Sunday, 14 April 2013

White chocolate brownies - easy recipe

I’ve somehow managed to convince myself that white chocolate is the lesser of the chocolate evils and I can therefore eat as much of it as I like. So cakes made with white chocolate are better for you, especially if they contain some sort of nuts because they’re healthy, right?

I think this rationale stems from my eldest sister who for many years didn’t eat chocolate at all as a rule – accept for white chocolate which she said contained different ingredients that weren’t as addictive. I’ve been through the ‘dark chocolate is good for you’ stage and I do believe there is some truth in this, but it’s just not the same is it?!!

I invited my dad round for a brew this afternoon, which meant only one thing – I had to get baking. He's well known for his sweet tooth and it’s actually quite ridiculous (when he gets offered cream, ice-cream or custard with his sticky toffee pudding he asks for all three – that kind of thing) and I blame him completely for my addition to chocolate and cakes.

It’s become kind of an unwritten rule that when he comes to our house, I will make him cappuccinos and must have cake or biscuits to offer (as the three sugars in his cappuccino aren’t enough to satisfy his sweet cravings.)

These brownies are really easy to make and a nice alternative to the usual chocolate brownies. They’re more ‘cakey’ and less gooey but they’re really good, so much so that my dad ate three in a row and Paul had two (I've been picking at them all afternoon as lost count of how many I've eaten!) 

Pop them in the fridge in a cake tin and they’ll keep for a few days, but I doubt they’ll last that long.

115g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the tin
115g light soft brown sugar
115g self-raising flour
2 eggs
225g white chocolate
115g walnut pieces

Lightly grease a square cake tin (approx 18cm) with the spare butter and pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
Roughly chop the walnuts and 175g of the chocolate. Put the rest of the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs and the sugar together in a large bowl then beat in the chocolate and butter mixture.
Fold in the flour, chopped chocolate and walnuts before placing the mixture into the prepared tin and smoothing down.
Place the tin into the oven for around 30 minutes and leave to cool before slicing into squares. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

Yeast-free pizza with two topping combinations

We all love pizza, don't we?! Anyone who's read my blog before will know that I avoid yeast, which comes with huge sacrifices – pizza sadly being one of them. You just can't beat curling up on the sofa with a pizza and a glass of wine in front of the TV on a Friday night.

Last week I was on call for work during the evenings and I didn't really think much about cooking. So when it came to Friday, I actually spent all day thinking about what I was going to make for tea (sad I know) and I had a craving for pizza that I couldn't shift!

I've tried to make yeast-free pizza dough in the past but it's always turned out scone-like or really hard and crunchy. So I did my research and came up with the perfect measurements for making two large pizzas.
The toppings came to mind quite easily – I absolutely adore goat's cheese and caramelised onion together so I knew this had to make up one of my pizzas and for the other I wanted something with more of a kick and went for chorizo and peppers.

They were both really nice but the goat's cheese one was my favourite.

Ingredients for the base
400g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
150ml water

Passata (I used Tesco passata with garlic and herbs)
A handful of grated cheddar
Splash of olive oil

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Slowly add the water and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough ball.

Knead on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes (I find this very therapeutic!)
Separate into two balls and roll each one out thinly - about as thin as you can without it tearing.
Place onto a pizza stone or large baking tray then brush over each base with a small bit of oil (this is to stop the passata and toppings soaking through.)
Trust me, you need to build the pizza on the tray as you'll struggle to pick it up once of the toppings are on!
Spread two to three tablespoons of the passata onto each base then sprinkle a small handful of cheese over each.
Then add your toppings - my combinations are below.
Spinach, goat's cheese and caramelised onion

One medium-sized red onion, sliced
Tablespoon brown sugar
A splash of balsamic vinegar
One small pack of soft goat's cheese (without rind) - about 75g
100g spinach
Knob of butter
olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a frying or large sauté pan then add the onions and fry on a high heat for a couple of minutes.
Turn down the heat to low, add some of the water and cook for 10 minutes then add the rest of the water, sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until soft and caramelised.
While the onions are cooking, melt the butter in a large pan and add the spinach.
Cook until wilted - this will only take a few minutes. Set aside and cool, then squeeze out the access water.
Layer the cooked spinach, onions and goat's cheese on the pizza.

Chorizo, pepper and mozzarella
1/2 chorizo ring, sliced into circles
1/4 red pepper and 1/4 yellow pepper, sliced
1/2 mozzarella ball, sliced (the ones in the packed with brine from the supermarkets)
Add the passata and cheddar as above then simply add the ingredients to the top of the pizza.
Both will cook in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees in 20-30 minutes, depending on whether you like it crispy or not. Enjoy!

I'd love to hear what you think of my blog and recipes. Were they easy to follow? Do you a suggestion to improve any of my recipes? Have you learned something from reading my posts?

Please leave a comment below or share your photos with me - you can also do this on Twitter if you can't on here.

Thanks! x