Hazelnut Fudge Brownies

Half Term week and a quiet Monday morning as families can take their time getting ready for the day rather than that mad  plunge into the school time rush.

I wonder with all the choices that children have now, from computer games to clubs wither the fun of making “poisonous pastry” has gone in the bin? I can remember the joy of the process, the feeling that you were helping Mum, the pleasure of making an animal or “doll” and colouring them in. It could make a rainy morning into a treat that lasted at least until dinner time, when you realized that you couldn’t eat them!

I also enjoyed making gingerbread and rock cakes which Dad would manfully chew on after supper.

So lets find a recipe that will be a pleasure for everyone to enjoy.

Ingredients

75g chocolate broken into pieces
125g unsalted butter chopped
250g caster sugar
2 eggs forked to blend
100g self-raising flour
100g shelled roasted Hazelnuts

Method

Preheat oven to 190/375/Gas Mark 5

Line and grease a 20cm baking tin

In a large bowl melt the chocolate and butter together over a pan of simmering water or pop into microwave.

Blend thoroughly and allow to cool

Then beat in the sugar, eggs, flour and nuts in that order

The mixture should be runny and smooth

Spoon into tin making sure its in the corners. Bake for 25 minutes checking after 20 and cover with foil if it looks like burning

Remove from oven and cut into squares while still hot

Enjoy! If someone in your family suffers from a nut allergy replace hazels with a dried fruit or just leave out of recipe.

Tea Time Treats

On a cold and blustery winter’s day, what could be nicer than spending some time in a warm kitchen making cookies for tea. The basic biscuit mix is delicious on its own – like shortbread but with the chewy bite of almonds, and it works as a great base for other flavours too. The Earl Grey and Lemon flavour is a perfect pick-me-up with a cup of tea and the cardamom and pepper is unusual and very warming. We’ll definitely be trying some other combinations!

Ingredients

Basic Biscuit

85g shelled almonds
100g unsalted butter – softened
100g golden caster sugar
1 egg – separated
125g plain flour

Earl Grey and Lemon Flavouring

1 Tbs Earl Grey Tea – ground fine in a pestle and mortar
Zest of 1 lemon.

Cardamom and Pepper Flavouring

It may sound a strange combination but this is my neighbours favourite flavouring.
12 cardamom pods (seeds only)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Method

Roughly crush the almonds, skin included

Beat the butter and caster sugar till fluffy and pale, then beat in the egg yolk.

Add the flour, crushed nuts, and flavourings of your choice and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a soft dough, you might need to add a couple of spoon fulls of water.

Roll the dough into a fat sausage; wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 180c/160C fan/350f

With a sharp chilled knife cut the dough into a dozen disks and transfer to a baking sheet. Leave enough space for the disks to spread.

Brush the disks with the egg white

Bake for approx 15 minutes till golden and crisp.

Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Better is a Dinner of Herbs

Dried herbs have been part of medicine and cooking for thousands of years, and their uses are as legion as their variety.

In cooking it is always better to use fresh when they are available,  a pot or trough outside the kitchen door of your favorites is best, cutting the herbs for use just increases their vigor. But dried herbs are stronger and you only need half the amount of fresh you would use in a dish. They are best kept in air tight containers in a cool part of the kitchen and out of direct sunlight. Broad Bean stock a gunmetal grey herb container with a clear top and a large slot and a shaker slot on the lid for ease of use.

Mint is one of the carminative herbs and aids the digestion of fatty foods such as pork. I love the colour of our Apple and Mint Jelly, a pale pink flecked with green. The round leave mint and spearmint are the most used for culinary  purposes, while peppermint is a wonderfully refreshing tea hot or cold.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint Tea

Mint can be used to flavor peas, potatoes, spinach, carrots, cabbage or cucumber and is great sprinkled into a salad.

How about this simple old country recipe for Mint Pasties?

Pastry
8oz self-raising flour
4oz fat
pinch of salt

Filling
2tbsp chopped mint
2tbsp currants
2tbsp soft brown sugar

Heat Oven to 400f?200c/Gas Mark 6. Rub fat into flour and salt until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix to a dough with a little water. Divide into pieces and roll out into circles about 6″ across. Mix the mint, sugar and currants together and divide between the circles. Fold the circles in half joining the edges and flatten slightly and brush the tops with milk. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
than a stalled Ox and hatred therewith.”

 

 

 

 

 

Groats and Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients

100g Lentils
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 large Onion peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp fresh Thyme
Salt & Black Pepper
3 cloves of Garlic
1 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 litre Vegetable Stock
50g Groats
1 ½ tsp Sweet Paprika
1-2 tbsp Thick Yoghurt
1 tsp fresh Mint Leaves

Method

1. Rinse the lentils in a sieve

2. Warm Olive Oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and sauté the onion with the thyme and a pinch of salt until softened and beginning to turn golden brown.

3. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.

4. Add the tomato purée, stir then tip in the stock, groats, lentils and paprika. Stir and bring to the boil. Reduce and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils and groats are very soft.

5. Purée in a food processor.

6. Serve in warmed bowls with a swirl of yoghurt and a sprinkle of mint.

Great with crusty bread and a green salad.

Red Split

Spicy Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 40g                  Fresh Bread Crumbs
  • 700g                Mince Beef
  • 350g                Sausage Meat
  • 2                       Eggs
  • .5tsp                Chilli Powder
  • 1tsp                 Gram Masala
  • 2tsp                 Coriander
  • 1tsp                 Salt
  • 1                       Small Onion
  • 20g                   Beef Stock Paste
  • 60g                   White Fat

Method

  1. Crumb a slice of white bread in the food processor with spices and beef stock.  Place the crumbs in a bowl with sausage meat and beef.  Dice the onion.
  2. Add onion and crumb to the bowl along with the eggs, all the spices and salt.  Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.  Divide into 24 portions by, levelling the mixture in the bottom of the bowl and mark out into 4 segments, then mark in half again to give 8 equal segments.  Cut out each segment and divide and roll it into 3 equal sized balls.
  3. Spread the balls evenly over a baking tray.  Place a bit of the white fat on top of each ball.  Place in the top of the oven at 200c (180c fan oven) for 20 minutes, turn the meat balls after 10 minutes.
  4. These meatballs will freeze well.
  5. They can be sliced for sandwiches or as part of a meat platter.
  6. You Can watch a video of me making meat balls here:

  1. http://www.broad-bean.co.uk/blog/2013/08/broad-bean-meatballs/

Spiced Pecans

1lb pecan halves

1 egg white

1 tablespoon cold water

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

Whisk egg white and water till frothy

Add pecans and stir until covered

In another bowl mix dry ingredients

Then pour over pecans, stirring till well covered

Put on baking tray and cook at 250c for ½ to ¾ hour, turning at 15-minute intervals

When cooked cool and put in airtight container.

 

Fruit Flapjack

With a wide range of fruits available you can always find one to go with a flapjack. The favourite of most is a banana but you can add literally any fruit you wish (or at least give it a try!)

Ingredients

Brown Sugar 80g

Butter 60g

Margarine 40g

Oats 250g

Salt Pinch

Fruit Banana, Cranberries or Strawberries

Golden Syrup 2 tablespoons

Method

1. Melt the butter and the Margarine in a deep saucepan over a low heat

2. Add the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of golden syrup and stir in until you have a brown paste

3. Add in the oats, if you find it easier add them in gradually stirring and covering the oats with the paste

4. Add a pinch of salt and continue to stir

5. Mix in the fruit of your choice, as much as you feel is necessary

6. spread the mixture evenly over a greased or non stick baking tray

7. Place the baking tray onto the middle shelf in a preheated oven (gas mark 5, 220 C) and bake for 15 minutes, checking the progress regularly. Take out when the mixture starts turning a golden brown.

8. Stand for a minute, then score the mixture with a knife into your portions

9. Cover the tray and leave for a few hours to cool and let the ingredients further fuse together.

10. Voila, serve the flapjack to you friends and bask in glory and this great accomplishment.

Preparation Time: 15 Mins Cooking Time: 15 Mins

Tip: Remember, some fruit is not necessary to be cooked so be careful when it is in the oven.

Click here for Crazy Jacks Golden Syrup

 

Broad Bean Granola

Ingredients

2 tbsp Vegetable oil
125ml Maple Syrup
2 tbsp Honey
1 tsp Vanilla extract
300g Rolled Oats
50g Sunflower Seeds
4 tbsp Sesame Seeds
50g Pumpkin Seeds
100g Dried Fruit
50g Desiccated Coconut

 

Method

1. Heat oven to 150c/fan/130c/Gas Mark 2

2. Mix oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla extract in a large bowl

3. Tip in the remaining ingredients except the dried fruit and coconut and mix well

4. Tip Granola onto 2 baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake for 15 minutes

5. Mix in coconut and dried fruit and bake for a further 10-15 minutes

6. Remove from oven and scrape onto a flat tray to cool

7. Can be stored in an air tight container for up to a month.

 

Red Dragon Pie

This makes a great supper dish.  It is like Shepherds Pie but made instead with a rich bean and mixture topped with mashed potato.

This dish is made with aduki beans which are also called Dragon Beans or wonder beans as they are so full of goodness. The cooking liquid from the beans is said to be a good tonic for the kidneys.

Serve this pie with green vegetable and Broad Bean’s tomato sauce.

Ingredients

  • 110g aduki beans
  • 50g wheat grain (Bulgar) or rice
  • 1.1litre water for soaking
  • 1.1.litres water for boiling
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion
  • 225g carrots
  • 1-2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • ½ pint aduki bean stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1lb potatoes peeled
  • 25g butter

Method

  1. Pre heat oven to gas mark 4, 350 f 180c
  2. Wash the beans and the grain and soak overnight, or steep them in boiling water for an hour.
  3. Drain and rinse, then bring to the boil in fresh water and cook for 50minutes or until the grain is soft.
  4. Drain and reserve stock
    Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes, add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the cooked beans and grain.
  5. Mix in the soya sauce, tomato puree and herbs with the stock
  6. Pour this over the bean and vegetable mixture, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes so that the flavours are well and truly blended. Season to taste. Add a little more liquid if necessary so that the final mixture is moist.
  7. Transfer into a greased 1.5 litre casserole.
  8. Boil and mash the potatoes, season well and then spread over the beans and vegetables. Bake for 35 minutes or until the potato is brown and crisp.