Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Spooky Rocky Road Bars

It’s Halloween and despite feeling rather pants due to a sinus infection (boo hoo) I am very excited! We still get a lot of trick or treaters, so forgetting the fact that I have ZERO spooky plans tonight, I will be enjoying giving sweeties to all the cute kids in my street! Hopefully the obligatory spooky films will also be on TV so I won’t feel like I am completely missing out – I remember when I was younger that channel 4 would always air Hocus Pocus! An absolute classic!
I have still yet to carve my pumpkins too. That’s right pumpkins – plural. Jon’s Dad bought us one to carve and so did mine, so it will be battle of the pumpkins later this evening! Until then though, I’m continuing to get in the Halloween mood by doing Halloween Themed Bakes like these Spooky Road bars.

I must admit, I had NEVER made rocky road until yesterday. I have most certainly eaten my fair share but had never actually made it myself and now I am wondering why on earth not! It was so quick, so easy, so adaptable and so rich and yummy – what’s not to love. I had my first foray with shortbread last week, and I only first made flapjacks in my last year of university! I am starting to question what kind of childhood I actually had?!
Now, I bet you’re wondering what exactly makes these rocky road bars spooky. Well, as I said, rocky road is extremely adaptable, so adapt them is exactly what I did. In the spook road mix, you will not only find the regular digestive biscuits, but also gruesome blood red cherries which ooze with red goo, but also chewy ghosts and ghouls floating out of the bars instead of the usual marshmallows. I also topped mine with some ectoplasm (that’s green icing to you and me) to give them a bit of extra colour!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pumpkin Cake Pops

It’s nearly Halloween! The only time of year where I can dress up as a Goth again and not feel guilty! For those of you who don’t know, I used to dress rather “alternative” – I still listen to rock and heavy metal, in fact I’m going to Warped Tour in just over a week, but it’s no longer acceptable to dress all in black. A shame I know! But, Halloween’s more than just a good excuse for fancy dress, it’s also a great excuse to do some themed baking, and this year is no exception.

Today I’m bringing to you Pumpkin Cake Pops. I hope no one is disappointed, but they are NOT made with pumpkin puree, instead they are ginger cake with orange flavoured candy melt coating! A really fun flavour combination. (See also my top tip just below the recipe for making this recipe a little more “adult”.)

The idea was simple...make cake pops on a stick that looked like pumpkins; they would be perfect for Halloween parties being thrown all over the world. However, there were a few hiccups along the way. First of all, the flavour combination although DELICIOUS meant for a rather heavy cake pop and they simply wouldn’t stay on the stick no matter what I tried. So, rather than being on a stick, I simply made stand alone pumpkins which are just as cute and fun!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Right, if you haven’t notice I’ve been rather busy of late! Law school is in full flow and I’m trying to keep down a job at the same time, as well as having a thriving social life. Oh yeah, I’m so cool I have a thriving social life! I think I’m actually going out even more than I did at uni; between hanging out with my boyfriend (yay no more long distance) being close to university friends, new friends and old friends, as well as all of Jon’s work friends, we have more than enough play dates to keep us occupied.
Nevertheless I HAVE still been cooking! It’s just taken me a little while to find the time to share the recipes with you.
But, as I’ve been super busy at law school, I thought it was appropriate to share one of my more student friendly recipes – Chocolate Shortbread. Super cheap it only requires 4 ingredients – 3 if you don’t fancy going all out and adding in the chocolate!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Review: My Old Dutch, Holborn

My Old Dutch – 25th September 2012
132 High Holborn

When I started studying in London I vowed to hunt down the best places to eat in London and I may have been somewhat over ambitious. I not only have VERY little time on my hands between the hours of 9am and 6pm, but I also have very little money. This creates a bit of a dilemma.
Nonetheless, on the odd day that I can escape out of the big glass building that is law school in order to grab a spot of lunch I am trying my hardest to seek out some of the yummiest food in the area. And, so far so good!
My first adventure out was to My Old Dutch – a pancake house just a few hundred yards west of Holborn Underground Station along High Holborn road.
I am not entirely sure how this restaurant first came to my attention. In the first few weeks of law school I was googling away looking for interesting places to eat and it just suddenly appeared on my screen! A sucker for pancakes I knew this was the first place I was going to try.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Warm Salad Series: Golden Bulgar Wheat Salad

Why not enjoy this salad with a good book?

Over the last four weeks I have posted a series of salad recipes that are perfect for staying healthy while the dark nights close in and the air becomes cold. Today is no exception, as I bring you a Golden Bulgur Wheat Salad. The spicy salad is filling, super tasty, and jam packed with roasted veggies to keep you healthy.

Served warm and tossed with baby spinach leaves, this recipe is perfect as we move into autumn. As Halloween creeps up, you may also want to swap the butternut squash with pumpkin!

Unlike my other recipes this one takes a little longer in the preparation department; but it will keep you fuller for longer with that lovely warm feeling thanks to the roasted vegetables and the chilli and paprika heat.

Bulgur wheat was a bit of a mystery to me before I came up with this recipe. It’s very similar to cous cous, but is more substantial in size, texture and flavour which makes it a perfect addition to this salad. The longer the vegetables are roasted the sweeter they become, contrasting with the chilli and spinach. The apricots also give the salad an extra zing to brighten up your lunchtime! 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Stuffed Marrow with Cheese Sauce

Updated: 26 August 2013
Every now and then I like to go back and revisit a recipe.
The majority of recipes on my blog (perhaps the cakes excluded) get cooked on a regular basis in my house.
Of course some things are seasonal – in fact this recipe in particular is one that only really comes out at the end of the summer. But when August is here and our veg patch is heaving with marrows we’ll have this dinner once a week.
But, because I cook these recipes so often it’s nice to go back and look at my original post and work out what about that recipe still works well, or how I might have tweaked it to make it EVEN better.
Check out my giant marrow!!!

You won’t find any changes to this recipe here. Really they fall into two categories - #1 is presentation. Instead of cutting the marrow in half, scooping out the seeds and filling with the mince, I now Cut the marrow into chunky disks, scoop out the seeds and fill the centre with the mince. Don’t worry – it’s still smothered in cheese sauce post-oven.
Change #2 is the mince sauce. It still tastes fab whether you choose to use meat or a meat substitute such as quorn, but we’ve recently moved away from a tomato based sauce and instead use stock and gravy for a truly savoury filling.
Check out the full recipe below to see the upgraded version!

Keep scrolling down to find the original post:
Originaly posted: October 2012
Just over a week ago now, my church held a harvest festival lunch. First, they collected in tins and other preserved goods to give out to people in the community, and then everyone shared in a feast made up of dishes that each different family bought to the table. There included salads, quiches, and cold meats, as well as some authentic African and Indian cooking from different groups within the congregation. And, of course there were plenty of yummy cakes on offer too!
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as I was working. Gutting I know!

Nonetheless, harvest festival is one of my favourite times of the year as it marks the begging of autumn (or fall from my American friends), YAY!
Now, what’s not to love about autumn? First of all there are knitwear, and snugly boots, big socks and scarves. Plenty of fun food related festivals, such as Halloween with toffee apples and other candy-related goodness, bonfire night (or Guy Fawkes night) with soup, burgers, hot dogs, cinder toffee and candy floss (what’s not to love) and last but not least, the event we’ve all been waiting for...CHRISTMAS! Now there’s just too much food related goodness to mention for Christmas.

But do you know another thing I love about harvest time? Giant...vegetables...
For some bizarre reason, harvest always reminds me of giant, prize winning vegetables, from giant pumpkins, squashes, marrows and more!

We’ve had our fair share of giant veg in our vegetable patch this year. Our marrow plant has not only taken over the vegetable patch, but the lawn and the patio – with its 4 large arms reaching out to grow even more marrows.
So what’s the best way to cook a giant vegetable?! In my opinion, you’ve got to STUFF it!

In the past, I’ve stuffed aubergines and a butternut squash but this year it was the turn of the marrow

The idea is simple, these giant marrows have such a delicate, almost sweet and creamy flavour that nothing could match it better than a savoury mince topped with a creamy cheese sauce.

What makes this meal such a family favourite, is just how easy it is to prepare, how easy it is to get veg into fussy eaters, and how a giant marrow can easily make 4 perfect portions.

Top Tip: this recipe can easily be made vegetarian by replacing the beef mince with either a veggie substitue or lentil, like in my lentil lasagna. 


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