Chocolate Crunch

revisiting childhood banner

So here it is our inaugural childhood recipes post. I hope you’re all ready and raring to go and intrigued about the recipe that’s coming your way!?

The very first recipe in the Gnome Gnotebook is something called Chocolate Crunch, which I confess I have no recollection of ever having made in my life, which means sadly I can’t share any wondrous stories of baking this as a child. A slight fail on the first recipe we have to make in this new blog series, but I’m not one to cheat and ignore this recipe. Instead we got stuck into the recipe on Saturday and gave it a whirl.

The result? Um totally delicious and I’m devastated that I have never tasted this wonderful chocolate crunch before. It really is delicious (in both its raw and baked forms) and I will most certainly be making in the future! It’s a simple tray bake recipe and tastes like chocolate biscuits. Always a winning combination.
If you fancy giving it a whirl yourself you will need:

  • 1lb plain flour
  • 2oz cocoa
  • ¾lb margarine
  • ¾lb caster sugar
  • A dash of Vanilla essence

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And it couldn’t be easier to create this scrumptious baked item…

  1. Melt the butter and vanilla essence in the microwave until it’s of an oil consistency
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl and then stir in the melted ingredients.
  3. The mixture should form a biscuit type mixture.
  4. Press the mixture into a greased tin so it’s about half an inch thick
  5. Bake on 160°C for 15 minutes until the top is no longer wobbly!
  6. When the tray bake has cooled, remove from the tin and cut into squares and eat.

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This truly was delicious and so simple to make, so I can see I’ll be making this an awful lot in the future!

– Fi xx

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Pulled Pork

A couple of weeks back it was Super Bowl Sunday and this just happened to coincide with our trip to the Peak District to see the littlest Evans. We decided to celebrate this serendipitous event by having an US themed dinner of pulled pork wraps and rice, followed by the American wonder that is the humble m&m. Before I go any further can I just say: bloody genius idea right there! That menu is basically heaven on a plate, well two plates.

Now pulled pork is a new thing for me, not eating it – I’m well practised at eating it and find it delicious. But when it comes to cooking pulled pork, actually creating that wonder from scratch, well that’s another matter. Thankfully the wonderful internet saved my bacon and after a few clicks we had a plethora of information at our disposal. Which we promptly ignored as we came up with our own way that didn’t include twenty-seven different utensils or six hours of cooking time – I’m sorry but I’m not well-known for my patience so that would never happen. Anyway our recipe is below, but before you get started just two useful bits of information you might want to bear in mind…

  1. Aldi sell pork shoulder for just £3.50 and it’s enough to feed three VERY hungry sisters, so you should most definitely check that out.
  2. When cooking in a new oven it’s probably best to check that you’ve turned it on properly and that it is not in fact cold 50 minutes after you start. Just a thought as that moment when you realise dinner will be a whole extra hour away is not the best moment of your life. Also the wise-cracks and teasing for the rest of the night – not fun.

Ingredients:

  • One pork shoulder
  • One onion (cut into eighths)
  • A bottle of Paul Newman’s BBQ sauce AKA the best BBQ sauce ever invented
  • 1 pack of wraps
  • 1 box of left over takeaway rice

And the method….

  • Pre-heat the oven as per the instructions on your pork (ours said 200°C)
  • Rub your pork shoulder with a spoon of BBQ sauce and place on the roasting tin surrounded by the onion
  • Cook the meat until it’s cooked as per the instructions (ours took two and a half hours)
  • Remove the pork and break it apart with two forks, it should pull apart really easily.
  • Throw the meat back into the roasting tin and add half a bottle or so of the BBQ sauce and give it a good old mix.
  • Bung (yes a technical term used by Michel Roux et al) it in the oven for another half an hour until it smells divine
  • Serve in wraps or on top of the rice and enjoy.

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So tell us have you ever tried pulled pork and was it a success? Don’t you just want to eat it everyday for the rest of your life?!

– Fi x

Kedgeree

A few weeks month or so ago, whilst curled up on the sofa under my favourite patchwork quilt, I spotted an illustrated recipe for kedgeree in the January issue of Jamie’s magazine. I’ve never had kedgeree, in fact I can’t even say it properly {it’s ked-j-ree not ked-e-gree – who knew!}, but it’s been something I’ve always wanted to embrace as I just knew I’d love it. I mean rice, egg and fish – what’s not to love?

Anywho after reading just how simple it was I added it to January’s food list and last week we set about making it and obviously it was a bloody triumph! Not only is it easy-peasy, but it’s also cheap as chips (thanks to discounted fish) and unbelievably tasty. Kedgeree is now on my easy to do and to impress-people-with-list, so I’m going to share the recipe we used.

We didn’t follow Jamie’s recipe religiously (as we didn’t have all the ingredients) so we just used it as a guide. Annoyingly I can’t find Jamie’s original recipe online, but the one here is very similar if you want to get it straight from the horse’s mouth!

You will need:

  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • Two eggs (hard-boiled)
  • Lemon juice
  • 160g of Smoked herring
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 1 Fish stock cube
  • Onion

And then follow these super simple instructions…

  1. Make up 340ml of fish stock
  2. Fry the onions with a little garam masala and oil
  3. Add the stock, a few drops of lemon juice and the rice and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked
  4. Remove the skin and bones from the fish and chop up and add to the cooked rice mixture
  5. Add the two eggs and mush *technical term* into the mixture
  6. Mix everything together and EAT!

One thing I would say is that it could have been improved by the addition of some veggies. We were feeling lazy and couldn’t be bothered to go and buy anything, so just used what was in our cupboards – an onion – but I would definitely add spinach, mushrooms, peppers, etc in the future. Not just for flavour but so that it’s a smidge more filling. Not essential but worth bearing in mind.

– Fi xxx

A Gingerbread Tree of Stars

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a lovely time celebrating Christmas with family and friends and got one or two things you wanted. We’ve still got two days of celebrating at our parents house (today and tomorrow) and then we’re returning to London town for the customary flat sort out and organisation before the New Year. As well as saying Happy Christmas I wanted to share one of my favourite Christmas bakes from the last week – I think this is the item I am most proud of this year, so let’s get to the story shall we?!

A few years ago Lau and I bought this ingenious cutter set from Lakeland (AKA the shop of dreams) so that we could bake up a storm and end up with a pretty darn awesome biscuit tree. Two years ago we made said tree out of shortbread and it looked rather nice and tasted even better. See below:

shortbread tree

But this year we decided to up the game a bit and create something that would be even more awesome for the Christmas drinks party the parents held last weekend. This time we went for gingerbread stars. But how could we make it even better than two years ago? Answer: Layers of fondant icing plus smarties as baubles. Damn near genius, yes? So here’s the final creation. Thoughts?

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Let’s just say people went slightly crazy for it and assumed it had taken hours. It didn’t it took an hour at most. So if you’re planning an exciting New Year’s Eve party and want to wow your guests – this is the thing. Or you could go for piped icing like the team at Domestic Sluttery did here. Also pretty cool, but possibly a bit more effort.

You’re welcome.

-Fi xx