Homework Welsh Cakes

Homework Welsh Cakes

My son goes to a fantastic school which specialises in special needs education. They make sure he has the best education and he loves it. He especially loves his cooking class every week. We encourage this in the house – my kids love helping out Daddy in the kitchen. This week my son came home with his first homework of the year: Make Welsh cakes! Awesome! They even gave us a recipe to work from.

I have to admit, having in lived in Wales for 27 years, I have never cooked Welsh cakes. I have always meant to get round to ‘having a go’ but never did. So, we made these yesterday, and I have got to say that they were lovely – it was a really simple recipe and delicious. Even though I am not suppose to eat stuff like this anymore I couldn’t resist a little nibble.

As I said, I can’t lay claim to this recipe but I thought I might share, especially as I seem to be getting quite a few visitors to this site from different parts of the world, I thought it would be a nice introduction to some welsh cooking heritage.

Ingredients

225/8ox Self raising flour, sieved

110g/4oz (preferably Welsh) salted butter

1 Free range egg

Handful of Sultanas

85g/3oz caster sugar

Method

  1. Rub the butter into the sieved flour to make breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the sugar, sultanas and then the egg. Mix to combine, then form a ball of dough.
  3. Roll out the pastry until it is a 5mm/1/4in thick and cut into rounds.
  4. Place in a dry frying pan on a low heat. Cook until brown, turning once.IMAG0133.jpg

It doesn’t take long and it’s a really simple recipe to do. If you have kids, they will love it! The other bonus is they are great with a cuppa of tea or coffee. All courtesy of my son’s school teachers.

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Poppy Seed Bread

Homemade Poppy Seed Bread

When on holiday in the middle of the countryside in Devon, we came across a bloomer which was creamy and light to taste, with poppy seeds running through it. We all loved it. This is my version of it. It’s not quite the same but it tastes just as good in my opinion.

Ingredients

500g Strong White Bread Flour (You can get 1.5kg for less than a £1)

200ml of warm water (I just combine half boiling and half cold water)

100ml of skimmed or semi-skimmed milk

25ml Rapeseed Oil (You can use olive oil if you prefer)

15g Sea Salt

2 tbsp of poppy seeds

1 Sachet of Fast Acting Yeast

Method

  1. Combine The the flour, yeast and salt. Mix well, but be careful not to put the salt directly onto the yeast. I put the yeast in first, mix and then add the salt.
  2. Add the liquids and mix and knead until they combine to form a smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Rest in the mixing bowl for 30 mins. Make sure it is covered with food wrap or a tea towel.
  4. Use some flour to dust a clean work surface. Scrap out the dough with a plastic spatula. You can use your hands if you want. You now need to knead your dough for about 15-20mins. See this video for an example of how to knead bread dough.
  5. You know it is done when it is almost see through when stretched. I usually hold it up to the window or kitchen light.
  6. Place back into the mixing bowl to rest for 1 hour. It will double in size and smell slightly fermented when it’s done. Preheat your oven to 220C (200 for fan assisted), Gas mark 7 or 425 F. I have a bake setting on my oven so I don’t have to use a fan. I find this gives a better result.
  7. Knock out the dough by flattening hit out with your palms and then use your fingers to poke dimples in the dough.
  8. Now add the poppy seeds and knead into the bread
  9. Place in a loaf tin or shape into a rectangle on baking paper. Put in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 mins.
  10. When baked correctly your bread should sound hollow when tapped. Place your loaf on a cooling rack until cold.

Apple Crumble Cheese Cake

Apple Crumble Cheesecake

I got the basis of this recipe from @Somersetmum on her blog Somersetmum.com. It sounded like something we’d eat in our house. I had to change it a little bit to fit my dietary requirements, but I thought why not give it a try. It is an awesome little dessert – the apple crumble on top is caramelized apple and gives the taste of toffee apples as well as the usual apple crumble loveliness . For those of you who like cheesecake, those of you who like apple crumble, this is a match made in food heaven. My version is still a little bit naughty but it doesn’t really affect my LPR, so I am calling it a win. Plus you don’t need to eat the whole thing to yourself. The best bit about food is sharing it with others. The best thing is that it cost me a fiver!!! For a 12″ cheesecake. Absolute bargain.

Ingredients

Cheesecake Base:
A half pack of digestives (approx. 10 biscuits)

75g of toasted and blended oats

2 tablespoons of honey

Cheesecake Filling
2 packets lightest (5% or less) cream cheese
1 packet light mascarpone
25g sugar

Tsb of Cornflour

2 tsp honey
2 medium eggs

Baked Apples
4 chopped up cooking apples
25g brown sugar

2 tsp of honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
75g sultanas or mixed dried fruit

Crumble
50g brown sugar
100g plain flour
4 tsp of honey
50g oats

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F
  2. In a baking tray mix apples, sugar, cinnamon and sultanas/dried fruit and bake for 25 minutes. Then Turn the oven down to 160°C/320°F. Adjust according to your oven. I have a bake option on mine so I use that instead of the fan setting. The result is always better when I do this.
  3. Toast the oats in a dry frying pan until they start to brown. Be careful not to burn the oats as this doesn’t take long. They should smell a little like popcorn when toasted. Yum! Put the the toasted oats and digestive biscuits in food processor and blend until they are just crumbs. Add the honey and mix. Press into the bottom of a lined, spring loaded, cake tin and refrigerate whilst you get the rest sorted.
  4. Add all the ingredients for the cheesecake filling and pulse until smooth. Use can you a food processor or a hand mixer like I did for this. So this is where I got confused and literally blended everything up together! Now blend half if the apples in the food processor and add to the cheesecake mix. Leave the other half of the apples to layer on top of the chesse cake.
  5. To make your crumble, put all your ingredients in a bowl and work the mixture with your hands. I was always taught to roll the mixture with your thumb over your fingers. Do this until the mixture is fully combinedIMAG0075.jpg
  6. Now pour all your cheesecake topping on top of the biscuit base you have in the fridge and then top with the rest of the apples and your crumble topping, put as much or as little as you want on.

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7. Bake for 1 hour then set for at least three hours in the fridge. I left mine over night and come lunchtime the next day when we tried it, it was perfect! Try Hot or Cold, So many people said it was better hot but ya’ll might like it cold!

 

Thanks to @Somersetmum for the original recipe. I truly enjoyed this dessert today. Sundays are the best for a treat after a roast beef dinner.

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Homemade Bread

Homemade Bread

Apparently, bread is about 30,000 years old!! I love it but have been put off it in recent years in an attempt not to commit carbicide. I do allow myself one slice a day with a poached egg in the morning. It’s my favourite start to the day.

Like many people, I tend to buy my bread from the local supermarket, or as I have done in the past – buy an expensive bread maker in an attempt to get that home baked bread smell in the house that everyone loves. You can’t beat it. When visiting St.Fagans on a school visit, the best part was smelling the baking bread whilst walking by the bakers there. Hopefully, the bakers is still there and if so, it’s worth the trip.

Regardless of your views on the healthiness of bread, you can’t deny that a good bit of bread adds a bit of happiness to your day. It does mine.

I’ve never really made bread from scratch. As I ,mentioned, I’ve always decided to buy it from the shop – it’s easier, more convenient, and ultimately less hassle and consistently the right shape and size. So, why did I decide to start making my own bread. It’s probably cheaper buying it in the shop, but it definitely isn’t as satisfying as making your own loaf. It’s a great activity to help you spend time you can spend cooking with your kids too! This week I made Poppy Seed bread with my four year old and she loved it. It was an awesome way to fill Sunday afternoon. The look of satisfaction and pride on her face was worth the extra bit of effort. Bread Friends Forever!!

The fact of the matter is, like with all cooking, practise makes perfect. I didn’t get it right first time, but after a few attempts my bread is tastier than the ones I buy from the shop. I urge you all to give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen? Here’s one you can try:

Daddy’s Olive and Sun Dried Tomato Homemade Bread

Ingredients

500g Strong White Bread Flour (You can get 1.5kg for less than a £1)

250ml of warm water (I just combine half boiling and half cold water)

25ml Rapeseed Oil (You can use olive oil if you prefer)

15g Sea Salt

6-10 Black, Pitted Olives (Sliced and Diced)

6-10 Sun Dried Tomatoes (Sliced and Diced)

1 Sachet of Fast Acting Yeast

Method

  1. Combine The the flour, yeast and salt. Mix well, but be careful not to put the salt directly onto the yeast. I put the yeast in first, mix and then add the salt.
  2. Add the liquids and mix, then knead until they combine to form a smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Rest in the mixing bowl for 30 mins. Make sure it is covered with food wrap or a tea towel.
  4. Use some flour to dust a clean work surface. Scrap out the dough with a plastic spatula. You can use your hands if you want. You now need to knead your dough for about 15-20 mins. See this video for an example of how to knead bread dough.
  5. You know it is done when it is almost see through when stretched. I usually hold it up to the window or kitchen light.IMAG0032.jpg
  6. Place back into the mixing bowl to rest for 1 hour. It will double in size and smell slightly fermented when it’s done. Preheat your oven to 220C (200 for fan assisted), Gas mark 7 or 425 F. I have a bake setting on my oven so I don’t have to use a fan. I find this gives a better result.
  7. Knock out the dough by flattening hit out with your palms and then use your fingers to poke dimples in the dough.
  8. Now add the olives and sun-dried tomatoes by layering and folding.
  9. Place in a loaf tin or shape into a rectangle on baking paper. Put in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 mins.
  10. When baked correctly your bread should sound hollow when tapped. Place your loaf on a cooling rack until cold.

I like to serve this bread with LPR Friendly Bruschetta. I will put the recipe up soon. Promise.

On A Side Note.

I love YouTube for cooking tutorials. Here’s one I like about kneading dough. There are many chefs and videos out there. I like Chef Eric Arrouzé, his videos are simple and easy to follow and I love French cuisine. He’s got loads of other recipes you might like on his YouTube channel. It’s worth checking out.

Yellow Plum Mini Cheesecakes

Low Sugar Mini Snack Cheesecake

 

If you love cheesecake, especially baked cheese cakes, why not try these? You can choose whatever topping you want. I have tried lots of different fruit compotes but this one is one of my favourites: Yellow Plum Mini Cheesecakes. There are lots of recipes out there for mini cheese cakes, but mine is lower in sugar than most and lower in fat. Apologies for the awful photo, it doesn’t do these justice.

Ingredients

8 paper muffin holders

5 digestive biscuits

1 tsp honey

250g low fat (5% or less) cream cheese

1 egg

50g sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp cornflour

Topping example: Yellow plum compote

2 ripe yellow plums

50g sugar

100ml water

Method

To make the Cheesecake

Put the egg, sugar, cornflour and vanilla into a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Add in cream cheese and whisk until a thick white consistency. Leave to rest at room temperature whilst you make the cheesecake base.

To make the base, crush the biscuits until a fine crumb and then add the honey and mix together. Line the paper muffin cups with digestive biscuit and press in firmly.

Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the biscuit base and then bake in the centre of the oven for 25 mins. Once finished, place them on a cooling rack before adding your topping.

To make the Topping

Slice the yellow plums into segments of equal size. Add100ml water and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Wait for it to thicken to the consistency of a soup-like liquid. Add the plums to soften. Let it cool for 10 mins before adding to the dessert. You can add a 2 tsp of light brown sugar is you have a sweet tooth.

This is a really simply and delicious recipe. Enjoy! Remember to let me know if you try this out and what your thoughts are.

Pretty Healthy Pizza

Traditional pizza is just one of those foods that most people love. Whether you trying to feed the family quickly before running out, or having friends and family over for a get together, it is just one of those universal treats that appeals to the masses.

In fact many people get quite emotional about what makes the perfect pizza – a basic margherita pizza is the stuff of dreams for some, whilst others go crazy for ham and pineapple. According to a Telegraph debate in March:

15 per cent would ban pineapple as a pizza topping.

I have always eaten tonnes of it. However, if you have read my previous blog, you know that I can no longer have this masterful food. I love all things Italian and unfortunately I can’t eat a lot of the dishes I love anymore – well not the way I use to make them.

So, before I ramble on for a 1000 more words, here is a recipe for a different kind of pizza that is also great fun making it with the kids, and is pretty healthy. I cheated a bit today, which for any penny pinching person is a great way of getting premium pizza at home without costing the earth. Say bye bye to Dominoes and Pizza Hut and make this instead. You won’t be disappointed!

The Ingredients:

12″ pizza base – Thin and Crispy is best and costs between £1.50 – 2.50 depending where you shop. You can make it but if you short on time this is perfect.

Low fat cream cheese – I buy the Lidl’s low fat one which is 49p for a tube at the moment and is 1.5g of fat per 30 g. You can go further with the  Lightest Philadelphia which is only 0.8g. I usually mix in some chives as I can’t have garlic. Chives is a great replacement for garlic by the way. I use it all the time.

Parmesan Cheese – depending on how much you like and how much you want to treat yourself. My kids like quite a bit mixed with a bit of normal cheddar, I just put this on their side.

Toppings are your choice! Today, I used a sliced Beef tomato (I can eat these as they are low acid), mushrooms, sliced shallots, anchovies and prawns and some sliced cocktail sausages for the kids side.

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This may sound busy and bit too much but the kids love piling the ingredients up – it also gives the monsters a chance to taste some new foods. I would love to hear what your toppings would be – comment below so I can see what’s your favourite pizza.

Once you’ve got this assembled…you’re ready to rumble! It’s Pizzamio time!! as we say in our house.

The Method

First tip when using kids – have the ingredients out of arm’s reach. If your kids (or housemate, other halves or siblings) are like mine, they will devour the cheese in seconds.

Also, preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius/approx 390 Fahrenheit. You need a hot oven for a pizza.

  1. Lay out the pizza base.
  2. Spoon out the cream cheese to about an inch from the edge.
  3. Lightly dust with chives and some of the parmesan.
  4. Put the rest of your topping on. Have fun with kids or if you’re a bit OCD you can organise neatly. I have learnt to put this a bay since having kids. Having everything neat and having kids just does not mix.
  5.  Chuck it in the oven for 15-20 minutes until pipping hot.
  6. If you’re a bit cheeky, you can add a bit of garlic oil and rocket to the top when you serve it up.

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The best part comes to the eating. I love that I can have pizza again and hope that you enjoy this pizza with a difference. If you try it I would love to hear what you think. Don’t forget to like, comment or subscribe. 

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