Blood Orange and Rosewater Curd

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You know me, I’m a big fan a bowl of oats in the morning.  I wouldn’t dare call it boring, but hey, I’m always looking for new ways of livening my morning porridge up a bit, y’know, without chucking a load of chocolate in the bowl ;-).  Well, it’s Blood Orange season – one of my absolute favourite fruits.  They’re great on their own, but they’re even better when they’re in an upside down cake, on top of muffins, or used to make a pink icing for donuts, and it turns out that they make a pretty great curd too.

This Blood Orange Curd would be great in a cake, but a hefty dollop makes a great topping for a hot bowl of porridge.  It’s got a strong, citrus taste (as you’d expect) which is sweetened slightly by the addition of a little rosewater.  Just in time for a Valentines Day breakfast in bed. ♡

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Blood Orange and Rosewater Curd

Ingredients

  • zest and juice of three blood oranges
  • 1 tsp of rosewater
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter (melted, then cooled)
  • 4 egg yolks, whisked
  1. Sterilize a large jam jar with boiling water, then set aside.
  2. Whisk together all the ingredients in a saucepan, then cook over a low heat.  Keep stirring gently for about ten minutes, or until the curd begins to thicken.
  3. Pour into the sterilized jam jar and then leave to cool.

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For more Valentines recipes, check out this post.  Happy Valentines!

Easy Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

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I think I’ve said it before but I’m absolutely bloody useless when it comes to eating lunch.  I’m a grab and go kinda girl – and that would be absolutely fine if it wasn’t for the fact that the kind of foods that I usually end up grabbing are doughnuts, a bag of crisps, five custard creams, a yoghurt, a cheeky cinnamon bun…  You know?  Not great.  So, when I sit down and make my meal plan for the week ahead, I’ve started factoring in lunch, and – more specifically – one meal that I can batch-cook at the start of the week that’ll serve me through those grab and go lunchtimes.  The provisos are that it needs to be healthy(ish), microwavable and survive in the fridge through to Friday, and this cauliflower and chickpea curry ticks all those boxes.

I absolutely love cauliflower in a curry (my mother-in-law makes the best Aloo Gobi) and Chana Masala is always on the menu if we eat out at an Indian restaurant.  So, why not put the two together, eh?  It’s a quick and easy meal to whip up, and a damn tasty treat for lunchtimes when you fancy something warm and comforting to eat.  Not everyone’s got Indian spices banging around in their cupboard though, so if you don’t fancy cooking the curry sauce from scratch, just cheat and buy a jar of Rogan Josh instead. 😉

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Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry (Gobi Chana) – serves two (double up if you’re batch-cooking)

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas, strained
  • 200g cauliflower florets
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (fill the empty tin to halfway with water)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste/puree
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • chopped fresh spinach to serve
  1. Put the chickpeas and cauliflower florets in a saucepan with some water and bring them to the boil.  Strain, then set aside.
  2. Set your frying pan on the hob on a medium heat, then add the vegetable oil.  Add the diced onion and ginger paste and fry for around ten minutes.  Add your ground spices and burn them off for a couple of minutes.  Pour in the tinned tomatoes (and water), the chickpeas and cauliflower florets.  Pop the lid on your pan and allow the whole mix to simmer for ten minutes.
  3. Season with salt and then serve with chopped fresh spinach and cooked basmati rice. 🙂

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Happy weekend! 😉

Easy Green Thai Noodle Soup

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I think 2018 will be remembered as the year I officially, head over heels fell in love with Thai food.  It’s fresh and filling and colourful (I don’t know about you, but colourful food cheers me up this time of year); more importantly, it’s so quick and easy to make!  Pad Thai (♡♡♡) and Massaman Curry are my midweek meal saviours, and even though that’s not about to change, I’ve been feeling like branching out a little and adding a few more Thai recipes to my arsenal.

I threw this soup together just before Christmas.  I had some Thai Green Curry paste in my cupboard and a can of coconut milk going spare, and, when I reached right to the back I found an old pack of instant noodles.  The filthy kind.  You know the ones, they cost about 30p (or at least they did when I used to buy them on the way back home from High School) and come with a flavour sachet.  So wrong and yet so, so right.  I was just going to whip up the curry and have the noodles with it instead of rice, but then as they were boiling away it occurred to me that the flavoured water they were bubbling in would make a pretty good stock.  So I poured one pot into the other and wham-bam, here’s your Noodle Soup, maam.  It’s vegetarian (as long as you make sure you use vegetable-flavoured noodles instead of the chicken ones, obviously) and perfect for cold and gloomy January nights at home in front of the box.  Just make sure you only add the noodles when you’re ready to eat, because they’ll start slurping up that soup before you get a chance to! 🙂

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Easy Green Thai Noodle Soup (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • Thai Green Curry Paste
  • 400ml can of Coconut Milk
  • 2 packs of vegetable-flavoured instant noodles (cheaper the better!)
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Sliced Chestnut Mushrooms
  • Shredded Red Cabbage
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Sliced Spring Onions
  • Sprinkle of black pepper and sesame seeds
  1. Heat up a deep saucepan with the vegetable oil, then add most of your vegetables – holding some spring onion slices back to garnish with later. 
  2. Stir in the green curry paste until it coats the veg, then pour in the coconut oil – stirring until it turns green. 🙂  Bring the boil, then simmer.
  3. Break the noodle block into a separate saucepan, sprinkle in the flavour sachet and then add boiling water.  Leave the noodles to bubble until they soften.
  4. Once the noodles are soft, pour the stock into the curry to create your soup.  The noodles will soak everything up quickly, so only add them to the soup once you’re ready to eat!  
  5. Garnish with the remaining spring onions, black pepper and sesame seeds – then slurp! 😉

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Happy weekend! 🍜

 

“Extra” French Toast

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What do you eat for breakfast on Christmas Day?  Well, for starters, is there even time?  I mean, do you shove down a couple of slices of toast and a cuppa before the kids come stampeding into the bedroom with their stockings?  Do you just skip it and starve yourself knowing that you’ll be cradling a turkey-sized food baby in a few hours time?  Or, do you put away the Terry’s Chocolate Orange from the bottom of your stocking whilst parked in front of The Life of Brian(Knowing that I have no children, which one of these scenarios is moi, d’you think?  I’m a very naughty boy girl!)

Well, I’ve got the answer; how about whipping up a batch of “Extra” French Toast the night before?  Pop it in the fridge on Christmas Eve and then bake it on Christmas morning while you’re busy unwrapping those presents.  Is it “Extra” because it’s made of croissants – and so, extra-French?  Is it “Extra” because it’s got a shot of cream liqueur in it?  Or, is it “Extra” because it’s definitely a breakfast for this side of Christmas (my husband might or might not have called it a heart attack on a plate when I put it in front of him over the weekend…)?  Whatever the reason, it makes a perfect (and easy) treat for Christmas Day. 🙂

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Extra French Toast (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 croissants
  • 1 slice of bread cut into stars (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • 50 ml of cream liqueur (I love Penderyn Distillery’s Merlyn ♡)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 50g fresh raspberries
  • 50g chocolate chips
  • a dusting of icing sugar
  • 25g gold crunch (optional)
  1. Roughly chop up your croissants (and bread) and arrange them in an oven proof dish with the raspberries and chocolate chips.
  2. In a jug, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon and cream liqueur and then pour over the croissants.  Cover with foil. (If you’re making it the night before, you can whack it in the fridge overnight at this stage).
  3. Set the oven to 180 and bake for 20 minutes with the foil, and 10 minutes without.
  4. Dust with icing sugar and sprinkle over the gold crunch.

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What do you like to eat for breakfast on Christmas Day? 🙂

Christmas Jaffa Cake… Cake

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Bye bye November!  Hello December – which means Christmas isn’t just around the corner anymore; it’s literally on the block.  Maybe you’re ready for it, or maybe you’d prefer to just shut the curtains and pretend you’re not at home.  I might not be anywhere near ready (I say I’m going to be more organised every year and every year I fail), but I’m definitely ready for the food. Am I ever not ready for food? 😉

I haven’t baked a cake in a while and seeing as it’s the first of December tomorrow I fancied making something a little bit festive.  So, I decided to make a giant Jaffa Cake.  It’s a plain sponge threaded with orange jelly (which makes the cake really moist) and decorated with candied oranges and chocolate.  Yum!

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Jaffa Cake Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 200g Butter
  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Pack of Orange-flavoured jelly
  • 100g Chocolate
  • 25g Hazelnuts

For the candied Oranges:

  • 2 Oranges cut into slices
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200ml water
  1. Grease a 20cm cake tin and set your oven to 180°.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar.  Stir in the eggs, then fold in the flour and baking powder.
  3. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes (or until an inserted skewer comes out clean).  Put to the side and allow to cool.
  4. While the cake’s cooling, get started on making your candied orange slices.  First, cut your oranges into slices that are about half a centimetre thick.  Bring a deep saucepan of water to the boil and soak the orange slices for 3 minutes until the peel is soft.  Have a bowl of cold water ready, and drop the slices in there to cool.  Heat up a saucepan with the sugar and water – don’t be tempted to stir, leave it until the sugar all dissolves and then add the blood orange slices.  Let them simmer in the sugar water for 30 minutes, making sure you soak both sides, then put them on a sheet of baking paper and leave to cool.
  5. Next, use a skewer to poke holes in the cake (make sure you leave a gap in the centre and try not to poke all the way through to the base otherwise you’ll get a soggy bottom!).  Mix up your orange jelly as per the instructions on the pack and then slowly pour the mixture over the cake, concentrating on the holes you made.  Pop the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours for the jelly to set.
  6. Decorate the surface of the cake with the candied oranges, melted chocolate and hazelnuts (add a little orange zest if you want a little more zing!). 🙂

Have a lovely weekend!