are plenty of more exciting ways to play around with your porridge if you don’t have a sweet tooth.  I saw a recipe online for a Japanese-flavour inspired porridge, with miso paste, mirin, seaweed and sesame seeds that looked really good, or you could try a Huevos Rancheros bowl of oats by flavouring it with paprika, roasted red peppers, avocado, salsa and sour cream.  Or what about throwing in some bacon and topping it off with an egg?  That’ll certainly see you through to lunchtime!

What are your favourite porridge toppings? 🙂

Indian Spiced Cawl

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I’m so excited that it’s soup season again!  Not only is it the perfect meal to come home to when you’ve been out in the cold, but it’s also so easy – whether you get it out of a tin or cook it from scratch.  And when it gets cold enough here in Wales we don’t sip soup, we slurp Cawl.  In case you didn’t know, Cawl is a Welsh soup traditionally made with lamb and whatever root vegetables happen to be lying around in your cupboard (the word “Cawl” can also mean to make a mess of something).   For this version I’ve spiced things up a bit; I’ve kept the base recipe traditional, but have flavoured the lamb and stock with some Indian spices and fresh coriander.  It’s all served up with some toasted naan bread – yum!

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Indian Spiced Cawl (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • Neck of Welsh Lamb
  • ½ a white onion roughly chopped
  • 1 echalion/banana shallot roughly chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes roughly chopped into chunks
  • 1 large parsnip sliced
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • Handful of chopped fresh coriander
  1. Place the lamb in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours.  Skim off the fat, then leave to cool overnight.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan and fry off the onions with the cinnamon.
  3. Slice the lamb off the bone and cut into rough chunks, then add to the pan along with the rest of the spices (set aside the water – that makes up the soup stock). Coat the lamb with the spices and leave to fry for three minutes.
  4. Add the potato and parsnip, then stir in the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down heat and leave to simmer for an hour.
  5. When ready to serve, add the chopped coriander. Serve with warm naan bread.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂