These cupcakes are light and moist and are especially delicious when served with our fantastic frosting . The batter is quick and easy and they only take a few minutes to cook so it is easy to make multiple batches to serve at parties or a single tray to have as a nughty indulgence.
Yield: 12 cupcakes
- 1 Cup of flour.
- 1/4 Cup of Corn starch.
- 1 tsp of baking powder.
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda.
- 1/2 tsp of salt.
- 2 large free range eggs
- 3/4 cup of caster sugar
- 2 tsp of quality vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F ( 180° C)
- Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
- Beat two eggs together for 2 - 3 minutes at a medium speed in your mixer.
- Add sugar, vanilla extract, and oil to the bowl and mix for 3 minutes.
- Add flour and buttermilk and mix until the mixture becomes a smooth thin batter
- Pour the batter into a cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners.
- bake for approximately 10 - 15 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
- Allow to cool and then top with your favourite frosting.
Cream Cheese Corn
There really isn't much to say about this recipe apart from the fact that the combination of cream cheese , tender corn, salt and pepper makes a delicious accompaniment to family dinners and can easily scale from a dinner for two to a party of 100. I like to add lots of pepper but thats just me.
Yield: 500g or 2-4 serves
- 1 tin ( 420g/14oz ) Corn Kernels.
- 4 oz ( 125g ) of Cream Cheese.
- 1/2 a stick ( 50g) Butter.
- Salt & Pepper.
- Continental Parsley to garnish.
- Drain tinned corn and place in a medium saucepan.
- Add cream cheese and butter to the pan.
- Heat pan over a medium heat , stirring until butter and cheese have melted.
- Serve in a bowl topped with chopped parsley.
Moscow Mule Cocktail
This cocktail caught my eye recently because it contains two of my favourite drinks - Vodka & Ginger beer. Top this off with some lime and I don't think you will be dissapointed, I certainly wasn't. The Moscow Mule is often served in a copper mug which I am told enhances the subtle flavours of this cocktail but I didn't have one handy and discovered it tastes just fine out of a tall glass as a result.
Yield: 1 glass
- 2 fl oz ( 60ml ) of Vodka.
- 1 small lime.
- Good quality Ginger beer .
- Cut lime in half and squeeze juice of one half into a glass.
- Pour Vodka into glass.
- Add ice cubes & top up with Ginger beer.
- Garnish with a slice of the remaining lime.
Amazing chocolate fudge cake recipe
WARNING : THIS IS NOT HEALTH FOOD . This is a moist rich and decadent fudge cake you can frost it if you like but my favourite way to serve this is with some ever so slightly sweetened whipped cream . I have very little self control when it comes to chocolate but find that letting this cake cool completely allows it to develop a really nice fudgy texture which is well worth the wait. If you simply cannot wait then serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream as a sort of warm cakey dessert . Enjoy!
Yield: 12 Serves
- 300g plain flour
- 175ml hot water
- 250g unsalted butter
- 250g dark chocolate
- 125 ml milk
- 55g cocoa powder
- 4 large fresh free range eggs .. The fresher the better !
- 550g white sugar
- 2 tablespoons of instant coffee
- 30ml vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 150°C
- Line bottom & sides of a 20 cm cake tin with baking paper.
- Melt and combine butter , chocolate, sugar and coffee in a bowl over a double boiler.
- Add chocolate mixture to a mixer bowl and beat in the milk.
- Mix eggs into the mixture one at a time.
- Mix the oil into the mixture.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
- Mix the cocoa & other dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture to form a cake batter.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 2hrs at 150°C
- Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting or serving with slightly sweetened whipped cream.
Melting Moments are without doubt my favorite biscuit and a freshly baked tray doesn't last very long in our home. The buttery goodness of these biscuits crumbles and melts in the mouth and is perfectly complemented by the orange and vanilla flavors of the creamy filling which holds them together. If you are planning to entertain with these be sure to make more than you need because I'm pretty sure that quite a few will not make it to the table.
Yield: 12 biscuits
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.
- 1/2 cup of sifted icing sugar.
- 250g of butter cut into cubes.
- 1 1/2 cups of plain flour.
- 1/2 cup cornflour.
- 60g of softened butter.
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.
- zest of 1 orange grated.
- 2/3 cup of sifted icing sugar.
- Heat oven to 320F or 160C
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place vanilla essence, butter, and icing sugar in an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy.
- Mix flour and corn flour together and sift.
- Add sifted flours to the butter mixture and beat together gently until just combined into a dough.
- roll the dough into small balls and place onto baking trays
- Flatten each ball with a fork until they are about 1" in diameter and 1/2" thick.
- Bake each tray for 15 - 20 minutes until cooked.
- Set aside and allow to cool.
- While the biscuits are cooling add filling ingredients to a small bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until pale and creamy.
- Put Melting Moments together by putting a layer of filling on the flat side of one biscuit and pressing together with another.
What is Roux ?
If you are anything like me you may have been vaguely aware that roux is the stuff that you make before you add milk to make white sauce, cheese sauce, and then quite possibly Mac Cheese, which by the way is one of my favorite dishes. Recently I have started to research the basic techniques of cooking and have been surprised to discover that although the recipe for roux is very simple that there are different types of roux which have different smells, tastes, and textures and that the different types of rouxs are used for different purposes.
Roux is in its essence is a mixture of an edible liquid fat, usually clarified butter, and plain flour which is used as the base for sauces and gravies or as a thickening agent which can be added to soups and stews. The recipe is very simple - heat the fat over a medium heat , add the flour, and stir until, the roux reaches your desired color and consistency.
Warning: If you are tasting the roux during the cooking process take a small spoonful from the pot and let it cool down before tasting; If you do not let it cool down to a safe temperature before tasting you will burn yourself.
There are four basic types of roux which are all created using the same basic recipe and are used as a base for different dishes.
Types of Roux and their uses.
Left to right: white, blonde, brown, dark.
A white roux is cooked for a few minutes until the liquid is bubbling vigorously and the raw flour smell has gone, the mixture is removed from heat before it starts to brown. If you taste the roux at this stage it will still be quite grainy and won't have much flavor making it perfect for use in white milk based sauces such as bechamel for lasagne and cheese sauce for macaroni cheese.
Blonde roux is cooked for about 15 - 20 minutes until the mixture begins to smell a bit like popcorn an starts to turn a light brown color; at this point the mixture will become a little thinner and bubbling will slow. Blonde roux is most commonly used to thicken stock based white sauces such as veloute, in poultry gravies, and as a base creamy veloute soups.
Brown roux is made using clarified butter, or another fat such as lard which can withstand higher cooking temperatures and is cooked for for longer again, approximately 35 - 40 minutes, until it becomes approximately the color of peanut butter and starts to develop a nutty aroma; a brown roux will be even thinner than a blond roux and will bubble even less. Brown roux is used as the base for dark gravies and brown sauces such as espagnole which another of the 5 mother sauces of French cuisine.
Dark roux is often created using a fat such as bacon fat or an oil which can withstand very high temperatures and is cooked for approximately 45 - 50 minutes, until it becomes the color of melted chocolate, and starts to smell distinctly nutty; The roux will have a strong flavor at this point and will have stopped bubbling altogether. Dark roux is most often used in cajun cuisine to make tasty dishes such as gumbo.
Roux can be used straight away after it has been cooked or it can be poured into a grease proof paper lined baking tray and refridgerated until it has set. Once set it can be broken into pieces and stored in the fridge or freezer for extended periods in an airtight bag or container.
When it comes time to use the roux you have created the golden rule is never to mix cold roux with cold liquid as it will become lumpy and never mixhot roux with hot liquid as it will splash and burn. Coldish i.e. room temperature can be successfully added gradually to liquids such as stocks and vice versa.
The other other thing I have learned in my roux adventure is that the darker the rough the thinner it gets and the less effective it is as a thickening agent; this is due to the starch in the flour breaking down during the cooking process. A heavily browned roux can have as little as 1/3 of the thickening power as white roux so more dark roux needs to be added to thicken up a sauce. The good news is that the darker the roux, the more rich nutty flavor it imparts to the dishes it is used in.
Perfect Scrambled Eggs
I've always loved creamy moist scrambled eggs but I could never work out how to make them myself and my scambled eggs would invariably turn out a little dry with a somewhat rubbery texture. It turns out I was using the right ingredients but having discovered a couple of very simple tricks of the trade which make the recipe ridiculously easy I am now known as the scrambled egg king at home.
If you can get freshly laid eggs from a local farm you will taste the difference if not just try and get your hands on the freshest free range eggs you can.
Yield: 2 Serves
- 4 large fresh free range eggs .. The fresher the better !
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 cup of milk
- Large pinch of salt to season
- Melt the butter in a medium fry pan over a medium heat being careful not to overheat or burn the butter.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly.
- Add the milk and mix into eggs.
- Do Not add salt at this point.
- Pour milk and eggs into the fry pan and allow to cook for a a few second before you start stirring.
- Stir the eggs constantly using a spoon or a spatula working from the edge of the pan towards the centre ensuring that they do not overcook.
- Add the salt when the eggs are almost set but are still quite moist and continue stirring.
- Take the eggs off the heat when they are just a tiny bit under cooked and allow them to cook through.
- Serve on thick buttery toast.
Easy Lemonade scones
I've tried many scone recipes over the years but this one is the quickest and easiest I have found and has never failed to deliver fresh scones which are delicious with jam and fresh cream. If you need to whip up morning or afternoon tea for unexpected visitors this recipe is perfect.
Yield: Makes 12
- 450g (3 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
- 250ml (1 cup) thick cream
- 250ml (1 cup) lemonade
- 1 pinch of salt
- Milk for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 210C. Lightly grease a baking tray.
- Place the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the cream and lemonade and mix with a butter knife to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured workbench and knead lightly until combined.
- Press the dough with your hands to a thickness of about 2cm. Use a 6cm round cutter to cut out 8 scones, place on baking tray and brush the tops with some milk. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.
- Serve with your favourite jam and cream.
Self Saucing Butterscotch Pudding
If I'm looking for a hot dessert to finish off a meal with family and friends this is one of my go to recipe. It is quick and easy to prepare and has never failed to have people coming back for more. I love to serve this pudding warm out of the oven with a large scoop of vanilla icecream melting in a bowl with it.
Yield: Serves 6 - 8
Ingredients - Pudding
- 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
- 150g (3/4 cup) sugar
- pinch of salt
- 125ml (1/2 cup) milk
- 60g (2 oz) butter
Ingredients - Sauce
- 2 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
- 30g (1 oz) butter
- 375ml (1 1/2 cups) hot water
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease an oven dish
- Sift sugar, flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Melt the butter and add to flour mixture with milk . Combine thoroughly and place into the greased oven dish.
- Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter melts
- Pour sauce mixture over the pudding mixture and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the pudding is a dark golden brown colour an a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Let's get this out ... I love eating pasta and for me there is nothing much that beats freshly made fettuccini lightly coated with a delicious fresh made sauce. Making the dough is a simple process and although rolling pasta can be a little tricky it is well worth the effort once you have learned how.
Yield: 12 serves
- 600g (4 cups) bakers 00 flour, sifted
- 6 eggs
- Place flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle.
- Crack the eggs into the well and combine with the flour using your fingers.
Dont be shy when you are kneading your pasta dough it will take some work. You will probably get to a point where the dough is crumbly and looks like it needs another egg; be assured it doesn't, keep kneading for just a little while longer and it will pull together nicely and become silky smooth.
- Wrap the dough in cling wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour before rolling.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, remove the cling wrap, and divide it into four equal portions.
- If you are really keen you can roll the dough out using a long rolling pin on a bench floured with 00 flour and cutting it into strips about 5mm wide. Having said (and done) this I would recommend investing in a good pasta machine to make your life easier.
- If you are using a pasta machine dust the rollers in flour and set it to its maximum thickness then pass one piece of dough through it. repeat this process until the dough is nice and thin.
- Change the attachment on the pasta machine to the fettuccini cutter and pass the pasta sheets through it to make thin strips. Make sure you prevent the fettuccini from clumping by using a loose grip to toss it gently in flour.
- Repeat this process with the remaining pieces of dough until you have the desired quantity of pasta. Any unused dough can be wrapped in cling wrap and returned to the fridge.
- To cook the fettuccini add it to salted boiling water and cook for around 5 minutes until al dente.