Carrot Soup

When it’s freezing cold and lunch time approaches the last thing you think of is having a sandwich or a cold salad… This recipe is my favourite carrot soup so far (and I’ve tried a lot of them) it is smooth, flavourful and it’s very easy to make! It freezes very well – perfect for those of us who don’t have time to cook everyday –  and you can even have it cold in summer!

Ingredients: 2 tbsp butter, 1 onion, 8 medium carrots, 1 litre (4 cups) boiling water or chicken/vegetable stock, salt and freshly ground pepper.

*You can add a potato to lighten it a bit and make more amount.

Procedure:

Peel and slice the onion, do the same with the carrots. Cut them roughly so they’ll cook evenly, no need for fancy techniques!

Melt some butter in a large pot and fry the onion until it has softened.

Add the carrots and stir well so they will be completely covered in butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place a lid on the pot and let the carrots cook gently for about 10 minutes. You can add a bit of water if necessary.

Dissolve a vegetable or chicken stock cube in a pint of hot water and add it to the pot. You might want to rectify with salt and pepper to taste again.

Simmer for around 20 minutes until tender.

Take the pot off the hob and carefully blend it all while it’s still warm. If the soup is too thick you can add a more stock or water.

To serve your soup you can add double or single cream to it or any grated cheese and let it melt. The Laughing Cow cheese is ideal for this recipe because it’s soft and creamy. You can have it with the traditional bread and butter.

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Spinach Catalan style

Everyone says that all kids hate spinach, well I actually loved them! Specially when my parents prepared Espinacs a la Catalana.

Ingredients: 1 kg Spinach, 300 g bacon, 1-2 garlic cloves, pine nuts and raisins (to taste) *You can substitute the pine nuts by almonds if you prefer.

Put the raisins in a bowl with hot water, leave them to soak.

Meantime boil the spinach until soft and drain well.

Fry the bacon with little olive oil until golden.

Drain the raisins and add them to the pan with the pine nuts, fry until toasted.

Add the spinach and stir-fry all together for a couple of minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

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There’s far too much bacon here! 😛

Beer cupcakes with caramelized bacon

I was looking for a manly cupcake recipe. My other half is not the typical man who likes sports and cars, but he does love beer, I wanted to make something to make him share my passion for cupcakes and I came across this recipe: Beer cupcakes with beer butter cream and sprinkled with caramelized bacon. I know this can sound horrendous but it works!

The original recipe is from the US so I had to work out the amounts using online conversion pages.

Ingredients

Cupcakes: 1 ½ cups flour (200g), 2 eggs, 3 tblsp butter (45g), a dash of salt, 1 cup light brown sugar (128g), 1 teasp baking powder, 1 bottle or can of beer* (330ml) ½ teasp baking soda

*You can use any beer but light ones work better. The first time I used Hobgoblin which is quite flavourful and the cake mix got a but too heavy so the cupcakes didn’t rise too much. I recommend any lager or soft ales more than dark ales or stouts.

Butter cream: 1 cup butter (240g) 5 cups icing sugar (640g), 6 tbls beer (90ml)*

*Have extra sugar and beer on hand. Depending on the type of beer and the humidity, you may need to add more sugar or beer depending on how wet or dry it comes out.

Caramelized bacon1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar (160g), 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 pound sliced bacon (453g)

Procedure

Mix the softened butter and brown sugar in a mixer. Add eggs one at a time, until well mixed.

Mix dry ingredients together. Pour in ¼ of the dry ingredients and mix. Then, pour in some of the beer and mix.

Continue alternating until all ingredients are mixed in.

Pour mixture in cup cake liners

Bake at 180°C for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While you allow cakes to cool prepare your frosting ingredients. If you don’t let them cool, they will be too wet on the inside.

Cream the butter and about a quarter of your sugar.

Then, just as you did with the cake, alternatively add some beer and then sugar. If it seems to wet, then add more powdered sugar. If it is too dry, then add more beer. 

Directions for caramelized bacon:

Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminium foil, then place an oven-safe wire rack on top of the pan.

In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, the cinnamon. Toss them together until the spices are well-distributed.

Take the strips of bacon and dip them it in the mix on both sides one by one, lay the bacon on the oven rack and bake until golden and crisp.

Turn the trips over so they will go crispy on the other side too.

Let the bacon cool, meantime you can put the butter cream on your cupcakes.

When the bacon is cold crash the stripes into little pieces and sprinkle them over the cupcakes

There, you now have a sweet and bitter treat for the man of the house.

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Cake in a mug

This is possibly the most devilish thing I can show you… It’s a super-fast recipe for when you are craving chocolate but you don’t want to bake a whole cake and blame yourself for the rest of the week

Ingredients: 1egg, 4 tbls sugar, 4 tbls flour, 4 tbls cocoa powder, 3 tbls vegetable oil, 2 tbls milk, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 tsp rising powder

You just need to mix all the ingredients together very well in a mug (a big one) and cook in in the microwave for 3min (700w) or 2:30 (800w). You will see it raising up from the mug as if it had life of its own, but don’t be scared, it’ll still taste awesome.

Eat it while still warm for luxurious velvety texture and have it with vanilla ice cream or double cream to make it an even better treat. Enjoy!

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Oreo Cupcakes

My mum passed on me this amazing recipe of Oreo Cupcakes, and they are as yummy as they sound! I just added a bit of fun adding a whole Oreo at the bottom of the cupcakes and it worked out pretty well! You  can sprinkle these cupcakes with Oreo crumbs and they will look amazing, but you can use whatever you want -I used heart-shaped sprinkles because they are a treat for Valentine’s Day! ❤

Ingredients

Cupcakes: 2 eggs, 115 g butter, 220 g sugar, 200 g flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 140 ml milk, 10 Oreo (smashed) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Butter cream: 120 g butter (softened), 300 g icing sugar, 125 g soft cheese (like ‘Philadelphia’) 1 spoon of milk and 10 Oreo (smashed into fine dust)

Toppings: Cut aprox. 6 Oreo  in half or use Mini-Oreo, they look so cute! You can also sprinkle some Oreo crumbs on top of the butter cream.

Procedure

Preheat the over at 180ºC

Prepare the cupcakes liners on the cupcake tray and add a single Oreo at the bottom of every paper liner

Mix the dry ingredients together sifting the flour with the baking powder

Mix the eggs with the sugar, softened butter and vanilla essence.

Mix everything together and manually fold in the smashed Oreo

Scoop a spoon of cupcake mix in every paper liner, they should be 2/3  filled up

Put them in the oven for 25 – 30 min watching them often. To know when they are cooked you can insert a bbq stick or cocktail stick in any cupcake, if there is no cake mix stuck to the stick when you withdraw the stick it means they are ready, if there are residues leave them for few more minutes keeping an eye on them.

Once they’re cooked let them cool on a  cooling rack until absolutely cold. Meantime you can prepare the butter cream.

To make a nice butter cream the butter needs to be soft, not melted. The best thing to do is to leave it out of the fridge for a couple of hours before you start baking but it -like mine- your kitchen is like a fridge itself you can pout the butter in the microwave for few seconds.

Very slowly mix the butter with the icing sugar, when the mix is smooth you can add the cream cheese. When all the mix is nice an smooth again manually fold in the Oreo dust. Put the mix in a piping bag with the tip of your choice -Note: the tip should be quite big as the some Oreo chunks could obstruct the tip.

Make sure the cupcakes are completely cold before adding the butter cream or this will melt on top of the cupcake and it wouldn’t look good. Get ‘butter-creaming’ those bad boys!

To top up your creations add 1/2 Oreo on the top of the cupcakes or use 1 Mini-Oreo. You can also sprinkle them with Oreo crumbs and they’re ready!

Hope you enjoy them, mine where a big success! 🙂

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