Oaty Mocha Squares

This tray bake is an in-between version of a brownie and a flapjack with a kick of coffee thrown in! I remember eating these when I was little as they were (and still are) my mum’s absolute favourite. They’re perfect as an afternoon treat or (if you’re impatient like my husband) just eaten straight out of the dish. I baked these for him as a tasty valentines treat as he’s a severe coffee addict! This recipe is quick and easy and low on elbow grease. They stay moist all week, but I doubt that they’ll last that long as they’re dangerously yummy!

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Ingredients

250g cooking margarine
225g sugar
225g self-raising flour, sifted
140g porridge oats
55g Cocoa

Icing:
50g cooking margarine
1 tsp coffee dissolved in water
225g icing sugar, sifted

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Lightly grease a 13 inch x 9 inch tin. Place the margarine into a large saucepan and heat gently until melted. Stir in the sugar, flour, oats and cocoa, and mix well then press the mixture into  your prepared tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for around 15- 20 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin.

For the icing, melt the margarine in a saucepan with the coffee. Once melted, take the coffee butter off the heat and mix in the icing sugar. Spread the icing on the base and leave to set. Cut into squares, remove from the tin and try not to eat them all at once.

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Fresh, Crunchy Red Cabbage Coleslaw

One of my dad’s most requested recipes is his delicious coleslaw. He taught me how to make it and I’ve added a few extras into the mix. It’s a great side dish all year round and is incredibly versatile. It goes well with hot, buttered Jacket potatoes and is perfect for a summer barbecue. Personally I like mine on the side of a yummy lasagne, it may not be traditional but it’s super tasty! Homemade is so much better than anything you’ll find in the shops and it’s so easy and quick to make so give it a try!

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Ingredients

Half a red cabbage, sliced thinly
2 carrots, grated
Half a red onion, sliced into small pieces (optional but I like it!)
1 tsp of sugar or xylitol
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 large tablespoons of mayonnaise

Method

Place the sliced cabbage into a bowl and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. This will draw out the water and make the cabbage slightly softer. Leave the cabbage to stand for a minute or two, then throw in the onion and the carrot and give it a good mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Leave the mix to stand for maybe half an hour for the flavours to combine and the vegetables to soften. Then it’s ready to go!

You could also add some grated apple or my grandma swears by adding fresh cucumber.

I like to serve this alongside a big salad, homemade baked beans and some tasty barbecued meat.

Ginger & Lime Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash

Here’s a tasty new recipe that’s a perfect reminder of the summer. This meal is super healthy as it’s low fat and low GI but definitely doesn’t compromise on flavour. It’s satisfying and comforting but with an added zing which keeps it fresh and light on your tummy. If you have time you can marinate the chicken overnight for an even fuller flavour or add a few garlic cloves to the mash. Perfect for a light and simple, mid-week dinner! Enjoy!

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Ingredients

the zest and juice of one lime
1 tbsp of clear honey
1 tsp of ground ginger of grated fresh ginger
2 skinless chicken breasts
450g of sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks

Serves two

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200c. Combine half of the lime zest and all the juice with the honey and ground ginger. Slash the tops of each chicken breast 3-4 times with a sharp knife to allow the marinade to flavour the chicken the whole way through. Coat each piece of chicken  with the marinade making sure that it goes into the slashed sections. Place the chicken along with the marinade into a baking dish and then into an oven for around 45 minutes. Try to spoon the marinade over the chicken every now and again to keep the chicken moist and full of flavour.

Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes in salted water for 10-15 minutes until tender. Then drain and mash well, adding the rest of the lime zest, and some salt and pepper. Once the chicken is golden coloured take it out of the oven and it’s time to eat! Remember to pour a little of the marinade over the mash to add a zesty finish to the meal.

I like to serve this with either some homemade coleslaw or some steamed mange tout!

Microwave White Chocolate and Cranberry Fudge

This recipe is a firm favourite in our house. I made it for the first time this Christmas and it was truly delicious, perfect for someone with a seriously sweet tooth like a certain husband of mine! We were having to be a bit thrifty this year after getting married in September, so I decided to make this fudge to use as gifts for all of our friends. Personal and delicious, the perfect combination! It’s super easy to make and they really do look very pretty when finished. The sharpness of the cranberries balances the richness of the white chocolate really well and makes this recipe dangerously moorish, wonderful as a homemade gift or just to nibble on as a tasty treat.

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Ingredients

Makes about 675g of fudge

300g white chocolate
100g melted butter
50g dried cranberries
225g sifted icing sugar
3-4 tbsp milk

For this recipe I used a 900 watt microwave

Method

Break up the chocolate into small chunks and place them into a microwaveable bowl. Heat it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes, making sure you stir it every minute until it has melted. Then tip in the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Put the bowl back into the microwave on high for another 3-4 minutes, beating it every minute until it is silky and thick.

Pour the mixture into a well greased rectangular tin (8 inches x 6 inches), smoothing the top and chill in the fridge until it is set. I would recommend chilling overnight if you can wait but four hours should be enough time. Then cut it into chunks and give it to a loved one for maximum friend/family points!

Here is a photo of how I wrapped mine:

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Classic Miniature Victoria Sponge Cakes

I’ve always been a massive fan of baking and you can’t beat a classic victoria sponge cake. It’s a perfect addition to a cup of tea whilst sat in the garden basking under the summer sun. These miniature victoria sponges are a lovely alternative to the usual cupcake and are so easy to make. My best friend introduced me to this vanilla sponge cake recipe and for that I will be eternally grateful. This recipe turns out perfectly golden and deliciously flavourful cake, which stays moist for days! I brought these cakes along whilst visiting a friend and he impressively ate five in one day! Happy baking!

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Ingredients

110g softened butter or margarine
110g caster sugar (or xylitol for a sugar free version)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
110g sifted self raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk

The filling:

140g softened butter
280g sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
a few spoonfuls of strawberry or raspberry jam

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a mini sandwich tin with butter. Here is the link to the one that I used: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/15170/My-Kitchen-12-Cup-Mini-Sandwich-Tin.

Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and add in the vanilla extract.

Fold in the flour. Then little by little, pour in the milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture evenly into the tin until they are half full.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a knife or skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

For the buttercream filling, beat the butter in a large bowl until fluffy and soft. Add around half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Then fold in the remaining icing sugar alongside one tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mix is silky and creamy.

Once the cakes have cooled, cut them carefully in half using a bread knife.

Spoon the icing into a piping bag and pipe the icing using a spiralling motion onto one half of the cakes. Spread the jam on the other half and then gently push both halves together. Dust with icing sugar and they’re ready to go!

Serve them on pretty vintage china plates with a lovely pot of English tea!