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

 

 

Croque Monsieur

Croque MonsieurMost Sunday mornings, I make the Mr a bacon sarnie. Me? I quite often desire something a little more… ‘fancy.’

This week I had some spare ham and cheese so thought I would use the opportunity to make myself a Croque Monsieur for breakfast. For those of you that haven’t heard of this french delight, it’s basically a glorified cheese & ham toastie. Though I can confirm – it’s WELL worth the extra effort!

Here is what you will need to make 1 sandwich.

Making for more? Simply times the ingredients by the amount of people you are feeding.

  • 2 Slices of Thick White Bread
  • 60g Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 1 Slice Ham
  • 1/2 tbsp (8g) Butter
  • 1/2 tbsp (4g) Plain Flour
  • 100ml Semi Skimmed Milk
  • Ground or Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 15g Parmesan, Grated
  • Honey Mustard (or Dijon Mustard)

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

In a toaster or under the grill, lightly toast the bread until just golden on both sides.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat then throw in the flour.

Stir constantly over the low heat for 2 minutes. It should look a little something like this…

Croque MonsieurGradually add in the milk bit by bit, stirring constantly and fairly vigorously to smooth out any lumps.

When the milk is all used up, you should end up with a slightly thick white sauce.

Croque MonsieurAdd in a little nutmeg & season well with salt and pepper. Then stir through the parmesan cheese. If the sauce is still a little runny, turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens.

You want it thick enough to be able to spoon on the top of the sandwich without it running off the sides.

Croque MonsieurNow you are ready for assembly!

Spread a thin layer of honey (or dijon) mustard onto one slice of bread…

Croque MonsieurNow top both slices with grated cheddar cheese, reserving a little for the top.

Croque MonsieurThen place the ham on top of the slice with mustard on it…

Croque MonsieurNext, place the bread with just cheddar cheese on top of the slice with ham on it.

Pour over the sauce and spread around evenly. Then top with the remaining cheddar cheese and place onto a baking tray.

Croque MonsieurBake in the oven for 5 minutes then turn on the grill.

Grill until the topping is all golden, bubbly and oh so sexy…

Croque Monsieur

Croque MonsieurAnd that is what you need to do to create one of the most incredible breakfast/brunch dishes in the entire world. I told you it was better than a ham and cheese toastie!

I mean, literally, as soon as you cast your eyes over that sultry, golden, bubbly topping – you won’t be able to resist it’s charm. I implore you not to skip on the honey mustard & nutmeg either. I swear to the gods – they make this sing like a celestial being sent from heaven to implement world peace! Genuinely… absolutely… divine. You NEED to make this!

The Mr was a little jealous when I sat down next to him with this vs. his humble bacon sarnie. I think I might be making two next time…

And on that note, I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies!

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

Orange Choc Chip Cookies

Orange Choc Chip CookiesChocolate orange, hands down, has to be one of my all time favourite flavour combinations! There’s just something so special about it, I don’t know what it is but it’s just incredible. And I love it. So there!

So I’m still making my Ultimate Chocolate Cookies but I fancied a change., and I was in the mood for chocolate orange. So! Here is what you will need to make some incredibly addictive, sensationally divine orange choc chip cookies.

  • 160g Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 x 100g Bars of Milk Chocolate
  • 1x 100g Bag of Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 220g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • Zest of 2 Oranges

Put the butter in a small saucepan and heat until melted. (Or melt in the microwave.) Leave to one side.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda & salt. Mix together and leave to one side.

Chop the milk chocolate bars into chunks & set to one side with the chocolate chips.

Either in a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – mix together the brown sugar, caster sugar & melted butter until it looks a little something like this…

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesAdd in the egg, the egg yolk & the orange zest and mix until it’s all smooth and blended well. (And by the way, now smells incredible!)

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesNext, in thirds, add the flour to the dough until there are only a couple of spoonfuls left. (Reserve this remaining flour.) Mix until no more flour is visible.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesThen toss the chocolate chips/chunks through the remaining flour until they are all coated.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesAdd the chocolate and mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

This next step is very important – place the dough into a glass bowl, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Overnight is better if you have the time. Chilling the dough completely stops each cookie from spreading too much during baking, giving you a beautiful chunky cookie as opposed to a flat greasy cookie.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesWhen the dough is ready – preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C.

Using an ice cream scoop, (mine measures approx 5cm diameter x 2.5cm deep) place level scoopfuls of the dough onto a baking tray. I line mine with a silicone baking sheet but you don’t really need to. Make sure to leave room in between each dough ball for spreading.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesBake in the preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes. If necessary, turn the tray halfway to ensure an even bake.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesLeave on the tray for a few minutes to harden slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Orange Choc Chip CookiesAnd that’s how you make the most awesome cookies in all the land! Seriously, they are almost unbearably delicious and so very dangerously addictive. I warn you… make these at your own risk!

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

Miss KitchenMason

Rocky Road!

Rocky RoadOk, no one wants to put the oven on in the middle of a heat wave – especially me! I don’t do well with heat. Which probably explains how I’ve survived so long – being born and raised in the typically bad weathered UK.

However, this does not take away from the fact that I am always pretty anxious to bake something. So what’s the answer? Rocky Road! Other than melting some chocolate, there is no cooking involved whatsoever but I still get to eat a tasty, indulgent, home made treat at the end of it. Well I say that’s a win. So! Here is what you will need to make approx 8 generously sized pieces.

  • 165g Unsalted Butter
  • 300g Milk Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 4tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 200g Rich Tea Biscuits
  • 100g Mini Marshmallows
  • 10 x Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, cut into 6ths (Optional)

Equipiment

  • 18cm x 28cm Baking Tray

First – lightly grease and line the base and two sides of the baking tray. (The overhang will act like a handle making it easier for you to pull out the tray before cutting.)

In a large glass bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt together the butter, milk chocolate, dark chocolate & golden syrup.

Rocky RoadStir until smooth and completely melted then remove from the heat and set to one side to cool slightly.

Rocky RoadPlace the rich tea biscuits into a large bag. Now for the therapeutic bit – bash the hell out of it with a rolling pin until you get a good mixture of chunky pieces and crumbs.

Back to the chocolate. Pour about 150ml of the mixture into a jug and reserve for later.

Rocky RoadThrow the crushed biscuits & the marshmallows into the bowl with the bulk of the chocolate and mix until everything is completely covered.

Rocky RoadTip the mixture into the prepared baking tray and press down as firmly as you can using the back of a metal spoon.

Then pour over the remaining chocolate and spread around evenly.

Rocky RoadAt this point you can leave it at that and place it in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set completely.

OR you could make it even more epic by scattering Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups over the top, pressing gently then refrigerating in the same way. It’s entirely up to you.

Rocky RoadWhen it’s completely set, remove from the tray using the overhanging baking paper and slice into 8 large pieces.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. (Well, that’s if you haven’t devoured the lot already!)

Rocky Road

Rocky RoadThere is no treat in the world that is easier to make, I promise! It’s also a perfect recipe to make with your kids while they’re off school and a great way to get them involved in the kitchen.

You could even mix up the recipe by switching out the rich tea biscuits for another biscuit, or adding in some chopped hazelnuts, or even using 400g of white chocolate instead of the milk & dark.

The possibilities are endless but it’s a great ‘throw it together’ no fuss, no bake recipe for you and your family!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s recipe my lovelies – until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Chocolate HobNobs

Chocolate HobNobsMy favourite biscuit EVER has got to be the Chocolate HobNob. Oaty biscuits are always so satisfyingly crumbly & crunchy, but with chocolate on the top? Hell yes, I’m ON IT!

This incredibly quick & easy recipe will have you joining the HobNobs addiction club in no time. Here is what you will need to make approx 16 sensationally chunky, chocolate dipped, gloriously golden, oaty pieces of heaven.

  • 125g Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 125g Self Raising Flour
  • 125g Light Brown Soft Sugar
  • 125g Porridge Oats
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 100g Milk Chocolate, cut into chunks (Optional)
  • 150g Milk Chocolate, for dipping

In a small saucepan over a low-medium heat, melt together the butter and golden syrup.

Set to one side to cool.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, oats, salt & bicarb.

Chocolate HobNobsAfter cutting the chocolate into chunks – add to the bowl and mix. (You can leave these out if you want to.)

Chocolate HobNobsPour in the cooled butter and mix until everything is evenly distributed and it all comes together.

Chocolate HobNobsDivide the mixture into 16 equal pieces and roll into balls.

Chocolate HobNobsFlatten slightly and place as many as will fit onto a large baking sheet. Allow room in-between for spreading.

I lined mine with a silicone baking mat. In all honesty, it doesn’t really need lining – I tend to just do it out of habit.

Chocolate HobNobsBake in the centre of the preheated oven for approx 16mins until golden.

Turn the tray around half way if your oven doesn’t bake evenly.

Chocolate HobNobsAllow to sit on the tray for a couple of minutes to harden, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat the process for the remaining biscuits.

When the biscuits are all baked and cool, (which won’t take long) melt the 150g of milk chocolate in either the microwave or in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water.

The next part is up to you. Some would ‘paint’ the chocolate onto the top of each biscuit, I prefer to just dunk half straight into the chocolate and put onto a wire rack over newspaper to set.

Chocolate HobNobs

Chocolate HobNobsTo keep these little beauties nice and crunchy, store in a metal tin lined with baking paper. Preferably at room temperature but if it’s too warm, in the fridge will work just as well.

And there you have it! Told you they were quick & easy to make. Addicted yet??

Hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies!

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

 

 

Doughnuts!

DoughnutsI remember an episode of The Great British Bake off where the contestants had to make doughnuts for the technical challenge. The one thing that stuck in my mind was Paul Hollywood saying, “The main thing I’m looking for is a white ring around the middle. It’s the sign of a good doughnut.”

I was aiming for that elusive white ring… and guess what? I got my white ring!! Actually incredibly proud of myself if I’m totally honest :) They turned out far better than I’d hoped and they’re not really that difficult to make. Win! Oh and they’re greatly superior to any that you can buy in the shops. Trust me. You should totally give these a go.

So without further ado, here is what you will need to make 12 large doughnuts.

(Recipe adapted from James Morton’s Brilliant Bread -which if you don’t own, why not?! It’s fabulous – go get it.)

  • 500g Strong White Flour
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 7g Fast Action Yeast
  • 10g Salt
  • 50g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 275g Full Fat Milk, Room Temp *
  • 2 Large Eggs, Room Temp *
  • Oil For Frying

Topping Options

  • Caster Sugar

Or for an Iced Glaze:

  • 250g Icing Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3-4 tbsp Cold Water

Essential Equipment

  • Dough Scraper
  • Thermometer

* TIP If you don’t have the time to wait for the milk & eggs to come to room temperature, crack the eggs and put them in a small saucepan along with the milk. Heat very gently over a low heat (stirring constantly) until they reach room temperature.

In a large bowl, briefly rub together the flour, caster sugar, yeast & salt. (Put the yeast & salt on opposite sides of the bowl.)

Using the tips of your fingers & thumbs – rub in the butter until you get a breadcrumb like consistency.

DoughnutsMake a well in the centre and add the milk & eggs. Mix with a fork (or your hands) until there is no more flour visible and everything has been incorporated. Yes, this is a very wet dough.

DoughnutsCover with cling film & leave to rest for 30 minutes. It should look a little more plump than before.

DoughnutsTip out onto a work surface & knead (with the help of a dough scraper) for about 10-20 minutes. It depends on your technique as to how long it will actually take but you’re aiming for a soft dough that will pass the windowpane test. I know it’s wet and it seems like it will never improve but it will, trust me. Do your best to not add any extra flour if you can help it.

When it’s ready, place the dough back into the bowl and allow to prove for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Until about doubled in size.)

Doughnuts

DoughnutsWhen it has reached this size, you could put it in the fridge overnight. This could be convenient for you (as it was for me) and also helps to develop a better flavour. The longer the prove – the better the flavour. (If refrigerating, allow to sit at room temperature for a while before using as the cold will slow down the next process.)

Or you could just go ahead and use it straight away.

Prepare 1 or 2 large baking trays by covering in cling film & greasing with oil.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ‘sausage’. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions & shape into balls. (James Morton’s book Brilliant Bread has an excellent guide to shaping breads.)

DoughnutsThen poke a hole in the middle of each one and stretch out by rotating your hands. (A bit like if you were starting the Saturday Night Fever dance.)

Place them onto the prepared baking sheets, cover with a slightly damp tea towel and allow to prove for another hour.

DoughnutsMeanwhile, get your oil ready.

If you have a deep fat fryer – great. If not, it doesn’t matter. I used a large, heavy based saucepan and it worked just as well.

Heat the oil to 170°C. Once it has reached this temperature, turn the heat down to stop it from climbing any further. Then regularly check with a thermometer to ensure the temperature is holding steady. (If using a deep fat fryer, it should hold the temperature for you without having to change any settings or check with a thermometer.)

DoughnutsYour doughnuts are ready to be fried when you can poke it lightly and the dough springs back all the way.

DoughnutsFry each doughnut for approx 2 minutes on each side. Then, using a slotted spoon, to transfer to a plate covered in kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil.

Doughnuts

Doughnuts

DoughnutsAt this point you can do either one of the following options:

Place some caster sugar into a bowl and roll each doughnut in it.

OR

To make the glaze, place all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth and a little runny. Then submerge the top half of each doughnut into the glaze and place on a cooling rack set over newspaper. (To catch any drips.)

For both options – allow to cool before eating.

Doughnuts

And that’s it! You have your very own home made doughnuts…

DoughnutsI know I’ve said it before but they’re honestly SOOOO much better than the ones you can buy. They’re so light & fluffy on the inside and beautifully golden and inviting on the outside. One of the best home made breads you can attempt in my opinion!

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

Miss KitchenMason