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Added by tartan_skirt on 22 Jan 2009 09:28
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Chocolate Brownies

It may be just a student cookbook, but oh my WORD these are some of the best brownies I've ever had. I've had people begging me to make more batches of these...

Ingredients

300g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
200g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
(For the chocolate, I just use 500g of Cadbury's milk chocolate. If you try it this way, you'll know why.)
225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225g sugar (I use caster)
3 eggs
75g self-raising flour
175g walnuts, broken up (I don't add these, but some people prefer to)

1. Grease a 11 x 8 inch or similar shallow baking tin. Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
2. Melt the plain chocolate (or 300g of the Cadbury), then stir in the butter. (I always melt my chocolate over boiling water, none of this microwaving malarky in my kitchen.)*
3. Beat the eggs and sugar together, then mix in the chocolate and butter mixture. Stir in the flour, walnuts and milk chocolate (or 200g Cadbury chunks, though I half the individual pieces).
4. Pour into the tin, level the surface, then bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until the crust is firm but is soft underneath. Do not overcook the brownies as you want them gooey. Leave in the tin to cool, then cut into squares. (Eating an hour or so after removing from the oven is a fabulous experience, but may induce a stroke. :P)

* Remember, you can overmelt chocolate, making it turn hard and disgusting.

Sausage Ragout

This is a very rich dish, which is good with something plain like mashed potatoes and some veg.

Ingredients

500g sausages
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped (I use red onion)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
425g passata (I just use a whole 500g carton usually)
150ml red wine (plus extra to drink whilst cooking...)
6 sun-dried tomatoes (the recipe calls for chopping them, I just throw them in whole)
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
2 tbsp. chopped sage
salt and pepper

Method

1. Squeeze the sausages out of their skins into a bowl and break up with a fork.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until soft and golden. Stir in the sausagemeat and cook until brown all over, keep breaking up any lumps that form.
3. Pour in the passata and wine and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat, cover the pan and simmer on a low heat for at least an hour until the sauce has reduced by about half. Add a good dash of salt and pepper, mix, then serve. (Here the recipe says you can serve it with grilled polenta, pasta or gnocchi.)
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New Celtic Cooking - Ted McIntosh,Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh
Carrot and Tarragon Soup

I cooked three different recipes from this book as part of a banquet for 26 people and the soup was gorgeous. Its now part of my "entertaining" recipe collection, and goes very well with homemade bread.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large (red) onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1kg carrots, scrapped and sliced
4 lengths fresh tarragon
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 litre vegetable or chicken broth (I use vegetable bouillon powder)
60ml whipping cream (optional)
chopped fresh tarragon, to garnish (optional)

Method

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes.
2. Add the carrots to the pan and toss together until well coated. Add the lengths of fresh tarragon and toss together.
3. Add a little salt and pepper, lower the heat and cover the vegetables with a piece of buttered wax or parchement paper. (I skip the paper bit, its fine without.)
4. Cover and let the vegetables cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes.
5. Remove the lid and the paper, add the broth and bring to a boil. Cook vegetables until soft.
6. Remove and discard the tarragon stems.
7. Blend.
8. When smooth, add the cream and reheat until quite hot, garnish with tarragon. (I forgo the cream, and usually forget the garnish in my rush to eat the lovely soup. :P)
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Lemon Squares

A wonderful sweet slice that makes a nice change from chocolatey baking.

Ingredients

Base:
125g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
155g plain flour

Topping:
4 eggs, lightly beaten
250g caster sugar
60 ml lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
30g plain flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
icing sugar, to dust

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a 8 x 12 inch shallow baking tray and line with baking paper, leaving the paper hanging over two opposite sides.
2. Cream the butter and sugar with electric beaters until pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour with a metal spoon. Press into the tin and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and firm. Leave to cool.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar with electric beaters for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Sift together the flour and baking powder and gradually whisk into the egg mixture. Pour onto the base.
4. Bake for 25 minutes, or until just firm. Cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar.

Zesty Olive Oil Cake

A very delicious and moist cake that is easy to make and goes down a treat!

Ingredients

2 eggs
160g caster sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
125ml olive oil
185g self-raising flour
60ml milk
60ml orange juice

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180degreesC. Grease a shallow 20cm/8inch round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
2. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl using electric beaters until well combined. Add the orange and lemon zest, then stir in the olive oil.
3. Stir in the sifted flour alternately with the milk and orange juice (careful not to add too much of one at once incase the mixture curdles). Stir the mixture gently for 30 seconds with a wooden spoon. Pour into the prepared tin.
4. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
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Rosy Spirals

A nice basic dish from another student cookbook that you can change in lots of little ways to suit your taste. (serves 2)

Ingredients

250g Fusilli (spiral pasta)
500g carton creamed tomatoes (we tend to make our own sauce instead in my flat by blending canned chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs, tomato puree, olive oil, and seasoning)
90g garlic and herb flavoured soft cheese (Boursin is my cheese of choice here)
1/2 tsp. sugar (I leave it out)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Method

1. Cook the pasta.
2. Meanwhile, place the creamed tomatoes (or the aforementioned sauce mix) and soft cheese in a saucepan. Heat together gently for 5-6 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce has warmed through. (You'll need to cut the cheese up first or else it'll take forever to melt.) Season to taste (unless already added, as above).
4. Drain the pasta then toss with the sauce. Done.
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Key

* Things in (brackets) are changes I've made to the original recipe.
* tbsp. = tablespoon
* tsp. = teaspoon
* 1/2 = half

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