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Easy Chicken & Chorizo Pasta

This is such a simple supper dish and perfect on a Monday when you fancy something with a little kick and have some chicken left over from the sunday roast.
Start by putting some pappardelle pasta (2 nests per person) on to cook, then chopping 1 onion very finely, then chop chorizo sausage into pieces the size of 2 pound coins stacked together.

You'll need about 6 pieces per person, heat up a tsp of oil in a frying pan and add the chorizo, when the oils start to release from the sausage add the onion, with a micro grater, grate in a small garlic clove per person, add 50g per person of cubed pancetta and gently fry for about 4 minutes, add some cooked chicken into the frying pan and reheat.

In a small bowl mix together the zest of a lemon, 40g softened unsalted butter and a small finely chopped red chilli, add to the pan,  stir until the butter is melted and everything looks glossy, then add 2 tbsp of double cream stir, season to taste and take off of the heat.

When the pasta is cooked drain and tip into the chorizo mix, Put back onto the heat give a good stir until everything is well covered. Just before serving tumble in half a handful per person of rocket.

Yummy Sticky Spare Ribs

Living in a houseful of males its inevitable that i'd need a decent rib recipe. To be fair it's not so much a recipe as just sort of throwing everything in a big bowl giving it a bit of stir, a little time to rest, then chucking them in a hot oven. If you want a less burnished rib start off hot (about an hour and a half at 200) then cover and turn down (110) the oven or whack in the bottom if you're an AGA lover and leave for 3-4 hours.
1.5kg pork ribs
3 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp chinese 5 spice
3 tbsp dark soy
5 tbsp tomato sauce
1 onion very finely chopped
2 beef oxo cubes
3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 piece of ginger about an inch peeled and grated
2 cloves of garlic grated
1 red apple finely grated (no need to peel)

Put all of the above ingredients except for the ribs into a large mixing bowl and give a good mix, then add the ribs massage into the meat and leave to sit for about 2 hours room temp (or in the fridge while you're at work).

Spoon into a very large baking tray in a single layer, then drizzle over a little more honey about 2 tbsp, put into a hot oven about 220 for 20 minutes then turn down to 200 and bake for about 90-120 minutes, turning in the sauce every 20 minutes or so.

Or for soft falling off the bone after an hour cover and turn the oven down to 110 and cook for about 3-4 hours.

Once you take them out of the oven put onto a warm serving plate and add a glass of water to the baking tray and heat on the top, finish with a knob of butter for a shiny sauce.

We have ours with jacket potatoes and a rocket salad.

Raspberry Red Velvet

I really didn't like the idea of so much food colouring in my cake, so for ages I've been meaning to come up with an alternative to the more traditional red velvet. this one seems to tick all the boxes.
165 g softened butter
280 g caster sugar
3 Eggs
280 g S/R flour
50 g cocoa powder
150 ml buttermilk
80 g full fat cream cheese
150g pureed raspberries 
1/4 tsp red food gel
Preheat the oven to @ 180
1. Mix together the caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy

2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between each egg

3. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl

4. Add half to the egg and sugar mixture, fold in

5. Mix together the buttermilk, food gel raspberry puree and cream cheese

6. Add half of buttermilk & cream cheese into the cake batter, fold in

7. Repeat the process with both flour and buttermilk

8. Spoon into 2x 8 inch prepared sandwich tins

9. Cook for about 30-40 mins, leave to cool for 10  mins before turning out onto a wire rack. 

For the Cream Cheese Frosting
50g unsalted softened butter
150g cream cheese
200g icing sugar 

Mix together the icing sugar and butter until soft and creamy, then mix in the cream cheese, sandwich the cooled cakes together with half of the frosting adding 150g of fresh raspberries if desired, then spread the remaining frosting over the top.
A very moist and much redder sponge in the flesh

Toad in the Hole & Peach and Blueberry Crumble

I love homely comfort foods and these fit that description perfectly.

Toad in the hole (for 4)
I find it best to not use the sausage oil for cooking the batter, after you've cooked the sausages spoon off the oil and mix some gravy granules and thyme and a mug or 2 of water to the baking tray, heat on the top for delicious gravy.

In a bowl put a large mug of plain flour, the same mug of milk and the same of eggs (about 5) a pinch of salt, whisk all together with a hand blender until bubbly. Put 3 sprigs of thyme into the batter and leave to infuse for at least half an hour. Then remove the thyme.

Put 8 really good pricked sausages in a baking tray with a couple of shallots chopped in half, you can leave the skins on as it's just for flavouring the gravy later. cook at 220 for about 15_18 minutes until lightly browned. In 4 individual dishes heat a little oil about 3 cm in each until smoking hot.

Pour the batter equally into the dishes and pop 2 sausages in each, cook for about 25 minutes at 210˚c, serve immediately.                

Peach and blueberry crumble
This is a really simple crumble, I used canned peaches and fresh blueberries.

Rub together 250g plain flour, 100g rolled oats, 70g Dark brown sugar, 50g desiccated coconut and 110g unsalted butter. In a large bowl mix 700g tinned strained peaches with 200g fresh blueberries, sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour and give a light tumble, spoon into 5-6 coffee cups (you don't want to use your best ones, only ones you'd put in the micro or dishwasher)

Put onto a baking tray and spoon the crumble topping over the fruit, bake for about 12-15 minutes at 200˚c.

Orangey Hot Cross Buns

I Love hot cross buns and for me they are the epitome of Easter food. My lot all like the ones from M&S and although I wouldn't be able to beat them, i've got to say with the orangey dough I think these give them a real run for their money, all for about a quarter of the price.

If you like light and fluffy these aren't the buns for you but for me I love the soft doughy fruity texture, with the crisp topping. One thing to remember is flours all act differently, so add 2/3 of your liquid first, then slowly add the rest to when you feel like you have a nice silky soft dough.
430g strong white bread flour
4 tbsp caster sugar
8g salt
10g easy action yeast
30g softened unsalted butter
200ml milk hand heat
70 ml water hand heat
zest of an orange and 3 tbsp juice
2 big handfuls of sultanas
2 tbsp mixed peel paste (I really love the flavour of mixed peel but hate the texture of it,  I blend a whole pot  & 2 tbsp of boiling water into a paste with a blender then keep in the fridge)
4 tbsp plain flour
water to mix
1 egg
2 tbsp golden syrup

In a free standing machine put the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast mix together and make a well in the centre.

In a jug add the juice, milk and water give a little stir, then pour into the flour mix, with the bread hook knead for 2-3 minutes then add the orange zest, sultanas and mixed peel paste and butter knead for another 6 minutes. 

Oil the bowl put the dough back, cover  and leave to prove for one to two hours or until doubled in size.

Turn out the dough knock back knead for a minute divide into 12 equal parts shape into roll shapes and pop onto a large baking tray, cover with an oiled plastic bag, for about 60-80 minutes, until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven 200˚c Mix 4 tbsp flour with some water to a paste, spoon into a piping bag and pipe the crosses onto the buns.

Brush with a little egg wash and bake at 200˚c for about 20-25 minutes, mix the golden syrup with a little boiling water and brush over the buns pop back into the oven for 5 minutes.

*If you'd like a little cinnamon mix up to a tsp into the syrup glaze before brushing onto the buns

For a SIMNEL inspired HCB add 2 tsps of mixed spice along with the flour and  a baby tomato sized piece of marzipan into the centre of each piece of dough shape the dough around it. 

*Best eaten on the day of baking or toasted the next day

* Bake the buns slightly touching for a softer side bun.

Easter Mini Egg Brownies

Those of you who know me know I have given up chocolate for Lent, so every time I come up with a chocolatey delight it has been torturous. I haven't even cut these brownies before giving them away as I couldn't trust myself.
175g melted dark chocolate
100g unsalted butter
300g vanilla sugar or caster and a teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs
125g plain flour
75g S/R flour
300g mini eggs (freeze for at least 3 hours before using to keep the colour)

Grease and line 8x8 inch tin preheat the oven to 170

Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water, give a good stir. 

Mix in sugar and vanilla extract, add eggs, sift in the flours. 

Fold in 200g of the mini eggs

Bake in oven for 15 mins and then stud the top with the remaining 100g mini eggs bake for another 10-15 mins

 Leave until completely cold, before chilling in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before cutting.

*Freeze the eggs before using to help stop them cracking

*If you prefer a firm more cakey brownie bake for 25 mins before adding the remaining mini eggs, then for the further 15 minutes after.