Friday, 25 February 2011

Goats Cheese and Roast Tomato Tart

Don't you hate it when you get a bill from the tax man demanding money? Well, that's what happened to me this week.  Not my favourite way to start a week.

So, to try and make my bank balance feel a little better about itself I've been tight with everything else. The only problem is that my default place to go when I'm feeling stressed or down is kitchen which usually involves spending money. And so the challenge make a meal from what we had lying about in the fridge. Easier said than done when your fridge looks like it's just been raided by the food police.

I had butter, eggs, tomatoes and goat's cheese. Mmm, what to do? My little brain was beginning to steam when...brainwave! In times like these, make a tart! Tarts or quiches are a great way of using up all those odd bits in the fridge that are just asking to be eaten but you don't know what to do with. (OK, I admit that I had to go and pick up some cream, but at 57 cents, I could just raid the copper jar). All I do is rustle up a bit of short crust pastry, pop whatever I have lying around in the case, top it up with a mix of eggs and cream, bung it in the oven and bob's your uncle, 30 minutes later you've got a tasty dinner out of what you'd otherwise written off.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Clotted Cream...oh and Pear & Almond Tart

Good news: We found clotted cream in our supermarket here in the Netherlands.

Bad news: It cost €3.87.

Good news: At that price it's a good way to keep the waistline in check.

When life gives you clotted cream, the rule is you've gotta eat it. Our hands had reached for the little pot of goodness like they were someone else's and we had paid and were out the door before we knew what had happened.

And when you've got a whole lotta cream waiting to be devoured, then the rule is that you've got to make a delicious little something to put it on. This is where this little gem of a tart comes in. I thought that it was going to be the bridesmaid with the cream taking centre stage as the bride but I shouldn't have judged you so soon...sorry. Please forgive me.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

'Grown up' Mac and Cheese

I have a bit of a problem when it comes to watching foody TV shows. As in I watch them all...even if they're bad. Sometimes though, one comes along that you don't have particularly high expectations of and it rocks! It's just a shame that it finished this week...

This recipe comes courtesy of the Lorraine Pascale's 'Baking Made Easy'. Pretty much everything this girl whips up makes me want to get the scales out, put the pinny on get cracking. She makes everything look so effortless and she convinces you think that, yes, I can make that three tier look like it's just walked out of a fancy, schmancy cake shop. Lorraine used to be a top model, working with the likes of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell in the nineties. But, after deciding that she wanted to do something more worthwhile, she found cooking. She now has her own bakery in Covent Garden, London selling celebration cakes. I'm not jealous at all...not in the slightest. Yes, I'm lying.

So now for the star of the me, this is good.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Better Late than Never Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Does making a hybrid cheesecake using traditional Dutch biscuits for the base mean that I'm turning Dutch? Nope. But these tasty treats do taste mighty fine so I'm willing to go with it just this once.

These are a week late but finally I got to make these chocolate cheesecake bars. What could make for a better combination than biscuits, cheesecake and chocolate. Well I know that I'm struggling to think of anything. The recipe I used comes from Bakerella who uses 'Europe's favourite cookie' for the base. This 'European' cookie is the spiced speculaas biscuit and is one of the reasons why I wanted to make these bars so much. Oh and the cheesecake. Oh and the chocolate. Yeah ok, all of it. These biscuits are everywhere here in the Netherlands so I didn't have any problems finding them in the supermarket. If you're in the UK then look out for 'Lotus Original Caramalised  Biscuits'.

The chocolate ganache is amaaazing. I actually want to make a cake right now just so I can use it as the filling. I've never made a ganache with butter and icing sugar before and it's definitely my new favourite. Heck, I might just make some and smother it on some buttered toast. Yep, that's supper sorted.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Plan P 'Peanut Butter Cookies'

OK, a wee word of advice...if you're putting off making something because your other half doesn't like the sound of something, don't listen to them! Do it!

The plan to satisfy my baking addiction this week was going to be these cheesecake bars. However, when John told me he was going to some silly conference that day, my plans were somewhat scuppered. (He's so inconsiderate). There was no way that I was going to give up that easily though so I had to think up a plan b pretty quickly. As I was now only baking for 2, I thought that a whole tray of cheesecake might be a little bit too much to get through. (I can't believe I just wrote that). After rifling through numerous cookbooks, I came across peanut butter cookies and thought yeah, they've gotta be made. Screw you John. And can I just say that this is a guy that eats peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon. So wouldn't peanut butter cookies be the ideal choice? I can't believe that I've waited this long to make these. Not that I'm bitter or anything...