Sorry it has taken me awhile to get back to my personal challenge of the French macaroon. I bought all my ingredients and left them at work in the staff room, only to realise I had one weeks holiday and had to wait to go back and get the ingredients. However, as I waited I have been looking at many different macaroon recipes in the hopes that I would be able to perfect the previous disaster when making these French biscuits, and I have eventually got something to be proud of rather than a sticky runny mess (^-^)
I followed the same recipe as the French video I found last time (see it here), but with a few changes to make sure nothing went wrong this time.
This time I used a thick gel food colouring, which does not turn to liquid, keeping the mixture at the right consistancy. This colouring was more expensive than the usual kind but you can see better results. The second thing i also did to improve the recipe was to use an Italian meringue method instead of the quick simple way. This helped keep a thicker texture. I am really happy with my result and Its made me confident in tackling macaroons in the future. These ones have chocolate frosting. Yum (^-^)
I remember eating cherries in cakes when I was young so a nostalgic throwback recipe was perfect on a very wet, cold and windy day in Cambridge. Simple and sweet, nice with a cup of tea.
What You Need:
500g self raising flour, 4 eggs, 150g butter, 230g caster sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 rind of orange, 2 drops of almond essence, 100g glace cherries, 250ml milk. (Makes 12 muffins)
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Take a small bowl and melt the butter. Now add to the melted butter the eggs, milk and almond extract. Whisk until light and frothy. In a separate mixing bowl add the rest of the ingredients, including the cherries roughly chopped. Mix together the dry ingredients and then make a well in the centre and add the butter batter. Beat vigourously trapping the air for 5mins. Spoon the mixture into cases and bake for 20-30mins. Cool and the eat!
Yummy, easy and much better than shop bought! A perfect winter warmer dish which is also quite fun to make. The traditional Italian pasta, potato dumpling combination. This recipe makes around 50-70.
What you need:
600g Marie Piper Potatoes, 350g Spinach, 150g Plain flour (plus extra for dusting), 1 egg yolk, Black Pepper & Sea Salt
Simply peel and cut potatoes and simmer in a boiled pan of water for 20mins, when nice and soft drain and evaporate the moisture from the potatoes in the hot pan and mash to a nice smooth consistency, set aside to cool. Now wilt the spinach leaves in a pan on medium heat until soft. Scoop out the spinach onto muslin and squeeze the liquid from the spinach, as much as you possibly can. Now finely chop the spinach and add to a mixing bowl.
In the mixing bowl add to the spinach, the mashed potatoes, flour, egg yolk and seasoning. Mix the ingredients until thoroughly combined together. Now take take a lined tray and dust with flour (also dust your hands). Simply take small amounts of the dough and roll into chocolate truffle sized balls, do this until all the mixture has been turned into little balls (^-^) Now take a folk and gently press the top of each ball. To cook, fill a pan of water and turn to simmer just before boiling point. Cook the gnocchi in tens, so there is enough room for them to move around. once the Gnocchi has floated to the top it has cooked.
Serve with olive oil and garlic, or grill with melted cheese.
My Family sat down today to a lovely traditional pork roast dinner, which was lovely. So I decided to make a dessert for everyone. I was a bit dubious at the start as for starters when it comes to pastry making I feel a little devil is sitting on my shoulder watching me screw up, and secondly cooked bananas have never been my taste, ever since eating a tin foil wrapped hot banana with chocolate sauce on a very cold and wet camping trip with the Cub Scouts when I was a child. However, a new challenge is always good, and I will never perfect my pastry making skills unless I keep practising, and the result was not bad at all, but quite delicious!
What you Need:
Filling: 7 bananas, 100g of butter, 1/2 cup of water, 1tsp of mixed spice ( cinnamon, coriander and cloves), 2tsp vanilla extract, 1tablespoon of caster sugar. Syrup : 4 tsp butter (melted) 1/2 tsp of mixed spice
(For the pastry I followed a simple short-crust pastry recipe, which I let rest in the refrigerator for one hour and the rolled out and baked blind)
Preheat the oven to 180c
Simply, slice four bananas and add to a saucepan with the water, butter, vanilla, spices and sugar. On a low heat gently heat and watch the the butter melt and the bananas soften, until it forms a nice thick sauce. Set aside to cool. Then pour into the awaiting pastry case and even out with a spatula. With remaining bananas chop and arange on the top of the mixture. Place in the oven for 10mins.
Whilist in the oven prepare a light syrup with melted butter and mixed spice. Once the pie is heated take it out and pour over the syrup and spinkle the top of the tart with sugar. Pop the tart under a hot gril for 2-3mins, or until golden brown.
Serve hot with a dollop of fresh cream. (^-^)