Thumbprint Biscuits

This is such a simple recipe, and perfect for kiddies to make.  Try your hand at this frugal, and exceedingly yummy recipe.  All in all, I think it cost approximately 45p to make 12 biscuits…

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Ingredients

50g butter – softened
75g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cap vanilla essence
100g plain flour
Jam / Nutella / Lemon Curd
Method
 
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line your baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Using the back of a large, wooden spoon, cream the butter in a large bowl, then add the sugar. Continue to cream together.
3. Add the egg yolk, and vanilla essence, and continue stirring with the wooden spoon.
4. Add the flour, part by part, and combine thoroughly. When it becomes difficult to mix, get your hands in there to form a dough ball.
5. “Pinch an inch”, and roll in to ball shapes. Place on the lined baking tray.
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6. Use your thumb, and press down in the middle of each ball, creating a well.
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7. Add a teaspoon full of your jam (or Nutella / lemon curd), ensuring that the mixture doesn’t overflow too much.
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8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
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9. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the baking tray for approximately 5 minutes or so, before placing them on a cooling wire rack.
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10. Enjoy!!
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Slow Cooker Chicken & Tomatoes

This recipe is slightly different to my Italian Chicken in Tomatoes; where as I used slightly different ingredients, and I cooked this using my slow cooker (crock pot).  However, if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can very easily make this in the oven too.  I have included both methods – one for the slow cooker, and the other for the oven.

I absolutely, well and truly think that this recipe beats my previous Italian Chicken in Tomatoes.

Enjoy x

 

Ingredients

1 (or 2) chicken breasts per person

Garlic and herb cream cheese (I used Asdas’ own)

1 tin of peeled, plummed tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

A “good shaking” of paprika (I used approx. 1 dessert spoon)

Salt & pepper

About 80g of your favourite hard cheese (red Leicester, Cheddar, Cheshire, etc.)

 

Method for the slow cooker

Using a sharp knife, butterfly the chicken breasts (this is when you slice the chicken breast in half, but not all the way through).

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Using a butter knife, spread a “good” quantity of the cream cheese inside the chicken breast, then close it back up.  You now have a “stuffed chicken breast”.

Place the breasts inside the ceramic pot/bowl, inside of the slow cooker; trying not to overlap each piece.

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In a jug (or bowl), pour the tinned plum tomatoes, and “mush” them up with a fork.  If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can blend the tomatoes instead.  When you are happy with the consistency of the tomatoes, add the olive oil, paprika, and salt & pepper (to taste).  Give a final stir.

Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken breasts, and place the lid on (I got my son to help me with this).

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Turn on your slow cooker to “HIGH” for 5 hours, or “LOW” for 8 hours.

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When there is only approx. 30 minutes to go, carefully lift the lid and sprinkle some grated cheese over the chicken breasts.  Replace the lid and allow to continue to cook.

Serve with anything you like (veg, potatoes, pasta, rice…).

Enjoy!

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Method for the oven

Preheat the oven to 210C (190C for fan assisted ovens).

Using a sharp knife, butterfly the chicken breasts (this is when you slice the chicken breast in half, but not all the way through).

Using a butter knife, spread a “good” quantity of the cream cheese inside the chicken breast, then close it back up.  You now have a “stuffed chicken breast”.

Place the breasts inside an oven proof glass / ceramic dish; trying not to overlap each piece.

In a jug (or bowl), pour the tinned plum tomatoes, and “mush” them up with a fork.  If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can blend the tomatoes instead.  When you are happy with the consistency of the tomatoes, add the olive oil, paprika, and salt & pepper (to taste).  Give a final stir.

Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken breasts, place the lid on and place in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.

When the time is up, sprinkle the grated cheese over the breasts, replace the lid, and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Serve with anything you like (veg, potatoes, pasta, rice…).

Enjoy!

Cooking up a storm…

So today I decided that I was going to have a baking day.

I had wanted to make cupcakes for a while now, and with it being Easter weekend, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make my Easter nest cupcakes…  But that wasn’t good enough for me.  So I made some giant meringues too!

So here’s the cupcakes:

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And another shot up close…

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Here’s how to make them:

Cupcakes:

Preheat your oven to 150C (for fan assist)

Place paper cupcake cases in a cupcake tin (I made 24 with this amount)

In a large mixing bowl, add 8oz self-raising flour, 8oz caster sugar, 8oz butter, 4 large (free range) eggs and 3 caps of lemon flavouring.

Whisk it all together using an electric mixer.  Once it is all creamed together, scoop evenly in to the cupcake cases.

Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes (remember the skewer test!  The skewer must come out clean).

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Butter frosting:

Cream 5oz butter in a large mixing bowl.

Add 10oz icing sugar, spoon by spoon, and ensure all is mixed together thoroughly.

Scoop in to a piping bag, then pipe a ‘nest’ on the top of each cake.

Add one, two or three Cadbury’s mini eggs in the middle.

Ta-da!!

So how about my giant meringues?  They’ve turned out super scrummy!!

Let’s do the ‘how to’ first, as I do have a couple of pictures along the way…

What you need:

4 large egg (you’ll only need the whites)

4oz caster sugar

4oz icing sugar

Here’s what to do:

Preheat the oven to 100C (fan assisted).  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Place the 4 egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Using an electric whisk on a medium speed, whisk them until they appear ‘stiff’.

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Keep going until you are confident enough to do the ‘head test’.  This is where you hold the bowl, upsidedown, over your head.  Don’t worry!  The mixture should be stiff enough not to move, and it will form little ‘peaks’ when you lift the mixture with a spoon / whisk.

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Now it’s time to add the caster sugar.  You can turn the electric whisk to a high speed now.  Add the sugar, one spoonful at a time.

Keep mixing until the egg whites look ‘silky’ and smooth.

You can now get rid of the whisk and grab a large metal spoon.

Add the icing sugar, bit by bit, and use the large metal spoon to ‘fold’ the icing sugar in.

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Once complete, the mixture should look ‘silky’ and smooth, but you shouldn’t see any powder residue…

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Spoon the mixture directly on to the grease-proof lined baking tray, in ‘blobs’.  Or, if you’re feeling artistic, fill up your piping bag, and create little ‘wisps’, or clouds, or nests…

Pop the trays in the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Do *NOT* open the oven door during this time-frame.

When your timer goes off, ‘tap’ on the meringues.  They should sound hollow, and be a creamy / golden brown colour.

Ta-da!  Done.

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And just to show you exactly how large these beasts were…

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