Toffee Apples

21 Nov

toffeeapple

Toffee apples are a common autumnal treat in the UK, as well as in the US, where they first originated from in 1908. They make great party favours for holidays such as Halloween and Guy Fawkes night, or for any carnival themed occasion.

With any recipe involving caramel or cooking sugar, I strongly suggest you invest in a sugar thermometer – this will make it a lot easier to tell when the caramel is ready, giving you a much more accurate indication. These thermometers are pretty inexpensive and easy to get hold of from anywhere that sells baking goods.

If planning to make these with young children I suggest you don’t let them near the hot caramel and maybe let them decorate the apples as they cool down – as most of you know, hot sugar is like the napalm of the culinary world, it melts itself to your skin and leaves a nasty burn that you will have for quite some time… but enough of the horror stories.

caramelhand

Sweet sweet scarring..

I have chosen to use the Granny Smith variety of apple for my recipe as they are firm and not too sweet, so it counters the sugar coating, but feel free to use whatever apples you like.

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp Golden syrup
  • 50ml Water
  1. First you wipe your apples over with a damp, hot cloth to remove any wax on the outside of the fruit that would prevent the sugar from sticking.

  2. Push a skewer or lolly stick into the stalk end of each apple.sticks

  3. Lay out a sheet of grease-proof paper on a tray near the stove.

  4. Put the sugar and water into a heavy bottomed pan and set over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then add the syrup and boil till it reaches 140C, the ‘hard crack stage’. (If you are doing this without a thermometer you can test for the hard crack stage by dropping some of the mix into a bowl of cold water: if it forms a hard lump it should be around the right temperature) As this boils, swirl the pan rather than stirring the caramel as this encourages it to crystallize. If you have a pastry brush, brush the sides of the pan with water occasionally to prevent there being a sugar build up which can cause the caramel to go grainy. caramelpanboil2

  5. Dip and twirl each apple into the hot mixture, letting the excess drip off, and set onto the grease-proof paper. dip

  6. toffeeAfter the caramel has cooled slightly you can roll these in whatever you would like to decorate them with: chopped nuts, sweets. or chocolate… I prefer to keep mine as plain toffee.

These can be put out as party food or wrapped in cellophane bags and given as a gift – either way, these are a nice homemade confectionery that everyone with their own teeth can enjoy! Remember to store them in a cool, dry place, as placing them in the fridge will make the sugar go sludgy!

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Peanut Butter Pie

1 Oct

Peanutbutter pie title

This is by far one of my favorite recipes in my notebook, it wont win any awards for gourmet dessert of the year or be seen in any up-scale restaurant, but its perfect for those days when you just want a mega pudding to sit infront of a t.v and feel sickly yet satisfied with.

The inspiration for this recipe came from similar peanut butter themed desserts most commonly found in the southern states of america. This is a no bake recipe that’s like a cheesecake with cojones.

So, on to the ingredients..

peanutbutterpieingredience

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Packets of Oreo brand biscuits
  • 60g of butter (or enough to combine)
  • 3/4 Cups of cream cheese
  • 1 Cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 Cup of double cream
  • 1/2 Cup of icing sugar
  • 2 TBSP vanilla extract
  • Reeses pieces and/or peanut butter cups to decorate – (optional).
  • 450g Dark chocolate (for ganache topping)
  • 1 Cup Double cream (for ganache topping)

Method

  1. Firstly you place the Oreo biscuits into a blender and blitz into a fine crumb, or you can do this the old fashioned way and bash them with a sturdy rolling pin.
  2. Melt your butter in the microwave, and combine with the oreo crumbs until it has the consistency of wet sand.
  3. Press this mix into your cake pan (or muffin cases if you want to make small ones), making sure the layer is both compact and even, then cover and place into the fridge to chill while you set about making the filling.
  4. With a handheld mixer beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and peanut butter in a bowl until well combined, then add the vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl whip the double cream until it reaches stiff peaks
  6. Now with a spatula, fold in the cream with the cream cheese filling, being careful not to beat the mixture too much.
  7. Pour the filling onto the oreo base and chill for at least 2 hours or until set.
  8. You then use a simple chocolate ganache recipe to top the pie ( a recipe for this can be found on the bottom of this post.)
  9. After this you are free to decorate the pie however you see fit, with peanut butter sweets such a reeses pieces or peanut butter cups, or decorate the ganache with a contrasting coloured chocolate.
So your finished peanut butter pie should stack up like so

So your finished peanut butter pie should stack up like so

An example of decorating these..

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Or a much more casual style mini pie..

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One good way of a simple decorative touch is to cut a full size reeses peanut butter cup into 4 pieces and stack into a circle to create a pin wheel appearance.

Cut into 4 equal pieces

    Cut into 4 equal pieces

Overlap to create a pinwheel shape.

Overlap to create a pinwheel shape.

So there you have it, a simple dessert that any peanut butter lover is going to go nuts for (I hate myself for that one).

As promised, a simple hard set ganache recipe in 3 simple steps.

chocolateganache

  • Chop the chocolate and place it in a bowl
  • Heat up the cream till simmering
  • Pour over the chocolate, leave for 1 minute, then stir till completely melted.

* The lovely chocolate decorating was kindly done by the talented pastry chef at the ‘ivy club London’, Miss Abbie Mallingson…

Thanks abbie :)

            Thanks abbie 🙂

Potato & Channa

23 Apr

trinichanna

As stated in my previous post https://fernyskitschen.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/trinidadian-style-curried-chicken/  , heres probably one of my favorite sides ever, potato and channa!, sometimes called Channa & Aloo this is a thick stodgy curried mouthgasm.

Ingredients..

Wtf.. thats a potato!?

Wtf.. thats a potato!?

  •  1 Can of chick peas (channa)
  • 2 Medium potatoes
  • 1 Small Onion – Diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves – Diced
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp Curry Power – The same type used in the curried chicken recipe

This dish is great for veggies/vegans and a good comfort food, in the same way mash potato is 🙂

Method..

  1. Cut the potatoes into chunks
  2. Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat and sweat off the garlic and onion
  3. Mix the curry power with a spoon or two of cold water and add to the pan, stir till thick and grainy.
  4. Add the potatoes, and then a cup of boiling water and cook till most of the water has boiled away, then add the chick peas and cook till thick and tender.
  5. season with salt, pepper and some chili sauce if you so desire.

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Abit of a strange Ferny fact, I for some reason HAVE to skin chickpeas for no reason other that i’m really weird with some food textures, so to make this dish I literally have to spend half an hour popping a can of chickpeas out of their skin, so as your probably normal, don’t waste your time, as the skins have no effect on flavor 🙂

 

 

Trinidadian style curried chicken

23 Apr

trinicurry

 

I have been wanting to add this recipe to my blog for a while, but with working alot lately it took a while to fit in the illustrating of it.

I’v named this recipe ‘Trinidadian style’ as the ingredients will differ in taste to those you could acquire in the sunny Caribbean. So why a Trinidadian dish?, Well a while ago my then partner Matt who recently rekindled family ties with his lovely family in Trinidad invited his cousins to stay. Aside from being amazing people, his cousin Denise was kind enough to make some trini favorites for us and they were truly something else, to the point where I was demanded by matt to make it on a regular basis!.

This isn’t true to Denise’s original recipe but iv adapted it so it tastes as close to hers as possible.

The first thing I tried was this aromatic curried chicken, which was served with ‘potato and channa’ a chick pea dish that I will post later.

 

First of all you need your ingredients, as with any curried dish theres a couple..

trinicurryingredients

 

  • 4 pounds of chicken legs/thighs
  • 3 spring onions
  • 4 coriander sprigs (1/4 cup chopped) – in the Caribbean they usually use shadow benny a plant with a similar taste to coriander, but not so easy to get in the UK.
  • 1 Tbsp chopped thyme
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion- thinly slice a quarter of this
  • 2 Tbsp medium curry power, I used a madras blend
  • 2 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1 scotch bonnet chili
  1. The key to this recipe is making a ‘green seasoning’ by blending together the spring onion, herbs,garlic,onion(except the sliced quarter) and scotch bonnet into a paste. Save 1 Tbsp on this seasoning and rub the rest of this over the chicken and leave to marinade.
  2. In a small bowl mix the curry powder with 3 Tbsp of water and the tablespoon of green seasoning that was reserved.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy pan, add the sliced onion and more scotch bonnet if you like it hotter, cook until golden, add the curry paste mix and cook until split and grainy.
  4. Add the chicken and season with the salt, pepper and cumin.
  5. Cover the pot and cook on a medium for 20mins, basting the chicken occasionally, when the liquids have evaporated, brown the chicken alittle then add 2 cups of water to make a sauce, then cook this until thick.
With a swipe of pepper sauce and a side of potato and channa

With a swipe of pepper sauce and a side of potato and channa

So there you go!, a potato and channa recipe to follow 😉

 

 

– A thanks to Denise, Sadzie & Matthew ❤

Smoked Cheddar & Prosciutto Palmiers

22 Feb

palmiers

These are my savory play on the classic french pastry palmiers, that is often very sweet and sometimes referred to as ‘elephant ears’.

I made these around xmas time, as they go very well with drinks and are very easy to make. I have chosen to use smoked cheddar and Prosciutto ( an italian cured ham) as a filling because even though its a made up version of ham and cheese, these taste wonderfully savory, and are much nicer than the pre packaged bar snacks you can buy in the shops.

Its hard to explain how to fold Palmiers in just simple words, so I have taken step by step photos of the process in the hopes that it will be alot easier to follow.

Ingredients

  • 250g of all butter puff pastry
  • 70g thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 60g grated smoked cheddar
  • 1 Egg
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C
  2. Fold the grated cheese into the puff pastry, so it is all mixed in and you can see flecks of cheddar going through the pastry, then roll this out into a rectangle roughly 1-2cm thick.
  3. Lay out your cheesy puff pastry sheet on a floured chopping board and lay over the prosciutto.IMG_20140220_114927
  4. Then start by rolling in the sides of the pastry half way.IMG_20140220_115007
  5. Then fold the sides in to meet each other in the middle. IMG_20140220_115046
  6. When your sheet looks like this, do one final fold so one side is ontop of the other. IMG_20140220_115125
  7. From here you have to use a very sharp knife to cut this log of pastry into individual pastries, about 1-2 cm thick, and lay these out on a lined baking sheet. (sorry if the bottom left ones look alittle drunk :/IMG_20140220_115208
  8. Beat the egg with alittle cold water to make an egg wash & paint this on to the palmiers to give them a glossy look when baked. Then bake these in the preheated oven for approx 15 mins, or until golden and puffed up, with any luck they should come out looking like little hearts ❤ .

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One good thing is, after you know how to make palmiers, you can really put anything into them, you can make them sweet or savory, peanut butter and jelly palmers make a good, more child friendly alternative.

I hope the pictures helped describe the process abit easier, if you have any questions, just drop me a comment 🙂

Traditional Brownies

18 Feb

BrowniesTitle

After talking about brownies at 3am with a friend I realised I had never posted my recipe for brownies, even though Iv probably made these more than any other item of confectionery.

These brownies are based on the traditional american brownie which is pretty gooey in the middle & dense so wait until cool before you try and hand them out.

So lets get down to business..

This recipe only has 5 ingredients, so try and get the best quality you can.

This recipe only has 5 ingredients, so try and get the best quality you can.

Ingredients

  • 200g High quality dark chocolate
  • 175g Unsalted butter
  • 290g Caster sugar
  • 130g Plain flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C
  2. Place a heatproof bowl over a simmering (not boiling) pan of water, and make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. In this, place the butter and the chocolate and melt until smooth.
  3. Once the mix has melted, remove the bowl from the heat, stir in the sugar until it is fully incorporated.
  4. Stir in the flour, then add the eggs one at a time, and beat the mix until smooth.
  5. Put the mixture into a greased baking tray, (I use a square silicone one to make removing the brownies easy), and bake for 30-35 mins until the brownies have formed a crust but are still quite squishy to the touch.

Browniesnom

The best thing about brownies is the fact you can customise them in whatever way you wish, I’v tried pecans, marshmallows, chocolate chips and salted caramel. but more often than not I think they are perfect as they are, everyone loves a brownie.

Squidgy....*drool*

Squidgy….*drool*

I used a cookie cutter over the top of the slices while dusting icing sugar over the brownies to get the heart detailing.

I used a cookie cutter over the top of the slices while dusting icing sugar over the brownies to get the heart detailing.

Happy Baking!… I do not accept responsibility for any late night brownie binges crying infront of chick flicks, munch in moderation 😉

Cream Slices

14 Feb

title

So, I was having a tough day recently and went to visit my mum, to find she had baked a HUGE cream slice, probably the best one I have ever eaten I might add :), this brought back some lovely childhood memories for me, so much so that the next day at work I decided to treat my colleagues to some.

And this is how you make them

Just to illustrate my point.. boom boom

Just to illustrate my point.. boom boom

  •  225ml Double cream
  • Shop brought all butter puff pastry sheet
  • 4 Tbsp of caster sugar – plus more for dusting
  • 1 Vanilla Pod
  • 1 Egg
  • Some homemade or shop brought jam
  1. You first whip the cream with the vanilla seeds and sugar until it is at the stiff peak stage
  2. unroll the pastry sheet and prick it with a fork, then cut it into rectangles, egg wash them and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  3. forkThen bake in a preheated 180C oven until golden and risen, then leave to cool.
  4. Grab two slices, spread one side with the jam and cream on the other (you can use a piping bag to make the slices look more professional) , then carefully flip the cream side onto the jam.
    Splat..

    Splat..

    Then your done!, you can add extra cream or icing sugar on top to make them pretty, but I doubt they will be around long enough to appreciate their aesthetic value.

creamslicefinish

creamslicecloeup

Thanks for Reading 🙂