Thursday, 25 October 2012

Creepy graveyard cake

It's fun making this from scratch, but to save time, you could use Malted Milk biscuits for the headstones

Serves 20

515g butter, salted
300g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
300g self-raising flour
2 level tsp baking powder
4 tbsp milk
150g plain flour
15g cornflour
15g cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
75g plain chocolate for cooking
300g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
Chocolate sprinkles
White piping icing
Ready to roll icing

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line a 23cm x 32cm roasting tin with baking paper. Beat 250g butter until really soft. Add 250g caster sugar, the eggs, self-raising flour, baking powder and 2tbsp of the milk. Beat together until evenly mixed and creamy.

2. Put in the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Cool on a wire rack.

3. For the biscuit headstones, mix 115g butter with 50g of the caster sugar. Divide into two equal portions and add half the plain flour and the cornflour to one portion, and the rest of the flour and the cocoa to the other. Mix until just evenly blended. Pat each piece of dough into a flat block, wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.

4. Roll out each piece of dough between two sheets of cling film, to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut out rectangles and crosses. Lift onto baking trays and bake for 10 minutes. Leave to cool.

5. For the chocolate butter icing, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl by standing over a pan of simmering water (the base of the bowl must not touch the water). Cool until tepid and still a liquid. Beat 150g butter until soft and then gradually add the icing sugar. Add 2tbsp milk and the melted chocolate, and beat until light and creamy.

6. Spread the top of the cake and three rectangle biscuits with the chocolate butter icing. Sprinkle the biscuits with chocolate sprinkles and put on the cake to represent graves.

7. Dust two light coloured biscuits with cocoa and one dark one with icing sugar. Pipe 'RIP' and put on the cake, along with worms made from the rolled out icing. You'll have biscuits left over, which can be served separately.

Per serving:

Calories - 451
Fat - 25.2g
Sat Fat - 15.4g

Pumpkin, pine nut and honey cake

This is a lovely moist, spiced cake that freezes well without the icing

Serves 12

225g self-raising flour
1 level tsp ground ginger
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
175g butter, softened
100g light soft brown sugar
100g clear honey
2 large free-range eggs
150g pumpkin or butternut squash (weighed without seeds and skin), grated
100g pine nuts
50g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease a 23cm round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

2. Sift the flour, ginger and cinnamon together.

3. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the honey and beat again.

4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour mix with each.

5. Fold in the rest of the flour, the grated pumpkin and pine nuts. Spoon into the cake tin and level the top.

6. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Cool on a wire rack.

7. Mix the icing sugar with 1.5tsp water and drizzle on top.

Per serving:

Calories - 318
Fat - 19.2g
Sat Fat - 8.4g

Tuna and sweetcorn shells

Serves 4

200g conchiglie pasta shells
50g butter
50g flour
Pinch of cayenne
600ml skimmed milk
6 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
100g Red Leicester cheese, grated
400g Skipjack Tuna Steaks in Brine, drained
325g sweetcorn, drained
100g frozen peas

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Grease an ovenproof dish and a sheet of foil large enough to cover it. Cook the pasta shells for 2 minutes less than instructed. Drain.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cayenne. Cook, stirring, for one minute. Away from the heat, gradually whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and bring up to the boil, whisking all the time until thickened. Remove from the heat, add the sundried tomatoes and season.

3. Off the heat, add half the cheese and stir until melted.

4. Stir in the pasta, tuna, sweetcorn and peas, then put in the ovenproof dish. Sprinkle on the reserved cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and the cheese is melted.

Per serving:

Calories - 644
Fat - 23.5g
Sat Fat - 12.6g

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Macaroni with double cheese

A twist on the classic dish - the vegetables will help towards your five a day.

Serves 4

200g macaroni
200g small cauliflower florets
200g broccoli florets
50g butter
50g flour
Pinch of cayenne
600ml skimmed milk
1 level tsp Dijon mustard
75g extra mature Cheddar, grated
50g Stilton, crumbled
4 tomatoes, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Grease an ovenproof dish and sheet of foil large enough to cover it. Add the macaroni to a large pan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than instructed. Drain.

2. Add the cauliflower and broccoli to a large pan of boiling water and boil for 4 minutes. Drain.

3. Melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the flour and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, whisking, until the sauce has thickened. Add the mustard and season. Remove from the heat.

4. Set aside 25g of the Cheddar. Add the rest plus the Stilton, and stir until melted.

5. Stir in the pasta and veg and 3tbsp water, then put in the dish. Sprinkle with the reserved Cheddar and top with the tomato slices. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Per serving:

Calories - 573
Fat - 24.1g
Sat Fat - 14g

1 of your 5 a day

Sweet potato and goat's cheese salad

A substantial salad with a combination of flavours that tastes as good as it looks.

Serves 4

50g pine nuts
2 small red onions
400g sweet potatoes (peeled weight) cut into 1cm cubes
2tbsp olive oil
1 level tsp soft brown sugar
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
70g wild rocket
200g goat's cheese
4tbsp Balsamic glaze

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Put the pine nuts on one and cook for 5 minutes until golden (time it, as they burn easily). Tip onto a plate.

2. Halve the onions, peel and cut into thin wedges. Put in a large bowl with the sweet potatoes, oil and sugar and toss to ensure they're evenly coated. Spread out on the other baking tray and roast for 15 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 10-15minutes, then leave to cool slightly.

4. Share the rocket between four plates. Add the warm roasted veg, cut the cheese into small pieces and scatter on top with the pine nuts. Drizzle on the balsamic glaze and serve.

Per serving:

Calories - 381
Fat - 22.1g
Sat Fat - 9.7g

2 of your 5 a day

American apple pancakes

Peel, core and coarsely grate a Bramley apple.
Sift 250g plain flour and 2 level tsp baking powder in a bowl. Add 40g caster sugar and a pinch of salt.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and gently whisk in 2 eggs and 300ml of milk until you have a smooth batter.
Mix in the grated apple and fry the pancakes in a little oil until they ate golden.
Serve with maple syrup.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Peanut butter rice crisps

Peanut butter rice crisps

Grease and line an 18cm shallow square tin.
Melt 50g butter in a pan. Add 180g mini marshmallows and heat, stirring, until melted.
Remove from the heat and stir in 100g peanut butter until evenly mixed. Add 75g Rice crispies (or a store's own brand) and stir gently until they're all coated.
Put in the tin and level the top. Leave until cold, then cut into squares.

Makes 16

Per serving:

Calories - 116
Fat - 5.9g 
Sat Fat - 2.4g

Salmon and asparagus mini pies

Salmon and asparagus mini pies

560g salmon fillets
1½tbsp lemon juice
2tsp Blue Dragon fish sauce
150g asparagus
4tbsp creme fraiche
2-3tbsp chopped fresh dill
Finely grated lemon zest ½ lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
500g pack ready to roll shortcrust pastry
Flour for rollin out

Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Put the salmon fillets on a large piece of foil. Mix 3 tbsp water with the lemon juice and fish sauce, pour over the fish, then season. Fold up the foil to make a parcel but leave room inside for the air to circulate. Transfer to a baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the unopened parcel.
Meanwhile, bend the asparagus until they snap and discard the tough ends. Put on another sheet or foil and sprinkle with 2tbsp water. Make a parcel with the foil and put on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 10 mins. Remove from the oven and cut the asparagus into 1cm pieces.
Drain the salmon cooking liquid into a jug and reserve. Skin and flake the salmon and mix with the asparagus. Mix half the liquid with the creme fraiche, dill and zest. Add 1 egg and whisk with a fork until evenly blended.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cut out 8 x 8cm and 8 x 11cm rounds. Use the larger rounds to line the holes of a muffin tin. Fill with the salmon and asparagus mixture , then pour in enough sauce to come almost to the top.
Put the smaller rounds on top, pressing the edges together. Beat the other egg and use to brush the top of the pastry. Make a small hole in the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

Makes 8

Per serving:

Calories: 360
Fat: 23.6g
Sat Fat: 7.2g

Honey and walnut cake

Honey and walnut cake

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Line a 20com shaloow tin with baking paper. Put 100g walnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-6 minutes. Chop roughly and set aside.
Melt 175g butter in a pan. Add 100g clear honey and 100g caster sugar, heat gentlly, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then pour into a bowl and leave until lukewarm.
Lightly beat 3 large free-range eggs and add to the honey mixture using a wire whisk to make sure they're evenly mixed in.
Gently stir in the walnuts and 225g self-raising flour. Pour into the tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool on a wire rack. Cut into slices to serve.

Serves 12

Per serving:

Calories - 248
Fat - 15.9g
Sat Fat - 7g



300g new potatoes 
150g frozen peas 
25g butter
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1tbsp chopped fresh thyme
150g hard goat's cheese, crumbled
8 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten and seasoned

Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain, then slice thickly. Boil the peas for 2 minutes and drain.
Melt the butter in a nonstick frying pan and cook the spring onions until soft. Add the potato and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning halfway through. Add the peas and thyme and stir briefly.
Pour the eggs into the pan, then sprinkle in two thirds of the cheese. Cook over a low heat without stirring, until the egg is set except for a thin film in top.
Transfer to a baking tray, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and grill until the top sets. Slide on to a plate and leave to cool.
Cut into wedges and serve.

Serves 4

Per serving:

Calories - 453
Fat - 30.9g
Sat Fat - 14.3g

Artichoke dip

Artichoke dip

Drain a 400g can Green Giant Artichoke Hearts and put in a food processor with 150g Plain soft cheese, 1tsp lemon juice, 4tbsp Mayonnaise, 2tbsp Greek style yogurt and small crushed garlic clove. Season well and whizz to a purée.
Serve with carrot, celery and red pepper sticks and breadsticks. For a more filling snack serve with pitta bread.

Serves 4

Per serving:

(without pitta bread)

Calories: 238
Fat: 22.2g
Sat Fat: 11.5g

Please note the nutritional values given will be slightly lower than the actual values as this recipe orginally used fat free and low fat versions of products but I replaced these with normal versions to increase calorie and fat contents.

Posh fish finger butties

Posh fish finger butties with mushy peas and potato wedges

To make fish finger butties:

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Break 100g of ciabatta (preferably tow days old) into bits and put into a processor with the grated zest of 1/2 an unwaxed lemon, 1/2tsp smoked paprika, a good pinch of cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Whizz into fine crumbs. Put in a shallow dish.
Lightly beat 1 large free range egg with 1tbsp olive oil and 15g melted butter and put in another shallow dish. Put 3tbsp flour on a plate.
Take 4 x 125g pieces line caught cod loin and coat one piece in the flour, shaking of the excess. Dip it in the egg mixture, then the crumbs, patting the crumbs on firmly. Put on a baking tray and repeat with the other pieces of fish. Discard any leftover crumb mixture.
Cook for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Split 4 Ciabatta rolls in half and fill with the fish, salad leaves and mayonnaise. Serve with mushy peas and potato wedges.

To make mushy peas:

Put 350g frozen peas in a pan with 1/4tsp sugar and 2 mint leaves. Cover with boiling water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1-2tbsp liquid.
Whizz in a processor together with the reserved liquid and 4tbsp reduced-fat crème fraîche to make a rough purée. Season to taste.

To make the potato wedges:

Cut 3 baking potatoes into wedges. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 4 minutes. Drain.
Return to the pan and stand over a low heat for 1 minute to allow any moisure to evaporate. Tip into a bowl, add 1tbsp oil and toss to coat.
Spread on a baking tray and cook at 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 for 35-40 minutes.

Serves: 4

Per serving:

Calories - 834
Fat - 36g
Sat Fat -12.4g

Sausage Meatballs

Sausage Meatballs

This is a great appetizer or snack. It can easily be frozen into individual servings that can be reheated at a later time.

Prep time: 30 minutes


1 lb. pork sausage, raw
3/4 c. all purpose baking mix
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c. onion, chopped finely


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
Form mixture into 1 inch (2 1/2 centimeters) balls.
Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. Center temperature of the sausage balls must exceed 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73 degrees Celsius).
Serves: 12

Serving size: 3 sausage balls

Nutritional analysis (per serving):

278 calories
12 g protein
23 g fat
571 mg sodium
151 mg calcium

Note: Nutritional analysis may vary depending on ingredient brands used.

Variations and suggestions:

This dish can easily be frozen before or after you cook it. Make some today and freeze half of the batch to serve at a later date.