Dark Chocolate and Caramel Tart

I love having family and friends over for dinner… or using my mums kitchen to bake for them. I find it so therapeutic and love seeing them devour the food I’ve made them. As I’ve not been home lately, I’ve been on the hunt for a new recipe to wow them with over birthday season. This is September for us with four of us born in the month plus my sister in law is at the end of August and now my niece at the beginning of October! It’s nice to find some new desserts to test on them!

I can’t wait to get back and make This for them. It’s super easy to do and can be made the day before. It lasts about 4-5 days in the fridge but is best on the day it’s baked.

Use the caramel sauce from Salted Caramel Sauce – aka Heaven in a Jar!

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

225g Plain Flour

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150g Chilled Butter

25g Icing Sugar

1 Large Free Range Egg

Chocolate Ganache

175ml Double Cream

 

175g Good Quality Dark Chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids

 

15g Unsalted Butter

1Tbsp Golden Syrup

Method

Make your caramel sauce first using and leave to cool.

To make the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the cubed, chilled butter. Rub together using your finger tips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Sift in the icing sugar and lightly stir in. Add the egg and mix to form a soft dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, till it is about 3mm thick! Line a rectangular 30cm fluted tin, press the pastry lightly to the corners and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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Heat your over to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Blind bake your shell – do this by lining the pastry with baking parchment and filling with ceramic beans or rice if you don’t have any! Back for 10-15 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for a further 7-10 minutes or until golden. Set to one side and leave to cool.

While the pastry is baking make the ganache. Chop the chocolate into small chunks and Place into a heat proof bowl and pop to one side. Place the cream into a sauce and put on a low heat until simmering. Pour over the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the butter and golden syrup and continue to stir until fully incorporated. Set to one side to cool, but not set!

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Once the pastry shell is cold and the ganache cool, spread over the Salted Carmel Sauce.

Ensure you get into the corners. Follow this by pouring over the ganache, till to the top of the pastry case. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Serve straight from the fridge! Add a little sea salt on the top to bring out extra flavours!

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ENJOY!! 

Hoppy Beer Pickles

With the boy as a brewer and endless amounts of beer that comes into the flat I decided to do something other than just drink it, much to do his disappointment.

Beer Pickled Pickles!

These are so easy to do and really taste fantastic. I recommend a hoppy beer, here I used Lagunitas IPA but I’ve also done it with one of the boys brews for my sister wedding! Use whatever beer makes you happy, though I wouldn’t recommend a stout!

A&L485
As it’s just two of us here I made this into a smaller recipe, but you can easily double or triple it! Just up the quantities and jar size!

Makes one 500ml Jar 20170729_164747.jpg

Ingredients 
100g Beer
150g Apple Vinegar
100g Granulated Sugar
15g Yellow Mustard Seeds
10g Whole Peppercorns
20g Pink Himalayan Salt
1tsp Chilli Flakes
400g Snacking Cucumbers

Method
Place the beer, vinegar and sugar into a pan. Place on a medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients, bar the cucumbers and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Sterilise your jar. Do this by filling up with hot, soapy water, rinse clean and place in the oven on a low heat for 10 minutes. Or wash in the dishwasher. Your jar needs to be warm when you fill it though.
Top and tail your cucumbers. Slice into quarters and put them into your jar standing up right. Try and wedge in as many as you can.
Pour over the pickle mix, covering the cucumbers. Knock out the air bubbles by lightly tapping on the surface and seal.
Leave for at least 4 days before devouring. I recommend a good cheese board with some hard cheeses or in a cheese toastie!20170806_141524.jpg

Salted Caramel Sauce – aka Heaven in a Jar!

When I first started making caramel sauce I was told never to stir it, to just let it caramelise on its own. And what I’ve discovered through the years is that it’s so wrong! You can stir it, I encourage it. I find that if you don’t you can end up burning the sugar. This is more so if you are using larger amounts.

I eat this by the spoonful when it’s still ever so slightly warm, I’m too impatient to wait for it to cool! This is an incredibly versatile recipe and can be used in so many ways. The sky is the limit.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

500g Caster Sugar

1 tbsp Water

180g Unsalted Butter, room temperature

1 tsp Vanilla extract

250ml Double Cream

1tsp Pink Himalayan Salt

 

Method

Put the sugar and water in a large, heavy bottom pan and place on a medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar starts to dissolve.

While this is happening, cut up your butter into cubes. Place the cream into a microwave able dish and heat for 30-45 seconds until warm, but not hot!

Once the sugar has completely caramelised and is light brown in colour take off the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter has melted.

Slowly add your cream and salt and place back onto the heat on a low temperature. This will help you as the cream with form a lump in your pan. Keep stirring until a lowly smooth caramel sauce forms.

Allow to cool before use.

This sauce will keep for up to one month in an airtight jar in the fridge. Use at room temperature.

 

Caramelised Pecans

Caramelised pecans are such a treat in our household! I love them but they aren’t exactly the healthiest thing I make. But they are perfect for movie nights, girls nights in, or even just a Friday night snack!

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Ingredients

200g Pecans

5 tbsp, Light Brown Sugar (firmly packed)

1 tbsp Golden Syrup

1 tbsp Unsalted Butter

 

Method

Pre heat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan)

Roast your pecans for about 10 minutes, until you get that lovely roasting aroma.

Meanwhile, in a large pan add the sugar, golden syrup and butter. Melt on a medium heat, stirring constantly, until it bubbles. Stir in the toasted pecans. Make sure they are all covered.

Place back onto the roasting bad and spread out evenly. Place back in the oven for 7-10 minutes. Remove and allow to completely cool before breaking into pieces.

These should last 2 weeks in an air tight container!

Curried Sea Bass

Summer looks like it is here (for now!) which makes me want to eat light evening meal. I don’t know what it is but the sun is out and I want fish and greens. Fish in general is full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, all a great for the body. When purchasing your fish though, make sure it is sustainably sourced – talk to your fish monger or read the labels. It doesn’t feel like it makes a difference but in the long run it will, we need to care about our environment as much as we care about our own bodies. Sorry to go all eco on you but it is something I do feel passionate about.

Ingredients 

Paste

1tsp Lemon Juice

1tsp ground ginger

½ tsp chili flakes

1tsp gram masala

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp double cream

 

2 fillets of Sea Bass, skin on20170522_200257

 

2 White Potatoes

1 Clove Garlic

1 Spring Onion

2 tbsp Olive Oil

 

3 florets of broccoli

4 large handfuls of Spinach

 

Coriander

Mango Chutney

 

Method

In a bowl mix together the all the ingredients for the paste and stir together until smooth. Spread evenly over the two fillets of fish, place on the baking tray and set aside.

Chop the potatoes into quarters or bit sizes pieces. Place into a large pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for approx. 15 minutes or until tender. Drain (but keep the water) and leave to steam dry. This is useful to get them to a crisp on them later.

Heat up the oil in a frying pan, add the potatoes, garlic and spring onion and fry. Cook the broccoli in the potato water, approx. 7-10 minutes. With the spinach place in a large pan with 2tbsp of water onto a medium heat, place the lid on and cook until wilted.

Meanwhile, heat the grill and place the seabass underneath, cook for around 6-8 minutes, until tender. Be careful to not overcook it or catch the paste!

Time to plate up – sprinkle over the coriander and a dollop of mango chutney! Enjoy

Classic Peanut Butter and Cacao Bites

This is a super easy, simple snack – only five ingredients! So I am keeping this post super simple too…

These are perfect for a little pick me up and last about 1 week in an airtight container. Not only are they simple to make there is hardly any washing up! Win win in my eyes!

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Ingredients

90g Oats

35g Honey

70g Crunch Peanut Butter

15g Cacao Powder

2 tsp Sesame Seeds

 

Method

Begin by placing all the ingredients a bowl. Give it a good stir, add two tablespoons of water to loosen up the mixture. Keep mixing until the mixture comes together.Screenshot_20170518-180336

Take a tablespoon of the mixture (approx. 20g) and roll into a ball. Continue doing this until all the mixture has finished, it should make around 12.

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Munch away! These are also perfect with a cuppa 😉

 

 

Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

It’s been one of those weeks at work…long and stressful. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this but when I am stressed I just don’t sleep. This just makes the days longer, harder and more stressful, it becomes a vicious cycle. So I have a lot of Help Beverages – aka COFFEE!! As The Boy would say, I have a slight addition but hey it’s social acceptable to drink coffee so it doesn’t count.

The problem is my job has been active, making me hot and bothered, coffee doesn’t help so along came the bright idea to make cold brew…

Cold Brew has (apparently!) more caffeine in than your regular cup of Joe. Between this and the fact that it was cold I feel like I’m on to a winner here. It took 24 hours from start to finish but it’s a super simple 24 hours.

I went for the 1:7 ratio of coffee to water.

I used coarse coffee grounds, the ones I used are the same level of coarseness as my French Press.

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Ingredients

100g Coarse Ground Coffee

700ml Cool water (not super cold), think room temperature.

Method

Weigh and mix the water and coffee in a large bowl or jug. Leave to soak for 24hours.

Strain through a muslin cloth or coffee filters to get separate the coffee and your cold 20170420_150220brew. I left mine to hang overnight. You don’t have to but I like to make sure I get out every drop possible

Bottle and refrigerate – told you it was simple! It keeps for up to two weeks!

When drinking dilute your coffee with water 1:1 ratio. You can have it black with or without ice, with milk, regular or nut, or even add syrups! Basically play around with it and have it your way!

Also don’t forget you can use your used coffee grinds as face scrub or as compost! Don’t go wasting them!