Nigella Lawson’s mince pies.

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ImageThese are Nigella’s very own mince pies which I have to say look so delicious! Nearer to Christmas which is actually quite soon, I will be making a lot of Christmas treats and we cannot forget the mince pies. I love Christmas, it is definitely my favourite time of the year because everyone is so cheerful and all the lights are up and there christmas music playing. But the most exciting part is making all the food! But of course why wouldn’t it be.

Spaghetti con Spinaci e Noci

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I just love Italy, and I really adore spaghetti! I love the stringiness of it and enjoy sucking it up slowly through my teeth. Not the most polite thing to do! But hey, you’re only a kid once, right?  I couldn’t resist this recipe when I found it in a supermarket magazine, because it includes not only my fave pasta, but spinach and walnuts too! Both ingredients are fabulously healthy and delicious to eat. Believe me, this recipe tastes really good and it super-easy to make!

Spaghetti con Spinaci e Noci

(serves 4/5)

What you need

  • 500 g of spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp of organic cold pressed walnut oil
  • Sea salt
  • 100 g of chopped walnuts
  • 4 leeks (trimmed)
  • 15 g of organic butter
  • 180 g of baby spinach leaves
  • 50 g of sultanas
  • sprinkling of finely grated parmesan on each dinner plate
  • Season with coarsely ground black pepper

What to do

Heat the walnut oil slowly in a large, deep rimmed fry pan and add the walnuts, cook them for about 1 minute, then remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside. Next, add the leeks and butter to the pan, stir and allow them to sweat with the lid on until softened. Now add the spinach and sultanas for a minute or so, until the spinach wilts. Turn off the heat and leave, with the lid on.

Place the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling water with a little salt and a dash of oil and simmer until it’s al dente. Don’t overcook. Mum taught me that this is key to a great pasta. She’s right, there’s nothing worse than soggy spaghetti-believe me! After about 7 minutes, drain the spaghetti while it’s still hard in the centre, but soft on the outside. Finally mix the spaghetti with the gently fried vegetables and nuts you set aside  earlier.

Serve straightaway with generous helpings of parmesan and coarsely black pepper.

Enjoy :-) Amber x

"Spagehtti with Walnuts"

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Dad’s Birthday Lemon Drizzle Cake

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On my Dad’s 50th birthday, I had the pleasure of making him his favourite Lemon Drizzle Cake. Now at first, I was concerned that this recipe would be a little dry, due to previous Lemon cakes I’ve eaten, but I was quickly proven wrong! The cake my Mum and I made was an explosion of flavour! The sponge was filled with the pleasant  zing of lemon, though with a hint of lemon curd flavour in the centre, it would have been a taste sensation! I know most people think that cream will block out the flavour, but the cream and a fork full of cake, can provide a wonderful taste experience.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

What you need

  • 225 g softened organic unsalted butter
  • 225 g organic light brown sugar
  • 4 free range eggs
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 225 g of self-raising flour

Drizzle topping

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 85 g of fine white sugar
What to do

First of all you need to heat the oven to 180C or gas 4.

While the oven is heating up, beat together 225g of softened unsalted butter and 225g of caster sugar until it’s light and creamy, then whisk together four eggs, and add gradually into the mix. Sift in 225 g flour, and add the finely grated zest of one lemon and mix until well combined. Line a medium seized circular cake tin with butter or greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the juice of one and a half lemons and 85 g of caster sugar, to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a fork or a knife, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will seep into the cake, making it moist and lemony. Leave the cake in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve warm with lashings of cream!

Enjoy :-) Amber x

Lemon Drizzle Cake Mix

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Gingerbread Men

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I made these gingerbread men with the help of my best friend Koah. We had the whole weekend together and she loves to cook too. Sometimes when I was little, my mum would stop off at a local farm shop after school, and buy my sisters and I a delicious organic gingerbread man each. These gingerbread men taste as good! Actually too good as my big sisters devoured most of them!

Gingerbread Men

What you need

  • 350 g of organic plain flour plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  •  125 g of butter
  • 175 light brown organic sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tbsp of golden syrup
  • 32 currants
  • 32 glacé cherries

What to do

Sift together flour, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon and place in the food processor. Add the butter and blend together until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Next, lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together in clumps. Take the dough out and quickly knead before wrapping it up in cling film and leaving it to chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.You can cheat and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes, which is what I did:-) Now it’s time to preheat the oven to 180C/ Gas Mark 4 / 350 F and line a couple of baking trays with cooking parchment. Now it’s time to roll out the dough into about 1/2 cm thickness on a floured surface. "gingerbread men" Take your gingerbread man shape and cut the pastry into shapes and place them onto the tin, taking care to leave a gap between them. Next decorate your men with currants and cherries and put them into the oven for about 12 mins. They cook quickly so check frequently as you don’t want to overcook them. Finally place your gingerbread men on a wire rack to cool.
"gingerbread men"
Tip: Hide from your sisters or they’ll vanish, fast!
Enjoy :-) Amber x

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Apple Berry Crumble

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I made this Apple Berry Crumble with my teacher Alexa in mind. Because she asked me whether I’d make a recipe that included apples, as she has so many she doesn’t know what to do with them! So this recipe is for you Alexa..

Letter to Alexa:

I just want you to know how important you are in my life right now, especially at my age. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you being there for me and my classmates. I have noticed they don’t appear to see you like I see you. They see a teacher making them do their homework, but I see you as an inspiration and your belief in me and what I will achieve in the future. Thank you for everything you are doing and have done for me. Alexa, you are an excellent teacher and they’re hard to find, but I guess God was on my side when the school gave you the job! A good teacher is knowledgeable, patient, enthusiastic and kind. I’m happy to say you have all these qualities! So here is my Apple Berry Crumble recipe, dedicated to the best teacher any student could wish for:-)

Love Amber x

Apple Berry Crumble

What you need

For the crumbly top:

  • 100 g ( 4 oz) of wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 120 g (5 oz)  of butter or dairy-free spread
  • 30 g (2oz) of porridge oats
  • 20 g of chopped hazelnuts
  • 50 g ( 2 0z) of demerara sugar

For the fruity filling:

  • 200 g (7oz) fresh or frozen summer berries
  • 1 Orange
  • 450 g ( 1 lb) of eating apples
  • 1 tbsp of caster sugar

What to do

First heat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4/350F. Put the flour and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Next cut up the butter into small pieces and then add, using your thumb and fingers to rub the fat into the flour. When it looks crumbly, it’s time to put your chopped nuts, oats and sugar in the bowl before mixing well together.  Now put your berries in the bottom of an oven-proof dish and then cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice all over them. Next, peel the apples and cut each in half, then quarter them and make sure you get out the core before cutting them up into bite-size chunks. Put them into the oven-proof dish with the caster sugar and mix together. Then take your crumbly mixture and sprinkle over the fruit before popping it into the oven for 35 minutes, or until the top is browned. Serve warm with creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

"Apple Berry Crumble"

Enjoy:-)Amber x

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Cherry Tomato Tarts

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I was looking through a cookbook my grandmother gave me and these tarts looked so mouth-watering, I just had to try them out. Cherry Tomato Tarts are a delicious way to start off your evening with friends or family. They tasted really great, so my family tell me!

Cherry Tomato Tarts

What you need

  • 1 large red onion
  • 375 g (13oz) packet of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 100g (4oz) of cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 225g (8oz) of cherry tomatoes
  • handful of fresh basil

What to do

The first thing you need to do is cut the onions into thin slices, next put the olive oil and onion in a pan over a gentle heat. Cook for around 10 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the onions are nice and soft. While the onions are cooking, unwrap the pastry and lay it in a baking tray, next cut the pastry into six pieces. Follow this by adding one tablespoon of the milk into the cream cheese and then spread the cheese over the pastry. When the onions are cooked, stir in the herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper, then you can spoon the onions over the tomatoes. When you’ve finished. you need to bake them for around 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is risen and golden brown. Leave the tarts on a baking sheet for a little while until they cool enough to eat.

"cherry tomato tarts"

Enjoy:-) Amber x

 

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Smoothie

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Cherries are a great way of incorporating fruits into your diet and with the delicious taste of chocolate, it’s sure to make heaven in a glass!

“If you love chocolate and cherries as much as me..try out my new Dark Chocolate and Cherry Smoothie! “

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Smoothie Recipe

What you need

  • 2 apples
  • 10 cherries
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 50 g of dark chocolate

What to do

Cut the apples into wedge shapes, put them through a juicer and pour the juice into your blender. Chop up the cherries and pick out of stones as you go. Add the sliced banana and cherry pieces to the blender as well. This is my favourite part: melting the chocolate and licking the spoon! Grab a saucepan and a little boiling water, keep it on a low heat and insert a heat-proof jug into the boiling water. Then break up your chocolate into small pieces, place these into your jug and stir with a wooden spoon as it slowly melts. Once the chocolate has completely liquidized , add it to the blender and give it a final whizz. You can lick the spoon while it blends! ( (This recipe makes two small glasses, if you want to make more, just double the amounts.) This recipe idea, was taken from the Innocent Smoothie Recipe Book.

"chocolate and cherry smoothie"

Enjoy:-) Amber x

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