Easy Chocolate and Coconut Cake

Ingredients

  • 250 g butter
  • 115g cocoa powder
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 90g desiccated coconut
  • 337g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 180ml milk

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160℃ and line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Melt butter. Sift cocoa, flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the coconut, caster sugar, eggs, milk and melted butter. Mix to combine.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and place in the oven to bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cake to cook in the tin for 15 minutes before putting it on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
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Stewed Octopus

Ingredients

  • 2 large octopus, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • A handful of black olives, with pitts
  • 800g chopped tomatoes
  • 500g passata
  • 300ml cooking red wine
  • A handful of capers
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Fresh thyme leaves
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sea salt &  crushed black pepperqarnita2

Method

  1. Prepare a large pan on medium heat and add some oil. Add onions, garlic, mint and thyme. Give all a stir and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, passata and red wine. Fill the tomato tin with water, give it a swirl to wash away any left over and add it to the pan. Cover the pan and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the octopus (raw, as it is), the olives and capers to the pan. Lower the heat and leave it to simmer gently for about 1.5 hrs.

Suggestion:

Use the salsa to create a lovely pasta dish or to simply enjoy dipping in some fresh crusty bread.

Best slow-cooked Lamb Stew Recipe

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 800g diced neck or shoulder or leg of lamb (we used the neck)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and leave as whole
  • 4 medium carrots, washed, unpeeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 medium potatoes, washed/scrubbed, unpeeled and roughly chopped
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 300ml cooking red wine
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 500g passata (tomato juice)
  • 140g tomato puree
  • 3 stalks of fresh rosemary
  • 6 bay leaves
  • Sea salt
  • Sunflower oilIMG_E2951[1]

 

Method

  1. Prepare a deep frying pan on high heat and add some oil.
  2. Once the pan is very hot, add the lamb, rosemary, bay leaves and season with some salt. Leave the lamb to cook until it gets a nice golden colour. Give it a gentle stir as you go along.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and carrots to the pan and stir. Let it cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato puree and mix thoroughly. This will give us a nice colour and will help to thicken the stew. Make sure that you cook them puree as much as you can, until it almost sticks to the bottom of the pan as this will help reduce its acidity.
  5. Add the wine, give it a stir and let it reduce by half.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, passata and  potatoes. You can top it up with a little of water and give a good stir. Bring it to the boil and reduce the heat to leave it simmering gently for about 2hrs.
  7. Finally you can add the frozen peas, give it a stir, cover the pan and and after about 10 minutes you can serve.

 

 

 

Roasted Chicken Legs with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots

Ingredients (serves 5 people):

  • 5 Chicken legs
  • 5 Medium-large potatoes, washed and sliced (leave skin on)
  • 2 Chicken stock cubes with approx 1.5 ltrs of cold water
  • 2 Medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Garlic cloves, peeled (do not slice)
  • 5 Medium carrots, washed and roughly chopped (leave skin on)
  • 1 Bouquet Garni or 1 teaspoon of mixed dried herbs
  • Salt & pepper

IMG_E2830[1]

 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven on mark 7.
  2. Prepare a small pan with cold water, add the chicken stock cubes and heat until boiling, stirring as you go.
  3. Prepare a large oven proof dish, add potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic. Add the bouquet garni or your mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper if you wish. Give all a gentle stir.
  4. Place chicken legs on top of the vegetable mix and pour the chicken stock all over.
  5.  Place dish in oven and cook for 1hr15mins-1hrs30mins.IMG_E2847[1]

Important note:

BASTING – To get a nice tender cooked chicken with a golden crusty skin, make sure you baste it. This is done every 20 mins throughout cooking time by pouring chicken juices from the dish all over the chicken legs so it can keep moist. Put the dish back in the oven. Watch how to do this in the video at 12:00.

 

 

Homemade Asparagus Soup

 

Ingredients:

  • 600g asparagus, end bit removed and sliced
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 40g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 2 ltr boiling water
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250ml milk
  • Salt & pepper for seasoningthumbnail_20180601_155059

Method:

  1. Start by preparing the stock. Add the vegetable stock cubes and the lemon juice to the boiling water, cover pan and turn the hob on full heat. Turn off when boiling, give it a good stir with a whisk and leave it on the side.
  2. Heat a separate pan on a medium to high heat and add butter. Add onions and asparagus to pan (leave 4 asparagus tips on the side for garnish later on). Mix thoroughly and let cook for around 1 minute. Add flour and leave to cook for about 45 seconds whilst stirring it.
  3. Start adding the stock, ladle by ladle, and stir until the butter and flour are thoroughly dissolved. We do this so we prevent lumps forming in the soup. Once the flour and butter are dissolved, you can add all of your stock at one go. Bring it to the boil and leave it to simmer for around 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper as you please. Add milk and blitz it.

Tip: For the garnish, heat up some butter in a shallow frying pan and add the asparagus tips. Leave to cook for about 20 seconds whilst turning them so that butter touches all sides. Place in middle of plate and you can drizzle some butter from the pan to the plate (as seen on the main picture)

Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients for batter

  • 260g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 295ml vegetable oil
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 300g grated peeled carrots (5 to 6 medium carrots)
  • 100g coarsely chopped pecans
  • 65g raisins

Ingredients for frosting

  • 225g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 140g icing sugar
  • 80ml whipping cream
  • 50g coarsely chopped pecans, for topping cake

Method

MAKE BATTER

  1. Heat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with baking paper.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, sugars and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, stirring gently until they disappear and the batter is smooth.  Stir in the carrots, nuts and raisins.

BAKE CAKE

  1. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-45 mins or until when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  2. Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks, peel off parchment paper and cool completely.

TO FINISH

  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until fluffy. Pour in cream and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  2. Chill covered until ready to frost cake.
  3. When the cake layers are completely cool, frost the top of one cake layer, place the other cake layer on top. Frost the top of the cake and decorate with pecans as you wish.