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.
Lebkuchen Makes 18-20 biscuits / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 30 mins + cooling and icing /V❄ 250g plain flour
80g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp all spice
2 tsp cocoa powder
Pinch of ground cloves ½ tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 lemon
150ml runny honey
50g dark brown muscovado sugar
80g unsalted butter
110g icing sugar
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/350°F/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.
If you’ve had a go at making my lebkuchen or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
V– Vegetarian. ❄– Once cooled, wrap individually in a few layers of cling film and freeze for up to 3 months.
Okay so I was supposed to make Thai green curry but the curry I made turned into watery green slop so Jamie and I ate that, you can have churros.
Have you ever actually tried to make your own doughnuts? Of course you haven’t, that would be mental, so when my friend Sam said she was making churros for dessert I just assumed she was mentally ill. Turns out I’d misdiagnosed her, she’s actually a beautiful genius armed with a packet of shop bought puff pastry. I watched in bewilderment as she lazily cut, twisted and positioned the pastry onto a baking tray… That was it! No deep frying, no piping bags, nothing, easy pease. Okay so maybe we can’t really call them churros but covered in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar they taste pretty damn close. So bang out a batch of these beauties for your next swanky soirée or eat them alone in bed watching extreme angler Jeremy Wade catch river monsters… What?
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and put to one side.
2. Roll out the pastry and cut into strips and then cut the strips in half. One at a time give them a twist and place evenly on the baking trays a finger apart.
3. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Meanwhile, melt the butter over a low heat in a small saucepan and transfer to a small bowl. In another small bowl, mix together the sugar and the cinnamon ready for dusting later.
5. Once the churros are golden brown, transfer to a couple of large plates. Brush them all with butter and dust with plenty of cinnamon sugar.
6. To make the chocolate sauce heat the cream in a medium sized saucepan. Once simmering, take off the heat and leave to stand for a few minutes to cool slightly. Whisk in the chocolate pieces until you have a silky smooth chocolate sauce. Pour into a dipping bowl and serve immediately.
If you’ve had a go at making my churros or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
Oh, I appear to have run out of both money and food. Came home last night and all that was left in my fridge was a couple of manky garlic cloves, a red chilli and half a packet of parmesan, literally everything else was moldy. How long had I been gone?
Anyway, without enough money to buy a packet of Frazzles I decided to make something out of it and the result was rather tasty. I’ve actually had raw garlic and chilli pasta before although when Jamie made it, he included fresh spinach and black olives. As you know, I have no spinach and the only black olives I have are bobbing around a jar of what looks like pond scum. I really should clean out my fridge… Anyway, I thought I’d give it a whirl and what do you know, I managed to make something edible and even blog worthy. Praise the Lord.
Raw Garlic & Chilli Spaghetti Serves 2 / Takes 15 minutes Ingredients:
150g dry spaghetti
1 table extra Virgin olive oil
1 medium sized, deseeded red chilli
2 medium garlic cloves crushed
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan to serve
1. Pop the pasta in boiling salted water and cook for about 8 minutes (see instructions on back of pack). Whilst this is cooking crush two garlic gloves, finely chop the chilli and pop in a bowl with a table spoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Strain the pasta and put back in the saucepan. Cover with the garlic and chilli oil and give it a good stir through. Pop evening into bowls and top generously with grated parmesan and another good crack of salt and pepper. Bish, bash, bosh.
If you’ve had a go at making my spaghetti or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m currently watching Newcastle play Sunderland in a rubbish pub I used to work in in Letchworth. Bleak. So instead of gouging my own eyes out with my thumbs, I thought I’d take myself away on a rigatoni cheese dream.
I made this last week and it was very very naughty. Like most ‘lactosely’ challenged people, I crave cheese more than a crack addict craves crack. At least crack addicts don’t become bloated disgusting pigs every time they give into temptation. Wish I was a crack addict… Pass the Tums.
Rigatoni Cheese with Kale Serves 4 / Takes 40 minutes Ingredients:
1 large garlic clove
1 deseeded green chilli finely diced
250g Gruyere cheese
Salt and pepper
2 handfuls of kale
2 slices of brown bread blitzed into bread crumbs (crust cut off). Alternatively you can use a few tablespoons of shop bought breadcrumbs.
Salt and pepper
1. Put the rigatoni on to boil in salted water and follow the cooking instructions. While it’s cooking grate all of the cheese so you have it ready to go but put 50g to one side for the topping. Strain the pasta, mix in a bit of olive oil to stop it sticking together and put to one side.
2. Cut off the crusts and tear the bread into chunks. Pop in a food processor until you have fine breadcrumbs. This will only take about 10 seconds. Put to one side.
3. Put the grill on a medium to high heat.
4. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat and add the chilli and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
5. Whisk in the flour bit by bit and continue to cook for another minute whisking all the time.
6. Add the milk in a quick stream And continue to whisk until smooth and lump free. Carry on whisking and cook for a further few minutes until the sauce has thickened.
7. Stir in 200g of the grated cheese And continue to mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the sauce has come together. It should be smooth and glossy.
8. Once the sauce is smooth, season well with salt and pepper. Mix in the kale and then the rigatoni and continue to cook for 5 more minutes strirring all the time.
9. Pour out into an oven proof dish and top with the remaining Gruyere and breadcrumbs and season. Grill on a medium to high heat for 5 minutes or until top has gone golden brown. Serve with a simple green salad. Tasty tasty.
If you’ve had a go at making my rigatoni cheese I’d love to hear what you think. @corrieheale email@example.com
Admittedly this is an odd choice for someone who doesn’t like chocolate or Guinness but I had to make something for St Patrick’s Day and didn’t fancy soda bread. However, this cake took me completely by surprise, it’s hands down, one of the best cakes I have ever made. It’s rich without being at all sickly, and chocolatey without being too sweet. Anyway, before I knew it I’d stuffed three big wedges into my face like a greedy little hamster. Classy. Then I washed my hair with it. Double classy.
That actually wasn’t a joke, Guinness makes an excellent hair mask. Simply wash your hair as normal and then massage half a can of Guinness into the roots. Leave for 3 minutes and rinse for a glossy Black Beauty mane… Or you could just drink it, whatever.
Chocolate Guinness Cake Serves 12 / Takes 1 hour 30 minutes / V
You’ll need: A stand up mixer or electric whisk and a 9″ round cake tin. 250ml Guinness stout
60g Green & Black’s Organic Cocoa Powder
350g golden caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of sea salt Cream cheese frosting
150g cream cheese
250g icing sugar
100ml double cream
TIP: If you want to ice the entire cake or make a Victoria sandwich style cake, then you’ll need more frosting so make with 200ml of whipping cream and 250g cream cheese. You won’t need to up the icing sugar amount, the frosting will be sweet enough.
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. Turn the cake upside-down ready for icing. 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 until the frosting is thick and spreadable.
7. Spread on top of the cake and devour with your mates… Or by yourself. No judgement.
If you’ve had a go at making my cake or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s Valentines Day tomorrow. Does anyone care? Thought not. Now I don’t have a problem with flowers, chocolates or even ugly bears with hearts sewn to their paws but I do have a problem with couples who shell out on real gifts. There is just something inherently pushy about Valentines Day and the presumption that you would buy anything other than flowers and chocolates deeply offends me. I mean who does that? If Jamie bought me a fancy Jo Malone candle for Valentines Day I’d be very cross. That money could have gone towards a very affordable microwave.
Anyway, I did actually make Jamie a romantic dinner a few weeks back because I’m nice like that. The velvety breton sauce is the key to this dish, it’s easy but takes about an hour to make. Once made though, the rest of the recipe is quick and simple. I tend to make the sauce the night before and pop it in the fridge until I’m ready to use it. Breton sauce is not traditionally vegetarian being French but I was determined to create a vegetarian dish that could stand up in a French restaurant. Oh and if you’re not keen on the idea of chickpea mash then normal mash will suffice. Bon appetite mon amie.
Leek and Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
Serves 4 / 1 hour 40 minutes
You’ll need: a hand blender or a food processor for the mash but if you don’t have either then substitute the chickpea mash for regular mash. Sauce:
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 celery rib roughly chopped
85g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
1 litre vegetable stock ( I use 2 knorr vegetable stock pots)
2 large crushed garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
Half tsp black peppercorns
1 tbs Worcester sauce
100ml red wine*
2tbs tomato purée Vegetables:
2 large Leeks
5 chestnut Mushrooms
Fresh parsley Mash:
3 cans of chick peas drained
3 large garlic cloves crushed
Half an onion
*Most wines are unfortunately not vegetarian or vegan, due to products used in the ‘fining’ process. Wine makers are also under no obligation to disclose if they have used animal products on the label. Vegetarian and vegan wines are available in most supermarkets.
1. Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot and add the roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery .Cook on a low heat until soft for around 10 minutes.
2. Add the flour and stir into the carrot and onion mixture. Add a litre of vegetable stock in a fast stream and whisk to get rid of any lumps.
3. Add garlic, bay leaf, red wine, salt, peppercorns, Worcester sauce, tomato purée and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 40 minutes. Give it a mix every now and again to get the skin off the top and to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pot.
4. Sieve the sauce into a bowl. The sauce will be thick so I use a wooden spoon to squidge it down before leaving it for 10 minutes to strain by itself. You want to try and get as much sauce out as possible. Disregard the pulp and either refrigerate the sauce over night like I do or pour back into the heavy bottomed pot and bring to the boil.
5. Add the chopped mushrooms, leeks and carrots to the sauce and simmer until vegetables are tender (around 15 Minutes).
6. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, add half a chopped onion, 3 large crushed garlic cloves and a knob of butter. Heat until soft (add a bit of water to help the onions cook in their own steam).
7. Once cooked add three drained cans of chickpeas. Heat through, season with salt and pepper and shmush with a hand blender until you have mash. If you don’t have a hand blender then use a food processor. Finish with a generous knob of butter and a good season of salt and pepper.
8. Plate up your mash, cover with the Breton sauce and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.
If you’ve had a go at making my Leek & Mushroom Breton or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
Sweet baby Jesus, if I had to eat one food for the rest of my life it may very well be this cheesecake. Not sure what possessed my boyfriend Jamie to bake a cheesecake in the first place but that doesn’t matter now. Brandishing Jamie Oliver’s recipe on his iPhone he started digging around the cupboards for a 24cm springform cake tin.
“I don’t think we have one of them” I yelled from the living room watching Nancy and Whitney having a fight on Eastenders. Jamie emerges from the kitchen holding a 24cm springform cake tin.
“Huh, who knew we had one of those?” I said drawing my attention back to Eastenders. Hang on, Ryan’s back? I thought he was dead?..
Anyway after a million questions about vanilla essence, corn flour and caster sugar I went to work, expecting to return home to a kitchen full of smoke and tears. But no, I came home to this…
It was without a doubt one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever eaten. It had a beautiful creamy texture and the flavour was subtly citrusy. Well done Jamie Oliver and Jamie Green, you’ve both made me a very happy woman, 10/10.
Oh and Jamie would like it noted that “it’s the chef that makes the cheesecake not the recipe.” I have feeling he’s referring to himself as the chef in this instance, sorry Jamie Oliver.
Now, I know it’s the New Year and you’re all busy quaffing smoothies from your Nutribullets but lets take a break and have some breakfast yeah? Everyone knows breakfast is the best time of day to eat cheese… Probably.
Anyway, admittedly I’ve been on a health kick too, my wine paunch has alarmingly turned into a wine gut over the festive season, something had to be done. Although it’s the 8th of January and I’ve already grown tired of soup, oat cakes and those annoyingly small loaves of bread, IT’S TIME TO EAT SOME DAMN CHEESE! So fuck the diet, grab the sourdough and lets have a dippy egg and cheese party. Bran flakes can wait.
Potted Swiss Eggs
Serves 2 / Takes 25 minutes
4 large eggs
1 heaped tsp butter
1 heaped tsp white flour
60g grated Gruyere cheese plus 10g for the top
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Quarter tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
Method: 1. Preheat an oven to 180C (160C fan)
2. Finely grate the cheese and put to one side.
3. Melt the butter over and low heat and then whisk in the flour until the lumps are removed.
4. Leaving a small handful of cheese to one side, add the rest to the pan along with the milk, mustard and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and whisk over a low heat until the sauce is smooth. Take off the heat.
5. Crack the eggs into individual ramekins and then add 3 tsp of the cheese sauce to each ramekin. Sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, chopped parsley and season.
6. Pop them on a baking tray and bake on the middle shelf for 12-14 minutes. (The eggs will continue to cook in their little pots once they are out so don’t let them set too much. Anymore than 14 minutes and they’ll be hard).
7. Once the eggs are in the oven toast your bread and rub each slice with a garlic clove.
7. Finally, sprinkle with a tad more parsley and serve with toast. (Be careful not to touch the ramekins, they will be scratching hot. As usual, I found this out the hard way. Ouch!)
If you’ve had a go at making my eggs or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh I do love an edible gift don’t you? Not that I’ve ever received one (sigh) but I imagine it’s rather lovely. I tend to be the edible gift maker myself but don’t feel too sorry for me, being the maker has it’s perks. First of all, it’s the only way you can give someone a cheap gift without them them thinking you’re a tight arse (which you are). Secondly, it allows you to buy a gift for yourself with the savings, clever clever, naughty naughty. Now I know Christmas already feels like a distant memory but edible gifts aren’t just for Christmas, you can afford to be a cheapskate all year round, yay!
“Are those new trainers?”
“Why yes, yes they are” you say.
“Oh and thank you so much for the fudge, what a thoughtful gift.”
“Oh not at all, I’m a very thoughtful person, glad you liked it” you say smugly looking down and admiring your new trainers. Mwah ha ha ha!
So Happy New Year to all, may your gifts be edible and your be purse brimming with precious stones.
Sultana and Rum Fudge Makes 1 slab / Takes 40 minutes + 2 hours cooling time Ingredients:
120g sultanas (you can use raisins, I just didn’t have any)
3tbs dark rum
1 can of condensed milk
2 tbs golden syrup
175 whole milk
1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped out)
1tsp vanilla extract
800g granulated sugar
Big pinch of salt
250g unsalted butter
1. Soak the sultanas in the rum and put to one side
2. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and spray with oil or grease with butter
3. Set a small bowl of iced water near the stove, you’ll need it later.
4. Put the butter, milk, sugar, condensed milk and the golden syrup in a large heavy bottomed pan on a low heat.
5. Bring to the boil stirring continuously. Once boiling continue to stir until the toffee goes a golden colour. This will take between 12-15 minutes. To test it drop a bit of the mixture into the water, if it solidifies you’re good to go. (Once you’ve dropped it in water it should be solid enough for you to fish out with your hand and taste it)
6. Take the toffee off the heat, add the vanilla and whisk with an electric whisk for 5 minutes (10 if you’re doing it by hand). It’s the whisking that turns toffee into fudge.
7. Once it’s the thickness of peanut butter fold in the soaked sultanas, rum and a pinch of salt until combined. Finally pour it into the tray and pop in the fridge to set for no longer than 2 hours (the fudge will go too hard).
8. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 4 weeks.
If you’ve had a go at making my fudge or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale email@example.com
Okay so not so Portuguese but I made these on holiday in Portugal (as you may have guessed, I don’t have a pool in my Camden flat… Or any sun for that matter). Anyway, I seem to only ever make this salsa in Portugal, partly because my best mate Philippa insists on it and partly because it’s lovely and refreshing. So between drinking buckets of cheap local wine and pushing each other in the pool, not only did I remember the recipe for these little blighters but I managed to make them too…. Twice in fact (Philippa can be very demanding). Now, I know it’s not the weather for summer salsa but guess what, it wasn’t all that sunny in Portugal and we still ate it, so you can too. It’s really easy but a bit time consuming, you need to let the salsa cook down and then you need to chill it. Best to make it on a lazy Sunday when you have time, it’s worth the effort though, even if you do gobble them up in under 5 minutes like we did. Enjoy!
Portugese Salsa Bites Makes 1 jar / takes 1 hour and 30minutes + 2 hours of chilling time Make it vegan: Leave off the feta cheese Ingredients:
12 tomatoes deseeded and chopped
Half a red chilli deseeded
1 large garlic clove crushed
6 small mixed peppers, red, yellow and orange (or half a red pepper and half a yellow pepper)
1tbs olive oil
Half tsp salt
A few cracks of black pepper
Melba toasts (preferably bite sized)
Feta for garnish (optional)
1. Deseed your tomatoes and chop. Deseed and finely chop the peppers and the chilli and add it the pan along with your tomatoes, crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Give it a good mix and pop on a low heat and cover for an hour. Drain off the liquid and then leave to cool.
3. Once at room temperature, pop in the fridge until chilled and serve on top of Melba toast with a good crack of black pepper and chunks of feta cheese.
If you’ve had a go at making my salsa or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org