Christmas Tree Brownies!

Christmas Tree BrowniesWith just over a week left until the big day, I found myself wondering what other awesome Christmas bakes I could try – then I came up with these little beauties. Christmas tree brownies! Not only are they delightfully gooey & rich, they’re really fun to decorate AND vegetarian & gluten free. It’s also a great recipe to get the kids involved in. What more could you want?!

One thing to note – these brownies work best if made the night before and allowed to cool completely before attempting to slice & decorate. Also – they are the most awesome, rich & gooey brownies you will ever make. (And that’s a KitchenMason promise!)

Here is what you will need to make 14.

For the Brownie

For the Decoration

  • 100g White Chocolate **
  • Pack of Candy Canes **
  • Red/Green Sugar Balls **

Essential Equipment

  • 30 x 20cm Rectangular Cake/Swiss Roll Tin

*Regular self raising flour works fine if you don’t need it to be gluten free.

** Most are vegetarian/gluten free but check the label just in case.

 

Right, let’s get cracking!

Grease and line the cake tin and set to one side until needed.

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C.

Break the dark & milk chocolate into a large bowl and add the butter & salt. Gently melt either in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave.

Stir until smooth & shiny then leave to one side to cool.

Christmas Tree BrowniesEither in an electric stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – whisk the eggs for at least 3-4 minutes until really light and pale.

It should leave a slight trail when you remove the balloon whisk/beaters.

Christmas Tree BrowniesAdd in the muscovado sugar & vanilla extract and whisk again until evenly blended but still fairly light in texture.

Christmas Tree BrowniesIn thirds, pour in the cooled chocolate & gently fold through using a rubber spatula.

Sift over the flour and carefully fold this in – just until you can’t see any more lumps of flour and the mixture is smooth & still quite light.

Christmas Tree BrowniesPour the mixture into the prepared cake tin – be careful not to overfill as it will rise slightly.

Then bake in the preheated oven for approx 25-30 minutes.

Christmas Tree Brownies

Christmas Tree BrowniesAs mentioned before, it is best to make these brownies the night before and allow to cool completely before attempting to remove from the tin & slice.

So, when completely cooled  -run a spatula down the sides of the brownie to release from the tin then gently lift out and place on a chopping board/mat.

Now, I’m a bit of a perfectionist so yeah – I got a ruler out at this point! But basically, cut the brownie into 14 triangles. You will have 4 spare bits for you to taste test too! (Clearly I couldn’t wait to take a photo…)

Christmas Tree BrowniesTake each candy cane out the wrapper and snap into pieces approx 3cm long.

Place the brownies on a wire rack over a piece of newspaper & carefully insert a piece of candy cane into the base of each one.

Christmas Tree BrowniesMelt the white chocolate in either a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave and pour into a piping bag.

Snip the end and pipe ‘tinsel’ across each tree then place sugar balls down the edges in the chocolate for the baubles.

I found it best to decorate in half batches – just to ensure the chocolate doesn’t set before you have stuck the ‘baubles’ in.

Christmas Tree BrowniesAllow the chocolate to set for about 30-40 minutes or so before either devouring straight away or placing in nice presentation boxes to give as gifts to your loved ones.

I find it best to store these in an air tight container in the fridge – due to their extreme ‘gooeyness’ they can become a little delicate if stored at room temperature.

Christmas Tree BrowniesGo on, admit it – they’re SO cute aren’t they?! I think these make great little home made gifts for people and, with the decoration element – you can let the kids go nuts adding edible glitters, hundreds and thousands or whatever else they can think of!

Don’t forget to enter my awesome competition to win a fabulous Scanpan Roasting Tray! You can enter via the Website, Facebook or Twitter.

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies – until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

 

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan Giveaway!

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayWe’re into December now and there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind – Christmas. I’m here to help make it a little easier on you with my super simple & intensely delicious ultimate roast veg recipe. Not only that, but you could bag yourself literally the greatest roasting pan I have ever used! Competition details at the end of the post.

Here is what you will need to serve 3-4 as a side dish.

  • 350g Baby Potatoes, quartered
  • 2 – 3 Large Carrots, peeled & sliced
  • 2 – 3 Large Parsnips, peeled & sliced
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley, to garnish (Optional)

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Quarter the baby potatoes (they should be roughly 3cm in diameter) then peel the carrots & parsnips.

Slice the carrots & parsnips to approx the same size as the potatoes – this will ensure it all cooks evenly.

Then throw it all into a good quality roasting pan along with the garlic powder, oregano, thyme, olive oil & a generous helping of salt & pepper.

Get your hands in and mix it all together so everything is evenly coated.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayPop it into the centre of the preheated oven and cook for 35-40 minutes until golden & soft.

I gave mine a mix half way through the cooking time.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayI told you it was simple! No mess, no fuss recipes are exactly what you need on Christmas Day to eliminate all that unnecessary stress. This is literally – chop it, mix it, cook it . Job done! And only one pan to wash after?? You’re welcome.

Now, onto the more important business at hand. The Scanpan roasting pan. Wowsers this is a great piece of kit! I’ll be honest, I had never actually heard of the brand until now. But honestly? This really is a kitchen must have and completely obliterates all the other roasting pans I have ever used!

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan Giveaway

What you need to know: Scanpan is a Danish company that not only strive for unrivaled quality with their patented ceramic titanium coating but they also care deeply about the environment. Despite the added cost, the Scanpan Classic range is made using 100% recycled aluminium and even the packaging they come in is 100% recycled material too.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayAs for the roasting pans, I have honestly never come across quality like it. It has a fantastic weight to it and you know they’re not lying when they say it comes with a ‘no warp’ guarantee.

The ceramic titanium non stick coating is really something to shout about too. I mean, nothing is going to stick to this baby – NOTHING! Every time I’ve roasted veg in a roasting pan, something has always stuck to the bottom and it’s a nightmare to clean. With this? No chance! Everything wiped straight off. It was like you hadn’t cooked anything in it in the first place.

Another thing I noticed when making this recipe was how evenly everything cooked. They claim the roasting pans have fast & even heat distribution and I totally agree! Fantastic stuff.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayAn additional feature that I think is also worth noting, is the fact that the bottom allows it to be used both on the hob & in the oven. So you could sear some chicken or beef on the hob and finish it off in the oven – all in one pan. It literally does it all!

 

So, to be in with a chance of winning your very own Scanpan Roasting pan – just do one or all of the following 3 things:

 

1. Like the KitchenMason & Scanpan UK pages on Facebook then share the photo pinned to the top of my timeline

2. Follow @KitchenMason & @ScanpanUK on Twitter and retweet the competition tweet on KitchenMason’s Twitter feed with the hashtag #WinHausKM

Not on social media? No problem!

3. Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or WordPress (on the right hand side of the page) and leave a comment on this post to say you’ve done so.

 

It really is that easy!

Competition is open to UK residents only and closes on Saturday 20th December at 1pm.

The winner will be announced on both Facebook & Twitter afterwards.

I hope you enjoyed the post lovelies, and good luck!

Miss KitchenMason

Chocolate Cinder Toffee

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeSo Halloween is over. Up next? Bonfire Night!

I know what you’re thinking… you want a super quick, super easy, naturally vegetarian AND gluten free recipe right? Give this chocolate cinder toffee a go and I promise, you won’t regret it! Alternatively referred to as hokey pokey or honeycomb, it’s like making your very own, home made Crunchie bars. Awesome right?

In other news this week, I’ve also tried something a little different for you lovely lot. It’s the first ever KitchenMason step by step video! I hope you like it.

Alternatively, here’s the usual guide you’ve come to know and love.

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 150 – 200g Milk Chocolate*

* for Gluten Free, check the wrapper as some are/some aren’t.

Line a 25cm square tin with baking paper and grease lightly with oil. Or, like me, just use a silicone tin as it won’t stick.

In a large pan, add the honey, golden syrup and sugar. Mix it all together now as it’s not wise to do so when over the heat.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeePlace the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil.

Bring the mixture to 145°C (it will take approx 2-3 minutes from boiling point – if you don’t have a thermometer, watch the video to see what it should look like.)

Now for the magic. Immediately turn off the heat, chuck in the bicarbonate of soda and give it a good whisk until you can’t see any more bicarb.

Quickly pour it into your prepared tin and leave to cool & set for 30 minutes.

When it’s hard, cut into large chunks.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeEither in a microwave or a glass bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, gradually melt the chocolate until smooth.

Place a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a baking sheet. Then dip each piece of cinder toffee into the chocolate, and allow to set on the sheet.

Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeSee, I told you it was quick and easy!

It’s gorgeous stuff, I absolutely love it. Like glistening gold dust smothered in a smooth, silky chocolate coat… drool. Yeah, they ain’t gonna last long that’s for sure!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post, until next time my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

Crushed Baby Potatoes

Crushed Baby PotatoesI always seem to run out of ideas for sides to have with meals.  But I definitely get bored with the usual pasta, rice & salads. This side dish is quick, easy and something a little bit different to the regular mashed, boiled, roast or baked. A really tasty and satisfying dish that appears to be creeping into my meals more & more often!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a side dish. (Easily doubled)

  • 450g Baby Potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Bring a large pan of generously salted water to the boil.

Add in the potatoes – being careful not to splash yourself. Bring back up to the boil then cook for 15mins until starting to soften.

Crushed Baby PotatoesDrain the potatoes well then gently crush with a fork. You want a good mix of large & small chunks.

Crushed Baby PotatoesSwap that fork for a spoon so you don’t crush the potatoes any further. Drizzle in the olive oil,  dot in the butter and add a fairly generous helping of salt & pepper to season. Give it a mix and that’s it!

Crushed Baby PotatoesAnd there you have it, a simple yet temptingly inviting side dish that’s ready in less than 30mins! Perfect for midweek meals or easy entertaining. You can even play about with the flavours. Got some fresh herbs to use up? Chop ‘em up and mix ‘em in. Mustard in the fridge? Add a teaspoon or 2 for an extra kick. You could just about chuck anything in to give it a flavourful boost or simply enjoy it as it is.

I hope you enjoyed the post lovelies!

Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

Tomato Soup with a Hint of Basil

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilNow, it may seem a little early for a soup recipe but in actual fact, it’s the perfect time of year to get started! With all the beautiful late summer veg in the gardens, it’s exactly the right time to start stocking your freezer ready for Autumn & Winter.

My lovely Gran is a very keen gardener. Every year she surprises me with how much she gets out of her garden! Recently, she’s had a lot of tomatoes ripening very quickly that she needs to get eaten. I thought I would help her out and turn all those beauties into a delicious soup for the both of us to enjoy.

Here is what you will need to make approx 6 portions.

  • 1kg – 1.25kg Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Celery Stick
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Tomato Purée
  • Generous pinch of Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves, each torn in half
  • 3 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1.2 litres Vegetable Stock *
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil

*I used 4 x Knorr Vegetable Stock Pots dissolved in 1.2 litres of boiling water.

Essential Equipment

  • Large pot with a Lid
  • Stick Blender or Food Processor

First thing’s first, you need to prepare your veg.

I removed the skins from my tomatoes. It’s totally optional but actually quite simple to do.

Simply fill a jug or bowl with boiling water and submerge your tomatoes for 30 secs or so. You should actually start to see some of the skins splitting.

Then, using a spoon – remove the tomatoes from the water and simply peel the skins straight off.

Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupBeing very careful, as they will be a little slippy, quarter the tomatoes and remove any hard bits of core.

Tomato SoupNow, peel & chop the onion, carrot & celery stick so they are all approx the same size.

Place the large pot over a low heat & add in the olive oil.

When you can feel the pan getting hot, add in the onion, carrot & celery. Give it a mix then cook over the low heat for about 10 mins until just starting to colour and soften.

Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupAdd in the tomato purée, the sugar, bay leaves & the dried basil. Give it all a good mix to ensure it’s all blended well.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilTip in the tomatoes and mix it all together.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilPop the lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 10 mins. Once or twice, give the pan a little shake to keep it all well mixed.

 

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilNext up, add in the vegetable stock and give it a really good stir.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilThen pop that lid back on and simmer over the low heat for 25 mins. Give the pan a good shake a couple of times during cooking.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilGive it a nice mix then find and remove the bay leaves.

Pull all the leaves from the bunch of basil and add them into the pot.

Then, whether it’s using a stick blender or a food processor, get blitzing until it’s all nice and smooth.

WARNING do take care if the soup is still very hot and never over fill your food processor as it has a tendency to explode!

I’ve recently obtained the new Stellar Cookware Stick Blender and  it’s absolutely fabulous!

Stellar Stick Blender

It breaks down into 2 parts for easy washing and storage and has a very comfortable & ergonomic grip. It’s also incredibly versatile with it’s settings – having a dial at the top to adjust the power and a turbo button when you need a little extra oomph.

Stellar Stick Blender

And it made mincemeat of this soup! Definitely a lot easier than making a huge mess trying to pour it all into a food processor. My days of that are now well and truly over!

Tomato Soup with a Hint of Basil - Stellar Stick Blender

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilLast thing to do is give the soup another stir and have a taste. Add more salt & pepper if you think it needs it.

Then either, eat it now or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Alternatively you could allow to cool completely then pour into ‘pour and store’ bags and place in the freezer ready for those colder nights.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilThere’s just something about tomato soup. It’s always been my favourite, ever since I was a little girl. I have tried to be more adventurous and try different soup flavours but I always come back to tomato! A definite winner in my book.

What would be lovely is if you served this with a little cream swirled through to add a bit of richness. And a good chunk of crusty bread with lashings of butter smeared all over it! Aaaahh, I can foresee nights by the fire with a bowl of this deliciousness in the near future. Autumn is coming… get your freezer prepared!

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Thyme Baked Eggs

Thyme Baked EggsAs I promised on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I finally got round to writing up the recipe for this tasty little creature. It’s honestly one of the nicest breakfasts I’ve had in a long time. (and I go out of my way to eat a lot of nice weekend breakfasts!) The best bit is you can use whatever herb you like. Whether it’s fresh or dry, thyme, basil or chives – it’s bound to be an incredibly simple yet fantastically delicious breakfast!

Here is what you will need to make 1 portion. Obviously you can make as many as you like.

  • 2 tsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme *
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Eggs

Essential Equipment

  • Ramekin

* If you use a dried herb, use 1 tsp. If you are using fresh herbs, use 2 tsp.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Add the butter to the ramekin and, whilst the oven is preheating, pop it in and allow the butter to melt.

Thyme Baked EggsWhen it’s completely melted, remove from the oven and add in the herbs along with some salt & pepper. Mix it together.

Thyme Baked EggsCrack in both eggs, then top with a little more salt & pepper if you like.

Thyme Baked EggsPlace the ramekin onto a baking tray and place into the preheated oven for approx 12 – 15 mins until the white is cooked but the yolks are still a little runny.

If you like, you can serve with buttered ‘soldiers’ (toast cut into slices) or simply have on it’s own for a gluten free option.

Thyme Baked Eggs

Thyme Baked EggsIt really is that easy! There are so many reasons to make this breakfast. It’s no fuss, it’s cheap and uses whatever you have in your cupboards, the butter stops the ramekin from becoming a cleaning nightmare (as we all know egg can be) and it’s down right bloomin’ delicious! Do I honestly need to give you anymore excuses to try it?

Give it a go next weekend, go on, you know you want to :P

And on that note, I hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies! Until next week.

Miss KitchenMason

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkThis is a recipe I have been trying to master for a long time now and I think I’ve finally cracked it! It’s so cheap to make, so easy to make & unbelievably tasty! Have I sold it to you yet? Good! Let’s get started.

Here is what you will need to make enough for approx 6-8 generously sized sandwiches.

  • 1 1/2 tbsp Paprika *
  • 1 tbsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 85g Honey
  • 2 tbsp/30ml Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp BBQ Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion
  • 1kg Boneless Pork Shoulder Joint (Fat on)

*If you can, use a good quality, smoked paprika – it will make all the difference.

Equipiment

  • Slow Cooker (mine is 3.3 litre)

Let’s start with the marinade.

In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic & thyme.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkThen add in the honey, red wine vinegar, BBQ sauce & olive oil. Give it all a good mix and set to one side.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkPeel & slice the onion in half then place at the bottom of the slow cooker, face down.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkSlice the pork joint in half and place on top of the onions. (Leave the fat on, it adds a great deal of flavour & is easily removable once cooked.) Then pour over the marinade. Try to cover as much meat as possible – it doesn’t matter if some of it falls to the bottom.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkLastly, pop the lid on and cook on low for about 6 hours or until the meat just falls apart.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkWhen it’s ready. Turn the slow cooker off and transfer the meat to a large bowl.

Remove the fat, then using 2 forks back to back – shred the meat.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkDon’t forget about those onions! Take them out, finely dice them (be careful, they’ll be a bit slippy) and add them straight back into the meat.

Then pop the whole lot back into the slow cooker along with those gorgeous juices. Give it a good mix and you are good to go!

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkIf there is a little too much juice for your liking – simply put the slow cooker on high but leave the lid off. Cook until it’s the consistency you want (it shouldn’t take too long) and stir occasionally.

Then serve warmed in crusty cobs or mini ciabattas with a generous helping of coleslaw. (Use gluten free is you are coeliac.)

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkDidn’t I tell you it was easy? It’s the perfect addition to your summer BBQ. Spend 5 minutes preparing it in the morning then leave the slow cooker to do all the hard work for you. Genius! I guarantee your guests will fall in love with both you and the pork!

Considering how heavenly this is, it really is SO cheap! I had all the spices in my cupboards already and the meat cost me less than £3. Now that’s the kind of maths I like to do. Bargain!

In other news, have I told you about Stellar/James Martin’s new soft grip tools range? No?Stellar James Martin Soft Grip Tools

Stellar James Martin Soft Grip ToolsBefore the cynical among you ask, no they’re not paying me to say this. I genuinely love Stellar cookware and have used their stuff since I’ve ruled my own kitchen! It really is fantastic quality. But then, you wouldn’t expect anything less from products that come with a lifetime guarantee though would you?

This range is no exception. Their soft grip handles make them extremely comfortable & safe to use. Not to mention how robust they feel in the hand. Just picking them up – you know they’re not the usual cheap cack you get from the supermarkets and that they’re definitely going to last. I for one, will be using them all the time! If you want to know more, check out the Stellar site HERE.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this week’s post lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason