Sunday, 15 December 2013

Summer treats

This time I thought I would share a couple of new recipes that are good summer time treats.  Some you could do as a present for Christmas, or take as a plate on the last day at work :)
Next blog I intend on sharing my Christmas mince pies recipe, and maybe a few other Christmassy treats.  I hope you have all got your puddings and cakes made and ready for the big day!  Surprisingly, we have managed to make our cake last and still have about half of it left - this is a first for us!

Now, what do I have for you today?  Some simple rocky road, sticky pork ribs, chicken wraps with an asparagus salad, and some banana and nectarine cupcakes.

I'll start with the sweet stuff.

Banana and Nectarine cupcakes

*normally I make this as a loaf and it's just banana, but I was short on bananas and had some nectarine that needed to be eaten.

175g Butter
85g muscavado sugar
85g caster sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla
215g flour (or 175g flour and 75g ground almonds)
100g dark choc
1 1/2 bananas, 3 nectarines cut into chunks (or 3 bananas)

Beat butter and sugars together until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Add flour
Break banana into chunks and nectarine (or whatever fruit you are using) and add with the chocolate
You want big chunks of chocolate too, so don't use chips, use drops or a block that you have cut up.
Pour into loaf tin/cupcake tins
Sprinkle the top with a bit of demerera sugar for a bit of crunch
Bake at 170C for an hour for loaf, or around 30mins for cupcakes

As a loaf, this is the best banana cake you'll ever eat.  I think it's something to do with the chunks of banana instead of it being mashed, and the caramel richness of the muscavado sugar. 
As cupcakes, equally as good, however if you are using other fruits, this is best eaten within a few days, as it will start to soften.

Simple Rocky Road

Now this recipe is open to your tastes.  I tend to change it each time I make it.  This one was a more basic one, using what I had in the cupboard.

250g dark choc
2Tbsp butter
rice bubbles
dried apricots
dried cranberries
mini marshmallows
chopped hazelnuts (70g)

Heat choc and butter in a bowl over boiling water until smooth.  I added some golden syrup to this also, but you don't have to.
chop up your fruits and nuts, put in a bowl with your cereal of choice

pour in melted choc and mix, then add the marshmallows and mix again.  Pour into slice tin (lined) and leave in fridge to set.

Now this one can be made with more chocolate to make it thicker - a mix of dark and milk is good.  You can also add white choc buttons at the end so you get chunks of white chocolate.  Glace cherries are also good.  Cornflakes/rice bubbles are a good filler and they add some crunch.  Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts are all good in this too.  I do like to add in cut up Turkish delight and other chocolatey goodies too - but you don't have to do this.
A dusting of icing sugar over top can look quite nice and festive too.

Sticky pork ribs

*this is a Gordon Ramsey recipe that I changed a little

With this recipe, it does look like a lot of ingredients but it really is worth it for the flavour and the aroma in your house while this is cooking.  It's made in a way that I never would have thought to do to make them sticky, but it works a treat!

Firstly, get your ribs and salt and pepper them, rub it in.
Put your roasting dish on the stove with a lug of Olive Oil
Once hot, add the ribs. You want that sizzle when it hits the pan.  Let it cook until brown and then turn to colour the other side.
Once turned, you add the following ingredients
Ginger (fresh and sliced or I used the stuff in a jar-not ground, still fresh)
Garlic crushed - I used around four cloves
chilli flakes - just a pinch
Star anise - I used two - these give the most beautiful aniseed flavour and aroma
Honey - around 1/2 - 1C just eyeball it
Soy sauce - a generous amount - again eyeball it
Mirin (in the Asian section of supermarket) about 2Tbsp
Rice wine/dry sherry about 200ml
Bring to the boil then add some sliced spring onions and 1C chicken stock
Pop it into the oven 180C for 30 minutes, turn ribs and cook for a further 30 minutes.
Take out of the oven and put back on the top of stove and heat to glaze it, turning until you have that sticky glaze.

And lastly, my chicken wraps with asparagus salad

I made a lettuce salad to go in the wrap - lettuce, capsicum, tomatoes, and a garlic butter oil to dress
The chicken 
Two chicken breasts on a sheet of baking paper
sprinkle with salt and pepper and some five spice.  Turn chicken to make sure each side is seasoned.  Fold sheet over top and bash with rolling pin to tenderise.  Slice up like for a stirfry.
Add to hot pan with a little olive oil and cook until browned.  Add a few Tbsp honey (the runny kind) and sprinkle over some sesame seeds and toss to coat.  This gives a nice stick glaze.
* I also added a few slices of streaky bacon to the pan :)

Get your wrap, spread some sour cream on, add grated cheese, chicken, and lettuce salad.  Fold and eat.

I served this with Asparagus salad

1 bunch asparagus
spring onions
balsamic vinegar

Brush asparagus with a little butter, place in microwave for 1minute.  When you take it out, slice into 1 inch chunks.  Tip into bowl.
Slice a spring onion, and some strawberries and add them to the bowl.
Cut feta into little chunks and add.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and mix.
Lovely, crunchy salad for a hot day :)

Hopefully that will keep you busy and give you some ideas of things you can try.  I will attempt to get the next one out before the weekend so that you have plenty of time to get your bake on before the big day!

Have a great week!  Happy cooking!