My Favourite Recipes

DSC04192Susie’s Christmas Cookies

Ingredients

150g Plain Flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 75g rolled oats, 125g soft butter, 75g dark brown sugar, 100g caster sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 75g dried cranberries, 200g white chocolate chips.

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*  Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4 and line a baking sheet with grease proof paper or baking parchment.

*  Measure the flour, baking powder, salt and rolled oats into a bowl.

*  Put the butter and sugars into another bowl and beat until creamy.  Then beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

*  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and oat mixture.  Finally fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips.

*  Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls with your hands and put onto the baking sheets and squash them down lightly with a fork.  Make sure you leave room between the cookies for them to spread.

*  Cook for 15 minutes and when they are done they should be a pale gold but too soft to lift immediately from the trays.  Leave for approximately five minutes to harden and then transfer to a cooling rack.

They can be stored in an airtight container between sheets of baking parchment for up to five days or freeze when cooled in a suitable container for up to three months.

These cookies go down well with children, adults and Santa of course!

Merry Christmas, Susie

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DSC04359Rich Beef Casserole

500g of Stewing steak, 2 tablespoons of Groundnut oil, 1 onion chopped finely, 1 clove of garlic, mushrooms sliced, 1 bouquet garni, 1 bay leaf, 1 pint of beef stock, a good slug of red wine, salt and pepper to taste.

1.  Peal and chop the onion finely and fry gently in the oil until soft.  Then add the meat to brown.

2.  Add the mushrooms and stock, together with the bouquet garni, bay leaf, salt and pepper and stir well.  After five minutes add the wine and bring up to a gentle simmer.

3.  Cover and simmer for a couple of hours, checking on the level of the liquid.  Just before serving check the seasoning again.

Goes well with creamy mash potatoes and any vegetables you like.  My lot love peas with this dish.

Susie x

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img_0192Cod a la Nicoise

Ingredients:

Two fillets of white fleshy fish like Cod or Haddock, three Anchovies (I substituted Herring), one shallot, four large tomatoes, one clove of garlic, four black olives (I substituted grapes), olive oil, thyme, coriander, a quarter of a fresh lemon and salt.

1.  Chop the shallot finely and crush the garlic to a paste.  Core the tomatoes and put them into boiling water to remove the skins.  Cut them into quarters and remove the seeds and then chop.

2.  Slice the Anchovies (or Herring) into thin strips length ways.  Prepare the olives by cutting the cheeks off and then cut them in half. 

3.  Salt the fish and cook in hot olive oil on both sides, but make sure you don’t over cook it. 

4.  Whilst you are cooking the fish fry the shallot, garlic and thyme in a pan and when softened add the tomatoes to cook.

5.  When the fish is cooked place on a warmed plate, place the Anchovies (or Herring) on the top of the fish and then add the tomato mixture on top of this, finishing with the olives (or grapes) on top.  Add a drizzle of olive oil over the finished dish and then a squeeze of lemon and garnish with a little coriander.

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Christmas or All Year Round Cookies!

Recipe

90g of soft butter, 100g caster sugar, 1 large egg, 200g plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of fine salt.

Flavouring :  I used zest of a large orange and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  However this is where you can change the flavours to your liking.  I would have used more cinnamon but DH and the Boys don’t like it very much.  You could use vanilla extract (1 teaspoon) or the zest of a lemon or, if you like ginger a teaspoon of that.

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*  Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4 and line a baking sheet or two with baking parchment.

*  Cream the butter and sugar together until whipped soft and pale, then eat in the egg, followed by the flavouring, the flour (and any zest if using) baking powder and salt and continue mixing until it all comes together to make a soft dough.

*  Form into two discs, wrap each one in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes.

*  Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place a disco of dough on it and sprinkle a little more flour on top.  Then roll it out to a thickness of about 5mm.

*  Cutinto shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go and place the cookies a little apart on the line baking sheets.  Kepp the scraps of the first disc, to mix with the scraps of the second and roll and cut, re-roll and cut until you have used up the mixture.  This is a pliable dough, which makes it very easy to work with.

*  Bake in the oven for 8 – 12 minutes depending upon the shape, how maby sheets are in the over at the same time and whether they are on an upper or lower shelf although you can swap them around and turn them to get an even bake.  When  they are ready they will be pale gold around the eges and softish still in the middle but will harden on cooling.

*  Take the sheets out of the over, remove the cookies with a flat spatula to a wire rack and leave to cool.

*  Decorate as you like.  I used some gold edible glitter which I brushed on with a clean un-used small paint brush or you could cover in some icing or sprinkles.  Or if you are feeling adventurous you could dip them in some melted chocolate!

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Simnel Cake

100g Glace Cherries, 500g Mixed dried Fruit (raisins, sultanas, currents), 50g cut mixed peel, 175g Soft unsalted butter, 175g Caster sugar, zest of 1 lemon, 225g Plain flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 25g ground almonds, 3 eggs hand whipped, 2 tablespoons milk, 1kg yellow marzipan, 1 tablespoon apricot jam, melted.

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Take everything out of the fridge to come to room temperature and head the oven to Gas mark 3/170°C.  Butter and line the bottom and side of a 20cm springform cake time with baking paper and wrap the outside with brown paper, held in place with string. 

Cream the butter and sugar until very sofe and light and add the lmon zest.  Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and ground almonds into a bowl and stir to combine.

Add approximately one egg to creamed butter and sugar with 2 tablespoons of the dry flour/spice ingredients (this is to stop the mixture curdling) then beat in the remaining eggs in the same way.  Add in the Cherries, Mixed Peel and Almonds and mix well, finally adding the milk.   Finally fold in the Mixed Fruit.

Roll out the marzipan, approximately 400g, and cut a 23cm circle which will fit in the middle of the cake later.  Spoon half the mixture into the cake tin smoothing it down with a rubber spatula, then lay the marzipan circle on top of it.  Spoon the rest of the mixtures into the tin on copy of the marzipan curcle and smooth the top again.

Bake for half an hour and then turn the oven down to gas mark 2/150°C for another 1 1/2 hours or until the cake has risen and firm on top.  Let it cool completely on a rack in the tin before you spring it open.

Unspring the cooled fruit cake and unwrap the lining from the cake.  Roll out another 400g circle of marzipan, paint the top of the cake with the melted apricot jame and then stick it on. 

Make 11 Apostle balls out of the remaining marzipan roughly 2.5cm in size and place around the edge and dust with coco powder.]

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