Posted in Food, tagged baking, chocolate, coffee morning, cooking, dried fruit, easy, Food, fridge cake, no bake, quick, recipe, store cupboard, tiffin, traybake, treat on 23 April, 2012 |
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Fridge cake aka tiffin is a very useful no-bake Vicarage staple. It uses store cupboard ingredients and can be made quickly, although it needs a few hours to set in your fridge – if you’re overeager to consume it, it can be rather too crumbly and sticky.
- 400g digestive biscuits (I use the cheapo range), broken into crumbs – in a plastic bag using a rolling pin, or in a food processor
- 200g butter (hard marg would work too but not soft)
- 4 heaped tbspns cocoa powder
- 3 tbspns golden syrup
- 3 tbspns brown sugar
- 4 handfuls sultanas/raisins/cranberries or other dried fruit as you like (approx 100-150g in total weight)
- 200-400g white chocolate, melted
Place the butter, cocoa powder, golden syrup, sugar and dried fruit in a large microwaveable bowl with lid and heat on full power for 2-3 minutes. If you don’t have a microwave, you can do this over a low heat in a saucepan. Once the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, add the crushed biscuits and mix thoroughly.
Place the mixture in a small roasting tin (about 20cmx30cm) that has been lined with cling film and level it out into the corners. Cling film is the best way to avoid sticking AND excessive washing up. Place the tin in the fridge whilst you melt the chocolate topping.
I usually use 200g white chocolate for the topping for this, but it is a little skimpy – 400g would give you a really good layer on top. I melt the chocolate in a jug on defrost in the microwave, but also sometimes use the old method of a bowl on top of a pan of boiling water. Usually when the last lot of chocolate was burnt in the microwave, alas. Using a knife, spread the chocolate over the now slightly cooled base and then refrigerate the lot for a couple of hours – preferably overnight. Use a sharp knife to cut it into pieces to serve with strong coffee.
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Posted in Food, tagged bacon, easy, Food, frugal, healthy, hungry, pork, quick, recipe, root veg, vegetables, Vicarage Recipes on 21 March, 2012 |
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This recipe is a Vicarage favourite that crosses the seasons – it’s hearty enough for winter, but the light sauce means that it suits a chilly day in June aswell. It’s also speedy, cooking in about 20 minutes. So if you can pre-prepare most of the veg, you can get it on the table within half an hour of getting in from work, or the swimming lesson or whatever. It was swimming for us yesterday – and the Queen and the Joker had to get to Kids Club, fed, in less than an hour after our return.
- Pork steaks (I chopped the ones I had in half and so fed six of us, with seconds, from a pack of four) or chops
- Bacon, about 4 rashers, chopped
- Large onion, roughly chopped
- Potatoes and vegetables – select from carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, leeks – all chunked. I use a smallish potato per person plus a couple of each of about 4 other vegetables to feed six of us.
- Cabbage, sliced – I used about half a Savoy
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1 tbspn vegetable (or chicken) bouillion powder or a stock cube
- 200ml cider
Using a large pan or cast iron casserole dish, fry the pork in butter to brown and then set aside. Then add the bacon and fry until a little crispy. Then fry the onion until soft and add the vegetables and fry them a little too. Then add cider and enough water to almost cover the veg. Add your bouillion powder and bay leaves and bring the liquid to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Pop the pork steaks back on top, cover the pan and set your pinger to 15 mins. After 15 minutes, pop in the shredded cabbage and leave for another 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables are all tender. Serve in soup plates if you can, with spoons handy to slurp up the lovely broth or chunky bread to mop it up if you’re very hungry.
If you’re lucky, there may be some leftover veg to have with hunks of bread for lunch tomorrow…
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Posted in Craft, Kids, tagged activities, Children, Craft, easy, frugal, Fun, homemade, Kids, Messy Church, playdough, recipe, simple, toddlers on 29 June, 2011 |
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Last night we had a great time at Messy Church – the next one in our series on the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus. This time we were looking at ‘I am the True Vine’ and the craft team decided that they’d like one activity to be making playdough grapes to place on a vine drawn on a paper plate. The Vicar then volunteered me to make the playdough, knowing that I had a recipe up my sleeve.
Every playgroup leader has a recipe for playdough – that ubiquitous soft dough which mums hate to find in carpets. But many folk I’ve spoken to have found their homemade dough to be too sticky or oily. This recipe always seems to come out well, though, as long as you don’t mind your fingers getting a bit stained with food colouring. It lasts a few weeks if kept in an airtight box in the fridge.
- 1 cup (250ml) plain flour
- 1 cup (250ml) water
- 1/2 cup (125ml) salt
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- Few drops food colouring
All you do is pop all the ingredients together in a pan (preferably non-stick) and heat it up, stirring, until the dough magically forms. You can also do it by heating it in a covered dish in the microwave for 1-2 minutes but it’s so fast on the stove top I use that method. Also, the food colouring can make the inside of a microwave dish look rather interesting.
I know these were meant to be grape coloured, but the local shop only sells colouring for pilau rice and Indian sweets, so the colours are a little lurid and approximate. For Messy Church I made a quadruple batch, which was ample. It’s great fun to hold and knead – we gave a couple of handfuls away to some of the teenage tearaways who were lurking in the church yard. One came in especially as he reckoned it would help him to deal with stress.
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Posted in Food, tagged baking, brownies, chocolate, cocoa, cooking, cup, easy, fast pudding, microwave, mug, pudding, quick dessert, recipe, speedy, sponge on 31 January, 2011 |
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This week we had a quiet Sunday lunch at the Vicarage – it was just our family: Rocky had an invitation to lunch out and I’d been disorganised about having folk over. So for pudding I decided to trial a recipe I saw on 22 Words a while back. It’s a chocolate sponge speedily cooked in a microwave in a mug.
It was a great success with the Vicarage crowd, and two portions served four of us generously (the Engineer was not in a puddingy mood). It would be lovely served with vanilla ice-cream, which was lacking in our freezer so we ate it with lashings of double cream (a half pint between us – eek!).
The recipe was originally titled ’3 minute brownies’ but what you get is more like a hot sponge pudding. Although it takes about 3 minutes in the microwave, total production time was rather longer – a whopping ten minutes for two of them, I reckon. A perfect pause time between courses, actually.
- 4 tablespoons self-raising flour
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 3 tablespoons oil
First, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa) in your mug. My mug (more an enormous cup, actually) had a capacity of 300ml, and I think this is about the minimum you need. Then break in the egg and add the oil and milk. Mix all together until you have a smooth batter.
Pop it in the microwave on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Mine took 3 1/2 minutes in our 800W basic Matsui machine. The sponge feels pretty wet, but is firm to the touch when cooked. Spoon into a bowl and enjoy with cream or ice-cream.
Next time I might mix up the batter in a jug for ease of stirring (although this would add to the washing up, always an important consideration I feel). And I’d quite like to try experimenting with making a lemon version. I’ll report back on that one. In the meantime, why not try it for pudding this evening?
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Posted in Food, Vicarage, tagged Children, chocolate macaroons, dessert, dining, easy, Food, Fun, ice-cream, Kids, pudding, strawberries, umbrella, yoghurt on 14 May, 2010 |
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In our house, apart from at Sunday lunch, ‘pudding’ is nearly always fruit or yoghurt. Bor-ing. So I have recently developed a way of making dull weekday desserts seem exotic and elegant.
I love these glasses
It mainly involves some rather lovely tumblers from Ikea. Our parish is only 12 minutes (on a good day, when the M5/M6 junction isn’t blocked like a festival loo) from the Swedish superstore. Another advantage of West Midlands inner city ministry. Anyway, we have the tumblers in blue, and although they are obviously excellent for gin, we more often use them as pudding bowls. They are short and wide and a happy summery colour. Perfect for puds.
In them I place yoghurt or icecream, often some fresh fruit, perhaps a sweetie or sprinkles and a biscuit of some sort. Favourites are those Italian trifle sponge fingers with ‘Boudoir’ stamped on them. But yesterday we used some chocolate macaroons I’d made for my school mums coffee morning, using up some left-over egg whites. And if I’m feeling extra kind, the kids are also allowed to have umbrellas. I was feeling particularly munificent yesterday.
Leave one for me... (and don't look too closely at the mucky table)
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