Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Valentines soup and pretzel-rolo-pecan-turtles

I'm not normally someone that can be accused of having too much time on their hands. But I seemed to struck by a bout of excess time (or rather a lack of desire to get through all the other things on my to-do list) around about Valentines day. So obviously the only thing to do was to get out my mini cutter set and chop a whole load of veggies into an array of cute little shapes to make Valentines soup with! I used carrots, cucumber, baby corn, and mangetout peas for my veg, along with 1 finely chopped chicken fillet, 1 small onion, 1 stock cube and a good slosh of soy sauce, sesame oil, chinese 5 spice powder, and finished off with a beaten egg to make ribbons. It even made enough for leftovers the next day.

For afters I did some panfried nectarines and blueberries which we had on a toasted pancake with icecream and the hot fruit poured over the top...definitely one of the tastiest puddings I've made in a long time and in the summer when there is plenty of soft fruit around I'm pretty sure it will be repeated!
But the highlight of the evening was definitely the rolo-pretzel-pecan-turtles. I have to confess now that I have absolutely no idea why they are called turtles - the best I can come up with is that the half pecans look a little bit like turtle shells. But that doesn't matter because they are addictively delicious and soooooooooo unbelievably easy to make! You'll need small pretzels (yes, the salty kind), rolos (as many rolos as you have pretzels) half pecan nuts (same deal as the rolos). Here are some super simple steps to carmely, chocolatey, salty, nutty heaven ;0)

Preheat your oven to about 200C.
Line a baking tray with parchment.
Spread your pretzels over the tray.
Put a rolo on top of each pretzel.
Stick the tray in the oven, and leave it there for about 3-5mins.
Watch it carefully - you want the rolos to go soft, but not run off the pretzels!
Take the tray out of the oven.
Straight away stick a pecan half on each rolo, and push it down gently.
Leave to cool.
Try not to eat them all at once!

The pictures soooooooo don't do these justice!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Red for Red R and Upside down Doughnut Buns!

Well, somehow despite my enthusiasm for the concept of writing a blog of all my making and caking exploits, life has got in the way a bit! Given how hectic things have been, I've managed to make or bake quite a few bits and pieces, so will try to get them all posted about soon!
On Friday 13th (seemed to pass of without too much bad luck...) it was 'Red for RedR' day at work. RedR is an engineering relief charity - you can get more info at http://www.redr.org.
So as well as donning a red jumper for the day I thought I'd do a wee bit of red-themed baking to finish off the week on a sugar high. I did some 'RedR' biscuits and had way too much fun with the red writing icing ;o) then to make sure there was enough to go round, rustled up some cupcakes with cherries on top.

Another recent baking discovery I'm particularly proud of can probably best be described as upside down doughnut muffins. A wee while ago I got a mini silicone donut/dariole pan and was waiting for some inspiration to strike as to what to do with it. I actually went hunting for baked doughnut recipes, but after failing to find one that didn't involve yeast (which I didn't have) and noticing I had some squashy bananas looking like they needed using up, the end result being treacly banana and ginger upside down muffins with a hole in them. They were nice, but that wasn't the inspirational bit - that came when pondering the little hole in the middle of the muffin, and thinking that it was an ideal little pocket for a secret stash of icing (or jam would work too). So I mixed up some lemon icing and drizzled into the holes and all over the top, and even if I do say it myself, the end result was fab - an experiment that will definitely be being repeated!


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