Sunday, December 04, 2016

Christmas Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake

Christmas Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake

Christmas is coming! Wrapping presents, writing cards, shopping all to be done but there's always time to bake an easy marble loaf cake. This cake is a childhood favourite and one I never tire of. It's an easy bake simply topped with a delicious chocolate icing and a few sprinkles, what's not to like.

The cake will be a winner with children.........

A slice of chocolate marble loaf cake

50g butter, softened
75g soft tub margarine
125g caster sugar
125g self-raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
2 tsp orange juice
2 level tbsp cocoa powder

For the icing
50g unsalted butter
30g cocoa powder, sifted
2 tbsp milk
200g icing sugar, sifted
Decoration
25g white chocolate, melted
white chocolate stars

You will need: Greased 450g loaf tin lined.

Thermomix Method in Italics

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line the tin with a wide strip of non-stick baking parchment to go up the wide sides and over the base.
2. Place the butter,  Stork SB, sugar, flour, baking powder,  pinch of salt, eggs and orange juice into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for two minutes. Spoon half the cake batter into another bowl.
Add the butter, soft tub margarine, sugar, flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, eggs and orange juice to the TM jug 20 Secs/Speed 5. Scrape down 5 Secs/Speed 5. Spoon half the cake mixture into a bowl.
3. Sift the cocoa powder into one half of the mixture and mix until evenly blended.
Sprinkle the cocoa powder over the cake batter in the TM jug - 10 Secs/Speed 5.
4. Spoon the plain and chocolate cake mixtures alternately into the loaf tin. Level the surface, swirl the cake batter gently with a skewer. Bake for approximately 40 minutes until well risen, and starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin.
5. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack, peel off the lining paper and leave to cool.
6. To make the icing, melt the butter in a small pan, add the cocoa powder, stir to blend and cook over a low heat for one minute. Stir in the milk and icing sugar, remove from the heat and mix thoroughly. Spread the cold cake with the icing, blob the melted white chocolate over the top and swirl with a skewer. Decorate with chocolate stars and leave to set.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Leek, Mushroom and Cheese Quiche

Leek, Mushroom and Cheese Quiche

Quiche isn't just for the summer, it's fabulous with salad vegetables, home made coleslaw and chunky slices of crusty bread.

I used a mixture of Cheddar and Leicester cheese, I used to live in Leicestershire and so it follows that a piece of Leicester cheese can often be found in my fridge.

The blueprint for the filling is using 2 whole eggs and 300ml of dairy which should be double cream or creme fraiche.  Add to this the extras of your choice and voila you have a delicious quiche.

The pastry recipe is one I came across ages ago from chef Tom Kerridge, it's so easy to make and roll out that once you make this you'll use this as your turn to recipe.

225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
140g cold butter, diced
1 tsp icing sugar
1 egg yolk
3tbsp cold water
For the filling:
1 leek, washed, sliced and chopped
100g mushrooms,sliced
75g Cheddar cheese, grated
75g Leicester Cheese, grated
2 eggs
300ml double cream
freshly ground pepper

You will need: 23cm loose base fluted tin 2.5cm deep

1. Whiz the flour, icing sugar, a pinch of salt and the butter in a food processor. and rub in until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 3 tbsp cold water, whiz to form a firm dough. Wrap in cling film and rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.
If you have a Thermomix: add everything to the jug and set to 20 secs/speed 5. Check everything is combined.
2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Roll out the pastry and line the tart tin. Cover with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans. Brush the pastry base with beaten egg and cook for 5-10 minutes more until the tart case is pale.
3. Turn the oven down to 160ºC.
4. Add a knob of butter to a frying pan, add the washed leeks and gently cook until tender. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
5. Into a clean pan add a knob of butter, add the sliced mushrooms and cook until softened and tender. Remove from the pan.
6. Place a layer of leeks on the pastry base, followed by the grated cheese and sliced mushrooms. Season.
7. Mix the eggs with the double cream and pour over the filling.
8. Place the quiche into the oven and cook for 40 minutes until just set.
9. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

You may also like:
Cheese, Onion and Potato Quiche
Cheese and Onion Quiche
Leek and Gruyere Quiche

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pressure Cooker Cottage Pie

Pressure Cooker Cottage Pie

New in the kitchen is an electric pressure cooker!  If you like me bought a stove top pressure cooker years ago and still have nightmares about all that soggy cabbage and worst of all beetroot juices coming from the weights and redecorating the kitchen then to revisit the pressure cooker can be a challenge.

I've made a few recipes now and using a new kitchen gadget can be a little daunting especially when you have memories of old regarding cooking foods under pressure.

An easy recipe of cottage pie is welcoming now the weather has changed and the beef layer took only 12 minutes to cook. I didn't get on too well though cooking the potatoes. I tried cooking them in a bowl but they resisted my attempts, I hadn't got one of those folding stainless steamer trivets so they didn't really stand a chance.  In a last ditch attempt I cooked the potatoes under pressure for 4 minutes but unfortunately if the potatoes are floury they will break up in the water.

A little update: I've just bought a small folding steamer which you sit onto the trivet supplied and the potatoes cooked in 8 minutes, I let the pressure come down naturally.  Perfectly cooked potatoes and ready to mash.  I should have mentioned that the mince beef and vegetables were cooked to perfection.

You can see from the photo that I broke the rules and put warm potato on top of a too runny mince beef layer which hadn't set and when I cooked the pie the potatoes melted into the beef - not great.

Cottage Pie

Anyway here is the recipe and when made correctly will taste and look amazing!

Note: Never thicken any recipe prior to cooking when using a pressure cooker otherwise it may run out of liquid and burn - always thicken afterwards!

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
750g lean mince beef
300ml beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
seasoning

For the potato topping:
750g potatoes
30g butter
seasoning

1. Finely chop the onion, celery and carrot. Set the pressure cooker to a low or normal saute and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, cook the vegetables until the onion becomes translucent and the vegetables begin to soften about 5 minutes.. Add the mince beef breaking it up and cook for 5 minutes to brown, add the tomato puree and cook stirring for a couple more minutes.
2. Add the stock, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper. Place the lid on and cook for 12 minutes. If there is too much liquid thicken with a thickening granules or beef gravy. Pour into a large casserole dish, cool slightly and place in the fridge to set.
3. In a clean pot add 250ml of water. Place the trivet in the pot and top with a stainless steel fold up steamer. Cut the potatoes up into small pieces and pressure cook for 8 minutes and let the steam release naturally. Remove the potatoes from the steamer and place in a large bowl, add the butter and mash until smooth. Season and cool.
4. Place dollops of the cooled potato onto the cooled and set mince mixture and spread out to the edges.
5. Preheat the oven to 180C and cook for 30 minutes until bubbling and brown.

You may also like:
Cottage Pie with Vine Tomatoes
Mince Beef and Stilton Pies
Spicy Mince Beef Bake