Breakfast Burrito

I have always liked Mexican food, but recently it has become a little bit of an obsession. I’m quite fussy though and don’t like some ingredients that feature in Mexican food a lot like black beans. The Mexican restaurants in the UK that I have tried, seem to make quite standard food like fajitas of burritos. If I asked them to leave out the ingredients I didn’t want, I wouldn’t be left with much. Don’t get me wrong, I love those but they cannot compare to the tacos I had in Hawaii or the burritos I had in Canada. That could be because I haven’t found the right restaurants though!

I’m going to London with my Mum and sister in search of a burrito like I had in Canada. Because I am so fussy, my ideal burrito is one I can pick what goes in it myself. Imagine Subway, but instead of sandwiches its burritos. This way I can leave out all of the ingredients I’m not keen on and have more of what I really like. I’ve started trying more recipes myself as again, I make them how I like them.

This breakfast burrito is my take on a recipe in one of my new favourite books – The American Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton. Feel free to adapt it to how you like.

Serves 2
2 tortilla wraps
1 potato

2 peppers
4 eggs
150g chorizo
2 tbsp milk
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of paprika
pinch of chilli powder
salt and pepper
spray oil

  1. Cut the potato into cubes keeping the skin on. Put in a pan of boiling salted water for 10 minutes until soft
  2. Meanwhile in a different pan, heat some oil and add the chopped peppers. Cook for approximately 5 minutes before adding the potatoes. Cook for a further 10 minutes until coloured and crispy. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Cut the chorizo into thick slices and cook in a pan for 5 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the potato mix

2014-05-26 10.56.04

  1. Mix the eggs in a bowl with the milk, cayenne, paprika and chilli powder. Add as much or as little as you like. I said use 4 eggs, but it really depends on the size of your eggs so use your own judgement. Mum’s chickens don’t tend to lay uniform sized eggs

2014-05-26 10.36.03

2014-05-26 10.38.45

  1. Cook the eggs in the pan with the chorizo oil on a low heat, stir every so often to make them scrambled. This should take roughly 5 minutes
  2. Lay a tortilla wrap on a board and add the egg, followed by the potato mixture. Now is the time to add any sauce you would like, I used tomato sauce. Make sure you keep the filling in the centre. Fold the two ends of the tortilla in, then fold the bottom over the filling and tuck in. Roll until the seam is on the bottom. Cut in half and serve hot

2014-05-26 11.00.10

2014-05-26 11.04.06

 

2014-05-26 11.01.26

This burrito is very tasty and perfect for brunch as it will definitely keep you full all day!

Strawberries & Cream Sponge Cake

I have imposed a  baking ban for May at work because so many of us have birthday’s this month. When it is someone’s birthday, like in a lot of workplaces, they bring in some goodies. Due to this I said that I wouldn’t bring anything in because we would have so much food already so we didn’t need anything extra.

When I decided this, I didn’t realise how much I would miss baking every weekend. I now come up with any excuse to bake for my family. This weekend, Rien’s Nan and brother are coming for the day so I instantly started thinking of recipes. I finally decided on a variation of a Victoria sponge by Anna Olsen (I love watching her baking shows) which uses fresh cream and strawberries. I liked this recipe because it swaps the usual buttercream for fresh cream and I’m not a big fan of buttercream.

They were due to arrive on Saturday morning so I thought I would get a step ahead and make the cake on Friday night. As I was following the recipe I was thinking it seemed a little odd. When I tried to take the cake out of the tins I realised something had gone very wrong. It was very thin and a dense, rubbery texture so it went straight in the bin. I have no idea what went wrong because I thought I had followed the recipe exactly but obviously not! I had to have my first disaster at some point!

I decided to admit defeat and try again in the morning but with a different recipe. For the second attempt I used a classic Victoria sandwich recipe (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1997/classic-victoria-sandwich). This turned out far better! I merged the two recipes by using the filling from Anna Olsen’s recipe to go with the classic Victoria sandwich. This combination was definitely a success with Rien’s Nan who said it was out of this world. She was a very happy lady!

 I apologise for the mix of cups and metric measurements!

 For the cake:
200g caster sugar
200g butter
4 eggs
200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk

  1. Heat the oven to 190ºC and line two 20cm sandwich tins
  2. Beat all of the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter
  3. Divide the batter equally between the two tins and bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  4. When cooked, leave to cool completely on a wire rack

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
125g full fat cream cheese
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups (approx) strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup strawberry jam

  1. Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks 
  2. In a separate bowl beat the cream cheese to soften. Add the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat again

2014-05-24 17.50.42

  1. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix, half at a time. Chill until needed
  2. Coat the strawberries in the strawberry jam
  3. Put one of the cakes upside down on your serving plate. Spread half of the cream across the cake and then top with half of the strawberries. Put the other cake on top and top with more cream leaving a border around the edge. Pile the rest of the strawberries on top

2014-05-24 18.12.14

2014-05-24 18.18.30

2014-05-24 18.24.11

The cake was lovely and fluffy and the cream filling was a little bit more special than just whipped cream. Make sure you keep the cake in the fridge.

Red velvet cake balls

I saw this recipe when I was looking for recipes and instantly wanted to make them. I’ve wanted to try red velvet cakes for a while and thought these cake balls were a little bit different. I was initially calling them cake pops but my sister and brother in law told me off saying they weren’t pops because they weren’t on sticks!

I decided to make these on Friday evening because we were going to see both mine and Rien’s family over the weekend. One piece of advice if you’re going to make these – do not start making them at 8pm! I was up until midnight finishing them off. At the time I was saying I would never make these again and I don’t know why I wanted to make them in the first place. This wasn’t because of the recipe, but just the stupid time I decided to make them! Make them when you have plenty of time because there are a few stages where the cake needs to cool before you can move onto the next step. They are a little bit of effort but I think they’re worth it.

It was World Baking Day on the 18th May which was trying to encourage people to bake for those they love. I thought these were the perfect things to make because the original recipe decorated them with little hearts.

The original recipe can be found at http://www.bestyummyrecipes.com/red-velvet-cake-balls/

 For the cake:

2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Red food colouring

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease or line a 9×13 inch cake tin
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Keep whisking until completely combined which will take a minute or so because of the oil
  3. In another bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients. Mix until combined
  4. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean

2014-05-16 20.14.00

  1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl

2014-05-16 21.56.03

For the frosting:

1/3 cup double cream
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups icing sugar

  1. Beat the cream and sugar until smooth. Add butter and vanilla and continue to beat until mixture forms soft peaks
  2. Add the frosting and mix with your hands

2014-05-16 22.13.13

  1. Scoop out a small handful and roll into a small ball with your hands. Place on tray lined with wax paper. Keep doing this until you have used all of the mix

2014-05-16 22.28.23

  1. Put them in the freezer to firm up for 30-40 minutes

400g milk chocolate

  1. As the cake balls are cooling in the freezer, melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water
  2. Carefully poke each ball with a skewer and dip into the melted chocolate.. Once covered remove and softly tap until the excess chocolate falls off
  3. When the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle any toppings you are using onto the balls. I used sugar hearts and red glitter
  4. Place on a baking sheet and chill until firm

2014-05-16 23.36.40

2014-05-17 15.30.58

I used 2 tubes of red colour gel from the supermarket for this recipe because I didn’t want to use all of my good Wilton gel colour. As you can see the colour started off a bright red colour but after cooking it went a darker red. When I make these again, I think I will use the Wilton colour gel to try and get an even brighter red colour so that when the cake is cooked it maintains its vibrancy.

One thing I really liked about this recipe was that it didn’t matter how the cake looked when it came out of the oven. As you were crumbling the cake, it didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect looking or if it didn’t come out of the tin properly. This is always an advantage!

Courgette Cake with Lemon Curd & Cream Cheese Icing

2016-01-31 16.54.19

A lovely light and fresh cake without a hint of courgette taste but with the added goodness!

This was another cake I made when looking at ways of including vegetables in baking. I had no idea what courgettes would taste like in a cake as I’m not a massive fan of them. The recipe I used is one of Nigella’s which I found on a blog called Mix & Fold. The writer of the blog, Hannah, included a great quote from Nigella – “If courgette cake sounds dodgey to you, think about carrot cake or a moment, this is just an adaption of that”. After I’d read that and seen how pretty the cake looked, I definitely wanted to give it a go.

I made this cake for Rien to take into work because his colleagues were the people that gave me the idea of baking with vegetables. It was so good the next night I made another cake for me to take into work. When I told people it was courgette cake, most said they didn’t really like courgettes but I asked them to try a small piece anyway. They all loved it and like with most things, it was all gone quite quickly.

2016-01-31 16.54.25

If you weren’t told, I don’t think many people would be able to tell that this cake has courgette in it because I don’t think you can taste them at all. One of the things I like most about this cake is how pretty it looks and how little effort it takes. I really like the green flecks of courgette you get throughout the cake and the look of the white icing oozing over the side of the cake.

I absolutely love cream cheese icing on cakes and this recipe had a very generous helping. Ignoring the fact its cake, I am still trying to be relatively good so instead of making the quantity of icing listed below, I halved it. The photos show the reduced amount of icing so you can see it is by no means stingy, but it is a way of making the cake ever so slightly less naughty. Plus it has courgettes in it – surely that means it counts as one of your five a day and therefore not a cake at all?! That might just be my wishful thinking…

2016-01-31 16.19.18

For the cake:
250g courgettes (weigh before you grate them)
2 eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat then oven to 180ºC. Grease and line two 8 inch round cake tins
  2. Rinse the courgettes and then grate them using a coarse grater – if the grater is too fine, the courgette will turn to mush
  3. Put eggs, oil and sugar into a bowl and mix until creamy. Fold in sifted flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Stir in the grated courgette

2016-01-30 19.43.13

2016-01-30 19.50.56

  1. Pour mixture into the two tins and bake for 30 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean

2016-01-30 19.53.13

  1. Leave to cool for around 10 minutes and then remove from the tins and allow to cool on a wire rack

For the filling:
Lemon curd

  1. Turn one of the cakes upside down on a plate and spread a thick layer of lemon curd onto it

For the icing:
200g full fat cream cheese
100g icing sugar
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp chopped pistachios (not the salted kind)

  1. Put the cream cheese in a bowl and gradually stir in the icing sugar – there is no need to use a mixer for this as it is very easy to mix
  2. Once combined, add the lime juice. Pour the icing onto the cake and smooth to cover the cake
  3. Scatter with the chopped pistachios

2016-01-31 16.54.03

 

 

Leek, Goat’s Cheese & Bacon Risotto

2015-07-14 19.59.08

Creamy risotto with crispy bacon and cheese is the perfect comfort food. This risotto has some of my favourite ingredients and is so incredibly creamy and delicious.

When I was at uni, my friend Zoe and I would walk to the supermarket with huge shopping lists and buy so much we had to take a taxi home. As we were on a budget, we only got the taxi to the edge of campus and struggled our way to our halls with our bags. I think the people carrying their one bag filled with super noodles and pasta must have thought we were crazy!

We liked to buy Delicious magazine and find recipes to cook together. Finding something we both liked was sometimes a little tricky with how fussy I am and with Zoe being a celiac. She made this recipe for me because she couldn’t believe I hadn’t had risotto before and it was delicious. As well as this being the first risotto I ever had, it is also the only one I have made since believe it or not. I haven’t found a recipe that sounds more appealing to me than this one.

This isn’t a dinner where you can start it and leave it to do its own thing for a while. You do need to keep stirring it and adding the stock but I find stirring weirdly therapeutic. Don’t use the amount of stock stated below as the set amount, use as much stock as you need to until the rice is cooked. You don’t want it soft and mushy, but you don’t want it to be hard either; a slight bite to it is what you’re looking for.

spray oil
1 leek, finely sliced
1 celery stick, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
small handful of thyme leaves
200g alborio rice
100ml white wine
500ml chicken stock
20g parmesan, grated
50g goat’s cheese

  1. Heat chicken stock in a pan and keep it gently bubbling over. I used a chicken stock pot because they’re quick and easy
  2. Put another pan on a medium heat and add some oil. Fry the leek until slightly soft and then remove and set aside

2015-07-14 19.14.52

  1. Add the celery, garlic and bacon and fry for 5 minutes. Add the leek back to the pan. Add the thyme and rice and stir for a couple of minutes making sure the rice is coated

2015-07-14 19.15.15

2015-07-14 19.19.54

  1. Turn up the heat and add the wine, letting it bubble for a few minutes so the alcohol is cooked off. Add the stock a ladleful at a time making sure each one is completely absorbed before adding the next. Keep going until all of the stock is gone and the rice is cooked, this can take around 20-25 minutes

2015-07-14 19.20.59

  1. Take the risotto off the heat and add the goat’s cheese and parmesan, stir through until melted

2015-07-14 19.54.45

2015-07-14 19.58.58

Buttercream roses

For a while now I have wanted to have a go at buttercream roses. I think they look really pretty and quite professional. I have watched countless videos on Youtube that people have posted showing how to do them and they all made them look simple so I thought I would give them a go. First I had to decide which piping tip to buy – not as simple as it sounds. There are lots of different petal tips to choose from but I decided on the Wilton 125 tip which is also known as a large petal tip. You need a large tip or else the petals don’t have the size and effect you need to make a rose.

I am by no means an expert at these roses, but I can pass on the tips I have gathered from along the way!

You can use any cupcake recipe, but I used a basic vanilla cupcake as in my opinion, the rose is the star of the show so you don’t want a complicated cupcake. I used the buttercream recipe featured in the vanilla cupcake recipe just without the milk. You need a thick buttercream so the petals don’t collapse and the milk would make it a little too soft.

You need to make sure the buttercream doesn’t get too warm or again, the petals won’t hold up and you will end up with a messy blob instead of a rose. I put a small amount of buttercream in the piping bag, just enough to do one cupcake because when you’re holding the piping bag, the warmth from your hand heats the buttercream.

I start by spreading a very small amount of the buttercream in the centre of each cupcake as this makes it a lot easier for the first bud of the rose to stick. When you have done this, hold the piping bag so that the thicker end of the tip is closest to the cupcake. Applying even pressure, turn the cupcake to create a bud effect.

2014-05-04 14.08.05

Once you have created your bud, you can then start with the petals. I have found it is best to use odd numbers – 3 petals on the first, then 5, then 7 etc. When piping each petal, start at the base of the cupcake and pipe in a very slight arch. I pull slightly outwards with the piping bag to create a more open looking rose. Keep going with the petals until you reach the edge of the cupcake.

2014-05-04 13.45.52

As you add more petals, make sure you start each petal from the base of the cupcake as this will keep the rose looking good from all angles.

2014-05-04 14.19.38

As you need quite a lot of buttercream to create the roses, I made two batches of the buttercream making them two slightly different shades of pink. They do take a little while but take your time and you can end up with some really realistic looking cupcakes.

2014-05-04 14.22.02

Cheese straws

This is the first recipe I remember following as a child. I used to make them all the time because they are really simple and quite addictive; you can’t just have one! I made these for people at work because they are cheese fanatics. Even with a double batch and they were gone by 9:10am, bearing in mind we start work at 9am I think they went down pretty well!

When I was a child, my Mum had a Be-Ro cooking book which from the look of it was very well used. A couple of years ago when I moved into my own house, my Mum gave me an updated version (the 40th addition!) because every house needs a Be-Ro book. I have slightly adapted the recipe with my Mum’s guidance from years ago – the cayenne pepper in my opinion make these cheese straws that little bit more special.

100g self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
50g butter
85g cheese
1 egg

  1. Heat the oven to 180ºC and spray a baking tray with oil
  2. Mix together the flour, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Add the butter and rub into the flour mix using the tips of your fingers and your thumbs. Try not to be too heavy handed, you are trying to get it to the consistency of breadcrumbs

2014-05-01 20.31.11

  1. Stir in the cheese keeping roughly 10g back and add enough egg to form a stiff dough – depending on the size of your egg, you may not need to use all of it so add a little at a time
  2. Lightly dust your surface and roll the dough until it is approximately 5mm thick. Cut the dough into strips, as big or as small as you like and then put them on the baking tray

2014-05-01 20.38.12

  1. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the cheese straws and then put in the oven for 10-5 minutes until golden

2014-05-01 20.51.01

2014-05-01 22.47.40

I make these the way I have made them since I was a child so they always look quite rustic. They are one of the few things I don’t really mind how they look because it’s just how I have always made them; and more importantly they are never around long enough for people to really take much notice of how they look!