Sunday, 28 April 2013

Old skool Corn flake Tart

This recipe was requested by my Other half as it was his favourite school treat. We haven't been able to find it an any shops near us so I thought I'd give it a try and I have to say it tasted awesome :)


For the pastry:

2 cups of all purpose flour
3 Tbsp of butter/maragarine

For the filling:

cornflakes (as needed)
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp of butter/margarine
3 tbsp of jam ( I used raspberry)
Preparation Method:

Sift flour into a large bowl and add the butter.

Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add a little water at a time to form a pastry dough.

Knead the dough until smooth and place it back in the bowl, cover it with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Now preheat your oven to 180.
Grease and line a baking tin with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough into a large rectangle and prick the dough all over with a fork.
Place the dough onto the parchment paper and put it in the baking tin.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Take the pastry out of the oven and set aside to cool slightly( 10 mins)
Turn your oven down to 160.

Whilst waiting for the pastry to cool a little, put a pan on a medium heat and add the golden syrup, butter and sugar.
Heat gently until the butter and sugar melts and you get a syrup.

Now add the corn flakes as needed and mix well making sure they are all coated with the lovely toffee syrup mixture. and remove from the heat.

Now spread the jam onto the pastry base.

Pour the corn flake mixture onto the pastry an spread evenly.
Using the back of your spoon gently crush the corn flakes to smooth them out.

Put the tray back into the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.

Let the tart cool completely .

Cut the tart into squares and enjoy :)

Have fun making this, I did.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

As we all know Vanilla Extract is ridiculously expensive to buy so we tend to buy vanilla essence as it's much cheaper. Vanilla Extract is stronger than the essence and darker in colour.
As I love to bake and use vanilla extract to flavour my goodies with, I thought I'd make my own. This will last for years and is great for gifts too. The only downside is the long wait before you can use it, but I don't mind as it will be worth it. :) Give it a go.

Good quality vanilla pods( I use the Madagascar vanilla pods) Make sure they aren't dried out or you won't get a good flavour.

1 bottle of Vodka ( I used a 70cl bottle of Smirnoff) The vodka doesn't have to be an expensive brand as the vanilla will eventually take over the flavour. But having said this it has to be at least 40-80 % alcohol.

Preparation Method:
As rule of thumb you have to use 5 vanilla beans per 1 cup.
A 70cl bottle has 3 cups of Vodka so from my pack of of 20 vanilla beans I used 15 pods.

Pour 1 cup of vodka into a cup and set aside until later.

Cut the tips of each bean and pop it into the bottle of vodka. Some people throw these away but I didn't waste anything :).

Using a sharp knife carefully slice the bean length ways but not all the way up so that it's split into two.

Look at that wonderful caviar inside the bean :) mmmmmmm.

Carefully scrape out the goodness and very carefully pop it into the bottle of vodka.

Cut the pod into 3 pieces and pop it in the bottle.

Continue this process until all 15 beans are used up.

Now remember that 1 cup of vodka that you set aside earlier? Now it's time to add it back into the bottle . You may not be able to fit it all in but not to worry, you can have a drink later ;).

Now give the bottle a good shake and place it in a cool dark cupboard.
Shake the bottle at least once a week or whenever you're getting something from the cupboard. (or if you're as excited as me every few hrs lol)

To appreciate the full flavour of the vanilla extract it will take 6 months to mature and the colour will darken nicely. However you can start using it after 4 weeks but it won't be as flavourful.
I made mine on the 26th of April so it will be ready by 26th October. Ready for Christmas baking and bottling up as gifts.
As you bottle up the end product and your extract is running low, all you need to do is top it up with vodka. This will last you for years. You can also add more vanilla beans to it.

As I had 5 vanilla beans left over I decided to pack them in a jar of granulated sugar, this will not only preserve the vanilla pods to use later but you will also get some yummy vanilla sugar to use in baking and your favourite drinks.
When packing in the sugar  DO NOT remove the caviar, just leave the beans in whole.You won't get any flavour in the sugar if it's removed.

If you are storing the Beans on their own, wrap them whole in either cling film or kitchen foil with no air inside. Then place into an air tight jar and leave in a cool dark place.
Once a week take the the vanilla pods out of the jar and the wrapping and leave them out for 10 minutes to let the air circulate around them and then re wrap them and put back into the jar. Repeat this until the beans are used up.

Never place vanilla pods in the fridge, this causes mold to grow on them.
Sometimes you may see some white crystallization on the tips of the beans, don't worry it's just the vanilla paste seeping through and turning hard. You will know straight away if it is mold. If you find a mold bean remove it straight away as it will spread to the other beans.

I hope this recipe was useful to you :)
Happy baking and remember be patient, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Cinnamon and Apple Squares

When I was at school (many yrs ago) there was a lovely little bakery called Heather Bakery just across the road which me and my friends use to go to on our free periods and lunchtimes. I remember me and my friend Minky getting a chocolate Danish and a coffee every Wednesday when we had the same free lessons. We took it in turns to treat each other :) They also did a delicious cake type of thing which was called Apple Slice( I added cinnamon to my apples) which was made up of a lovely crumbly biscuit layer at the bottom and filled with yummy stewed apples and then another layer of the crumbly biscuit on top. This was really delicious. I never saw those apple slices anywhere else. Just the other day I was telling my other half about them and he said he use to like them when he was younger too. Anyway to cut a long story short , as we never found them anywhere, I decided to have a go at making them myself. My end product didn't look like the ones I use to buy but never the less it turned out absolutely delicious! I hope you give it a try.


For the Biscuit Pastry:
1 cup of All purpose flour
1 cup of self raising flour
1/2 cup of butter
1 egg beaten

 Stewed apples:

6 Royal Gala apples ( or any that you prefer) Chopped/sliced
2 table spoons of sugar
1 tea spoon of ground cinnamon
2 table spoons of water.

Preparation Method:

Preheat the oven to 180
Lightly grease an oven dish with butter.

Sift flour and sugar in a large bowl.

Add the butter and using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it resembles bread crumbs.

Beat one egg lightly and add it to the crumbs and mix well to form a dough. Don't worry if at this time the dough is too crumbly, it will come together after kneading.

Knead the dough on a floured surface until you get a firm but smooth dough. 
Put the dough into the fridge for 5 minutes to chill.

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.

Roll out 2 rectangles from the to halves and place one in the oven dish. and keep the other to the side or in the fridge until you need it.

Peel and slice your apples.

Add your sliced apples to a large pan and sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon and turn the heat up to medium heat.
Keep mixing until the sugar melts and the the apples are coated in the yummy sugar mix. Add a splash of water to the pan if it starts to dry out, this will also help to soften the slices.
Keep cooking until you get the desired texture for the apples and take the pan of the heat.
Let the Apples cool down before adding them to the pastry, if you don't do this, the pastry will have a soggy bottom. ( no one likes a soggy bottom lol )

Once cooled, spread the the apple slices (try to get rid of as much syrup as possible to avoid a soggy pastry) on the bottom layer of pastry.

Now carefully lay the other half of the pastry on top of the apples and brush it with milk. Sprinkle some sugar on top and pop it in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

25 Minutes later it's ready :) Doesn't it look delicious!
Let it cool slightly and cut into squares.

Serve your Apple squares warm with a scoop of ice cream or topped with some yummy vanilla custard and enjoy.

I hope you try this recipe out, it's really yummy :)

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Quorn filling for spring rolls and samosas

I thought I'd try out my own filling for spring rolls and samosas and thought Quorn pieces would be delicious in them :) This filling is quick ,easy and very tasty so give it a go :)


Quorn chicken style pieces (As needed)
Mushrooms (sliced)
One sliced Sweet pepper( any colour) I used red.
Sweet corn
soy sauce
2 tsp 3G Paste
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
2 tbsp Olive oil  (you can use flavoured)
Pinch of black pepper

I didn't add any salt as the 3G paste and soy sauce both 
contain salt.

Preparation Method:

Add Olive oil to a large pan and turn the heat up to medium.
Add the Quorn pieces and saute them  for a few minutes.

Now add the Pepper, mushrooms and sweet corn and mix well.
Add in the 3G paste and stir for a minute to take away rawness of ginger and garlic.

Now for the seasoning.

Add a few good splashes of dark soy sauce and mix well.
Now add a pinch of black pepper and the curry powder (if using)
Let this cook for about 2-3 minutes until all the flavours are absorbed.

Finally remove the Quorn pieces and put them on a plate/chopping board and shred the pieces up.

Add the shredded Quorn pieces back into the pan and stir well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Remove the pan off the heat and let the filling cool down before adding it to your Thin and Crispy Pastry

Roll out your spring rolls and fill them with this delicious mixture and fry them on a medium heat until golden brown.
Enjoy with your favourite dip or chutney :)

Thin and crispy pastry for Samosas and spring rolls

I couldn't believe how easy it is to make this pastry. It's not easy for me to get hold of certain products and ingredients where I live so I was delighted to find this recipe and thought I'd share it with you.


1/2 Cup of plain flour
1/4 cup of corn flour
1/2 tsp salt
Water as needed.

Preparation method:

Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and add a little water at a time to make a very thin batter.

Put a pan on a low heat and brush the batter on the base until there are no gaps (as thinly as possible)

Let the pastry cook about 10 seconds , you will now see the edges start to slightly curl which means it's ready to peel off.

Gently and carefully peel the pastry off the pan and place it on a plate with a wet cloth on the bottom and cover the pastry with another wet cloth or paper towel.

Spread a little oil on the top of the pastry before putting the next one on top. This will prevent them from sticking together. Then place a wet cloth on top and proceed until all the pastries are cooked.

It's very important that the pastry is covered with a damp cloth as this will prevent it from drying out and tearing.

Once all the pastries are cooked use a pizza cutter and trim the edges to make squares.

If you are not using them straight away, you can store them in the fridge over night or in the freezer making sure you spread oil on top of each square to prevent them from 
sticking to each other.
Now that they are ready to use you can use the squares to make spring rolls or samosas and fill them with your favourite fillings. Use the the remainder batter as a glue to seal the samosas and spring rolls before frying.
Fry the samosas and spring rolls on a medium heat until golden brown and enjoy with a chutney or dipping sauce.

I hope you like this recipe, I will show you the filling that I made in my next recipe :)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Choco chip Cookies

This cookie recipe is quick and easy and the end result is lovely soft cookies  :) yummy With a glass of milk.
Give it a go, you won't regret it .

Chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (as needed)
2 cups plain flour 
2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown packed sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda

Preparation Method:
Pre heat oven to 175 

Add Butter,sugar and salt in a bowl and mix til it all comes together and fluffy.

Now add in the eggs and mix thoroughly making sure there are no lumps.
Add Vanilla extract and sift in the flour and baking soda.

Now add the chocolate chips and mix everything up to make a slightly sticky cookie dough.

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper a spoon a tablespoon of cookie mixture onto the paper. Make sure you leave a gap between the cookies as they will expand during baking.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 12 minutes for delicious soft cookies.

They look delicious :)

Let them cool slightly and serve them in a dish or bowl.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk :) yummy.