Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Perfect with a cuppa: Gingernuts Recipe

I Love making biscuits, they are so quick and easy to make I often wonder why i don't make them more often, other than my expanding my waistline.

Once you have made biscuits you never really want to go back, in all my baking years I've never made Gingernuts and I'm kicking myself they are divine, cheap, simple and I'm not sure any will be left for my husband.

I turned to my trusted Delia everyday cooking book. I have simply adapted it for a baking when you have little energy.

Spoon Usage 1
Skill level - Novice (great for children)
Cost - 25p  (I'm guessing - assuming you have the staples in your store cupboard)
makes 16
Oven temp 190C Gas mark 5
Middle shelf

Yes that's right 25p and im being overly generous its probably more like 20p

Baking sheet
baking parchment
Mixing Bowl

picture showing the ingredients4oz (110 g) Self Raising Flour
1 rounrded 1tsp ground ginger (so just a tiny bit more than a level spoonful)
1 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
1.5 oz  40g granulated sugar
2oz (50g) margarine
2 table spoons golden syrup

Weigh out the ingredients.

sifted flour, gingers, bicarbonate of soda in a bowlto be honest there is so little prep I'm going to just do the recipe.

1. Weigh out the flour, add the bicarb of soda and the ginger - sift into a large bowl.

2. add the sugar - give a little stir

3. add the margarine and rub the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

mixture - looking like bredcrumbsHave  a little rest at this point if needs be, but it only takes a few seconds if the margarine is soft. you could do this stage in a food processor if you like.

4. Add the golden syrup and mix into a stuff paste. trust the recipe at this stage as you might think it will never come together.

I discarded the spoon and used my hands, i found it much easier to bring it together and the warmth of my hands helped bind it. keep going until it forms a ball.

have a little rest.

5. make little balls try and make them the same size - this will make 16 in total.

NB if like me you have an old tin use the baking parchment - i dob a little marg on the tin to stop the parchment moving about. If you have a non stick tray you dont need parchment.

 6. place on a large baking sheet - space them well apart. press each ball down slightly.

7. put in centre of the oven for 10 minutes.
Tip: Biscuits cant go from under to over done very quickly, depending on your oven you can cook them for up to 15 minutes but mine were slightly over at 12. 

8.  when they come out they will still be a bit soft. don't worry they will be perfect once cooled. place on a cooling rack- Once cool will be nice and crunchy.

Have to say these were delicious - just gingery enough, crunchy and so much nicer than shop bought ones. It took so little time to make.

finished gingernut with a cuppa
Enjoy :-)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Coronation Chicken #PerfectPicnicFood

I love coronation chicken, its a great way to jazz up your lunch box, have on a picnic or makes a great jacket potatoes filling. Its a really good way to use up left over roast chicken or a couple of chicken thighs. If your an end of the day shopper and can grab a reduced fresh cooked chciken this dish is perfect if its a bit dry and you want to make a lovely supper.

The curried mayo is also lovely as a dressing in itself and works well if you have a chicken drumstick and want to jazz it up when its cold.

There are many variations on this recipe, but i like to keep it simple and let the chicken sing out rather than swamp it with loads of other flavours.This recipe also works very well with turkey

Spoon usage - 1
Kitchen skill - novice
Cost - £1.20 **its hard to be accurate as i tend to make it when i have left over chicken and use store cupboard staples. main cost if you were doing this from scratch would be the chicken.
Serves: 4 - 6 small portions or fill 2 large jacket spuds

chicken portions breast  & thigh meat - 200g of
picture showing the ingredients2 dessert spoons of mango chutney
1 tsp curry power
handful of sultanas soaked
Toasted almonds* optional
dash of lemon juice
**2 dessert spoons mayo
**1 dessert spoon natural yogurt
1 tea bag
dash of lemon juice

**If you just have mayo use that, the yogurt just give its a lighter creamier consistency
sultanans soaking in a tubsoak the sultanas you want them nice and plump - bear with me soak them in very weak tea. Ok I know it seems odd but it brings out the sweetness - soak for half an hour
chop up the chicken in good size pieces

Putting dish together

1. heat up a frying pan once hot add the generous teaspoon of curry powder and dry fry for 30 seconds

mango chutney and curry powder in a pan2. turn down the heat and add the mango chutney - I used cheap sainsburies basic which has a sharp jam like edge to it so its very much to taste - if you have good quality stuff you might only need 1 dessert spoon full. you can always add more later.

3. remove from the heat and add the mayo 1 spoon at a time, taste as you go - I like a nice sharp taste with mild curry background flavour. 

Tip - once chilled the flavour will develop so dont worry if you cant taste the curry flavour at first. it does work honest 
creamy curried mayo

4. Darin the sultanas and add to the chicken

5. add the curried mayo - I don't like things swimming in mayo, but my husband does so i put aside extra in a pot for him to pour over as a dressing later. add a dash of lemon juice to give it a zing

6. chill for at least an hour then taste at this point you might want to add more mango chutney but hopefully the flavours will be nicely balanced. a creamy, slightly sharp, mild curried flavour chicken dish.

showing finised dish


Saturday, 4 May 2013

Spicy Bean Burgers

This recipe is lovely, cheap and easy to make. High in protein, can be made with very cheap ingredients and freeze well. Even if your not vegetarian I hope you will enjoy them.You can leave out the egg and bread to make them vegan if you wish to or cant have bread.

This is a great recipe to make with children, as they can get their hands in and squish the beans up, takes very little manual dexterity and you can adapt the spice level to your taste. I have tried to make them aromatic than spicy hot.

I have used 1 tin of mixed beans Ive had kicking around in the back of the cupboard for ages, plus 1 i bought specially. If your virtually out of cash you can make these burgers with 1 onion, 1 can of cheap kidney beans and some spices made into a paste to bind it together. so can be made for less than £1.00 for 6 burgers

Beans are a great source of protein, are low in carbs low on the glicemic index (GI) meaning they slowly release thier energy and are all round good guys when your living on a low budget.

Spoon usage 1 - 2
Skill level - novice
Overall cost £1.40 - if you substitute mixed beans for just kidney drops  the cost to about 50P
Makes 6 large burgers

picture showing ingredients required for making spicey bean burgers2 x 400g can of mixed beans - Ive used a combination of mung, kidney, chickpea, soya and cannelloni
1 onion or 3 spring onions
1 slice of brown bread (or white if that's what you have) *optional

1 small red chilli deseeded
1 small pepper (or half a large one) 
Salt & pepper
1 generous tsp Cumin
1 generous tsp Coriander
1 dessert spoon Paprika
Egg optional

spices in a pestle and mortar
spice paste
Open and drain the cans of beans - rinse well
finely chop the onion ( or use pre chopped if you cant chop them yourself) - I tend to grate onion
finely chop the chili discard seeds if you want a milder kick  
finely chop the pepper
crumble the bread into breadcrumbs
crush the spices and mix well - use ground spices if you prefer or don't have fresh spices.

Have a rest - the prep can take as much or little time as you like.

Putting Burgers together

1. gently dry fry your freshly mixed spices to bring out their flavour* omit this part of you are using
ground spices. once done add a small amount of oil and water to create a paste

2. Gently fry the onions, you dont want to colour them just fry until translucent, add the peppers and gently fry for 2-3 minutes

3. mash the beans - but leave them chunky you don't want a smooth paste. you can blitz in a food processor, use a potatoe masher or get your hands in and squish. don't over do it as you need to add the other ingredients you just want them broken up enough for the bean to take the other flavours.

4. add the onions, peppers, spice paste,bread crumbs to the bowl and mix until the ingredients are well incorporated. i tend to use my hands as I can feel how well the mixture holds its shape, if it feels a bit dry add some oil. I tried it with an egg when i first made them and it was too wet. so you I would suggest if you use a egg beat it first and add a very small amount at a time - you want it to hold its shape not become too wet

Tip: if you do make them too wet - dont fret just follow all the steps and pop them into the freezer for an hour to firm up and it should be fine. or add some flour to the mixure if needs be

5.  I don't like huge fat burgers so tend to make them into hand sized patties. its totally up to you.

shape the burgers - to save my hands from getting sore I use the lid of a coffee jar -  place a piece of cling film in the jar and squish the mixture into it - pat flat and then twist the cling film so the burger is wrapped.

6.freeze the burgers you dont paln to eat now - will keep for up to 3 months

7. fry the burgers on a medium heat until hot all the way through, and golden brown. about 5 minutes

 I serve them with salad in a wrap.

Enjoy - You can add more or less spice to them depending on taste. I like them mild and often add a bit of sweet chili dipping sause to them once cooked.