HOME COOKING using SIX MIX TRICKS

Cookie Dough

Feb
10

When it comes to sweet treats I’m firmly in the Roald Dahl and Mary Poppins camp – Treats are essential to life (Roald Dahl) and A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down (Mary Poppins).

You won’t find me on any sugar free diets. Everything in moderation of course but life wouldn’t be worth living without a cookie or two.

Chocolate cookies are a huge favourite in our house. I love them because there’s nothing like whipping a batch of these to take to on the school pick up to put a big smile on my kids faces.

You can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to a month. Then, you can become mum/dad/husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend of the year by suddenly presenting the family with warm cookies and milk at bedtime.

You can also use the cookie dough to make your own cookie dough ice-cream for weekend movie nights by mixing chunks of it into a tub of vanilla ice-cream.

What you need:

8oz self raising flour

4oz butter

4oz white sugar

4oz brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

200g chocolate, cut into chunks

What you do:

Soften the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds and beat in both sugars until creamy

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat in until combined

Add the flour and mix in

Chop the chocolate

Add it in

And stir it in

Chill for 15 minutes or up to a week. Try not to return to fridge to eat spoonfuls!!!!

When you want some cookies, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, line a tray with baking paper, grab some of the dough, shape into balls and place on the tray with space in between

Bake for 10 minutes

 

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs

x

If you like this recipe, please share it with your friends.

An Everyday Wholemeal Bread

Jan
26

I can’t tell you how much I love baking my own bread. I love the science behind it. I love the feel of the dough. I love the smell when it’s baking. But most of all I love the flavour of homemade bread.

It’s a whole different species than a ready sliced loaf. For most shop bought loaves, especially white ones, the bread is just a vehicle for the sandwich filling or the toast topper and offers hardly anything in the way of nutrients and goodness. Proper bread is proper food. It’s the main event. It’s nutritious. It’s delicious. And you can cut extra thick slices.

Making your own bread means preservative and additive free. Once I’d read Rose Prince’s book “the new english kitchen changing the way you shop, cook and eat”, in particular the chapter on the bread making industry (although the chapter on margarine is a real eye opener too), and how the humble loaf of bread is adulterated with additives to make it rise quicker, improvers to make it taste better, and preservatives to make it last on supermarket shelves longer… I was completely put off buying shop bread. Even now, I look on the label to make sure that any loaf I’m buying only contains what it should…. flour, yeast, sugar, salt and water…. Making your own also means your house smells like a bakers shop, you get excellent toast and have access to the most scrumptious breadcrumbs imaginable that you can use in your cooking. Real bread just goes harder.. and staler.. as the days go by… it doesn’t get green mould on it.

I think bread making has a bad reputation. Supposedly it takes so long to make that we’ve had to resort to breadmakers because otherwise you have to knead it for ages and then wait for it to rise for hours and hours before you can even bake it.

Real bread made with yeast does take time it’s true because the yeast needs time to work it’s magic but the good news is that you don’t have to stand there watching it. The yeast will happily get on doing what it does even if you’re sleeping or out at work or shopping or whatever else you need to do.

Once you realise that you don’t have to work around the bread, the bread can work around you… making your own delicious wholemeal bread everyday becomes a real possibility.

You’ll see in this recipe that I hardly spend any time kneading the bread, a few minutes is all, and I don’t even take it out of the bowl to save making a mess.  If you’ve had a stressful day, a good ole bashing session with the bread and copious amounts of flour is a great stress buster but if you’re strapped for time, you don’t have to. Kneading the dough stretches the gluten in the flour which is what makes the bread light and fluffy inside. If you knead only a little the bread will be denser (I like it this way), if you knead for longer the bread will be lighter. The choice is yours depending on whether you can be bothered, whether you have time and what type of bread you want to eat.

The yeast will make the bread rise within an hour in a warm room. But you can leave bread dough in the fridge overnight and it will still have risen by morning. Or you can leave it on the side all day in a cool room and it’ll be done by the time you get home. Or you can speed up the rising process by putting it in a low oven for 30 minutes first before baking it. The bread can work around you.

What you need:

1lb wholemeal/granary flour
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
300ml hand hot water
1 tbsp sugar/honey
1 tsp salt
1 sachet of dried yeast

What to do:

Put the flour in a large bowl.

Then add the sugar, salt and yeast.

The best way to make the water hand-hot (i.e you can stick your hand in comfortably) is to add 100ml boiling water from the kettle and top up to 300ml with water from the cold tap. Mix the oil and water together in a jug and stir into the flour mixture.

Stir it together until it starts to form a clump.

Put a little oil on your hand and knead it for a few minutes (or 10 minutes if stressed and need the relief), pushing and pulling, until it becomes smooth

Cover with clingfilm and leave for an hour or longer (as is convenient to you) until puffed up.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, line a tin with greaseproof paper and press the dough in.

Bake for 30 minutes until risen and golden.

Hope you like this recipe and that you feel inspired to bake some bread soon.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs

x

If you like this recipe, please share it with your friends.

Simple Chinese Noodle Pots

Jan
26

I’ve been making these noodle pots for years for quick lunches, easy dinners and simple suppers.  My family all love super noodles and not being a lover of processed food, I had to come up with an alternative or give in.

I love that I can use wholewheat noodles and good chicken stock, add some homemade sweet chilli sauce (see separate post) and sneak in a few vegetables as well.

I’m not giving exact amounts because it’s not that sort of recipe. If you added more noodles and less veg it wouldn’t matter (the kids do no veg if they make it themselves!), if you don’t like coriander you can use another herb or leave it out altogether, and if you wanted to add something else to the pot you could.  All you need to know is that the noodles need 3 minutes to cook in the microwave.

What you need:

Wholewheat noodles
Stir fry vegetables
Coriander
Chicken/vegetable stock
Frozen peas
Sweet chilli sauce
Chopped nuts

What you need:

Break up a nest of noodles and put in the bottom of a jar.

Put some stir fry vegetables on top

Add some chopped coriander

Pour in enough chicken stock to cover

Microwave for 2 minutes on high

Add a handful of frozen peas

Microwave for 1 minute on high

Add a spoonful of sweet chilli sauce and stir everything together

Top with chopped nuts and eat with a fork or chopsticks

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs

x

If you like this recipe, please share it with your friends.

5 min Sweet Chilli Sauce

Jan
26

If you’ve ever wanted to have a go at making your own preserves, this is a great recipe to start you off. It only takes 5 minutes, uses simple store cupboard ingredients and you can keep it in the fridge for ages to use in Chinese Noodle Pots, Egg fried Rice or Thai beef Salad. It also makes a great dip that you can pull out at the weekend, for a movie night, to serve with some prawn crackers or crispy potato wedges.

I’m using frozen chilli cubes for this recipe. You can use fresh chillies, it will just take a bit longer to make. Finely chop them and de-seed or leave seeded depending on how hot you want the sauce to be. You can find frozen chilli in the supermarket as well as garlic, ginger and herbs, and they are very useful to keep in the freezer for throwing into curries and chillies and casseroles.

What you need:

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp cornflour
300ml water
150ml white wine vinegar
4oz sugar
4 tsp chilli (4 frozen cubes or 2 red chillies finely chopped)

What to do:

Put the oil, water, chilli and sugar in a pan.

 

Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar.

Mix the cornflour with a bit of water to make it pourable.

Stir it into the pan.

Simmer for a few more minutes until thickened enough to stick onto the back of a spoon.

Pour into a clean jar or bottle and keep in the fridge.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs

x

If you like this recipe, please share it with your friends.