Monday, 27 July 2015

Cheesy Courgette and Bacon Flan

Full of flavour with cheese and smoked bacon, this quiche gives you an extra helping of veg with the courgette packed into the filling.
Cheesy Courgette (Zucchini) & Bacon Quiche - make the most of the summer bounty
Hands up who has courgettes coming out of their ears already? Not literally of course. That could be, erm, uncomfortable to say the least. Courgette season is fast approaching though, and even though the plants my mum is growing for me are being a bit slow this year, I've got courgette recipes on the brain. I thought it would be nice to share with you something I made last year but didn't get round to posting so you'll have a head start of courgette ideas when the time does come. 
Cheesy Courgette (Zucchini) & Bacon Quiche - make the most of the summer bounty
I normally stick to showing off the sweet recipes that I've added courgettes to like this double chocolate chunk loaf or this peanut butter swirl version. The humble fruit (yes really, courgette isn't a vegetable) adds a brillliant level of moisture and beautiful flecks of green without ruining the bake with a strange flavour. They are also wonderful in muffins and you can healthify a brownie to legitimise stuffing them with Nutella. I have had some blog worthy savoury courgette recipes though including these cheesy fritters and this comforting pasta bake. Now it is the turn of this flan. Quiche? Savoury tart? Whatever you prefer.
Cheesy Courgette (Zucchini) & Bacon Quiche - make the most of the summer bounty
I started off by using the same technique to prepare the courgette as I do for the pasta bake - slice, sprinkle with salt and leave to allow the salt to draw out the excess moisture. Then remove the water and exces salt and gently fry until the courgette slices break down. Cooking the bacon and onion boosts the flavour to the extraordinary - the salty smokiness from the bacon, the piquant savoury notes of the onion, the nutty creaminess of the cheese all rounded off by a selection of herbs and a generous sprinkling of black pepper. And that is before you bite into the tender and buttery oh-so-short pastry case. 
Cheesy Courgette (Zucchini) & Bacon Quiche - make the most of the summer bounty
We ate this for dinner with a serving of green beans on a summer evening and it was a perfectly balanced meal. Satisfying but not too heavy to cause discomfort in heat of the season. It is just as good warm as it is fresh from the oven, or even cold which is my favourite way to eat it. If there are any leftovers they are great for lunch and I've even been known to eat them for breakfast. I wish the plants would hurry up and startproducing courgettes. Typing this has made me crave this flan all over again.


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Cheesy Courgette and Bacon Flan
Full of flavour with cheese and smoked bacon, this quiche gives you an extra helping of veg with the courgette packed into the filling.
Ingredients
  • 170g plain flour
  • 85g butter or block Stork, chilled and diced
  • Splash of cold water
  • 2 small courgettes, ends trimmed and sliced thinly
  • Salt
  • 3-4 slices of smoked bacon, trimmed of fat and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • A generous squeeze of garlic puree
  • A good handful Red Leicester cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Parsley or chives, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • Approx 150ml milk
Instructions
1. Rub the buuter or Stork into the flour until it resembles coarse breadbrumbs. Add enough water to bind it together into a ball. Dust a work surface with a little flour and roll out to a few mm thick. Use to line a 8" flan tin. Trim the edges leaving about 1cm of pastry proud of the tin edge.2. Chill the pastry case while the oven heats to 200 C/180 C fan with a baking sheet inside. Once ready, remove the pastry case from the fridge, prick the base with a fork and line with a sheet of baking parchment. Cover the base with ceramic baking beans, dried pulses or dried rice. Bake for about 20 mins on the hot baking sheet then carefully remove the beans and parchment and bake for another 5-10 mins until the pastry is golden brown and looks dry. Reduce the oven to 170 C/150 C fan.3. While the pastry case is baking, place the courgette slices on a plate and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 10 mins then rinse under cold water in a sieve and squeeze out any excess water.4. Heat a little oil over a medium heat and gently fry the courgette slices. Keep stirring every so often and they will begin to break down. Add the onion, bacon and garlic and continue to cook until the onion has softened.5. Whisk the eggs, milk, mustard and seasonings together in a jug - it should come to roughly 3/4 pint. Stir in the cheese. Once the courgette, bacon and onion are cooked transfer to the pastry case and carefully pour over te egg mixture. Return to the oven and bake until the egg mixture has just a slight wobble in the centre - about 30 mins.6. Remove from the tin and enjoy hot, warm or cold.

I'm sending this to Kirst at Hijacked By Twins who is the new host of CookBlogShare. Also to Helen at Casa Costello for Bake of the Week.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Vitamin Rich Foods Infographic - Something for the Weekend

Last week I brought you a slightly different Something for the Weekend post but this week I'm back with another infographic for you.

Despite being such a sugar addict, I make sure the rest of my diet is varied so I can pack in as many nutrients as possible. As well as the health benefits I find it more fun because it means I get to try out even more recipes to get the vitamins I need. Hopefully this handy guide will make it easier for you to keep track of the nutrients you need.

So tell me, do you have a favourite way to make sure you get what your body is craving? (Cakes not included!)

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Extra Fruity Breakfast Muffins

Low fat and with no added sugar these are muffins you need not have any qualms about eating for breakfast. The sweetness come from all the fruit packed into each bite. 
Extra Fruity Breakfast Muffins - no added sugar and low fat
What do you like to eat for breakfast? If I could get away with it I would like to eat a giant slab of a brownie for breakfast with a large glass of milk every day but both my body and conscience wouldn't accept that. Instead I go for peanut butter on toast and a generous handful of nuts with a steaming hot cup of tea in my favourite mug. Sometime though you wake up fancying a change. I've never really agreed with sweet muffins for breakfast - they are a dessert item for me. These muffins though are something else entirely.
Extra Fruity Breakfast Muffins - no added sugar and low fat
After a successful impromptu savoury muffin baked for breakfast early one morning, I challenged myself to come up with a sweet muffin which I wouldn't feel guilty about eating to start off the day. These came out perfectly. I took away the sugar and the oil and added grated apple and mashed banana instead. Both add a subtle sweetness the just satisfy an early sugar craving while keeping the muffin moist with the softness of a pillow. The raisins add little burst of extra fruity flavour which can be compounded by soaking overnight in orange juice - they'll be plump and ready to go for you in the morning. The sprinkling of oats and nuts on top give a final layer of texture to savour - a pleasant crunch to constrast with the cushion below. A treat with a true portion of your daily fruit in each one.
Extra Fruity Breakfast Muffins - no added sugar and low fat
The recipe is based on my favourite bakery style muffin recipe which is wonderfully versatile and can be made sweet or savoury. You could even increase the virtue levels of these breakfast treats by using wholemeal or spelt flour. This will have the added benefit of adding fibre and a nutty background note throughout. A dollop of any nut butter would be a wonderful addition too. From cupboard to plate in less than 25 minutes there is no need to keep these for special occasion breakfasts. Given them a go and they will be sure to become and every day staple in no time.


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Extra Fruity Breakfast Muffins - No Added Sugar
With no added these are muffins you need not have any qualms about eating for breakfast. The sweetness come from all the fruit packed into each bite.
Ingredients
  • 190g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 1 apple, skin on and grated
  • 50g raisins
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g walnut pieces
  • 2 tbsp oats
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 220 C/200 C fan and line a 6 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. In a separate bowl or jug mix together the banana, apple, raisins, milk, orange juice and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together until just combined. A few floury lumps are ok. 3. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and sprinkle the walnut pieces and oats on top. 4. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 mins then turn down the oven to 180 C/160 C fan and bake for a further 13-15 mins until a skewer inserted into the centre of one comes out clean. Carefully remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack.

I'm sending these muffins off to Helen at Casa Costello for her Bake of the Week

Monday, 20 July 2015

Terrys Double Chocolate Loaf Cake

Soft and rich, this loaf cake is quick to make using the all in one method, and even easier to eat with Terrys chocolate orange melted into the cake and on top. 
Double Terrys Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake - soft and silky and gorgeous
I've been on a bit of a coconut kick lately. I told you all about this condensed milk loaf cake but what I didn't mention were the dark chocolate and Terrys milk chocolate variations I made of these wonderful cookies. Don't take my word for it and try them yourself - all three versions are wonderful. The next cake I've picked out to bake has also got coconut in along with a bit of cardamom. Fingers crossed I'll get to make it this week.
Double Terrys Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake - soft and silky and gorgeous
For now though I'm returning to my roots and giving you something chocolatey. I LOVE chocolate! And I love Terrys chocolate orange too. I even use it in my favourite ever ultimate brownies. The centre bit is my favourite - you know what I mean, the piece left over when you break each of the segments away. Don't try telling me I'm the only one who has favourite parts of foods! I know lots of people have very particular ways of eating Jaffa cakes.
Double Terrys Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake - soft and silky and gorgeous
I've had this cake bookmarked for a good few months now. When Mum insisted I start making use of the 9 chocolate oranges she had collected I decided it was time to put the recipe to use. With my own little twist of course. It baked and sliced liek a dream. The crumb is so soft and silky while the ground almonds and cocoa add a sumptuous level of richness. This exquisite flavour is boosted by the addition of melted Terrys chocolate, the hint of orange coming through like a whisper in a chocolate haze. The thick sweeping of chocolate is on top is the perfect cap to finish such a wonderful cake.
Double Terrys Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake - soft and silky and gorgeous
I used my favourite all in one method to speed up the preparation time - the best way to get to eat your bakes quicker! I smiled to myself as I popped this one into the oven. I had such a good feeling about it and this continued right through serving a slice up to my mum at tea break to taking my first bite for my pudding. In fact, the only time I didn't smile while making this one was when I scooped up the final crumbs. To save you from such a fate I suggest you keep therest of the cake close by so you can swiftly cut another slice.


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Terrys Double Chocolate Loaf Cake
Soft and rich, this loaf cake is quick to make using the all in one method, and even easier to eat with Terrys chocolate orange melted into the cake and on top.
Ingredients
  • 85g margarine or butter, softened
  • 85g granulated sugar
  • 2 small eggs
  • 70g plain flour
  • 40g ground almonds
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 50 ml milk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Terrys milk chocolate orange, chopped
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and line a 1 lb loaf tin.2 Melt 100g of the chocolate and allow to cool slightly. Place into a large bowl with the remaining ingredients (sifting the dry ones) except the leftover chocolate. Mix together until just combined.3. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and level off. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 mins until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.4. When the cake is cool, remove from the loaf tin. Melt the remaining chocolate the spread over the cake to finish.

I'm sending this cake off to Kerry's Cake Club at Kerry Cooks and Lucy at Supergolden Bakes for the last time she will be hosting CookBlogShare. Also to Jac at Tinned Tomatoes for Bookmarked Recipes - I found it on the BBC Good Food site.

Friday, 17 July 2015

My Top 15 Favourite Blogs - Something for the Weekend

So. Officially I'm now a Master of Chemistry which quite frankly I find hilarious. Yes, Tuesday saw me finally graduate. In all seriousness though, I'm over the moon. It was a hectic day - travelling from my parents house, making myself presentable at my own house, the ceremony, lunch with my parents at a lovely tea room then an awards do in the evening where I picked up an award for my final year performance. 
I stayed in Huddersfield for one of my friends graduation but am going home again this weekend because there is a lot of family stuff happening next week. It's got to the point that when I'm in Huddersfield I miss home and when I'm at my parents I miss Huddersfield. 

I thought I'd bring you something different for Something for the Weekend this week. I've been meaning to share a list of my favourite blogs for a while. Please be aware though that it is by no means definitive because out of the 150+ blogs I follow (yep!) my favourites can change depending on my mood and what I'm fancying. So today these are the bloggers, in no particular order, I feel need to be given a special shout out.
  1. What Kate Baked... - Kate has a brilliant way with words and it is a real pleasure to read the whole post, not just skip to the recipe.
  2. Sally Baking Addiction - Do I need to explain this one? The photography, the detailed explanations, the cute pictures of Jude AND Sally seems like a genuinely nice person.
  3. Baked by Rachel - Rachel's pizza recipes are so creative. I want to go to her house for pizza night every week. 
  4. Cake of the Week - Janine has a very inventive way with alcohol in her baking. Plus, she is a fellow chemist but that doens't really make me biased.
  5. Belleau Kitchen - I've been following Dom's blog right from the start of my own and I love his way with words and his approach to baking. 
  6. Cakeyboi - Stuart is very creative and produces so many fun treats. I would not be ashamed to eat one after hte other if presented with a plate full.
  7. Caroline Makes - Another one I've been following from the beginning. Caroline is brilliant at cake decorating and her Slimming World suited recipes do not let on they are healthier.
  8. Scientifically Sweet - Christina is a food scientist so I get to satisfy my sweet teeth and my nerdy side with each one of her posts.
  9. Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary - Elizabeth manages to provide family friendly recipes that look much closer to gourmet. There is beautiful food and Shetlands scenery photography in there too.
  10. Cookies and Cups - Shelly makes fun baking recipes and quick and simple dinners which will always appeal to me along with her enthusiastic writing.
  11. The More Than Occasional Baker - Ros really is an avid baker and her muffin recipes truly stand out. Plus, it was lovely to meet her in person at a food show last year.
  12. Tin and Thyme - Choclette began blogging at Chocolate Log Blog featuring only chocolate containing recipes so I was ound to be a fan. When she moved blogs I was more than happy to follow and her non-chocolate recipes are just as good. 
  13. The Lass in the Apron - Alexandra always makes me envious of her creativity in the kitchen and leave sme thinking 'I want that now'. I want to visit her chocolate market stall where I'd be her best customer.
  14. Supergolden Bakes - Lucy is a blogger I really admire. Her photography skills are breathtaking and her recipes divine being just detailed enough to get absorbed in but not so detailed you get flustered or bored.
  15. Every Nook & Cranny -  Jodie is a very enthusiastic foodie and I've met her in person too. I enjoy the stories that accompany each recipe and her collection of props makes me just a tiny bit jealous too.
 That was hard! So tell me, do you have a favourite blog?