Hazelnut-Chocolate Marble Cake

Another loaf cake recipe is here!

While I actually wanted to make bread for the first time, flour and yeast in supermarkets are non-existent these days. So, a loaf cake recipe it is! I’ve found that if I don’t want to spend too much time making buttercream, decorating and cleaning so many utensils, I’ll just make a loaf cake of some sort.

This time, I’ve baked a vanilla and hazelnut-chocolate marble loaf cake. Find the recipe below.

Note: Below’s recipe is for a 3lb tin, but just do some quick maths to adjust the measurements for a smaller or larger tin.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 400g plain flour, sieved
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 300g unsalted butter, at room temperature, soft
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 large eggs
  • 200ml soured cream
  • 100g ground hazelnuts
  • 40g cocoa powder, sieved
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Grease a 3lb (28 x 13 cm) loaf tin with butter and lightly coat with flour.
  2. In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar with an electric whisk until well combined, fluffy and paler in colour.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and soured cream until well combined.
  4. Split the cake batter in half so you have two bowls of cake batter.
  5. In one bowl, add in the vanilla extract and beat in. In the other bowl, add in the cocoa powder and ground hazelnuts and beat until combined.
  6. Spoon each batter into the loaf tin alternately, then use small knife or spatula to roughly swirl each batter into each other.
  7. Place into the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour 15 mins, or until the cake springs back when tapped gently.
  8. Leave to cool, then enjoy with a cup of tea!


Spicy Vegan Stir-Fry

My posts have been a bit scattered recently, but, there’s good news: I’ve finally finished university! So, while I’m job hunting, I’ll have more time to tend to this blog. I’ve also booked a cheeky day trip to Amsterdam, so expect some posts about the experience soon.

Now, for this week’s recipe…

If you’re looking for a quick mid-week meal, a stir-fry is the way to go. You can prepare your vegetables ahead of time and store them in the fridge for even less hassle.

This stir-fry includes bell peppers, onions, spinach, mushrooms, tofu and of course, chillies for heat. To get the tofu crispy, I made sure to flatten the tofu block with something heavy overnight. This helps to remove the moisture from the tofu.

Enjoy this stir-fry on top of some brown rice, or have it as a starter. Whatever works for you!

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • Half a block of tofu, drained and cut into cubes
  • 125g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp season-all

Method

  1. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the sesame oil over a medium heat.
  2. Fry off the garlic, ginger and chillies for 1 minute.
  3. Turn the heat to high, then add the tofu. Fry until crisp and golden brown all over, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the onions, peppers and mushrooms and fry for about 3 minutes, until tender.
  5. Add the spinach, soy sauce and season all. Stir until the spinach has wilted, then remove from the heat. Enjoy!

Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon cupcakes are a great alternative to the classic vanilla and chocolate flavours. Lemon desserts in general are always a solid option in my opinion. They offer not only sweetness, but a tangy citrus to cut through your taste buds.

After vanilla cupcakes, I’d say that lemon cupcakes are the easiest to make. If you’re new to baking, I definitely recommend trying this as a start if vanilla isn’t your thing.

These cupcakes are light, fluffy and quite addictive, so try to eat in moderation! I gifted these to someone for their birthday, and they revealed that they had eaten three for breakfast!

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the lemon buttercream

  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 350g icing sugar, sifted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 2 lemons

Method

  1. In a bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar with an electric whisk for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in the lemon juice and zest and continue to whisk for another 2 minutes until light and smooth.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 180g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder, sieved
  • 3 large eggs
  • Juice and zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and the caster sugar with a wooden spoon or whisk until well combined and pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then fold in the flour and baking powder.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest, then mix together until you have a smooth, light cupcake batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into each case until half to two-thirds full.
  6. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when tapped gently. Leave to cool.
  7. When the cupcakes have cooled, spoon the lemon buttercream into a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice. Pipe in a spiral motion.

Banana, Walnut & Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

It’s about time I made a loaf cake.

I didn’t own a loaf tin until last week actually.

I’ve seen many recipes using 2lb loaf tins, but I went and bought a 3lb one because my family can eat.

I do love a banana bread, but I also love to jazz things up. I’ve added chopped walnuts for a nutty crunch, and dark chocolate pieces for pockets of its bittersweet flavour. I was also easy on the amount of sugar because ripened bananas are already sweet as is.

The purchase of a loaf tin may mean I’ll start baking loaves of bread and many more loaf cakes, who knows?

Below’s recipe is for a 2lb tin, but just do some quick maths to adjust the measurements for a larger (or smaller) tin.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 250g plain flour, sieved
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 70g chopped walnuts
  • 70g chocolate chunks (I prefer dark chocolate)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Grease a 2lb (23×13cm) loaf tin with butter.
  2. Peel and mash the bananas in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar with a wooden spoon or whisk until well combined and paler in colour.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, add the vanilla extract, then fold in the mashed bananas, flour, baking powder, milk and cinnamon.
  5. Fold in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chunks.
  6. Spoon the batter into the loaf tin, and place into the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cake springs back when tapped gently.
  7. Leave to cool, then enjoy!

Tip: If your bananas aren’t ripe, roast them (unpeeled) in the oven for 20 mins at 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. The skins should be black. Peel and mash them up as usual, but leave to cool before adding to the cake batter.


Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes along with my Oreo and Nutella cupcakes for Macmillan Coffee Morning at work. They received great reviews from colleagues, despite this recipe being an experiment!

The cake itself is a pretty standard pound cake, but with a few extra flavours. The buttercream used is Betty Crocker’s vanilla buttercream. I used the Wilton 2D Drop Flower nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes.

Honestly, making 36 cupcakes with only 1 12-hole cupcake tray, a wooden spoon, a bowl, and a whisk (nope, not an electric one), took so much time and arm power. There was no way I was going to make buttercream by hand. I’ve made it by hand before, and mixing took a lifetime – I prefer to train arms at the gym, not in the kitchen!

(P.S. Friends, when we do Secret Santa this year, I’m asking for baking equipment…)

Anyway, enough of my waffling. Here’s the recipe:

Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes (1)

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 170g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 170g unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 medium to large eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Good-quality strawberry jam
  • 12 strawberries, washed and dried
  • 400g vanilla buttercream

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and the caster sugar with a wooden spoon or whisk until well combined and pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs, and fold in the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and the milk, and mix together until you have a smooth yellow cupcake batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into each case until half full.
  6. Add about half a teaspoon of jam into the centre of each cupcake batter.
  7. Add some more batter to cover up the jam. The cupcake case should be about two-thirds full now.
  8. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when tapped gently. Leave to cool.
  9. When the cupcakes have cooled, spoon the buttercream into a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice. Pipe in a spiral motion.
  10. Place a strawberry on top, and you’re good to go.

Roasted Chicken & Vegetables

Give your leftover vegetables some love with this flavoursome oven dish that won’t break the bank. Carrots, bell peppers, and onions are items that I always have lying around, which form the bulk of this meal. I will be trying this recipe with other vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, mushrooms, courgettes… The list goes on!

Serves 4

320 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken quarters
  • 1 large red onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 8 carrots, cut into chunks
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp season-all
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan)/ gas mark 7.
  2. In a large oven proof dish, place in the chicken quarters. Season with the season-all, garlic, paprika, ginger, soy sauce and chilli flakes.
  3. Add in the carrots and bell peppers. Spread evenly in the pan in between the chicken.
  4. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the chicken and vegetables, and add 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce as well.
  5. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. After the 20 minutes, take out the oven dish and turn the chicken. Add the red onion into the dish.
  7. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lime over the chicken and vegetables, and add the rest of the hoisin sauce. Adjust seasoning where necessary, then cook for a further 20 minutes.
  8. The food should now be ready to cook. Eat the chicken and vegetables on its own, or have it with a bit of rice or cous cous for an extra filling meal.

Turkey & Bacon Pasta

This meal has become quite the go-to. All made in one pan/pot, and is super easy – just be ready to chop up some meat and veg. I have tried this meal with various combinations of turkey, chicken, bacon, and pancetta – they all work great. If you want an extra punch in the cheese sauce, add some grated mature cheddar. The recipe below focuses on the natural sweet and nutty flavour of parmesan, which I love.

Serves 4

460 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 250g pasta of your choice (I use penne, or fusilli)
  • 300-350g turkey breast steaks, sliced or diced
  • 150g diced bacon
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced or diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 tbsp season-all
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Method

  1. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil into a large pan on a medium-high heat.
  3. Add the pieces of turkey breast steaks, bacon, bell pepper, season-all, paprika, ground garlic, and black pepper to the pan, and fry for 6-8 minutes. Once cooked, remove the turkey and bacon, but keep the juices in the pan.
  4. On a low heat, melt the butter in the pan and then add the flour. Stir for 2 minutes until the mixture becomes a smooth consistency.
  5. Pour in a quarter of the milk at a time, and stir until the mixture blends smoothly.
  6. Add in the grated parmesan and stir until the cheese melts and the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add the diced tomato, spinach, bell pepper, turkey, and bacon back into the pan. Stir into the sauce until the spinach wilts. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  8. By now, the pasta should be cooked. Drain and add the pasta to the mixture.
  9. Serve your turkey and bacon pasta with a sprinkling of black pepper, and a few extra shaves of parmesan.

Lamb Leg Steaks with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I’m back after a long revision, dissertation, and exam period! Although there were no posts, I’ve got plenty of meals in the bag so stay tuned. Head to my Instagram for a few teasers.

This meal includes one of my favourites: the sweet potato. I love sweet potato fries more than regular fries actually. I’ve paired roasted sweet potatoes with pan-fried lamb leg steak, red onions, and a little salad on the side.

Serves 2

440 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 lamb leg steaks
  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into evenly sized chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp season-all
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan)/ gas mark 6.
  2. Place potatoes onto a baking tray and toss in 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp season-all, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp paprika.
  3. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.
  4. When the potatoes have reached the 30 minute mark, season the lamb with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp season-all.
  5. Heat a pan to a medium heat then place the lamb steaks in the pan.
  6. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, then take out of the pan to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Place the sliced red onions in the pan and fry until softened.
  8. By now, the sweet potatoes should be cooked. Finish them off in the pan with the red onions, and serve with the lamb leg steaks.
  9. Enjoy with a side salad or mixed vegetables.

Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo Cupcake (1)

My take on the Oreo cupcake. Oreo cookie at the base, Oreo’s through the buttercream, and Oreo crumbs on top. It’s currently exam/study season which means I get cravings for something sweet. A great excuse for cupcakes! I used the Wilton 1M open star tip to pipe the icing onto the cupcake. I also used the vanilla buttercream from Betty Crocker as a little cheat.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 100g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 30g cocoa powder, sieved
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 140g unsalted butter, soft
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 20 Oreos (8 crushed, 12 whole)
  • 400g vanilla buttercream (I like the Betty Crocker brand)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases. Place one Oreo into each case.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar using a spoon until pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs, and fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and the milk, and mix together until you have a smooth chocolate cupcake batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into each case until half or two-thirds full.
  6. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean when inserted into one of the cupcakes. Leave to cool.
  7. Mix the crushed Oreos and buttercream together. Until well combined. Leave about 1 tbsp of crushed Oreos for sprinkling.
  8. When the cupcakes have cooled, spoon the buttercream into a piping bag with a star nozzle. Pipe the buttercream in a spiral motion.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining Oreo crumbs on top of the cupcake, and enjoy.

Fried Chicken Strips

This was my first time making these, and it was so easy. They came out crispy on the outside, and juicy in the middle. Have these chicken strips with your favourite dips, as a side, or even use them to make a chicken strip burger. For an extra crunch, add some panko breadcrumbs.

Serves 2

350 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 heaped tbsp flour
  • 4 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Pour oil into a large frying pan until the base is just about covered. Heat oil on a medium heat.
  2. Cut the chicken breast fillets into 1-1.5 cm wide, 8-10 cm long strips. Season the strips with a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning.
  3. In a bowl, beat the egg.
  4. In a separate bowl, add the flour and the remaining all-purpose seasoning, paprika, chilli flakes, black pepper, garlic, and ginger. Mix together with a spoon.
  5. Coat the strips with the flour mix, then coat with egg, then return for a final coat of flour. Be sure to shake off the excess flour or egg each time you coat.
  6. Add the strips to the frying pan and fry for 6-8 minutes, turning the strips regularly for an even golden brown colour.
  7. Drain on some kitchen roll, then serve.