18 Dec 2017

Thermomix Soft White Bread

Thermomix Soft White Bread

There is nothing quite like making your own bread. I've never been one to break out into a sweat kneading bread dough and any piece of kitchen equipment that helps make life easier is okay by me.

I find it easier to make the bread dough in the evening and then place the covered dough overnight in the fridge. In the morning take the risen dough from the fridge, allow to come up to room temperature for an hour or so, and then remove the air and shape ready for the next prove.

This is the recipe I mostly use and it will also work perfectly in the bread maker on the dough setting (using instant dried yeast only) or using a stand mixer.

10 Dec 2017

Easy Pea and Mint Soup

Pea and Mint Soup

Home made soup takes some beating. Can you believe that I've never eaten or made a pea and mint soup, that is until now. As you know I'm a bit of a gadgeteer and this soup was made in my Thermomix but if you've bought a soup maker, or are thinking about buying one for the winter months, then this recipe is a great one to try.

21 Nov 2017

Christmas Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

It's that time of the year again! Christmas wouldn't be the same without munching on a piece of buttery shortbread, but for extra indulgence I added a handful of dark chocolate chips. There's little point in counting calories at this time of the year, let's save it for January 2018.

Freshly baked chocolate chip shortbread

21 Oct 2017

Thermomix Casserole Dish Baked Bread

Casserole Baked Bread

The crust on this bread took me by surprise! One of the ladies on the Thermomix forum gave me a few hints and tips on how to bake bread in a casserole dish and for my first attempt I was more than a tad pleased. I think on this occasion the crust was the star rather than the crumb but homemade bread doesn't have to be perfect. Even though I say so myself, that crust is amazing.

Sliced Casserole Baked Bread

27 Sep 2017

Thermomix Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza

Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza

This is a very straightforward pizza, a standard pizza dough topped with organic tinned chopped tomatoes and grated mozzarella.

The original recipe says to knead for 2 minutes but that's not long enough, knead for 4 minutes and you'll end up with a fabulous dough.

11 Sep 2017

Mini Chocolate Cakes with Strawberries

Mini Chocolate Cake with Strawberries

Strawberries are still being sold on Bridgnorth market and these were really sweet, fragrant and juicy.
As we know, baking doesn't always deliver what we expect and these cakes were made from a chocolate cake which didn't quite go to plan.

The cocoa powder didn't mix into the raw cake batter, my cake was a little heavy but rather than throw the chocolate sponge away I cut out tiny rounds and topped them with swirls of vanilla and chocolate icing.

13 Aug 2017

Cream Tea Cupcakes Recipe

Cream Tea Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a lighter alternative to the usual scones, possibly not lighter in calories though I'm afraid, but at least there is an element of portion control!

It's very rare that I buy clotted cream but I made an exception for these cupcakes and I'm really pleased that I did.

The cupcakes are really easy to make and can be made in a food processor, food mixer or Thermomix.

5 Aug 2017

Thermomix Berries and Cherries Smoothie Recipe

Berries and Cherries Smoothie

I made this smoothie a couple of weeks ago when the sun was shining non stop here in the West Midlands, unfortunately this last week it's been rain, sunshine, rain, sunshine.

Redcurrants from my garden, a mixture of cherries and blueberries from the freezer and the last orange from the fruit bowl all make a delicious and refreshing smoothie.

23 Jul 2017

White Bloomer Bread Recipe

White Bloomer Bread

I've never made so much bread since owning my Thermomix. It takes only a few minutes to make the most amazing bread dough. I don't think I've bought bread for many a year, this isn't entirely due to my newest kitchen gadget because previously I used my bread maker to make complete loaves of bread or just using the dough function. Even now I can be found mixing bread in the Thermie and the bread maker is on the work surface making dough or a complete loaf of bread.

2 Jul 2017

Mini Strawberry Pavlova

Mini Strawberry Pavlova

One of my favourite desserts has to be pavlova. Fortunately I had a few egg whites in the freezer waiting to be used and hey presto an almost instant summer dessert.

The strawberries were shop bought, the ones in my garden aren't doing very well and need replacing but I managed to pick just enough to make the strawberry sauce.

I've received a few emails from readers who struggle to make pavlova and a couple of years ago I wrote a step by step blog post Summer Berries Pavlova which should ensure a stress free bake.

9 Jun 2017

Instant Pot Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

Instant Pot Mixed Vegetable Soup

This is a soup recipe that I adapt, and mostly cook in a large pan, but now the electric pressure cooker has made an appearance in my kitchen, the very least it can do is to somehow pay for it's keep.  I store it away in a cupboard - the pressure cooker that is - I had to empty my cupboard of baking tins and move them to a cupboard which is already heaving with baking paraphernalia, there is absolutely no room on my work surface for any more gadgets.

Anyway back to the soup, it's ridiculously easy to make and can be bulked out with borlotti beans and small pieces of broken spaghetti to give a more filling version of a family friendly minestrone.

Chopped parsley added to the soup after cooking lifts the flavours, and a grating of Parmesan cheese is perfect.

1 Jun 2017

Mini Chocolate Raspberry Cakes

Mini Chocolate Raspberry Cakes

These little cakes came about because I made a chocolate cake and one of the layers didn't rise as much as I would have liked due to a heavy hand when adding the cocoa powder! I use Green and Black's cocoa powder and it's a must for these little choccie cakes.

It's a wasteful method but I cut out tiny rounds to make these little cakes and the leftover sponge cake is the cooks treat!

The filling is simply seedless raspberry jam and a few fresh raspberries crushed . I served my little cakes with vanilla ice cream.

4 May 2017

Thermomix Raspberry Sponge Cake

Thermomix Raspberry Sponge Cake

One of the best things about a Thermomix is it's ability to whip up a cake in only a few seconds. I would never before have believed that I could be cooking dinner whilst rustling up an easy sponge cake for dessert.

I used an old school method to weigh out the ingredients and it really is a foolproof way of making a sponge cake. Simply weigh three eggs in their shells - in my case they came to 160g. The same weight of flour, butter/margarine and caster sugar.

20 Apr 2017

Coffee and Walnut Traybake Recipe

Coffee and Walnut Traybake

Coffee and walnut cake is a flavour combination made in heaven and for a coffee lover like me, it's win win!

A classic cake that shouldn't be messed around with too much and one, that for me, still has it's place in a coffee shop, regardless of how 'too cool for school' they are.

I've made this cake with instant espresso powder which can be found at the supermarket, the cake is made with a mixture of butter and margarine which produces a lighter sponge.

11 Apr 2017

Bam Real Milk Drinks - Review

Bam Real Milk Drinks

New in the Kitchen Delights fridge this month are these delicious all natural drinks from Bam. They are made from British whole milk, delicately sweetened with honey and flavoured with either cocoa or banana.

These are the only milk drinks that don't contain the usual artificial colours, flavourings, preservatives or refined sugars.

They are available in a resealable 330ml carton which easily fits into a bag if you wish to take the drink out and about with you.

6 Apr 2017

Rum, Raisin and Apple Crumble Muffins Recipe

Rum, Raisin and Apple Crumble Muffins

I love a recipe that can be used as either a cake or pudding and these definitely fit the bill.  They are equally at home eaten as is, but preferably warmed through, or removed from the cases and served with cream or custard.

If you've got a very ripe banana in the fruit bowl along with a couple of eating apples then you're more or less sorted for this recipe which can easily be adapted to make it your own.

The crumble makes them quite sweet. but if I made them again I'd definitely halve the quantity of sugar in the crumble mix. There will also be crumble mix left over but it will freeze to use in another recipe.

30 Mar 2017

Review - How to Dine Like a King at Gilgamesh, London

Interior view Gilgamesh, Camden, London

The London Reporter ticks off another gastronomic delight...

I’m so happy that I can finally tick Gilgamesh off the culinary bucket list. This restaurant has built up a good reputation, and having lived in London for many years, it’s always been on the culinary hit list.

We kicked things off in style at the suggestion of the maitre d', by sipping on cocktails in the bar area. Both of us went for a whisky based cocktail with Cointreau liqueur called ‘Make Your Mark’ which my dining companion also approved of. They were made with care and we sipped on them whilst overlooking Camden market.

After 20 minutes, we were taken through to the vast dining area. And it’s quite the show stopper. With it’s vast ceilings you will see ‘freeze’ style prints from what appears to be the Babylon era. You’ll find yourself in awe at the size of the venue as well as the huge bar! You’ll also see the odd crumpled balloon hovering near the ceiling from what can only have been from some sort of celebration the weekend before.

22 Mar 2017

Individual Raspberry Frangipane Tarts Recipe

Individual Raspberry Frangipane Tart with Ice cream

I couldn't resist buying a punnet of huge raspberries after I spotted them on one of my favourite market stalls in Bridgnorth.  I know we should buy seasonal food but they said 'buy me' and so I did. These were some of the best raspberries I've ever eaten, in fact they were far superior to the ones I grow in my garden!

12 Mar 2017

Egg Custard Tart Recipe

Egg Custard Tart

I've never been a fan of egg custard tart, homemade or bought.  It's just too eggy for me but hubby is the reverse and simply loves egg custard. The pastry is thicker than usual because a bought tart mostly has a thick layer of pastry and that's exactly what he wanted.

It's quite rare for me to make custard tart because you can buy a good one from M&S!

The custard is a recipe by the late and great Keith Floyd who says "This is the real thing"........ the pastry recipe is one I use time and again.

5 Mar 2017

Three Layer Chocolate and Vanilla Sponge Cake

3 layer chocolate and vanilla sponge cake

My grandchildren love a cake to look temptingly delicious and it has to be smothered in buttercream and decorated with chocolate/or sweets so they can tuck in and enjoy the moment.

There wasn't time to take a photograph of the cake before it was sliced but the topping is Green & Black's chocolate which I melted gently in the microwave, poured out onto a board and just before it sets too hard I used a dough scraper and chopped the chocolate into small shards.

16 Feb 2017

Instant Pot Leek and Potato Soup

Leek and Potato Soup
A delicious bowl of comforting home made soup with a thick slab of bread and butter takes some beating. Leek and potato soup is quick and simple to make and any that isn't eaten can be frozen in a strong freezer bag.

I made mine in the Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) and once the soup had cooled down I whizzed it in the blender.  I purchased the pressure cooker just before last Christmas and as with all gadgets it's a bit of a learning curve, but so far so good!

10 Feb 2017

Epicurean Chopping Board - Review

Epicurean Chopping Board

I own quite a collection of chopping boards, but hadn't come across these Epicurean cutting boards until I was asked if I would like to review the 14.5" x 11.25" board in nutmeg.

These everyday boards are made from non-porous wood fibre and are surprising light weight which is a bonus especially as I store mine in the cupboard.

Foods that stain are problematic with chopping boards but these are stain resistant.

1 Feb 2017

Tear and Share Milk Bread

Milk Tear and Share Bread

I love a 'bit of nostalgia', and milk bread baked in a cylindrical ribbed tin brings back memories of my childhood and hopefully my other reader remembers this wonderful soft and tasty loaf of bread too! I can't recall anything as fancy as sharing bread though.

I made this last week to go with our dinner but unfortunately it never made it to the table because I was too late making it. The chia seeds decorating the top of the bread were an impulse purchase from Aldi, I'm unsure they brought anything to the party but they can go into my next seeded loaf of bread!

As usual I made mine in the Thermomix, simply because it has to work for me, but it will work just as well using a stand mixer with the dough attachment.

A loaf of tear and share milk bread

I've included conventional instructions below.......

Thermomix Instructions in Italics

You will need: 7"/18cm round springform tin base lined and greased

250g strong white bread flour
1 tsp easy blend yeast
1/2 tsp salt
15g butter
150ml warm milk or 150g of cold milk (if using a Thermomix)

Put the flour into the bowl of the mixer and using the appropriate attachment rub in the butter.

Add the yeast and salt to the bowl, it's always best to place them on opposite sides of the bowl.

Fit the dough hook and pour in 150ml of warm milk, knead for 5 minutes until the dough is elastic.

Pour 150g milk into the jug, add the yeast and set to 1 minute/37ºC/Speed 2, then to ensure the yeast is mixed in thoroughly I tend to set for another 1 minute/37ºC/Speed 2 reverse.
Now add the flour, salt and butter. Set to 2 minutes/Knead Function.

Remove the dough and place into a greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and prove for an hour or so until doubled in size.

Prove the dough in the TM jug, leave until double in size about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl, return to the stand mixing bowl and using the dough hook knead for a minute to knock out the air.

Remove the dough from the TM jug and knock out the air.

Cut the dough into 10 even size pieces and shape into balls. Place 7 of the balls evenly around the sides of the springform tin, now place the remaining three balls in the middle. Cover with greased clingfilm and leave to prove until double in size, approximately 30-45 minutes. Brush with milk and sprinkle over sesame and chia seeds.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200ºC. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.

You may also like:
Tear and Share Granary Bread Rolls (with a step by step guide)
Seeded Bread Rolls

22 Jan 2017

Thermomix Soft White Bread Rolls

Soft White Bread Rolls

There's nothing more satisfying than making a batch of bread rolls and pulling them apart to reveal their light fluffy interior.

I cut these in half, spread mayonnaise over and filled mine with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, home made beef burger, and melted some cheese over the burger. Yum. These are perfect rolls for beef burgers because the burger stays put in the bread roll!

I love making bread in the Thermomix, it takes only two minutes to knead the dough and then it's ready to rise for an hour in the Thermie jug, shape, rise and bake - what's not to like?

Thermomix Soft White Bread Rolls

I've included conventional instructions below....

Thermomix Instructions in Italics

Makes: 8

500g strong white bread flour
7g easy blend yeast
1tsp salt
35g butter
200ml warm water or 200g of cold water (if using a Thermomix)
100ml warm milk or 100g of cold milk (if using a Thermomix)

1. Put the flour into the bowl of the mixer and using the appropriate attachment rub in the butter.
2. Add the yeast and salt to the bowl, it's always best to place them on opposite sides of the bowl.
3. Fit the dough hook and pour in 200ml of warm water and 100ml of warm milk, knead for 5 minutes until the dough is elastic.
Pour 200g water and 100g milk into the jug, add the yeast and set to 1 minute/37ºC/Speed 2, then to ensure the yeast is mixed in thoroughly I tend to set for another 1 minute/37ºC/Speed 2 reverse.
Now add the flour, salt and butter. Set to 2 minutes/Knead Function.
4. Remove the dough and place into a greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and prove for an hour or so until doubled in size.
Prove the dough in the TM jug, leave until double in size about 1 hour.
5. Remove the dough from the bowl, return to the stand mixing bowl and using the dough hook knead for a minute to knock out the air.
Remove the dough from the TM jug and knock out the air.
6. Cut the dough into 8 even size pieces and shape into balls. Place onto the floured baking sheet leaving a small gap between each dough ball. Dust with flour and cover with a tea towel to prove until double in size, approximately 30-45 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200ºC. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool.

You may also like:
Bread Made in a Banneton Proving Basket
Fougasse Recipe
How to Make Finger Rolls

15 Jan 2017

Pear Polenta Cake

Pear Polenta Cake

I know January is typically the month we all turn our thoughts to getting rid of the Christmas excesses, but I'm not sure how you can do that when there is still Christmas food in the freezer. I've always tried to make a bit of an effort towards the end of January, afterall I've got a stash of chocolate that needs eating up and I'm sure it's not going to go to waste whilst starting some kind of daft diet.

I'm not sure that this is an authentic Italian polenta cake, but putting that aside, it tastes delicious. The recipe is a bit of a faff and the mixture at times doesn't look very promising but it turned out to make a fabulous dessert. If you have a couple of ripe pears in the fruit bowl, but not overly ripe, this recipe is a great way to use them up.

Pear Polenta Cake

You will need: 23cm springform tin, greased with butter and base lined. Dust the tin with flour.

100g plain flour
40g polenta
1 tsp baking powder
large pinch of salt
grated zest of one lemon
2 large eggs
75g golden caster sugar
5 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp raisins
50g unsalted butter (softened)
2 medium desserts pears (peeled and sliced)
25g unsalted butter, softened
10g caster sugar
2 tbsp apricot jam
toasted flaked almonds
icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
2. Mix the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt and lemon zest together in a bowl.
3. Beat the eggs and half the sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Little by little beat in the milk and almond extract. Beat in the flour and very soft butter. Note: I had an issue mixing the butter into the batter by hand and had to whiz everything briefly in the food processor (but in my case the Thermomix) to make a lump-free batter. Stir in the raisins. Now dollop the mixture into the tin and smooth evenly.
5. Arrange the pear slices over the cake batter. Melt the butter and brush over the slices of pear. Sprinkle over the caster sugar.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes until golden and cooked through.
7. Place the tin on a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
8. Remove the cake from the tin. Heat the apricot jam with 1 tablespoon of water, brush over the top of cake.
9. Decorate with toasted flaked almonds and a dusting of icing sugar.

You may also like:
Gingered Semi-Freddo Cupcakes
Pineapple and Lime Cake
Mini Lemon Bundt Cakes

12 Jan 2017

Coldpress Juices - Review

Coldpress Juices

These two bottles of mixed fruit and vegetable blended juices have been sent to me from the clever people at Coldpress, and they have certainly added some welcome zing into Kitchen Delights dreary January.

There is a lot of technology going on here to bring us these amazing juices, from the way the fruit is pressed through to the design of the bottles. I've been sent some information to briefly explain that using 'cold-pressure' technology as opposed to heat-heavy pasteurisation this pioneering juice brand launched these two new 'nutritionally dense' drinks that retain all their ingredients' natural minerals and vitamins.

Fruity Greens: I was surprised how easy it is to individually identify the apple, celery, kiwi, lime and banana. The vegetable element is kale and spinach which in no way overpowers the fruit.

Berry Beets: A fruity blend of apple, beetroot, raspberry, pear and lemon - I love the vibrant colour, and I was definitely won over with the refreshing zing. The perfect drink to sip on throughout the day and will give me a welcome boost of energy instead of turning to my usual coffee.

Available in 500ml bottles
Fruits Greens (63 Cals/150ml) and Berry Beets (65 Cals/150ml)
Provides one of your five a day.
RRP: £2.79
Available: Waitrose
For more information please visit cold-press.com

Disclaimer:  We were sent the products for review.