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21 Mar 2015

Hazelnut & Chocolate Banana Bread

I saw my first fly today.  Flies bum me out; flies mean Winter has finally passed and given way to immanent Spring.  The moment the first bluebottle bumbles across my path, I instantly lament the Winter I've been whining about for the last two months and start looking forward to weeks of not knowing whether to wear a coat.  With warmth brings regret, regret brings salad masquerading as a meals. Salad masquerading as a meal makes Katie unhappy.  I'm going to hide indoors and cling onto the last fleeting days of Winter,  I'm going to bake banana bread!


Banana bread is like a hug in a cake.  It's warm and comforting without being cloyingly sweet.  If you're a a calorie rebel, like me, you can even turn a few slices of this son'bitch into french toast drizzled with Nutella.  Filthy, I know.
 


Hazelnut & Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients:
200g unsalted butter
200g light brown sugar
100g whole, skinless hazelnuts
2 large eggs
200g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
3 medium, ripe bananas mashed with a fork
1/2tsp vanilla extract
200g plain chocolate chips


Method:
 Preheat the oven to 175C then grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.

Beat the sugar and flour together for five minutes until light and creamy, add the eggs one at a time mixing well between each addition.  Scoop in your mashed bananas and vanilla extract and mix.  While you beat your butter and sugar toast the hazelnuts in the oven for a few minutes.  Once toasted pop them into a food processor and pulse them until they're finely ground.

Add the hazelnuts, flour and baking powder to the butter and mix until combined. Stir through the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon before pouring the batter into the prepared tin and baking for 60 - 75 minutes, the cake should be golden brown and springs back if prodded with a finger.

Allow to cool in the tin before turning out and enjoying.

28 Feb 2015

Oreo Cookie Bombs



What's better than a dunking a good cookie in your brew?  Dunking a cookie stuffed with another cookie in your brew, that's what!  It's pure, unadulterated hedonism is what it is.  I think I might have lost my mind a little bit.


If, like me, you're more than a little excited by the thought of ramming treats inside of bigger treats I implore you to get your booty in the shops and grab some Oreos.  You could be eating these cookies in less than 30 minutes, what on Earth are you waiting for?!


Oreo Cookie Bombs
Makes 12 large cookies

Ingredients:
250g unsalted butter, softened
240g caster sugar
150g soft, light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
440g self raising flour 
150g plain chocolate chips
12 Oreos

Method:
Preheat the oven to 175°C and line 2 large cookie sheets with baking paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Once creamed add the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla extract.  Turn the mixer down to low and add the flour, once combined add the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed.

Grab a ball of the dough, about the size of a golf ball and squash it flat.  Pop an Oreo in the centre and squish the dough around the cookie until it's completely enclosed.  Place each ball of deliciousness onto your prepared cookie sheets, taking care not to over crown them, around 4/5 per tray.

Baked your prepared cookies for 18-20 minutes or until just starting to turn golden around the edges.  Allow them to cool for at least a few minutes before diving straight in.  Let me tell you, these babies are best eaten warm!




25 Feb 2015

Afternoon Tea: How Do You Do!

A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit the Sanderson Hotel for one of the infamous Mad Hatters Afternoon Teas and I've simply never stopped thinking about it.  Being a girl from the North East of England; trips to London are sadly few and far between, so I didn't think I'd have the chance to experience something as delightfully quirky again.  Much to my delight I noticed a marketing email from a local establishment How Do You Do advertising their Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea.  I didn't really need to read any more, I was already on the phone booking a table for my next day off.  


I'd already visited this eatery several times before it's charming re-brand, I can vouch that it used to make the best darned Sunday lunches ever. My expectations were high.




I wasn't disappointed.  We were greeted by a super friendly guy who talked us through everything to do with our tea, the service was quick and precise and the food was just delicious!  The Mad Hatters Tea was served with your choice of tea or coffee and also came with a fun tea pot cocktail.  We were told the cocktail is usually served spewing smoke from dry ice but sadly they'd run out after a particularly busy weekend.  Next time, I'm sure.




Every element was homemade from the jam for the scones to the delightful rhubarb soda in the drink me bottles.  The spinach and beetroot bread for the sandwiches was so vibrant and fun, I felt like I was tumbling down the rabbit hole with dear Alice.



The waiter informed us, before leaving, that they were planning on doing a Brighton Beach themed afternoon tea for the Summer months.  I certainly hope they do, I'm already planning on another visit!

How Do You Do
10 East Parade
Whitley Bay
NE26 1AP
0191 2533050



22 Feb 2015

Ultimate Hangover Breakfast - Bloody Mary with Sriracha Bacon and Avocado Toast

I don't know about you, but after a night painting the town red I'll usually wake up with a frightening hunger.  I don't deal with hungry very well, I can't diet and I hate being told no when it comes to food.  I can go from peckish to hangry in alarming speed so if you throw hungover in the mix it can get a little scary.  After many years of dealing with my brattish cravings, I've learned to prepare for my mornings in advance.  Bacon is always a good idea but for those mornings, and when you're feeling particularly delicate the only way to go is some avocado and a Bloody Mary!  


Now I know avocado toast is a bit of a thing, and there are hundreds of variations floating around the internet, but I thought I'd share my favorite method with you lovely lot. It's heavy on the garlic and chilli, not one for the fainthearted, this is for a pro avocado toaster!


Bloody Mary with Sriracha Bacon
Makes 2

Ingredients:
4 slices streaky bacon
100g light brown sugar
1tbsp sriracha100ml Vodka
300ml tomato juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp sugar
pinch of celery salt
pinch of smoked paprika
a generous dash of tabasco
Ice


Method:
For the bacon: preheat your grill.  Combine the sugar and sriracha to make a spreadable paste, you may need to add a little water.  Pop the bacon on a baking sheet lined with foil and brush the sugar paste onto the bacon.  Grill for around 5 minutes, remove from the oven and flip the bacon, repeat the process with the sugar and grill for another few minutes or until your bacon is perfectly crispy.  Leave to cool while you create your Bloody Mary.

For the Bloody Mary: Mix all of the ingredients together in a jug, check the seasoning and heat and adjust is necessary.  Pour into glassesfilled with ice and garnish with a stick of celery and sriracha bacon.


Katies Favourite Avocado Toast

Ingredients:
2 slices of good bread
1 clove of garlic
1 ripe avocado
1 tomato, chopped in small pieces
3 spring onions, sliced
a good pinch of chilli flakes
a pinch of salt and pepper

Method:
Toast your bread under a grill or on a griddle pan, once toasted and slightly cooled rub the top of the toast with a clove of garlic.  Mash the avocado leaving a few lumps and chunks, mix in the chopped tomato, sliced spring onions, chilli flakes and seasoning.  Spread on the bread and dig in.


29 Jan 2015

National Breakfast Week: Homemade Pop Tarts

When I was young Pop Tarts were the fanciest breakfast treat you could imagine.  Fresh from the land of the brave, us northerners were smitten by those little parcels of goodness.  Flash forward to 2015 and you can get flavours you could only have dreamed about as a ten year old girl. Despite this, I never actually buy Pop Tarts any more.  I don't actually own a toaster and the thought of eating them cold is just a step too far in my eyes.  I decided to make my own.


Homemade Pop Tarts can be as difficult as you like.  If you're looking for a project you can make the pie dough and filling from scratch; or if you're looking for a quick fix, ready rolled pastry and a jar of Bonne Maman will do the trick.  Obviously I chose the latter but I am looking forward to experimenting with the fully homemade versions soon.  Just watch this space.



Homemade Pop Tarts

Ingredients:
1 sheet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten with a tsp of milk
Bonne Maman raspberry jam (I'm a jam snob)
250g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla 
2 tbs whole milk 
cute sprinkles

Method:
Preheat the oven to  175°C and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Unroll your pastry and using a sharp knife cut 8 rectangles, you'll need two for each tart.  Place four of the pastry rectangles on your prepared baking sheet and pop a heaped teaspoon of jam in the middle of each tart.  Sandwich with the tops and using a fork press your edges together to form a seal.

Pain each tart with a thin layer of the egg wash and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once cool make your frosting.  Combine the icing sugar with the milk and vanilla and mix to form a thick, spreadable paste.  If it's too thin or thick at this point, add a little more sugar or milk.  Spread each tart with the frosting and scatter with sprinkles.  Enjoy!

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