Let’s Flip Out: Pancake Cake recipes

Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as we call it in our house, is quite possibly one of my favourite days in the calendar year.  Not because I’m religious, but because I see this day as a legitimate reason to eat pancakes at every meal and every opportunity.  So with that in mind, today’s post is for two pancake recipes.  And instead of the normal lemon and sugar or Nutella filling suggestions, I’ve created a pancake cake – one savoury and one sweet.  And believe it or not, whilst both were tasty, my favourite was the savoury one!  The pancakes in this recipe are what the French call crepes – very thin, as opposed to the pancakes Americans have for breakfast.

Pancakes (will make approx  24 to 30 7″ pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1050ml milk
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Pinch of salt
  • Oil

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk and lightly beaten eggs.  Unless you’re Popeye, I’d recommend using an electric hand whisk or stand mixer and combine the flour and eggs and milk until you have a super smooth batter.  Lumps are not welcome!
  2. Using a 7″ non-stick frying pan, add a splash of oil and once it’s reached smoking point, pour the oil out.
  3. Add a ladleful of batter to the pan (about 2 tablespoons), tilting the pan to swirl the batter so it evenly covers the pan.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes each side.  Set aside and repeat the process, putting a sheet of greaseproof paper between each pancake whilst you continue making the others.
  4. Continue until you’ve used all the batter.

Ham & Cheese Pancake Cake

Ham, Cheese & Mushroom Pancake Cake

Ingredients

  • Approx 14 to 16 pancakes (depends how high you want your “cake” to be)
  • 250g Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 250g Emmenthal cheese, grated
  • 30g cornflour
  • 300ml white wine
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 200g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 360g ham, sliced (I used M&S thin smoked ham slices)

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C.
  2. Remove a handful of the cheeses and set aside.  Put the remaining grated Gruyere and Emmenthal cheeses into a bowl and mix in the cornflour.
  3. Pour the wine into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the chicken stock and the Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses and whisk.  It should form a gooey, stringy mixture.
  5. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Whilst the cheese sauce is simmering away, put the unsalted butter into a frying pan and melt.  Once melted, add in the mushrooms and fry until softened and are starting to colour.
  7. Put a piece of kitchen towel onto a plate and place the mushrooms on top and dab to remove any excess butter.  Then mix the mushrooms into the cheese sauce.
  8. To build your cake, put a pancake onto a serving plate or board, then spread some of the cheese and mushroom sauce, pop some of your ham slices on top (2 slices seemed about the right amount for mine).  Keep doing this until you have a small amount of the sauce left (I used 15 pancakes).
  9. On the top pancake, spread the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the remaining grated Gruyere and Emmenthal on top and pop in the oven for around 15 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown.
  10. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Orange Pancake Cake

Chocolate Orange Pancake Cake

Ingredients

  • Approx 10 pancakes
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 400g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 900ml double cream
  • 2tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 3 to 5 tsp orange extract (depends how orangey you want it)
  • 1 orange, zested

Method

  1. Put the chopped chocolate all in one bowl and set aside.
  2. Pour 400ml of the cream into a saucepan over a low heat and bring to the boil.
  3. Once the cream just about hits boiling point, pour over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Mix in the Grand Marnier or Cointreau and orange extract.  Put into the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Just before you’re ready to assemble your cake, whip up the rest of the cream until it forms soft peaks.
  5. Place one of the pancakes onto your serving plate and spread some of the chocolate orange mixture on top.  Then spread a thin layer of cream.  Repeat the process until you have a tower of pancakes.
  6. Use the rest of the chocolate orange ganache to frost the cake.  Sprinkle the grated orange zest on top.
  7. Put in the fridge for at least an hour to set.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. If the thought of making all these crepes is just too much to think about, then cheat and buy some ready-made ones.
  2. Your batter should be quite runny, like the consistency of single cream.  If it’s not, add a drop more milk to it.
  3. I know some recipes say to use butter to grease the frying pan ahead of cooking the pancake, but may I suggest you to stick with oil?  Butter has a tendency to burn and will give your pancakes a burnt taste.
  4. Make sure that once you’ve heated the oil up in the pan, you make sure all of it is poured back out, otherwise you’ll be deep frying your pancakes.
  5. Don’t be surprised if you throw away the first one or two that you make.  There’s no science behind this, but every single time, without fail, my first two pancakes are a total disaster!
  6. Pancake batter can be made two to three days in advance and stored in the fridge.
  7. Cooked, cooled and snuggly wrapped, you can store pancakes in the fridge for around 5 days or up to two months in the freezer.

I know both of these cakes are quite unusual, but I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.  Not in the slightest.

Happy flipping!

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

Faux Egg Fried Rice

I’m The Domestic Princess and I’m a carboholic.  There.  I’ve said it.  It’s out in the open.  In fact, I’m not only addicted to carbohydrates in the obvious form (pasta, rice, bread, potatoes), but chocolate and sugar too.  I love carbohydrates.  No, make that adore.  I like nothing better than crusty white bread, slathered in salted Jersey butter topped with Marmite. Or what I wouldn’t give for a steaming bowl of spaghetti bolognaise.  Even a plate of creamy mash on its own can make me the happiest girl on earth.  And don’t even start me on what a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk does to me.  But the problem is my relationship with these food groups is not a fair one.  No, no, no.  You see, my love is just not reciprocated.  I eat these foods and all they do is make me fat, lethargic and generally, quite unwell.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock since January, you’ll be completely au fait with the war that is being wielded against sugar.  Some are even suggesting it’s more addictive than cocaine.  Having never tried the white stuff, I can’t confirm or deny this.  What I can confirm, is that once I start eating sugary things, I literally can’t stop.  Not only does sugar make you put on weight, it has also been attributed to increasing your risk of heart disease (The Domestic King is evidence of this), type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, ageing, exacerbating autoimmune diseases and causing wrinkles.  Not pretty at all.  Sugar pretty gets into most ready-packaged food.  Take a look at some of the packets and bottles in your cupboard, you’ll be surprised at how many have sugar added to the ingredients.  If it ends in an ose, then it’s a form of sugar.

Any form of carbohydrate eventually gets broken down by your body into glucose.  Glucose is the most simple form of sugar.  Whilst the body can use glucose for fuel, levels that exceed what one actually needs, is toxic.  Excess carbohydrates such as pasta, potato and rice do in fact have the same impact on your body as say a Coke, Mars Bar or handful of Haribos.  The fructose that’s present in fruit and the carbohydrates in vegetables are treated by your body in exactly the same way as well.  The body doesn’t have the ability to differentiate between the sugar in a chocolate bar vs fructose in pineapple.  The overriding problem is when there’s glucose floating around in the body’s bloodstream.  Any glucose that’s ingested that’s not immediately used, is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles.  This would be absolutely fine, if our bodies didn’t have a limited number of glycogen receptors.  When these are at capacity, as they typically are in inactive people, the body only has one choice:  to store all the excess glucose as saturated fat and normally around one’s organs.  Not ideal is it?  I don’t want to turn this post completely into the affect of carbohydrates on our bodies, so will save all the other facts for a future one.  

So, what has my ramblings about carbs and sugar got to do with today’s recipe?  Well, when you follow a low-carb diet, you end up trying to be quite creative with your menu.  Just because carbs and I aren’t friends, doesn’t mean we weren’t at one point and I miss them terribly.  I’m an avid pinner on Pinterest and can while away many an hour.  One of the recipes I kept coming across was something called cauliflower “rice”, cooked in many ways, which of course peaked my interest.  I’m not a massive fan of plain, boiled rice, but put a bowl of egg fried rice in front of me and I’m one happy Princess.   Some of the cauliflower rice recipes I came across were for “fried rice”.  I was all over this like a rash and started experimenting toute suite!  The result?  A VERY  suitable alternative to proper fried rice.  Even The Domestic Prince, who’s not known for his love of vegetables loves this recipe.  He can’t actually get enough of it.  If you’re not a fan of cauliflower, let me assure you, this tastes NOTHING like cauliflower, you have my word.  I also need to apologise for the lack of photo, the gannet otherwise known as The Domestic Prince, wolfed it all down before I’d had a chance to take a picture.  I’m making another batch of this heavenly food this week, so will take a picture and update the blog with it.  Oh, and the feedback on various other versions has been it’s gone down a storm with children too, who had no idea it wasn’t actually rice.  

Serves 2 hungry adults

Ingredients

  • 4tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1tbsp ginger, minced
  • 4 carrots, diced into cubes
  • 150g broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 3tbsp soy sauce
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • Splash of Chinese rice wine vinegar
  • Generous handful of cooked shredded chicken or shrimps
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 spring onion, chopped

Method

  1. Tear the leaves off the cauliflower and chop into tree-like pieces.  If you’re lucky enough to own a food processor (I’d be lost without mine), pop them in and pulse until the cauliflower resembles rice.  If you don’t have a processor, then just use your regular cheese grater.
  2. Put 2tbsp of the sesame oil into a hot wok.  When the oil has heated-up, add in the crushed garlic and minced ginger and let it fry until it’s just turning a light brown colour (around 30 seconds).
  3. Put the broccoli and carrots in the wok and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they start to slightly char.  Remove from the wok and set aside.
  4. Pop the remaining sesame oil into the wok and add the “rice”.  Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the “rice” starts to colour slightly.
  5. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and rice wine vinegar and coat the rice.
  6. Put the chicken (or shrimp) and broccoli and carrots in the work and stir until combined with the “rice” and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Make a well in the middle of the wok and pour in the beaten eggs.  Stir until they scramble and then incorporate with the rest of the dish.
  8. Throw in the chopped spring onions and give a quick stir for about 30 seconds.
  9. Serve immediately.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. If your cauliflower rice feels a bit on the damp side, put it in a tea towel and give it a good squeeze to get rid of any excess water.  This will ensure a better texture of “rice”.
  2. If you like your dishes to be spicy, then add a finely chopped red chilli at stage 2 of the recipe.
  3. My vegetable and protein suggests above, are just that, suggestions.  This is the perfect recipe to use up any veggies or meat/fish you have leftover in the ‘fridge.
  4. I can’t stand coriander, but if you like it, a sprinkle just before serving would be great.
  5. I always serve mine with a small little bowl of soy sauce.
  6. This is a very low-calorie recipe, so is perfect for those of you following the 5:2 Fast Diet (100g of plain cauliflower rice is only 24 calories), a Paleo lifestyle, or are on a plan like Weight Watchers (cauliflower “rice” is zero points) or Slimming World etc.  And obviously, perfect for you low-carbers!!

Just a little word of warning….this dish isn’t that pretty to look at, but I guarantee what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste!  It’s like a hug in a bowl; perfect for those times you fancy something really comforting. 

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Heart shaped sugar cookies

Is it just me, or is Valentine’s Day on steroids this year?  I may not be in the West, but nearly every email from a retailer for these past two weeks has been ALL about St Valentine’s.  Now, I’m not particularly a big fan of Valentine’s Day.  Many, many moons ago when the Domestic Prince and I were in the early stages of our relationship, it held more meaning, and we would make more of a big deal about February 14th than we do now.  Don’t get me wrong, we still acknowledge the day with a card or small token (we don’t have hearts of stone!), but it’s all quite understated.  I’m now of the same thinking as the Prince that it just feels too commercial and more than a little bit contrived, and having a slightly rebellious streak, I don’t want to be told when to show the one I love, how much I love them.  And since finally getting married, we now have our very own day to celebrate our relationship.

Judy Garland quote

Honestly, I’m not bah-humbug, I promise.  I pretty much embrace any and all holidays/festivals; Valentine’s is just not my thing.  So, when the gorgeous Alice and I were having a long overdue Skype catch-up, she asked what was going on the blog on Friday, and I told her….(obviously it wasn’t love themed), she was surprised and said that I should do something to mark the day.  Alice currently lives in the US, where V-day is suped-up and then some, so her lovely little minis are completely enthused about today – they’ve written secret cards for people in their class!  As a result, Al is having a Valentine’s dinner and making all things V-day themed and has kindly shared one of her recipes with us today.  Perfect for making with any of your little ones.

photo 3

Photo credit: Alice Ray Photography

Heart shaped sugar cookies (makes approximately 24 cookies)

Ingredients

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2tsp  almond extract
  • 1 1/2tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60ml sour cream
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • 340g plain flour

To decorate

  • 400g icing sugar
  • 3-4tbsp water
  • 2-3 drops of food colouring per colour
  • Sprinkles if you fancy

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 – 180C.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, baking powder and a pinch of salt and mix until it’s well combined.
  4. With either your stand or hand mixer on the lowest speed, add half the sour cream, then the cornstarch, followed by half the flour.  Add the remaining sour cream and flour, mixing until just incorporated.
  5. If pressing into cookie moulds, roll the mixture into small balls and then press into each mould, making sure the mixture gets into all the creases of the mould.  If rolling and using a cookie cutter, divide the mixture into 2 and then cover each ball in plastic and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  6. Put the cookies onto a baking tray and bake for 8-10mins, or until set, but not browned.  Cool for 5 mins and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. Once the cookies have cooled, it’s time to make the icing.  Sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to create a smooth mixture.  Divide between separate bowls if you’re using a different colours and stir in the food colouring.
  8. Decorate and enjoy!

Alice’s tips

  1. In humid/rainy weather add 2tbsp extra flour.
  2. If you’re not keen on almond flavouring (DP, I can’t stand the stuff), then swap the almond extract for an additional 1/2tsp of vanilla extract.
  3. Don’t be tempted to make the cookies too thick – 1/4 to 1/2″ is perfect.
  4. If you have a food blender, give your icing sugar a quick whizz to get any lumps out.
  5. This cookie dough freezes really well, so you could make a double batch, and pop half in the freezer for a future day.

Are you like me and not really fussed when it comes to V-day, or do you embrace it with full gusto?

With big Valentine’s love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Posh Chilli

It’s been quite awhile since I put up a savoury recipe, so what better one to share with you than a classic:  chilli con carne.  This isn’t your regular chilli, oh no, it’s a posh one!  Well, that’s what we call it in the Domestic Abode.  And why is it posh?  Instead of using minced beef, I’ve switched it for braising /stewing steak, or if you’re in India, it’s truly posh, as you’ll need to use beef fillet.
This is one of the Domestic Prince’s favourite dishes in my repertoire, which he wolfs down in double quick time.

Posh Chilli

Serves 4 to 6 (depending how greedy you are)

Ingredients

  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg braising / stewing steak, cut into chunks
  • 250g chorizo, cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne chilli pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper

To serve

  • Tortilla chips
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan or a large casserole dish that has a lid. Fry the beef until it’s nicely coloured. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
  3. Pop the chorizo into the pan, fry until it just starts to release its juices and starts to brown. Take out the chorizo and set aside with the beef.
  4. Fry the onion and garlic in the chorizo oil until the onions just start to colour.  Add the spices, chillies and tomato puree and cook for 2 to 3 mins.  Add the balsamic vinegar and chopped tomatoes.
  5. Put the beef and chorizo back in the pan along with the stock. Bring up to a simmer and cover with the lid. Transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 2 hours.
  6. Remove from the oven, add the kidney beans and pop back in for another 50 to 60 minutes.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. The chunks of steak can obviously be swapped for regular minced beef.
  2. If you want to lessen the heat of this dish, scrape out the seeds from the chillies before adding them in.
  3. If you can’t get hold of smoked paprika, use ground chilli powder instead.
  4. Check after about an hour, as you might need to add more liquid.  I either add plain boiled water, or a drop of stock.
  5. This recipe freezes really well.

What’s your favourite classic dish?

Have a lovely weekend!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Nutella Cheesecake

Well, today’s post couldn’t be more of a contrast from the one on Wednesday about my 30-day squat challenge! If you’re joining in, how are you getting on?  I’ve just completed day 2 – I WILL pass the pencil test!

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you’ll know that I truly adore chocolate, which of course includes the delicious Nutella.  Such is my love for Nutella is that I could easily put a Nutella recipe on these pretty pink pages every Friday, but that wouldn’t help us get our bootylicious bottoms, now would it?!

I would love to take credit for this recipe, but alas, I can’t.  If you love Nigella Lawson as much as I do, then you’re probably already aware of the original fabulous pudding.  I made it for some friends last weekend and it went down a storm!  Just as I can’t order straight off a menu, I seem incapable of following a recipe to the letter.  Some of the people I made this for last weekend were little people, so I made the decision to leave out the hazlenuts.  Yes, I know Nutella is made from hazlenuts, but I find seeing nuts in a pudding is sometimes off putting for children.  I also added 50g more digestive biscuits to compensate for the omission of the hazlenuts in the base, and adjusted the butter accordingly.  And being such a fan of Nutella, I added a good couple of extra tablespoons of Nutella!  This is a super easy and quick recipe to make; the hardest part is waiting for it to set in the fridge.

Nutella cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 300g digestive biscuits
  • 90g unsalted butter, melted
  • 400g Nutella, room temperature (I used more than this)
  • 500 grams cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 60 grams icing sugar (sifted)

Method

  1. Break the digestives into the bowl of a processor and blitz.  Once the biscuits resemble sand, add in the melted butter a tablespoon of Nutella, and blitz again until it looks like damp sand.
  2. Tip into a 22cm/8inch round springform and press into the base either using the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to chill.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and then add the remaining Nutella to the cream cheese mixture, and continue beating until combined.
  4. Take the springform tin out of the fridge and  smooth the Nutella mixture over the base. Place the tin in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight. Serve straight from the fridge for best results.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, as otherwise you’ll end up with a lumpy cheesecake.
  2. If you don’t have a food processor to whizz up the biscuits, pop them in a zip lock bag and bash them with a rolling pin, then just pop the biscuits in a bowl and mix the butter and Nutella in by hand.
  3. I like a thicker base cheesecake than Nigella’s recipe makes, so next time, I’ll probably double the quantity for the biscuit base and use 1.5 the quantity for the chocolate topping.
  4. This is a perfect pudding to make ahead of time if you’re having people over for supper.

What is everybody up to this weekend?  We’re off to say goodbye to some very special friends this evening 😦 . That’s the downside of being an expat, you meet wonderful people that you would never have met had you not embarked on this crazy journey.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Banana & Peanut Butter Bread

Sunday is World Baking Day, so I thought what could be more appropriate for the first recipe after my hiatus than a baking one.  One of my favourite Sunday night suppers when I was little was bananas mashed up on toast:  super fresh bloomer that was bread lightly toasted, spread with salted butter and topped with bananas mashed up with a drizzle of honey.  It was so yummy.  I can actually taste it now!  In the Domestic Residence, we’re quite partial to peanut butter, so I thought I’d try and create something that was reminiscent of my Sunday night suppers combined with peanut butter.  The result is my Banana and Peanut Butter Bread, which I’m looking forward to having a slice of on Sunday evening with lashings of salty butter!

Banan & peanut butter bread

Makes a 2lb loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7cm (9″ x 5″ x 2¾”) )

Ingredients

  • 175 grams plain flour
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 125 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 180g soft light brown sugar
  • 175g crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs (approximately 100g)
  • 5 small ripe bananas, roughly mashed (approximately 400 – 500g flesh)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/340F/gas mark 3.
  2. Grease and line a 2lb / 23 x 13 x 7cm / 9″ x 5″ x 2¾” loaf tin.
  3. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl.  Put to one side.
  4. In a large, separate bowl, cream together the sugar and softened butter – I use my KitchenAid for this.  Then slowly beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Now mix in the mashed bananas and crunchy peanut butter.
  6. Add the flour mixture a tablespoon at a time, giving it a good stir each time to make sure it’s all incorporated.
  7. Scrape into a loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 55 to 70 minutes.
  8. When a skewer or tooth pick comes out fairly clean, your loaf is ready.
  9. Pop the tin on a cooling rack and leave in the tin until completely cold.
  10. Serve either plain or spread with cold salted butter.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. For a more indulgent loaf, add 200g Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups, or 200g roughly chopped milk chocolate at stage 5.
  2. Whilst banana bread is brilliant for using up over-ripe bananas, they don’t need to be at the completely black stage.  I’ve made a loaf with just yellow bananas, and the end result is exactly the same.  What you don’t want to use, are green bananas.  The benefit of over-ripe bananas is the mashing is super easy!
  3. Smooth peanut butter can easily be substituted for the crunchy one.
  4. To make this a dairy-free cake, substitute the softened butter for vegetable oil.
  5. If you fancy making this a bit more showy, then you could add a frosting:  mix equal quantities of softened butter with icing sugar, half the amount of crunchy peanut butter and beat together.  Add a drop of milk if the frosting needs loosening.
  6. Bangaloreans, since our bananas are on the tiny size, you’ll need more like 7 small bananas.
  7. If you notice the bread browning too fast, lower the temperature and loosely cover it with foil.
  8. Also, be careful not to over-stir the batter, as the texture will become crumbly and your loaf will just fall apart.

All you need now is a cup of tea and peace and quiet for 30 minutes!

Hope everybody has a lovely weekend.  We’re off to watch the IPL tomorrow night.  Come on Bangalore!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Mini Egg Blondies

Hello everyone!

Is it just me that thinks this year is flying by?  I cannot believe that it is Easter this weekend!  It’ll probably come as no surprise to you that I love Easter.  Chocolate, hot cross buns, roast lamb and the promise of 4 days free of work?  What’s not to love!  I think my favourite Easter chocolate has to be Cadbury’s Mini Eggs.  The matte, pastel shell covered chocolate eggs are just so moreish.  Surprisingly, I have never added these delicious little gems to any of my recipes, so when I came across a recipe on Twitter for Mini Egg Blondies, I practically squealed.  Mini Eggs, encased in a scrumptious, chewy blondie…what was stopping me?!  If you’re wondering what a blondie is, the best way I can describe it would be to liken the taste to a bar version of a cookie, and the texture to that of a brownie – gooey and chewy.  In fact, you might think of a blondie as the brownie’s cousin.  What they’re most definitely not, are brownies made with white chocolate instead of dark or milk.  The only chocolate element to a blondie, are the chips you add in.  No melted chocolate here!

Obviously, I couldn’t just follow somebody else’s recipe, I had to tinker and fiddle until I’d made it my own, and here’s the result.

Mini egg blondies

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 
  • 225g light brown sugar
  • 1/4tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 200g Mini Eggs (or more if you’re feeling generous!)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas mark 4.  Butter an 8 or 9″ square cake tin and then line with greaseproof paper.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the sugar and salt.  The more you whisk it, the lighter and fluffier your blondies will be.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and whisk again.  Take off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
  4. Once the sugar/butter mixture has cooled, add the eggs and give a good whisk.
  5. Into a large bowl sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.  Then into the flour, whisk small amounts of the the egg and butter mixture until it’s all been combined. Don’t pour all the egg and butter mixture in at once, as you’ll end up with a lumpy mixture.
  6. Fold in the Mini Eggs.
  7. Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin and spread out evenly.
  8. Pop the tin in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is slightly cracking, the outer edges are firm and the middle still slightly gooey.
  9. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 to 15 minutes (this bit is SO hard!), then cut into squares ready to serve.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Make sure to let the melted butter and sugar mixture cool to room temperature before adding in the eggs, otherwise you’ll risk them scrambling.
  2. By melting the butter with the sugar, instead of creaming them, you’ll end up with a chewier blondie.
  3. Don’t worry if you can’t get your sticky mits on Mini Eggs, just substitute them for roughly chopped milk chocolate, or white or dark for that matter!
  4. A metal pan tends to work better with blondies than silicone or glass.
  5. These blondies lend themselves to many different things being added:  nuts, raspberries, fudge pieces, peanut butter, cranberries…the list is endless.
  6. The “butterscotch” taste of blondies comes from the brown sugar and melted butter combo, so don’t be tempted to switch the brown sugar for white, as they’ll taste quite different.
  7. Over-cooking the blondie mixture will give you a dry and hard bar.  As you near the end of the cooking time, check every 1 to 2 minutes until the skewer comes out with just a little bit of the mixture on it.  Remember, it’ll carry on cooking for awhile when it’s out of the oven.
  8. If you’re watching your sugar intake, you can reduce the sugar in this recipe by a third. The texture will still be the same, but it’ll be slightly less sweet.

I can’t think of anything more perfect to have on Easter Sunday afternoon!  Please send me some pictures if you make a batch of these!

Happy Easter!

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

Found: The Prodigious Remoska

Hello readers, I hope you’ve all had a good weekend.  Today we are hearing from the lovely Domestic King on one of his recent finds and if that wasn’t enough, he’s sharing with us one of his favourite recipes as well!  Thank you Domestic King.

“What on earth is a Remoska?” I hear you say! If you’re guessing it’s a Russian song or dance you’d be wrong; if you’re thinking it’s something Eastern European, you’re on the right track. It is in fact, an electric cooker with a difference, and quite frankly an amazing piece of kit! What it’s not, is a slow cooker. I think once you’ve read this post you’ll be tempted to buy one. It’s certainly added a degree of magic to my very ordinary culinary skills! Image

The Remoska is available exclusively to Lakeland , in the UK, one of the most popular and respected brands in the country. Its website describes it like this:

“Cooking better than an oven, the Remoska is positively miserly with electricity – in fact, they’re so versatile your oven will hardly ever need to be switched on.

It’s the Czech Republic’s best-kept secret…

The Remoska has been around since before the Second World War, surviving 40 years of nationalisation until being rescued in 1990 by two Czechs, who scraped together all they had to buy the machinery.

Each Remoska is individually made and tested by skilled workers in a small Czech factory; there’s no production line. The stainless steel lid, which houses the element, does all the work, controlling the venting of steam developed during cooking. You can see what’s going on through the glass window and you’ll be impressed by how clean it is in use, with virtually no cooking smells either.

The pan is coated with Teflon® Classic for easy release. Being so compact, it is frequently packed up and taken anywhere there’s a 240V electricity supply, which makes it just the thing when cooking away from home. Pans are dishwasher safe. Recipes included.”

Versatility

The claim that it’s compactness enables it to be taken anywhere is absolutely true. On a walking holiday in the Lake District last September with a couple of friends, we stayed at Underscar Manor, a luxury self-catering complex in the shadow of Skiddaw. The Remoska did us proud and it traveled extremely well! Grilled sausages, caramelised onions and jacket potatoes was a particularly memorable dinner devoured at the end of a strenuous walk up Grisedale Pike! You can increase its versatility by plugging an electric timer into the power socket and setting the Remoska’s start and end cooking times. Great if you’re out at work all day and would like to come home to a meal ready to eat. And of course, the range of meals you can cook is endless; everything you can cook in an oven, the Remoska can handle with ease. I don’t know of any other cooking device that is as useful and versatile as the Remoska!

Healthy eating

I mostly eat a low carb, low sugar foods (Domestic Princess:  look out for a future post about this) following the excellent advice and guidance of Dr Briffa, a qualified doctor and nutritionist. In this respect, the Remoska is an unrivalled asset in helping me to cook meals that fit my eating regime.

Accessories

There are some accessories that the dedicated Remoska cook will want to acquire.

  • A stainless steel rack, which raises food closer to the lid’s heat source for faster cooking.
  • A pan separator that fits inside the Remoska allowing different foods to be cooked separately.
  • Shallow pans are available to replace the deep pan that comes with the Remoska enabling the cook to warm up foods and snacks very quickly.
  • An essential buy for me was the cookbook, “Remoska Cooking”, which has 200 recipes, tips on using the Remoska, and suggested cooking times. After trying some of the recipes my confidence grew as a home cook. And the great thing about the Remoska is that you don’t have to watch it slavishly in the way that one has to when using a conventional oven or stovetop cooking. Just pop on the lid and relax!

Miserliness

According to Lakeland, the standard Remoska uses 80% less energy than an average electric oven. When you consider that many people use the oven simply to heat up supermarket ready-made meals, or grill three or four rashers of bacon, or bake a couple of jacket potatoes, they are using excessive quantities of electricity compared to that consumed by a Remoska. Lakeland says that an average oven uses around 2500W of energy versus the Remoska’s 470W of energy.

Here is one of my favourite recipes when using the Remoska.

Country Lamb Casserole – adapted from “Remoska Cooking

The lamb in this dish is absolutely delicious and so tender, resulting in a tasty, filling and full flavoured casserole!

Ingredients

Serves 4 using a standard Remoska

  • 500g boneless lamb chops
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500g potato, cut into cubes
  • 8 small onions, finely chopped
  • 175g French beans, chopped
  • 1tsp ground cloves, or to taste
  • 1 x 320g tin of condensed mushroom soup
  • 150ml lamb stock
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Sweet paprika to serve  

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the garlic and onions, and fry until golden brown and then put in the Remoska.
  2. In the same pan, seal the lamb on both sides and pop in the Remoska.
  3. Add the cubed potatoes, beans, cloves, mushroom soup, stock and seasoning.
  4. Cook for approximately 1 hr and 15 minutes in the Standard Remoska, or 1hr 45 minutes in the Grand, until the lamb is tender. Sprinkle with a little paprika before serving.

Domestic Princess:  If you’re not lucky enough to own a Remoska, use a casserole dish instead, double the quantity of stock and pop in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours on 150C.  This can also be made in a slow-cooker as well.  

Final word ….

I can confirm I’ve also grilled incredible sausages with mouthwatering caramelised onions, roasted succulent whole chicken, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, baked sweet potatoes to perfection, and roasted belly pork to die for! At the end of the process, washing up is not a big chore because the non-stick surfaces are extremely effective. The pan is dishwasher friendly for anyone preferring this cleaning option, and the lid only requires to be wiped down with a damp cloth. Anyone keen on pursuing a healthy eating regime based on fresh ingredients and wishing to do so as effortlessly and economically as possible, should invest in a little Czech magic and get yourself the Prodigious Remoska from Lakeland!

Thanks Pappy!  And if you’re carb conscious too, then swap the potato for a sweet potato, or leave out completely.

I’ll be back on Friday with a new recipe.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelised Pecans

Hello lovely readers, today’s post is my last until the New Year and it’s another festive themed one to help you with the big day.  I think I might be in the minority in loving Brussels sprouts.  I believe the problem many might have when it comes to this vegetable is that they quite often end up overcooked, owing to the many layers.  And when they’re overcooked it results in that nasty drain-type smell.  I’ve played around with a few recipes and have found that there are a few different ways to cook Brussels which will make them super tasty.  Peeling all the leaves off and sautéing in some butter and a drop of water is divine.  Or the more common: Brussels with pancetta.  However, the one that really struck a chord with my taste buds was this one:  Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelised Pecans.  I’d be surprised if even the fussiest eaters didn’t love this version!

BrussellSprouts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300g Brussel sprouts
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pecans
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
  2. Trim and quarter the Brussels sprouts.
  3. Put the Brussels in a roasting tin and toss in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and put in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  Stir once or twice during cooking.  When ready they’ll be a deep, golden brown – crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
  4. Whilst the Brussels are in the oven, put the pecans and sugar in a frying pan and let the sugar melt and coat the pecans.
  5. Once the pecans are all coated, tip them out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave to cool.  When cooled, break into smaller pieces and add to the Brussels sprouts when they’re ready.
  6. Serve immediately.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. The light brown sugar can be substituted for any sugar.
  2. Hazelnuts would work well instead of pecans.
  3. For a salty / sweet dish, add in either lardons of bacon or some pancetta.
  4. Bangaloreans, you can buy pecans in Nature’s Basket in Indiranagar.

Well, this is nearly it for another year!  I wanted to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and to thank you for all of your support for The Domestic Princess.  I am so looking forward to bringing you lots more posts in 2013.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Five easy recipes for a drinks party

Before I moved to India, if we were having a drinks party or people over for supper, I would raid the party selection at my beloved Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.  However, in my new life, unfortunately there isn’t a branch of M&S or Waitrose for me to pop to when we’re having people over, so I’ve had to come-up with my own nibbles / canapés.  They may not look as fabulous as shop bought ones, but I think they’re just as tasty.

Spiced nuts

spiced nuts

Ingredients

  • 350g unsalted and unroasted nuts of your choice – I used pecans, cashews & almonds
  • 70g honey – runny honey is preferable
  • 1/2tsp mixed spice
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp all spice
  • 1/2tsp smoked paprika
  • 60g sugar – I used light brown sugar, but caster sugar would work just as well
  • 2tsp finely ground sea salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Put the nuts in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan put the honey, mixed spice, cinnamon, all spice and smoked paprika.
  5. Gently warm the honey and mixed spices together, until the honey is less viscous.
  6. Pour the honey and spice mixture over the nuts, making sure they’re evenly coated.
  7. Tip them out onto the greaseproof paper and spread evenly.
  8. Put the nuts in the oven for between 8 to 12 minutes.
  9. Check the nuts after about 4 to 6 minutes and give them a toss.
  10. Once roasted, leave to cool.
  11. In a bowl, mix together the sugar and sea salt.  Toss the nuts in the salt and sugar mixture and they’re ready to serve.

Sticky cocktail sausages

Sausages

Ingredients

  • 30 cocktail sausages
  • 3tbsp orange marmalade, with or without peel – I opted for a peel one
  • 1tbsp runny honey
  • 1tbsp lime juice
  • 1tbsp soy sauce

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
  2. Snip the sausages if needed and put in a bowl.
  3. Put the marmalade, honey, lime juice and soy sauce in a saucepan over a low heat until the marmalade and honey have melted.
  4. Pour the sauce over the sausages, making sure they’re all coated.
  5. Tip the sticky sausages and the sauce into a roasting tin and pop in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Give the sausages a toss and another coating after 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Once they’re golden brown they’re ready to serve.

Smoked salmon with lemon creme fraiche blinis

Bilini 1

These have to be one of the simplest, yet one of the scrummiest nibbles / canapés to serve at a drinks party or before supper.

Ingredients

  • Smoked salmon
  • Creme fraiche
  • Lemon juice
  • Black pepper
  • Mini or regular blinis

Method

  1. In a bowl whisk the creme fraiche, lemon juice and a good grind of black pepper.
  2. Place the blinis on the serving plate / platter and place a small dollop on top of each one.
  3. Shred the salmon into small pieces and twist and place on the creme fraiche.

As I said, easy peasy!!

Brie and cranberry crostini

CranberryBrieToastini

Ingredients

  • French baguette – I opted for mini ones, so they’re more of a two bite canapé
  • Olive oil
  • Brie
  • Cranberry sauce

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
  2. Cut the french bread into thin slices and using a pastry brush, brush each side of the french bread slices with the olive oil and place on a baking tray.
  3. Put in the oven for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  5. When cooled, place thin slices of the brie on top of french bread slices
  6. Top with half around half a teaspoon of cranberry sauce.

Triple cheesey straws

CheeseStraws

Ingredients

  • 300g ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 50g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
  • 50g Emmenthal cheese, finely grated
  • Flour for rolling out pastry

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix all the cheeses together in a bowl.
  3. Unroll the pastry and on half of the pastry, sprinkle most of the cheese on one half, leaving enough to sprinkle over the top.
  4. Fold over and seal the cheese in.
  5. Lightly flour your worktop and roll out the pastry until it’s around 3-4mm thick.
  6. Cut into 1/2 inch strips and twist.
  7. Pop onto the baking tray and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  8. Put in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.  Leave to cool.  These will keep for 2 to 3 days.

They’ll be just one more post before I take a little break over the holidays.  I’m off to be reunited with one of my besties!

I hope all your festive planning is coming along nicely!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

PS apologies for the quality (or I should say lack of) of the photographs, I’ve been taking them myself and as you can see, I’m nowhere near as talented as The Domestic Prince who’s my normal ‘tog!

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