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Strawberry Biscuit Bomb

Belinda Hamblin is one of our readers, she loves cooking and inventing her own desserts. Here she tells about her latest delicious creation: Strawberry Biscuit Bomb. Belinda left her fabulous career as managing theatre, visual arts, music and creative projects to start a family. She became a cooking consultant and a self builder. She is a mother of three, and at the moment she is pondering whether to return to her artistic roots or to open her own cafe… or maybe both!

This is what she says about herself: I’m Belinda, who once had a fabulous career managing theatre, visual arts, music & creative projects… Then we decided to start a family & build houses & I became a Cooking Consultant & a Self Builder…  Now, I’m a mother of three, who is unsure about whether to return to my artistic roots or to open my own cafe… Or to… Oh gosh… Decisions, decisions…

So, I recently turned 40 and the hubby surprised me with a trip to Rome, without our three munchkins; yes, he organised three full day and nights of childcare and I was determined to make the most of it.
We literally ate and drank our way to every ancient monument and ruin the fabulous city had to offer… We had the time of our lives, but on the plane home, realisation hit… I’m now 40 and I’ve probably just eaten and drank quadruple my recommended daily allowance of salt, sugar, carbs, alcohol, saturated fats, etc, etc… I’m not in my 20s, where I’d burn said calories at the Camden Palace… I’m in my 40s and those said calories are going to set up house & home on my thighs, tummy & butt… Possibly forevermore.

I’m a real food obsessive; naughty, nice, but I also love healthy food. However, I do have to engage my brain more when consciously knocking up a healthy plate. I’ll happily gnaw my way through a Grilled Chicken Breast, Quinea & Salad… Nevertheless, once I’ve got through the healthy main, I soon start to fantasise about something sweet/naughty…

Love a slice of melon. Actually love all fruit, nuts and yogurts but they just don’t do it for me after a meal. I need ‘a dessert’. I need something that I can spoon into my chops. Something that I can chew, something that looks yummy. Not necessarily cooked, that’s the hubby’s obsession.

And so, I’ve started inventing my own desserts. I’m replacing all the naughties for healthier alternatives; for example, I’ve been swapping cream, creme freche and sour cream with quark. It’s naturally fat free & fabulous for cooking, baking & mixing. I’ve just knocked up a Strawberry Biscuit Bomb and  not only is it delicious and healthy, it looks a little naughty, which is always nice!

Now, I made a single portion so feel free to double, triple, quadruple the ingredients as required. There’s five of us in our house and I’ve got myself into a crazy routine of knocking out five different meals and five different desserts most evenings. This will stop. I just kind of get obsessed with experimenting and as a result have fashioned a family with the most demanding and differing palates. I know, I’ve only got myself to blame!

So, here goes…

Ingredients:
Faux biscuit layer – 30g oats, 20g pecans, 10g warmed honey, 20g organic coconut oil
Faux cream layer – 60g quark, a little zest & freshly squeezed juice of 1/4 an orange
Strawberry layer – 4 large crushed strawberries, a sprinkling of icing sugar

Method:

Recipe steps

  • Line a glass bowl or ramekin with cling film & freeze for at least 20 minutes.
  • Chop pecans & mix with oats, honey & coconut oil, set aside.
  • Mix quark, zest & juice in another bowl, set aside.

Strawberry Biscuit Bomb step 2

  • Mix crushed/chopped strawberries & icing sugar in another bowl, set aside.

Strawberry Biscuit Bomb step 3

  • Remove glass bowl/ramekin from freezer. To layer the bomb, pour the strawberry mix into the bottom of the ramekin/glass bowl.
  • Then layer the faux biscuit layer over the top & smooth with a spatula.
  • Lastly, spoon the faux cream layer over the top & return to the freezer for another 20 minutes.

To serve, invert the glass bowl or ramekin over a plate & gently remove the cling film. And, Ta-da, your bombe is ready to serve; looks impressive, tastes fab & it’s extremely low in fat. Now, where’s those after dinner mints.

Slow-Cooker Winter Fruit Salad for your Thanksgiving

This Winter Fruit Salad is a delicate and delicious recipe to surprise your guests on Thanksgiving. It is easy to prepare in the morning, making sure to allow enough time for cooking. In I Love My Slow Cooker, Beverly LeBlanc suggests to use firm dried, rather than the plumped ‘ready-to-eat’ varieties. If you only have the softer fruit in your cupboard, she recommends to reduce the cooking time in the second step to 1 hour before you add the smaller fruit.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes steepingwinterfruitsalad
Cooking Time: 2½ hours on High
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
450g/1lb dried fruit, such as apples, apricots,
mangoes or prunes
250ml/9fl oz/1 cup orange juice, plus extra if needed
8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
6 Earl Grey tea bags
1 cinnamon stick
thinly pared rind of 1 lemon, pith removed
thinly pared rind of 1 orange, pith removed
55g/2oz/scant ⅓ cup soft light brown sugar, plus extra
if needed
2 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp currants
2 tbsp sultanas
2 tbsp hazelnuts (optional)
lemon juice, to taste (optional)
Greek yogurt, to serve

Method:

  • Put the dried fruit, orange juice, cardamom pods, tea bags, cinnamon stick and lemon and orange rinds in the slow cooker. Do not turn the cooker on.
  • Pour over 750ml/26fl oz/3 cups boiling water, then cover with the lid and leave to steep for 30 minutes.
  • Switch the cooker to HIGH. Remove and discard the tea bags. Add the brown sugar and stir until it dissolves.
  • Re-cover the cooker and cook for 1½ hours. Stir in the cranberries, currants and sultanas, re-cover and cook for a further 1 hour until all the fruit is soft and the flavours are blended.
  • Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts, if using. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add the hazelnuts and dry-fry for 3–4 minutes until lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure they do not burn.
  • Leave to cool slightly, then rub off the skins, chop and leave to one side.
  • When the fruit salad is cooked, taste and add lemon juice, if you like, or a little more orange juice or brown sugar, depending on how tart the fruit is.
  • Sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts, if using, and serve hot with dollops of yogurt.
  • If not serving immediately, leave the salad to cool completely, then cover and chill until required.
  • Leftovers can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

#Thanksgiving

ILoveMySlowCookerCover150x1501
Beverly LeBlanc
I Love My Slow Cooker
£12.99
Available from Nourish Books

 

 

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Hot chocolate soufflés for your Bonfire night!

Guy Fawkes failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament saw the beginning of the 5th of November anniversary, still celebrated in the United Kingdom with fireworks, bonfires and parades. This is a perfect night to spend with friends and a warm chocolate idea! Try the hot chocolate soufflés, a recipe extracted from our book Chocolate by Jennifer Donovan.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20–23 minutesSouffle_168

Ingredients:
melted butter, for greasing
80g/23/4oz/1/3 cup caster sugar, plus extra for coating
2 tbsp cornflour
250ml/9fl oz/1 cup milk
100g/31/2oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
3 eggs, separated, plus 2 whites icing sugar, sifted, for dusting

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/gas 5. Grease 4 x 200ml/7fl oz/3/4-cup capacity ovenproof cups with melted butter and coat lightly with sugar.
  • In a small bowl, mix the cornflour to a paste with 2 tbsp of the milk. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the remaining milk with the chocolate and 3 tbsp plus 1 tsp of the sugar over a low heat. When the chocolate has melted, whisk in the cornflour paste, using a hand whisk. Continue whisking until the mixture boils and thickens, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before beating in the egg yolks. Set the mixture aside to cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, whisk all the egg whites to soft peaks, using an electric hand mixer, then add the remaining sugar and continue to whisk until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whisked whites into the chocolate mixture, using a metal spoon, and divide equally between the prepared cups.
  • Bake in the hot oven for 15–18 minutes, or until the soufflés are well risen. Remove from the oven, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

To get more delicious chocolate recipes, take a look at Chocolate by Jennifer Donovan.

chocolate_minijkt_UK-300x454

Jennifer Donovan
Chocolate
Available from Nourish Books
£9.99

 

 

 

Indulge in an Afternoon Tea With these Maple & Pecan Squares

by Roger Saul

Afternoon tea is a peculiarly British custom, but one that has become popular and is now practiced all over the world. As a meal, it didn’t really appear until the mid 1800s, when the Duchess of Bedford created a fashion for it.

To accompany your afternoon tea try the delicious, delicate and crunchy Maple & Pecan Squares, perfect with a cup of strong tea or coffee.

Makes: 9 squares
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
150g/5½oz unsalted butter.
125g/4½oz/⅔ cup light muscovado sugar
115g/4oz/⅓ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
150g/5½oz/1½ cups pecans
150g/5½oz/1½ cups spelt porridge flakes

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and line a 23cm/9in square cake tin with baking paper.
  • Put the butter, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a saucepan over a low heat and bring slowly to a simmer, allowing everything to melt and mix together. Add the pecans and the spelt porridge flakes and stir well.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top so that it is as even as possible, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the
    top looks golden brown and slightly crisp.
  • Leave to cool in the tin. Once cool, put the traybake, still in the tin, in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to set fully before slicing into squares. These will keep in an airtight tin at room temperature for about a week (if they last that long).

9781848991965-300x390Roger Saul
Spelt
£16.99, Available from Nourish Books

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