Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Sprinkle Dipped Viennese Fingers

My Grandad has a new favourite biscuit. It used to be these Garibaldi biscuits which he admitted he loved after initially grumbling because he thought I was experimenting on him. Now though it is these Viennese biscuits. Well, not these ones. Grandad won't like the sprinkles. Possibly not even the chocolate. Yes I know, he doesn't even like chocolate cake. I still love him though so it's ok. 
Sprinkle Dipped Classic Viennese Fingers with chocolate. Classic traditional recipe with a twist.
A few weeks ago I went to visit my grandparents for the day because my parents were away for a few days and I wasn't going with them. Nanna and I were planning on going shopping after some lunch at their house so I could see Grandad. After the success of the Garibaldis I can't turn up at their house without a batch of biscuits with me but seeing as Grandad isn't allowed to eat dried fruit at the moment I had to come up with something else. Something plainer. I recently had success with Chocolate dipped Viennese fingers so I thought I give them a go with Grandad and risk being accused of using him as a guinea pig.
Sprinkle Dipped Classic Viennese Fingers with chocolate. Classic traditional recipe with a twist.
When I went to make them I discovered I had run out of piping bags so Grandad actually ended up with Viennese discs. No matter - they bake perfectly and Grandad loved them. When I rang to say I had arrived home safely Nanna told me he liked them even more then the Garibaldis. Simultaneous high praise and a warning - don't bring the others again!
Sprinkle Dipped Classic Viennese Fingers with chocolate. Classic traditional recipe with a twist.
When Mum said I could bake a batch of biscuits to take with us when we went away last weekend I couldn't resist testing out this idea. I know I shouldn't meddle with a recipe which is perfect as it is, and Viennese biscuits are admired by so many, but I was dying to coat something with as many sprinkles as I could. These biscuits seemed perfect - the sprinkles would hopefully add a spot of the whimsical to an old fashioned but ever pleasant classic.
Sprinkle Dipped Classic Viennese Fingers with chocolate. Classic traditional recipe with a twist.
I was absolutely right. Each biscuit is wealthy with a deep buttery flavour and a crumbling shortness - sublime on the tongue as each bite dissolves at the merest touch. Dip each end in your favourite chocolate then into a cup full of rainbow sprinkles and you will have something fun to add a smile to your day. If that doesn't do it, think of them as giant sparkly matchsticks as one of my Facebook page fans dubbed them. Don't fix what isn't broken. Viennese biscuits without sprinkles are just a little bit broken.


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Sprinkle Dipped Viennese Fingers
A classic recipe given a fun twist by dipping them in a thick layer of chocolate then covering with sprinkles. The crunch really highlights the rich buttery flavour.
Ingredients
  • 175g softened butter
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g plain flour
  • 60g cornflour
  • 75g chocolate (milk, white or dark as you wish)
  • Multicoloured sprinkles
Instructions
1. Line two sheets with baking paper.2. Beat the butter until very soft and creamy then sift and beat in the icing sugar and vanilla extract until combined. Sift the flour and cornflour then mix into the butter/sugar until just combined. Bring the mixture together with your hands but don't knead.3. Fit a piping bag with a large closed star shaped nozzle then fill with the mixture - you might find it easier to work with a small bit at a time. Pipe the mixture into 3" lines leaving a gap between them. Chill in the fridge while the oven heats to 170 C/150 C fan.4. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 mins until the biscuits are very lightly coloured and feel like they have started to set at the edges. Leave on the sheets for 5 mins, then remove and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.5. Melt the chocolate using your preferred method and leave to cool slightly - this helps it stay on so you get a thicker coating. Line a tray with baking paper and place the sprinkles in a cup. Dip each finger into the chocolate, tap off the excess then dip into the sprinkles. Leave to set on the paper lined tray.

I've set the theme of my own Biscuit Barrel challenge this month as Birthday Celebrations because the Biscuit Barrel is one year old now. I reckon the fun of the pretty sprinkles make them perfect for a birthday so I'm entering them here. 
I'm also entering them into CookBlogShare run by Lucy from Supergolden Bakes for all home baked goods.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Chunky Blackberry Hazelnut Crumble

I've been making a lot of comments lately along the lines of 'it's definitely autumn' and 'I think I need snuggly night things now'. I'm also planning on buying a load more slipper socks this weekend, along  with another bunch of tights. I'm currently stubornly sticking in the clothing stage of wearing summer dresses with chunky cardigans as a small attempt to keep warm but the number of days I can get away with walking around with bare legs is limited. It's getting cold - tights are necessary. Much like this crumble.
Wine roasted Blackberry Crumble with buttery oats, hazelnuts and almonds. Also known as a crisp, crumble or buckle.

I think my food blogger senses might be a little off. I wanted to make autumnal crumbles in July, I've still got courgette recipes I'm dying to give a go and I'm trying hard to resist baking Christmas cakes months early. For the sake of my blog stats I should be baking slightly ahead of season then posting just in time to catch all those searching for seasonal recipes but baking what and when you like is much more fun. Let that serve as a warning - you may well see courgette recipes on here in December. Seriously, I have some waiting for me in the freezer and for what I want to use them for, frozen will be fine. Luckily, this is one recipe that I did make which happily fits in with the seasons.
Wine roasted Blackberry Crumble with buttery oats, hazelnuts and almonds. Also known as a crisp, crumble or buckle.

I decided I didn't want to make blackberry jam this year. I made peach jam instead. There was no way I was going to miss out of blackberry picking though because I love it so much. There is something so satisfying about baking with fruit and veg that you have picked yourself and having discovered how nice fruit roasted in sparkling wine tastes (another recipe which I'll hopefully get to post this autumn) I thought I'd play host to the whims of my mind and make one of those crumbles I'd been fancying.
Wine roasted Blackberry Crumble with buttery oats, hazelnuts and almonds. Also known as a crisp, crumble or buckle.

Have you ever roasted fruit in wine before? It's absolutely gorgeous. It was a Paul Hollywood recipe which made me try it the first time and I know I'll be using the idea again. It's a great way to use up th last of a bottle of wine opened a night or two before rather than throwing it down the sink. It was some windfall pears that got the alcohol treatment first but I can honestly say it works just as wonderfully with blackberries. The berry layer slowly bursts while it roasts to form a deep lagoon with just enough remaining whole berries swim languidly in the oozing pool of juices, thickened by a little cornflour to slow the drift of your senses as they sink into the intese fruitiness so the passion lasts longer. The chunky crumble scattered on top provides the enough contrasting resistance to remind you of the wild origins of the bramble blackberries - clusters of rugged oats, toasty hazenuts and caramel sugar tones all wrapped up in a sheath of melted butter. 
Wine roasted Blackberry Crumble with buttery oats, hazelnuts and almonds. Also known as a crisp, crumble or buckle.

You will want to drink to juices of the roasted fruit before sprinkling over the nutty oat crumble. A fruity blackberry gravy if you will. Don't say I didn't warn you. 
Wine roasted Blackberry Crumble with buttery oats, hazelnuts and almonds. Also known as a crisp, crumble or buckle.

I could easily eat this for breakfast. And why not? I like to add only a little sugar to crumbles unlike a lot of other sugar heaped recipes because I want to really taste the fruit. It is that beautiful tang that really wakes up up so you can pay attention to all the virtues of what you are consuming. Why would you want to miss a moment of it?


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Chunky Blackberry Hazelnut Crumble
An intensely fruity, juicy foraged blackberry crumble made with roasted fruit and topped with buttery oats and crunchy hazelnuts and almonds.
Ingredients
For the fruit layer:
  • 300-400g blackberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 4 tsp demerara sugar, or to taste
  • 100 ml white wine, sparkling or still
 For the crumble:
  • 30g plain flour
  • 30g oats
  • 15g demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 30g butter, melted
  • 30g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 15g flaked almonds
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 200 C/180 C fan. Toss the blackberries with the sugar and cornflour, place into an ovenproof dish and pour over the wine. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes.2. Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. Combine the flour, sugar, oats and cinnamon. Mix through the melted butter then stir through the nuts. Drain the fruit of any juices which you think are too much (don't bother if you prefer a more liquidy crumble) and sprinkle over the topping.3. Return to the oven for 20-30 minutes until the underneath is bubbling and the crumble is golden brown and looks toasted. Serve straight away with custard, cream or ice cream or simply on it's own.

The challenges I'd like to enter this Blackberry Crumble recipe into are:
Janine's Baking with Spirit over at Cake of the Week where the theme is 'acquired taste' - I don't like to drink alcohol but I very quickly acquired a taste for it in baking.
Shaheen's Vegetable Palette over at Allotment 2 Kitchen where the blackberry hues easily fit into her purples and blues theme.
Four Seasons Food which has an ideal theme of 'getting fruity' and is hosted this month by Louisa of Eat Your Veg, alternatively with Anneli from Delicieux.

The No Waste Food Challenge, this month hosted by Mireille from Chef Mireille's East West Realm on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. I used up the last of a gift sized bottle of sparkling wine which I had opened to bake something else with. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Cheesy Courgette Pasta Bake

Eurgh, yesterday was so boring compared to the fun of Monday. Shopping, chocolate, new cake tins, a film and the most amazing birthday cake transformed into a mind-numbingly boring assignment. I think I've completed it but it sounds like trash. I know there are going to be many evenings featuring such assignments this coming autumn and so comfort food will be in order. Preferably comfort food with some goodness. Try as I might, I cannot live on chocolate alone. Enter Cheesy Courgette Pasta Bake.
Cheesy Courgette or Zucchini Pasta Bake - pasta baked into a creamy garlic soft cheese sauce and chunky puree. Fine comfort food.

I know a lot of people are fed up of courgette/zucchini recipes now and are all about the autumn flavours of spice, apple, pumpkin and blackberries. Truth be told, although I still have courgettes to harvest and recipe ideas to try, I've already made a list of autumn and winter recipes I want to make. This recipe though is the perfect crossover from fresh summer produce to snuggly autumn cravings. 
Cheesy Courgette or Zucchini Pasta Bake - pasta baked into a creamy garlic soft cheese sauce and chunky puree. Fine comfort food.

It's very adaptable too.The first time I did it, I half followed this recipe and used the suggested mozarella. Verrrrrrry nice. The second time I used a Philadelphia and milk sauce. Have you ever tried spreading a thick layer of Philly on top of a cottage pie and noticed it comes out of the oven like baked cheese cake? Same thing here. So good.
Cheesy Courgette or Zucchini Pasta Bake - pasta baked into a creamy garlic soft cheese sauce and chunky puree. Fine comfort food.

Then I discovered mascarpone. I don't know what to say. I have been missing out big time. Thinned with a little milk and starchy pasta watern it creates the perfect base for this pasta bake. Silky smooth and quietly indulgent, the sauce twists and meanders its way through the chunky courgette puree in a river of creamy satisfaction given body by the slow cooked garlic. Baked to a state of golden bliss this really wraps you up well against the thralls of any seasonal chill. A sigh of release after the stresses of the day.
Cheesy Courgette or Zucchini Pasta Bake - pasta baked into a creamy garlic soft cheese sauce and chunky puree. Fine comfort food.

It would be wise to make a big batch of this and freeze before baking in individual portions to reheat as the situation demands. The greenery of the courgettes adds enough of a healthy kick to satisfy the occasional needs of the body for vitamins and fibre and uses up a dose of the ever present courgettes produced by the plants demonstrating their puppy-like enthusiasm for growth. You can even boost said vitamins and content by adding in extra veg - peas maybe or cherry tomatoes for a splash of colour. Or simply go for another layer of grated melty cheese. Gouda would get my vote.



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Cheesy Courgette Pasta Bake
Pasta enrobed in a courgette and garlic creamy cheese sauce - the finest of comfort foods for autumn or any night with a bit of a chill.
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp sunflower or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or a squeeze of garlic puree
  • 500g courgettes, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Sprinkle of salt salt
  • 200-300g pasta shapes
  • 150g mascarpone, cream cheese or mozarella
  • Splash of milk
Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion over a medium heat for five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes then add the courgettes and sprinkled over the salt.2. Set the oven to 200 C/180 fan. Continue to cook, stirring every so often and helping the courgettes to break down with a potato masher. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until 2 minutes underdone.3. Once the courgettes are like a chunky puree, stir through the mascarpone, Philly or mozarella and enough milk and a splash of pasta water to make a sauce to your desired thickness. Drain the pasta and stir into the mixture.4. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, top with the grated cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden on top and bubbling.

This Cheesy Courgette Pasta Bake is perfect for this months Eat Your Greens created by Shaheen of Allotment 2 Kitchen who has teamed up with Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes to host Pasta Please this month. A pasta dish using a green ingredient? Check.

I discovered the wonders of mascarpone after finding a tub reduced so I'm also entering this pasta bake recipe into Credit Crunch Munch, run by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food 4 All. Sarah from Maison Cupcake is hosting this month.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Orange and Olive Oil Loaf Cake

Sometimes a recipe catches your eye. All you have to be doing is flipping through your latest recipe book acquisition while enjoying a leisurely cup of tea and one may jump out at you, a silent plea to be made. In those instances you know you are onto a winner. This is one of those such recipes.
Orange and olive oil quick bread or loaf cake recipe. Super simple and easy

Of course, I didn't stick completely to the recipe but I was heavily inspired by it. Sticking to a recipe is neigh on impossible for me, especially when I don't have any spelt flour but I remember a bag of wholemeal bread flour on top of my cupboard and wonder what effect using a higher protein flour will have on a cake. I'll tell you. Nothing negative whatsoever.
Orange and olive oil quick bread or loaf cake recipe. Super simple and easy

So what if I went against the norm? Sometimes breaking rules is a stupendously good thing. I made this cake before finishing placement and I can tell you being in the lab all day means following a lot of rules. Lab specs and coat on at all times, put the waste solvents in the correct containers, don't waft pyridine about outside of the fume cupboards....... This cake on the other hand is all about the positives. The experiment that went perfectly. A discovery that five bags of bread flour bought at 30p each was absolutely a good idea.
Orange and olive oil quick bread or loaf cake recipe. Super simple and easy

A downy soft and tender crumb holds holds as much zesty orange sunshine as it can manage grounded by an earthy nuttiness from the wholegrain flakes. Moisture oozes from every silky bite so tender it practically dissolves on the tongue. The heavenly scent which radiates from all planes belies the mischievous enticement of its true nature, drawing you into it's depths. Luckily for you this loaf cake is on of those extra special ones which is as much of a joy to mix as it is to eat. The use of olive oil boosts the moisture without making it heavy and means the mixture is ready for the oven in minutes. Trust me. I cannot lie.


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Orange and Olive Oil Loaf Cake
A well flavoured sunny loaf cake with a deliciously soft, moist crumb and so easy to make by using olive oil.
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 2 oranges, finely grated
  • 175 ml milk
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 200g wholemeal bread flour (sift out the largest pieces if you wish)
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp scoop marmalade, warmed to finish
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and line a 2 lb loaf tin with baking paper.2. In a jug, mix together the eggs, olive oil, zest and milk. In a large bowl, sift the sugar, flour, baking powder and bicarb together. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until just combined, no longer.3. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 mins or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and spread over the warmed marmalade. leave to cool in the tin.

I'm pretty sure olive oil is used a lot in Mediterranean recipes so I'm entering this orange and olive oil cake into Tea Time Treats. Janine from The Hedgecombers is hosting this month, alternating with Karen from Lavender and Lovage.
As I've wanted to make this cake since the 'Great British Bake Off: How to turn every day bakes into showstoppers' came out, I'm also sharing this cake with Bookmarked Recipes on Jacqueline's blog Tinned Tomatoes.
Finally, I'd like to share this with CookBlogShare organised by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Totally Fudged! Review

As a blogger I have to work hard. Coming up with recipes I feel are fit to be shared, baking them, photographing them, editing, writing the post and then all that promotion. Plus all that time spent looking at recipes books and Pinterest. Sorry, I mean research. The hardest part though is when companies send me the loveliest thiongs to review. What can I say? It's a tough job!
 I found out about Totally Fudged! through Twitter. A quick nosey around their fun and modern but ever so slightly chic website and by the end of the evening I was looking forward to a box of three flavours of small batch, handmade fudge being popped in the post for me.

Something about Totally Fudged! appealed to me. Ed and Jim are only young, recent graduates in Accounting & Finance and Business Management & Marketing respectively, but they already seem to have got the enthusiasm and necessary passion for a successful business down good and proper. There is a certain verve about them. A genuine energy and spirit. I always find products and brands all the more appealing when the owners seem like truly decent people. If I'm going to spend my money then I would much prefer it to go to people who appreciate the custom. Totally Fudged! give me that feeling. Ed and Jim say they want to create a 'young and fun image for the brand' which is obviously going to appeal to customers of their own generation but I think their friendliness will appeal to those who are shy from being much younger and the older generation too - anyone who appreciates politeness and quality.

So, the fudge. I was lucky enough to receive a variety pack which contained the three flavours from the current range - Madagascan Vanilla, Double Chocolate and Sea Salted Caramel.

Each packet has the list of ingredients on the back and it is blissfully short. A minimal ingredients list is the mark of a true small batch handmade fudge. Here's what I thought.

What I liked best:
  •  The texture - the fudge looks crumbly but it is actually very smooth and delcious. It is just the right softness too, not so soft it will get squashed, not too hard you struggle to cut or bite into it.
  • The flavours - Ed and Jim have started off with classic flavours that will suit most people and purposes. Vanilla, chocolate and caramel can be enjoyed on their own or added to a recipe withou detracting from the dish, like I did here with my Very Vanilla Cupcakes. I created them to see how the fudge would act as a decoration and a finisher - one word, perfect.
  • The portion sizes - the bags are a good size and the fudge pieces are just right to have one as a treat, if you managed to close the bag up and savour the rest. Massive great hunks of fudge are off putting.
  • The people - it only took a small amount of interaction for Ed and Jim to shine though, and I think that is pretty difficult through social media. Plus, when I received my parcel, the first thing I saw on opening the box was this adorable note.

What I thought could be better:
  • I'd like there to be more variety of flavours. However, I have no doubt that once Totally Fudged! have grown a little Ed and Jim will be back in the kitchen stirring up more beautiful flavours. Hopefully nothing too flamboyant though because I think that would ruin the fudge and the brand. I'd like to see mint, clotted cream and maybe a layered chocolate orange. That's just my personal opinion though!
  • As a huge chocoholic I'd like the chocolate one to be more chocolatey. This is my only real criticism though. Having said that, it was my parents' favourite because it was the creamiest.

So which one was my favourite? This one came as a surprise for me because normally I really don't like the stuff normally but this one won hands down. Sea Salted Caramel. I can't say why but from the first taste I knew that one wasn't going on the cupcakes. That one was all for me.

The real question is would I buy the fudge myself. Yes, I definitley would. It's gorgeous. Sweetand creamy and everything a homemade sweetie should be. The price is good too at £3 for a 150g bag, and very good compared to other small batch producers. Totally Fudged are doing a mini tour of foodie shows and fairs at the moment down south but in the meantime there is always the website. I hope to see them up north soon and I wish Ed and Jim the best of luck.

Disclaimer - I was sent the fudge free of charge and all opinions expressed are my own. I wouldn't lie to you. The first too pictures are property of Totally Fudged! with the rest being my own.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes

We all know that there is a wealth of cupcake recipes out there, each one more outrageous and fancier than the last. I'll even hold both hands up and state that I'm guilty of collecting a large number of those said recipes on Pinterest because they sound so delicious and the photography always makes me very jealous and has me dying to get into the kitchen. Now, let me ask you a question. Is there really anything better than a good old fashioned, plain and simple chocolate or vanilla cupcake?

Correct. My current favourite things to make are muffins and (strangely) fruit cakes but I also keep having cravings to make simpler recipes. I'd Much Rather Bake Than.... is full of simple and easy recipes anyway because I'm too impatient to wait the time to doctor a recipe to make it showy when all I want to do is eat the cake. Frills are all divine fun but the classics are classic for a reason and so I present to you my favourite recipe for vanilla cupcakes.

The secret is to use homemade vanilla extract. The sponge recipe really benefits from the quality that is homemade. Shop bought extracts, even a quality one, simply aren't the same. The reason you need homemade is because then you get all the different flavour compounds that contribute towards that lovely vanilla taste. Synthetic vanilla only contains vanillin, the primary chemical responsible for what you taste. However, vanilla pods contains aout 200 chemical compounds and it is tasting the combination of these that makes the flavour of vanilla such a good one to so many people. By using homemade vanilla extract you get a high concentration of all of these compounds which go straight into your baking.

An extract is much easier to blend throughout the whole sponge and buttercream than the seeds of the pod. It's also much cheaper (hoorah!) and involves much less mess (HOORAH!). I've stuck with a traditional creamed Victoria sponge recipe because I think the buttery base really highlights the vanilla star. Sometimes it is good to experiment and change quantities to creat something new but this isn't one of those times. A good old Victoria sponge, given the love and care to incorporate as much air as possible at the creaming stage produces the lighest, most feathery base to caress a thorough infusion of vanilla. Topped with a cloud of buttercream whipped to a mousse-like texture, these vanilla cupcakes can bask resplendent in the glow of a well satisfied baker and eater.

After such a glorious foundation, these Very Vanilla Cupcakes deserve a crown attop their buttercream. Sprinkles are all very well and good but I like to add sweets or a piece of chocolate to mine - and then save that bit for last (anybody else do that?) Another craving of mine recently has been fudge so when I came across the all new Totally Fudged! range I jumped at the chance to review some. It was the perfect topper to my favourite vanilla cupcakes. The cherry on top. Except it's fudge. Stay tuned!


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Very Vanilla Cupcakes
A supersoft buttery sponge holds maximum vanilla flavour and is topped with the lightest of vanilla buttercreams. The key is to use good quality vanilla extract and beat lots of air in at the creaming stage. Double up the buttercream if you like lots of icing.
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • 115g softened butter
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp homemade vanilla extract (or top quality bought)
  • Splash of milk
  • 115g plain flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
For the buttercream:
  • 40g softened butter
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 ml milk
  • Chopped fudge, to finish
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 190 C/170 C and line a mufin tin with paper cases.2. Beat the butter until pale and creamy then add the sugar and cream until very light and fluffy. In a jug whisk the eggs with the vanilla and milk then mix into the butter and sugar a small spoonful at a time, mixing well with each addition. If the mixture threatens to curdle, mix in a spoonful of the measured flour.3. Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold into the mixture then divide between the cases. 4. Bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 mins until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. After five mins, remove from the tray and cool completely on a wire rack.5. For the buttercream, beat the butter until pale and creamy then sift and beat in the icing sugar a bit at a time. Add the milk and mix in then mix on high speed until very light and fluffy.6. Spread or pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and top with a sprinkle of fudge.
 
Stuart from Cakeyboi has set the anniversary theme of Treat Petite to 'anything goes' so I'm sharing the cupcakes with the challenge - a traditional individually portioned treat. Kat from The Baking Explorer is his co-host on alternate months.

Monday, 1 September 2014

No Waste Food Challenge August 14 Round Up

This month I have had the pleasure of guest hosting a challenge which covers a subject which is very important to me, having had the subject instilled in me from a early age.

Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary was gracious enough to let me take control of the No Waste Food Challenge and I have to say it has been brilliant to be one of the first to see all the inventiveness that goes on in the kitchen to use up what would otherwise probably have gone to waste. I hope all participants have enjoyed it too and that you are inspired by this large and wonderful collection which I can now present to you so here goes. 

Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog used up some sad looking blueberries and some rose syrup in this Summer Fruit Trifle. Packed so full of fruit it was an (almost) guilt free breakfast treat and a very successful quickly made alternative to a birthday cake. The birthday boy in question might just be requesting another trifle next year as well is my guess!
Laura from How To Cook Good Food used up some vegetable odds and ends from the fridge to go in these Okonomiyaki or Japanese Pancakes. Laura has been what I think is very brave, having tried a packet of pancake mixture without a translation so some of the flavourings were a bit of a mystery. Whatever is in them, I would really like to try them myself now though I confess I'd have to pass on the chopsticks and stick with a knife and fork.


Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen made these Stuffed Aubergines with Pasta in a Rich Tomato Sauce to use use some leftover passata. Roasted and hollowed aubergines act as little boats for a classic Italian pasta dish providing a lovely meal for a party.

Camilla at Fab Food 4 All used some gifted Mirabelle plums in this Mirabelle Plum Jam which looks so beautiful and jewel like atop a thick slice of bread and butter. Camilla recommends it both for tea time and breakfast which is a good thing as it was very popular with her husband. Scones and a cup of tea anyone?


Becky from Veghotpot made this Fresh and Herby Salsa Verde using herbs that weren't going to last much longer and has put it with a whole hosts of other foods since then. It looks so fresh and summery and flavoursome that it could be eaten straight from the bowl, a quick spoonful everytime you went in the fridge for something else. Becky provides some other useful information on soft and hard herbs and their best uses too.

Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food For Families made this Sesame Chicken Stirfry to use up some some veg from the fridge because a new one was about to arrive. Well, I say Michelle made it but for once she got to relax with her daughters doing the cooking and her husband the washing up. A yummy meal and a night off? Perfect.


Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker made these Spiced Pumpkin and Apple Crumble Muffins to use up some leftover pumpkin puree, spare apples and the last of a bag of oats. Sweet and moist, each flavour is clear throughout - Ros even recommends adding pecans to add another texture and flavour, one which would complement those already there perfectly.


Chris from Cooking Around the World made this Pasta with Quadruple Cheese Sauce to use up some ricotta. This dish takes comfort food to the next level combining the different flavours of ricotta, gorgonzola, emmental and parmesan with the satisfaction that comes from pasta. I could be saved for those night when nothing but a huge cheesy hug will do but really any night be suit this.

Helen from Fuss Free Flavours made this fresh and zingy Green Goddess Dressing to use up some languishing corriander and parsley. It doesn't matter if you don't have either of these though because Helen recommends several alternatives saying that pretty much any fresh green herbs would perfect - perfect for those well intentioned bunches of herbs that never got fully utilised.

I made this One Pot Pumpkin and Tomato Spaghetti to use up some pumpkin puree, wine, tomatoes and herbs, without the intention of blogging the recipe but I was so pleased with it that I simply had to. Throw everything in a saucepan and ten minutes later you will have warming, rich and yes, healthy pleasure in a bowl.

My second entry this month was these Cheddar, Ale and Chive Muffins to use up some leftover ale from a slow cooker meal. It added extra depth and a certain lightness of texture to a muffin where the cheddar really came through. Fresh from the oven they were delicious but equally enjoyable cold or reheated in the microwave.

Janet from The Taste Space made these Savoury Chickpea Crumbles to use up some fridge odds and ends before  a move. Suitable as a meal on its own, as a side dish or a filling for something like a taco, the dish is ready quickly and can be adapted to suit individual tastes by using whatever spices you prefer.

Anne from Anne's Kitchen made this Spicy Chorizo Egg Fried Rice to use up some spring onions, an egg and some chorizo though notes that it's an ideal recipe for adding in what you like best or need to use up. Plus, if you use ready cooked rice it makes things even more fuss free than before. I love chorizo and have never though of adding it to fried rice but I know I will the next time I buy some.

Camilla from Fab Food 4 All used up some bananas to make these Banana S'mores as a quick post-BBQ pudding. The initial one was so appealing that her daughter wanted one too and it is no wonder with that boat of grilled banana turning the marshmallows and chocolate into molten enjoyment. 

Kate from The Gluten Free Alchemist made these Banana Coconut Crunch Trifles to save the early stages of biscotti recipe development from the bin.  Such a range of textures and flavours work in tandem to create something which was such a success another batch seems imminent. Doesn't the combination of chocolate, biscuits, caramel and coconut sound divine?

Linzi from Lancashire Food made this Blackberry and Rose Geranium Crumble in individual portions to use up some berries sourced from her own garden. There's something extra special about using homegrown or wild fruit in baking so amongst the fragrant compote and crunchy topping the berries are the stars of the show. What's more, the cumble is gluten free.

Kat, The Baking Explorer, used up egg yolks in these Chocolate Truffles finished four ways with either cinnmon sugar, coconut, chocolate sprinkles or hundreds and thousands. The richness of these and the intense chocolate flavour mean they will disappear very quickly so you might want to make a larger batch just in case.

Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes made these Wholemeal Vegan Banana, Blackberry and Cardamom Cakes to use up some bananas that had been forgotten about.   Needing a quick treat to watch the Great British Bake Off with these were ideal and they were finished off pretty quickly too. The second batch using Nutella and apricots sound like they will be equally, if not more, moreish when they come out of the freezer.

Becky from Mint Custard made this Monday Pie using chicken and veg leftovers but notes that all sorts of things could go in there from bacon bits to stuffing. Pies made from leftovers are my absolute favourites because you can make it something different each time and you know you will enjoy it because you like all the components in the first place, otherwise you wouldn't have bothered to save them to enjoy again!

Sudha from Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous made this dish of Eggs with Mint and Spinach to use up some leaves she found looking rather lonely in the fridge after returning from a holiday. Add some green curry paste and ginger and Sudha proves a simple omelette can act as a vehicle for a wealth of flavours in every bite.

Elizabeth, my No Waste Food Challenge co-ordinator from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary made this Heritage Wheat Wholegrain Pizza with Summer Pesto and Grilled Vegetable to use up some remaining flour and courgettes. With this, Elizabeth managed to convince even her traditional meat and tomato pizza championing husband that vegetable grilled to perfection to bring out all their true flavours have a place on a pizza. That to me sounds like enough of an excuse to experiment some more and if this pizza is anything to go by, any subsequent version will be just as beautiful.

Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker adopted some abandoned croissants to make this Marmalade Chocolate Croissant Pudding as an alternative to traditional bread and butter. The only trouble with something that combines buttery flakiness, marmalade tang and dark chocolate hints is that it calls for a repeat pudding to be made - not a problem for my tastebuds!

Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food for Families made this Mega Veg Pizza/Pasta Sauce to use up some vegetable that had been in the fridge for too long. Looking so bright and cheerful, yet comforting and warming at the the time, this really is a multi-tasking sauce being able to hide a variety of vegetable and suitable to use thick for a pizza or a pasta dish or thinned down as a soup.


Kelli from Food to Glow made these Beet Tops and Courgette Tartlets to use the prettily coloured leaves of beetroot. Most of us will be guilty of throwing these away or at best adding them to the compost pile but after reading Kelli's informative post about the goodness and vitamins contained therein, we really have no excuse. I really like the idea of getting as much out of a plant as possible and if you have gone to the trouble of growing the beetroot yourself, all the more reason to get back as much of the energy you have put in as possible. 

Corina from Searching for Spice gave some leeks which were starting to droop a new lease of life in these Cheddar and Leek Muffins. Light and moist with clearly present flavours, Corina deemed her first attempt at making savoury muffins a success and very tasty. Watch her blog because there might be a few other recipes on it in the future. 

Rosie from Eco-Gites of Lenault made this Marrow and Ginger Jam to put to use a courgette that had grown into a marrow, a fate which a lot of courgette growers can sympathise with. Admittedly an unusual combinaton, it should not be dismissed because the ginger adds so much. The preserve can then be enjoyed with a multitude of things - I'm tempted to try this myself and put it in a Victoria sponge without telling my mum!

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe made this Strawberry, Halloumi and Greens Salad to use up odds and ends from various other bakes. An ideal quick meal full of refreshing ingredients to enjoy and relax with after an exhausting action packed day. I've never tried combiing strawberries with halloumi but I really want to now, especially how Johanna has served it chunky style.

Voh from Vohn's Vittles is on a mission to convince people that haggis is really worthy of ordering when eating out and enjoying at home too and made these Ulster-Scots Pasties to prove it using the leftovers of a Burn's supper i.e. haggis, turnips and potatoes. If you want to try haggis but the thought puts you off then these are the best place to start because it is well disguised, combining the traditions of two nations - the deep fried and delicious sausagemeat and potato pasties of Ireland and the haggis of Scotland. 
 
Vanesther from Bangers and Mash created this Griddled Squash with Feta, Mint and Chilli to prevent a glut of homegrown pattypan squash from going to waste. Vanesther says the squash didn't hold together as well as the original aubergine would have done but if anyone did notice, which I highly doubt, I don't think they would care with how delicious the dish sounds as it stands. The combination of creaminess, freshness and spice in the filling really does sound addictive.


Laura from How to Cook Good Food made this Smoky Black Bean and Chorizo Soup to use up some leftover chorizo. Warming and spicy with a subtle Mexican hint it is possible to have this soup whizzed up in little more than seven minutes. Weeknight meals are calling for this to be made.



Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker rounds us off now with this Apple, Plum and Almond Crumble Cake made using some plums that would otherwise have gone to waste because the harvest was so bountiful. Spiced with lots of different textures from the sponge mix, apple chunks, plum slices and oaty nutty crumble this is a fruity cake to enjoy as an introduction to autumn on its own or with the extra luxury of custard or cream.

Phew! That is a whole lot of entries and delicious recipes covering pretty much all meals and tastes. It just goes to prove what lovely things can be made with ingredients that could so easily be dismissed so well done to everyone for your culinary artistic skills and thank you for entering them. Thank you also once again to Elizabeth for letting me host - I've really enjoyed it and will hopefully see you all again another time. In the meantime, for Septembers entries head over to Chef Mireille's East West Realm. Have fun!