A healthy make-your-own chinese takeaway

Both Lau and I are huge fans of Chinese food, but sadly we can’t seem to find a decent one that will deliver in London. We keep trying new delivery places in the hopes that we’ll find the one, but so far no luck. So when I stumbled across a healthy version of a sticky ginger chicken dish in my well-loved Fay’s Family Food cookbook I knew I’d need to give it a whirl. And the result? The most simple and delicious, relatively healthy (compared to a takeaway anyway) chicken dish I’ve ever made. I loved it so much that I think it’ll become a speciality for me. So if you fancy a scrumptious Chinese meal, follow this recipe!

3tbsp of diced ginger in syrup
3 tbsp of runny honey
3 tbsp of light soy sauce
8 skinless chicken thighs
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 limes – the zest of both and the juice of one
1 head of broccoli
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds (we used dried coriander as that’s all we had)

All you do is pop the chicken in an over proof shallow dish and marinade in the ginger, honey, soy sauce, garlic and lime and leave for a few hours in the fridge.

Then once you’re ready to eat just pop it in the oven on 210°C for 30-40 minutes until the chicken’s cooked.

It’s best served with rice and the best broccoli I’ve ever eaten:
Pop the florets of broccoli in an oven-proof dish, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with coriander, mix it up and pop in the oven for 20 minutes at 210oC. I honestly can’t tell you how scrumptious this brocolli was!

I guarantee you’ll love this meal and want to cook it all the time rather than ordering a takeaway! If you make it let us know what you think of it!

– Fi x

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The perfect flapjack

Greetings chums and how are you this fine day? Before I launch into the actual how to of this recipe I should probably let you in on a little secret…I’ve never made flapjacks before (despite the fact I adore it and think that it’s legitimately allowed as a breakfast food – it’s the oats). ‘Why?’ I hear you cry? Well I’m ridiculously worried I’ll suck at it. The consistency of a flapjack is so vitally important that I fear I’ll never be able to achieve the perfect chewy yet soft consistency that I favour. And I’d be devastated (and not to mention severely pissed off) if I spent all that time making them only to realise as I took that first bite that they actually tasted a bit shit really. So with that concern in mind I’ve always stayed clear of them. Recently I made flapjacks for the first time ever so I thought I’d share the brilliant recipe with you!

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They were piping hot but I still nibbled at them!

At the weekend I had a massive flapjack craving and thankfully the ingredients were in the cupboard so I thought I’d give it a whirl…and they were magnificent! Just the perfect consistency, thank goodness. They were chewy and soft and golden and just delicious. There’s a chance I might have eaten five in one go…they were that good it would have been rude not to! The recipe’s below in case you fancy giving them a whirl – you won’t regret it I promise! Flapjacks rule!

IMG_3174A half eaten flapjack

The all important ingredients:

  • 350g butter
  • 1tbsp/15ml golden syrup
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 450g jumbo oats

And the super-simple recipe:

  • Melt the butter
  • Add the sugar and golden syrup and bring the mixture to the boil
  • Remove from the heat and add the oats. Stir together well
  • Pour into a lined baking tray and spread out evenly
  • Bake for 25 minutes on 180oC (until the top turns golden)
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute before cutting into squares
  • Then leave the flapjacks in the pan for another 15 minutes before separating them and moving them to a wire rack to cool
  • Eat and eat and eat until they’re all gone – hooray!

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Ready and waiting to be eaten!

Have you ever made flapjacks and were you successful with the consistency?

– Fi x

This recipe was originally posted on The Adventures of Fi.

Chocolate Crunch

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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

Lemon, Lime and Poppyseed Cake

Let me start this post by apologising about the lack of posts around here lately – you may not have noticed it, which is great, but Fi and I actually had a rough blog plan to post something every 3/4 days this month. Quite a tall challenge under normal circumstances, but then throw in a couple of busy bank holiday weekends, a trip to Amsterdam, a ridiculously busy week at work which saw one of us working all hours (Fi) and then getting hit by a stomach bug for the best part of a week (Fi) and you’ll understand how the best laid plans fell apart magnificently! {Please let’s ignore the fact that I had no real excuse for not getting posts written}. Anyways after only two posts in May so far we are hopefully back on track now.

So let’s get down to business and talk cake. Lovely, lovely cake! So way back when it was Mother’s Day here in the UK – 30th March – we made a cake for our Mum, well you kind of have to don’t you? It’s a Lorraine Pascale recipe and it’s actually one that we’ve featured on here before. But it’s so good, you’re getting it again! Plus this time there are more pictures and even some all about the icing!

Recipe – So I’m not going to repeat the recipe again as you can find it right here.

Instead let’s just look at some pictures and try not to drool over the memory of this perfect cake!

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I have to admit that when Mum saw this she wasn’t too excited. I think she was expecting peanut butter brownies – awkward! But then she had a slice (and maybe another) and was a bit of a fan. Phew, thank god for that!

Lau xx

Cook, Bake and Eat do Ready Steady Cook #6

So we’ve been a bit rubbish haven’t we? It’s been almost four months and we haven’t shared any Ready Steady Cook shenanigans with you – oops! Please forgive us. We can’t really say anything other than things have been busy and we’ve just been rescheduling challenge #6 again and again. We promise to do better from now on though – and do yell at us if we fail in that respect. You have our permission! Anyway we are now back with a bang and a truly scrumptious recipe, enjoy!
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The ingredients that Lau chose were: beef mince, parmesan, kidney beans in a chilli sauce (a mistake buy it has to be said), bread and sweet potatoes. Quite a good mix of ingredients if you ask me and I honestly couldn’t wait to get creating a delicious dish. After much deliberation I finally decided on a meatball bake which it turns out is delicious and easy to make. My two favourite things in a recipe!
So how do you make it I hear you ask, well here goes. First off you will need the following:
  • 450g beef mince
  • 2slices of bread
  • 2eggs
  • 1giant sweet potato
  • 1tin of kidney beans in chilli
  • half a jar of passatta (200g)
  • 20g grated parmesan cheese
  1. Pulverise two pieces of bread into breadcrumbs then combine them in a large bowl with 450g of mince and two eggs.
  2. Leave them in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours so the mixture is easy to work with, then form them into meatballs. In terms of size you should aim for about twenty small ones – think Ikea meatball sized!
  3. Pop the meatballs in the bottom of your casserole dish and bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 180 until they are almost cooked all the way through.
  4. Meanwhile peel and slice your sweet potato into slices about 2cm thick.
  5. Add them to a pan of boiling water and bring to the boil.
  6. Once the water’s boiling cook them for another ten minutes or so until a fork goes in easily.
  7. Drain the potatoes and slice each thick slice into two or three thinner slices.
  8. Next mix your tin of kidney beans with 200g of pasatta.
  9. Once your meatballs come out of the oven pour the tomato and bean mixture over the top of them so it’s spread evenly.
  10. Layer the sweet potatoes on top and then sprinkle with 20g of grated parmesan cheese
  11. Return the dish to the oven and cook for half an hour until the dish is piping hot.
  12. Eat and enjoy!

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I honestly was so pleased with how this turned out – it really was so scrumptious and it makes a change from using mince for spag bol, chilli or lasagna. Plus it’s perfect for rainy, dark and depressing days – so why not give it a try. We’d love to know how it goes down in your house!
– Fi xxx

Delicious biscuits and a small baking accident

For some inexplicable reason I’ve realised that we haven’t discussed biscuits that often on this blog. How absurd is that. I mean I love biscuits and cookies, whether they’re chocolate or raisin, plain or covered in chocolate they’re a staple in my diet and life is always that little bit better when you have a full tin of them. Hooray for the fact that we replenished our rich tea stocks today – anyone else partial to a hot chocolate and rich teas of an evening? Tell me that’s not just me?!

Anyway I plan to rectify the lack of biscuit chatter today by sharing some biscuits we’ve made recently. They were discovered over on Amanda’s blog Rhyme and Ribbons a while back and we finally found an occasion to make them about a month ago when we headed off to meet gorgeous baby Isabella. We didn’t in fact take them in the end, but more on that after the recipe! When I first discovered them I knew I’d need to make them soon, mainly due to the name – soft monster cookies. Awesome name right? Thankfully they’re just as tasty as the name suggests and I think everyone will be had pressed not to eat three per sitting – go on I dare you not too!

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As ever you can of course follow the recipe that Amanda shared, or you can follow our slightly amended one – I imagine either recipe will result in scrumptious biccies!

So first up you will need:

  • 1/2 cup butter/margarine
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup M&Ms
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (a mix of white and milk chocolate)

Now get combining and baking like so for delicious cookies.

  1. Mix together the butter/marg and both sugars
  2. Next add the peanut butter (make sure you have a sneaky snack of PB at this time, you know in case it’s gone off…), egg and vanilla and mix everything up
  3. Now add the flour and baking soda until all combined and it’s looking delicious!
  4. Finally fold in the chocolate chips and M&M’s (next time I might add raisins to get a bit of a fruity mix in there – just a thought for you all)
  5. Line your baking tray and plop the balls of dough onto the tray, pressing them down gently
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or so on 180⁰C before removing them, letting them cool (just a little) and eating three whilst they’re warm. Yummy!

One very key piece of advice, from someone in the know… don’t drop the floppy silicone baking sheet you’re using on the floor as you take them out the oven too soon. As the biscuits will land on the floor and you’ll only end up with eight biscuits and not the planned 16. And if you only have eight and two days before you go to your friend’s house you know you’re going minus the biscuits as they’ll be in your tummy in less than 24 hours! Or so I learned anyway!

Consider it a lesson that I learned that you now don’t need to experience, you can can just learn from my pain – aren’t you lucky! Anyway hands up if you’ll be baking biscuits soon – come on you know you want to! Happy baking!

– Fi xxx

A super-duper soup pie

So yes many of you might be thinking I’ve lost the plot judging by the title of this post, a soup pie, I hear you cry! But I promise you I haven’t and what I’m about to share with you will undoubtedly become one of your staple meals – just for the simple fact that it’s just so darn easy and tasty. I may have mentioned in the past that one of my all-time favourite meals is my Dad’s chicken and ham pie. It’s one of those meals where seconds are mandatory and where my sisters and I fight over who gets to carry the bowl over to the sink to be washed up as it gives us precious seconds to scoop left over sauce out the dish (or perhaps that’s just me…). However one thing stops me from making the pie often and that’s that I can never really be bothered with making a white sauce. Yeah I know lazy indeed!

Anyway this problem is solved by the genius that is a tin of Heinz condensed mushroom soup. You fling this into the pie dish with your other ingredients – pre-cooked chicken, ham, fried mushrooms and leeks and stir it up and gently place your pastry on top and you’re done. The world’s easiest pie – what’s not to love?

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I’d heard the waffling about soup being used as a sauce in the past but I’d never thought to give it a whirl, and now that I have it has revolutionised my life. Now I can’t stop thinking of what else I can use soups for – perhaps a tomato one for a cheats lasagna or a fajita sauce. And maybe I’ll even try a chicken soup as a pie filling in the future, that’s got to work too right?! What about you have you ever used a magic soup as your sauce and if so I need details please!

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Happy pie making! Fi xx