Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Snip, Clip, Store, Bake, Cook, Share - it's Recipe Clippings!

There were some great entries to Recipe Clippings in February and now it's time to open the March Linky so get out that folder full of recipes cut from magazines, the ones copied from your mother, grandmother and friends and cook or bake the recipe and share it right here.

There are a number of different ways you can join in and cook up the recipes from your #RecipeClippings.

Make a recipe from a magazine/newspaper clipping or note: 

  • post a photograph and the recipe, or a link to a recipe, on your blog and add to the InLinkz linky at the bottom of this post. Link to Farmersgirl Kitchen in your blog post and include the #RecipeClippings logo OR
  • post a photograph and description on Instagram tagging FarmersgirlCook and using #RecipeClippings OR
  • post a photograph and description on Twitter tagging @FarmersgirlCook and using #RecipeClippings OR


  • You may post recipes you have clipped from magazines, newspapers or have written down from friends and family.Please credit the author of the recipe or ask permission.
  • Please say where the recipe came from.
  • Three entries per month.
  • I will re-share any posts and/or photos that are tagged
  • Recipes must be added to the linky by the 28th of each month.

Monday, 2 March 2015

A Spicy Slow Cooked Challenge for March

Many thanks to everyone who took part in the February Slow Cooked Challenge. There were lots of great slowly cooked recipes so check out the ROUND-UP.

The theme for the Slow Cooked Challenge this month is SPICY.  
Pay attention please Mr Dominic Franks!  


I made this Yellow Pork from Dhruv Baker's book, you can read my review of the book Spice - Layers of Flavour.  I'm not publishing the recipe as it is copyright, but basically the cubes of pork are mixed with yogurt and spices and cooked for 8 hours on low in the Slow Cooker.  You will see that I used a Slow Cooker Liner that I was trialling, more about that On My Kitchen Table.

It was a bit of a gamble slow cooking the yogurt and it did split and curdle but the flavour was excellent, I used a 0% greek yogurt, but I would recommend a full fat yogurt to reduce the risk of the sauce splitting, or add a little cornflour mixed with milk to the yogurt before adding the spices. 

It doesn't have to be curry though, bring me any slow cooked dish that contains spices and can be described as SPICY.

The Slow Cooked Challenge is a monthly blog challenge dedicated to making recipes using a Slow Cooker/Crockpot or by slow cooking in the oven, aga or other slow method of cooking. Each month there will be a theme e.g. soup, dessert, vegetarian etc

If you would like to take part, then please: 
  • Make your recipe in your Slow Cooker or other slow cooking method and post a photograph and the recipe, or a link to a recipe, on your blog
  • Link to Farmersgirl Kitchen
  • Use the Slow Cooked Challenge logo in your post
  • If you use twitter, tweet your post with @FarmersgirlCook and #SlowCookedChallenge and I will re-tweet it to my followers AND post your picture on the dedicated Pinterest Board. 
  • Please do not publish recipes from cookbooks on your blog without permission, they are copyright.
  • If you are using recipes from another website, please link to the recipe on the website rather than publishing the recipe.
  • One entry per blog.
  • Recipes must be added to the linky by the 28th of each month.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

From Mississipi to Vietnam in the Recipe Clippings Round Up

Hooray!  Another batch of recipes, been clipped, cooked or baked, blogged and shared for Recipe Clippings. Many thanks to all who joined me for the February Challenge.

1. Rachel Cotterill - Mississippi Mud Pie 
2. Baking in Pyjamas - Jaffa Cake Tea Bread
3. Onions and Paper - Pastitsio

4. Cloud of Cookmorphosis - Bun Mam: Vietnamese Fermented Fish Vermicelli Soup
5. Lancashire Food - Almond Sponge Topped Apple Pots
6. Chocolate Log Blog - Lemon Coconut Cakes with Freekah Flour

If you would like to find out more about Recipe Clippings please visit the page and come back and join in when the March Recipe Clippings Challenge is posted.

From Pies to Puddings: The February Slow Cooked Challenge Round Up

 I'm always amazed by the variety of dishes that are entered to the Slow Cooked Challenge and as there was no particular theme this month, we have everything from pies to puddings with a side order of focaccia.  Thanks to all the cooks who entered this month, it's such a pleasure to visit your web sites and blogs to see what you have made.

1. Onions and Paper Buffalo Pie
2. Family Friends Food 5-grain and Onion Soup with Cheese Brulee
3. Baking Queen 73 Slow Cooker Spinach and Feta Focaccia
4. Searching for Spice Slow Cooked Pork in Peanut Sauce

5. How to Cook Good Food Game Pie
6. Belleau Kitchen Slow Cooker Brisket with Caramelised Onions
7. Chardonnay and Samphire  Leek, Sweet Potato and Aubergine Curry
8. Baking in Franglais Slow Cooker Rice Pudding
9. Cloud of Cookmorphosis Easy Peasy Delicious (Asian Style) Duck Confit

The new challenge will be open very soon, February doesn't give much turnaround time with it's meagre 28 days, so please bear with me.

If you would like to find out more about the Slow Cooked Challenge then please visit the page which has all the details.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Pear Upside-down Cake from Hummingbird Bakery: Life is Sweet

Life is Sweet is the fourth book by Tarek Malouf, founder of The Hummingbird Bakery.  The Hummingbird Bakery was instrumental in popularising the sort of high quality bakes, loved by Americans, first  to London through the bakeries and then to the rest of the UK, through the books.  I already have a baking book from The Hummingbird Bakery, Cake Days,  but I am particularly pleased with this one, let me tell you a little about it.

Life is Sweet is organised into 10  chapters

Cakes, simple and more complex includes Gooey Butter Cake, 7Up Pound Cake, Molasses Pecan Crumb Cake, Chocolate Bundt Cake, Tunnel of Fudge Cake and Upside Down Pear Cake

Cupcakes both familiar and unusual including Banana Foster Cupcakes, Tomato Soup Cupcakes, Toasted Marshmallow Cupcakes, Honey Cornbread Cupcakes and Mint Julep Cupcakes.

Layer Cakes includes an indulgent Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake, Gingerbread Icebox Cake, Alabama Little Layer Cake, Red Velvet Crepe Cake and Appalachian Stack Cake.

Pies is full of very American Pies including, Lemon Chiffon Pie, Deep-fried Apple Pies, Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie, Vinegar Pie and New Orleans Prune Pie.

Cookies and Candies provides bite sized treats such as Soft Molasses Cookies, Black Pepper Cookies (on my list), Vanilla filled Chocolate Cookies, Lemon Drops, Turtle Cookies and Creamy Pecan Pralines.

Traybakes are one of my favourite bakes, how about Coconut Dream Bars, Red Velvet Brownies, Blackberry Limeade Bars and Texas Tassie Bars.

Pancakes are so easy to make and these lovely flavours are very tempting Black Bottom Pancakes, Pumpkin Pancakes, Cinnamon Pancake Cake and Sally Lunn French Toast.

Top your pies and pancakes with some lovely Ice Cream, Grasshopper Ice Cream, Earl Grey Tea and Chocolate Ice Cream, Fresh Peach Ice Cream and Lemon Custard Ice Cream.

Puddings to delight your sweet tooth include Praline Bread Pudding with Pecan Caramel Sauce, Brownie Pudding and White Chocolate Bread Pudding.

The final chapter features Bread and Savouries, Skillet Cornbread, Crawfish Pie, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Loaf and Graham Crackers.

The book finishes up with some Baking Essentials about Ingredients, Equipment, Methods and Techniques.

Who is it for?
Pretty much anyone who likes baking and is looking for some different ideas to try.  It's not aimed at beginner bakers, but if you follow the instructions there is no reason why a novice could not achieve good results.

A wide range of different bakes, each on a little out of the ordinary.  Good photographs which let you see what you are aiming for.
I can't really think of any cons with this book, it is full of such good things.

The Verdict
I really was beginning to think I had enough baking books, that they were just full of the same sort of recipes, but this one really does have some exciting bakes in it, ones that I really want to bake.  So I give a hearty thumbs up to Life is Sweet and would urge you to go out and buy it.

I decided to make the Pear Upside Down Cake, the cake is a soft gingerbread with works so well with the caramelised pears, it works well as a cake and as a dessert.

Upside-Down Pear Cake
Makes one 23 x 32 cm (9 x 13 in) cake, to slice as desired

For the caramelised pears
6 large, ripe pears, peeled, cored ad quartered lengthways
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
40g (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
80g (3 oz) caster sugar
130ml (4 1/2 fl oz) Kentucky bourbon or whisky

For Cake
195g (7oz) plain flour
1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
160g (5 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
75g (2 1/2 oz) dark muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
170g (6 oz) pure cane molasses, such as Meridian
3 tbsp boiling water
1 q/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350C), Gas mark 4. Line the tin with non-stick baking parchment.
2. To make the caramelised pears, mix the pears with the lemon juice.  In a large frying pan, melt the butter and sprinkle with half the caster sugar. Put the pear quarters into the pan.  Cook for about 5 minutes until brown on one side.  Turn and cook for a further 5 minutes until the other side is brown.  With a slotted spoon, carefully remove the pear quarters and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Add the bourbon and the rest of the caster sugar to the pan and cook and stir frequently for about 5 minutes until the mixture becomes syrupy.  Pour this syrup into the baking tin and tip the tin to spread evenly over the bottom of the tin.
4. Start to arrange the pears from one corner so that they cover the bottom of the tin and are facing the same direction. Set aside.
5. To make the cake, sift together the flour, spices and salt in a bowl.
6. Using a freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment or hand-held electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for around 5 minutes on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time on a lower speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Only beat until just Incorporated.  Add the molasses and beat for a few moments longer to mix.
7. In a small bowl, add the boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda and set aside.  Add half the flour mixture to the creamed mixture on low speed.  then add the water and bicarbonate of soda and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until well Incorporated  It will look like the mixture has split, but that i correct.
8. Scrape the mixture into the tin on top of the arranged pears and bake for 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 165C (325F) Gas mark 3 and bake for 10-15 minutes longer.  The top should bounce bake when lightly touched.  Cool in the tin for 1 hour, then run a knife around the edges of the cake. Place a tray over the top of the tin and carefully(but quickly) turn upside down.

The resulting cake is rich and treacley but not too dense, the pears  add a lovely texture to the cake and are not too sweet.  A really delightful bake and I was thrilled with comments that my version looks just like the one in the book.

The Hummingbird Bakery - Life is Sweet
100 original recipes for happy home baking
Published by 4th Estate,  Harper Collins
RRP £20

I have one copy of Life is Sweet to giveaway, you can enter by following the instructions on the Rafflecopter Widget below (UK only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Join me for Celery Soup and a Spring Four Course Dinner

I've been shopping at Aldi again, picking up some great deals on spring produce and making them into an amazing four course dinner for you.

The Soup Course
Let's start with some delicious Celery Soup, I found this lovely recipe for dairy-free Cream of Celery Soup on Pinterest, it comes from the very talented Erren's Kitchen and uses potato as a thickener.

The Fish Course
A very simple four ingredient Smoked Mackerel Pate  is whizzed up quickly in the food processor and is very moreish.  I've served it with large slices of toast but it would be ideal on cocktail oatcakes or thin slices of french bread at a more refined dinner party.

The Main Course (Entree)
Pot Roasted Scotch Beef with Roast Potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and Spring Greens. The beef was cooked in the Slow Cooker doused with a bottle of dark beer and enough stock to cover three-quarters of the meat, then cooked on low for 8-10 hours.  Once cooked, I reduced the cooking liquor by half , by boiling it on the stove to make an intense and delicious gravy.

Okay, so pears are hardly 'spring' produce but I couldn't resist these pears, they looked so good and when I peeled and quartered them to make the Pear Upside Down Cake, they were indeed perfect and perfectly ripe. I'll be posting the recipe for the cake very soon, it comes from the latest book Hummingbird Bakery - Life is Sweet which I'll also be reviewing.

Aldi Shopping List
Celery - 65p
Maris Piper Potatoes - 2.5kg  - £1.89
Smoked Mackerel Fillets - £1.59
Silverside Scotch Beef Joint - £8.10
Spring Greens - 59p
'Specially Selected' Yorkshire Puddings - 99p
'Best in Season' Pears - £1.29

Many thanks to Aldi for providing me with vouchers to purchase the ingredients for these recipes. I was not paid and all opinions are my own.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Cake, Snacks and Slow Cooker Liners on my Kitchen Table

It's always exciting when a parcel arrives and, as a food blogger, I receive quite a few packages full of delights.  This month I have three very different products to share with you.

I've had cakes through the post in the past which tasted manufactured rather than homemade.  I was interested to see whether the cakes from Sendmecakes would live up to their description as homemade.  The slim box dropped through the letterbox and when I opened it, I couldn't believe how many slices of cake were packed in there.  Each slice is individually wrapped in cellophane and tied only with a piece of raffia which opens easily when you pull at the bow.

The cakes have no fondant icing, no butercream and no 'fake food' ingredients.  They stay moist for days (recommended to be kept in a cool place and eaten within 5 days of dispatch) and each one contains fruit or veg, herbs and spices and only natural extracts.

There is a full list of Varieties and Ingredients, my box contained the following:

Apricot Bakewell Sandwich - probably my favourite slice, so moist and tasty
Lemon and Stawberry Jam Sandwich - a traditional Victoria Sandwich with a real home made taste.
Kent Apple Cake - there were a couple of slices of this cake as it's one of the signature bakes.  It's a lovely homely cake.
Treacle Toffee Drizzle - that's the slice pictured above (half a slice on the plate), sweet crunchy toffee topping, soft sweet cake.
Original Brownie - dense brownie with a true chocolate taste
Apricot Slice - oaty, apricot traybake
Super Seed Flapjack - probably my least favourite, just too many seeds but oh so good for you.

I cannot recommend these cakes highly enough.  You could certainly pass them off as your own, they taste home made.  A box of these cake slices would be an ideal gift for Mothers Day, a birthday, New Home or Get Well Soon.

The Ultimate Bake Box costs £22.00 including UK postage 
A Gluten Free Slice Box costs £22.00 including UK postage
100% Cake Box costs £20.00 including UK postage
Kent Bramley Apple Cake costs £17.00 including UK postage

Rating 10/10

Slow Cooker Liners

Slow Cooker Liners are something I had read about in US Slow Cooker cookbooks and online recipe sites, but I had never seen them in the UK.  I actually spotted these on Twitter and have been sent a sample pack of 4 liners for review.

I've been asked what the point is of Slow Cooker Liners and I can see where people are coming from with this, it's really not so difficult to clean your slow cooker as most models have removable crocks or non-stick metal pots.  There are, however some instances when I would welcome not cleaning out the pot after making a particularly messy or sticky recipe which requires soaking and scrubbing.  In addition, the liners claim to keep your Slow Cooker like new, reduce wear and tear and lock in flavour.

I would also recommend them for making Double Dinners, where you cook two separate dishes at the same time/  I couldn't get the liners at the time, so used roasting bags. 

I made Dhruv Baker's 'Yellow Curry' from his book Spice.  It's loaded with turmeric which is notorious for staining everything.  The liner worked perfectly, they are BPA free food grade plastic so the dinner had no plastic taste and the CrockPot only needed a little bit of a wipe round.

I wouldn't use the liners every time but it would certainly be worth having a pack in the cupboard for particular dishes, double dinners and when you just can't face the washing up!

Slow Cooker Liners - £1.39 pack of 4
Rating 7/10

Snack Attack!

Sunbites, the extraordinarily tasty multigrain snack from Walkers, announces the arrival of three new products set to tantalise our taste buds. The new scrumptious additions include Crispy Crackers, Pitta Bakes and Crackers & Dip.

  • The oven-baked Crispy Crackers and Pitta Bakes are made with multigrains and contain 30% less fat than regular crisps.
  • There are four new flavours of Crispy Crackers: Cream Cheese and Chive, Sun Ripened Sweet Chilli, Lightly Salted and Oven Roasted Onion and Rosemary. Being more of a 'lightly salted' sort of girl, I just loved the Crispy Crackers, the taste of the grains really came through.  A 24g bag of Crispy Crackers contains 110 calories and a multi-pack of 6 packs costs around £1.26 - £1.89
  • Sunbites Pitta Bakes are available in Vintage Cheddar and Caramelised Onion, Roasted Red Pepper and Chilli and Oven Roasted Onion and Rosemary flavours. I also tried the Roasted Red Pepper and Chilli Pitta Bakes, they were crisp with a real blast of flavour, the bags are a nice size for children and each bag contains 111 calories a multi-pack of 6 packs costs around £1.26 - £1.89
  • There is also the new Sunbites Crackers and Dip packs a tasty snack to add a moment of pleasure to your day. Flavours come in Caramelised Red Onion Chutney with Lightly Salted Crackers and Sundried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Salsa with Lightly Salted Crackers. The Caramelised Onion dip is a generous portion and designed to serve two with a small pack of Crispy Crackers.  I think you would probably need two bags of crackers to really enjoy all the dip, but you could use any leftover dip with burgers or on sandwiches.  The Crackers and Dip pack costs around  £1.00 - £1.89
Rating: 9/10

I hope you enjoyed reading about these products, let me know what you think if you have tried them or plan to try any of them as a result of these reviews.

I received these products for review, I was not paid and all opinions are my own. 

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