Saturday, January 9, 2010

Crock-pot cheapy - Cheesy, Bacon, Rice

This serves 8 people. Turn on the slow cooker or crock pot onto the ‘high’ setting for 2 hours.

4 cups of cooked rice [left overs are fine]
4 large onions rough chopped, fried in olive oil with a tablespoonful of chopped garlic, one tablespoonful of Herbes de Provence, ground mixed peppercorns, cooked until caramelized [about 12 minutes]
8 eggs beaten with one cup of full cream milk
6 ounces of grated sharp Cheddar
10 ounce block of frozen, chopped spinach thawed with the water squeezed out
8 ounces of bacon, cooked, drained of fat and chopped finely

Mix all the ingredients together and stir thoroughly in the slow cooker or crock pot. Wait patiently for ages or go and do something more interesting instead while I do the washing up.

Most people prefer the top browned under the grill / broiler. If one or two people do not like a ‘burnt’ top then you can place a piece of greased foil [aluminium] or a metallic butter paper [butter side down] over the part that you wish to remain perfect.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sugar Cookie Crisis


2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups white fine sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
half a teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice and the zest of two lemons


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least an hour (or overnight).

Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on un-greased cookie sheets.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Problems - when things go wrong.

1. Cookies change shape:-

Find an adult with a steady hand and a sharp knife. Ask the adult to use the knife or the original cookie cutter to stamp out the correct shape whilst the cookies are still warm when they come out of the oven. Try to use words and an ordinary voice to your adult helper. All adults are old and if you shout at them they are less efficient, which means slower. If you want an adult to move fast, try small quiet words.

2. Cookies are hard:-

American cookies are crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. If your cookies are like bricks, don't panic, you've actually made English Biscuits by accident - clever you! They're still tasty, just different. If you don't want to make European biscuits again, next time try not to handle the dough too much. 'Handle' means touch, roll, poke and squeeze. If you accidentally handle them too much you can always put them back in the fridge for another hour to become firm again.

If the dough turns grey and oily it probably needs a chill [in the fridge]

3. Cookies don't match the picture in the book:-

Find your adult helper and a camera. Make the adult take a picture of your superior cookies, print out the photograph and tape it over the book's inferior picture - now they match perfectly.

4. Cookies are double or triple the size indicated by the recipe:-

Most foolish people think that more is better.

Recipes are often wrong. This is very bad. You have my every sympathy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pre-trifle - Jelly Custard

You will need:-

One packet of red jello [check flavor carefully]

32 fluid ounces of Bird's Custard made up

Make the jello first and leave to set in the fridge for an hour until firm

Meanwhile make up the hot custard and leave to cool with a sheet of greaseproof paper or Saran Wrap / Cling film over the surface so that it doesn't form a skin.

When the jelly is set and the custard is cold, pour the custard evening over the jello and refrigerate for an hour.

Try and eat both substances together with a bit of red and a bit of yellow on the same spoon.

Once you have mastered this technique you can advance to the next stage and add a layer of whipped cream on top - 3 flavors, 3 textures, 3 colors, 3 smells. Up for the challenge?

Only a few wee mouthfuls away from Trifle......or so we hope.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chelsea Buns

These are the UK equivalent of Cinnabons [without the frosting]

2 lbs of white bread dough
one cup of raisins plumped in boiling water with a squirt of lemon juice [drain once cooled]
half a cup of light brown sugar
one egg beaten to a froth
one teaspoon of ground nutmeg and one of cinnamon

1. Spread out the dough onto a floured surface and form into a large rectangle - about 18 inches by 12 inches

2. Spread with the beaten egg using a brush

3. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the surface

4. Roll up into a sausage shape

5. Cut sausage in half

6. Cut each piece in half again and then cut each quarter into fourths

7. Place each roll in a well greased baking tin

8. Cover with a damp cloth or greased paper and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.

9. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for twenty minutes.

Eat whilst still warm with lots of salted butter.

Score = 5 as long as you skip the butter.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Coconut puffs

You will need:-
1 packet of puff pastry thawed to room temperature
half a cup of dessicated coconut
nine mini marshmallows
Parchment paper on a cookie tray

Unfold the pastry and cut into nine even squares
Put a small pile of coconut in the centre of each one
Pop a mini marshmallow on top
Dampen the edge of the square - brush with water
pull up the corners to form parcels and squeeze tight
bake in a pre-heated over at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes

Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes on the parchment paper [if you transfer them they will glue themselves to whatever you put them on / in

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jaffa Dogs - Barbequed desserts

An easy, popular summer dessert for the barbeque.

You wil need:-
One or two cans of Nectar
A hot dog bun per person
Philadelphia Cheese
Bag of mini 3 Musketeers
Pam cooking spray
Table knife for spreading

1. Tear off a sheet of foil about 12 inches square
2. Lay it flat on the surface and spray it with Pam
3. Split a hot dog bun in half and spread the bottom of the bottom [!] with a thick layer of Nutella. Put the bottom, Nutella side down on the sprayed foil in the middle
4. Put the other half of the bun next to the one you’ve been working on.
5. Curve the foil up around the bun like a little protective bath
6. Pour a few tablespoons of nectar over both buns
7. Spread the soggy bun with another layer of Nutella
8. Spread a layer of Philadelphia cheese on top of the Nutella
9. Place three mini Musketeer candies on top
10. Put the plain but soggy top bun on top
11. Spread the top with another layer of Nutella
12. Scrunch up the foil until it is hidden a bit like a cracker.
13. When you sit down to eat your barbeque put the foil packages on the barbeque on the lowest heat and leave there for about 10 minutes
14. After ten minutes remove from the barbeque and open the packages to let the steam escape – ask an adult to do this bit for you as the dessert is very hot indeed.
15. Either eat in the foil to save washing up or tip out into a bowl.
Variations:- serve with cream or ice cream to speed up the cooling down process.

Eaten to quickly for an 'after' photo!

You may wish to enter your own "contribution," to NPR.

Score = 10 but only if you avoid the vile ice-cream

Inoffensive Kebabs

You will need:-
Precooked Hot dogs [one per person]
Cherry tomatoes [six per person]
Kebab sticks soaked in water so that they don’t burn when you put them on the barbeque

1. Turn the barbeque on to heat up
2. cut the hot dogs into bite sized pieces
3. push one piece of hot dog onto the stick followed by a cherry tomato
4. repeat until the stick is nearly full but with enough room each end for you to hold the stick
5. cook the kebabs on a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
6. Turn them over half way through so that they get dark lines on both sides
7. Serve with fresh bread and green salad

Score = 7 [minus the black marks]