26 June 2011

Hairy Bikers Meat & Potato Pie

This is a large pie but, the quantities can easily be halved and its delish.....
For the pie filling
  • 2.75kg/6lb braising steak, cut into cubes

  • 3 medium onions, chopped

  • 2.75kg/6lb potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks

  • 1 tbsp beef extract

  • 4 tbsp gravy granules

For the pastry
  • 500g/1lb 2oz plain flour

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 125g/4½oz margarine, cut into small cubes

  • 25g/4½ oz lard (crisco or trex), cut into small cubes

  • 125ml/4fl oz cold water

  • 1 free-range egg, beaten

  1. For the pie filling, put the beef and onions into a large, lidded saucepan and season with salt. Pour in enough water to cover the contents of the pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, put cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2½–3 hours, or until the meat is tender.

  2. Meanwhile, for the pastry, tip the flour and salt into a bowl, and add the cubes of margarine and lard. Using your fingertips, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture has the texture of breadcrumbs, and no large lumps of fat remain. Add the water and mix with a cutlery knife until the pastry begins to come together. Add more water very gradually if needed. Knead the dough lightly, shape into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until the beef mixture is cooked. (Alternately, blend the flour, salt, margarine and lard in a food processor until the mixture has the texture of breadcrumbs. With the motor running slowly add the water through the funnel, until the mixture starts to come together.)

  3. Once the meat has been cooking for two hours, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  4. Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and set aside.

  5. When the meat is tender, remove the pan from the heat. Ladle some of the liquid from the meat into a jug to cool. Mix together the gravy granules and meat extract, and gradually add to the cooled liquid, mixing in thoroughly. Pour over the meat, and heat gently until simmering. Once simmering, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

  6. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Cut a small amount of pastry and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface to a 3mm/⅛in thickness . Cut the pastry into thin strips. Dampen the rim of a 28 x 38cm/11in x 15in pie dish with water, and line the rim with the strips of pastry.

  7. Strain the meat and onions, reserving the sauce. Spread the meat and onions in an even layer in the base of the dish. Layer the potatoes on top of the meat and onions. Pour the reserved sauce over the filling, until just below the top of the potatoes. Reserve any remaining sauce.

  8. Roll the remaining pastry out on a floured work surface to a 3mm/⅛in thickness, and cut to the size of the pie dish. Brush the strips of pastry on the rim of the dish with beaten egg, and place the pastry lid on top. Press the edges to seal, and brush the lid of the pie with the remaining beaten egg. Cut a few slits in the lid of the pie to allow steam to escape.

  9. Cook in the preheated oven for 50–60 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling inside.

  10. Serve the hot pie with the reserved sauce on the side.

21 June 2011

My flight(s) from hell

My flight (s) from hell to UK and back
The flight from cologne was doomed from the beginning, waiting in the lounge a group of Man Utd supporters arrived drunk as skunks,
and totally turned a quiet area into a frenzy, followed shortly by a group of Liverpool supporters, and that is not a good mix by any stretch of the imagination.
You could feel the tension in the air and so could the German admin who were about to let us onto the flight, passports were being checked and we were being told to board the aircraft.
The police arrived and herded the lads away to "talk" to them...so the rest of us boarded the craft minus said lads. 30 mins later and a very fed up and frustrated 120 passengers were treated to the arrival of said lads with a police escort onto the plane. The passengers at the back of the aircraft were asked to moved forward so the said lads could all be together at the rear of plane. That took another 20mins, so by now we are 40mins late leaving and had lost our slot.
The police told the stewards not to serve alcohol to the lads who by now were chanting songs to each other "you'll never walk alone" and "glory glory man utd" tensions were rising high again, so no alcohol and all passports were handed to the captain with instructions
of "if it kicks off, return to Cologne" yeh right i thought, not on your life.
So, we take off and bobble about the clouds for 10mins thru turbulance listening to the harmonious song chants and projectile vomit sounds!!!
This was going to a difficult and scary flight and i was praying no fights were going to break out as this is how man Utd and Liverpool fans normally greet each other with a head butt.
Mind you at one point i nearly joined in the singing being a true Utd supporter since birth, but refrained myself and buried my head in my new Kindle, devouring every word Stephen Fry had written.
Bottles of water were sold and voices were heard moaning..4euros for water, could of had 2 vodkas....well that caused havoc plus the instant workings of the bladder, so a long queue formed for the 2 toilets, which wasnt a good idea with 24 drunk football supporters all wanting a pee at the same time.
At one point i upped my gaze from my kindle and looked to my right to have my nose virtually into the groin of a drunken scouser holding his private parts for fear of peeing himself....not a nice site trust me.
The lads slowly started to nap, thank god, and the queue was getting less and less by the minute, the captain then came on and announced 'we are desending for Manchester and everyone please take your seats" which woke the napping lads up, who then all wanted the loo again, they were told to "SIT", one guy stood up
and proclaimed....i will p*** in the aisle then......the stewardess ran down to the captain who came back on and said..those that need the toilets have 3 mins to do so and then we descend further. The rush to the toilets i swear tipped the plane forward, but that could just of been me, as by this time i had lost the will to live.
3 minutes seems a long time when you want to land and get to see your Mum, but no, 3 mins turned into 5 and the captain again said, please all sit and then added " and believe me i have enough fuel to return to Cologne"...!!!!! the aircraft erupted with us passengers saying no no no, and one guy was brave enough to stand and tell the lads to sit down shut up and behave.
Why he never did that from the beginning i dont know but it did the trick. So we bobble down thru the clouds again, thru lightening too, i by now was convinced i was going to meet my maker but even sadder as to not finish Stephen Fry. Should i get my mobile out and text Mike, sending him kisses. Dont be stupid all will be ok. Still bobbling about and descending, what seemed more rapid than ive ever experienced, the vomiting from the rear of the plane started again.
Please just let me off, please.
We land and i think the pilot just dumped the aircraft so we could be removed ASAP. The captain tells us the lads will be let off first, the man that told them to shut up wasnt having any of it and told the stewards WE were being let off first and he beckoned us all to follow, which we did. Yay, i am free....so with only hand luggage went to meet my cousin who was picking me up, she was visiting her Mum,my Mums sister, and was over form Aussie, where shes lived for 10years.
So i should of landed at 8.20pm and we landed at 9.30pm, so jackie and i head off to my Mums, we were both born and brought up in Manchester and would you believe it...we got lost...lol....we ended up at Mums, at 10pm, 5 mins away from the airport.

Return flight....aircraft arrived 1hr late due to having to change a wheel at Cologne, were about to board then told to stop as the onboard computer had developed a fault in mid flight....20mins later told to board....so here is me, Kindle at the ready, Stephen Fry here i come, when the captain asks for our attention. He informs us the onboard computer at this moment doesnt know if we are on the ground or airborn!!!!!!and a tech is being sent for, by this time Mike is on his way to Cologne with no clue what is happening. The tech arrives and spends 20mins testing the on board computer, lights flash, heating on, heating off, aircon on, air con off, wing flaps up, wing flaps down. Captain says, we are ready for take off as all is now well, a young man puts his hand up and asks the steward, what if, mid flight, the onboard computer cant remember if we are mid-air or on the ground......OMG!!!!.
..head in Kindle, think i will just send Mike a kiss.....
Arrived home 2.5 hrs late...........and worth every minute to feel terra firma.

18 June 2011

14 June 2011

Cornish Pasty

I am definately going to make these again once i am back from the UK, i leave on sunday but will be back on tuesday, just a quick visit to see how Mum is doing...for the pasties you need:


  • 125g chilled and diced butter
  • 125g lard
  • 500g plain flour , plus extra
  • 1 egg beaten


  • 350g beef skirt or chuck steak, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium potatos peeled, thinly sliced
  • 175g sweded peeled, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper 

  1. Rub the butter and lard into the flour with a pinch of salt using your fingertips or a food processor, then blend in 6 tbsp cold water to make a firm dough. Cut equally into 4, then chill for 20 mins.
  2. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Mix together the filling ingredients with 1 tsp salt. Roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured surface until large enough to make a round about 23cm across - use a plate to trim it to shape. Firmly pack a quarter of the filling along the centre of each round, leaving a margin at each end. Brush the pastry all the way round the edge with beaten egg, carefully draw up both sides so that they meet at the top, then pinch them together to seal. Lift onto a non-stick baking tray and brush with the remaining egg to glaze.
  3. Bake for 10 mins, then lower oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and cook for 45 mins more until golden. Great served warm.


Recipe is easy
200gr butter
200grm castor sugar
1 egg
mix together till mix is smooth and pale
fold in 400gr plain flour and some vanilla or any other flavour
When dough like...wrap in cling film and put in fridge for around 2 hrs till hard'ish.
Quickly roll so it doesnt go too soft, cut with cutters.
Bake 180 degrees till golden..around 12/15mins
Then decorate

This is true....honest

A lady went to a confectioners and ordered a birthday cake, the assistant asked what she would like to be written on the cake, the lady replied Nothing....voila...lol...i dont know what i would do if that happened to me...lol...love it


Cheese & Onion Pie

This is a fabulous pie from the Hairy Bikers i make it regular recipe HERE

Kim's Birthday Cake

I did a drape on this one and think it turned out ok

Manchester Tart

Going to make this today...takes me back to school days..jam, custard coconut and you can add bananas on the base too  Recipe HERE

Mickey Cake Pops

                                                   Mickey Cake Pops

Mickey Mouse cake

I made this using an edible photo print of Mickey on the top

Noa's Communion

Loved the colours in this one so bright and fresh

Luna's Communion Cake

Made this for a little girls communion last week

Bride & Groom Cake

Loved making this as the cake was a cupcake stand topper and is only 6" but matches the cupcakes

British v US ingredients conversion

US all-purpose flour and UK plain-flour can be substituted for one another without adjustment.
UK cornflour is the same as US cornstarch. 

UK castor/caster sugar is somewhat finer than US granulated sugar.
There is a product in the US called superfine sugar, which is about the same as UK castor/caster sugar.

Black treacle and blackstrap molasses are similar but not identical.

UK Golden syrup, is the same as US corn syrup.

UK 4oz butter is US "stick" or 1/2 a cup.

Frog Cake

Love this frog cake, ive never sculpted in fondant before and am quite pleased with myself

13 June 2011

CC's & Cakepops

Just made these cupcakes with cake pops which are really easy. To make the cake pops buy a vanilla or chocolate cake or make one but why bother, crumble it up into a bowl so its like breadcrumbs. Make some buttercream, not too much, and add to the crumbs and mix it till its like a thick gooey paste. Make into balls, smaller than a golf ball, and place on a tray and put into fridge for minimum 2hrs but overnight is good.
Melt some chocolate, take a lolly stick and dip end into chocolate then into the ball about half way in then dip into melted choc spinning the ball the get rid of excess, dip into sprinkles and let dry..ta da...done.
I use florists foam to stick mine into to dry.
For adult ones you can add alcohol to the cake crumbs then add the buttercream....Tia Maria is nice :)

Dauphinoise Potato

My favorite potato dish the recipe i use is HERE but i dont use the thyme and its in the oven as we speak

Expresso Chocolate Shortbread

Makes 32 cookies
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
8 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose (cake) flour
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (plain, or a toffee variety), finely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
1. Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don't work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.
3. Using the spatula, transfer the soft sticky dough to a large freezer bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that's 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn't cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
4. Set oven to 160 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.
6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale-they shouldn't take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
7. If you'd like, dust the cookies with confectioners' sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

High Hats

High hat cupcakes...recipe HERE and its a Martha Stewart recipe and very easy

Cinder Toffee

  • 100g golden syrup
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 40gr butter
  • 0.5 tsp vinegar
  • 1tsp bicarb soda
  • 2tbsp water

1. Line a 15cm square tin with greaseproof or parchment paper.

2. Put the syrup, sugar, butter and water into a large heavy-bottomed pan set over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, before turning up the heat and bringing to the boil.

3. Cook, without stirring until a teaspoon of the hot toffee mixture becomes a hard ball when dropped into a jug of cold water. If you have a sugar thermometer, it should register 138C. Remove the pan from the heat.

4. Add the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to the pan - take care as the toffee mixture will bubble up and rise in the pan. Pour immediately into the lined tin and leave on one side.

5. After about 15- 20 minutes, when the mixture has begun to set, score the toffee in square shapes, using a sharp knife. Break along the lines when it has completely set. The toffee will keep in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.

Plant pot bread...cheese

I made these mini plant pot rolls today and a cob loaf....Either use a bread mix which i did and added some cheese and herbs and used the bread maker to the dough stage, then split the dough into the plant pots and made the cob with the remainder,let it prove one more time then baked for 25 mins on 200 degrees. Took the rolls out of the pots to cool, when cool put them back in.

Home made butter

So easy to do
1pint double cream
Salt or herbs if you wish
Put into a fast mixer and mix and mix and mix, it has to go past the whipped cream stage. It will start to turn pale yellow and go watery, like its split, once you see water appear, mix for a short time.
Pour mixture into a sieve and squeeze of all the liquid (whey) and then you have butter.

Lazy Soda Bread

This is Nigel Slaters recipe....
You need:
  • 225g/8oz self raising or wholemeal flour
  • 225g/8oz plain
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoonbicarb if soda
    350ml/12fl oz buttermilk

    1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 8. Put a large casserole dish and its lid into the oven.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the flours, sea salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda together with your fingers. Pour in the buttermilk, bringing the mixture together as a soft dough. Working quickly (the bicarbonate of soda will start working immediately), shape the dough into a shallow round loaf about 4cm/1½in thick.
    3. Remove the hot casserole dish from the oven, dust the inside lightly with flour then lower in the dough. Cover with the lid and return to the oven.
    4. The bread should be ready after 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave in place for 5 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool slightly before eating. (Soda bread is best eaten warm.)

Peanut butter blondies

These are really easy to do and very moist
You need:
100gr butter
150gr peanut butter
175gr caster sugar
1 egg
75gr white chocolate broken into small pieces
125gr self raising flour

Mix the 2 butters together, beat in the egg adding a little flour should it split. Add the sugar and mix really well, add the chocolate and fold in the flour.
Put mixture into an 20cm sqaure tin and bake on 170 degrees for 25 mins, let cool and cut into squares

Oreo Brownies

These really are lovely, and didnt last long once made, of course it wasnt me that ate them, Mike!!!
To make these really easy brownies you need:
Your own brownie recipe or a box mix and 100grms of Oreos.
Follow the directions for the box mixture, add a layer of mix to the baking tin then 75grms of Oreos scattered over the mix, add the rest of the brownie mix and the rest of the Oreos on the top....bake...
Cut into squares once cooled....Scrumdillitelyumpschous