Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas Pudding Cookies

Readers, I think this will be my last festive bake of the year… an improvement on last though, when I only managed some peppermint chocolate bark on Christmas Eve.

So far I’ve managed some gingerbread reindeers, chocolate star lollies and now, my latest creation the Christmas pudding cookie.  I can’t take full credit – as I messed around with the recipe last week, I made holiday cookies and dipped half in royal icing then covered them in sprinkles.  Mr WhatClaireBaked mentioned that they looked like Christmas puddings turned on their sides – it hadn’t even occurred to me that they could be puddings.  So I vouched to try again this week and actually make puddings.

These are finished with really simple white royal icing and a fondant holly wreath.  I used a Lakeland holly leaf cutter to make the leaf template then rolled little red berries to stick on. 

Helpful hint – when making the cookie dough, make sure to chill the finished dough for at least 40 minutes before putting the cookies into shapes and into the oven – it stops them from spreading out too thinly.

A very Merry Christmas and thanks to all my readers for continuing to read and support my blog!

Christmas Pudding Cookies
Ingredients (makes around 20 cookies)

220g unsalted butter (softened)
225g caster sugar
115g soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
315g plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
Topping
Whites of 2 large eggs
3 cups icing sugar
Fondant to decorate

Method

  1. Cream butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Use an electric mixer if you have one.
  2. Beat eggs together in a separate bowl and gradually add to sugar and butter mix using electric mixer until fluffy.
  3. Add baking powder, cocoa powder and salt to the flour and sift into the eggs, sugar and butter. Fold together using a metal spoon. You should create a dough, once flour is folded in. Bring together into a ball.
  4. Transfer dough ball to a clean bowl and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 40 minutes, ideally an hour, until dough has firmed up.
  5. Whilst dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 190 degrees/ Fan 170 degrees/ Gas 4.  Cover baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  6. Remove dough from fridge and using your hands roll small balls of dough.  Place onto baking sheets, spaced well apart (no more than 4 cookies per baking sheet).
  7. Flatten each ball slightly.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven.
  9. Remove from oven, allow to cook on tray for a few moments to ensure cookies retain their shape. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Whilst cooling, make the royal icing by adding the whites of two large eggs to icing sugar.  Using an electric mixer whisk up the icing until white, smooth and thickened.   Cover with cling film until ready to use.
  11. Make the fondant holly leaves and berries.
  12. Once cooled, spoon icing over the top half of the cookie, like a Christmas pudding.  Top with holly decoration and put in the fridge to set.
  13. Serve once icing has set, or alternatively store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.



Sunday, 13 December 2015

Peanut Butter Nutella Blondies

Readers, I love Nutella.  It probably comes a close second to my love of chocolate. Yes, I’ve been known to be a spoon in a jar type. 

Anyway, the other week, I was craving some sort of dessert with chocolate and went to pinterest for inspiration. I’d heard that blondies were the new brownies but never quite got round to trying them until the other weekend.  Ridiculously easy to make, best served warm with ice cream.

What made these even more enjoyable -  I used my Kenwood mixer for the first time. I inherited it from my Grandma, who is now living in a sheltered house and doesn’t have a need for it.  I was keen to make sure it went to a loving home and by that I don’t mean it would sit in a cupboard for years to come.

My memories of helping make Christmas cakes in it each year, are very fond from my childhood and I’m delighted to say “Maggie” – as she’ll now be known – is going strong.  I’ve also realised that a stand mixer makes the job of baking so much easier – throw everything it and let it do the hard work for you.

I’m sharing a video of Maggie in action for the first time in her new home!

Also thanks toClub31woman for the original recipe – I’ve made some adaptations to make it UK friendly.          

peanut butter nutella blondies

Peanut Butter Nutella Blondies

Ingredients

½ cup softened salted butter

½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup Nutella (warmed in microwave for 30 seconds)
½ bar milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190c/170c fan/Gas 6.
  2. Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla to the mix.
  4. Add the flour and baking powder and continue to mix until just combined.
  5. Add the chopped chocolate, mix into batter, then switch mixer off.
  6. Microwave Nutella for 30 seconds in a microwave proof bowl to soften.
  7. Add the mix to a prepared 8x8 silicone baking tin. Flatten out until even.
  8. Add the Nutella to the top in spoonfuls and swirl into the mixture.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the top has a light crust but it still slightly gooey in the middle.
  10. Remove from tin and allow to cool.  Cut into equal pieces or warm in a bowl in the microwave for 40 seconds and serve with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
    peanut butter nutella blondies


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Reindeer Ginger Biscuits

Readers, I’ve jumped on the pinterest bandwagon and made my own version of the reindeer ginger bread biscuits that I’ve seen all over the internet.  They are ridiculously easy to make… an upside down gingerbread man cutter don’t you know.

A few months back I reviewed choco writers and used these to ice the antlers and faces, as well as sticking the noses to the biscuits.

The recipe is fairly simple and they only took about 12 minutes in my oven.  You want a good crisp biscuit – not a chewy cookie.  The mixture made around 15 biscuits. 

I’m getting in the Christmas spirit at the moment – hoping I might manage another post or two before the man in the big red suit arrives.

reindeer ginger biscuits

Ingredients

175g plain flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Pinch ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g salted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
80g dark brown sugar
1 small egg
1 tablespoon golden syrup

Method

Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan
Sift the ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and flour into a bowl.  Add the butter in small chunks.
Using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients to create breadcrumbs until there are no lumps.
Add the sugar and stir in the syrup.  Mix all ingredients together until you have a firm dough.  If the mix is a little too soft/wet to roll, add more flour and mix in until a firm dough is formed.

Roll out onto a floured board and cut out the shapes using a gingerbread cutter. Put the cut shapes onto a baking tray lined with parchment and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to make sure the shapes stay in place when baked.
Bake for around 10-12 minutes until dark golden.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  

Turn the gingerbread men upside down.  What should be the legs, become the antlers and the arms become ears.  Ice on antlers and ears, a set of eyes and find red smarties (or red m&ms) to use as the nose.  Simple!
These will keep for two to three days in an airtight container.


Merry Christmas!
reindeer ginger biscuit

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Readers, I’ve just discovered that it’s ridiculously easy to make cranberry sauce at home.  It’s 29th November (this post isn’t going up straight away) and in less than half an hour from start to storing I’ve made my own sauce.

Granted, mine is a little tarter than shop bought versions.  But it tastes fresh.  The texture is lumpy from the masses of berries.  Not smooth and jelly like.  The colour is rich and glossy, almost jewel like and if nothing else, midway through the cook I can’t emphasise enough how much your kitchen will smell of all things Christmas.

Oh and the best bit. It’s freezeable.  At this time of year we haven’t swung into full on festive madness, so half an hour in the kitchen is feasible.  Also, who needs to know you prepped your homemade sauce weeks in advance?  Simple solution, make, store, freeze and defrost a couple of days before.  Store in the fridge and bring back up to room temperature an hour or so before serving.  

Easy.

Note though – if you are used to the over-sweetened jelly gloop available for 30p a jar, you might not like this…
easy homemade cranberry sauce

Easy Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients - makes 1 medium & 1 small Tupperware tub

250g fresh cranberries
1 cup preserving sugar
Juice of 2 large oranges
Zest of 1 large orange
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 

Method

  1. Add the cranberries, orange juice, orange zest and preserving sugar to the pan.  Bring to the boil over a high heat.  Add in the cinnamon and stir.
    Cranberries, orange and sugar in the pan
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and cook out for around 8-10 minutes until the cranberries have burst and gone soft.  The sauce should be thickening by now.
    Bring up to the boil
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pan.  Then, transfer to freezer proof tubs with airtight lids.
    Cranberries burst - fully cooked and cooling
  4. Freeze for up to 8 weeks.
  5. Before use, defrost fully overnight in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.
    And serve!


Friday, 20 November 2015

Mojito Cupcakes

Readers, following on from my post on the Mexica party night the other weekend, I thought I’d share my oh so simple recipe for Mojito cupcakes… that’s right folks, MOJITO CUPCAKES. 

Oh so easy to make and you can scale up the rum content depending on your preference. I also made this with dark rum as I had some in the house, but white rum would be the better option.

Also – dried mint worked well… just don’t go overboard and DON’T use it in the icing!

Mojito Cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes)

Sponge

175g self raising flour
175g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
175g caster sugar
5 teaspoons rum
Juice & zest of ½ lime
1 heaped teaspoon dried mint

Topping
125g softened butter
250g icing sugar
1 heaped teaspoon cream cheese
1 teaspoon rum
Zest of 1 lime

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan/Gas 6.  Line a muffin tin with 12 large cupcake cases.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.   Add the rum, lime juice and zest and dried mint.  Mix to combine.
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour to prevent curdling.  Mix fully into the batter, then sieve in the flour. Mix to combine.
  4. Spoon batter into each case, to around ¾ full. 
  5. Transfer to the oven and bake for 17 minutes, until golden.   Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Topping

  1. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to a bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix the butter until smooth and lighter in colour.  Add the icing sugar slowly and continue to mix until buttercream is formed. Add the cream cheese and rum towards the end of mixing.
  2. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe a swirl on top of each.  Finish with grating lime zest on top of each cake.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 


Friday, 13 November 2015

Mini Banoffee Tarts

Readers, I got back to baking this week.  A lot of my recent posts have been cooking focussed so it’s nice to be back baking again.  This recipe is super simple and can be ready in half an hour.  No excuse not to get your bake on.  I was looking at easy tart recipes online – so many cases have to blind baked.  If you don’t have the time, or the baking beans, they can be hard to make.

This recipe creates a delicious caramelised case – be warned, they are hard when first out of the fridge, so allow to come to room temperature if you don’t want granny to break her teeth.  The advantage of this – the cases are firm and hold the filling and the whipped cream without collapsing.
I made 6 small tarts with this recipe, but you could easily double up the recipe if you are feeding a group. 

This is also a cheats recipe that uses only 6 ingredients… bonus!


Mini Banoffee Tarts

Ingredients

For the cases
75g plain flour
60g soft brown sugar
65g unsalted butter


For the filling and topping
6 teaspoons caramel sauce
1 small banana
½ tub Elmlea double cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c.   Melt the butter in the microwave.  Add the flour and sugar to the bowl, along with the melted butter. Mix until you have a sticky dough.
    Mix ingredients for the cases
  2. Take a non-stick muffin pan and grease the inside of each space with vegetable oil.
  3. Divide the mix into six and either roll out and cut with a large cutter, or use your hands to shape each case into the shape of the tin.  They can look a little rustic but try to keep each to the same thickness and height in the tin if possible.
    Mould in the tin
  4. Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes.  When removing from the oven the may have puffed up a bit.  Use the back of a teaspoon to flatten them back out and create the indent for the filling.
    Reshape if required
  5. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.
  6. Whilst cooling, whip up the double cream using an electric whisk until firm.  The peaks need to be strong and be able to be piped.
  7. Once cool, fill each with a teaspoon of caramel sauce, a slice of banana and piped cream. Finish with grated chocolate or a chocolate decoration if desired.
    Fill each case with caramel

    Top caramel with sliced banana
  8. Store in the fridge until 10-15 minutes before serving.  These will keep around 24 hours in the fridge… but probably won’t last that long! 
    The finished article


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Trip to The Cake and Bake Show Edinburgh

Readers, I had a hoot the other weekend, visiting The Cake and Bake Show.  A well established show in London, Cake and Bake hadn’t been over the border to Scotland.  Until now.

Thousands of baking fans flocked to the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh over 3 days to shop, eat and learn about baking from some of the greats in the industry.

I was delighted to be chosen as a blogging partner for The Cake and Bake Show and loved getting involved in the run up to the event with tweets, recipes and ticket competitions.
Press pass... woohoo!

When the big day arrived, I set off early and met my mum who was just as excited as me.   The lovely girls in the press room had a pass ready for my arrival along with a ticket to one of the exclusive classroom sessions which I was hoping to attend.

We started our day meeting none other than the wonderful Gregg Wallace of Masterchef fame.  Mum couldn’t believe it when he struck up a conversation about eating Portuguese Custard Tarts in Lisbon.  Turns out us Brits can’t make a Portuguese Custard Tart properly as our ovens don’t go up to 300c – the temperature that’s needed for the perfect tart!
Meeting Gregg!
After our star spotting start, (trying saying that after a trip to the Champagne bar) we went to see the exhibitors first and pick up some baking bargains.  I was delighted to run into Carol and the gang from Sugar & Crumbs who produce amazing naturally flavoured icing sugars and who’ve been incredibly supportive of the blog since I started.  I said a quick help and picked up some icing sugar from them – the salted caramel is my absolute favourite.  And great to bake with.
Ladies from Sugar and Crumbs


Moving on, Mum bought some bread mixes from Wrights – some may say cheating if it’s a packet mix, but if it encourages non cooks and bakers to get into the kitchen and give it a go, who am I to judge?

We got the bargain of the century at the Great British Bake Off stand – a set of retro scales each for £10.00.  Kitchen at What Claire Baked has recently been painted duck egg blue, so I got a set to match perfectly.
Oooh... bakeware!

To the actual show – we spent so much time getting excited over the exhibitors, we nearly missed the demonstrations.  Mum is huge fan of Flora from this year’s series of GBBO, so I left her happily sitting at the demonstration, whilst I headed off to the classroom session.

Back to the Portuguese Custard Tarts though… even if the oven isn’t hot enough in the UK we’re pushing on anyway.  Turns out these are incredibly easy to make at home AND the kids can get involved in making the custard and the pastry.  Sadly I never had the chance to try one, but I did sit in the front row and get the chance to speak to Aaron Craze who was taking the class – turns out he has family in Dundee… my hometown!  An incredibly enthusiastic chef (ex builder) with great energy: he really fit the bill for a demonstration kitchen.
Aaron Craze
In short, The Cake and Bake Show was an amazing day out and I’m so glad the event organisers have brought it to Scotland.  The classrooms were only a little extra on top of a ticket, so affordable if you had a session you really wanted to go to and learn in a smaller environment.  The mix of exhibitors was great – from ingredients to kitchenware and accessories, there was lots of variety for all budgets.  We could easily have passed a whole day there… and hope to be back at next year’s show!


Disclaimer:  I received a free pass to attend the event,  Any opinions expressed are my own. 





Sunday, 1 November 2015

Come Dine with Me – Glasgow Style

Readers, it’s been a week of blogger challenges since coming back from Mexico.  All very exciting though.   Back in September Ocean Finance got in touch to let me know about a blogger challenge they were running.  Having done some research and discovered that the dining room is the least used room in the house,  they are on a mission to bring back the dinner party with the help of bloggers across the UK.

We moved to Glasgow in August and found ourselves the owners of a massive kitchen – not bad for a 2 bedroom flat, which luckily fits a dining table.  Our old pad had a separate dining space and we loved having friends over for dinner.  There’s something very social about getting together, sharing food and putting the world to rights.

We’d originally planned a formal sit down affair on Friday but having just returned from the aforementioned Mexico, we took inspiration from our Mexican friends and went for something a bit more fun.  That’s the thing – dinner parties have a reputation as formal, old fashioned and stuffy.  But they don’t have to be.  On Friday night, I made enough food to feed a small army and laid it all out buffet style.  Our group got stuck in and did several rounds. 
Getting into the party spirit

Food ready for serving
Party time!
To start the night off, I made prawn and chorizo appetisers – so easy to make, chop chorizo, buy uncooked prawns and cook together in a pan on the hob for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, then string onto skewers.
Prawn & Chorizo Skewers
Also readers, take note… the nutribullet is great to make frozen margaritas… potentially not its intended use, but a great way to impress your guests.
Frozen Margarita


Mains were a sharing affair too.  We had a taco stuffing station, fajita making and mini chilli bowls.  The chilli bowls went down a treat and were gluten free.  It’s not too tough to accommodate special diets.  We have a gluten free friend and managed to make the whole meal gluten free, by adapting the wraps, making the fajita spice mix from scratch AND did you know taco shells are made from corn, not wheat?  Perfect for a wheat and gluten free diet.
Taco station

Nachos


Back to the chilli bowls – take gluten free wraps and cut them into circles.  Grease a muffin tin with sunflower oil and put a wrap in each, microwave rice and put a teaspoonful into each, then top with homemade chilli and cheese.   Cook in the oven for 15 minutes until the wraps are crispy and form a bowl shape.  They are great as a side dish and any leftover chilli that don’t make the bowls can be frozen and enjoyed with a baked potato at a later date.

In Mexico we tried some amazing pico de galo (salsa to everyone else).  I made some for dipping.  It was really tasty – far better than the shop bought version which can be gloopy and not fresh.
Homemade salsa

The tacos went down a treat – I served pulled chicken.  Passata, spices and chicken thighs went into the slow cooker at 8am.  I went to work and left it.  11 hours later, the sauce had incorporated and the chicken was so tender, it was ready for pulling apart and stuffing with lettuce and dips into shells.

I also made some nachos – buy value tortilla chips, grate cheese, layer up and place in the oven. Remove when cheese is melted, then top with jalepeno peppers, salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Dig in.

Dessert was a simple affair – I made mojito cupcakes.   I’ll share the recipe on another post soon, if you want to give them a go too!

Mojito Cupcakes!

So, the facts and figures –

  • Time spent in the kitchen – 2.5 hours (half an hour in the morning, prepping the pulled chicken and two hours before the guests sat down).
  • Total spent - £48.76 including some beers and mixers for the party.   I also invested in an inflatable sombrero beer cooler, fiesta bunting and sombrero napkins to add to the Mexican vibe.
The results
“A great night, the food was ace”.
“It’s lovely to get everyone together and share some food”.
“Sometimes it’s nice to stay in, rather than heading out”.  

So, all in all a success.  The night made the £50 budget, the group had a great time and the dust was blown off the dining table… It’s functional, not an ornament! 

Disclaimer:  I received a contribution from Ocean Finance towards the cost of the dinner party.  Any opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Reece’s Inspired Peanut Butter Chocolate Traybake

Readers, as well as my chocolate obsession, I also love peanut butter AND combining it with chocolate. I love Reece’s peanut butter cups.  Usually I’m not a huge fan of American chocolate but somehow, Reece’s peanut butter cups just work.  

I know my readers love a traybake recipe, so I’ve tried to create a Reece’s inspired traybake this week.  Again, this is super easy to make and the kids can get involved too.

The peanut butter and chocolate works well together and this recipe got a big thumbs up from the taste panel in the family.   Enjoy!
 
chocolate peanut butter traybake

Reece’s Inspired Peanut Butter Chocolate Traybake

Ingredients (makes 9 squares)

150g 35% milk chocolate (for topping)
1 Milky Bar (for topping)
2 cups puffed rice cereal
50g butter
2 heaped dessert spoons golden syrup
2 heaped dessert spoons crunchy peanut butter
100g milk chocolate


Method

  1. Line an 8x8in silicone baking tin with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the milk chocolate, crunchy peanut butter, golden syrup and butter in a pan over a low heat.  Stir until all ingredients have melted and blended together.  Remove pan from heat.
    Add the ingredients to the pan

    Heat, then mix until smooth
  3. Add the puffed rice cereal to the pan and stir until combined.   The cereal should be lightly coated – add more cereal if necessary.
  4. Transfer the mix to the lined tin and smooth into the tin until flat and pushed into the corners.  Refrigerate for around an hour until the mix has set.
    Flatten into the tray
  5. Once set, melt the 35% milk chocolate in a microwave proof glass bowl for 60 seconds. If required, stir and melt for another 30 seconds until smooth.
  6. Pour the chocolate over the set mixture and smooth with a spatula.  Return to the fridge for 20 minutes.
  7. Melt the milky bar in a cup and drizzle over the topping, using a teaspoon.  Return to the fridge until set.
  8. Remove from the fridge, allow to return to room temperature, then cut into 9 squares. 


Friday, 11 September 2015

Tapas and Beer Matching with Alhambra Reserva 1925

Readers, it’s been an interesting week.  Whilst Autumn has been starting to show signs of arriving… still light in the morning, but not so much at night, I’ve been cranking the lights on, turning the heating on and pretending I’m in Spain.

The lovely people at Alhambra got in touch in August asking if I’d be willing to take part in a tapas campaign highlighting the beauty of beer and Spanish tapas dishes.


Beer… sold to Mr What Claire Baked.  Tapas… sold to the food blogger in the corner.

I should probably tell you a little about Alhambra… the brewery is named after the Alhambra palace in Spain and founded in 1925, it’s regarded as the leading craft brewery in Spain.  The “Alhambra Reserva 1925” of which I received 12 bottles in a beautiful wooden chest, with some stunning glasses to drink from, is ultra-premium and bottled in a dark green embossed bottled (soon to be holding flowers in our kitchen we liked the bottles so much).

I have to confess, at home, I’m not a huge beer drinker, however, in when I’m abroad, there’s nothing better than having a cold beer, on a hot day, sitting on a terrace with friends sharing food and generally enjoying life.

My original brief was to create one tapas dish and share the recipe, however, I got so into this task, I’ve created a few different dishes – all of which are easy to create at home.  As it’s unlikely you’d have a beer and a one dish, here are some different suggestions to get you thinking about trying tapas for yourself.

The verdict: this was a great beer to pair with food and to share that with my readers, I’m hosting a competition for you to be in with the chance of winning a heritage set of Alhambra Reserva 1925. Just answer: What would be your perfect tapa for pairing with Alhambra Reserva 1925? Comment below and you could win a heritage set of Alhambra Reserva 1925 beer to enjoy with your own tapa creations!’ (Entrants must be over 18 and Alhambra will send the prize directly to the chosen winner.  Best comment wins. Winner will be announced on the blog).


Now the small print is out of the way, happy tapas creation folks! (Don't forget to enter the competition too!)

Chorizo Croquettes

Ingredients - makes 14 large round croquettes or 18 medium
1 pack sliced chorizo, chopped into small pieces
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons grated hard cheese
Salt and pepper to season
1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
Egg wash (made with 1 medium egg and a dash of milk, beaten)
Plain flour
Breadcrumbs
1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp mixed herbs to add to breadcrumbs

Method
  1. Peel and chop potatoes.  Boil over a medium heat on the hob, for around 25 minutes until cooked.  Mash and add chorizo and powdered garlic, mix to combine.  Allow to cool.  Add salt and pepper to season and mix. 
    Add chopped chorizo to mashed potato

  2. Once cooled, shape into small round balls.  Coat with flour, then egg wash (this helps the egg to stick and the breadcrumbs to stick to the egg).  Mix the breadcrumbs with herbs and seasoning.
    Make balls!

  3. Roll each ball in breadcrumbs and transfer to a fridge/freezer proof tray or plate.
  4. Repeat until all mix is used.  If you have too many – transfer to a freezer tub and freeze the extras until you need them. 
  5. Chill the ones you wish to cook in the fridge for 2 hours, or if pushed for time, in the freezer for 1 hour, then transfer back to fridge - you want chilled, not frozen! 
    Roll in breadcrumbs
  6. Heat oil in a large, heavy based pan to 185c (I use a cooking thermometer to check this).
  7. Cook 4 at a time for around 4 minutes, or until, golden brown.  Remove from oil using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen roll, to remove any excess oil.  
  8. Serve immediately with aioli for dipping.

 Beer Battered Prawns with Lime & Coriander Mayonnaise

Ingredients - serves 2
Vegetable oil for deep frying.
1 pack fresh king prawns, washed and coated with plain flour
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lime juice, ½ teaspoon coriander (mixed together)
For the batter
75g/2½oz cornflour
75g/2½oz plain flour
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
188ml/6½fl oz Alhambra Reserva 1925

Method - 
  1. Start by creating the batter.  Sift cornflour and plain flour into a medium bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre, add the egg, Alhambra Reserva 1925 and whisk from the centre outwards, until just combined. Lumpy batter isn’t a problem! Allow the batter to stand for a few minutes in a cool place.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep heavy-bottomed pan until around 185c.  Be careful – hot oil is dangerous!
  4. Coat the prawns in flour, then dip the prawns into the batter and carefully add to the hot oil to deep-fry in batches for 2 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
  5. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  6. Mix the mayonnaise, lime juice and coriander together to form a dip. Serve immediately. 

Patatas Bravas

Ingredients - serves 4
2 large baking potatoes (peeled and chopped)
Sunflower oil for cooking
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Bravas Sauce
Tin chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon paprika
1 chopped onion

Method
  1. Make the sauce by adding the onion and garlic to a pan. Fry until softened.  Add the paprika, sugar, chilli powder and tomatoes to the pan.  Simmer for 25 minutes until cooked through, then stir through the mayonnaise, whisking out any lumps
  2. Whilst the sauce is cooking, Peel and evenly chop two large baking potatoes. Drop into a pan of salted water and par boil for 10 minutes until tender. Preheat a frying pan with sunflower oil and shallow fry until potatoes turn golden and are crispy.
    Chop potatoes evenly
  3. One sauce has cooked down, put into a blender and blitz until a smooth sauce is created.  Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps.
  4. Plate up the potatoes, top with sauce and serve immediately.
    And serve!

Chorizo with a Red Wine Glaze

Ingredients - serves 2
½ chorizo ring, cut into small round chunks              
75ml red wine
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon honey

Method
  1. Preheat the pan and fry the garlic for 2-3 minutes.  Add the chorizo, red wine and honey.
  2. Cook through until the sauce has turned into a thick glaze. Serve immediately.
A tapas feast - from Grenada to Glasgow!
Disclaimer: Alhambra sent me a series of products to sample and match with food. Any opinions expressed are my own.