Oh hey, would you look at that, Monday swung back around. *eyeroll* Although actually, I’m kind of relieved. It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the Cwtch household; Sunny’s been travelling non-stop with his work, I’ve pretty much been chained to the computer and then last Friday, Bungle went into the vets for an “operation” – if y’know what I mean – which meant a whole weekend of staying in and keeping his head out of his crotch. Fun times! So, needless to say, we’ve been kind of running on empty – as have a lot of people I’ve spoken to. It’s funny; it seems like the crossover between March and April’s been a little manic for everyone.
I had one of those blue days last week where everything just got on top of me and I needed to take ten. Usually when that happens I like to do a little baking to de-stress, but I wasn’t in the mood to do anything too complicated. Sometimes, it’s nice to go back to the basics and bake something easy but satisfying. Turns out we had a whole punnet of blueberries sitting in the fridge (they were supposed to be for porridge, but it had been Frosties kinda week…) and so I thought I’d whip up some Blueberry Muffins to see me through the rest of the week! They’re stupidly simple and adapted from a recipe I found on the Red Magazine website just before Christmas – except that my batch have a little cinnamon and some extra crunch with the added granola and demerara sugar topping. Yum!
Feeling Blue-Berry Muffins (makes 12)
- 100g caster sugar
- 150g butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- pinch of salt
- 250g self raising flour
- 100ml milk
- 200g blueberries
- 50g granola (click here for my recipe)
- 50g demerara sugar
- Set your oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with lightly greased cases (I like to use the 1 calorie spray because it makes things easier 😉 ).
- In a mixing bowl, cream together your butter and caster sugar – then beat in the eggs until the mix is nice and fluffy.
- Next, gently fold in the flour little by little – alternating with the milk. Finally, stir in the blueberries (I like my muffins gooey and full of fruit, so I used a loooooot of blueberries, but feel free to dial it back a little if that’s not your jam), cinnamon and salt.
- Spoon the mixture into your muffin cases, then sprinkle each one with a generous helping of granola and demerara sugar. Bake for 20 minutes.
Have a great week! 🙂
Happy Friday! A couple of weeks ago Marks and Spencer treated me for St David’s Day and gave me a lovely hamper full of their favourite Welsh products – from meat and cheese, to welshcakes and booze – to enjoy. And enjoy, I did. I set myself a little bit of a Ready, Steady Cook challenge and tried to whip up an easy lunch using some of the products in the hamper and whatever I had banging about in my kitchen cupboard, and this is what I came up with!
I’m not the biggest fan of salad – there needs to be a little something-something more than just leaves for me to dive into one – but the halloumi and lamb are the stars here, as well as the sweet whiskey drizzle I whipped up to go on top. It’s the perfect companion to the salty halloumi. Very easy to make and a lil’ bit boozy – once you’ve got the base down, you can use it to make any flavour of dressing you like. 🙂
Welsh Lamb and Halloumi Salad with Whiskey Drizzle (serves 2)
- 2 lamb leg steaks*, diced
- 1 block of halloumi, diced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- spring greens (I used peas, shredded beetroot, spinach, tender leaf salad and spring onions)
For the Drizzle:
- 50ml whiskey (I used “Myth” by Penderyn Distillery*)
- 125ml water
- 1tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 100ml runny honey
- 1/2 tbsp of tomato ketchup
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- couple of drops of liquid smoke
- pinch of salt
- Fry up your garlic, onion and whiskey with a little oil in a frying pan – until the onion browns slightly. Remove from the heat.
- In a separate saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, cornflour, salt, ketchup, liquid smoke and honey until combined. Pour in the whiskey, onion and garlic mix and gently heat until the drizzle begins to thicken.
- Sieve the sauce into a bottle or jug, and set aside to cool.
- Lightly fry the diced lamb and halloumi with the dried thyme until cooked, then toss with your salad leaves and veg. Drizzle that shizzle, then scoff. 😉
Thanks to Marks and Spencer for spoiling me once again – all gifted items have been marked with a *. Have a great weekend! 🙂
Last week I had one of those nights where you ping-pong back and forth between the sofa and the kitchen cupboard. You know, when you’re craving a lil’ something-something to scoff but have absolutely no idea what it is you fancy. Sunny and I were in the middle of a Ray Donovan marathon, and as well as rattling through a whole season in the space of a week, we’d also rattled through all the chocolate and sweet stuff in the kitchen cupboard too. And then I found the solution. We had a long-life carton of custard and a couple of bananas in the fruit bowl. Winner. “D’you fancy bananas and custard?” I called out from the kitchen. “What! YESSSSSSSS,” he roared back.
And so we scoffed a bowl each of bananas and custard whilst Ray Donovan buried another body. It was heaven, I tell you. HEAVEN.
It’s one of those stupidly simple yet completely satisfying desserts, innit? Easy. Awesome. And then I had the crazy idea of adding pancakes into the mix. Pancakes filled with custard, and topped with bananas. If you’ve never filled pancakes before it’s really easy, and once you’ve nailed it, there’s any number of ways you could go. Just make sure you go for fluffy, American style pancakes because it won’t work with crepes. 🙂
Bananas and Custard Filled Pancakes
- 150ml buttermilk
- 50ml milk
- 175g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 100ml fresh custard
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- sliced fresh bananas
- a little butter for greasing the frying pan
- To make the filling, mix the vanilla essence into the custard. Tear off a sheet of baking paper and place on a tray or plate. Spoon small rounds of the custard onto the sheet, then pop the whole thing into the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Whisk together your pancake batter, then leave it to sit for five minutes. Next, heat up your frying pan on a medium high heat, then grease with a little butter.
- Bring the slightly frozen custard out of the freezer and keep it nearby. Carefully ladle some batter onto your frying pan, then place one of the custard rounds in the middle as it begins to cook. Cover it with a little bit of fresh batter, then flip the pancake over. Each side of the pancake will cook, leaving the custard nice and gooey in the middle. 🙂
- Serve up with fresh bananas, walnuts and maple syrup. Yum!
I had to work so quickly taking these pictures; Bungle loves bananas and wouldn’t leave me alone. Just check out that drool! Happy Pancake Day (for tomorrow) everyone! 🙂
Fudge is one of those things that I’ve always wanted to try making but, ugh, TOO MUCH EFFORT! I mean, the traditional way of doing things involves heating up butter and sugar to an exact temperature and using a sugar thermometer and a lot of faffing around, and – like I said – EFFORT. I felt like for my first time I didn’t want to take on more than I could handle – so I cheated and used condensed milk. It’s still definitely one of those recipes that needs 100% focus and attention (no scrolling instagram or twitter while you’re stirring!), but it’s much easier and – providing you let the sugar dissolve completely – makes a really creamy fudge.
I usually bake Welshcakes on St David’s Day, but honestly, the ladies at Bakestones in Cardiff Market knock mine right off the board. They’re so good! So this year I decided to make this Welshcake Batter Fudge. It’s not the prettiest looking fudge around (just like Welshcakes aren’t exactly the prettiest cakes), but tastes just like the real deal thanks to the sultanas and a hint of mixed spice. 🙂
Welsh Cake Batter Fudge
- one 397g can of condensed milk
- 150g sultanas
- 2 tsp of mixed spice
- 120g butter
- 450g demerara sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- Pour the condensed milk, mixed spice, butter and sugar into a deep, non-stick saucepan and stir slowly on a low heat until all the ingredients have combined and the sugar has completely dissolved. If you move too quickly to step two, then you’ll get a grainy fudge.
- Get a bowl, fill it with ice cold water and keep it nearby for the next step. Crank the heat a little and bring the mixture to the boil – stirring constantly and simmering for around ten minutes. You want the fudge to reach its “soft ball” stage, which is when you’re going to stop boiling it and bring it off the heat. The time it takes to reach this stage is going to vary, so either test it with a sugar thermometer (you want the fudge to hit 118°C), or get a spoon and drop a little into your bowl of cold water. If the fudge is ready, it should ball and set, but remain a little squidgy when you squeeze it between your fingertips.
- When it’s ready, take the fudge off the heat and pour in the sultanas. Stir them into the fudge and keep beating until it starts to thicken up and set. Pour it into a square, lined baking tin and sprinkle with sea salt. Leave it to cool before cutting it into squares. 🙂
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus, pawb! (Happy St David’s Day, everyone!) 💛
Firmly on the Blood Orange bandwagon and no sign of jumping off. Sorry not sorry. How was your Valentine’s Day? Did you celebrate? Do you celebrate? I didn’t even get a card, you guys. Sunny was really busy working in London all day, and to be honest we don’t really celebrate it. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t just a teeny bit jealous when I watched one of my lovely neighbours squealing over the massive bouquet that turned up on her doorstep… but whatever! Although, to be fair, Sunny did take me to the opera over the weekend, and since he was willing to sit next to me and endure three hours of Mozart being screamed at him, I think we can call it even… Also, he never gets a chance to buy me flowers because I’m always buying them for myself! 😉
I guess it’s those little gestures all year round that really count, right? Like, Sunny always walks Bungle on a Saturday morning so I can have a lie in. He always lets me have the extra cream egg when we buy three (not that he’d really have much choice on that one…). He de-ices my car and fills up the screen-wash when it’s running low, and he knows how to pull me out of a rut. My little gestures tend to be food-related; I’m a total feeder. Last week I made this really easy upside down cake and topped it with blood oranges. It’s sticky and sweet, and if you choose the juiciest blood oranges then you’ll get the prettiest topping. The hardest part is making the caramel – but really, as long as you’re not tempted to stir, it’s a doddle. 🙂
Blood Orange Caramel Upside Down Cake
- 2 Ripe Blood Oranges, thinly sliced
- 125g Butter
- 125g Caster Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 100g Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 50g Ground Almonds
- 100ml Buttermilk
For the Caramel:
- 150g caster sugar
- 75g butter
- pinch of salt
- 100ml of water
- Set your oven to 170° and grease a silicon baking tin (I used a heart shaped one because, Valentines Day!) – it’ll make things easier when it comes to flipping the cake. Sprinkle with a little flour and then set aside.
- Make the caramel by putting your caster sugar in a saucepan with water. Bring it to the boil on a medium heat without stirring (don’t be tempted!). Once the sugar has all dissolved and the mixture has started to turn a lovely tawny, amber colour – stir in your butter. As soon as the butter has melted in, pour the caramel into the bottom of your cake tin. Now, evenly layer your orange segments on top.
- Hard part’s over! Now to make the cake, you’re going to cream together the butter and the sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in the egg.
- Now, in a separate bowl sift together most of your dry ingredients; that’s the flour, baking powder and ground almonds. Combine with the wet ingredients.
- Stir in the buttermilk to make a light batter, and then pour it into the tin over the orange and caramel base. Smooth over the top, then bake for 30 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Leave to cool.
- When you’re ready to serve, flip your cake so the caramel and orange base is on top. Serve with cream… 🙂
Have a great week! ♡