Girls’ Night In – Archers and Cranberry Granita

This is a bit of a cheat’s dessert, as it’s so easy.  It’s perfect for a girlie night in.

Archers and Cranberry Granita

Archers and Cranberry Granita

250ml pre-mixed Archers and Cranberry Juice in a can

Archers and Cranberry juice

1. If you’re going to serve your granita in a martini glass, then one can will serve two people.  If you have larger glasses or want to be more extravagent, use one can per person.

2. Pour the liquid into a freezer-proof container and freeze overnight.

3. When you are ready to serve, use a spoon to break up the mixture into small crystals.  The alcohol content of the mixture means the liquid won’t freeze fully and you’ll only need to break the mixture up once just before serving, rather than several times as you would with a traditional granita.

4. Serve in a cocktail glass.

Of course, you can try this with other premixed cans, or you could experiment with your own alchoholic mixtures.

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Baileys and White Chocolate Bites

One of my friends had a birthday party this week and these delicious little morsels were the perfect present.

Baileys and white chocolate bites

Baileys and White Chocolate Bites (makes approximately 30)

300g white chocolate
60ml double cream
2 tbsp Baileys
1 tsp vanilla essence
25g dark chocolate

1. Break the white chocolate up into chunks and heat slowly with the cream in a bowl over a pan of boiling water until the mixture is smooth.

2. Stir in the Baileys and vanilla essence.  Allow the mixture to chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

3. Use a melon baller or teaspoon to scoop out evenly sized balls of chocolate.  Roll the balls in your hand and place on a sheet of baking paper.

4. Melt the dark chocolate and use to drizzle over the chocolates.  You can do this with a spoon, but if you’re not very neat like me you might want to use a piping bag to keep the chocolate under control.

5. When the dark chocolate is set place the chocolates into mini foil cases.

Popcorn Pie

This is a ridiculously sugary dessert, but it’s lots of fun for a special treat.  Be warned – it’s VERY chewy!

Popcorn pie

Popcorn Pie (Makes one pie)

One ready-made sweet pastry case
200g plain popped popcorn
200g caster sugar
50ml double cream
5 tbsp butter at room temperature

1. For the caramel, place the sugar and water in a pan and swirl to combine.  Bring the mixture to the boil.

2. When the mixture is a golden brown caramel colour, remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream. It will bubble up but just keep stirring.  When the cream is mixed in, stir in the butter.  Set aside and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

3. Pour the popcorn into the caramel and mix well. Pour this mixture into the pastry case and spread out evenly. Allow the caramel to set before carefully cutting onto portions to serve.  Serve with cream.

Marmalade breakfast muffins

This is a quick easy recipe to throw together at the weekend for a lovely breakfast.

Marmalade breakfast muffins

Marmalade Breakfast Muffins (makes 12)

250g self raising flour
A pinch of salt
75g golden caster sugar
175ml milk
1 egg, beaten
100g butter, melted
Zest and juice of 1 orange
100g marmalade

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ Gas mark 6.

2. Pop 12 muffin cases into a muffin tray.

3. Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl: flour, sugar, a pinch of salt.

4. In a seperate bowl mix together the wet ingredients: milk, egg, melted butter, orange juice and zest.

5. Combine the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients and mix together.  When making muffins it’s important not to over-mix, so just stir well until combined.  Mix the marmalade in. (You may need to give the marmalade a good mix so hyou don’t have big lumps of marmalade in the mixture. )

6. Divide the mixture evenly across the 12 muffin cases, filling the cases up ¾ full.

7. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and risen.  Transfer to a cooling tray and allow to cool down slightly before eating.

Back to school – Green lentil, coriander and lime soup

I can’t belive it’s September already!  I work in a FE college and although I work all year round I definitely have that ‘back to school’ feeling this week.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to share this soup with you, which is inspired by a dish I had at my local college in the town I live.  The college offers Hospitality and Catering courses and the students run a restaurant that is open to the public.  The students design the menus, cook the dishes and serve the food.  It’s a fantastic experience and you get a restaurant standard meal at a bargain price.  I’d really recommend you checking your local college to see if they have a similar offering.

 

Green lentil, coriander and lime soup

Green lentil, coriander and lime soup (Serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
1 large white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tins of green lentils
700ml vegetable stock
Juice of 2 limes
One large handful of coriander leavees, freshly chopped
A dollop of yoghurt to serve

1. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the celery, onion and garlic gently for 5 minutes.

2. Add the green lentils and vegetable stock and bring to the boil.  Turn the heat down to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes.

3. Use a blender or food processor to blitz the soup until it is smooth.

4. Return to the heat in a clean pan and add in the lime juice and chopped coriander.  Season as required.

5. Serve the soup with a swirl of yoghurt.