Saturday, January 29, 2011

Very Meaty Meatless Mushroom Burger

The other day I decided to make a mushroom burger for our tea as we had absolutely millions of mushrooms in our fridge and I fancied something really yummy.

I cobbled together a few of the ingredients we had, and they literally took minutes to prepare and then I just bunged them in the oven and left them until the rest of the dinner was ready. So I was surprised when these mushroom burgers turned out so yummy and the weirdest thing was that they ended up tasting super meaty. In a good way. They were really lovely and dense and filling too.

Although the burgers were a little difficult to make into patties, once in the oven they were fine and went really crispy on the outside.

With cheese on top and in a wholemeal bun they were the perfect mid-week dinner for us. Of course I made our favourite parsnip chips to go with them which we hadn't had in ages.

Recipe (serves 2):
Around 10 mushrooms, chopped up into little pieces
Loads of soy sauce
28g of oats
1 tbsp plain flour

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Fry the mushrooms, encouraging them to go nice and juicy by sloshing a load of soy sauce into the pan with them. Leave for about five minutes until the mushrooms are softened and there is a fair bit of mushroomy soy liquid in the pan. Transfer the contents of the frying pan to a mixing bowl and slowly stir in the flour then the oats until you have a thick mixture.

Take large tablespoons of the mixture and form them into patties in your hand. Don't worry if they are dead sticky. Put them onto a baking tray or dish and put them in the oven.

When you notice the mixture has dried out a bit and is becoming quite crispy, this is the time to add a load of yummy mature cheddar if you wish. Leave the cheddar to melt in the oven for a bit before getting them out. Put the burgers in a burger bun and serve with home made chips and salad. Delightful!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Very Low Fat Houmous with crudités

As it is that time of the year when we are all watching our waistlines yet fighting to beat those January blues (it is actually the dreaded BLUE MONDAY on Monday, let's hope I survuve it), I thought I would treat myself to a bit of homemade houmous.

By whizzing up a few ingredients I had in the cupboard and fridge I came up with a tasty and spicy recipe for a guilt free houmous which Bailey and I ate in front of a film. What a treat!

A tin of chickpeas
2 level dessert spoons of Tahini paste
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
Fat free fromage frais
2 limes, juiced
Pinch of paprika
Veg for dipping: carrots, peppers, cucumber

Whizz up the chickpeas, garlic, tahini and lime juice until smooth. Gradually add the fromage frais until the houmous is at a consistency you are happy with. Transfer a portion of houmous to a ramekin and sprinkle with a pinch of paprika. 
Chop up some yummy vegetables for your crudité to dip into the houmous. You could also make up some spicy potato wedges to dip for an extra treat.
Best when eaten on lap in front of a good film.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

This Christmas we decided we would make boxes of cupcakes to hand out as presents. While deciding what to make we came up with the concept for a cupcake filled with a ganache centre and before long these super chocolatey, super sweet triple chocolate cupcakes were invented.

These cupcakes are triple chocolate because of the fact that not only do they contain three, shall we say, "portions" of chocolate, but also three textures: the chocolate sponge, the milk chocolate ganache and the chocolate buttercream icing. They are the perfect treat for any lover of all things chocolatey, but are also to be approached with caution. Our friend Sally told us that the cakes were so chocolatey they instantly gave her and her husband Steve headaches!

Over Christmas we took to cutting the cakes into bitesized chunks before serving alongside a cup of tea which seemed to be a solution to the "problem" of them being so chocolatey.

The cakes which I took into school for my colleagues I topped with crunchy caramel bits I bought from Sainsbury's baking section, but after discovering how intensely sweet they were I just decided to sprinkle the remaining cakes with a nice dusting of cocoa powder.

Recipe, makes 18 large cakes:
For the cakes:
115g dark chocolate
85g room temperature unsalted butter
175g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs, separated
185g plain flour, sifted
3 quarters of a teaspoon baking powder
3 quarters of a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
125ml semi skimmed milk
teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in the microwave before leaving to cool.
Cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and add to the creamed mixture and beat well. Add the melted chocolate to the mixture. Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in YET ANOTHER bowl. Put the milk in a jug and add the vanilla extract to it. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the bowl until it's all mixed in. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter using a metal spoon. Spoon into cupcake or muffin cases and stick in the oven for 20-25 minutes until your house smells like a chocolate factory. Delightful.

For the ganache centre:
Medium pot of double cream
Two large milk chocolate bars

Bring the cream to the boil in a sauce pan. Take the pan of cream off the hob, before breaking the chocolate bars into the cream and stirring until the chocolate is all melted and mixed into the cream.

Now you need to get your cupcakes and cut big chunk out of them like you would if you were making fairy cakes. Pour the warm ganache into the hole you have made until all gooey and overflowing. Then put the chunk of cake back in its ganache-filled hole and allow to cool.

For the icing:

175g dark chocolate
225g room temperature unsalted butter
Tablespoon semi skimmed milk
Teaspoon vanilla extract
250g icing sugar

Melt the chocolate and allow it to cool. Beat all the other ingredients together. Add the chocolate and beat the icing. Leave to cool a little before icing the cakes.


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