Zillionaire bars 💰🍿

I’d been wanting to try something like this out for a while (along with about 100 other recipes) but finally got round to it last week.

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I called them zillionaire bars because although they are a variation on the classic millionaire shortbread, they’re so much better! For example: they’re bigger, they’re better, they’re richer (get it!?) and if that isn’t blingy enough for you they’re sprinkled with golden nuggets of joy!

 

 

 

So here’s the fun part – POPCORN!!!

I won’t bore you with the details, I mean everyone knows how to make popcorn right? And if not – follow the instructions on the packet (or if you’re feeling lazy buy a bag ready done, shhhh!)

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Then toss the warm popcorn in a bowl with a cup of sunflower oil and 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup and press firmly into your tin. Don’t worry if you crush it a little, you want to create quite compact base.

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 180c until slightly coloured and stuck together.

 

 

 

Next make your caramel middle: in a large saucepan melt 60g butter with 75g golden syrup until combined. Then add two tins of condensed milk and heat gently, stirring constantly for around 10 minutes until thickened. Finally add a generous sprinkle of sea salt and stir in.

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Pour this over your popcorn base trying to make sure it’s all covered in a nice even layer. Pop it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until golden and set.

I love that the middle layer is double cooked it takes from the usual gooey caramel of a millionaire slice, to a thicker fudgier consistency.

 

 

 

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Leave to cool completely and then top with melted chocolate, I used a mix of dark and milk chocolate (about 75% dark 25% milk)

Then … Wait for it … Sprinkle the top with popping candy 😍 Mine coincidentally were golden in colour.

Pop into the fridge until firm (or freezer if you’re in a hurry/can’t wait to eat some) but I advise leaving it at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before slicing so that the chocolate is a little more pliable and doesn’t snap when you cut into it.

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I would advise small bitesized squares because as I said they’re quite rich, but hey that just means there’s more to go round!

Or not as the case may be 😉

Best ever banana bread

I’m trying to do more baking and experimenting at the moment,  I have always tried to bake at least once a week but recently I’ve been slacking – but slack no more! I have a feeling a lot of it may go into the “shhh lets just pretend that never happened/how can I make that better” posts, but I guess that’s the best way to improve and grow!

My family have never been a big fan of banana bread, so this week I was determined to turn that around. I know it sounds weird but because of their hesitation I didn’t want to make my  bread overly sweet and “bananay” so I used ripe but not black bananas. I wanted to make one that was actually healthy and not fully of refined sugars and grains.

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Oh and did I mention it’s green because it’s got courgettes in it too!

 

 

 

 

In a large bowl combine all the wet ingredients: 1 cup of grated courgette, (I put mine in a colander and let it drain for half an hour before squeezing out any excess liquid) two mashed bananas, 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil, 1/3 cup of honey and 4 whisked eggs.

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In another bowl combined: 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp of both ginger and cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger and cardomom, 1/4 tsp mixed spice and turmeric and a grinding of pepper (to absorb the benefits of the turmeric).

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Beat the dry ingredients into the wet and then fold in 1/4 – 1/2 cup each of sultanas and walnuts, but you could use any dried fruit, nuts or seeds.

Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin and bake at 180c for 35-40 minutes.

 

 

 

When it comes out of the oven leave to cool in the tin for at least ten minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Okay so it looks a little black on top – but I swear I did it on purpose – my mum and I particularly like a crusty crust on a cake or loaf. But if you don’t take it out a little earlier or cover with tinfoil for the last fifteen minutes of baking.

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You can eat this one of three ways:

  1. Warm 20-30 minutes after its come out of the oven.
  2. Cold the next day.
  3. Toasted with salted butter the day after.

Its not not going to be around much longer than that so you don’t really need any other methods, but if there’s any others please let me know!

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This was warm after it came out the oven, and served with cinnamon-honey creme fraiche.

 

… and they liked it by the way!

 

 

Oh and the healthy side:

coconut flour – high in fibre and protein and low in sugar.

honey and bananas make it naturally sweet and free from refined sugars.

Walnuts are full of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties, as does turmeric when paired with black pepper.

And the best of all its two of your seven a day – IN A CAKE!!!!!!

Time for Tea?

I did a thing!!!! 😄

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I threw an afternoon tea party for all my favourite females!

 

 

 

 

I am not going to lie … It was bloomin’ hard and took a lot of work! because I made eevvverything singlehandedly from scratch, but I couldn’t have been happier with how it came out!

Here is what went down:

when my guests arrived they were served my mums homemade lemonade and Pimms Royale – that is; Pimms with the usual -ginger, cucumber and mint etc and topped with a bottle of prosecco.

followed by a wide selection of teas and sandwiches, made on fresh bread I went all the way to the lovely Westbourne Bakery in the morning to get –

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on granary bread we had rare roast beef and horseradish, then on white bread, smoked salmon cream cheese and cucumber, and egg mayonaise and cress.

 

 

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And while my guests nibbled on those I rolled out the tea trolley with my sweet afters!

 

 

 

 

 

Miniature classic Victoria sandwiches, dark chocolate caramel meringue kisses, lemon and white chocolate shortbread, and of course mini fruit scones with jam and clotted cream!

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The centre of my sponges were made of an outer ring of vanilla buttercream, a spoonful of raspberry jam (keeping it traditional) and a fresh raspberry, all of which was hidden by the top sponge.

 

 

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My meringue kisses I made by encasing a dark chocolate roll inside meringue mixture – making sure there aren’t any gaps as the caramel will leak out otherwise. Then dipping the bottom in melted dark chocolate.

 

 

 

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Then I think I was the most pleases with my shortbread – they turned out quite pretty!

I spiked my shortbread dough with lemon zest and a little black pepper, then when they were cool dipped the edges in white chocolate and decorated with a few twists of lemon zest.

 

 

I forgot to take a picture of my miniature scones but you can see them poking out at the bottom layer of the trolley there.

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Tired would a be a be an understatement – totally worth it though and I’d love to do it again!

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But if you fancied throwing your own you don’t have to taken on the tea world like me, I mean I much prefer homemade obviously, and normally would say “don’t be lazy, add some love in” but equally would throw that all aside just to have an excuse to spend time with my friends and family – so cheat – there are some really nice sandwich platters and bakery items you can get from supermarkets these days (And anyway, if you throw the packaging away who’s to know 😝)

Quickie cookies.

I went on holiday last week (woohoo). But before I went I had yet another blackening plantain in the fruit bowl and a busy few days at work, so I thought the kitchen team deserved a treat 😊 Generally on a normal weekday there is a little lul in orders when breakfast finishes and before lunch takes off – just enough time to actual drink our tea while its still hot, finish the mornings prep and maybe enjoy a little treat.

So I made us some power cookies to keep us going!

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They were so quick and easy to make! Literally:

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In a bowl I blitzed together half a plantain, an egg and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt until it makes a smooth batter like consistency.

 

 

 

 

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Then fold in 1/2 – 3/4 cup of porridge oats (I used gluten free) and a handful of sultanas. You want enough oats to hold they’re shape when placed on a baking sheet, but if you like a crisper/crunchier cookie add more oats.

 

 

 

 

Scoop about a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half on to a greased and lined baking sheet – I mean I don’t think it makes much difference it means you either eat two smaller or one big 😜

Bake for 10-15 minutes at 180 c – again this depends on how chewy/crunchy you like your cookie.

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Leave on the baking tray to cool completely then store in an airtight container. Or devour straight away. That’s your choice.

Tart with a heart.

I made these tarts for my Mum to serve to her friends at a dinner party she threw recently. I’d gotten the inspiration from my favourite online resource, yep you guessed it Pinterest!

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There were several different variations but it was really just the rose arrangement that I wanted to recreate. And OHHH MYYY was it fiddly !

But as you can see I persisted and was pretty pleased with how they turned out it in the end.

 

 

 

 

Most of the recipes I saw used creme patissiere in their tarts, but I wasn’t feeling it on this occasion (although maybe if I’d used creme pat it would have made for a sturdy base for my apples) So I made instead salted caramel apple tarts.

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For my pastry cases I made a simple sweet shortcrust pastry, much like this recipe I didn’t want to overdo it on the sweetness considering the filling is quite rich and sweet. I baked them blind and when they came out of the oven brushed over an egg white to make an extra seal against any moisture from the filling.

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Next I made my salted caramel 😍 Now the hardest part of this? Not eating majority of it while you’re making it.

I like to use this Nigella recipe it makes a beautifully creamy caramel with a perfect consistency.

But if you wanted a less indulgent caramel you could try my healthy date caramel sauce.

 

 

 

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Then when the pastry cases are cooled add the caramel sauce so it comes halfway up the sides.

 

 

 

 

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Now for the tricky stuff! I used three different apples: Braeburn, pink lady and cox, so that the skin of the apples would give some different shades to the apple “petals”.

I quartered and then very finely sliced the apples and squeezed over the juice of a lemon to stop the apples browning.

 

 

 

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Then heated the apples in the microwave for a couple of minutes, stopping and checking every thirty seconds – you want them to be warm enough to make them pliable.

Starting with a very tight tube for the centre, adding more slices, wrapping them tightly round the central petal and sticking them into the caramel until you fill the whole tart case.

 

 

 

Pop them back into the oven at 180c for 10 minutes until they are golden and the caramel very slightly bubbling. Then leave to cool a little – they are nice slightly warm but are just as tasty if you aren’t eating them right away.

The petals will curl gently like a real rose and with a dusting of icing sugar (and maybe a dollop of creme fraiche) you have an elegant dinner party dessert almost too pretty to eat.

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Honey I’m home!!!!

Hey there stranger! Fancy seeing you here! Do you come here often?

I evidently do not.

But I’m back now and I have just made the best and my new fave speedy pud!

I love plantains but I can’t get them very often as they’re not available in any of my local supermarkets. But when ever I’m in Southsea I head to my favourite Asian supermarket where I know I’ll get them.

Last night, I’d finished my dinner and sat with my dirty dishes in front of me, wondering what sweet treat I could reward myself with once I’d done the washing up. My eyes fell upon the fruit bowl where there sat a coconut, orange and two plantains: one in a much riper state than the other. Literally black. It’s time was nearing …

So I had a play 😊

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In a ovenproof dish (I used a Pyrex ramekin) I mashed half the plantain, then simply mixed in a handful of chopped pecans, walnuts and dark chocolate chunks.

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Then I topped it with some finely chopped white chocolate and a sprinkle of coconut sugar and popped it in the oven at 180c for 20 minutes.

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Then after the agonising wait and countless exciting glances through the oven door, whack it under the grill for five minutes so you get a nice caramelisation to the white chocolate and crunch to the top.

When golden and puffy, remove, and if you can manage, let it sit for a minute or two.

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I topped mine with a dollop of creme fraiche and ate it straight from the ramekin (remember this was to reward myself for doing the washing up, so why would I want to create more!)

To be honest I impressed myself! It was like a hot and healthy(ish) banana bread and took all of 25 minutes to make and bake!

All star avocado

Avocado is so, so versatile! It’s pure creamy texture that isn’t particularly savoury or sweet can be used for pretty much anything! A beautiful blank green canvas.

And recently I used it both ways: to make sweet cookies and savoury crackers. Puréed avocado acts as the base of both eliminating the need for butter and upping all those healthy monounsaturated fats – perfect for lowering cholesterol levels and keeping hearts healthy.

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For my savoury crackers I combined:

1 cup of puréed avocado, 1/2 a cup of gluten free oats, 2 tbsp chopped rosemary, 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes and 2 tbsp flaxseed.

 

 

 

Once combined, spoon on to a greased baking dish and flatten to round discs. Scatter with sea salt and bake for 10-12 minutes at 180c. If you want crisper crackers flip them after 7 minutes and then bake for another 7.

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Perfect for dipping, spreading and accompanying you’re favourite cheese and chutney!

Then what comes after savoury, well sweet of course (admittedly I didn’t make them the same day but there you go)

These amazing cookies start by beating:

3/4 cup avocado puree, 1/4 cup peanut butter, and 1 ripe banana.

Then beating in an egg and a tsp of vanilla essence.

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Lastly fold in 1/2 cup of gluten free oats and 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate.

 

 

 

 

Spoon on to a lined baking sheet, flatten slightly and press in 4/5 chunks of white chocolate.

I like mine slightly gooey and soft in the middle so I left the quote chunky and baked them for about 12 minutes, or until the chocolate starts to turn golden.

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There you have it, two biscuits that taste so good you would never know they’re actually good for you!

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