Author: Emma Hawkins

Strawberries and Cream Jammy Dodgers

Strawberries and Cream Jammy Dodgers

So it’s been a while since my last post as I’ve been taking a rest from everything. I’m one of those people who will try and do everything and then a little bit more on top, which is great fun until you realise you’ve burnt yourself out. But now I’m feeling refreshed and ready to start going crazy in the kitchen again, fully in the knowledge that I will inevitably crash in the short term future – but hey, you’ve got to make the most of your productive times as and when they hit you right?!

These beauties are in homage to my all time favourite British biscuit – the Jammy Dodger! Generally I’m not a biscuit person, but give me one of these and I’m instantly taken back to happy childhood memories of packed lunches and picnics in my back garden. I’ve fancied these up a little by using a rich clotted cream shortbread as the biscuit component. Essentially by using clotted cream as well as butter you end up with an even richer, melt-in-the-mouth biscuit than your regular shortbread (it’s pretty good if I say so myself!).

Recipe

Makes 12

Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients

For the biscuit

  • 100g Cold butter
  • 100g Clotted cream
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 300g Plain flour
  • 1 Egg yolk

For the filling

  • 4-5tbsp Strawberry jam

Method

  1. Put the butter, clotted cream and sugar into a bowl and beat together until smooth. Then add the flour and rub the sugar/butter mixture into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix the egg yolk with 2 tsp water and then add this to the main bowl. Mix together again until a smooth ball of dough forms. Split the dough into 2 equal balls and then cover each one in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  4. Take one of the balls of dough out of the fridge and put it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to about 5mm thick and then cut out 12, 6cm circles using a round cookie cutter. Place these discs on a baking tray and then gather up and re-roll the dough until it’s all used up.
  5. Roll out the other block of dough to the same thickness and repeat the cutting out of circles. Then take a smaller cookie cutter (diameter about 1cm) and stamp out the middles of the second batch of biscuits to create doughnut-like rings.
  6. Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 15 minutes until golden brown and just starting to crisp. Then leave to cool completely on wire racks.
  7. To prepare the filling put the jam into a bowl and mix a little with a small spoon to loosen it up. Turn over the cooled base biscuits (the full circles) and spread a little of the jam over the base of each one. Top with the biscuits with the holes in the top and then enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Mocha Torte

Mocha Torte

It’s coming to the end of term, the end of an era and a bit of a change in mind on my part. I started this blog mainly as a project for myself – I wanted to create recipes and have a place to put them, a catalogue if you will. Then, last summer I decided to also use this as a platform to explore the topic of mental health and mental health awareness. These are areas I’m still interested in exploring and writing about, however I’ve now decided to let it come more naturally. I’m one of those people who when they set their mind to something will do whatever it takes to make it happen, even if it isn’t the best thing for themselves. In this case I was determined to turn out two recipes a week, every week. However, as I’m restricted to cooking in my holidays, because I don’t have the space or time here at uni, I essentially binge-cook in my vac and then post later on. I also eat ALL the cakes, pastries and general sweet things I make during those times, (roughly 2 recipes a day), leading to me having a really bad diet and so on. Needless to say that isn’t a healthy way of living.

Therefore I’ve decided to keep on going, but to just be more relaxed and varied with my posts. Rather than sticking to a strict twice a week schedule I’ll post as and when I feel inspired to do so. I’ll keep blogging my own recipes, but will also write about mental health, my culinary travels and whatever else feels particularly inspiring. In essence this will continue to be The Mindfulness Kitchen, I’ll just be looking after myself a little more which at this point in my life is something I need to be doing. It’s slightly worrying that it’s taken me this long to realise this – but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Just because you want to do something, feel like you should do something or feel like you can do something it doesn’t mean you should. Take a second to really think about what you’re doing. Take a minute to think about your life choices and ask yourself is this what’s best for me? Of course, beyond that you should think about others and what’s best for them, but you can’t help anyone if you’re in an emotional pothole, so you should first make sure you don’t end up in one!

(On a side note, anyone else made massively peckish by this wonder of a mocha torte?)

Recipe

Serves 16

Time: 1 hour, plus chilling time

Ingredients

For the base

  • 150g Digestive biscuits
  • 75g Unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 260g Dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp Golden syrup
  • 600ml Double cream
  • 4 tsp Instant coffee granules

To decorate

  • 300ml Double cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
  • A sprinkling of cocoa powder

Method

  1. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin with butter and baking paper. Now make the base. Crush the biscuits with the back of a rolling pin to make a rough crumb. Then add the melted butter and stir to make a mixture that resembles damp sand.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and level it out with the back of a spoon. Leave in the fridge until needed.
  3. Put the chocolate, syrup and ¼ of the cream into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of gently simmering water. Leave for 15-20 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Stir to make the mixture smooth, remove from the heat and leave to cool until just warm.
  4. Pour the rest of the cream into a bowl and add the coffee. Leave to dissolve and then whisk until just starting to thicken but not yet holding peaks.
  5. Fold the cream into the cooled chocolate with a stiff spatula or large metal spoon until the mixture is smooth and completely combined.
  6. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
  7. Pour the cream and vanilla for the topping into a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. When the base is set dollop this cream on top. Un-mould the dessert and place it on a plate. Then finish with a sprinkling of cocoa powder and serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Easy Spaghetti Bolognese

Easy Spaghetti Bolognese

Hello I’m back! It’s been a little while since I last posted anything as I’ve just been through exam season – but now I’m on the other side and ready to start bringing back the recipes. I thought I’d start this new season not with something particularly summer-y (have you seen the weather this past week!) but rather with a full-proof comfort food staple that everyone should know how to make.  A bolognese is such a versatile warming sauce – you can have it with baked potatoes, rice, or pasta, spicy or not spicy, and with any extra veg you want. It’s also easy to make in batches and freeze so it’s the perfect student food for busy times like exam season.

Another reason why I wanted to bring out pasta in this post is because at the end of the month I’ll be off to Italy for several weeks with some friends (yey!) and so I’m gearing myself up for mountains of pasta, pizza, tiramisu and gelato! When over there I’ll be soaking up the culture and art, but first and foremost I’ll be trying to sample as much of the local cuisines as possible so if you have any recommendations for places to go in Rome, Florence and Venice please drop it in the comment box at the end of this post!

Recipe

Serves 4

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the Bolognese

  • 1 White onion
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • 2 Carrots
  • 8 Chestnut mushrooms (optional)
  • 400g Minced beef
  • 500g Passata
  • 500ml Beef stock (1 stock cube dissolved in 500ml boiling water)
  • 1 tsp Mixed herbs

To serve

  • Pasta for 4 ( I went for fresh tagliatelle)
  • 100g Cheddar cheese
  • A few leaves of fresh Basil

Method

  1. Chop the top and bottom off the onion. Then peel off the skin and finely chop. Put the oil into a large pan and place it over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and gently fry for 4-5 minutes until just starting to caramelise.
  2. Meanwhile prep the rest of the veg. Chop the ends off the garlic clove and the carrots. Then peel both. Crush the garlic and set to one side. Then quarter the carrots length-ways and chop into small chunks.
  3. Add the garlic and the carrots to the onions once they’re just starting to colour and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Halve and then roughly chop the mushrooms and then add them to the pan. Fry for another minute and then tip everything into a bowl.
  5. Add the mince into the same pan as what you cooked the veg in. Fry over a medium heat until the meat is browned all over. Add the vegetables back into the pan and then add the passata, beef stock and mixed herbs. Reduce the heat and leave to gently simmer until reduced and rich in flavour (around 25 minutes).
  6. Meanwhile boil the pasta in a pan of boiling the water according to the packet’s instructions.
  7. Season the bolognese with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and distribute it between your serving dishes. Top with spoonfuls of the bolognese, some grated cheese and fresh basil!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies

Oki so I have my first exam on Thursday (*insert panicked stress noise*). I’m sure it’ll be fine but I’m still  in a roller coaster state of ‘oh it’ll all work out’ and ‘oh man I have so much work to do!!!’. I guess this isn’t helped by the fact that my levels of motivation have hit rock bottom and I’m currently in a state of perpetual procrastination. So I’m going to leave this post short (again) and try to do some work – little and often right?

(Just as a heads up though – these are great revision snacks! They also work really well with jam or fresh berries in the middle instead of the caramel if you’d rather!)

Recipe

Makes 16 squares

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 210ml Vegetable oil
  • 320g Light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 Medium eggs
  • 80g Cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate, as it has added sugar and less cocoa, and so has much less flavour)
  • 130g Plain flour
  • 50g Milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 170g Caramel
  • ½ tsp Salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Line a small, square tin (mine was 20×20 cm) with butter and baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs and whisk until fully combined. Add the cocoa and whisk again (go slowly here as the cocoa will go everywhere if whisked too fast). Then add the flour and the chopped chocolate and whisk until fully mixed
  3. Pour half the mixture into the lined tin and smooth out with a spatula.
  4. Mix together the caramel and the salt in a bowl and then blob it over the brownies. Top with blobs of the remaining brownie mixture and then use a knife to swirl the two a little.
  5. Bake the brownies in the oven for 25-35 minutes. Be careful not to over bake here, as you want brownies to be slightly gooey in the middle. If you’re used to baking cakes I’d say take them out 5 minutes before you’d think it’d be ready if you were making a cake.
  6. Cut into 16 squares and serve! (They’re especially good with fresh berries and cream!)

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Falafel Salad

Falafel Salad

Oki so I have exams next week and needless to say I’m stressing like crazy so I’m going to keep things simple this week. Say hello to falafel salad…

Recipe

Serves 1

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Falafel
  • 1 tbsp Pine nuts
  • A handful of Cherry tomatoes
  • A handful of Mixed salad leaves
  • Hummus to serve

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Put the falafel into a small roasting tin and warm in the oven for about 5 minutes (or to packet instructions). Add the pine nuts to the tin 1 minute before they come out.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Arrange some salad leaves into a bowl and then scatter over the tomato quarters.
  3. Arrange the falafel around the plate, sprinkle over the pine nuts and then serve with hummus!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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