Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Spaghetti with prawns and pea pesto

A new recipe. About time too. I'm clearing the freezer to make room for some Christmas cooking. Searching on Goodfood website for a recipe with prawns and peas I came across this tasty and easy little number.

Serves 4
400g frozen peas, defrosted
½ x 300g tub garlic & herb soft cheese
zest and juice 1 lemon, plus wedges to serve
1 garlic clove, chopped
300g spaghetti
190g pack small cooked prawns 

(I used raw king prawns and cooked them while the pasta was cooking)

Whizz 300g of the peas with the soft cheese, lemon zest and juice, and the garlic. Add some seasoning, then set aside.
Meanwhile, cook pasta following pack instructions. Tip in the remaining peas 2 mins before the pasta is cooked, then drain everything and return to the pan. Stir through the pea pesto until warm and add some seasoning. Divide between 4 plates and serve with the prawns and extra lemon wedges, if you like.

Monday, 10 November 2014

A Homemade Christmas Hamper

It gets more and more difficult these days to think of gifts for people at Christmas. I'll certainly be struggling to think of anything that my children need this year. I do think that homemade gifts are extra special to give. It shows that you have put thought and effort into something. I made this hamper for my mum last year. I chose things that I thought she would definitely use and enjoy. A lot of hampers you buy are stocked with ingredients that you put in the cupboard and forget about, pickled walnuts for example. The items don't have to be too expensive, I selected some of the special range from Aldi, but mixed them with some items from M & S. All placed in a basket and wrapped in cellophane and a ribbon, the gift can't fail to please. It's a nice touch to put something a little more personal in too, maybe a photograph. My sister made a hamper for me a couple of years running and I always enjoyed ploughing through the goodies. So if you have someone in the family who is a nightmare to buy for, think about all the things they like to eat and put together your own hamper this Christmas. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Hummingbird Bakery chocolate cupcakes

My daughter turned 15 last week. Every year I say no more parties and every year so far I have given in. This year she invited her friends around to the house, they just hung out, sang and danced. They set themselves up with a homemade photo booth and took loads of great photos. Considering there were 26 girls, they were a pleasure to have. I kept the pizzas coming and made about 37 cupcakes. I think there were four left at the end of the night. The Hummingbird Bakery cupcake recipes are definitely my recipe of choice. I started off by putting too much mixture in the tin and they were too large, and I didn't have enough mixture to make a dozen. The mixture should make a dozen as they do rise considerably. 

Makes 12
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk

1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170°C
Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug, then slowly pour about half into the flour mixture, beat to combine and turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps.
Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix. Divide the mixture between the cup cake cases filling to about ⅔ full and cook for 20-25 minutes. They should spring back when touched.

Chocolate frosting
300 g icing sugar, sifted
100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature 

40 g cocoa powder, sifted
40 ml whole milk

Beat the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Add the milk to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Linguine with samphire and prawns

I've just found this photo of a meal I cooked in the summer from Olive magazine. It's really quick to make about 20 minutes in total, quicker if using fresh linguine. It couldn't be simpler.

Serves 2
200g linguine
150g cooked tiger or king prawns
150g of samphire  trimmed and blanched
1 lemon zested
2 tbsp creme fraiche

Cook the Pasta and drain leaving a little water clinging to it. Tip it back into a pan and stir in the prawns, samphire, lemon zest and crème fraîche until everything is heated through. 
Season well with pepper (taste the samphire before adding any salt) and squeeze over some lemon juice.