Archive for April, 2017

The perfect Bank Holiday breakfast!

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When you see how easy these churros are to make, you’ll keep thinking up reasons to make them. ¬†Admittedly, you need a moderate expertise level to put these together or a foolproof Churro Battle Plan.

Churro Battle Plan

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Weigh out the ingredients specified below, and prep a large saucepan on your hob.  Prep a piping bag (or large ziplock freezer bag!) with a star shaped nozzle.

Mix the churro ingredients and put into the piping bag.  Clear the decks and tidy up your work area.

Fill up your saucepan with veg oil or alternatively use a deep fat fryer.  Heat the oil on quite a high heat until it shimmer, just before smoking, and squeeze 6inch/15cm strips of dough into the oil.

Fry for around 5 to 8 mins or until they are golden brown.  Take them out of the oil and dredge them through cinnamon sugar.

If you want to dunk your churros into molten dark chocolate as they do on the continent then make the following chocolate ganache.

Ingredients:
For the dough:
475ml water                                                   40g butter
25g sugar                                                        5ml vanilla paste
260g plain flour                                            pinch of sea salt

2 large eggs beaten into the churro mixture once slightly cooled
veg oil for frying

For the cinnamon sugar:
130g sugar
1 & 1/4 tspn cinnamon

For the ganache:
175ml double cream
140g dark chocolate
pinch of sea salt

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Unlike the dried fruit Simnel Cake which seems to make an appearance at Easter-time, this rich,  decadent, chocolate cake ticks all my Easter boxes!  IMG_1360

If you gave up chocolate for lent, I know you’re probably clawing at the wrapper on your Easter Egg in the hope that you can scrape a finger of chocolate scent to keep you going for the next few hours.  Alternatively if you want to celebrate your sacrifice with a bite of chocolate decadence I dare you to keep yourself busy over the next hour making this ridiculously easy chocolate cake that is as rich as it is dark and light as it is sinfully delicious.

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Easter Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

225g Plain Flour

350g Caster Sugar

85g Cocoa Powder

1&1/2 tspn Baking Powder

1&1/2 tspn Bicarbonate of Soda

2 Large Eggs

250ml Milk

125ml Vegetable Oil

2 tspn Vanilla Extract/Paste

250ml Boiling Water

For the Chocolate Ganache:

200g good quality plain chocolate

200ml double cream

chocolate shavings

1 bag of chocolate mini-eggs

Method:

1st: Preheat the oven to 180¬ļC. Grease and line two sandwich tins.

2nd:
¬†For the cake ‚Äď prepare all the liquid ingredients, except the boiling water, in a measuring jug and mix.

3rd: Prepare all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl ‚Äď sieve the cocoa as otherwise it will be lumpy.

4th: Mix the ingredients together and use the boiling water to slacken the mixture.  Mix until smooth and well combined.

5th: Divide the mixture between the 2 sandwich tins and bake for 25-35mins or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

6th: Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely before icing.

7th:¬†Prepare the chocolate ganache by heating double cream in a saucepan and adding small pieces of the chocolate. ¬†Turn off the heat and allow the residual heat in the pan to melt the chocolate. ¬†Stir until smooth and glossy ‚Äď set aside to use later.

8th: To assemble the cake, release the cakes from their tins and place one of the sponge cakes onto a serving plate.  Spread some of the chocolate icing over this.  Then carefully top with the other cake.

9th: Carefully create a dip in the centre of the top of the cake.  Pour the ganache over and cover all over smoothing round the sides with a palette knife.  Note: if the cake or ganache are still slightly warm it will not adhere to the side of the cake.  Optional extra is adding chocolate shavings over to create a bird’s nest before placing the mini eggs in the centre.

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Happy Easter everyone!

Gastrorob.

Pesto

Posted: April 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

Pesto is one of the great Italian flavour combinations that works on anything from chips to¬†pasta. ¬†It’s delicious drizzled over BBQ fish and meat and makes a very simple supper on those days you need to hit the kitchen running. ¬†Supermarkets sell pesto of varying prices – anything from ¬£1 upwards. ¬†You get what you pay for.

Homemade pesto is ridiculously easy to make but you do need a food processor to get the desired texture – if however, you do this in a pestle and mortar, the flavours will be the same but will appear to be more rustic in texture.

Homemade Pesto

To make this Easy Peasy Pesto add basil, pinenuts, clove of garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and lemon zest and juice to a food processor and blitz.  Slowly drizzle in a good quality olive oil until you get the texture you prefer.

Leftover pesto can be used as a vibrantly fresh pizza base:

Another great way to use pesto is spreading it over chicken breasts.  This can then be used in sandwiches, salads, tossed with pasta or added to quesadillas.

Click on the following link to make PESTO CHICKEN QUESADILLAS which makes a great sunday supper.

Enjoy!