Pesto Twists

I know this looks like it’s a bit of a cheaters ‘bake’ but sometimes the easy options are the best.
As I had spent a full evening preparing the caramel squares for a work fuddle, I also wanted to make something savoury but it had to be fairly quick and easy. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a bit of cheese and pesto. With 3 simple ingredients and 20 odd minutes, what could be better.

Ingredients

1 pack of puff pastry (500g)

1 jar of pesto

½ cup of grated parmesan


Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180oc

2. Roll out the puff pastry until it’s about the thickness of the a 50 pence. 

3. Spread the pesto over the pastry leaving about ½ an inch from the edge, sprinkle over the cheese, then fold the pastry in half bring together two of the edges that don’t have any pesto.

4. Cut into 12 strips and twist each strips 4-5 times.

5. Place onto a parchment lined baking tray and bake for roughly 10-15 minutes until the edges have started to go golden brown, then leave to cool. 

Nutritional Information

Serves 12

Calories: 243

Protein: 5.0g

Carbohydrates: 15.1g

Of which is Sugars: 0.5g

Fibre: 1.6g

Fat: 17.8g

Of which is Saturated: 6.9g

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Caramel Shortbread

I always see loads of recipes for these called many different things e.g. Twix bars, caramel fingers etc. I’ve just always known these as caramel squares and they are one of the many things that my mum would always be asked to make for us and unlike some of the other recipes I’ve seen, I do insist on making my own caramel, which although adds a fair bit of time to the baking process I think that you cannot beat homemade caramel. 

I normally need a full evening or preferably afternoon to make these so just be warned as these a fair bit of cooling involved and I always make them the day before I want them so it can completely cooled and be cut up into equal squares.


Ingredients

For the base

125g Butter

50g Caster Sugar

175g Plain Flour

For the Caramel Filling

175g Butter

115g Golden Caster sugar

3 Tbsp. Golden Syrup

1 Tin Condensed Milk (400g)

For the Topping

100g Dark Chocolate

100g Milk Chocolate


Method

1. Prepared a large dish, I use a deep casserole dish but any dish roughly 20cm square will do, just grease with some butter, making sure that you do the sides as well. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c 

2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the sifted plain flour and mix until it begins to bind together. Knead the mixture until it becomes smooth then press it into the pre-prepared dish. With a fork, prick the mixture in numerous places and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until it started to go golden brown.

3. Leave to cool ready for the topping.

4. When the base has been in the oven for roughly 10 minutes start to make the caramel. 

5. In a saucepan over a low/medium heat add the butter, sugar, condensed milk and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

6. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-8 minutes until it begins to thicken and darkens in colour. Keep stirring!

7. Pour over the cooled biscuit base and leave to cool.

8. Once the caramel has cooled, in a suitable bowl over some simmering water, melted the chocolate chunks until completely melted then pour over the caramel then place in the fridge to cool.

9. After a couple of hours once the chocolate has started to set but not completely, score through the chocolate where you want the pieces to be. This will mean that once the chocolate completely cooled, you will get nice neat squares.


Nutritional information

Serves 16

Calories:  343 

Protein:  3.8g

Carbohydrates: 39.6g 

Of which is sugars:  26.8g

Fibre: 0.4g 

Fat: 19.1g

Of which is saturated: 12.1g

Mary Berry’s Homemade Custard

​Its been a little whole since I’ve done any baking and I’ve really missed it! So I decided last weekend it was time to make a proper winter pudding, spotted dick and homemade custard. Whilst the pudding wasn’t my favourite I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make custard. I found this recipe on the bbc good food website (which is always a go to when I need a bit of inspiration) and its from the queen of baking herself, Mary Berry, so it was going to be the only recipe I would trust for my first attempt.
Ingredients

4 Egg Yolks

30g Caster Sugar

2 Tbsp. Cornflour

1 Vanilla Pod

570ml Whole Milk

55ml Single Cream

Method

1. Add the milk and cream  to a saucepan, cut open the vanilla pod, scrape out most of the beans and add these and the pod to the mixture. Slowly bring them to a simmer over a low heat.

2. Remove the vanilla pod.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour until you get a smooth mixture.

4. Slowly pour in the hot milk mixture to the eggs, constantly whisking to avoid curdling.

5. Pour back into the saucepan and slowly heat until thickened, stirring regularly.

6. Once thickened, it’s ready to serve.

Nutritional Information

Serves 4

Calories: 217

Protein: 7.9g

Carbohydrates: 15.9g 

Of which is sugars: 14.7g

Fibre:  0.0g

Fat: 11.7g

Of which is saturated:  6.2g

Gluten Free Avocado Brownies

I’ll be honest; I’m not someone who’s a massive avocado fan. I don’t mind a bit of guacamole but I won’t eat it in a salad or on toast. I keep seeing all these recipes to make various chocolaty goods with avocado, so I thought I’d give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I really couldn’t taste any avocado in the brownies but found they gave it a really nice texture and one I preferred over the buckwheat brownies I’ve made previously when attempting gluten free baking.

This recipe is so easy to make as well as it only required 1 baking tin and a food processor which is always a positive because, as much as I enjoy baking I do not love the washing up that inevitably ensues. I was rather chuffed with how fudgy and rich these brownies turned out, having only had relatively inconsistent success with gluten free baking, I was dubious as to how much I would genuinely enjoy these or if I’d end up eating them just because I’d made them and not wanting to waste them. But, thankfully, I really like these and would definitely consider making them again, despite being moreish you can’t eat too many due to how rich they are.

 

Ingredients

2 Eggs

100g Dark Chocolate

1 large Avocado

1 Cup Cacao Powder (You can use normal cocoa powder but you may want to reduce the amount of sugar, depending on how sweet you like it)

½ Cup Caster Sugar

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Baking Soda

2 Tbsp Water
image

 

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180⁰c. In a food processor blitz the avocado until it’s completely smooth, you may have to stop and clean down the sides a couple of times to avoid any bits.
  2. Add the baking soda, eggs, sugar, cacao powder and 1 tablespoon of the water and thoroughly mix.
  3. Melt the chocolate then add to the mixture and blitz until the chocolate is fully worked through. If the mixture is looking a bit thick then add the second tablespoon of water.
  4. Tip the mixture in a greased baking tin and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Check the brownies regularly with a skewer and once it comes out clean remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool before removing and finishing on the wire rack.
  5. Cut into pieces and serve, I like mine with a dusting of icing sugar.image

Nutritional Information

Calories: 217
Protein: 5.9g
Carbohydrates: 25.6g
Of which is sugars: 18.3g
Fibre: 5.7g
Fat: 10.8g
Of which is saturated:4.6g

 

Recipe slightly tweaked from here 🙂