Homemade Snickers Bars

As I was sitting flicking through my foodie pictures, wondering what to post about, I came across this picture from around 4 months ago. It was at that time I joined pinterest and subsequently became obsessed with pinning recipes. I decided I should actually make some of this stuff rather than just staring at the pictures.

I used to hate peanuts, and have never until recently tried a snickers bar. In recent times I have upped my peanut intake and can now say I actually enjoy them. I’m also not a huge fan of chocolate. But after I saw these bars on pinterest I just had to make them. The recipe is from here and if anyone is interested I would advise you to toddle over to that page for instructions and much better pictures than mine!

These were oh so good, my caramel was a little dribbly but taken straight from the fridge they were tidily edible. As I have said though, not being a huge fan of chocolate and the other half being on a bit of a diet, some of these bars were deposited around neighbours houses. If you love Snickers, or are looking for an easy sweet treat, definitely try them.

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Chinese Curry

Oh dear, I seem to have been AWOL for some time. Life got a bit hectic for a while, various family members visiting, lots of friends round and myself working a lot. I have been cooking though, and making sure I take pictures so I can catalogue the backlog of recipes!

This one is from a couple of weeks ago, we usually have a curry on a Friday night and I like to try a different one every time, then go back to them if we really enjoy them. This was a chinese takeaway style chicken/vegetable curry, sweet and spicy with that very characteristic yellow tinge to it.

Chinese Curry

We are both also trying to be a bit healthier, so instead of loads of rice and prawn crackers for the other half, I gave each of us a small portion of rice and some salad dressed with soy, mirin and olive oil.

As I normally do when cooking a meat and vegetarian version of one dish, I cooked the chicken breast pieces separately and added the sauce to the pan with them to heat through just before serving. If cooking a vegetarian version, either add a meat substitute of your choice to the sauce at the end, double the quantities of vegetables or add some more vegetables, mushrooms are always a good choice. This recipe is for two people.

1 chicken breast (or 2 if cooking for non veggies)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 onion sliced into half moons
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 green chilli finely chopped with the seeds removed
1 small carrot, sliced very thinly diagonally
150 g broccoli florets
500 ml vegetable stock
2 star anise
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp hot madras curry powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Heat a pan over a high heat, and add half of the oil.  Add the chicken and stir-fry for about 5-6 minutes until golden brown.
Heat the remaining oil in a different pan or wok. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add in the onions and stir fry until slightly softened, another 2  or 3 minutes. Finally throw in the carrots and broccoli and stir fry for two minutes.
Pour in the stock, and add the star anise, turmeric, curry powder and brown sugar, bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Mix the cornflour with a little water and mix into the sauce to thicken. Simmer again for another 3 minutes.
Either return the chicken to the sauce if cooking for non veggies) and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the chicken is warmed through. When I cooked this last, I added half of the sauce to the pan with the chicken and added 200g of Quorn pieces to the pan with the rest of the sauce. Serve with steamed rice.

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Brioche Burger Buns

After having a wisdom tooth removed on Saturday (ouch) I wasn’t expecting to be able to do very much or to eat many things in the days following. I was however pleasantly surprised, next to no pain and after a very lazy day on Saturday I decided I was well enough to whip up some homemade burger buns to accompany some burgers I had planned to make. I made myself some bean burgers which is part of my quest to find a decent veggie burger, although I neglected to take any photos of the process and the resulting burgers, so I’ll add that up another time. The burgers for Bren were just simple minced steak, seasoned with salt and pepper.

So, to the buns, which were just awesome. I had attempted them before but didn’t get the nice smooth round top I was aiming for, nor such a huge rise as these ones provided. I found the recipe linked around many pages, but the original I believe is from here, courtesy of the New York Times. I added a few sesame seeds on top.

They were soft but still held all the burger juice and remained intact, with a slightly sweet taste which is what I love in burger buns, definitely worth the messiness of making them.

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Simple Tartare Sauce

The last couple of weeks have been somewhat hectic, between working late, having guests and just generally being busy I haven’t managed to document any of our meals. On Wednesday night, my Uncle, Aunt & cousins were here, they spent the last night of their camping holiday at our house so they were ready to just pack up the car and drive the next day. We prepared some traditional Romanian dishes for them, just to show a bit of Bren’s heritage, and as it turns out, they liked the food, success! I didn’t take any photos since we were too hungry and scoffed it all down, but I did mention this blog to them (hi guys!) and promised I would write the recipes down soon.

Until then I thought I had better post something, I have some new meals to cook in the next few days, a couple of which I found on Pinterest. But for now I thought I would show my quick, ridiculously easy tartare sauce, nom. Bren loves this with fish so much that I have to make it every time, and I would never dare to use jarred sauce ever again.

First, the mayonnaise:

3 egg yolks
Teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Salt & Pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
300ml of flavourless oil (I used groundnut)

Pulse the egg yolks and mustard together in a food processor until mixed. You can whisk by hand (takes ages) or use an electric whisk as well (don’t have one of those). Then very slowly start to add the oil in drops into the mix with the processor turned on. Once it is emulsified properly you can start to add the oil in a little faster. You may or may not have to use all of the oil, I didn’t in this particular batch. It still came out really thick. Once this is done and the mayonnaise is at the right consistency, season with salt, pepper and as much lemon juice as you wish for a bit of zesty flavour.

Now to turn this into tartare sauce, it is ridiculously easy. I don’t get too fancy about it, I’m sure there are more extravagant ways of making it, but I simply add equal amounts of chopped capers and chopped gherkins to the mayo and give it a good mix. Yum! I usually end up eating spoons of this before it gets to the table, sorry Bren.

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Cherry Tomato & Cheddar Quiche

All my best laid cooking plans went awry this weekend. I arrived home from working on Friday too tired to cook, and on Saturday after feeling ill, again I didn’t feel like cooking at all. So all the meals I had planned have now been shifted to this week (watch this space) Sunday almost turned out to be a similar story, out with friends for a very long lunch, arriving home at almost 6pm.

My other half had been baking some kind of Romanian cookies, using egg whites and he saved the yolks for me to use up as I wished. Quiche it is then.

I’m quite proud of my quiche achievements, it was the first thing I learned to cook before leaving home and setting out into the world, and I often had requests for it from family members before I moved down to England. So it always brings nice memories, and it’s a fitting first recipe of mine to write here to here, simple as it is.

I use a basic short crust recipe, the recipe from the BBC Food website normally. Roll out the pastry and add to the tin, then blind bake the pastry case for about 10-15 minutes. Afterwards, add around 400 grams of halved cherry tomatoes. I squeeze out most of the seeds first to stop it becoming too watery, but I’m not too pedantic about it. For my 23cm baking tin the filling was as follows:

7 egg yolks
500ml Double cream (I usually go with 2 egg yolks to
every  100ml of cream)
Salt + Pepper
A good couple of handfuls of grated cheddar ( I didn’t measure, hence my vagueness)

Mix the cream and the egg yolks together, sprinkle in the cheese then season with salt and pepper. Pour over the tomatoes until the case is full. Bake in the oven at about 180 for about 30-40 minutes, until the filling is set but still a bit wobbly. (My oven is sometimes very fierce, and not paying attention, mine managed to get quite brown on top, oops) Leave to cool and set a bit further. This has served us well for lunch over the past two days, I should really bake quiche more often.

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Fish in Lemon Cream

Just a quickie as I need to leave the house pretty soon, but I wanted to start blogging proper before I forget all about it. Anyway, this is last night’s dinner and despite the unappetising looking photo it was actually really nice. Bren gave it a big thumbs up. I bought a copy of Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food a few months ago and had yet to really try anything. This was a recipe for fish steaks in a lemon, cream and coriander sauce, very quick, very simple. I adapted mine and used some tofu chunks in place of the fish and it still turned out really nice. The recipe suggested an accompaniment of some quick fried fennel so that went along with it. We had asparagus languishing in the fridge so that got grilled and added along with some fried potatoes, just for a bit more carb. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly so this is my adaptation, ie just a bit more of everything except the fish!

1 white fish steak (I used haddock and had some tofu for myself)
200 ml of double cream
Juice of one lemon
Roughly 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves
Salt & Pepper

Mix the cream, lemon juice and coriander leaves together, pour over the fish steak in a shallow baking dish, season with salt and pepper then pop into the oven at 200 for 12 minutes. Easy peasy!


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Is it almost teatime yet?

Well, here goes my first post in which I explain a little about me and the reason I’m writing this blog. I’m an avid lover of all things food related, baking, cooking, books, blogs and TV shows. I decided to start this blog as a sort of journal to record my highs and lows of cooking, and to try to help me expand my repertoire and also to improve my photography of food, which leaves a lot to be desired at the moment.

My usual style of cooking is pretty simple and homely, with rustic presentation most of the time. I’m hoping to refine as I go along and with pictures on here I will be able to track my progress. I usually cook on quite a limited budget, and try to make the best of what we have. I’m currently living in Warwickshire though I was born and brought up in Scotland and I am almost married to my Romanian partner, so I occasionally cook Romanian food, which is probably not very well-known. I also enjoy culinary trips around the world and try to keep things as authentic as possible.

So hopefully if I can keep it up this blog will be a record of all these things put together, and once I manage to keep it going for a few months, I might actually share it with people.

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