Marmalade chicken and dancing trees

Marmalade chicken and dancing trees

20140217-104919.jpg
Wellies and mittens! Really ready to pack both away…

The weather has been so awful recently, and I for one am getting a bit fed up of the rain (when will it stop?), although the wind has prompted some really funny conversations with Elliot – “Mummy, the trees are dancing!”

I can’t wait for spring to arrive!

At times like this my thoughts turn to warm comforting food. It makes me remember dinners at my grandmother’s house, and, being designated keeper of her recipe book these days, I have looked up her recipe for marmalade chicken (delicious!)

I’ll be serving this up with some mash and green veg later today.

The recipe is over on my other blog, which hasn’t been updated in SO long (sorry!) but while you’re there you can also find recipes for suitable desserts (lemon layer pudding perhaps?)

Yum! How long until dinner time??

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Pappardelle with butternut squash, blue cheese, chilli and thyme

Pappardelle with butternut squash, blue cheese, chilli and thyme

Earlier this week I could have sworn I saw a tweet on my feed that mentioned a butternut squash pasta dish with blue cheese, chilli and thyme, however I can’t now find it again and have had butternut squash cravings ever since.
Not only could I not find the recipe on my twitter feed, I also trawled the internet for a recipe with all four ingredients and returned zero results.

So, ladies and gentlemen, here is a truly original recipe made up on the spot on a random Thursday in January. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
A handful of thyme sprigs
St Agur blue cheese (or similar, I’m sure Gorgonzola would work)
1 red chilli, chopped
Olive oil
Pappardelle pasta – I used fresh as that’s what Waitrose had, but any pasta would work I think.

Method:
1. Put the chopped squash, onion, thyme, garlic and chilli in a roasting tray. Toss with olive oil and put in a preheated oven (180 degrees C) for 40 mins or until soft.
2. Cook the pasta according to instructions and drain
3. Heat some oil in a deep frying pan or wok. Fry the squash mixture for a few minutes and then add the pasta. 4. Allow the pasta to fry for a couple of minutes to add flavour.
5. Crumble in the blue cheese and as soon as it starts to melt, serve in warm bowls.

Post-dinner note: We enjoyed this meal, but think next time we’d add some pine nuts for added texture, and would also put the finished pasta in an oven proof dish with a covering of Parmesan and grill/bake for a while.

If you try this, please leave a comment below to let me know if you think of any improvements to make 🙂

20140123-175335.jpg

Banana Bread

Waitrose gave my husband free bananas yesterday, quite by chance but as I had been craving banana bread for a while and hadn’t thought to add any to the shopping list, it seemed like a good time to get baking!

Ingredients:
100g (4oz) softened butter
175g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
2 bananas, mashed
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk

20130915-102429.jpg

To make, you basically just put everything in the mixer (we put everything in apart from the bananas first, and then added the bananas afterwards) and then when its all well mixed, pour it into a lined loaf tin.

20130915-102439.jpg

20130915-102447.jpg

It takes an hour at 180c/160C fan/Gas 4, and is ready when a skewer inserted comes out clean and it’s well risen and golden brown.

20130915-103644.jpg

Elliot loved helping and was very patient while it cooked. The cooling down stage was the hardest for all of us as it just looked so yummy!

Needless to say I don’t think it’s going to last very long.

Peanut butter cookies…don’t mind if I do!

20130217-183103.jpg

A colleague of mine has a birthday this week so I thought that was a good excuse to get some baking done this weekend. I do think I’m reaching the point where I’m enjoying the baking bit more than the eating, as while the dough was chilling in the fridge for a couple of hours, I had time to make some fudge cupcakes too!

Anyway, back to the cookies!

I remember making these with my Mum when I was little, pushing the little fork cross-crosses on the top and waiting for them to cook.

If you want to have a go you’ll need:
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
225g peanut butter (I used crunchy but I think smooth would also work)
115g butter
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
115g brown sugar (I used some brown and some demerara)
100g caster sugar
2 eggs

Firstly, take two bowls. In one, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. You can sieve it if you feel the need.

In the other bowl, beat (or get your husband to do it as I did) together the peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract. Then add the sugars and eggs to this bowl. Beat together until smooth.

Next, add the flour to the wet mix. You may need to do this in stages. Then once everything is mixed, split the mixture in half and form into balls, wrap them in clingfilm and chill in the fridge (while you have a cup of tea, relaxing bath, or if you’re like me, make some cupcakes!)

After at least 2 hours, take the wrapped mixture out of the fridge and form into smaller balls – I got 22 out of this mixture.

Place these on a baking tray (I didn’t grease or line mine and they didn’t stick at all) and use a fork, dipped in flour, to make criss-cross marks on the top of each ball to flatten them down.

Then pop them in the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.

They should be lovely and golden when they’re done. Leave them to harden up a bit on the trays before moving them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies should keep well in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Lemon curd *warning, this is addictive*

I recently made some macarons (or maybe that’s macaroons?) which turned out to be an awful lot easier than I was led to believe from watching the Great British Bake Off!

mmm macarons!

mmm macarons!

To fill the centres I used homemade lemon curd, which again seemed RIDICULOUSLY easy to make. To be honest I was left wondering why I’ve never made it before. So much so that I thought others may like to make it!

If you’d like to give it a go you’ll need:
3 lemons
140g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp cornflour

Firstly put the zest and juice of all the lemons in a pan over a low heat, then add the cornflour and mix to dissolve. Then add the sugar and stir until it’s all combined.

Once that’s done you can add the eggs. Give them a bit of a whisk first, then add them to the lemon mixture.

Then increase the heat to medium and stir constantly while it thickens. It takes less than 5 minutes. I thought it was never going to happen and then suddenly it was lovely and thick.

Once it’s nice and thick you can put it in a jar (it makes enough for one jar) and once cooled it can be stored in the fridge for about a week – if it lasts that long in your house, it doesn’t in mine!

See, easy or what? Enjoy!