Tuesday 31 July 2012

Filled Yorkshire Puddings

When I was at university, I once had an amazing meal at the Bun Shop, on King Street- aka the pub across the road from the back gate of college. I was with my boyfriend (my ex, now) and we weren't there for any sort of fine dining experience, just to re-fuel, but were very pleasantly surprised by what we had. I can't remember what they called it on the menu but it was a big round Yorkshire pudding, with basically a roast dinner inside it - meat, roast potatoes, veg and gravy. The yorkshire pudding acted as the bowl and soaked up the gravy, and it tasted absolutely delicious. Since then, I've come across similar-looking ready meals but they just aren't as good. So when I saw the theme for this month's Best of British challenge was Yorkshire, I knew I had to have a go at recreating the dish. It's the sort of thing I might have experimented with a few times, until I got the quantities and cooking time just right, but I'm an 'all or nothing' sort of person; I don't have time to faff around with recipes and if it works, it works.. If it doesn't, we either eat it anyway or order takeaway! On the plus side, I was working from home on the day I made this (thank you, Olympic Games creating a hellish commute for Londoners!) so I did have a bit more time to cook something in the oven.

I don't know if there's a way to cook the roast inside the yorkshire or if the Bun Shop cooked all the elements separately, then served it inside the yorkshire. Realistically, if you're going to do a proper roast you can't do it all inside a yorkshire, and would have to cook it first and slice it up. But as I was only making this for two people, I decided to use up some leftover sausage and do a slightly different variation for each of us.

My failsafe Yorkshire pudding recipe involves 2 eggs measured out in a jug, with equal quantities of milk and flour to the eggs, with a pinch of salt of course. I doubled the recipe for this and used four eggs.

As I wanted to make the Yorkshire the bowl that the other food sits in, I used two shallow, round cake tins for the mixture. Here's one of them as it went in the oven:

They rose beautifully, if a little unevenly!

I had already roasted some small chunks of potato and sliced up some leftover cooked sausage, and placed it in the middle of the Yorkshire pudding

My boyfriend doesn't like gravy and I was worried his meal would be rather dry, so I heaped a tin of baked beans on top

I had a selection of vegetables added to the sausage and potato,with gravy over it

Here are our two dinners: not the most attractive photo but a really tasty and satisfying meal!

Apparently Yorkshire puddings can also be served as dessert with a sweet filling - I might have to try that some time!

Even though Karen from Lavender and Lovage points out that Yorkshire is not just about Yorkshire Puddings, I hope she won't mind me entering this into the Best of British Challenge this month!

The challenge is sponsored by the Face of New World Appliances and you can enter up to August 20th.

Monday 30 July 2012

Meal Planning Monday - Week 6


Working from home today due to the Olympics
Breakfast Wholemeal toast with a smear of peanut butter - 4 syns though according to my personal trainer, peanut butter is the right kind of fat and very good for slow-release energy.
Lunch Chicken or turkey enchilada - 5 syns for the tortilla wrap, everything else should be free
Dinner Chicken tagine from Slimming World's World of Flavours p124 - free

Did I stick to it? Breakfast: toast with peanut butter - 4 syns. Lunch: as above, 5 syns. Piece of chocolate beetroot cake I had in the freezer, which defrosted rather well - maybe 6 syns, as it was a low fat recipe? Dinner: chicken tagine. Good that it was syn-free but wasn't that impressed by the flavour, I made a SW chicken casserole recently that used similar ingredients (eg preserved lemon) that tasted a lot nicer. Also had a 2 finger KitKat - 4.5 syns.
Total syns for the day: 19.5


Working from home today due to the Olympics
Breakfast Toast with a smear of peanut butter - 4 syns
Lunch Spicy chicken noodle salad - Slimming World's World of Flavours p.154 - free
Dinner - My boyfriend is hopefully coming to dinner unless he gets stuck waiting hours for a train - still worried commuting during the Olympics is going to be a nightmare! He's had one of those "bad things come in threes" kind of weeks so I promised him John Carter from Mars on DVD (if you haven't seen it, you must - it's hysterically cheesy) and a takeaway pizza. Which means I *really* have to be good for the rest of this week!

Did I stick to it? Skipped breakfast. Spicy noodle salad for lunch - free. Accompanied by a can of Pimms and lemonade: 4.5 syns, and a mini Magnum: 8.5 syns. Had the takeaway pizza with my boyfriend - I ordered a medium rather than a large (even though it was 2 for 1 and my boyfriend was getting a large) but I still ate an entire medium Pizza Hut pizza! Oh dear... I can't find that exact pizza on the Slimming World website but based on syns for other pizzas I think I'm going to have to count 60 syns for it! And it wasn't even that nice... my stomach obviously isn't used to eating that sort of food any more as I had to rush to the bathroom the minute I finished, and didn't feel very good for the rest of the night! So I suspect that might be the last takeaway pizza for a while...
Total syns for the day: 73, most of which was the pizza! Epic fail.


Breakfast As I want my option b choice for lunch, I am going to try to make some grilled bacon for breakfast - hope I have time! Of course, it won't be a bacon sandwich, and I don't eat mushrooms, tomatoes or am really keen on eggs so I could have a full English for no syns but that's not going to happen!
Lunch Ham sandwich (got some bread rolls and ham I need to use up) - free if I count the bread as option b
Dinner Salmon with Schwartz orange and dill sauce (3 syns) with veg and probably new potatoes

Did I stick to it? Still couldn't face the thought of food after last night, so skipped breakfast. Didn't know what to take with me to eat in the office later so had a cereal bar - 6 syns - then 2 Slimming World Hi-Fi bars as well - 6 syns. Lunch was a ham roll - free/option b. Had a packet of Special K bites afterwards - 5 syns. Dinner: as above 3 syns. Too busy sorting out holiday issues this evening to snack! :-)
Total syns for the day: 20. Back on track, yay


Breakfast Grilled bacon as yesterday if time
Lunch Ham sandwich (got some bread rolls and ham I need to use up) - free if I count the bread as option b
Dinner Hopefully out with my boyfriend though he's not keen to go out in London due to the Olympics transport issues, but could also be v. late getting home - so no idea at this stage what we're going to be able to do. If I'm cooking at home I will do the tandoori chicken from Slimming World World of Flavours p.145 with homemade potato wedges

Did I stick to it? Didn't fancy bacon this morning so had some toast. Also knew that the last bread roll was beyond using so I decided to use my option b for breakfast, and cook some pasta with chopped tomatoes and bacon - all free - for lunch. Morning snack had a cereal bar and a Hi-Fi bar: 9 syns. Afternoon had a 2 packets of Weightwatchers crisps - really hungry for some reason - 10 syns. Went to my boyfriend's for dinner (he's been allowed to leave work early to avoid the transport delays, and the station I use has actually been quieter than normal!). He was having chicken goujons and chips so I had Quorn chicken-style pieces, which are syn-free, though they were a bit dry so I did end up having a dollop of mayo with it, which I should probably count 4 syns for (it was a big dollop!) and a baked potato and laughing cow light triangle with it, which is free - a pretty good dinner actually.

Total syns for the day: 23 syns, not bad - though used most of it on snacks which I need to watch.


Breakfast Cereal or toast
Lunch Want to make sure I have a decent lunch as I'm out this evening so I will make up a packet of Bachelors Macaroni Cheese - 1.5 syns - and add to it some chopped ham and some broccoli - free.
Dinner I've got a ticket to the Olympics beach volleyball today! It starts at 5, no idea what time it will finish or how long it will take me to get home so not much point planning dinner, I can always have pasta if I get home and want to cook in a hurry (even though I will have had that for lunch). I will have to make sure I take a snack like a cereal bar with me.

Did I stick to it? Cereal for breakfast followed by a packet of Weightwatchers mini cookies - 5 syns - and a can of full fat coke, because I was up late last night (talking on the phone to a friend in crisis until 3am) and was absolutely exhausted - I needed the sugar as well as the caffeine and diet coke just wouldn't do! - 7 syns. Lunch was same as yesterday as I made a double portion: pasta with chopped tomatoes and bacon (free). In fact I totally forgot I planned to do the macaroni cheese! I went to the beach volleyball which was great. I took a cereal bar with me - 5 syns - which I was glad of around 5pm. There was food for sale, but I didn't see anything particularly healthy, and it was so expensive - £8.90 for a small portion of fish and chips! But it made me start craving chips... and when I got home at 8.30 I was starving, exhausted and not wanting pasta as I'd had it for lunch so I went to the chip shop! But for probably the first time ever, I didn't finish a saveloy and ate about half the chips - there was still a whole plateful that went in the bin! So I'm going to count 6 syns for the saveloy and about 15 syns for the chips.

Total syns for the day: 38, about twice what I should be aiming for (more than twice actually) but doesn't seem too bad given what I had for dinner.


Breakfast Mullerlight/ ryvita with Philly light - free
Lunch Pasta with bacon if I have any left, or pasta with tuna - if I use passata it will be free
Dinner Going to see my parents today and having dinner at their house. As my boyfriend is coming too and he's super fussy and I didn't want my mum to be put out, I suggested she cook chicken kievs and chips for all four of us. The kievs have 12 syns and the chips - depending on portion size and what kind she buys- around 6.

I was pleased to find I'd lost 2 pounds at Slimming World today, after putting on that much over the past two weeks - so I feel like I'm back on track. Unfortunately (for my diet, anyway) I'm going on holiday next Friday so I expect several pounds will go back on!

Did I stick to it? Breakfast: running late (overslept - still exhausted from Thursday night!) so just had Mullerlight - free. Lunch: pasta with bacon - free, but rather than passata I wanted something that tasted nicer so had half a jar of Weightwatchers pasta sauce - 3.5 syns. Was still hungry afterwards so had a Penguin biscuit - 5.5 syns. Drove down to see my parents and as described had chicken kiev and chips - 18 syns (estimate). I made a baked cheesecake to take to my parents which I think was relatively low fat as it was made with cottage cheese and fat free fromage frais (to follow as a separate post later!) but the base did involve butter and flour... I had one piece which I think I will put down as 8 syns which is a total guess!

Total syns for the day: 35, bit of a guess really

Breakfast Still at my parents, don't know if they will be doing a cooked breakfast or if I'll have something else.
Lunch The plan for today is to go to a car show at Wilton House which is in the village where I grew up. I'm not really into cars but my boyfriend is, and I thought he and my dad would enjoy this and it's a good way of persuading him to visit my parents if we can do something while we're down there. I expect we will get something like a burger while we are there so I'll try not to overdo it.
Dinner Not sure what time I'll get home and how much time I'll have to cook. I have a portion of homemade lasagne in my freezer which is taking up space, I guesstimate it's about 7 syns though if it's a bit dry I might add a bit of cheese sauce for another few syns, and serve it with veg.

Did I stick to it?   
Breakfast: had 2 crumpets, one with Can't believe it's not butter and the other with that and honey, about 12 syns in total which is more than I was expecting. During the morning had some biscuits as my mum brought a packet with her (we were at Wilton House Supercars) - it was gone midday and we'd had breakfast at 8 so I was starving and think I ate 6 biscuits, oops. Looked them up on the SW website and think each biscuit was only 2 syns which is not as bad as I'd thought - 12 syns in total. Lunch was a hotdog - think I can count the bread as my option b choice and about 8 syns for the sausage as it was a large one (ooh er missus). Had an ice cream too - maybe 10 syns? For dinner at home I didn't fancy the lasagne as I've had a lot of pasta this week so I did a pork chop, roast potatoes, vegetables, all free, plus gravy and some stuffing - estimate 5 syns. Plus a vodka and diet coke about 5 syns (can't be bothered to look it up!). 

Total syns for the day: I think 52, which is not good, I need to get back on track on Monday!

Friday 27 July 2012

The Alphabakes 'W' roundup - July 2012

I can't believe we're into July already, and six months of Alphabakes! To mark the occasion, we have a prize to giveaway to one lucky UK entrant from Dr. Oetker Baking: Scroll down to the bottom to see who won!

We had a lot of walnut entries for this month's challenge, which didn't surprise me - it was the first W ingredient I thought of! White chocolate seems to have been quite popular too. But as usual, even using the same ingredient has turned up some very different recipes and given me lots of new ideas. And of course we had some more unusual entries as well!

Once again my mum was first off the mark - I think she's been storing these up! Jacqueline sent us this date and walnut cake that looks very tasty:

I also had one up my sleeve I’d already baked and not blogged about yet – a walnut espresso layer cake I decorated with maltesers for my boyfriend's mum's birthday (only I used instant coffee instead of espresso!)

Entry number three was my mum again, with this marmalade and walnut cake – she’s putting that packet of walnuts to good use, this looks great! (And I didn’t get to try any, thanks mum!)

Next and not from anyone related to me were these two simply amazing wedding cakes by Nom from the Nom Bakery. She said this was the first time she’d made a wedding cake and I’m seriously impressed!

This first one is a traditional Norwegian Wedding cake, made up of 18 rings of chewy almond cake decorated with icing, flags, streamers, crackers and sweets.

Secondly Nom also made this Cherry Blossom Wedding Cake:  it’s a three-tiered chocolate sponge cake with beautiful gumpaste flowers. All I can say is wow!

 Leanne from Little Life of Scrap sent us these Coffee and Walnut splodge biscuits, which she said were not too sweet, with a slight bitterness from the coffee, that she offset by sandwiching some of them together with buttercream.

 WhatKate Baked for Alphabakes this month was… a Dundee cake, to satisfy hunger on what looks like a major bike ride. It’s light, crumbly and fruity, and uses whole blanched almonds and whiskey. Looks like you earned it after all that exercise!

My co-host Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker made one of my favourite comfort foods – Chocolate Whoopie Pies. She filled them with Marshmallow Fluff which I only discovered myself recently – it’s amazing stuff, and these look great.

  Ros is also very original and I knew she had an unusual ingredient up her sleeve, but couldn’t guess what it was… it turned out to be wasabi! I’ve only ever had it on sushi but Ros very cleverly incorporated it into these Wasabi and WhiteChocolate Cupcakes. I love the green icing too!

Another walnut entry, this time from Katherine of Leeks and Limoni, who sent us these Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes. She did it properly (unlike me) and used espresso, and has a Gaggia coffee machine I’m quite jealous of, and I don’t even drink coffee!

Next for something I’ve never heard of… Wors Cannelloni. Claire from Under the Blue Gum Tree is living in South Africa and brings us this sausage dish, using boerwors – South Africa’s answer to the British banger. The sausages wrapped in cannelloni look a little like hot dogs, and I think I might have to give this recipe a go!

 Kit from i-Lost in Austen also hit upon the idea of wasabi, and said she had a recipe she’d been waiting to try: Avocado, Ham, Wasabi and Black Sesame Seed Loaf Cake. I love how the chunks of avocado show through, and can’t help wondering if it tastes as good as it looks!

These Walnut Brownie Cupcakes from Janice of Farmersgirl Kitchen look so cute, I think I could eat all three! In fact I’m getting hungry now just looking at them….

  Fiona from Sweet Thing You Make My Heart Sing inverted a black-bottom cupcake to make a white-bottom cupcake, what a good idea! It’s a vanilla cupcake base with a chocolate cheesecake top- and the whole thing is topped with white chocolate frosting, Yum!

         Utterly Scrummy sent us this Walnut and Coffee Fudge Slice which looks… utterly scrummy! It’s a no-bake recipe though you do have to leave it in the fridge overnight, if you can manage to without eating it!

I couldn’t resist making this recipe as it was a triple W-whammy: Walnut Whip Whoopie Pies! There’s ground walnut in the whoopie pies and they are decorated to look like walnut whips, what’s not to like?

When I was a Girl Guide, we would toast marshmallows around the campfire. In America on the other hand, they eat s’mores – a toasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate between two biscuits (graham crackers). Do they do everything better than us?!
Mackenzie from Cookie Sleuth  turned the campfire treat into these amazing S’mores Whoopie Pies; she filled the chocolate whoopee pies with crushed graham crackers and marshmallow fluff and made something that looks absolutely delicious.

I made something for my birthday party back in April and am so behind with my blogging I hadn’t posted it yet… and realised it began with W, so made sure I published it this month! Here are my White Russian cupcakes, which use vodka and chocolate liqueur (rather than the standard coffee liqueur that goes into this cocktail, but I thought chocolate would taste better!).

What else could Choclette have chosen for this month’s ingredient other than white chocolate… these blackcurrant and white chocolate cookies look very moreish, and made loads even though Choclette halved the quantity in the recipe – now that’s my kind of recipe!

       As I write, there is blazing hot sunshine, but most of this month has been a washout with heavy rain seemingly every day. Helen from Fuss Free Flavours decided to send us an appropriate bake for the downpour: these Weather Cakes feature sugar mice under little umbrellas, and would be great fun for kids to make.

.      I think there’s something lovely about recipes that have been handed down through families, and Dom from BelleauKitchen treated us to this Ginger and Whisky Parkin – a tribute to Olive McDonald. It looks lovely and I’m glad you found the recipe, Dom!

       My sister Clare sent us this amazing white chocolate cheesecake with a ginger biscuit base; I love the swirly pattern on the top and hope she makes it the next time I come round!

      White chocolate was also the ingredient of choice for Suelle from Mainly Baking who sent us a Blackcurrant Jam Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. She said the flavour matured overnight and it tasted better the next day!

.     It’s nice to have a few savoury entries for Alphabakes and Jen from BlueKitchen Bakes didn’t let us down – her Smoked Salmon and Watercress Souffles look delicious and it can’t have been easy to get them to rise so perfectly!

      Mich from Piece of Cake is helping me watch my waistline with this Healthier Carrot and Walnut Cake – she substituted Greek yogurt for some of the oil and the result looks very tasty indeed.

    This elegant creation comes from Olivia from Liv A Little Bakery: a White Chocolate Whiteout Cake. It’s a miniature white chocolate layer cake covered with sweet white chocolate buttercream. They are small, but look wonderfully rich!

     Sophie from Totally Caked Out sent us a very summery recipe that would be lovely for a garden tea party – this White Chocolate Strawberry Cake.  There is melted white chocolate in the cake mix and the top, with its piles of strawberries and grated white chocolate, looks particularly nice.

     As a contrast to all this white chocolate, how about some Welsh Cakes? Thanks to Eira from Cook Books Galore for this entry. Her gran used to make these and she even inherited her griddle so it’s truly a family recipe.

       And funnily enough the very next entry we had was….. more Welsh Cakes! These ones come from Angela of Garden Tea Cakes and Me. It’s the first time she’s made them and I think they turned out well!

    These Walnut, Pear and Blue Cheese Muffins from Susie at Fold In The Flour would be lovely for a picnic – or an indoor brunch if it’s raining again!

     Gloria from Canela Kitchen sent us two bakes, the first of which was a Whisky and Honey Cake – a traditional Scottish recipe that looks delicious

     She followed that up with a WhiteChocolate and Lavender Crème Brulee  which looks wonderfully decadent! 

     Michele  from Piece of Cake came up with another lovely bake for us this month – a Watercress and Capsicum Quiche. It’s a healthy version as it’s a crust-less quiche and uses cottage cheese, which makes it both delicious and virtuous!

    These Blackcurrant and White Chocolate Cupcake-style Cheesecakes look delicious, and I love the little flower decorations on top! Fleur from Homemade By Fleur made them for a BBQ and says they went down very well – I’m not surprised!

       These appropriately-named White Chocolate Show-Offs come from Lucas of CoverVersions TV. He gets brownie points for having adapted the recipe from my co-host for Alphabakes, Ros’s website! I don’t know how he makes these videos but I think they’re brilliant – and the cookies look pretty good too!

      I can’t believe I didn’t think of one of my very favourite Ws to use as an ingredient this month… white wine! (No, I’m not a lush…). Luckily Mel from Sharky Oven Gloves came to the rescue with these kir macarons, which use white wine, white chocolate and crème de cassis – they look amazing! I really like how she has photographed them in a wine glass too.

    I love clever bakes which look like the thing they taste of – like these Watermelon Krispy Treats from Daisy at Never Too Sweet For Me. They are quite simple to make, and look very effective!
      Fiona from Sweet Thing You Make My Heart Sing returned with a second entry, and I’m glad she did as we get a chance to see these White Chocolate and Orange Cookies, which look absolutely delicious.
      White Chocolate was also the ingredient used by Caroline from Cake, Crumbs and Cooking in this White Chocolate, Blackcurrant and Apricot Cake. I’m not sure I’ve seen this particular combination of ingredients before, but it looks really nice!
      Cupcake Crazy Gem was given some white chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cups for her birthday and put them to good use in these White and Milk Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Banana Bread. She says: “The peanut butter gave it a great depth of flavour and those melting pools of peanut butter cups were amazing, my only complaint is that I wished there was more of them!”
      Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes also sent us a second entry – Wholemeal Walnut Bread. She says it’s the perfect accompaniment to cheese and it does sound really nice. Thanks for sharing it with us, Jen!
      Denise at Magnolia Verandah treated us to this Baked Walnut Tart which she says is good served with cream or ice cream – yes please!
        The last entry for this month is a cute one –Laura Loves Cakes has made these Watermelon Cupcakes using watermelon flavouring and green striped cupcake cases. I am going to bookmark this recipe!
        Thanks to everyone who entered this month! I assigned a number to each entry that is eligible for the Dr. Oetker prize and used a random number generator to pick one out, and am pleased to announce that the winner of the first ever Alphabakes giveaway is.....

        Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes!