Thursday, 31 October 2013

Easiest Ever Bread and Butter Pudding

Soo…. my biggest cock up on this was that I got halfway through this before remembering to take any pictures… yeah… I'm a genius.

I actually really hate bread pudding - I had some at school once and just found it disgusting. But the Boyfriend is a fan, so for a treat for him I decided to make some.

It basically involved cutting bread into triangles and putting custard on it.

The recipe I used called for fresh custard, but being me, I just used Ambrosia.

I then had to add some milk.

And mixed it all together, which was pretty disgusting. The bread didn't stir easily with the spoon, so I just had to get my hands in there.

Then basically pour it into a tub and put some raisins on it.

When the bread and butter pudding was cooked, I sprinkled the top with sugar and grilled it for a couple of minutes to caramelise and crisp it up.

Then served. With ice-cream, though the Boyfriend wanted custard. Many of my Facebook friends agreed with him in this regard, but I didn't see the point of having custard with a pudding that was ninety percent custard?? He seemed to enjoy it though, and I had a piece and didn't find it absolutely horrible, so yay!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Apple Crumble

With all the apples on the tree in the garden, I thought it was probably time I picked some and cooked them. I had every intention of storing them, but to be honest, after giving myself repetitive strain injury peeling all the apples, I'd really worked up an appetite.

So, instead of storing them all in a handy ice-cream tub (thanks to the Boyfriend's mum for that tip), I decided to make crumble.

In the end my ratio of apple to topping was a bit out. And not in the good direction.

But it was still a pretty tasty reward for all that hard work peeling and stewing!

Monday, 7 October 2013

A New Addition to the Disaster Kitchen

Every so often I reach tipping point and feel the need to buy something new for my kitchen. A utensil or appliance I've cursed not having enough times to justify the expense. Not that this particular device was expensive - £15, but you get what you pay for. It's pretty cheap and tacky, and I'm slightly concerned by the fact that a part looks a bit bent. But we'll see how it goes - it's guaranteed for 12 months anyway.

Say hello to my new food processor!!

A kitchen appliance has never made me so happy.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Banana and Apple Loaf

Dish: Banana and Apple Loaf

Difficulty: Easy

Utensils Used: Grater, peeler, electric whisk, spatula

Cock Ups: A couple...

Recipe Book: Feeding Boys and a Firefighter (my boyfriend is a firefighter, so appropriate!)

Cooking: The Boyfriend was at work today, leaving me on my own all day. I thought I'd make something using the bananas we had that were starting to look a little past their best. I found a recipe for banana and apple loaf. Thinking the Boyfriend would be full of enthusiasm for this venture, I text him and got this response:

I probably didn't help matters by calling it 'bread' instead of 'loaf.' Oops.

Miracle upon miracles, I actually had all the ingredients for this, so no impromptu trip to Morrisons for eggs or anything.

I creamed together 150g of light muscovado sugar and 85g of butter.

Then added in two eggs to the mix.

I mashed up four bananas. One wasn't overripe, but the others were more than enough to give it that really banana-y flavour.

I then went to pick an apple from the tree in our garden.

You don't get fresher than that!

This was then grated into the banana and mixed in.

At this point I measured out some flour, only to realise it was a little.... alive. Checking the best before date was a bit of a shock. But it was okay, I had a back up. This one was unopened. And still out of date. I need to bake more often.

The flour was mixed in with some cinnamon and nutmeg.

I think my loaf tin must be miniature sized, as the mix didn't fit into it. So I got out another cake tin, greased it and put the remaining mix in that, then put both in the oven at 180 degrees to cook for 45 minutes. But I was at least smart enough to realise the shallower cake tin wouldn't take so long, and so did recall to get that out of the oven after about half an hour. Disaster, for once, avoided!

Washing Up Required: A modest amount. A few fiddly bits and bobs like the grater and peeler and the whisks.

Result: Two perfectly cooked cakes that smelled delicious coming out of the oven and slipped nicely out of their baking vessels without cracking or sticking.

Taste Test: Despite the Boyfriend's misgivings about the cake, he did eat a slice. And declared it... banana-y. Well, that was kind of the point.

The family came over to eat some though, as we had two cakes instead of the one, and it went down very well with everyone. Except Dylan who wanted some sweets. Perhaps he remembered the last time I fed him some cake.

Overall Result: This was quick and easy, and an ideal way to use up some bananas that are a bit past it. Hopefully next time I won't also be using flour that's a bit past it...

Banana and Apple Loaf (and cake)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Dinosaur Cupcakes

Dish: Dinosaur Cupcakes

Difficulty: At once easy, and INSANELY hard.

Utensils Used: Spatula, electric whisk, spoon

Cock Ups: One, but it was a biggy.

Recipe Book: We used the old 4442 (see here for more info)

Cooking: Special Guest Chef on The Disaster Kitchen today (well, I say today, we actually made these last week, but oh well.) Carole Heidi is a big Master Chef fan and does a lot of her own baking blogging (and gets sponsored posts and everything! Even if I managed to update regularly, no cook book publisher would touch me with a ten foot bargepole, because it would be guaranteed that I'd find new and unusual ways to balls up their recipes) so I invited her over for drinks and cakes. Only, we had to MAKE the cakes. With alcohol flowing. Probably a bad plan before we even started.

So, I provided ingredients and Carole provided dinosaur shaped cake moulds and green food colouring.

Photographic evidence that I do actually do this baking! I'm mixing 4oz of butter and sugar together.

4oz of flour, 2 eggs and a generous dollop of green dye were then added.

Whisk together and add more food colouring until it's the right colour. We went for 'off scale green'.

I realised at this point that I had a bogus ingredient that I didn't really ought to be putting in a cake - the coriander I forgot to put in my dinner! Much laughter at my hopelessness ensued and the coriander was put safely away. I'm not so dedicated to dinosaur realism as to add a bit of colour with herbs.

Cake mix was then added to the silicone mould. This wasn't easy as it was difficult to judge how much mix had been put in, and to get it into all the crevices of the dinosaurs. I'm sure putting it in the warm oven made it go runny and level out, but we definitely overloaded our moulds a little in our efforts to get the mix into every nook and cranny.

Regular cupcakes (with appropriate green cases) were made with the left overs.

Cooked for about 20-25 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees.

Washing Up Required: Not too much. Those bowls are a pain in the neck to fit in the dishwasher though.

Result: Words cannot describe. Well. Perhaps DINOSAUR MASSACRE.

Yeah, the cakes didn't come out of the mould so well. This was partly because we overfilled them a bit, but also I learned later that there's a spray you can get for silicone moulds to stop mixes sticking which we probably should have used...

We did get a couple that looked vaguely dinosaurish, but mostly these cakes were dinosaurs post-massive extinction event. Which was a source of much hilarity.

Taste Test: Because we essentially made Dinosaur Dust, we of course had to eat all of the cakes. And they were yummy. Made more so by the fact that we ate them with a bit of my mum's Jelly Jam.

I saved our second best dinosaur for the Boyfriend. He declared it bland and boring, but that didn't stop him hunting for another one the following morning, and expressing his intense disappointment that there weren't any left.

Overall Verdict: The tried and tested 4442 cake mix remains an easy staple for making deserts. The mould was fun, but I think we need to perfect both our amounts of cake mix in each mould and the technique of using the silicone moulds...

Dinosaur Cupcakes

Friday, 4 October 2013

Spicy Root and Lentil Casserole

Dish: Spicy Root and Lentil Casserole

Difficulty: Easy

Utensils Used: Wooden spoon, peeler

Cock Ups: 2

Recipe Book: BBC Good Food

Cooking: I had some potatoes that needed using, and a command from the Boyfriend to use up the sweetcorn. Searching for recipes using these ingredients together was utterly unsuccessful, so I decided to make a casserole and serve it with sweetcorn. Because that was the next logical step in my view.

So, I chopped one onion and fried with some lazy garlic.

I then cut up a few peeled potatoes (recipe states 700g, but I was too lazy to weigh) into large chunks, added them to the pan and kept on a lowish heat while I prepared the carrots.

The recipe also stated that some of your 'roots' should be parsnips, but I hate them, so I just did double carrots. Basically the whole packet. I peeled first, then cut into big chunks. I like casseroles for this reason. Big chunks are so time saving.

While the carrots and potatoes were softening, I put on the sweetcorn.

Then I made up 500ml of vegetable stock. The recipe stated 1litre, but I had realised by this point that I wasn't going to fit that much liquid in the pan I was using. A wok, as it happens, because it's the biggest pan I own. Not the best choice.

This was added in with two tablespoons of curry powder after the potatoes and carrots had been cooking for long enough to make them soft.

I then added about 100g of red lentils. Again, didn't measure. The lentils instantly disappeared, so lame picture of one lentil coming right up.

This was then covered (with a plate, I don't have a lid) and left to simmer for a further 20mins. Not too shabby. At least, until I realised that the coriander that I'd bought specially (and a brand one, too, because the supermarket one was out of stock) to garnish was lamenting unopened on the counter. Bugger.

Washing Up Required: A very small amount.

Result: It was a bit drier than it perhaps should have been, but it smelled delicious and looked pretty good.

Taste Test: The flavours were rich, nicely spicy and warming and the Boyfriend very much approved. Except for one detail. It didn't go with the sweetcorn. Oops.

Overall Verdict: Tasty, simple and really healthy. This one is definitely a winner!

Spicy Root and Lentil Casserole