Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Sweet Potato Crisps

So as I've mentioned in the past, I LOVE sweet potatoes, and everything with them. So when I
stumbled upon this recipe, I couldn't wait to try them. They are particularly moreish and taste just like the ones you buy in the supermarket, if not better! They are certainly a healthy alternative to crisps, and are especially delicious when they're still cooling down from the oven. Having said that, they only last a couple days at their optimum yumminess, so tuck in!

I sliced my potatoes by hand, but if you have a mandolin or the like, definitely use it to ensure consistently even and thin slices.

Sweet Potato Crisps
Bare Necessities:
2 Sweet Potatoes
dash Olive Oil
sprinkling Salt
(additional herbs and spices to your taste)

1. Preheat the oven to 120C/250F
2. Scrub the potatoes until clean. This is important, as you won't be taking off the skin
, and you don't want to have a bite of dirt in your snack!
3. Line a baking tray with parchment. If you have more than one tray, definitely use them, if not, just do several batches.
4. Thinly slice the potatoes. I sliced mine about 2 or 3 mm thick.
5. Place the slices in a bowl and toss with olive oil and any additional herbs and spices until all the slices are evenly coated in oil.
6. Spread the slices out on the baking tray. As these shrink dramatically in the oven, you don't need to put them too far away from each other, just not touching.
7. Pop in the oven for 1 hour.
8. Take the crisps out of the oven and turn them all over to ensure an even crisp.
9. Place the crisps back into the oven for another hour.
10. Take the crisps out of the oven and allow them to rest on some kitchen towel. This will allow them to crisp up, and the kitchen towel will absorb any excess oil.
11. Pour into a bowl and enjoy!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Beautiful Butterfly Cakes

So a bit of a blast from the past here. I don't know about you guys, but when I was little, pretty much every birthday party featured these yummy little treats. Even though they're essentially just iced cupcakes, there's something about the little 'wings' that makes them so much more than that.

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed that in the photos I only made 12 cupcakes but in the recipe I've said that it makes 24. This is in part to my determination do only do one batch of 12, but also due to the fact that I only had muffin cases which are much bigger than cupcake cases. Lesson learned - get the correct size cases. Alright, now onto the recipe!

Beautiful Butterfly Cakes
Bare Necessities:

For the Cakes
150g/2/3cup Margarine
150g/2/3cup Sugar
3 Eggs
2tsp Vanilla Essence
150g/1 1/2cups Self Raising Flour
1 1/2tsp Baking Powder

For the Icing
100g/2/3cup Butter
300g/ 2 1/2cups Icing Sugar
1tbsp Milk
1tsp Vanilla Essence

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/340F.
2. Place 24 cupcake cases in a cupcake tray.
3. Beat together the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour and baking powder until fully combined and light and fluffy.
4. Divide the mixture equally between the cases.
5. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
6. Place the cupcakes on a rack to cool.
7. Beat the butter until creamy and gradually add the icing sugar. (I added 100g a time, which helps make less mess)
8. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until thick and creamy. At this point you can gradually add more milk or icing sugar to achieve the desired consistency.
9. Once the cupcakes are cool, carefully slice off the top of the cupcakes.
10. Slice the tops in half. This will create the 'wings'.
11. Spoon a medium dollop of icing onto the cupcakes.
12. Slot the 'wings' into the icing.
13. Pop in the fridge to keep cool or enjoy straight away!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Lovely Lemon Sorbet

So last week my brother and his girlfriend came up to visit my mum and I for his birthday, and they were driving up to us on the hottest day of the year so far in the middle of the day. Crazy, right? However, seeing as I knew that they'd be boiling by the time they arrived, I thought I'd make a refreshing sorbet for them to have when they arrived, and what's more refreshing than a lemon sorbet?

Unlike most other fruit sorbet, this one doesn't require any blending or pureeing of fruit, so much less mess! It's also got a pleasantly short ingredient list, so it's not a particularly complicated recipe.

N.B My mum isn't too good with sour stuff, so this sorbet isn't particularly sour. However, if you prefer as slightly zingier sorbet, just use 50g less sugar.

Lovely Lemon Sorbet
Bear Necessities:

625ml Water
200g Sugar
2 Lemons
250ml Lemon Juice

1. Zest the two lemons.
2. Add the zest, sugar and 125ml of the water to a saucepan and gently heat whilst stirring until all the sugar is completely dissolved.
3. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and add the remaining 500ml of water.
4. Place in the fridge for about half an hour or until thoroughly chilled.
5. Once chilled, mix in the lemon juice. For this, I squeezed the juice from the two previously zested lemons, and then just used lemon juice from a bottle, but if you do this, make sure it's actually 100% lemon juice and not from concentrate or made of chemicals and what have you.
6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
7. Serve up and enjoy!

Iced Sugar Cookies

These are such a good staple for any celebration, rainy day or general get together! You could cut them into any shape you wanted, and ice them with more or less any type of icing you felt like! I just iced them with a simple water and icing sugar recipe, but you could just as easily replace the vanilla extract for lemon juice, or use royal icing if you wanted more of a distinctive glaze.

When I set about cooking these, I wasn't expecting to make so many, but they certainly went down well with my friends and family, and will last a couple weeks if stored in an air tight container - though I'd be surprised if they weren't all eaten by that point!

Post a picture in the comments section of your creations, I'd love to see what shapes you cut and what colour icings you use!

Iced Sugar Cookies
(makes about 50 cookies)

Bear Necessities:
For The Cookies
225g/1cup Butter
150g/2/3cup Sugar
1 Egg
1tsp Vanilla Extract
250g/2 1/2cups Plain Flour

For The Icing
250g/2cups Icing Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
4tbsp Water
Food colouring

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy.
4. Beat in the egg and vanilla until fully combined.
5. Gently fold in the flour until fully combined and the dough forms a ball of dough. Don't worry if it looks as if it won't combine at first, it will eventually! Don't be tempted to add any extra flour, as the dough will absorb more when it's being rolled out.
6. Gather the dough into a ball and then wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to cool for at least 20 minutes. You could easily leave it overnight if you wanted to, though you'd need to let it warm up and soften a bit when you took it out.
7. Once cooled, lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough until it's about half a centimetre thick. As there is quite a lot of dough, I did this in several goes, re-flouring the surface and my rolling pin as necessary.
8. Cut the cookies into any shape you want either with a cookie cutter or by hand with a knife if you're feeling more creative!
9. Place the cookies on the baking tray and pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
10. Once cooked, leave the cookies on a rack to cool.
11. Whilst they're cooling, gradually add the water and vanilla to the icing sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
12. At this point, if you want to have more than one colour icing, separate the icing equally into different bowls so that you have 1 portion per colour.
13. Slowly add the food colouring until you've reached the perfect colour.
14. Once the cookies are cool, set about decorating them! I just haphazardly covered them in icing, but if you have gone for a thicker consistency you could put it into a squeezy bottle to have a bit more control. You could also add any other decorative items you want, go wild!
15. Leave the icing to set. The waiting time will depend entirely on how thick the icing is, so try and be patient!
16. Place the cookies on a big plate and enjoy!