Tag Archives: British

Mincemeat Thumbprint Cookies

All the tasty flavours you’d expect from a mince pie but quicker and easier! These Mincemeat Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect treat to rustle up over Christmas.           I love mince pies but whenever I make them I am always slightly disappointed. They don’t live up to my expectations. This is probably because I always try and fill them with too much mincemeat and then they don’t end up looking as uniform as I’d like!

Traditional mince pies also are quite fiddly with all of the rolling out and cutting of the pastry. Last year I made Frangipane Mince Pie Slices which were very popular and a great alternative to Mince Pies. This year, I wanted to come up with an even easier recipe. 

As we all know the build up to Christmas is such a busy time for everyone with the present buying and food prep. This is why any time saving Christmas recipes are always a win in my book!

These Mincemeat Thumbprint Cookies could not be easier. You don’t need a mixer which means there’s not even extra washing up! They aren’t anything fancy, they are just simple and tasty. 

5 from 5 votes
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Mincemeat Thumbprint Cookies

All the tasty flavours you'd expect from a mince pie but quicker and easier! These Mincemeat Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect treat to rustle up over Christmas. 

Course Cookie
Cuisine British
Keyword Mincemeat, Cookie, Biscuit, Christmas
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 137 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 200 g self raising flour
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g margarine
  • 1 orange zested
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • 4 tbsp mincemeat

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 170ºC (fan assisted, 190ºC non fan). Rub the flour, sugar and butter together until you have a breadcrumb texture

  2. Add in the orange zest and almond extract before adding in enough egg to create a stiff dough – you may not need the whole egg

  3. Shape the dough into a tube and cut into slices approximately 1cm thick

  4. Put them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment make sure you leave enough space between each biscuit for them to expand when they bake
  5. Make a small indentation in the middle of each biscuit with the back of a ½ tsp measure and spoon in a small amount of mincemeat in the centre of each cookie

  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until they are golden brown

  7. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack 

Recipe Notes

Don't be tempted to use too much mincemeat or else it will run down the side. 

Keep for up to two days in an airtight container. 

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Mincemeat Thumbprint Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 137 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 10mg3%
Sodium 91mg4%
Potassium 33mg1%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 255IU5%
Vitamin C 4.4mg5%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing

Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing is the perfect side dish to any roast dinner. It is incredibly simple to make and will take your roast dinner to the next level. 

I was never really a fan of stuffing. It was something I would often rather not have on my plate when eating a roast to allow for more room for roast potatoes! My view towards stuffing changed when I tried my Father-in-law’s stuffing. 

Mr Curly and I met when I was at university going my undergrad course and he was studying for his PhD. He had recently moved back home whilst studying which meant that at weekends I would travel down the motorway to see him. Ignoring the fact his parent’s house was a lot cleaner than my uni house was the majority of the time, I traveled to him because quite early into our relationship we got our first dog Izzy. You might remember her as the buttercream lover I have mentioned before!

Inheriting a family recipe 

Like lots of people, Mr Curly’s parents would cook a roast on a Sunday. I remember always being offered the meat first (usually chicken); because they are lovely people and thought the guests should get the best meat. The best meat in most of their opinions was the breast meat so I felt obliged to take some. It was months down the line that I told them I actually preferred the dark meat! 

The most memorable part of these roasts was Mr Curly’s Dad’s stuffing. I don’t remember having stuffing with sausage meat before. My Mum made an oatmeal stuffing which is traditional in Aberdeen and sage and onion stuffing; but never stuffing with sausage meat. 

The sausage meat not only adds flavour but also moisture. So many stuffing balls you see look so dry and like you’d need a litre of gravy to be able to eat them. This Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing is the complete opposite. 

What makes this so easy is that you can mix it all together and let it cook in the oven. There is no need to form into balls which is vital time you can use doing something else when preparing a roast! Plus you’re going to want a lot of this Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing so a large spoonful is better than a small ball!

What to serve this Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing with

I’d serve this with any roast dinner, but definitely for Christmas lunch! Make sure you make enough for everyone to have plenty, plus leftovers for a cold turkey and stuffing sandwich! If you’re catering for people like Mr Curly who are stuffing fanatics, you can easily add another pack of stuffing mix to help stretch the sausage meat further. 

At Christmas especially, you can get some delicious sausage meats with added flavours such as cranberries and honey. Obviously you could add these flavours yourself, but this is called Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing after all so you will be forgiven to buy the sausage meat with added flavours should you wish to. You can also change the stuffing mix that you use. For example an apple and sage stuffing mix would pair really well with roast pork. 

4.23 from 9 votes
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Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing

Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing is the perfect side dish to any roast dinner. It is incredibly simple to make and will take your roast dinner to the next level. 

Course Side Dish
Cuisine British
Keyword Stuffing, Sausage meat, Roast dinner
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 254 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 375 g sausage meat
  • 170 g sage & onion stuffing mix
  • 400 ml boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • 30 g unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan assisted 200ºC non fan)

  2. Add all of the ingredients apart from the butter to an oven proof dish (approx 20x20cm). Mix thoroughly until all of the ingredients are combined and then level the top 

  3. Cut up the butter and place it across the top of the stuffing. Cook for 50 - 60 minutes until the top is golden brown and crisp

Recipe Notes

If the meat you are cooking requires a different temperature, adjust the cooking time for the stuffing. If the temperature is lower, cook for 10 minutes or so longer. If it is higher, cook on a lower shelf for 45 minutes or until the sausage meat is cooked through. 

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing
Amount Per Serving
Calories 254 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 83mg28%
Sodium 408mg18%
Potassium 165mg5%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 210IU4%
Vitamin C 0.4mg0%
Calcium 10mg1%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Chicken Balti Pies

Crisp and flaky pastry filled with deliciously spiced chicken. These Chicken Balti Pies are a fantastic lunchtime treat that are simple to make. 

Years ago when I was still at school, I wonderful thing came into my life. A balti pie. This fantastic creation came from Morrisons and was so tasty! My Mum was a fan too and it used to be a treat for a weekend lunch for us. 

We happily ate these for years; until one day. Morrisons decided to stop making them and ruin all of my hopes and dreams! I still haven’t forgiven them for their terrible decision, but maybe it was just Mum and I buying them?!

All these years later, the little cravings in my head became too loud for me to ignore and I had to have a go at making them myself. Obviously I didn’t have their recipe, so I have made my own version. 

This is a bit of a cheat’s pie as it used shop bought ready-rolled pastry and a curry paste mix. Neither of these I am ashamed of as they make these Chicken Balti Pies easy enough for anyone to make. And that is the main thing because everyone needs a Chicken Balti Pie in their life!

As I was making these Chicken Balti Pies, I wasn’t sure if they were going to turn out exactly as I wanted them. Let’s face it, sometimes new recipes do not work out quite right the first time! But as soon as these came out of the oven I thought these were going to be a winner! 

I finished photographing them and then ate half of the pie I had cut open. It took all of my willpower to not eat the second half. But as the kind wife I am, I went and gave it to Mr Curly and then went back to the kitchen. Not long after, in he came asking me if they were difficult to make. When I told him they were really quite simple (thanks to my little time saving tricks); he asked if I could make them every week from now on because they were incredible! He is particularly fussy about a few things; bread, chocolate and pastry. So when he told me how much he loved these Chicken Balti Pies, I knew I had done something right. 

I was chuffed with the rich mildly spiced chicken filling and the crisp flaky pastry (no soggy bottoms here!). Also the nigella seeds add a lovely extra flavour to the pastry so I really recommend not to skip this step! Do not worry if they look a bit like a child has made them, mine did and they looked much better when they were cooked. Just don’t get too excited and put too much filling into each pie as it might try to escape when you seal the pies. 

These Chicken Balti Pies would also be great for the festive period. Swap the chicken for leftover turkey for a great way to use up Christmas dinner leftovers and add a bit of much needed spice. 

5 from 14 votes
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Chicken Balti Pies

Crisp and flaky pastry filled with deliciously spiced chicken. These Chicken Balti Pies are a fantastic lunchtime treat that are simple to make. 

Course Snack, Lunch
Cuisine Indian, British
Keyword Chicken, Pie, Curry, Balti
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 552 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • ½ tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely diced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp Balti curry paste
  • 450 g chicken breast (3 small breasts) cut into small chunks
  • 400 g chopped tomatoes
  • 50-100 ml water
  • 2 x 375g packs ready rolled puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp semi skimmed milk
  • 2 tsp Nigella seeds
  • spray oil

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in pan over a medium heat. Add the onion to the pan along with the salt and stir for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and curry paste and cook for a further minute

  2. Add the diced chicken to the onions and cook for 2 minutes until the chicken has turned white

  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and water. I add the water to the empty tomatoes tin as it helps get the last of the tomato juice from the tin

  4. Leave the chicken to reduce on a medium-low heat for 15 - 20 minutes stirring occasionally. You want the sauce to become thick 

  5. Leave the chicken to one side to cool slightly while you prepare the pastry. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan assisted 190ºC non fan)

  6. Unroll the pastry and cut each sheet into 8 rectangles

  7. Add one large spoon of the chicken filling to the centre of 8 out of the 16 rectangles. Make sure you leave a small border around the outside of each rectangle

  8. Brush around the edges of each of the pastry rectangles with filling with milk. Add a plain rectangle of pastry on top of each rectangle with filling. Gently press the who rectangles of pastry together. Using a fork, press the tines around the edges of the pastry to make a seal. 

  9. Carefully transfer the pies to baking trays sprayed with oil. Brush the tops of the pastry with milk and sprinkle with a few Nigella seeds. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown

  10. Serve warm or chilled

Recipe Notes

These Chicken Balti Pies will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. They may loose their crispness slightly so if you want to reheat them, use the oven rather than a microwave as this would make the pastry soggy. Make sure the filling is piping hot before serving. You can eat them cold if you would prefer. 

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Balti Pies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 552 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Cholesterol 36mg12%
Sodium 211mg9%
Potassium 307mg9%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 75IU2%
Vitamin C 5.5mg7%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 0.7mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Cheese & Mango Chutney Muffins

These Cheese & Mango Chutney Muffins are deliciously light, fluffy and packed with flavour. They’re also super quick and easy to make as well as freezing really well. 

Snacks for a busy new Mum

My sister Ally has recently given birth to my incredibly gorgeous nephew Harrison. As he is her first child, I realised it was all going to be very new for her and food might not be her number one priority. I knew she had been stocking up her freezer with some of my slow cooker meals such as my Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken and Slow Cooker Chicken & Chorizo Stew; so I thought some quick snacks would be ideal. 

I instantly thought of muffins as they freeze really well and don’t take very long to defrost. Therefore she didn’t need to think too far in advance before having a tasty snack.     

Cheese and Mango Chutney – a great flavour combination 

The combination of the cheese and mango chutney was specifically for Ally as she is partial to a cheese and mango chutney sandwich. This isn’t a combination I have tried myself but I though I’d give it a go in muffin form! The Nigella seeds were a last minute addition and I am so pleased I added them because they really make these Cheese & Mango Chutney Muffins extra tasty. 

New recipes do not always go without a hitch. The first batch I made of these I decided to leave in the oven and go for a shower – definitely a mistake! I’d put them on the top shelf of the oven at a higher temperature so they came out looking quite a bit darker than I would ideally have liked. 

Although I was annoyed at myself, it did give me the opportunity to taste test them before I made another batch. The muffins did look quite dark, but the top was nice a crisp which was actually very tasty! I did decide to make a few tweaks to the cooking of them. But in the end I was very pleased with the taste of them. 

Even with the sweetness of the mango chutney, these are still very much savoury muffins. The Nigella seeds also provide a savoury note which emphasises the subtle Indian flavours along with the mango chutney. 

5 from 6 votes
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Cheese & Mango Chutney Muffins

These Cheese & Mango Chutney Muffins are deliciously light, fluffy and packed with flavour. They're also super quick and easy to make as well as freezing really well. 

Course Snack
Cuisine Indian, British
Keyword Muffins, Cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 9
Calories 242 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 175 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • ½  tsp sea salt
  • ½  tbsp Nigella seeds
  • 130 g cheddar cheese
  • 60 ml vegetable oil
  • 90 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g mango chutney

For the top

  • 20 g cheddar cheese
  • sprinkle Nigella seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan assisted 190ºC non fan). Add 9 muffin liners to a muffin tin and set aside 

  2. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and Nigella seeds together in a large bowl and mix. Add the cheese and mix again 

  3. In a large jug, whisk together the oil, milk, egg and mango chutney 

  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until all of the flour is mixed in - do not over mix. 

  5. Divide The mix between the 9 muffin cases and top each muffin with the extra cheese and a sprinkle of Nigella seeds. Bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 20-22 minutes.

  6. Allow to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack 

Recipe Notes

If your muffins get slightly darker, don't panic they will still taste good!

If you want to freeze them, wrap them individually in cling film and put them in a large freezer bag. You then can take one muffin out of the freezer and it will defrost in approx 1-2 hours. 

Nutrition Facts
Cheese & Mango Chutney Muffins
Amount Per Serving
Calories 242 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 36mg12%
Sodium 249mg11%
Potassium 176mg5%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 205IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 188mg19%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Mustard & Sage Sausage Rolls

These Mustard & Sage Sausage Rolls are packed full of delicious flavours perfect for eating warm or cold. The only issue is they definitely won’t last very long!
     Sausage rolls are a thing of beauty. Who doesn’t like a tasty sausage roll?! Well obviously not vegetarians and vegans, but excluding that I don’t think I have ever met someone who doesn’t like a good sausage roll. 

Using shop bought pastry is nothing to be ashamed of! It means making sausage rolls yourself isn’t hard and doesn’t take long at all. I also prefer making sausage rolls myself because you know exactly what is in them and can buy a good quality sausage. 
 I made my Turkey & Cranberry Sausage Rolls last Christmas and one of our friends really liked them. So when we met up for this birthday, I thought I would make him another variation which is where I came up with these Mustard & Sage Sausage Rolls. 

Pork and mustard are a classic combination. I really like to use wholegrain mustard because it is a more subtle taste than other types of mustard. Although it looks like I have used a lot of mustard in these sausage rolls, the flavour is not overpowering at all. 
   

Sage is another flavour that works really well with pork. I have lovingly been caring for my herbs throughout the hot weather we have had this summer and take any opportunity I can get to use them in my recipes. The fresh sage mirrors the flavours in the sausage perfectly. 

Lincolnshire sausages are great for these Mustard & Sage Sausage Rolls because they typically have sage in their mix. If you didn’t want to use a Lincolnshire sausage you could use standard pork sausages or Cumberland sausages. Personally I don’t like Cumberland sausages because I find the too heavily seasoned with black pepper, but I know lots of people like this. 

5 from 4 votes
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Mustard & Sage Sausage Rolls

These Mustard & Sage Sausage Rolls are packed full of delicious flavours perfect for eating warm or cold. The only issue is they definitely won't last very long!

Course Snack
Cuisine British
Keyword Mustard, Sausage rolls
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 136 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 1 x 375g ready rolled puff pastry
  • 400 g Lincolnshire sausages (6 sausages)
  • 3 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh sage
  • 1 tsp milk
  • Spray oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (fan assisted 180ºC non fan)

  2. Unroll the ready rolled pastry and cut it in half length ways. Spoon 1½ tbsp of wholegrain mustard onto each pastry strip. Spread out to form a strip down the middle of the pastry, leaving a gap to either side

  3. Finely chop the sage and scatter it over the mustard 

  4. Remove the sausages from their casing and place three sausages on the middle of each strip of pastry. You will need to stretch the sausages slightly to make them a bit longer to cover the length of the pastry 

  5. Brush one of the long edges of pastry with the milk and then roll the other side of the pastry over the sausage. Keep rolling until the seam of the pastry is underneath. Repeat with the second pastry strip

  6. Cut each long roll of pastry into smaller rolls. Spray two baking trays with oil and then place the sausage roll on them

  7. Brush each sausage roll with milk and then make three small cuts in the top of each with scissors 

  8. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for 20 minutes or until golden brown

Nutrition Facts
Mustard & Sage Sausage Rolls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 136
% Daily Value*
Sodium 25mg1%
Potassium 3mg0%
Calcium 2mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Raspberry & Lemon Curd Meringue Nests

 Looking for an easy pudding that is perfect for the summer? These Raspberry & Lemon Curd Meringue Nests look impressive without loads of effort. 

I’m a big fan of puddings that look and taste great but don’t take lots of effort. This is especially true in the summer when you’d rather be out enjoying the sunshine rather than spending all day in the kitchen. 

These Raspberry & Lemon Curd Meringue Nests are a fantastic example of this. The meringues are the only element which take a bit of time but most of that is leaving them to do their own thing in the oven. At which point you can be in the garden with your feet up and a glass of something cold in your hand. 

Whether you are looking for a tasty pudding for a family BBQ or something a bit more special looking to finish a dinner party; these Raspberry & Lemon Curd Meringue Nests work so well for both. You can make the meringue nests a couple of days in advance and whip the cream up a good few hours in advance. It is then as easy as some simple assembling and you’re good to go! Don’t be tempted to assemble these too far in advance though as the cream will soften the meringues. 

If you want to go the extra mile, you can make your own lemon curd. Personally, I think using a good quality shop bought lemon curd is perfectly acceptable. It helps add a lovely fresh flavour to cut through the richness of the cream – yum. 

These Raspberry & Lemon Curd Meringue Nests look and taste so summery that you’ll find yourself making it again and again. 

Are strawberries more your thing? Why not try my Eton Mess with Meringue Kisses

5 from 5 votes
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Raspberry & Lemon Curd Meringue Nests

 Looking for an easy pudding that is perfect for the summer? These Raspberry & Lemon Curd Meringue Nests look impressive without loads of effort. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword Meringue, Raspberry, Lemon curd
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 247 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

Meringue nests

  • 80 g egg whites (2 large eggs)
  • 150 g caster sugar

Filling

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp lemon curd
  • 250 g raspberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 100ºC (fan assisted or 120ºC non fan)

  2. Make sure you have a very clean bowl before cracking in the egg whites. You must not get any of the yolk in the bowl

  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff - you will be able to hold the bowl over your head when they are stiff enough

  4. Add the sugar gradually, a large spoonful at a time

  5. After all of the sugar is added, keep whisking for five minutes until the egg whites are glossy and smooth. If you rub a small amount between your finger and thumb, you shouldn't be able to feel the sugar grains. If you can whisk for a bit longer

  6. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and use a small dab of the meringue to stick the paper to the baking trays

  7. Add a piping nozzle to a piping bag and snip off the end. Spoon the meringue into the piping bag. Pipe a blob of meringue onto the baking tray and then pipe a circle around it twice, piping the second circle on top of the first 

  8. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 30 mins until the meringues easily come off the baking paper and are hollow when you tap the underneath

  9. Turn off the oven and leave to cool completely in there

  10. When the meringue nests are completely cooled, make the filling. Whisk the double cream until it is in soft peaks. You want it to be firm enough to hold it's shape, but still soft and smooth. Keep watching the cream to make sure you do not over whisk it

  11. Stir the lemon curd together in a bowl to make it runnier before adding it to the cream. Gently fold the lemon curd through the cream with a spatula. You don't want to completely fold the lemon curd through, it is nice to have a rippled effect 

  12. Spoon the cream into the middle of the nests and top with the raspberries. Serve immediately 

Recipe Notes

Store meringue nests in an airtight container and only top with the cream when you are ready to serve. If you prepare them too far in advance they will become soft 

Nutrition Facts
Raspberry & Lemon Curd Meringue Nests
Amount Per Serving
Calories 247 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 51mg17%
Sodium 52mg2%
Potassium 91mg3%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 24g27%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 560IU11%
Vitamin C 8.4mg10%
Calcium 32mg3%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake

This Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake not only tastes great but is really easy to make. The raspberry jam and vanilla go really well together in this deliciously moist cake. 

After I made my Blueberry & Lemon Swirl Loaf Cake, I knew it wouldn’t be my last cake with a jam swirl! Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits and they go so well with lots of flavours; vanilla being one of them. I don’t know if it’s just me, but raspberries do seem to have quite a short shelf life. They can also be a little pricey compared to other fruit. 

These reasons, plus the fact you probably have some raspberry jam in you cupboard; mean using jam is a great option. The jam also helps provide extra moisture to the cake which fresh raspberries wouldn’t always. 

As with a lot of my favourite cakes, this Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake is really easy to make. It doesn’t take much time at all to make and then you can forget about it while it’s in the oven. You then just need to allow it to cool without the need for any further effort. These are my favourite sort of cakes to make during the week when you don’t have hours after work to make a fancy cake. My Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread is another one of these recipes. 

This is such a delicious cake. The yogurt helps keep the cake really moist and give it such a lovely texture. If you don’t fancy using raspberry jam, strawberry would work really well too. 

5 from 3 votes
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Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake

This Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake not only tastes great but is really easy to make. The raspberry jam and vanilla go really well together in this deliciously moist cake. 

Cuisine British
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 9
Calories 593 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 300 g margarine
  • 265 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 330 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 160 g yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 200 g raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. Line a 20x20cm tin and preheat the oven to 170ºC(fan assisted or 190ºC non fan)

  2. Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy 

  3. Add the eggs and mix before adding the remaining ingredients apart from the jam. Mix until completely combined

  4. Pour half of the cake mix into the prepared tin and smooth out

  5. Using half of the jam, add dollops on top of the cake and then run a knife or skewer through the jam to create a swirl pattern

  6. Add the rest of the cake mix before smoothing out and repeating the same process as before with the rest of the jam 

  7. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean 

  8. Leave to cool slightly in the tin before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled cut into 9 equal squares 

Recipe Notes

Stir the jam in a bowl to make it a runnier consistency before adding to the cake 

Nutrition Facts
Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 593 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Fat 29g45%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 75mg25%
Sodium 359mg16%
Potassium 237mg7%
Carbohydrates 75g25%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 41g46%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 1315IU26%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 101mg10%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Honey & Mustard Dressing

Summer is all about salads so having a tasty dressing is essential. This Honey & Mustard Dressing is delicious drizzled over so many salads and is so easy to make. 

Who doesn’t love a salad in the summer? When the weather is warm we find ourselves craving lighter and fresher dishes that take minimal effort. But every tasty salad needs an equally tasty dressing. 

Despite having the best of intentions, sometimes shop bought salad dressings are packed full of fat which isn’t great. They also tend to contain preservatives and other things which bring no nutritional benefits. By making dressings yourself, you know exactly what is going into it and can leave out all of the unnecessary ‘stuff’. 

I’m not a nutritionist (obviously) but I believe that olive oil is considered to be a healthy dietary fat. This is why although this Honey & Mustard Dressing may not be particularly low in calories, it does provide healthy fats to your diet. 

One of it’s main advantages is just how quick and easy it is to make. It is literally a case of adding the ingredients to a jar and shaking them up; anyone can make this. By making it in a jar, you can store it in the fridge in the same jar which is handy and time saving.  

This Honey & Mustard Dressing would go so well with a number of salads. One of my favourite salads to drizzle this over is my Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad

5 from 2 votes
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Honey & Mustard Dressing

Summer is all about salads so having a tasty dressing is essential. This Honey & Mustard Dressing is delicious drizzled over so many salads and is so easy to make.

Course Side Dish, Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 159 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard (heaped)

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a jar and shake to mix

  2. Pour straight over your salad. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days shaking again before using

Nutrition Facts
Honey & Mustard Dressing
Amount Per Serving
Calories 159 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 43mg2%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Sugar 8g9%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad

Salads definitely do not have to be boring! This Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad is one we have been making for years and is a complete meal so you don’t feel like you are missing out. 

Summer is the time of year when we want to eat lighter, easy to make food but don’t want to still feel hungry once we have eaten. In the past, people thought of salads as being boring and just iceburg lettuce, cucumber and tomato. Things have definitely changed and there are so many innovative and exciting salads out there; my Giant Cous Cous, Tomato & Rocket Salad for example. 

This Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad isn’t anything fancy, it is just really tasty and easy to make. My Mum used to make this often for us and she would BBQ the chicken, bacon and pepper. However sometimes I think going to the effort of using the BBQ on a weeknight is more than I can muster as a lazy person. My Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad uses just two pans and is really quick to make – you don’t have to worry about turning the BBQ on. Obviously if you do have more time, the BBQ is a great cooking tool. 

Adding potatoes to the salad makes you feel like you aren’t missing out on anything. With some salads, even if they include meat; you can sometimes feel like you’re not very full afterwards. This defeats the purpose of trying to be a bit healthier in the first place if a few hours after eating you are reaching for a chocolate bar. So don’t be afraid to add the potatoes, they help make this salad an entire meal and not just a side salad. 

My Mum used to add the boiled potatoes to the salad as they were. But I do find boiled potatoes can be slightly boring. One incredibly easy way to make them more exciting is to crisp them up when you are cooking the bacon. The fat that comes from the bacon helps prevent them from sticking to the pan, adds great flavour and means you don’t have to add more oil. 

Continuing my laziness, I like to use a bag of salad leaves for my Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad. I know a lot of people are against these, but they really are a time saving option. They also include a mix of salad leaves which helps keep this salad exciting. I also bulk out the salad with two baby gem lettuces, but you can add more bagged leaves if any washing and chopping of lettuce is above you (no judgement here!). 

My Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad makes a great dinner, but the leftovers are perfect for lunch too. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and it’ll be good for the next two days. It is also naturally gluten free which is an added bonus. 

You can eat the salad as it is, but if you would like to add a dressing, my dressing of choice is my Honey & Mustard Dressing

5 from 3 votes
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Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad

Salads definitely do not have to be boring! This Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad is one we have been making for years and is a complete meal so you don't feel like you are missing out.

Course Salad
Cuisine British
Keyword Healthy, Chicken, Bacon, Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 626 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 500 g chicken breast or thigh, diced
  • 400 g new potatoes
  • 1 pepper diced
  • 200 g cucumber
  • 1 bag lettuce leaves (approx 100g)
  • 2 baby gem lettuces
  • 1 pot cress
  • 340g tin sweetcorn drained
  • 250 g plum tomatoes
  • 8 rashers bacon diced
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • ½ tsp sunflower oil

Instructions

  1. Dice the potatoes so they are all roughly the same size. Cook then in a pan of salted boiling water until the tip of a knife goes into them easily. Drain and leave to one side

  2. Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces and season with the salt and pepper. Warm a large frying pan over a medium to high heat before adding the sunflower oil 

  3. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and move around the pan occasionally for 5 minutes

  4. Add the diced pepper to the chicken and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and brown and the peppers have softened slightly 

  5. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the diced bacon. Once the bacon has released some of it's fat, add the drained potatoes. Let them cook until both the potatoes and bacon have become crisp. Remove from the pan 

  6. While the ingredients are cooking, you can be preparing the salad. Wash all of the vegetables and cut them however you would like. Arrange them in a large salad bowl along with the drained sweetcorn 

  7. Once the hot ingredients have cooled for 5 minutes or so, add them to the salad and toss together so everything is mixed 

Recipe Notes

Feel free to add any salad ingredients you like - grated carrot, spring onions and avocado would make good additions should you wish. You can also easily increase the quantities i.e add more cucumber.

Nutrition Facts
Simple Chicken & Bacon Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 626 Calories from Fat 342
% Daily Value*
Fat 38g58%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 122mg41%
Sodium 547mg24%
Potassium 1189mg34%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 34g68%
Vitamin A 925IU19%
Vitamin C 37.6mg46%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 3.1mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Meringue Kisses

Meringue Kisses are really easy to make and look so pretty. They are great in a dessert but also to add something extra special to a celebration cake.  
   

Making meringue kisses for the first time 

I have admired Meringue Kisses for a few years now. I know that sounds weird, but I love how cute they look but have never made them. Finally I bit the bullet and decided to make them to decorate the Raspberry & Mascarpone Layer Cake I made for my sister’s birthday.

As it was the first time I made them, I followed a recipe. I don’t know whether I was doing something wrong, but they didn’t turn out great. They were yellow in colour and tasted like the sugar was burnt. I don’t know whether this was because the recipe called for heating the sugar in the oven before adding it to the egg whites, or whether it was because the oven temperature was quite high; or a combination of the two!

My sister didn’t know I was making the for her cake, so I showed her my failed attempt. At the time I didn’t realise she had secret meringue knowledge. She works in a school and had the pleasure of a term of making meringues in food tech. I showed her the recipe I had used and she said they had tried lots of recipes and the best ones didn’t heat up the sugar and cooked the meringues at a far lower temperature. 

Creating my own recipe 

So with my sister’s help, I ditched the recipe and came up with my own. It’s not ground breaking stuff, but this recipe works really well for me and produces the incredibly cute Meringue Kisses I was looking for. 

Which colour to make your Meringue Kisses

An advantage of these Meringue Kisses is that you can make them any colour you like incredibly easily. You can either stripe them like I have, or mix the food colouring gel into the meringue to get a completely coloured kiss. You can also leave out the food colouring and have white kisses which look lovely. 

I would recommend using gel food colouring and not the standard ones you can buy in most supermarkets. The gel food colouring has a much brighter colour and is a lot easier to paint because it is thicker.  

Another great way to use these Meringue Kisses is in Eton Mess. The Meringue Kisses are mixed with softly whipped cream and fresh strawberries; a delicious summer dessert. 

4.5 from 4 votes
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Meringue Kisses

Meringue kisses are really easy to make and look so pretty. They are great in a dessert but also to add something extra special to a celebration cake. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Keyword Meringue, Kisses
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 144 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 70 g egg white (roughly 2 medium eggs)
  • 140 g caster sugar
  • Gel food colouring

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 100ºC (fan assisted or 120ºC non fan)
  2. Make sure you have a very clean bowl before cracking in the egg whites. You must not get any of the yolk in the bowl
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff - you will be able to hold the bowl over your head when they are stiff enough
  4. Add the sugar gradually, a large spoonful at a time
  5. After all of the sugar is added, keep whisking for five minutes until the egg whites are glossy and smooth. If you rub a small amount between your finger and thumb, you shouldn't be able to feel the sugar grains. If you can whisk for a bit longer
  6. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and use a small dab of the meringue to stick the paper to the baking trays
  7. Turn a piping bag inside out over a large glass. Using a food paint brush, paint the gel food colouring in stripes down the inside of the piping bag
  8. Carefully turn the piping bag back the right way and spoon in the meringue mix
  9. Cut off the tip of the piping bag and pipe the kisses onto the prepared trays. Squeeze lightly on the piping bag slowly puling up before quickly lifting off to create the tip
  10. Bake in the oven for 50 - 60 minutes until the meringue kisses lift off the parchment paper. If they don't lift off easily, put them back in the oven for a few minutes
Nutrition Facts
Meringue Kisses
Amount Per Serving
Calories 144
% Daily Value*
Sodium 29mg1%
Potassium 28mg1%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Sugar 35g39%
Protein 1g2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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