Friday, 18 May 2012

Yummy, sticky coffee cupcakes

coffee cupcakes
I was on birthday baking duties this week and instead of baking a large cake, I decided on cupcakes!

Cupcakes are by far my preference when it comes to baking (and eating of course). I love how cute they are and the fact there is always so much icing on top.

I found a really simple recipe for Coffee cupcakes with chocolate frosting (by Silvena Rowe) on the Good Food Channel website.

I did tweak it ever so slightly for my own purposes.

I wasn't sure if the birthday boy liked pecans so I didn't include them in the cake mixture, just a little one on top for decoration. I also had to ice them the night before since I was unsure how the mascapone would keep. I opted for the usual chocolate buttercream icing, which is delicious!

coffee cupcakes
I think the best part of this recipe is the coffee and sugar syrup you drizzle over the cupcakes when they first come out of the oven. Not only does it smell lovely, but makes the cakes a little gooey, yum.

And I quote my lovely boyfriend "...this cupcake is delish, deffo your best yet."

So, there you have it folks, they have the boyfriend seal of approval. Get yourself over to the website now and check out the recipe for yourselves.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Chorizo nachos

Just down the road from Crystal Palace there is a lovely pub in East Dulwich called The Bishop. They serve delicious food and lovely beer. My friend took me there one night and suggested I try the chorizo nachos as they were very tasty.

Indeed they were EXTREMELY tasty! Think rich paprika tasting juices from the chorizo cooked into minced meat (I'm still not sure if it's pork or beef, and I keep forgetting to ask!), spooned over corn chips and topped with a dash of guacamole, cheese and sour cream. To me this is heaven.

I wanted to create this heaven in my own kitchen. I created this recipe in the hope to satisfy my chorizo nacho urges. Amazingly the first attempt was a success, I didn't poison myself OR the boyfriend and we've got two more helpings in the freezer for further weekend eating.

I tweaked the recipe again a couple of weeks later and managed to serve it to a large group of people. No one got food poisoning, phew!

I usually make this a day in advance and then reheat. The flavours are much better that way! Enjoy!

Angela's Chorizo Nachos

What you'll need:
olive oil
1/2 small white onion, finely diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced (I left the seeds out, but that's up to you)
500 grams lean pork mince
250 grams chorizo sausage, diced and roughly minced using a hand blender
1 tin red kidney beans in chilli sauce
1 tsp mild paprika
1 tsp hot paprika
worstershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree (approx, add to taste)
black pepper to taste
1 ham stock cube, dissolved in 250ml water, approx

To serve:
plain salted tortilla chips
grated cheddar cheese
creme fraiche (I always use the 50% less fat, tastes EXACTLY the same)
tabasco sauce (optional added heat!)

How to make them:
  1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the white onion, red onion and red pepper. Cook until softened (do not brown) and then add the red chilli. Cook for a further few minutes, until the chilli is softened too. 
  2. Remove from the heat and tip the onion mixture into a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add a dash of olive oil back into the pan and brown the pork mince. Do this in batches depending on the size of your pan. Fry it, don't boil it. Tip the pork mixture into a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add another dash of olive oil into the pan and add the minced chorizo sausage and cook over a medium to low heat. The oil from the chorizo should start to seep into the pan, turning it orange. 
  5. Add the onion, red pepper and chilli mixture to the chorizo. Mix well.
  6. Add the pork mince and any juice into the chorizo mixture. Mix well.
  7. Keep this on a medium heat and make sure that everything is mixed well. Add the tin of red kidney beans, paprika, a glug of Worcestershire sauce and the tomato puree. Season with black pepper.
  8. You should have a nice saucy chilli now. Add a dash of your ham stock and stir.
  9. Pop a lid on it, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and simmer away for 30 to 60 minutes. Keep adding a little of the ham stock if it starts to get too dry. Becareful it doesn't get to salty.
How to serve:
I served these two different ways. The first one I baked in the oven and the other we just served in individual small bowls with the ingredients layered on top of each other. Both very yummy!

Option 1 - the messy way
  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. In a large oven dish, first put a layer of corn chips, then spread with chorizo mince, then a layer of cheese.
  3. Repeat this until you fill the oven dish, making sure the last layer is grated cheese and also make sure you are very generous with it!
  4. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and golden.
  5. Serve smothered with guacamole, creme fraiche and a splash of tabasco sauce.
  6. EAT!
Option 2 - good for large groups
In individual dishes, use a layer of corn chips, chorizo mince, cheese then guacamole and creme fraiche. Serve.

I did it this way for the large groups as we were using paper and plastic plates...not a good idea to put into the oven, otherwise it's melted cheese AND plastic!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sunday baking - Savoury pinwheel scones

It's a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in London. I'm on call for work, so I can't stray far from home...this means I'm a bit bored, and hungry! Time for some baking!

When I was a kid, I used to make pinwheel scones. Most of the time these were cinnamon based ones, so very sweet and sticky. When I got sick of cinnamon, I changed the recipe slightly, taking out the sweet and swapping it for something savoury.

After searching online for a simple pinwheel scone recipe and found one from New Zealand Women's Weekly, a magazine that my mum always bought and apart from the celeb gossip, there were always yummy recipes in the back.

I've adapted this one a teeny bit and made them today. I'm VERY happy with the result and will be baking these again.

Savoury pinwheel scones

What you'll need:
 3 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/3 cup grated cheese
1 1/4 cups milk
Extra milk, to glaze

3/4 cup tomato relish (approx) - I used a slightly spicy red pepper based one
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (approx)

How to make them:
1.  Heat oven to 210 degrees C. Grease a baking tray. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, then stir in grated cheese and make a well in the centre. Add milk to the well and mix just enough to form a slightly sticky dough.

2.  Turn the dough on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead lightly, just to bring together. Roll dough out into a large rectangle about 5mm thick.

3.  Spread the surface of the rectangle with tomato relish and scatter with grated cheese. Roll up to form a long log.

4. Cut log into equal pieces (just under an inch wide) and arrange these, spiral side up  on the prepared baking tray. Brush the surface of each scone with a little milk. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm and golden brown.

The end result! YUM!