Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Classic Pancakes - the hassle & mess-free way

Happy Pancake Day! 

I thought I'd share my pancake recipe/method with you... don't get me wrong it's a simple pancake recipe, I haven't messed with it! But I think that this is the simplest and most mess free way to do it - perfect for kids.

You need:
100g plain flour
1/2 pint milk
1 egg
a pinch of salt

Measure everything out.

Now... here's the simple bit. Put the 1/2 pint milk back into the milk bottle (if you have more milk than this you will of course need to store the excess in a jug).
Add the other ingredients into the milk bottle. Screw the lid on TIGHTLY!

Then shake it! Cue crazy shaking dance around the kitchen! 

Check that it's lump free. If not, just shake some more.
And that's it done. Leave to stand for around 20 minutes (if you have time, but don't worry if not).
You should now have beautifully smooth pancake mix in a ready-made pouring jug and no messy bowls, whisks, spooons etc to wash up. Joy!
I hope you enjoy your pancakes as much as we did. Now if you'll excuse me I must roll off to flop onto the sofa. x

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Simple cocktail for a romantic night in

I would like to introduce you to the Bellini (cocktail) ...if you need introducing:
Bellini is a long drink cocktail that originated in Venice. It is a mixture of sparkling wine (traditionally Prosecco) and peach purée. It's one of Italy's most popular cocktails.

I'm not generally a fan of making cocktails at home - too many weird ingredients that you'll be left with for months going slowly sticky and disgusting in your cupboards! 
However, this little beauty is simple seductive and scrumptious (if you have yet to celebrate Valentines Day then that would be the ideal excuse for one or three of these!). 

All you need is peach purée and Prosecco or some other kind of sparkling white wine. At this time of year getting your hands on decent peaches could be tricky and who needs the mess of pulping them anyway?! 
I highly recommend that you grab yourself some ready made peach purée (see pic). 
[I'm not sure if it's widely available but Waitrose definitely stocks it].

1/4 fill a glass with peach, add a little wine and stir gently to combine. Then just top it up with more fizz.

Delicately fruity and delicious.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Melt-in-the-Middle Chocolate Brownie Cake

One of my favourite shop-bought puds are those melt in the middle chocolate puddings. They are just sooo sweet and wonderfully gloopy. However I do think they are a bit on the pricey side. So, here is my own recipe. Tried and tested.
It's easy and makes a slim cake shaped pudding. Just cut into generous slices and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Use a regular cake tin. Lightly grease it with butter. Preheat the oven to 160C.

Melt 100g butter and 200g soft brown sugar over a low heat. Allow to cool slightly.

Then whisk in 40g cocoa, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 100g plain flour, a pinch of baking powder and a pinch of salt. 
Keep whisking away until it is lovely and smooth and what you might call 'dropping consistency'. If it seems a bit too stiff then add a little milk.
Give it a wiggle until it is evenly distributed. Put into the oven - middle shelf. Now, the important thing is to really keep an eye on it. 
My pudding was ready after 15 minutes, so use that as a guide. This is a very simple recipe but if you leave it too long you will have a dry chocolate cake with no ooze-factor. Disaster.
It's ready when it looks cooked on top but has a slight wobble in the middle. Take it out of the oven and allow it to stand for 2 minutes.
Turn it out. Cut into generous slices and serve while it's still warm with vanilla ice cream. Your desert should have a chocolate Brownie style top, a cakey bottom and a melting middle.  
I promise... there will be no need to head to M&S for those puds any more!