Banana Crumble with Homemade Custard

This is 29 Acacia Road, and this is Eric the schoolboy who leads an amazing double life. For when Eric eats a banana an amazing transformation occurs. Eric is Bananaman. Ever alert for the call to action! (Bananaman: TV series 1983-1986)

Banana Crumble

Banana Crumble

I was fortunate enough to be given some vanilla pods for Christmas. I had seen them being used before on television and couldn’t wait to split those pods open and scrape out the seeds. My next thought was what shall I make. I had some double cream leftover from making truffles, ripe bananas that needed using and some ground almonds that were fast going out of date. And what does this all make I hear you ask?! It can only be a delicious banana crumble with homemade custard!!!

Banana Crumble with Homemade Custard

(4 portions)

Ingredients

2- 3 bananas
75gr. plain flour
25 gr. butter
25 gr. oats
35 gr. ground almonds
2 tbsp. caster sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. all spice
For the custard:
280 ml tub of double cream
1 vanilla pod, split in two and seeds scraped out
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. corn flour
1 tbsp. caster sugar

Method

  1. In a large bowl rub together the plain flour and butter until it becomes a breadcrumb texture.
  2. Add the oats, ground almonds, caster sugar, cinnamon and all spice, then stir until it is all well incorporated.
  3. Preheat oven Gas 6/ 200 C
  4. In a small pie dish (15- 20cm diameter) chop up 2- 3 bananas and cover the base of the dish.
  5. Sprinkle on the crumble mixture and make sure it is fully covered. You may have a little bit of mixture leftover.
  6. Place into the oven for 20 minutes or until it has got a golden colour on top.
  7. While the crumble is in the oven, pour the cream into a saucepan.
  8. Split the vanilla pod in two and scrape out the seeds, then add the seeds and the pod to the saucepan.
  9. On a low heat, warm up the cream up until near boiling point.
  10. In a large measuring jug add the egg yolks, cornflour and caster sugar and whisk together.
  11. Once the cream is ready, take out the vanilla pod.
  12. Gradually add the cream to the egg yolks (just add a little bit to start off with so the mixture doesn’t scramble)
  13. Once all the cream has been added, pour back into the saucepan.
  14. On a low to medium heat, stir the custard until it thickens. Don’t let the mixture boil.
  15. You will know the custard is ready when the custard coats the back of a spoon.

Suzy Says:

  • The all spice adds a real flavour kick. Feel free to experiment with others.
  • Baileys truffles are a great use of any spare cream…or it’s a good excuse to make them at the very least!
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Suzy’s Chocolate Orange Cake

Chocolate Orange Cake

Chocolate Orange Cake

 

It’s not Terry’s, it’s mine (Dawn French)

A couple of weeks ago, a friend from work had her leaving do … (very sad face). But it gave me the opportunity to bake her a cake (hooray!) and celebrate along with her!
Although at first, I wasn’t sure what flavour to pick, I knew she liked chocolate orange which left only one choice in my mind. Triple layer chocolate orange cake.
Here is my recipe:

Suzy’s Chocolate Orange Cake

Ingredients

For the cake

350 gr. self-raising flour
325 gr. caster sugar
5-6 eggs, beaten
325 gr. butter
50 gr. dark chocolate
1 bag of mini Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces, melted
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 orange
Milk (may not be needed)

For the chocolate butter icing

225gr. butter
1tbsp. cocoa powder
50 grams dark chocolate, heated in a microwave at 20 second intervals until melted.
450gr. icing sugar

Decoration

1 bag of Mini Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces.

Extra decoration

I also made a small batch of vanilla butter icing for decoration. This will need an extra 75 gr. butter, softened, 175 gr icing sugar, 1 tsp. of vanilla sugar or extract and whisk all together. You may need some extra milk to loosen the mixture.

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 Gas 4
  2. For this cake you will need 3 x 20cm round cake tins.
  3. Grease and line each tin with baking paper. I grease my tins with butter (on the bottom and side of the tin) and only place baking paper in the bottom of the tin.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter  and sugar until light and fluffy. For large cakes like this, I use a hand mixer.
  5. Add around a third of the flour and egg and whisk until incorporated.
  6. Whisk in the rest of the eggs.
  7. Fold in the rest of the flour and cocoa powder.
  8. Zest the orange and add to the mixture.
  9. Place the Terry’s Chocolate Orange in the microwaveable bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time until just melted, stirring in-between each 20 seconds.
  10. Add the melted chocolate to the cake mixture and stir through until mixed thoroughly.
  11. You should have a dropping consistency at this point, but if you don’t, you can either squeeze in some of the orange or add some milk.
  12. Place a third of the mixture into one of the 20 cm round baking tins and repeat for the other two tins.
    I weigh the mixture into the tins in order to get a similar amount in each tin.
  13. Place the tins in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until you can stick a fork in it and it comes out clean.
  14. Once the cakes are out of the oven, leave to rest for at least 5 minutes. With a rubber spatula or something similar, go round the edges to loosen any cake that has stuck.
  15. Place the cakes onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
  16. To make the chocolate butter icing, soften the butter with a knife or fork. Add the icing, cocoa and chocolate and stir/whisk until it has blended together to make a spreading consistency.
  17. If the mixture is too hard, I sometimes add milk to loosen slightly, but just be careful not to add too much.
  18. To build up the layers of the cake, take the first layer and spread the chocolate butter icing over the top and around the sides of the cake.
  19. Next add the next layer and repeat the process and do the same with the final layer.

Suzy says:

  • For the design, I created a web with the vanilla butter icing and placed some Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces on the top and around the side (but I would love to see any designs you come up with!)
  • I find smoothing icing around the side very difficult. I use a cake decorating turntable and a large palate knife to help with this.

Carroty Cupcakes

What’s up doc? (Bugs Bunny)

Carroty Cupcakes

Carroty Cupcakes

Following the several healthy recipes I have trialled over the past few weeks, I wanted to go back to what I do best….. baking cupcakes! However, I couldn’t abandon my “summery” emphasis entirely so have decided to try my hand at carrot cake cupcakes. Here is my recipe 🙂

Carroty Cupcakes

(Makes 12 cupcakes)

Ingredients

For the cupcake mixture

3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
120 gr. soft light brown sugar
120 gr. butter
180 gr. self raising flour
2 medium sized eggs
1 tbsp. golden syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon

For the cream cheese icing

50 gr. butter
100 gr. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
225 gr. icing sugar

Method

  1. Line a 12 tin cupcake tray with 12 cupcake cases
  2. Pre-heat the oven at 180C/gas 4
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until you get a lighter consistency.
  4. Stir in the golden syrup and carrots until well combined
  5. Crack two eggs into the mixture and add the flour and cinnamon.
  6. Beat until combined. You should have a dropping consistency. If not, add a little milk until you do.
  7. Spoon into the cupcake cases.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  9. They are ready when you stick a fork in the cake and it comes out clean.
  10. Remove and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack before icing.
  11. For the icing, combine all the ingredients and whisk until you get a smooth consistency.
  12. Place the mixture in a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes.
  13. If you don’t have a piping bag, spread some icing over the top.
  14. Serve and enjoy

Suzy says

  • Add a walnut onto each cupcake for decoration and some additional cinnamon into the icing for extra zing!

bon appétit

Suzy’s Spag Bol

Suzy's Spag Bol

Suzy’s Spag Bol

Everything you see I owe to spaghetti. (Sophia Loren)

It’s an age-old favourite and I am sure you all have your own tweaks (which I would love to hear about!) but please do take a look at my version. I have made it healthier by using turkey mince and a selection of my favourite vegetables. My husband uses gluten free pasta with his. It is also a great for a packed lunch and you can make a big batch and freeze in advance for the working week ahead.

Suzy’s Spag Bol

(Serves 6)

Ingredients

500 gr. turkey mince
2tbsp. worcester sauce
2 tbsp. tomato ketchup
1 chicken Knorr stock pot
1-2 tbsp. dried basil
Approximately 220 grams frozen mixed peppers
1 large carrot
1 large courgette
1 clove of garlic
1/2 a large onion
2 x 400 gram cans of peeled plum tomatoes
1-2 tbsp. tomato purée
A little oil for frying
Salt and pepper

Serve with approximately 75-100 grams of pasta of choice (follow cooking instructions on packet)

Method

  1. Start by heating some oil in a high sided large non-stick frying pan.
  2. Whilst the oil is heating up, mix the Worcester sauce, tomato ketchup, chicken stock pot, 1 tbsp. of dried basil, some salt and pepper into the turkey mince until well incorporated. (I wear food gloves and mix with my hands.) don’t overwork the meat too much.
  3. Add the turkey to the pan and chop up as much as you can with a wooden spoon so the mince covers the pan.
  4. Leave it to cook for a few minutes and keep turning it until it browns.
  5. Add the peppers to the pan and leave to cook. In the meantime chop the carrots, courgette and onion into small pieces and add to the pan.
  6. Crush and chop the garlic as small as you can and add to the pan.
  7. Fry the veg for about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the two cans of plum tomatoes, break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stir so all the veg are covered in the tomato sauce.
  9. Add the tomato purée. (At this point you may wish to add more basil, tomato ketchup, salt and pepper but that will be down to your own taste!) If the veg are not covered, add some more water.
  10. Leave to simmer until the sauce has reduced down as much as possible, stirring occasionally. At this time the sauce will cling to the meat, forming the thick Bolognese that you are used to enjoying.
  11. Serve with your cooked pasta of choice.

Suzy says:

  • Sprinkle some cheese over the mixture and as a treat make your own garlic bread to eat with your meal. You can make this by mixing finely chopped garlic with butter and spread over toast (add a bit of parsley if you like).
  • I always use food gloves so my hands don’t get too messy!
  • I also make a vegetarian version using Quorn mince and a vegetarian stockpot. I take out the Worcester sauce (as it contains anchovies) and add some more basil and parsley.

PS. Enjoy!!

Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

I carried recipes in my head like maps. (Joanne Harris, Chocolat )

 

Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

I never saw the fascination of fishcakes until very recently when I tried them at a farm shop. I never really liked them – until now that is – and this gave me the inspiration to make them for myself. I have to say, I think the recipe I designed turned out perfectly first time, which is unusual, especially with newly created dishes, so I haven’t experimented much with different combinations. But why mess with perfection?

They are quite simple to make. The awkward part is the washing up, but trust me, it’s worth it! They can be made gluten free with a few tweaks, if needed.

Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

(serves 4)

Ingredients

For the Fishcakes

170 grams boneless smoked mackerel (I get mine from Sainsbury’s)
250 grams skinless and boneless river cobbler fillet (you could use any white fish as appropriate)
500 grams of potatoes
Bunch of fresh parsley
Bunch of spring onions
1/2 a large red pepper
A large handful of breadcrumbs (gluten free if needed)
1 large egg
Corn flour (enough to coat the fishcakes)
2 tbsp. rapeseed oil (olive oil if you don’t have rapeseed oil)
Enough olive oil for frying
Some milk for mashing the potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Salad

1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 large red onion, sliced
Section of cucumber, 7cm long, halved and sliced into strips.
Extra virgin olive oil.
A squeeze of lemon juice.
Chilli flakes

For the dip

I use either soy sauce or a sweet chilli dipping sauce (ensure they are gluten free if needed)

Method

  1. Peel, chop and boil the potatoes until soft enough to mash.
  2. Mash the potatoes with rapeseed oil and milk, adding just a little at a time to avoid a runny mixture.
  3. Leave to cool.
  4. Place the cobbler in the oven as per the instructions (for cobbler, gas 6 for 10-12 minutes).
  5. While the cobbler is in the oven, peel the skins off the smoked mackerel and chop into small pieces.
  6. Chop the spring onions, pepper and parsley and stir into the mashed potato.
  7. Take the cobbler out of the over and chop into small pieces.
  8. Stir in the cobbler and smoked mackerel so they are incorporated into the mashed potato.
  9. Add salt and pepper to the mixture.
  10. Shape 8 fishcakes out of the mixture. They should be the approximate size of a muffin.
  11. Place some corn flour onto one plate and breadcrumbs onto another. Whisk the egg in a small bowl.
  12. Take each fish cake and cover it with corn flour, then the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs, until well coated.
  13. Heat some oil in a deep sided large frying pan (on a medium to high heat) and fry on each side for approximately 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
  14. For the bed of salad under the fish cakes, mix the onion, cucumber and carrot with a tbsp. of rapeseed oil, a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of chilli flakes and some sweet chilli sauce.
  15. Serve with some sweet chilli or soy sauce on the side.

Suzy says:

  • Try adding some fresh red chilli for a bit of a kick.
  • Try making smaller fishcakes and serving them as finger snacks at a party.
  • It is important not to make the mashed potato too runny so remember, add the oil and milk little by little, ensuring you can still shape the mixture easily.

Bon Appétit

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate! (Terry Moore)

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

My husband has suffered from ME for nearly seven years now. Back in 2010, my parents suggested that he should pilot a gluten free diet for a while to see if it would make any difference to his levels of fatigue. We have found this lessens his symptoms to a certain extent and so now we try to avoid gluten whenever possible. I am not saying this will help all people who have ME but it is something that has worked for us.

One of my first attempts to cut out the gluten was a flourless chocolate cake. The recipe I first saw used a lot of icing sugar- too much for my liking, so I experimented with the measurements and added different ingredients like ground almonds and crushed gluten-free cornflakes instead. They all worked! I am determined to carry on experimenting so watch this space…..

Flourless Chocolate Cake (serves 8+)

Ingredients

For the cake mixture

4 large eggs separated
125 grams icing sugar
50 grams ground almonds or an extra 50 grams icing sugar.
100 grams of butter
200 grams of dark chocolate

Decoration

200 grams milk chocolate
200 grams of white chocolate
8 tbsp. double cream plus a bit extra (around 250ml in total)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/350F
  2. Take a 20 cm diameter non-stick baking tin and put a circle of baking paper in the bottom.
  3. In a microwaveable bowl, add the 200 grams of chocolate and the butter and heat until melted. Leave to cool. I Microwave the chocolate 15 seconds at a time and stir at each interval, ensuring the mixture does not burn.
  4. In one bowl, whisk the egg whites until it forms stiff peaks.
  5. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, ground almonds and icing sugar until incorporated.
  6. Once mixed, fold the chocolate into the egg yolk mixture.
  7. Gradually fold in the egg whites with a metal spoon until there are no white bits. Take it slow and keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
  8. Pour into the baking tin and bake for 30-40 minutes. It is ready when you stick a knife in the cake and it comes out clean.
  9. Take the cake out of the oven and leave to rest before turning it out onto a cooling rack.
  10. To make the ganache icing, melt the white chocolate in a saucepan with 4 tablespoons of double cream. Once it has completely melted, pour into a bowl and leave to cool.
  11. Do the same with the white chocolate.
  12. Once cooled, mix some more cream into the mixture until it is loose enough to pipe onto the cake. Design your cake in anyway you like, slice and serve.

Suzy says:

  • The first time I made this cake, I tried whisking the egg whites without an electric whisk. Let’s just say that to form the stiff peaks took some time! So it can be done, but it isn’t advisable.
  • As you maybe can tell, I am no expert with piping but the more I try it, the better I get. One day, I would like to take some courses to perfect my technique but for the time being, I will keep on practising!

Bon Appetit!

 

Baileys Truffles

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. (Julia Child)

This has been such an exciting week!  I have joined twitter (@SuzyJMills), signed into Pinterest and am now writing my first blog post, it’s daunting….but I hope you will enjoy.

meMy name is Suzy, welcome to my food blog!!!!

I draw inspiration for my recipes from everyday life, reading magazines, recipe books and online journals, adding in my own tweaks to suit my culinary palate.

In a way I can relate to the above quote. I didn’t start getting serious about cooking until I was 29. Even then, my inspiration originated from simple beginnings – I can recall the first time I realised I wanted to learn more, prompted by the chocolate moulds and recipe book my husband got for his birthday. I love chocolate and I love Baileys and when I looked through the recipe book and I saw a recipe for truffles that used exactly these ingredients, I just had to make them. This made me very happy. The great thing about this recipe is that it is simple, far more straightforward than other truffle recipes I have seen since. This is why I have called my blog Simply Suzy. I love making simple and tasty treats and I want to share these recipes with you.

I have to say, after 5 years, Baileys truffles are still my favourite thing to make and I could probably make them in my sleep! I have played around with the recipe and used dark, milk and white chocolate, either grated or melted over the mix. I have experimented with different brands of chocolate. I tried Cadburys and Galaxy, but finally ended up using chocolate from Aldi. You can use whichever chocolate you like of course. I found that using cheaper supermarket brand chocolates means you normally need less cream in the recipe, but they can still be used.

Baileys Chocolate Truffles

Truffle mix (makes 20-30 truffles)

200 grams of milk, white or dark chocolate
4 tbsp. double cream or 6 tbsp. if not using liqueur.
2 tbsp. Baileys (or any other liqueur you wish to use)

Decoration

200 grams dark, milk or white chocolate to cover truffles

Method

1. Chop up 200 grams of chocolate and place it in a non-stick pan.
2. Add 4 tbsp. cream to the pan and heat the mixture on the lowest setting.
3. Keep stirring the chocolate until just melted, making sure the pan does not get too hot. Take off the heat.
4. Add the liqueur or extra 2 tbsp. of cream and stir until incorporated.
5. Pour into a clean bowl and leave until cooled.
6. Cover and keep in the fridge overnight.
7. The mixture should be quite hard at this point. Roll a teaspoonful of mixture into a ball and place into another bowl. (I use food gloves for this as it can get quite messy)
8. Repeat this process until the mixture has gone.
9. Stick in to the fridge again to harden. At least 2 hours.

Here is where you can be creative.

10. Grate the chocolate leftover for decoration into a bowl. (This can be a different chocolate to the truffle mixture.)
11. Take the mixture out of the fridge and re-roll to melt slightly and drop it into the grated chocolate. Roll around until the truffle is fully covered and leave on baking paper.

Instead of using grated chocolate, you can melt chocolate over the truffles as well. Again after rolling the truffle in the melted chocolate, place them on to baking paper to set. To melt, I chop up the chocolate and place it into a microwaveable bowl and heat for 20 seconds at a time until just melted. In between each 20 second interval, I stir the chocolate making sure the mixture does not get too hot. There will be more on tempering chocolate in a later blog. Watch this space!

12. After the chocolate has set, you can put in to a presentation bag to give to someone as a present or leave out on the table for people to scoff during a party

Baileys Chocolate Truffles

Baileys Chocolate Truffles

For me, food is a way of life. I love spending time in the kitchen and creating recipes I can call my own. I enjoy making the naughty and the nice, especially cakes and ice-cream, but I have also created healthy recipes that are equally delicious and will be sharing these with you too.

Thank you for reading my first blog. I hope you like this recipe. I would love to hear from you so please let me know how you get on.