Sunday, 17 December 2017

Very Merry Christmassy Muffins

This is a very easy and satisfying muffin recipe which you can enjoy anytime of the year.
However, somehow, the flavour of almond, orange and dried fruit creates a very Christmassy aroma.
It's a great treat coming back from a brisk wintry walk to have these with a warm drink of coffee, tea or even mulled wine. :)
These are best as they are still warm. But they can be reheated by oven or microwave.

Ingredients (for 10 muffins)   
  • 1 egg
  • 60ml of veg oil 
  • 125ml of milk
  • 100g caster sugar 
  • 200g self-raising flour 
  • 75g dried cranberries 
  • 75g raisins
  • 50g of mixed peel 
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 1/2 tsp of almond extract 
  • A handful of flaked almonds 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with 10 cases.
  2. Whisk the egg until it is well combined, then add milk, oil and sugar and continue to whisk.
  3. Using a sieve, add the self-raising flour, cranberries, raisins, mixed peel, orange zest and almond extract to the egg and gently mix in.
  4. Pour the batter into cases and top with some flaked almonds. Then bake for around 20 minutes until they have risen and are lightly golden.
  5. Allow them to cool and then dust the top of the muffins with some icing sugar. 

Monday, 11 December 2017

Incredibly Rich Chocolate Tart

Yes, this is a very rich indulgent chocolate tart to impress your guests.
However, it's so easy to make. You can even take a short cut using shop bought pastry.
Sprinkle sea salt to give the tart an extra special intense flavour.

Just enjoy. ;)

Ingredients (for 20cm pie dish)

For the pastry 
  • 150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 125g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp water

For the chocolate filling

  • 200 ml double cream
  • 1tsp caster sugar 
  • A pinch of fine sea salt 
  • 25g unsalted butter, softened 
  • 150g 70% cocoa chocolate, broken into small pieces 
  • 30ml whole milk
Some sea salt flakes to decorate 

Making the pastry:

  1. In a large bowl, rub together the flour and butter with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs (or use a food processor). Stir in the sugar. Add the water and work the mixture with a fork, bringing it together to form a soft dough. 

  2. Turn out on to a lightly-floured work surface and shape into a disc. Wrap in cling film. Chill for 1 hour. 

  3. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the chilled dough until 5mm (1/4in) thick. Carefully transfer to a 20cm (8in) tart tin. Press the dough into the tin, trim the edges and patch up any holes with excess dough. Chill for 30 mins. 

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C. 

  5. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with blind baking weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the weights and foil, and bake for a further five minutes. Leave the pastry to cool completely.

Making the chocolate filling:
  1. Put the cream, sugar and salt in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove as soon as the mixture boils up. Off the heat, add the butter and chocolate. Stir until blended.
  2. Take a couple of minutes to cool the mixture, then stir in the milk. Keep stirring till shiny. Pour into the tart shell and leave at room temperature for 2 hours to set.
  3. Sprinkle some sea salt flakes.