Category Archives: Food

Delicious and easy chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing

If I’m asked to make a cake (which is rare), I make chocolate cake because it is, in my opinion, one of the best things ever invented.  Unfortunately, my other half doesn’t really like chocolate cakes.  I’ve been assured it’s not the way I make them, he’s just more of a cheesecake kind a guy.  (Or LOOPY.) Anyway, regardless of his feelings, I can’t help myself making a cake every now and again and have discovered that, by making several chocolate cupcakes rather than one big cake, I can give myself a chocolate fix for a few days and P doesn’t have to be force-fed any of it.

choc cupcakes

To make 6 lovely chocolate cupcakes, you will need:

40g butter (softened)

75g caster sugar

1 egg

55g self raising flour (sifted)

40ml milk

55g plain flour (sifted)

1 tsp of vanilla extract

30 g really dark cooking chocolate

For the icing (yes, this bit is important), you will need:

30g butter (softened)

1 tsp mlk

125g icing sugar (sifted)

25g really dark cooking chocolate

Preheat oven to 170 fan and line a tray with little cupcake cases.

cake batter

Mix together the caster sugar with the butter and, once well mixed, add the egg.

Add the self raising flour and mix well.  Pour in the milk and vanilla extract in stages and combine, before mixing in the plain flour.

Melt the chocolate slowly and then once slightly cooled, stir into the mixture.

more cupcake batter

Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes.

baked choc cupcakes

Once baked, leave to cool and crack on with melting the remaining 25g of chocolate for the icing.  Mix together the butter, milk and icing sugar.  Pour in the melted chocolate and mix again.

choc icing

Then spread over the cakes in as neat a fashion as you can manage.

more choc cupcakes

Calorie count per cake: Probably quite high. Joy experienced by eating a chocolate cupcake: Definitely very high.

Hope you enjoy!

Oh so sexy chocolate truffles

Yeah, I like chocolate. And even if I’ve eaten a MASSIVE meal, I still need something sweet afterwards to eat while I’m watching whatever TV series I’m obsessed with at the time. I think at the moment it’s Billions but anyway, I digress….

A box of chocolates costs ten pounds. Well, it costs a fiver if you’re cheap.  And then you always have that really annoying moment with a box of chocolates where you pop one into your mouth only to discover that it’s a flavour you don’t like but you can’t be bothered running to the bin to spit it out so you have to sit there, reluctantly sucking/chewing on it until it disappears. After that, it’s a game of lucky dip and the fun has GONE.

Well, I’m about to fix the cost issue and the russian roulette of nastiness with one simple recipe. BOOM.

Here’s how you can have a supply of 100% delicious after dinner chocolate truffles at a fraction of the price.

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To make 12 of these beauties, you’ll need,

100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)

65ml double cream

A pinch of salt

The zest of half an orange

20g icing sugar

cocoa powder

Break the chocolate up into tiny pieces.  The technique I used was to break the pieces up into a plastic food bag and whack it several times with a rolling pin until it broke into crumbly shavings.  VERY satisfying.

Zest the orange with a grater.  Alternatively, use a peeler to collect the top layer of peel and chop it up into teeny tiny pieces.  You want TEENY tiny. Zesting is easier.

Heat the cream in a saucepan for a few minutes.  Before it gets too hot and starts to boil, mix in the orange zest and take the saucepan off the heat.

Pour in the chocolate shavings and mix well with a wooden spoon.  The chocolate will melt and form a brown ‘goo’.  Sift in the icing sugar and mix again.

Transfer into a bowl and leave to chill in the fridge for about an hour.

Once it has hardened, scoop out teaspoon size amounts, roll into balls in your hands and then roll in the cocoa powder.  And there you have it, chocolate truffles.

Keep them chilled in the fridge until you need one…. or four.

chocolate-truffles

Making a meal from what’s in your cupboard: easy cheese scones

HOW TO MAKE CHEESE SCONES

I’ve said before that I try to be smart with my money so that I can go on lovely holidays, and SHOP. And being smart with my money also applies to food. I used to buy my dinner every night on the way home from work and it cost me a fortune.  So now, I plan meals and I do a weekly shop.  It has made such a difference.

But on the odd occasion that my planning has gone wrong – we’re short of food or I’ve been too tight and haven’t accounted for the fact that P and I eat a lot more than we probably should – it’s good to have a few recipes up my sleeve that allow me to create a meal or a snack from the basics in my cupboard.

My first example: Chilli cheese scones

They’re tasty, tempting and almost posh(!) but they are one of the easiest things to make in the world. Also, they’re a great substitute for bread if you’ve run out.

Ingredients

To make 6 small ones, which will do two of you for a meal with some ham (ooh or proscuitto!!), all you need is:

4 oz self raising flour

Seven twists of a salt mill (ish)

1 oz of butter

1/2 tspn of chilli flakes (omit if you fancy regular cheese scones)

1/2 oz grated cheddar (the more mature the better)

75ml milk

Method

Mix together the flour, salt and chilli flakes and then add the softened butter.  Once mixed well, chuck in the cheese and the milk and you’ll see it form a dough like consistency.  Combine into one ball, lift out of the bowl and place on a floured surface.

Knead it a bit, flatten to 2cm thick with the palm of your hand and then cut into small rounds.  I used an espresso cup as my cutter and it worked pretty well.

raw scones

Once you’ve got your 6 rounds, lay them on a greased baking tray, brush with milk and then bung them in the oven at 200 degrees fan for 15 minutes until golden brown.

cheese chilli scones

It takes about 20 mins in total to make the things and you’ll feel so resourceful. You’ll also have saved yourself a few quid! Enjoy!

cheese scones

And if you’d like to learn more about saving money, on groceries, and much more, sign up for FeastStyleThrive’s free email course below. Follow it and you should save hundreds of pounds a month!!

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How to make your own really REALLY good chips

Are chips money saving? Well, noooo. But, if you can make delicious food at home, you JUST MIGHT eat out less often and therefore……SAVE MONEY! HURRAH! SEE I MADE A CONNECTION!

Anyway, back to the post….

If you love chip shop chips, then I’m afraid this recipe is not for you. If you like super crispy chips – think chunky McDonalds fries with less salt and more pepper – then read on. My mouth is watering just writing this!

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Serves 2

Preheat your oven to 210 degrees C/ 190 degrees FAN

Peel 3 large potatoes and slice into large sticks as thick as your thumb. We want these to be chunky.

Lay them between 2 pieces of kitchen towel to dry off some of the starch.

Find a large baking sheet and pour in 3 good glugs of olive oil. Use one of your potato thumbs to spread the oil over the baking sheet. You don’t want to miss any bits as this will mean your chips will stick to the tray.

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Add all of the potato pieces onto the baking tray. Top with a very good sprinkling of salt and pepper (and chilli flakes if you fancy it) and give them all a good mix together with your hands. If you feel you need a little more oil so that they are lightly coated, go ahead. Once coated, spread them out across the tray so that they’re not on top of each other and can all be properly exposed to the heat. This will help them to crisp.

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Put the chips on the top shelf of the oven for 40 minutes. Make sure you check back every 10 minutes or so to move the chips around. They will crisp on top so will need turning.

After 40 minutes, and several good turns with a fish slice, they should look like chip shaped roast potatoes. They’re done! Pour them out onto a kitchen towel to absorb excess oil and then enjoy.

chips

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Lasagne – how to make it like a master

Monday nights are meant for salads or stir fries.  You’ve overindulged all weekend and you need to give your body something healthy. Well, sometimes if you have a big week ahead of you or the the first day back at work has hit you like a smack in the face, a few veg just won’t cut it. You need punch and comfort.

Well before you

a. order a takeaway

b. book a table at your local

c. march to the shops to buy lots of expensive treats

Spare a thought for your bank balance. Maybe you could cook something awesome? Don’t believe me? How about this homemade lasagne.

lasagne

If you’ve made a batch of my bolognese, you can use a portion or two of this along with a quick roux (cheese sauce) and some dried lasagne sheets.  Easy!

You’ll see from the pic above, that I like my lasagne to be quite crispy on top rather than gloopy. (If you wanted it to be runnier, you could cook the pasta first so that it’s not drawing liquid from the other ingredients while it’s cooking in the oven.)

For 2 portions,you will need:

2 portions of bolognese

5-6 pasta sheets (uncooked)

20g butter

20g flour

250ml milk

a pinch of nutmeg

50g cheddar cheese

parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fan.  Slowly melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat and then add the flour and mix to a paste.

roux

Then add the milk and use a whisk to get rid of any lumps.  This will make a basic white sauce or ‘roux’. Once it has started to thicken, add the cheddar cheese and nutmeg and continue to mix until it forms a thin paste.  Remove the heat and leave it to cool slightly. It will also thicken a little bit more.

cheese sauce

Next you can start assembling.  A layer of mince….

layer 1

Then a layer of pasta….. (which can be a bit tricky as the pasta never fits the dish perfectly!)

layer 2

Then a layer of cheese sauce…..

layer 3

Repeat once more until everything is used and then top with a generous sprinkling of parmesan.

just before cooking

And then bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

cooked lasagne

Lovely!

crispy cheese