Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen


Hey guess what time it is? It’s Christmas edible gift time, yay. So save your pennies and treat the mediocre friend in your life to some delicious homemade baked goods. This years offering is lebkuchen – a traditional German Christmas treat resembling gingerbread. Soft, cakey and full of Christmas spices, these little biscuits make the perfect thrifty gift, especially if you’ve been spending too much money on drinking and Uber’s. Fröhliche Weihnachten!
For more edible gift ideas why not try my vanilla shortbread or salted sultana rum fudge.


EXCLUSIVE READER OFFER 
Psst… Christmas just came early. Want a variety of delicious extra virgin olive oils delivered direct to your door all year round? Well now’s your chance. For a limited time only, I’m offering you an exclusive 25% off your first quarter when you adopt an olive tree with Pomora. Just enter the discount code CRFXMAS25 at the check out and you’ll receive a quarterly shipment of 3x250ml tins of oil from your tree, alternating between plain and flavoured oils from one of our award winning growers, so what are you waiting for? Treat yourself or someone you love this Christmas with Pomora.


Lebkuchen
Makes 18-20 biscuits / 20 mins prep + 10 mins baking time + cooling and icing time / V
250g plain flour
80g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
Half tsp all spice
2 tsp cocoa powder
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of a lemon
150ml runny honey
50g dark brown muscovado sugar
80g unsalted butter
Icing:
116g icing sugar
10tsp water 

Method:
​1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients together using a fork. Zest the lemon and add two thirds to the mixture, put the other third to one side to decorate with later.
2. In a small saucepan on a medium heat, melt the 150ml of honey, 80g of unsalted butter and 50g of dark brown muscovado sugar. Once melted take off the heat and pour straight into the dry mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until you have a wet dough and then leave to cool for 10 minutes covered with a tea towel. Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.

3. The dough will still be warm but easy to work with now. Using your hands pick up around 35g of dough (about the size of a walnut) roll into a ball and divide between 2 lined baking trays, spacing out evenly to allow room for the biscuits to expand. Using the back of table spoon, flatten each ball slightly into a disk shape.
4. Bake in the oven for 10-12 mins. Once expanded and golden in colour, remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for a couple of minutes before twisting each biscuit carefully with your fingers to loosen it and then transferring to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.
5. To ice, mix 160g of icing sugar with 10-12 tsp of water until you have a watery paste. Place a sheet of cling film under your wire rack before drizzling. Spoon over 1 tsp of icing over each biscuit and using the back of the spoon, push the icing to the edges using a circular motion (don’t worry if these drip, that’s the idea). Sprinkle over the last of the lemon zest and leave to set before serving.
Lebkuchen

If you’ve had a go at making my lebkuchen or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Aubergine & Chickpea Stew

Aubergine & Chickpea Stew

Why does everyone need to see me before Christmas? It’s not like I’m going to spontaneously combust in the New Year. It’s only a few days into December and already I’m in such a constant state of hungovery I could cry – and then I did…
“… it’s because you weren’t paying attention and now look what you’ve done!” The customer behind me pointed to the box of eggs that had fallen off the conveyor belt and smashed all over the floor.
“Why should I pay attention? It’s not a test!” I said as I attempted to scrape up raw egg with my bare hands and a 5p plastic bag. “… and besides, they’re not even YOUR eggs, they’re MINE, so why do you care?”
“I care because now someone has to come and clean up YOUR mess simply because you weren’t paying attention,” he spat angrily down at me.
“SO??!!! It’s not like I’m running around Waitrose throwing eggs about the place you grumpy sod.”
“Would you like me to get you another box of eggs madam?” asked the rather bored looking cashier.
“No, no, it’s fine,” I say angrily brushing my hair back from my face, forgetting my hand was coated in raw egg. “I’m worried if you do, this man behind me might murder me… ” The man didn’t murder me, but he looked like he was about to when I wished him a Merry Christmas on my departure.
Feeling smug, I got to my car and rang Jamie ready to have a good old rant but, as soon as he answered the phone, something peculiar happened. I started squeaking and sobbing down the phone about the mean egg man in Waitrose. Weird right?
Anyway, enough about eggs – I broke mine, so this aubergine and chickpea stew is eggless. With warm cinnamon and spicy undertones, this stew is definitely one to curl up on the sofa with on a cold winter’s eve.


EXCLUSIVE READER OFFER 
Psst… Christmas just came early. Want a variety of delicious extra virgin olive oils delivered direct to your door all year round? Well now’s your chance. For a limited time only, I’m offering you an exclusive 25% off your first quarter when you adopt an olive tree with Pomora. Just enter the discount code CRFXMAS25 at the check out and you’ll receive a quarterly shipment of 3x250ml tins of oil from your tree, alternating between plain and flavoured oils from one of our award winning growers, so what are you waiting for? Treat yourself or someone you love this Christmas with Pomora.



Aubergine & Chickpea Stew

Serves 4 / 15 mins prep / xx mins cook / V Vn
1 tsp rapeseed/olive or sunflower oil
1 white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 aubergines, cut into large chunks
6 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
1 can tinned chickpeas, drained
500ml vegetable stock (I use knorr stock pots)
3 bay leaves
1 and a half tsp cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried parsley
100ml red wine
Pinch of chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
25g packet of fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
Greek or coconut yogurt to serve (optional)
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to serve (optional)
Bread to serve (optional)

Method:
1. Finely chop the onion and the garlic and add them to a large cooking pot with a teaspoon of oil. On a medium heat sweat the onions and garlic for around 5 minutes or until softened. (If the onions are getting a little too much colour, add some water to allow them to steam rather than burn).
2. Add 1 tsp of cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, smoked paprika, cumin and a pinch of chilli flakes and give it all a good stir. Add a little water to the mix if again it’s looking a little dry and to allow the be spices to release their lovely aromas.
3. Cook the spices for a couple of minutes before adding the freshly chopped tomatoes, 500ml of vegetable stock, 100ml red wine, the aubergine chunks, drained chickpeas, 3 bay leaves and 1 tsp of dried parsley. Give it a good mix and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil.
4. Turn the heat down to a simmer, pop the lid on and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. After 15 minutes, take the lid off, give it another good stir and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
5. Take the stew off the heat and carefully pick out the bay leaves. Serve in bowls topped with freshly chopped mint, yogurt, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a big chunk of bread.

Aubergine & Chickpea Stew

If you’ve had a go at making my aubergine stew or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Goats Cheese & Onion Sausage Rolls

Goats Cheese & Onion Sausage Rolls

I’ve actually never made sausage rolls before, they always seemed like so much effort, which I guess they are. I mean, you have to buy some puff pasty and wrap sausages in it… Okay so not hard at all. That being said, I wanted to jazz up my sausage rolls – not by actually making my own veggie sausages of course (ain’t nobody got time for that) but I thought I could just throw some caramelised onions and goats cheese at the problem? Hey, don’t be like that, have you ever tried making your own veggie sausages? Of course you haven’t… Oh you have? Well you’re weird and clearly have too much time on your hands.
Anyway, for those of you who have lives, just buy a pack of your favourite veggie sausages and enjoy them rolled up with sweet sticky onions, soft creamy goats cheese and buttery puff pastry. Scrummy.


EXCLUSIVE READER OFFER 
Psst… Christmas just came early. Want a variety of delicious extra virgin olive oils delivered direct to your door all year round? Well now’s your chance. For a limited time only, I’m offering you an exclusive 25% off your first quarter when you adopt an olive tree with Pomora. Just enter the discount code CRFXMAS25 at the check out and you’ll receive a quarterly shipment of 3x250ml tins of oil from your tree, alternating between plain and flavoured oils from one of our award winning growers, so what are you waiting for? Treat yourself or someone you love this Christmas with Pomora.


Goats Cheese & Caramelised Onion Mini Sausage Rolls 
Makes 18 / Hands on time 50 mins + 20 mins baking / V
You’ll need: One large or two baking trays and a couple of sheets of baking paper
6 Cumberland vegetarian sausages, chilled (I like to use Cauldron)
320g puff pastry (I like to use Jus-Rol)
125g soft goats cheese
1 egg, beaten
For the caramelised onions:
Knob of unsalted butter
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Dijon mustard to serve (optional)

TIP: If you can’t be bothered to make your own caramelised onions, shop bought onion chutney will work just as well and shave off 25 minutes of the prep time.

Method:
1. Start by making the caramelised onions. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and melt a generous knob of butter. Add the sliced onions and cook for 10-15 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Once soft, add the sugar and the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. Take off the heat and put the onions to one side.
2. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°fan/gas mark 6. Roll out your puff pastry into a large rectangle shape (long enough to fit three sausages top to toe (see pic below). Place three sausages on the left side and the other three on the right, leaving plenty of room around them for filling. Using a sharp knife cut down the centre of the pastry and then brush the inside edge of each strip with beaten egg.

3. Spoon an even amount of caramelised onions (or shop bought onion chutney) on the inside edge of the sausages, followed by an even-ish layer of goats cheese (don’t worry about being too perfect, messy sausage rolls taste excellent).
4. Okay so here’s the slightly tricky part. Take the inside edge (the inside you brushed with the egg) and fold it over the filling and the sausages and secure it to the pastry on the other side by squashing it down with your fingers. It will leave quite a messy seem, so roll your giant sausage roll over so that the seem is now on the bottom. Repeat with the other half, leaving you with two giant sausage rolls.

6. Score each giant sausage roll with a sharp knife creating a mini baguette effect and then divide each sausage roll into 9 (this is easier than it looks, you know there are three sausages in each roll, so before diving them up, feel for each sausage with your fingers and then focus on cutting each sausage into three). Don’t worry if they look a little squished and man-handled, they’re going to puff up beautifully in the oven. Also, if some of your filling spills out, just push it back in as best you can, doesn’t matter if they leak a little. Repeat this process with the other giant sausage roll until you have 18 mini rolls. (If you’re feeling frisky, why not try baking the two giant sausage rolls intact? I haven’t done it but it sounds like a pretty great idea if you ask me… Just a thought).

7. Anyway, brush each mini sausage roll with more beaten egg and transfer them to a couple of lined baking trays. Pop them in the oven for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Once cooked, leave them to cool for 5 minutes on the baking trays before transferring them to a cooling rack. Leave to cool or eat warm with a dap of Dijon mustard.

Goats Cheese & Onion Sausage Rolls

If you’ve had a go at making my mini sausage rolls or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

**BLACK FRIDAY TREAT** 25% OFF Pomora Olive Oil

Psst… Christmas just came early. Want a variety of delicious extra virgin olive oils delivered direct to your door all year round? Well now’s your chance! For a limited time only, I’m offering you an exclusive 25% off your first quarter when you adopt an olive tree with Pomora. Just enter the discount code CRFXMAS25 at the check out and you’ll receive a quarterly shipment of 3x250ml tins of oil from your tree, alternating between plain and flavoured oils from one of our award winning growers, so what are you waiting for? Treat yourself or one of your foodie pals this Christmas with Pomora

Eggy Crumpets


I never let myself buy crumpets because I have no control. If I know they’re in the house (and I always do, because I do the food shopping) I’ll smell them out and eat them all. Toasted and obscenely buttered, I like my crumpets slathered in Marmite, slathered in raspberry jam, slathered in hummus, slathered in melted cheese (although you can’t really slather cheese but basically, there’s a lot of slathering going on) and before I know it, they’re all gone.
This is what happened last week. Like a moth to a flame, I allowed the crumpets to get inside my head and into my shopping basket. ‘But they were only 70p!’ I kept reciting to myself and, ‘They’re not just crumpets, they’re sourdough crumpets.’
Anyway, long story short, I scoffed the lot (standard) but this time I was left wanting. I hadn’t had enough, the craving wasn’t going away, was I destined to turn into a mad crumpet guzzler? Was one crumpet ever going to be enough ever again? So I went and bought more (well they were only 70p) and I decided to break the cycle and create something different with them… just after I ate a couple more with cheese and Marmite and a couple with jam and butter.
So ladies and gentleman, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you the long awaited eggy crumpet (the crowd goes wild). Submerged in egg, fried with butter and topped with fresh avocado, the eggy crumpet is a serious breakfast contender… Although butter and jam is still pretty great.


EXCLUSIVE READER OFFER 
Psst… Christmas just came early. Want a variety of delicious extra virgin olive oils delivered direct to your door all year round? Well now’s your chance! For a limited time only, I’m offering you an exclusive 25% off your first quarter when you adopt an olive tree with Pomora. Just enter the discount code CRFXMAS25 at the check out and you’ll receive a quarterly shipment of 3x250ml tins of oil from your tree, alternating between plain and flavoured oils from one of our award winning growers, so what are you waiting for? Treat yourself or someone you love this Christmas with Pomora.



Eggy Crumpets

Serves 2 (or a greedy 1) / Takes 10 mins / V
2 Crumpets
2 Eggs, beaten
Half a chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Knob of unsalted butter
1 Avocado, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper
Small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil with garlic (I like to use Pomora)

Method: 
1. Start by finely chopping and deseeding the chilli. In a large shallow bowl, whisk the 2 eggs with a fork until combined. Season well with salt and pepper and then add the freshly chopped chilli.
2. Insert your crumpets into the eggy mixture and push down gently, to allow the crumpet to absorb as much of the egg as possible. Turn over and push down again until the crumpets are fully coated.
3. On a medium to high heat, melt a generous knob of butter in a large frying pan until the butter starts to turn a golden colour. Carefully place your crumpets side by side in the pan and cover with the remaining egg mixture. Cook for a few minutes before moving the crumpets around the pan with a spatular to coat the crumpet in any remaining melted butter. Once the egg starts to look cooked, flip the crumpets over and cook the other side for a further few minutes.
4. Meanwhile roughly chop your coriander and peel and slice your avocado. Take the crumpets off the heat and slide onto plates. Serve each crumpet topped with sliced avocado, a sprinkle of fresh coriander and a good crack of salt and pepper. Delicious.


If you’ve had a go at making my eggy crumpets or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Salted Chocolate Granola Bars

Salted Chocolate Granola Bars

I was becoming a bit bored of granola for breakfast so I decided to make granola bars instead (basically the same thing, but with added chocolate and more sugar – how very nutritious). They’re basically a fruit and nut flapjack laced with salted dark chocolate, coconut and golden syrup. I mean, what’s not to like? To be honest, they’re nowhere near as calorific as they could be, but even if they were, who cares? It’s six weeks until Christmas and there’s not a bikini in sight. So dig out the elasticated trousers and stock up on Tums because the build up to Christmas has officially started, with elevenses.

Salted Chocolate Granola Bars
Makes 10-12 bars/ Takes 15 mins prep 20 mins to bake / V
150g mixed nuts and dried fruit (I used Sainsbury’s SO Organic Fruit & Nut Mix)
4 Tbs desiccated coconut
20g mixed seeds
120g oats
30g Rice Krispies
70g Salted dark chocolate (I used Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt. If you can’t get this, then simple use good quality dark chocolate and add a good pinch of salt to the mix). 
50g caster sugar
100g Golden syrup
75g Unsalted butter

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 160°C/140°C/gas mark 3.
2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, mixed seeds, oats and the Rice Krispies, mixed nuts and dried fruit (I like to keep my nuts whole but if you prefer smaller piece then roughly chop them before adding them to the mix). Roughly chop the chocolate and add the to the dry mixture. Give it a good stir and put it to one side.
3. In a small saucepan on a low heat, melt the sugar, butter and golden syrup together. Once melted, pour over the dry mixture and give it a good stir until the dry mixture is evenly coated.

4. Grease a large baking dish with butter and pour in the mixture. Spread to the edges and pat down firmly with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
5. Once cooked, leave to cool fully in the dish before turning out and cutting into bars.

Salted Chocolate Granola Bars

If you’ve had a go at making my granola bars or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Korean Bibimbap


Why do mice seem to follow me everywhere I go? I’m like the modern day Pied Piper, but instead of a pipe, I have a jar of pickled carrots. I didn’t even know mice liked Korean food, let alone pickled carrots but, while I was cooking recently, I spotted one staring up at me from the kitchen floor with his horrible little beady eyes. And as quick as he came he was gone, like a thief in the night.
‘JAMIEEEEEEEEEEEE!’ I screamed, waiting for my gallant boyfriend to come in and deal with the wee beasty. Not likely. Jamie hurried out of the bedroom before swiftly turning on his heel and retreating at the mere mention of the word ‘mouse’. So much for my knight in shining armour.
So I set about emptying the cupboards, pulling out drawers and hoovering every nook and cranny before coming to the conclusion that my little guest was simply passing through. He probably lives downstairs with my neighbour – she’s a dusty old drunk who loves living in squalor so they’re probably best friends.
Anyway, so then we ate our Bibimbap in peace – after I coaxed Jamie out of the bedroom, that is. He hates mice, despite having a lot in common with them. For a start, they’re both nocturnal, love eating junk food and watching South Park.

Anyway, back to bibimbap. I’ve been a bit obsessed with Korean food ever since Kimchee opened near my old office on New Oxford Street. Relatively new to Korean food, I was astonished at the vegetarian selection; delicious tofu salads, sushi rolls, steamed rice bowls with marinated tofu and pickled vegetables, err – yum! But then I moved away so had to take matters into my own hands. My favourite Korean dish is bibimbap, a mixed rice dish served with gochujang (a type of red chilli paste) with a mixture of steamed and pickled vegetables and topped with a fried egg. It’s delicious, so if you’re feeling frisky, give it a go.

Korean Bibimbap 
Serves 2 / Takes 30 minutes + 1 hr for pickling (optional) 
For the pickled carrots
150g carrots, peeled and then peeled into ribbons (I use baby rainbow carrots but you can use any carrots you like)
100ml of water 
100ml of rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
60g of granulated white sugar
Large pinch of salt
(It is not essential to pickle your carrots, you can leave them raw if you prefer)
120g basmati rice, I use Tilda wholegrain basmati with quinoa
100g mixed exotic mushrooms or mushrooms of your choice
4 handfuls of spinach
1 bulb of pak choy, sliced
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 spring onions, chopped
Half a pack of smoked tofu, sliced
2 eggs
Black sesame seeds to serve (optional)
For the dressing:
2 tsp gochujang or Sriracha (gochujang is a fermented soybean chilli paste, it can be tricky to find though so Sriracha works just as well which is available in most supermarkets)
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs light soy sauce
half tsp sesame oil 
Big pinch of sugar

Method:
1. Peel the carrots
 and then peel into ribbons and put to one side. If you’re not pickling your carrots you can ignore this next step.
2. In small saucepan, heat the sugar, water, rice vinegar and salt on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat and leave to cool. Put your carrot ribbons into an appropriately sized Tupperware or jar and pour over the pickling liquid. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour (although overnight is preferable). These will keep in the fridge for up to four days and will taste better and the longer you leave them.

3. In a medium sized saucepan pour boiling water over 120g of basmati rice. Bring to the boil before reducing the heat and simmering for 25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile start cooking the mushrooms by frying them gently on a medium to low heat in a tsp of sesame oil and a tsp of soy sauce. Keep an eye on your mushrooms whilst you start cooking the greens in a separate pan. Add a little water if they start looking a little too hot. Once cooked you can turn the heat right down.
5. In a separate saucepan with a lid, sweat down 4 handfuls of spinach and pak choy in 1 tsp of sesame oil and 1 tsp of soy sauce until wilted. Once cooked, move the greens to one side of the pan and topple the mushrooms into the other. Turn off the heat under both pans and cover with a lid to keep warm.
6. Roughly chop the spring onions and slice the smoked tofu and put to one side as you make the dressing. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and put to one side.
7. By now your rice should be cooked, take off the heat and drain well with a sieve before returning back to the pan. Pop the lid on.
8. Fry your eggs in a bit of oil until cooked how you like them (I used my mushroom pan but feel free to use a fresh clean one if you prefer.)
9. Fork through your rice keeping it nice and loose and divide into two bowls. Spoon over a bit of dressing and top with the egg. Arrange the vegetables, tofu and pickles around the side and sprinkle the egg with sesame seeds and top with the remaining dressing and serve.



If you’ve had a go at making my bibimbap or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Stout & Chocolate Graveyard Cake

Stout & Chocolate Graveyard Cake

For someone who hates Halloween as much as I do, I’ve baked a pretty good cake for it. Today is the office Halloween Bake Off to help raise money for Mind, a charity that provides advice and support to anyone experiencing mental health issues.
So in the name of charity, Halloween and I have put our differences aside to create this (dare I say it) rather pretty graveyard cake. So let’s enjoy this stupid, nonsensical day and raise some dosh by eating loads of cake… The things I do for charity.

Psst… If you like the look of this cake but don’t want all the bells and whistles, then click here for my regular Guinness Chocolate Cake recipe.

Stout & Chocolate Graveyard Cake
Serves 8-10 / takes 1 hr 30 mins + decorating / V
You’ll need: A stand up mixer or electric whisk and a 9″ round cake tin.
250ml Guinness
60g Cocoa powder
350g Golden caster sugar
250g Unsalted butter
150ml Buttermilk
2 Large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g Plain flour
2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
Cream cheese frosting: 
250g Cream cheese
250g Icing sugar
200ml Whipping cream
Decorations:
1 Packet of Oreos, crushed
8 Rich tea finger biscuits
200g Green & Blacks white chocolate, melted
1 black icing pen
1 small paint brush (optional, although I find a paint brush handy if the icing pen is too thick)
A few sprigs of thyme

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 180oC/160oC fan/gas mark 3 and line a 9-inch round tin with baking paper and grease the sides with butter.
2. Pop the Guinness and butter on a low heat in a large saucepan until melted. This could take 5-10 minutes, so use this time to measure and prepare the rest of the ingredients. Once the butter has melted, give it a good stir and take off the heat. Tip in 350g of golden caster sugar and 60g of cocoa powder and beat until combined with a hand whisk.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla and the buttermilk together with a fork then whisk them into the warm mixture using your hand whisk. (You can use an electric and whisk if you prefer but be careful not to over whisk the mixture). By now the mixture should look lovely and glossy.
4. Sieve 280g of plain flour, 2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt, straight into the mixture. Whisk for a final time until combined and the lumps reduced (don’t try and work out all of the lumps out, just whisk until smooth-ish for not longer than a few minutes).
5. Pour the mixture, into your tin and bake for 45 minutes. Leave to cool fully in the tin. (The cake might be raised in the middle when you take it out the oven but as it cools, it tends to level out.)
6. To make the cream cheese frosting you will need either a stand alone mixer or hand whisk. In a big bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth and then sieve in all of the icing sugar. Whisk until fully combined before adding the whipping cream. Whisk on a high speed for 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is thick and spreadable.
7. Turn the cake out and carefully, using a large knife, slice the cake horizontally as even as you can, giving you two large disks. Spread an even layer of buttercream on the bottom layer, before topping with the other disk to create a sandwich (this bit is optional, if you’d rather not have any layers, then simply jump to step 8.
8. Using a spatular or palette knife, carefully spread the remaining buttercream over the whole cake, including the sides as evenly as you can. Put to one side.
9. Pop your Oreos in a sealable plastic bag and give them a good crunching with a rolling pin. Keep working the rolling pin over the Oreos until you have a good soil texture. Sprinkle the soil over the cake and pat down slightly with your hand, making sure they stick to the buttercream.
10. Melt the 200g of white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water. Meanwhile, line a Tupperware with foil and put to one side. Once melted, carefully dip in your rich tea biscuits one at a time, leaving a quarter of the biscuits uncoated (this is the part you’re holding). Once you have an even coating of chocolate front and back, pop the biscuit in the Tupperware by lean it against the side keeping it upright. Repeat with the other 7 biscuits and make sure they don’t touch each other in the Tupperware. Put the biscuits in the freezer for 5-10 minutes or until the chocolate has fully set.
11. Pull each biscuit away from the foil (there’ll be a small chocolate indent on the back of each biscuit but as it’s at the back no one will notice). One by one, pipe on the words RIP onto the front of each biscuit using your icing pen or your pain brush, dipped in a pool of your icing pen. On a chopping board remove the quarter of the biscuit without the chocolate on using a sharp knife and then submerge your gravestone into the cake. Repeat until you have the desired number of graves.
12. Finally, cut several thyme storks and submerge them next to a few graves on top of the cake and Bobs your uncle, you’ve just made my stout and chocolate graveyard cake.

Stout & Chocolate Graveyard Cak

If you’ve had a go at making my graveyard cake or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Stuffed Raclette Butternut Squash

I know it’s Halloween tomorrow, but I just couldn’t face wrestling with a pumpkin last night – sometimes life’s too short. I also loathe Halloween. I hate stupid fake spider webs, food that looks like eyeballs or severed fingers and the colour orange, aka, the most unattractive colour in the whole colour spectrum. So, feeling rebellious, I walked straight past all the pumpkins and other Halloween tat in Waitrose, and made a beeline for the butternut squash. Stuffed with garlicky mushrooms and topped with melted cheese and toasted hazelnuts, this makes for the perfect Halloween feast, whether you’re dressed up as Pennywise or not.

Stuffed Raclette Butternut Squash and Toasted Hazelnuts
Serves 4 / prep 20 minutes + 1 hr 15 mins roasting 
1 Large butternut squash
3 Large garlic cloves, crushed
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Sprigs of rosemary
120g raclette / gruyere (or vegetarian alternative)
6 Small portobello or large chestnut mushrooms
Handful of hazelnuts (optional)
Salt and pepper
Spray oil
Watercress to serve (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Give the outside of your squash a quick wash and pat dry. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice your butternut squash in half lengthways (I find it easier to do this in stages. I stand the squash upright and slice downwards to about a quarter, I then turn it upside down and to this again. I keep repeating these steps until I meet in the middle).
2. Scrape out the seeds and discard. Crush one of the garlic cloves and split between the two halves. Add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to each half and combine with the crushed garlic. Brush the garlic and the oil over the squash flesh evenly. Curl up a sprig of rosemary into each butternut squash hollow and season well with salt and pepper. Pop on a baking tray and bake in the oven until the flesh has softened, between 45mins and 1 hour (depending on how big your squash is).

3. Carefully remove your squash from the oven and discard the rosemary sprigs (keep the oven on). Making sure you leave a 1cm thick layer of flesh still attached to the skin, so the squash holds its shape, use a spoon and a fork to rough up and scoop out the flesh. Distribute the roughed up flesh evenly across the whole squash and spread out that lovely rosemary flavour.
4. Immerse 3 appropriately sized mushrooms into the soft flesh of each squash half. If it all feels a bit full, remove some of the flesh (I ate a couple of spoonfuls of mine). Crush the other two garlic cloves and distribute evenly across all 6 mushrooms. Spread the garlic over each mushrooms, season well with salt and pepper and drizzle a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil across each squash. Top each squash with three slices of raclette cheese before baking in the oven for a further 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile crush a handful of hazelnuts in a bag using a rolling pin on a hard surface. In a small saucepan on a medium to high heat, add a few sprays of oil and toast the hazelnuts until light brown and aromatic.

6. Finally, remove your squash from the oven, carefully cut in half and serve topped with toasted hazelnuts and a good handful of watercress.

If you’ve had a go at making my stuffed squash or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Pea and Basil Soup


Peas… I don’t like em. I don’t like their horrible little skins that get stuck in my teeth and I don’t like how they pop and spill their nasty sweet juice into my mouth. I don’t like how they get all dented and weird for no apparent reason and I don’t like their presence in veggie burgers.
However, there’s no denying that peas (as shrivelled and horrible as they are) are very nutritious; they’re high in vitamin C, folate and, rather surprisingly, high in protein, keeping you fuller for longer. So, in an attempt to conquer my lifelong pea aversion, I’ve blended them up with loads of basil and cream and the results were actually rather pea-leasing… Oh come on, I had to.

Pea & Basil Soup
Take 25 minutes / Serves 4 / V ❄
You’ll need: A stand alone or hand blender
1 onion, roughly chopped
500g frozen peas
1 Litre of veg stock (I use 1 vegetable Knorr stock pot)
100g broccoli, roughly chopped
40g grated pecorino/parmesan, grated
A squeeze of lemon juice
Large Handful of basil leaves (30g)
3 Tbs (45ml) single cream
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin basil oil and pea shoots to serve (optional)
Once cooled, suitable for home freezing for up to 3 months

Method:
1. In a large saucepan or pot, sweat down the onion until soft. Add the broccoli, frozen peas and vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
2. Turn the heat down to a simmer and leave to cook for 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper and blitz with a hand blender until smooth (or pour into a stand alone blender).
3. Add 3 tablespoons of single cream, a large handful of basil leaves and the grated pecorino and blitz again until fully combined.
4. Serve immediately topped with pea shoots, a drizzle of single cream and basil infused extra virgin olive oil and a good crack of black pepper.


If you’ve had a go at making my soup or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com