Posted in British Cuisine, Cakes, Chocolate, Halloween

Double Chocolate and Banana Devil’s Cake (with chocolate ganache)

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With Halloween fast approaching, there is nothing better to appease that devil inside than a good old chocolate cake.  As I happen to be surrounded by banana trees in this beautiful place I live in the south of Turkey, I thought why not chuck a few of those delicious bananas in too.  Top it off with some chocolate ganache and there you go, one devilishly delicious cake!!

Ingredients (for the cake)

175 g sugar

175 g flour

1 sachet bicarbonate soda (5 ml)

1 sachet baking powder (5 ml)

4 tbsps cocoa powder

100 ml sunflower oil

175 g very ripe bananas (mashed-blacker the better)

3 eggs (1 whole and 2 with yolks and whites seperated)

50 ml milk

100 g chocolate chips

Ingredients (for the ganache)

100-150 ml double cream

A large handful of chocolate chips or bitter chocolate broken into small pieces

2 tbsps desiccated coconut (optional)

Method

Pre-grease and line a cake loaf tin with greaseproof paper or liner.  Preheat oven to 160°c.

You will need 2 bowls. In the first bowl place the sugar, flour, bicarbonate soda, baking powder and cocoa powder. Gently stir to combine.

In the second bowl pour the oil, mashed bananas, the whole egg plus the 2 yolks and the milk. Stir well.

Add to the dry ingredients in the first bowl and combine until evenly mixed.  Add about half of the egg whites and mix well.  Now add the rest of the egg white and the chocolate chips and fold in gently.

Pour into the loaf tin, and bake at 160°c for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.  Allow to cool in the tin for about 15 – 20 minutes then remove from tin and place on a cooling rack until cold.

To make the ganache, warm the cream over a very low heat and add the chocolate chips stirring continuously until thickened and all chocolate has melted.  You can add more or less cream/chocolate chips as you prefer.  Add the desiccated coconut (if using) and stir to combine.  This also helps it thicken.

Pour over your cake allowing it to drip over the sides.  Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the ganache to harden.  It is now ready to serve.

Suggestion

Sprinkle with desiccated coconut or crushed almonds (or both) to decorate (before refrigerating).  Goes well with cream or ice cream.

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Posted in American Cuisine, Barbecue, Beef Dishes, British Cuisine, Casseroles, Greek, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Turkish Cuisine

Basic Meatball / Burger Mixture

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This is a basic recipe that can be used to make all kinds of meatballs or burgers.  In Turkey we like our Köfte, which are meatballs flattened into small discs.  In Italian and Indian cooking I tend to roll the meatballs into small balls.  You can even put small cubes of cheese in the middle of the balls which are especially nice when cooked in a tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. This is my husband’s recipe which he learned from his mother.

Ingredients

500 g minced beef

1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (if using freshly ground – only use half a cup if using fine breadcrumbs bought in the shop or it will be too dry)

1 egg

1 onion (finely grated)

1 tsp cumin

A pinch of thyme

Salt & pepper

A pinch of hot chilli flakes (optional)

Method

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hand.  Knead it for a good few minutes then form into a ball.

Now you can pull off small amounts to form into meatballs which you can freeze for later or cook straight away.  You can also divide up larger amounts to make burgers too.

Posted in American Cuisine, British Cuisine, Cheese, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Snacks

Cheesy onion rings in breadcrumbs

What could be better than an onion ring? A cheesy onion ring!! I found this recipe on the Tasty app, and it was just as easy as they said.  The only tricky part was placing the cheese between the onion rings.  Also a good piece of advice is to have the window wide open if possible due to the fumes from the onion burning your eyes. Very quick to make but bear in mind there is an hour of freezing time involved, so better to prep in advance.

Ingredients

Medium to large sized onions (thickly sliced)

Slices of cheese

Flour

1-2 eggs (beaten)

Breadcrumbs

Oil (for frying)

**Measurements are not given as you will use as much as you need depending on how many you are making.

Method

First of all, you need to sort your sliced onions so that you have one ring that will fit inside another with a clear gap between them.

Now you need to cut your sliced cheese so that it fits between the two rings of onion.

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Next you need to place on a tray covered in baking paper and freeze for about an hour.

While you are waiting, set out a bowl of flour, a bowl with the beaten eggs and a bowl of breadcrumbs.

Once removed from the freezer, coat the ring first in flour, then in egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs.

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To cook, heat a pan of deep oil (I use vegetable or sunflower oil) over a high heat. Carefully place the rings into the oil using a slotted spoon.

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Allow to fry for a few minutes or until golden then remove onto some grease-proof paper.

Serve hot.

 

 

Posted in American Cuisine, British Cuisine, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Mediterranean, Mexican, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Stir fry, Vegetarian

Perfect Rice

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Cooking rice can be rather hit or miss.  Either it can be bland, or puffy and over cooked, it isn’t as easy as you think.  But now I have a fool-proof recipe.  This recipe is based on 2 people so double amounts accordingly.

Ingredients

1 cup of rice (I use Jasmine)

2 cups of water

a pinch of salt

1 stock cube (chicken, meat or vegetable)

1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Put the olive oil, rice and salt in a flat bottom pan (as in the photo) and fry over a medium heat on the hob for about a minute stirring continuously.

Add the water and stir.

Cover pan with a lid and simmer over a low heat until all the water has evaporated (approx 20-25 minutes).

Serve hot.

**You can also add grated ginger or turmeric powder for added flavours.  Ginger goes nice with Chinese dishes, and the turmeric for Indian.

Left over rice can be chilled in the fridge over night and is then perfect for fried rice dishes.

 

Posted in British Cuisine, Cheese, Oven, Quick and Easy, Savoury Pastries, Snacks

Cheese Pastry Baskets

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This is a great idea for a quick snack.  They can be made in advance, can be frozen to be eaten later and you can even take them to work and zap in the microwave as a quick filling lunch.  I use frozen puff pastry as it is cheap, quick and easy, and here in Turkey comes pre-cut in perfect squares.

Ingredients

Puff Pastry (defrosted and cut into squares)

Tomato pureé

Grated cheese

Any other toppings as desired such as:

Sliced tomatoes or onions

chopped red or green peppers,

sliced sausages, pepperoni or ham etc…

1 egg beaten for glazing

Dried herbs for sprinkling

Method

Pre-heat oven at 180°c. Place a sheet of baking paper on an oven tray, then lay out your puff pastry leaving plenty of space between pieces.  Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut 2 ‘L’ shaped cuts on opposite corners (see photo below). Brush tomato pureé over the pastry (I water down my pureé so it is not so thick) and sprinkle on some herbs (I used oregano) then you are ready to decorate with the fillings.

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You can add as many fillings as you like, it is up to you. On this occasion, I used sliced cocktail sausages, spring onions and cream cheese, which I then covered with grated cheese.  Sometimes just plain cheese and tomato is lovely too.

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Now that you have loaded your baskets, you need to glaze the edges, then lift the handles from corner to corner and stick together.  Also do not forget to glaze the other side of the handles too.

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Then place in a pre-heated oven at approximately 180°c for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden.

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Posted in British Cuisine, Cheese, Oven, Potato Dishes, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Vegetarian

Cheesy Potato Boat

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Jacket potatoes are an old favourite in most British homes. Traditionally they are baked in the oven for a couple of hours, then slit open and butter is added.  This cheesy boat has been prepared slightly differently, so if you are a cheese lover and have a creative streak then go ahead and give it a try.

Ingredients

A large baking potato (per person)

a knob of butter (about 1 tsp)

1-2 tbsps milk

1-2 handfuls of grated cheese (plus some for decorating)

Salt and pepper (as required)

Thyme and oregano

Tomato and cucumber slices (decoration)

Method

Wash and pat dry the baking potatoes.  Using either a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, pierce the potatoes on each side taking care not to make large cuts.  This is to allow the steam to be released as they cook.  Place in the oven on about 180°c for 2-3 hours, turning once halfway through.  The time really does depend on the size of the potatoes, but if a knife slips in easily then they should be done.

Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes to avoid burning your hands.

Using a knife with a sharp tip, run the knife down the centre of the potato on one side, lengthways.  Now make another smaller slit to form a cross.  Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut away the top potato skin to form an oval opening, resembling a boat deck.

Using a metal spoon, carefully dig out the soft potato into a large bowl, being careful not to break the skin. (Even if cooking more than one potato you can use the same bowl).  Add the butter and milk and mash until creamy.  If it seems a bit dry you can add a tiny bit more milk. Salt and pepper according to your preferences then add the grated cheese.  You can add less cheese if on a diet, or more if like me you just love cheese.  Mix the cheese and potato together until well combined.**

Spoon the potato mixture back into the skin, pressing down to compact it.  Decorate the tops of the potatoes with the last of the grated cheese and sprinkle some thyme and oregano.

Using wooden kebab skewers or even toothpicks, push slices of cucumber and tomato on them to look like sails then press down into the potatoes.  Return to the oven for around 5-10 minutes, until cheese starts to bubble, or even place under the grill (be careful not to burn them).

Serve hot.

Suggestions

Goes well with coleslaw, and is quite tasty along side Chilli Con Carne… or just eat with a lovely crisp salad.  You can find the recipes for these on my blog.

**You can also add a variety of Ham or pepperoni in with the mix before re-stuffing the potatoes.

 

Posted in American Cuisine, Barbecue, British Cuisine, No cooking involved, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Vegetarian

Coleslaw

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Coleslaw is the perfect side for many dishes including Jacket Potatoes, Cheese Toasties and all kinds of salads. It is very easy to make and requires only 4 basic ingredients.  The quantities vary depending on how much you want to make, if it doesn’t seem enough just add a little bit more cabbage and carrot.  In Turkey, where I live, the size of cabbages vary from small to enormous, so adjust the ingredients accordingly.  In this recipe (and photo) I have used a small red cabbage as they are readily available all year round, but a regular green cabbage can be used too.

Ingredients

1 large onion (finely chopped)

1-2 large carrots (peeled and grated)

Approximately 1/4 of a small round cabbage (finely chopped)

2-3 large tbsps mayonnaise

Salt and pepper (to taste, as required)

Method

Place the grated carrots, chopped onion and cabbage in a bowl and mix.

Add the mayonnaise and again mix well to ensure all the vegetables are well mixed.

Add salt and pepper as required and serve.