Monday, 4 July 2016

Rhubarb Crumble

Now there's no denying my love for crumbles; no matter how full I am, I can never say no to one for dessert! However, the creme de la creme of crumbles (or should I say, creme de la crumble) has to be rhubarb. Slightly sharp, a great texture, and with a perfect, deep, pinkish colour to boot - for me, nothing can beat it.

Serve up hot with a large dollop of extra thick double cream or custard for the perfect summer dessert.

Rhubarb Crumble
The Bare Necessities
For the Rhubarb:
700-750g Rhubarb (roughly how much you see in the picture)
140g Sugar
100ml Water

For the Crumble:
150g Flour
90g Butter
50g Sugar

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6/390F.
2.Wash the rhubarb thoroughly.
3. Chop the rhubarb up into medium sized chunks - about an inch or so long. They don't need to all be exactly the same size.
4. Pop into a saucepan with the water and sugar, and put on a medium heat until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. It's important to stir occasionally to make sure that all of the rhubarb cooks, but don't stir it too much or else it'll completely turn to mush!
5. Pour the rhubarb into a dish and leave it to sit. This allows some of the excess liquid to evaporate and also lets the rhubarb form a slight skin on the top, better enabling the crumble to rest on the rhubarb without sinking in.
6. In a bowl, pour in the flour and the butter. Rub the flour and butter between your fingertips until you get breadcrumbs.
7. Stir in the sugar.
8. Using a spoon, gently pour the crumble on top of the rhubarb. I use a sifting action with the spoon to prevent it from sinking.
9. Pop the crumble in the oven for approximately 
half an hour, or until the crumble has turned golden brown.
10. Serve up and enjoy!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Nectarine Ice Cream

Most people who know me know that I'm not a summer person. I don't do well with the heat, the bugs, or the sun. In fact, I think that there are only 2 redeeming features of summer; Pimms and ice cream. I might tackle Pimms another day, but today I'm doing nectarine ice cream. Chocolate ice creams are great, but nothing beats the refreshment that a fruit ice cream like this one provides. I've used nectarines here, but you could easily substitute them for peaches, just make sure you peel the peaches when you slice them up.

Nectarine Ice Cream
The Bear Necessities
600g Nectarines (roughly 5 nectarines)
125ml/1/2cup Water
150g/2/3cup Sugar
150ml Sour Cream
300ml Double Cream
1/4tsp Vanilla extract

1. Slice the nectarines in half to remove the stones and chop the nectarines into medium sized chunks.
2. Put the nectarines pieces into a medium saucepan with the water.
3. Cover and put on a medium until soft and cooked through (approximately 10 minutes).
4. Once cooked, take the saucepan off the heat, stir in the sugar and allow to cool (or if, like me, you're impatient, put it in an ice bath).
5. Once cooled, put the nectarines, their juices, the sour cream, double cream and vanilla extract into a food processor.
6. Blitz the mixture, but not until it's smooth, leave a few lumps in there to add texture. Unless, of course, you prefer a totally smooth ice cream.
7. Pour the mixture into the ice cream machine and follow the manufacture's instructions.
8. Freeze until you want to eat it, or serve up and enjoy!!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

As we all know from past escapades, I love both rolos and cookies stuffed with things, so when I decided that the only thing that would cheer me up from uni blues was baking, I knew that this would be the thing to bake.

I know that it may be tough to not eat the rolos before putting them into the cookies, and also not to eat the cookies themselves before it's all cooked, but it's definitely worth it. This recipe would probably make about 50 cookies, but my housemates and I ran out of tray space, so we made 27 cookies, and a cookie-rolo tray bake that made about 28 cookie bites of varying size. They were equally delicious, so I've put both methods into the recipe and you can just do whichever one takes your fancy.

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bare Necessities
310g/1 1/2cups Butter
225g/1cup Granulated Sugar
275g/1cup Brown Sugar
1tbsp Vanilla
2 Eggs
375g/3 3/4cups Plain Flour
2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
300g/2 cups Chocolate Chips
50 Rolos (about 5 packets)

1. Pop the rolos into the freezer for 1-2 hours.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in the vanilla and the eggs.
5. Fold in the flour and bicarb of soda until fully combined.
6. Mix in the chocolate chips.
7. Line 3 baking trays with baking parchment.
8. Take the rolos out of the freezer and their packaging, and with half of the mixture, roll small balls of cookie dough, flatten it out into a disk, place a rolo in the middle and fold the dough back around it, rolling the dough to make it a ball again. (n.b. these spread out a bit in the oven, so be sure to leave about 3cm of space between each one)
9. Pop the cookies in the fridge to chill for 15-20 minutes.
10. With the other halve of the dough, spread it out on a slightly deeper tray or dish with your hands until roughly flat.
11. Place the remaining rolos on the top.
12. Pop the cookies and the traybake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
13. Once cooked, take them out of the oven and leave them on the tray to cool a little bit before moving them to a cooling rack or board.
14. Tuck in!