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Organic Oat & Raisin Cookies

Oat & Raisin Cookies are delicious and if you go organic, you don’t feel as guilty when handing them out to the kids!  I made these last year for the first time and after discovering how NOT to make them, this recipe is super easy and everyone will be friggin impressed.  I dropped a batch off to our new neighbours all tied up in bows and clear wrap and they thought I’d bought the damn things.  If there’s one thing I enjoy its cooking…. and drinking while I cook.  It kinda goes hand in hand!

Level for Skill

Any dumbass lazy person can make these cookies.  If not, get your kids to do it for you while you neck back that bottle of Vodka and harass the mailman.

Ingredients

  • 270g unsalted butter at room temperature (I tend to melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds to speed things up)
  • 160g caster sugar organic
  • 160g soft dark sugar organic
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla beans scooped out of a pod
  • 380g Organic plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 110g organic rolled oats
  • 220g organic raisins

Cooking

  • Preheat the oven to 170-180 degrees (it depends how strong your oven is).
  • Put the butter and sugars in a large bowl and mix either with a handheld electric mixer, or a freestanding one if you have it. Whisk until its creamy and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and keep mixing everything.  Turn the speed on your mixer down to a slow speed and add the vanilla seeds.
  • Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl, and then add the oats.  Mix everything well and then add the butter mix. Keep mixing and then stir in the raisins with a wooden spoon.
  • Prepare your baking trays by wiping some olive oil on a tissue and rubbing it all over the tray. Then sift (very lightly so you can barely see it) some flour.  I then line the tray with baking paper too because…I just do!
  • Arrange the cookie dough using a teaspoon for small cookies or use a soup spoon for large cookies.  Just be sure to leave a good gap between each as once the cookies spread, they will be a lot bigger!
  • Bake for approx 12-14 minutes until they are golden brown and firm but not burnt.  They can burn very easily so you need to keep watching them bake.  Always a good time to pour yourself a large glass of wine and stare at the oven!
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven and after a couple of minutes, let them cool down on a wire rack.

Good luck and enjoy!

They’re delicious and wont last more than 2 days tops.  The recipe above made approx 25 cookies.

Easy Spinach, peas & cheese Macaroni … perfect for your toddlers

Level of cooking:

This is sooooo easy. You will only fail if you are not able to (a) read packet instructions on the back of pasta, or (b) you’re a total idiot.  I mainly use Organic for this, simply because my toddlers eat this more than we do.  I started adding Spinach & peas to the kids cheese macaroni as they simply would not eat their greens any other way.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta 500g (or 250g if you have a smaller family) – I use an Organic mutli-coloured Penne or the Twists (you know the green, brown & white pasta combined).
  • Unsalted butter – 50g.
  • Olive Oil – 1x tablespoon.
  • Bread-crumbs – 3 tablespoons.
  • Parmesan cheese – 100g grated.
  • Onion – 1x large onion choped & diced.
  • Garlic – 4 cloves finely chopped & diced.
  • Spinach 400g – I use the organic frozen type that comes in little round balls you can simply take out what you need & return the rest to the freezer.  Its also just as good as fresh Spinach & a LOT less fuss to cook.
  • Peas 350g – again I use the frozen variety available in any supermarket.  ** You can substitute the peas for broccoli (I do this sometimes to make sure the kids get their veggies).
  • Cheese 450g – mild chedder cheese, grated.
  • 3-4 tablespoons ground nutmeg.
  • 2 tablespoons parsley.
  • 3 tablespoons Honey Dijon Mustard.
  • 250 mls full fat milk.
  • 250 mls double cream.
  • Salt & Pepper.
How to cook:
  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and then put aside.  Be sure to add some salt (not too much as its for your toddlers) and olive oil to the water before putting the pasta in the boiling water to cook.  Once cooked, leave in a colander to drain and make the sauce.
  • Now for the sauce, start by frying the chopped onions and garlic in a large, deep saucepan with approx. 50 grams butter and a tablespoon of olive oil (I tend to reuse the one I just cooked the pasta in to save washing-up).
  • Once the onions have turned golden, add the spinach & peas and cook for approx. 5-8 minutes or until they have melted and are cooking.
  • Then turn the heat to low, add the milk, cream & Dijon Mustard and stir everything well.
  • Take the sauce OFF the hob now and puree with a handheld blender until its smooth but not watery.  This makes the sauce creamy and ensures the spinach, peas, onions and garlic are smooth (to ensure your kids eat the damn stuff!).
  • Once everything is pureed,  place the sauce back on the hob, on a low heat, and add your grated cheese, ground nutmeg, parsley and seasoning (not too much salt & pepper though as its for the kids but you can add more to your own portions after).
  • Let this cook on low until all the cheese has melted.  If its too stringy or sticky due to the cheese melting, add more milk (or cream if you want to be naughty… I personally add cream as the calories are fine for my 20 month old toddlers at the moment).  While this is cooking, put your oven on to 170 degrees and get a large baking dish ready (just leave on the side until you need to use it).
  • Now take the sauce off the hob and add your strained pasta which has been sat patiently in a colander.  * Hopefully you have thought to give the pasta a shake every so often while you’ve been cooking so it doesn’t all stick together in a mass lump when you pour it into your sauce.
  • Mix all the pasta with the pureed cheese, spinach and peas sauce, then pour all of it into your baking dish (something large enough to hold everything obviously).
  • Mix the bread-crumbs and Parmesan cheese together and sprinkle on TOP of the pasta which is now sat in your baking dish.  I also like to sprinkle a little ground nutmeg on top of all of this as it tastes delicious.
  • Place the dish into the middle tray of the oven for approx. 10-15 minutes, or until the top of the pasta starts to turn brown but not burn.  If it’s already looking like its about to burn after 5 minutes, loosely place some foil on top of the pasta and continue to cook for an extra 10 minutes.
* The photos included show the pasta bake after its come out of the oven and had a chunk already taken out of it (my Husband is a greedy git & got to the food before I could take a photo).  You can see how the inside has a gorgeous, cheesy/veggie sauce, while the top has a slightly crunchy bread-crumb & Parmesan crust.  Yes, yes…. I’m a friggin genius. Thank me when your kids start eating their veg!
* NB.  You DO NOT have to bake this pasta in the oven once it’s cooked on the hob.  You can simply make the pasta and sauce as stated in detail above, then serve without going into the oven and without adding the topping.  This is much quicker if you only have 15 minutes to make the kids dinner.  This pasta can last up to 3 days in the fridge.

Persian Onion Soup

Level of cooking:- 

  • Piss easy unless you’re just being lazy, in which case, you’re on your own.  I have no sympathy for those people who say they “don’t cook”.  It gets under my skin as I just don’t get how anyone can’t feed themselves!?

Ingredients:-

  • 4-6 large onions
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 heaped tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 heaped tablespoons fenugreek (or if you don’t have this, Honey Dijon mustard works, or brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint
  • 2 litres vegetable or chicken stock (home-made or shop bought for ease)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 lemon
  • sea salt & pepper

Cooking:-

  • Peel & thinly chop the onions.
  • Put onions in a large saucepan with the olive oil & season with salt & pepper. Cover the pan & cook for approx. 15-20 minutes. Only stir occasionally.
  • Add the turmeric, fenugreek & mint & cook for another 5 minutes without the lid (the lid just makes everything sweat).
  • Add the stock & cinnamon stick, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low, cooking for approx. 20-30 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice & mint & season again with salt & pepper.  If it needs more fenugreek, add a further teaspoon to make it sweeter (if that’s your taste).  I leave the cinnamon stick in.
My comments:-
Despite the lack of photo, this soup should look a yellowish/waterish colour.  Trust me…it tastes v. good. I dropped this round to our neighbour the other night who was dying with a cold & she ended up hogging the whole batch & not giving her family any of it (shes a mother of 2 kids… plus a husband).  It tastes lovely. It’s cheap (not a word you hear in Hong Kong) & it’s sooo easy to make.  I kid you not.  It’s like the Iranian version of Jewish Soup (is that a contradiction in terms?)  Who gives a shit…it tastes fab.
* Again, no photos because I was rushing & totally forgot.  Half the soup is now in my freezer (its healthy too!) so it wont look up to scratch for a photo shoot.

Chicken with RoseWater, Hazelnuts & honey

 

Ok…so… Dinner a few nights ago was OFF THE CHART.

If you want to try something, which in my opinion was piss easy…. try this dish called …erm…

“SPECIAL CHICKEN IN ROSEWATER WITH CRUSHED HAZELNUTS & HONEY” :-

  • Buy approx. 4 packs of good fat chicken legs (2 per person) and big juicy thighs (if they are very big, 1 thigh is enough per person … unless you’ve got some real fatties at your table, then pile it high!).  I bought enough to feed 8 people well so use your initiative.
  • Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly & preheat the oven to 190 degrees.  Cover the chicken with  a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil & season well .  Cook in the oven at 190 degrees for approx. 25-30 mins.  Then take the chicken out of the oven and baste/brush with a pre-mixed paste Rosewater (3x tbsp), loosley chopped, slightly toasted hazelnuts (approx. 300 grams) and honey (5x tbsp).
  • Put back in the oven for another 20-30 mins at 180 degrees until the chicken is cooked.
  • Check the chicken is cooked by pricking the leg of one of the pieces with a fork to see if the juices run clear.  If they do, take the chicken pieces out of the oven, cover with some foil loosely and prepare the side dishes to accompany this meal.  * n.b. Its quicker to have the side dishes prepared while the chicken is cooking in the oven.

SIDE DISH – Couscous with garlic, lemon & parsley

  • Use 2x 250 gram packs of couscous & cook according to the pack instructions.  The key to keeping couscous light is to keep fluffing it with a fork after minimal cooking time.
  • I then fry 3 cloves of garlic with a knob of butter & add the juice of 1x lemon.  Fry for a couple of minutes on a medium heat & then mix into the now cooling couscous.
  • I then add approx. 300 grams of raisins/sultanas (pre-soaked in water for about 20 minutes to make them plump).  Then drain the raisins before pouring into the couscous mix.
  • Mix all the ingredients in the couscous and season well with some salt & pepper.  Add 2x teaspoons of fresh or dry Parsley.
  • Dish up right away!

OTHER SIDE DISHES TO ACCOMPANY THIS INCLUDE:

  • Sweet potatoes (not peeled) chopped into small discs, layered (like you would with potato gratin)  cooked in the oven with a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, seasoned well with salt & pepper & covered in approx. 500 grams of double cream.  Cook for 40-50 minutes.
  • A crisp salad made of rocket leaves, tomatoes (chopped into small cubes), cucumbers (peeled & chopped into small cubes), cubes of feta cheese (enough for a salad but not too much that it overwhelms you), bulgur wheat (read pack instructions to cook properly) & 1/2 a red onion (finely chopped).  Put a dressing on the side of olive oil (3 tbsp), with Balsamic vinegar (3 tbsp), red wine vinegar (3 tbsp), pinch of table salt/pepper, pinch of dried parsley, Dijon mustard (1.5 tbsp). Be sure to give the salad dressing a good shake every time before you pour onto your salad…otherwise it will come out as more olive oil & less vinegar…ugh!
* Accompany with a crisp White wine or Rose. Bliss!

Bloody delicious!

You can also baste uncooked fresh chicken with the Rosewater/ chopped hazelnuts & honey paste & put in the freezer to cook at a later date.

** I will add photos next time I make this as I forgot (hazards of getting drunk while cooking).

The Easiest Chocolate biscuit cake ever!

WRITERS NOTES:-

This is by far THE easiest biscuit cake ever! You don’t need to bake anything and as long as you have all your ingredients ready to go, it will take approximately 15 minutes to make for even the dumbest/drunkest chef.  I have had sooo many requests to make this (The Captains office asks for this weekly the cheeky gits), that it rarely lasts more than a few days. This recipe is enough for approx 25 small pieces and is divine to serve up with coffee after a dinner party. This cake keeps fresh in the fridge for about a week & its bloody moorish…. I’m eating some right now while sipping my cuppa Earl Grey (yes, Tea because I can’t have a friggin glass of vino due to being 6 months pregnant, plus it makes me retch after a few glasses …)

INGREDIENTS:-

  • 200mls golden syrup
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 800g Digestive biscuits, broken into small/medium chunks
  • 350g raisins
  • a wide, deep baking tray or the rubber baking trays I swear by.  These are approx 25cm wide/long & 5cm deep.  If using the rubber baking trays, I never use greeseproof paper as the beauty of those is that nothing sticks to them.  If using a proper baking tin, then you need to line your tin with greeseproof paper (tedious & annoying….just buy the rubber/silicone bendy ones….they’re brill and easy to clean).

HOW TO MAKE:-

  • Put the syrup, butter & cocoa powder (I sieve the cocoa through like I would flour to avoid any lumps) in a large saucepan over medium heat & heat everything until melter and smooth.  Don’t over stir this either but do keep an eye on it as it can burn very quickly if you’re wandering about fixing yourself a cocktail and doing your make-up. Once everything is melted, take off the heat immediately.  Put to one side.
  • Put the biscuit chunks & raisins into a huge bowl and pour in the cooled down chocolate mixture you have just melted in the saucepan.  Mix everything with a wooden spoon and make sure its all properly mixed and the raisins have spread out properly.
  • Press this mixture into your prepared baking tray or silicone tray and cover with some cling film. Then using either a plate or your hands (I use both my hands) press down firmly onto the mixture to compress it all and make sure it sticks together properly without too many gaps.
  • Leave to cool for another 10 minutes and then put it in the fridge for at least 3 hours or better yet, overnight.
THIS IS FRIGGIN LOVELY!
* Nb. The above photo is taken of a tiny portion of the biscuit cake.

Sponge cake with whipped cream, Strawberries & grated dark chocolate

EASY STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE

THE INGREDIENTS:-

* I used a rubber 25cm  greased & lined baking mould but a tin obviously works just as well.

For the cake:-

  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 275g unsalted butter – melted or kept at room temperature so that its incredibly soft/slightly melted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of full fat milk
For the topping:-
  • 500g whipping cream (you can use soft cream cheese instead of whipping cream & make a buttercream topping instead)
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar
  • 2 punnets of fresh strawberries (or mix with blueberries & raspberries to make it even more colourful), washed & cut into quarters (or whatever size you like)
  • half a bar of good dark chocolate for shaving onto strawberries

HOW TO MAKE:-

There are 2 ways to make a sponge cake.  The quickest (& least time consuming) is the way I am going to describe for this recipe. The other way involves creaming the butter & sugar first, then adding the flour & eggs and beating as much air into the batter as you can (so the cake rises more & is fluffier).

  • Mix all the Cake ingredients together with a handheld mixer or food processor.
  • Put in a preheated oven at gas mark 180 for approximately 25 minutes & then check with a toothpick if its cooked through.  If the toothpick doesn’t come out clear, put the cake back in the oven and cook for another 8-10 minutes (but keep checking to make sure it doesn’t burn.  I placed a sheet of tin foil over the cake after 25 minutes so that the top doesn’t burn while the inside cooks.
  • Once the cake has baked, take out the oven, leave to cool for approx. 5-10 minutes & then turn out onto a cooling rack.
  • While the cake is cooling down, make your topping. Begin by mixing the whipped cream & vanilla sugar together and then using your handheld mixer (or processor) whipping the cream until it makes soft peaks.  You want the cream to be thick and strong enough to cover a cake.
  • Once the cake has cooled down, cover it with the whipped cream, then decorate with chopped strawberries & grate the chocolate all over the cake.  Nb. If the cake is not cool enough, keep the freshly whipped cream in the refrigerator as you don’t want watery whipped cream on your lovely sponge cake to make it soggy. 
This is by far the easiest sponge cake I have made and although it doesn’t rise as much as the traditional sponge (you can do it that way too!), it’s very quick to make and tastes delicious.  This lasts for about 3 days in your fridge and is lovely with a cuppa tea!
Before…
And after… 

Easy, amazing, quick, Cheese on Toast

Ok…so… I tried this amazing take on cheese on toast.

It’s easy, so even those of you who pretend you can’t cook….well…. this is just…yum.  Hangover or not, this is lovely.

If you’re a single girl/guy, and wake to offer your booty call some breakfast before your easy lay leaves… well this piss easy breakfast of posh cheese on toast will seal the deal (for another shag), should you so wish…although, lets face it… when the beer goggles are off…. you can’t BELIEVE what you took home the night before.  Sometimes, even a name is a little fuzzy – oh yes, the shame.  Like I give a shit.

Anyhow… YOU MUST TRY THIS…at LEAST once. Impress guests when they stay over (add some sausages, tomatoes, bacon, a few eggs, beans…bloody fab).

BEST CHEESE ON TOAST IN THE WHOLE WORLD (CALORIFIC but worth it!) – INGREDIENTS & HOW TO COOK IT

  • White bread (as many as you want to eat).  Cheap or expensive…it doesn’t really matter… BUT….cut the crusts off (you don’t have to but its kinda nice… and a little bit… rahhh dahling yah rahh) and toast it.

  • Butter. Again…cheap or not. Up to you but spread it on the toast. Generously …. up to the corners of every slice.

  • Honey Dijon Mustard, spread ON TOP of the butter.  The sweetness of this particular Mustard makes this even more yummy.

  • Cheddar cheese (sliced or grated), thickly laid on top of the slice (or slices) of bread (the depth of half a finger I think is really enough… unless you feel like scrubbing your grill/oven after).

  • A couple of tiny slices of tomato (not a WHOLE tomato…a couple of slices from the tomato…on top).

  • Black pepper …grind it on top (and if you like Tabasco… add a drop on top of that too).

  • Place under the grill until the cheese is melted, but not burnt… I reckon, put your timer on for about 2 minutes and keep checking the grill.  You want golden, not burnt cheese/bread.

  • After, take the cheesy toast out of the oven, splash on some Worcestershire sauce (who can pronounce that properly?!) if you fancy.

  • Eat, enjoy with a hot cup of builders Tea (I love Earl Grey.. not builders tea clearly) but Yorkshire/PG Tips/English Breakfast (whatever?!)….bloody lovely AND a great start to your day.

ps. If you love Sausages or eggs, add one or two on top…. its indulgent but…it’s breakfast.

pps. If you can’t cook this… well…. shame on you.  Even a blind dog with one leg and no ball sack can cook this.  You’re just being a bit…fucking lazy.

ppps. If you worry about calories. Use low-fat cheese, low-fat butter/spread and even that horrible diet bread (I’ve not seen it in Hong Kong).  You’ll work those calories off within 3 hours of waking  (if you have twins, or copious amounts of sex).  In hindsight… if you have twins, you’re probably (a) having no sex with your partner as you’re still mortified by what happened the last time, and (b) you’re too bloody tired and want to kill your Husband.

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