Quick Onion Pasta

Caramelised Onion PastaBeing a new Mum I am in desperate need of quick, easy & filling meal ideas. As you can imagine, I have very little time on my hands anymore – juggling my new responsibilities as a parent!

This gorgeous pasta dish only takes about 30 minutes to make & is incredibly tasty. Just what I’ve been looking for! (Recipe adapted from The Silver Spoon: Pasta cookbook.)

Here is what you will need to feed 2 hungry parents. (Easily doubled)

  • 40g Butter
  • 2 Large Onions
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 200g Fusilli Pasta *
  • 15 – 20g Freshly grated Parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper

* or any dried shaped pasta of your choice

First job – peel & slice the onions as thinly as you can.

In a large, non stick frying pan – melt the butter over a low heat.

Add the onion into the pan and cook over a gentle heat for about 20 minutes until the onions have gone soft & golden brown. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat as this could make them crispy.

Quick Onion Pasta

Quick Onion PastaMeanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. When it is cooked, before draining, Reserve a little of the water for later. (About 100-200ml)

Add the thyme to the onions and season well with salt and pepper. Give it a stir.

Quick Onion PastaTip the cooked pasta into the frying pan with the onions & add the reserved water. Stir it all up and warm through for a minute. Season with more salt & pepper if you think it needs it.

Quick Onion PastaDivide between two bowls, top with a generous sprinkling of the grated parmesan cheese and devour!

Quick Onion PastaI don’t know about you but I am a huge onion fan. To me, any food that stinks is all good in my books! This really is delicious though and perfect for those of us with busy lives. Only taking about 30 minutes from start to finish to make, no excessive pot washing to do afterwards & those hearty carbohydrates keeping you fuller for longer – it answers all my prayers! A meal I am more than happy to add to my repertoire & one I think you should too :)

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

Miss KitchenMason

Microwave Caramels!

Microwave Caramels!This recipe, as it did me, will surprise you. I genuinely had no idea you could make soft caramels like these at home! But get this, not only can you make them at home – they’re really easy, no bake & made in just 7 minutes in the microwave. I know right?! This is a dangerous recipe! (Thanks to Averie Cooks for sharing the original recipe – I officially love you!)

I will keep you waiting no more – here is what you will need to make about 36 caramels.

For the Caramel

  • 110g Unsalted Butter
  • 110g Granulated Sugar
  • 100g Light Brown Sugar
  • 165g Golden Syrup
  • 150g Condensed Milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

For the Chocolate Coating & Decoration

  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 200g Milk Chocolate
  • Any Decoration of Your Choice (see suggestions later in the post)

Essential Equipment

  • 8 x 8″ (20 x 20cm) Square Tin
  • Microwave

Please note: the cooking instructions are based on an 800 watt microwave & the chilling time is at least 4 hours

Firstly, generously grease & line the base & sides of the tin with baking paper.

In a large microwavable bowl, melt the butter. (It will take approx 90 seconds.)

Microwave Caramels!Add in both sugars, the golden syrup & condensed milk. Give it a really good stir.

Microwave Caramels!Place into the microwave and cook on full power for 3 mins 30 secs.

When done, take a piece of damp kitchen roll and wipe away any crystals that have formed around the bowl. (This is important as these crystals can ruin the whole batch of caramel!)

Microwave Caramels!Put back into the microwave and heat on full power for a further 3 mins 30 secs. I recommend you watch whilst this is cooking as it will bubble quite violently & you don’t want your microwave getting covered in this stuff!

When cooked, add in the vanilla and give it a good stir. (Careful as it is very hot & might spit)

Microwave Caramels!Pour the caramel into the prepared tin and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes to cool a little before putting in the fridge. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Microwave Caramels!When the caramel has set (it will still be quite soft) carefully remove from the tin & place on a chopping board/mat covered in baking paper.

Microwave Caramels!Now you need to slice it. I would advise actually coating your knife with a little sunflower oil (or similar) as this stuff is SO sticky it will be very difficult if you don’t.

Obviously – please be careful when doing this as slippy fingers & sharp knives tend not to mix very well! 

I cut mine into a 6 x 6 grid to make 36 caramels but you can cut whatever size you like.

Microwave Caramels!You could actually leave them like this if you wanted to or you could coat them in chocolate like I did.

Simply break all the chocolate into a large microwavable bowl & heat gently in short, 20 second bursts (stirring in-between) in the microwave until melted and smooth.

Have a lined baking tray ready to put your covered caramels on to set.

Microwave Caramels!There are lots of methods of coating things in chocolate. You could rest each caramel on a fork and dip in then shake off any excess. Me? I used cocktail sticks to dunk the caramel into the chocolate and then shake off any excess.

When coated, place each caramel on the prepared baking tray & top with a decoration of your choosing. (Be quick before the chocolate sets!) You could use sugar strands, hundreds & thousands, a few flakes of sea salt or whatever takes your fancy!

The most important things to note are that the caramels will melt if kept in the warm chocolate for too long & if the chocolate starts to firm up – just pop it in the microwave for another 20 seconds to loosen it up again.

Other than that – go nuts!

Once you’ve coated them all, place them on the baking tray in the fridge to set/firm up for a couple of hours.

They will store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few months. (Not that they will ever last that long!)

Microwave Caramels!See – I told you this was a dangerous recipe! Hand on heart, every person that has tried these has proclaimed, “oh my god, they’re amazing!” They also can’t believe that they were made with next to no effort AND in the microwave. To be honest, I still can’t either – they’re fantastic!

You have to give these at try.

I would also like to take the opportunity to apologise for the lack in presence on both my blog & social media. If you weren’t already aware, I am now the proud mother to a beautiful daughter & life has all of a sudden become very hectic! I am trying to do my best to juggle everything & will post what I can when I can. After all – I’ve still got to eat!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies – until next time.

Miss Kitchenmason

Honey Sriracha Chicken

Honey Sriracha ChickenOne of the Mr’s favourite things is Sriracha sauce. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a hot sauce but with actual flavour. Not being a huge fan of hot sauces myself, it surprised me just how much flavour it really has!

Thanks to my blogging, the Mr tends not to get a lot of choice in what we eat so I thought I would be nice and make something I knew he would love. Also, (at the time of writing this post) I was nearly 40 weeks pregnant & hadn’t dropped yet. I heard hot & spicy foods are meant to be good!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 – easily doubled.

(Recipe adapted from Creme de la Crumb.)

For the Chicken

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, diced
  • Salt
  • 20g Corn Flour
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

For the Sauce

  • 120ml Water
  • 1 – 2 tbsp Sriracha Sauce *
  • 2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 30g Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Runny Honey
  • 1 tbsp Corn Flour/ 2 tsp Cold Water
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds to serve, optional
  • Cooked Rice to serve, optional

* If you don’t like it too hot, just use 1 tbsp. Trust me, even 1 tbsp of this stuff packs a punch!

To make the sauce – add the water, Sriracha, soy sauce, garlic, sugar & honey to a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

Honey Sriracha ChickenDissolve the corn flour in the cold water then add it to the saucepan. Stir well and bring back to the boil.

Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce begins to thicken. Continue to cook until you reach the consistency you like, then remove from the heat and set to one side until needed.

Honey Sriracha ChickenSeason the diced chicken with salt then toss to coat well in the flour.

Place a non stick frying pan over a medium/high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil.

Fry the chicken until golden & cooked through.

Honey Sriracha ChickenPour the sauce over the chicken and cook for a further minute or 2 until heated through.

If you like, serve over cooked rice & scatter with some toasted sesame seeds.

Honey Sriracha ChickenI was genuinely surprised at how good this was! I mean, yes it was hot, but the flavour really was lovely. I will definitely be making this one again – particularly the sauce. Except maybe with only 1 tbsp of Sriracha next time… (To please the Mr I used 2 tbsp – bit too much for me!)

Not only does it taste great though, it’s really quick to make! And let’s be honest, you can never have enough meals that are fast to prepare and still seriously tasty in your repertoire.

In other news – on Friday 13th, (seriously, you couldn’t make it up) I spent the day getting this little beauty out the oven…

Tilly - Honey Sriracha ChickenI would like you all to meet my daughter – Matilda. Both myself & baby are doing well and are now at home enjoying our first few days together. I apologise for any absence over the coming weeks – as you can imagine, I will be a little busy getting to grips with becoming a Mum!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies. Until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

Carrot Cake!

Carrot Cake!A couple of weeks ago it was my Uncle Robert’s Birthday and guess what he likes..? Carrot Cake! This is a recipe I have made many times before & one that me and my family absolutely love. Do not be deceived by it’s ‘healthy’ sounding name though, carrot cake is actually one of the most calorific cakes you can eat! But hey, if we can’t eat cake on our Birthdays then when can we treat ourselves? All things in moderation I say! (or in vast quantity – same thing right??)

So, here is what you will need to make 1 x large cake. (Serves approx 12.)

For the Sponge

  • 300g Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 200g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 200g Grated Carrot
  • 227g Tin of Pineapple Rings, Drained & Chopped
  • Zest of 1 x Orange
  • Zest of 1 x Lemon
  • 4 Eggs, Room Temp
  • 250ml Sunflower Oil

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 250g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 500g Full Fat Cream Cheese *
  • 1 tsp Orange Extract, Optional

For the Decoration

  • Sugar Carrots, Optional

Essential Equipment

  • 2 x 7″ Round Loose Bottomed Cake Tins

* I used Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese. Don’t use a low fat version as it will not hold it’s shape and may become quite wet & sloppy. 

Preheat your oven to 170ºC/Fan 150°C.

Grease the base & sides and line the base of both cake tins.

To make the sponge, sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda & brown sugar into either a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer.

Carrot CakeIn a separate large bowl, mix together the grated carrot, chopped pineapple and the zest of the orange & lemon.

Add the eggs in and mix with a fork. Then gradually add the sunflower oil stirring constantly.

Carrot CakeIn thirds, add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and, each time, mix only until just blended together.

Carrot CakeDivide the mixture evenly between the two tins and place into the lower section of the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Carrot CakeCheck with a skewer – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked. If it has batter on it – it needs longer.

When cooked, allow to cool in the tins for 15 minutes before removing, peeling off the baking paper and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Whilst the cakes are cooling, lets make the cream cheese frosting.

Either using an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – beat the butter until really soft and smooth.

Sift in the icing sugar and mix on a low speed to start with. Once there’s not a lot of ‘loose’ icing sugar, increase the speed & mix until soft and smooth.

Carrot CakeAdd in the cream cheese & orange extract (if using.) Continue to mix on a medium speed until you can’t see any more bits of butter and it’s lovely, light & smooth.

Keep covered and chilled until you need it.

Carrot CakeWhen the cakes are completely cooled, level them off with a sharp knife if they ‘domed’ in the middle.

Place the first layer on a cake board.

Load a piping bag with a nozzle of your choosing. (I used a 2D drop flower nozzle which enables you to create the roses.)

Pipe blobs all the way around the outside edge of the bottom layer, then continue with a spiral all the way to the middle.

Don’t worry if it’s not neat – no one is going to see this bit!

Carrot CakeCarefully place the second layer on top – bottom side up. (This will give you a perfectly flat top.)

Working from the outside in, I decided to pipe little roses on the top. (Do this by starting from the middle of the rose and working your way out in a spiral.) You could do whatever you like though.

Carrot CakeAt this point, you could leave it as it is. You could also buy little sugar carrot decorations from a cake shop to place on the top, or even make your own using ready made fondant and food colouring gels. It really is entirely up to you!

Carrot Cake!I usually say to never put cake in the fridge as it dries it out much faster. However, with there always being an exception to the rule – I actually recommend you keep this one in the fridge. The nature of cream cheese frosting is a delicate one to say the least, and the sponge is so moist (with the vegetables/fruit & oil) it will be absolutely fine.

Carrot Cake! Uncle Robert

Carrot Cake! Uncle RobertIt went down a treat with the Birthday Boy and my Aunt Naomi has already asked for one for her Birthday later this year! It’s always a definite hit in my family and a recipe I will continue to make for many years to come. I often find that people turn their noses up at carrot cake without even trying it. Well I implore you, give it a go – it’s not as strange as you think and is genuinely one of the most flavourful cakes you will ever eat. Go on, convert yourself!

And on that note, I bid you farewell until next time my lovelies!

Miss KitchenMason

Tuxedo Cheese & Crackers!

Tuxedo Cheese & CrackersAs many of you will know I am currently heavily pregnant and, as a result, very lazy! This means I don’t have the energy or stamina to be spending forever standing up in the kitchen preparing food. I’m not too happy about this because, as you may have gathered by now, I love being in the kitchen!

So this presented me with a bit of a challenge. I wanted a simple recipe that would look great on your party buffet tables this New Years Eve, but didn’t want to be stood up for ages. Then I saw these over at Cute Food For Kids and knew it was just what I was looking for!

What you will need

  • Pitted Black Olives
  • Any Crackers of your choice
  • Any Soft Cheese Triangles AND/OR Hard Cheese of your choice

Essential Equipment

  • Drinking straw or Small round piping nozzle
  • a Cocktail Stick
  • A small sharp knife or scissors

Firstly, cut the hard cheese into triangles or peel the wrappers off the soft cheese triangles.

Then you just need to sit down at a table with a chopping board, the olives, the items listed in ‘Essential Equipment’ and start carving!

Use either a drinking straw or a small round piping nozzle to cut out little olive ‘buttons,’ (The cocktail stick will be helpful to remove the olive from the straw/nozzle.)

Either using a sharp knife (I used a vegetable carving knife) or some scissors, cut out little triangles to use for the bow ties. I found it easiest to cut each olive into quarters and flatten them first.

Then place the bow ties and buttons on each piece of cheese and serve on crackers to your happy guests!

Tuxedo Cheese & CrackersOk, so they may be a bit fiddly & time consuming but look how cute they are!! At least you can sit down at a table and do the fiddly bit so you’re not on your feet for ages – definitely a winning point for me in my whale like state!

It’s worth the effort just to get great comments from your guests I think. And let’s be honest – you are definitely going to get great comments about these! They really stand out and look super smart for a celebration or party buffet table. A spectacular addition to help see in the new year.

And on that note, I hope you enjoyed the post you fabulous fabulous people!

I wish you all a very happy & prosperous New Year.

See you in 2015!

Miss KitchenMason

A Nutella Lovers Dream!

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateNo one wants to be slaving away in the kitchen for hours making Christmas gifts or treats. Want to know a little secret? These incredibly simple, 3 ingredient Nutella truffles will only take you about 10 minutes to make AND they make gorgeous little Christmas gifts!

And how do you reward yourself for your 10 minutes of “back breaking hard work”? A wonderfully indulgent mug of Nutella hot chocolate of course! Oh, and did I mention that both of these sensational delights are naturally vegetarian and gluten free? I know, they’re the gifts that just keep on giving!

Without further ado, here is what you will need to make these beautiful, chocolatey pleasures.

Nutella Truffles

(Makes approx 18-20 – recipe adapted from Urban Bakes.)

  • 180g Nutella
  • 60g Icing Sugar
  • 50g Chopped Roast Hazelnuts

In an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a spatula – beat together the Nutella and icing sugar until you can’t see any more white powder.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateRoll into small balls between your palms then roll in chopped hazelnuts to cover. Imagine a spherical 10p coin – that’s the kind of size I went for.

(I honestly wouldn’t make these big as they will be far too sickly – even for the most dedicated Nutella fan!)

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolatePlace the truffles on a lined baking sheet, then the next bit is up to you. You can either eat them as they are at room temperature, or you can pop them in the fridge to firm up. My preference is chilled but it’s entirely up to you.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateThen store in an airtight container and consume within a week.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateNutella Hot Chocolate

(Serves 2, easily doubled – recipe adapted from Cafe Delites)

  • 600ml Semi Skimmed Milk
  • 1 generous tbsp Nutella
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder *
  • 1 tbsp Honey

* Don’t use chocolate drinking powder as this is already sweetened.

Pour the milk into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Warm through.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateOnce it starts to steam – add in the Nutella, cocoa powder & honey.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateBring the mixture to the boil, stirring frequently with a whisk to ensure all the ingredients blend together nicely.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateDivide between two mugs and, if you like, top with whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips or anything that takes your fancy!

(Bear in mind that marshmallows are typically gluten free but not vegetarian.)

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateI told you they were easy!

Even I was surprised with how simple & quick they both are to make. I will remember these truffles the next time I have zero time to sort a gift! Even if the receiver doesn’t like Nutella – you can get tons of different flavoured chocolate spreads now and you could roll them in anything! Grated chocolate, cocoa powder or even desiccated coconut.

Another surprise for me is how easy it is to make your own home made hot chocolate. I mean – wow. It’s SO much nicer than the stuff you buy at the supermarkets! The flavour possibilities are endless too. So long as it will melt, is a liquid or removable (i.e. a bouquet garni) – you can pretty much put it in hot chocolate. I can’t wait to experiment with this!

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies.

From me, the Mr & the bump – I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

All my love, Miss KitchenMason x

Oreo Truffles

Oreo TrufflesI don’t know about you but I always like to make edible gifts for Christmas. I think they’re much more personal & really show that you care. The trouble is, I always seem to spend much longer in the kitchen than I anticipated and most recipes I’ve tried are faffy, fiddly and far too much effort. NOT what you need in the run up to Christmas! As if there’s not enough to do already right?

These gorgeous Oreo Truffles are an absolute godsend! Not only are they really simple, they only take about an hour to make. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for!

Here is what you will need to make approx 20 – 30 truffles. (Dependent on how large you make them.)

  • 1 x 154g Pack of Oreos
  • 225g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 300g White Chocolate
  • Any decoration of your choice (I used sprinkles)

In a food processor, blitz the whole pack of Oreo biscuits (cream filling too) until you’re left with fine crumbs.

Oreo TrufflesThen, preferably in an electric stand mixer, (but you can also just do it by hand in a large bowl) mix together the cream cheese & oreo biscuit crumbs until just combined.

Oreo TrufflesLine a baking sheet with cling film or foil and set to one side.

Roll teaspoon sized chunks of the mixture into balls and place onto the prepared tray. Yes it’s messy but for 10 minutes of dirty hands – it’s totally worth it!

Place the tray into the freezer for 30 minutes for the truffles to harden. This will make it much easier to cover later.

Oreo TrufflesWhen the truffles are chilled, break the white chocolate into a large bowl. Melt gently either in a microwave or set over a pan of barely simmering water.

Now you’re ready for the fun bit!

Get your decorations ready. I used some red and green sprinkles – you could use hundreds and thousands or whatever takes your fancy. Whatever you use, get it ready before you start coating the truffles with chocolate. Because they are so cold having come out the freezer – the chocolate will set pretty quickly so you need to decorate straight away.

Line a baking tray with non stick paper or a silicone baking mat.

Dump a truffle into the melted chocolate and, using a fork, cover in white chocolate before lifting (don’t stab it) & allowing any excess to drain away.

Oreo TrufflesPlace onto the baking tray, then straight away – sprinkle on your decoration. Repeat the process for each truffle until everything is used up.

Oreo TrufflesPop into the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes (it won’t take long) and that is it!

Place into cellophane bags tied with a pretty ribbon or into mini cupcake cases in a Christmas box and (reluctantly) give away to your loved ones.

Store in the fridge & eat within 5 days.

Oreo TrufflesYou could really mix these up if you wanted to. You could use milk chocolate instead of white or you could use golden Oreos instead of original chocolate. You could even melt milk chocolate and decorate over the white chocolate with zig zags instead of using sprinkles. You really can personalise these to whoever you’re planning on giving them to.

They’re delightfully delicious, sensationally moreish, insanely easy to make and you’re totally gona’ make them right? Of course you are!!

Hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason