Have you ever heard of ‘leftover chocolate’? Yes, contrary to popular belief, it does exist and I’m sure that you may have some left in a store cupboard somewhere including some Easter eggs. This recipe is one way to use up chocolate and make a once in a while treat to share. You could also use cooking chocolate for the brownies. Makes 16 pieces 175g vegan margarine or butter, plus extra for greasing 200g dark, milk or plain chocolate, broken into pieces 200g light soft brown sugar 2 medium eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional) 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 100g plain flour 25g cocoa powder Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease a 20cm (8 inch) baking tin and line with nonstick baking paper. Set aside 50g of the chopped chocolate. Slowly melt the remaining 150g of the chocolate and margarine or butter in a small heat proof bowl set over a pan of hot water, then take off the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Put the sugar, eggs and vanilla, if using, in a separate bowl and briefly whisk to combine. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture and blend/ Then add the cinnamon, flour and to sift in and cocoa, then you can add the remaining chocolate and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 mins, until a thin crust forms on the surface. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 16 squares. Enjoy cold from the fridge, at room temperature of warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds. To freeze the brownies, wrap tightly in foil and eat within 2 months. Defrost for 1 hour at room temperature.
These popular root vegetables are deliciously versatile. Steam them and mash them with potatoes as an accompaniment to a stew or cut them into wedges and roast them. Serves 4 500g parsnips, trimmed and sliced lengthways 2 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs Himalayan pink salt and pepper 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas 6. Place the sliced parsnips in a large saucepan filled with water and bring to boil. Once boiled, reduce to a simmer for three minutes. Drain and keep warm. Place the breadcrumbs and salt and pepper in a bowl, and add the drained parsnips. Shake well to coat in the mixture. Add the oil to a medium sized roasting tray and place in the hot oven for 2-3 minutes Remove tray from the oven carefully – it will be very hot and add the parsnips and carrots Place the tray back in the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes until the vegetables are golden and crisp. Serve hot.
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Makes 12-16 squares 200g butter, softened 300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped 8-10 Orange Zest Spice Drops® 3 eggs 180-200g caster sugar 100g plain flour 50g cocoa powder the juice of 1 medium orange Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 24x20cm brownie tin with baking parchment. Put the butter, dark chocolate and Orange Zest Spice Drops® in a non-stick saucepan and very gently melt over a low heat, stirring every now and then, until smooth – take care not to overheat it. Leave to cool down. Whisk the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk until the mixture is pale, frothy and leaves a trail when the beaters are lifted. Gently stir in the cooled chocolate mixture and the orange juice and continue to whisk. Sift over the flour and cocoa, stir in. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool in the tin, then cut into squares.
Makes about 12 pieces 250g bread, a mixture of white and wholemeal is good 200g mixed dried fruit or mixture of sultanas and currants or 200g mincemeat 50g dark chocolate chips 40g mixed peel 300ml semi skimmed milk 1 egg, beaten 50g demerara or dark brown sugar 4 Lemon Spice Drops 6 Mulling Spices Spice Drops 50g butter, melted Tear the bread into a large mixing bowl and add the dried fruit or mincemeat, chocolate chips, mixed peel and mixed spice. Add the milk. Mix with a wooden spoon scrunch through your fingers to combine everything and to break up the bread. Add the egg, sugar and Lemon Spice Drops® and Mulling Spices Spice Drops®. Stir well, then set aside for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak all the flavours. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Butter and line the base of a 20cm non-stick square cake tin. Stir the melted butter into the bread pudding mixture. Then tip into the tin. Bake for 1 hour or until firm and golden brown. Check half way through cooking. If the pudding starts to brown too much, you can cover it with foil and continue to bake. Turn out of the tin and strip off the paper. Cut into squares and serve warm with a drizzling of single cream.
Serves 6 25g butter, for greasing 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder, for dusting 100g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped 100g butter, cut into small pieces 100g caster sugar 2 whole eggs 2 egg yolks 100g plain flour Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 3. Butter six ramekins (about 7.5cm in diameter), then dust liberally with cocoa, shaking out any excess. Slowly melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl set over a pan of hot water, then take off the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Whisk the whole eggs, egg yolk and sugar together until pale and thick, then incorporate the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour. Divide the chocolate mixture between the ramekins and bake for 8-10 minutes. Turn the chocolate fondants out on to warmed plates. Dust the tops with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This makes a change to the traditional bread and butter pudding and adds that festive touch by using Italian panettone. Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract can be added to the custard for further indulgence. Serves 4 60g raisins 1 tbsp orange zest 3 tbsp dark rum 200ml milk 100ml double cream 2 eggs 30g caster sugar 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 30g butter, softened 300g fruit bread or panettone, sliced Soak the raisins and orange zest in the rum. Put the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring up to boiling point. Then remove from the heat. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and strain the cream and milk mixture into the eggs, stirring continuously. Strain the liquid from the raisins orange zest and rum mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Set aside the raisins and orange zest. Mix together the sugar and ground cinnamon. Liberally butter a pie dish and butter the slices of panettone. Fill the dish with a layer of buttered panettone, then scatter with a third of the cinnamon sugar and half of the rum-soaked sultanas and orange zest. Repeat this with the next layer, then top with the final layer of panettone butter-side up. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Slowly pour the custard all over the panettone and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/360°F/gas mark 4. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes or until it is just set and golden-brown. Serve warm or cold with double cream or ice cream.
These are like a double layered shortbread which are sweet and tangy. The base is baked first and then the lemony layer is placed on top and baked further for a once in a while treat. Makes approximately 16 pieces For the Base: 225g butter, softened 65g icing sugar (confectioners') 225g plain flour For the Filling: 4 eggs, beaten 330g caster sugar 4 tbsp plain flour 4 tbsp lemon juice 1 tablespoon lemon zest (approx 1 lemon), finely grated Preheat the oven to 180C. Blend the butter with the icing sugar and the 225g plain flour. Place the mixture into a baking tin (approx 13x9x2 inch). Bake in the centre of the oven for 18-20 minutes until almost firm. Remove from the oven. For the filling, blend the eggs with the caster sugar, the 4 tablespoons of plain flour, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour over the baked layer. Return the tin to the oven and bake for 20 minutes more. Loosen around the edges, and cut into 16 pieces. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.
This is a great way of using up leftover apples in your fruit bowl. I've added oats for that extra crunchiness and a little roughage. I've also used less sugar for the topping as is traditionally used. Serves 6 For the crumble: 150g plain flour 70g rolled oats 80g brown sugar 130g vegan margarine or butter For the filling: 350g apples, some peeled, cored and cut into 1cm pieces 30g brown sugar 1 tbsp plain flour A generous pinch of ground cinnamon Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Place the flour, oats and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Taking a few cubes of margarine or butter at a time rub into the flour mixture. Keep rubbing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Place the fruit in a large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir well being careful not to break up the fruit. Butter a 24cm/9in ovenproof dish. Spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling. Serve with custard.
There are hundreds of varieties of biryani and the dum pukht biryani is the method of cooking the dish in a sealed vessel or spherical pot made from clay or steel known as a handi. A clay saucer is often used as the lid and placed on the top of the pot or vessel. The lid is sealed with a paste or a homemade putty dough created from kneading together chapati flour (atta) and water. That is the only purpose of the dough and nothing else. Although the dough seal is edible, traditionally, it wouldn’t be eaten. If there is no lid then that is also made by rolling out some dough and placing the lid on top of the mouth of the pot or the cooking vessel. The sealed vessel is then placed on hot charcoals or a hob until the rice is completely cooked. The heat creates the steam, condenses and rolls down the curved walls. Dum means warm breath denoting the steam and the pukht means choking the steam and preventing it from escaping. Serves 4 FOR THE SPICE BLEND - GARAM MASALA 1 piece cassia bark or cinnamon, 5cm/2.5in length 6 bay leaves 6-8 green cardamom pods 4 cloves 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp coriander seeds 1/2 tsp black peppercorns 22-24 cashew nuts, roasted 600g boneless and skinless chicken breasts or stewing lamb, cut into bite-size chunks 2-3 green finger chillies, finely chopped 3 tbsp natural unsweetened yogurt 6 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tsp peeled and finely grated root ginger 1 tbsp lemon juice 7 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil ½ tsp salt 3 medium onions, finely sliced 400g or 2 cups white Basmati rice, or any other long-grain rice 500g wholemeal chapati flour, plus extra for dusting 4 tbsp full-fat or semi-skimmed milk a generous pinch of saffron strands (about 1 strands) 2 black cardamoms (optional) 1 tbsp butter or ghee, melted a few mint leaves, washed and chopped TO MAKE THE SPICE BLEND (Garam Masala) Heat a dry skillet or frying pan over a medium low heat until you can feel the heat rising. Add the cinnamon stick or cassia bark, bay leaves, and green cardamoms and roast for 30 seconds, shaking the pan. Add the cloves, cumin and coriander seeds and black peppercorns and continue roasting, shaking the pan, for about 1 minute longer, or until you can smell the aroma of the spices. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately tip in the spices onto a plate and let cool completely. Transfer the spices to a spice mill and blend until finely ground. Store the mixture in an airtight container, away from sunlight, up to 4-6 months. Put the frying pan back on the heat and add the cashew nuts. Toast for about 5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside. Marinate the meat Place the meat in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the spice blend (garam masala), green chillies, yogurt, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, 1 tbsp of the oil and the salt. Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour. Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a heavy based pan, and fry the onions for 5-7 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. PARTIALLY COOK THE RICE Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold running water and place in a pan with 1 litre or 4 cups of just boiled water. Cover and boil for 8-10 minutes or until the rice is half to three quarters cooked. The grains should be soft on the outside but still hard in the centre. Place the chapati flour in a bowl and add approximately 200ml of tepid water. Stir until the mixture forms a soft dough. If the dough is dry and does not come together, add 1-2 tablespoons of water. Knead the dough by clenching your hand into a fist, then wet your knuckles and press them repeatedly into the dough, pressing against the side of the bowl, until a soft smooth dough forms. This should take about 10 minutes. Warm the milk and place the saffron strands in the milk and set aside. The flavours will begin to diffuse. If you’re cooking the biryani in a casserole dish that is not hob proof or cannot be placed onto direct heat, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based pan and add the black cardamoms, if using. Fry for 30 seconds until you can smell the aromas. COOK THE MEAT Tip in the marinated meat and fry for 15 minutes until well browned. Stir in half of the fried onions. Mix well. Take half of the dough and roll it out on a floured surface until it forms a long sausage about 2.5 to 3cm thick and long enough to go around the circumference or rim of the vessel in which you are cooking the biryani. Grease the base of the large heavy-based casserole or pot which has a lid with the butter or ghee. ASSEMBLE THE BIRYANI Spoon half the meat mixture into the vessel followed by half of the parboiled rice. With a spoon, pack the rice firmly into the casserole or vessel. Spread over half of the quantity of of the cashew nuts. Sprinkle over half of the saffron milk and half of the remaining fried onions. Repeat the process ending with a layer of the rice, the remaining cashew nuts, saffron milk, leftover fried onions and mint leaves. The top should be the layer of rice. SEALING THE POT Then take the sausage shaped dough and place on top of the edge of the rim of the vessel. Take one end of the sausage shape and feed around the rim of the vessel, pressing firmly as you go around to create a circular, spongy and squashed seal. Make sure the rim is completely covered with the dough. Flour the surface again and roll out the remaining dough until it’s large enough to cover the entire mouth or opening of the vessel. It should be about 3 to 5mm thick. Carefully place on top of the mouth of the vessel and loosely cut around the pot leaving a 2-3cm lip of dough all around. Just like you would when making a pie covering. Press the dough cover firmly around the circumference of the vessel squeezing and pinching the dough into the dough seal. If the vessel is hob proof, place it directly onto a hob on a low heat for 20-25 minutes. If the vessel is oven proof, place it in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes. For both methods, the dough will begin to change colour and the ‘pie lid’ will begin to rise because of the trapped steam within. Turn off the hob or remove from the oven. Carefully, cut out half way around the circumference of the pie lid. Watch out for the steam that will be emitted as you break the seal of dough. Then with a pair of tongs, prize open the lid. Spoon the biryani onto a plate and place the raita on the side of the plate or in a small vessel. Serve hot. The biryani can be stored in the fridge covered overnight and reheated once.
You may have loads of jars of jam and don't know what to do with any surplus. This is a cake which can be made only when you feel like having a spongy treat. Serves 6 150g butter or margarine 2 eggs 100g caster sugar or granulated if you've run out of caster 1 tsp vanilla extract Zest of 1 lemon 200g self raising flour Milk as required 300g jam Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Grease a square or round tin and line with greaseproof paper. In a bowl, mix the butter or margarine with the eggs and sugar. Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon zest continue mixing. Put in the flour and mix. Combine well and if the mixture feels too dry, add a little milk. The consistency should be like cake batter. Put the mixture into the tin. Make holes in the mixture and put in the jam. Spread the remaining jam over the batter. Put in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden.
If there are any spare salmon fillets that need a bit of jazzing up, you can't go wrong with butter and garlic plus a touch of sweetness and spice. This works well with the herb dill too which can be garnished after cooking the fish. Serves 2 2 boneless salmon fillets 1 tbsp butter, melted 2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed 1 tbsp runny honey 1/4 tsp dried parsley or fresh parsley leaves or sage leaves, chopped A pinch of sea salt 1/4 tap freshly ground black pepper A pinch of paprika 1/2 lemon, sliced into half moons Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Place the salmon fillets skin side down on the baking tray that's covered with foil. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, honey, parsley, salt, pepper and paprika. Pour the mixture over the salmon fillets. Put the lemon wedges around the fillets. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Open the oven and baste the salmon with any of the sauce that is pooled on to the tray. Bake for further 4-7 minutes until the salmon is tender. Just before serving, squeeze the juice on top of the fillets and serve.
This is a great way to use up cocoa powder in your store cupboard and make a pudding that's a little different to the usual fudgy cakes or brownies. The vanilla gives the bit sponge an edge that tastes indulgent. Cocoa powder is not the same as drinking chocolate powder which more often than not contains sugar. Serves 8 For the pudding: 110g butter 90g caster sugar 2 free range eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional) 175g self raising flour, sifted 2 tbsp cocoa, sifted For the chocolate base: 60g brown sugar 3 tbsp cocoa Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Grease an ovenproof dish with a little butter. Preferably a dish sized 10cm or 4 inches deep and 20x23cm or 8x9 inches wide. For the pudding, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy in a bowl. Beat in the eggs with the vanilla if using, adding one spoon of the flour with each egg. Fold in the remaining flour and tip in the cocoa. If the mixture is a little stiff, add a little more milk. Spread the pudding batter at the bottom of the dish. In a saucepan, gently heat 300ml water, brown sugar and cocoa until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture resembles a runny sauce. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Pour the sauce over the pudding mixture and bake for 45-60 to minutes until the top is crisp and brown. The sponge will have risen through the sauce. Serve warm with custard or cream.