Beetroot and Raspberry Smoothie Bowl

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We think it’s safe to say, we’ve become fans of the smoothie bowl. They are perfect for breakfast – packed with good energy foods and lots of vitamins from fruit and vegetables, these smoothie bowls are an easy way to get a whole lot of good stuff into your system first thing! And they keep you feeling full, so great if you’re trying to stay away from midday snacking!

Makes 2 bowls

Ingredients

120g pre-cooked beetroots (we used a ready cooked pack from the supermarket)

1 cup raspberries

2  weetabix biscuits

1 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp sifted cocoa

1 cup almond milk

Method

To pre-cook the beetroot, cook it in boiling water till it’s soft enough to poke a fork through. You can do this the night before and leave the beetroot in the fridge overnight so you can get the smoothie done quickly in the morning. 

Add all the ingredients, except the milk into a blender. Pour in half the milk and start the blender. As the ingredients are blending, pour the rest of the milk in bit by bit until you get the consistency you want. You may find you prefer it thicker and so may not use the whole cup of milk. 

Pour into a bowl and if you like it chilled, cover with cling film and pop it in the fridge, or use frozen raspberries instead!

x Anu & Suba

The Perfect Picnic: Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

chocolate cupcakeThe most important lesson we’ve learned about picnic cakes is that they need to be relatively mess and melt proof, and easy to pack. Cupcakes with a fuss-free icing are our definite picnic default. In fact, ganache in particular sets quickly, so most of the icing will still be on the cake when you get to your destination!

Prep Time: 20-25 mins Cook time: 30-40 minutes

Makes about 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

The Cake:

1 cup/ 225g softened butter (unsalted)

1 cup/225g caster sugar

1 1/2 cups/180g self-raising flour

1/2 cup/65g good cocoa powder

3 medium eggs

2 tbsps milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Ganache:

70 g 90% cocoa chocolate (if you can only find 75% that’s fine too)

70g 40% cocoa chocolate

1/3 cup/ 100ml double cream

Method

Set the oven to 150 deg c . Grease your bakeware. We don’t use wrappers for this cupcake beause we dunk the top of the cupcake into the ganache and it looks messy if there’s a wrapper (all the ganache gets stuck onto it). We use silicone bakeware and even then prefer to grease it, but very lightly. Then we place the bakeware on a baking tray, ready to fill when the batter is ready.

Sift the flour and the cocoa powder together and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well to incorporate. If you notice some separation when you put in the third egg, don’t worry, just beat until it’s as incorporated as possible. Sometimes, if you happen to use slightly larger eggs this can happen. Add the vanilla extract. Once mixed in, add the flour and cocoa mix. Add half first and fold in and then add the other half and fold. Add the milk and gently mix in. Don’t beat it in as you want to be introducing air into the cake now.You want to be able to draw a number 8 through your batter with the back of your wooden spoon, and for the 8 to gradually fade. If it disappears immediately, it’s too watery, if it holds it’s shape and doesn’t start fading, it needs a little more milk.

Our aunt Rani is a fabulous baker and her tip is that you want to be able to draw a number 8 through your batter with the back of your wooden spoon, and for the 8 to gradually fade. If it disappears immediately, it’s too watery, add a bit more sifted flour (tablespoon by tablespoon to get the right consistency) if it holds it’s shape and doesn’t start fading, it needs a little more milk.

Fill the cupcake tin or cases until about 3/4 full. And then pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes and then rotate the tin or cases and bake another 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Rotating helps the tops of the cupcakes brown evenly.

Once done, set the tin or tray it on a wire rack to cool completely. Once they are cooled then make the ganache. Making it earlier will cause it to ‘set’ too much. Break up and melt the chocolate (both kinds) together in a bowl set over simmering water. Once melted, add the double cream and gently mix until well incorporated. (If the ganache sets halfway, just put the bowl over some boiling water so it loosens up again. Don’t pour any water in!)

Carefully pick up a cooled cupcake and dip the top of into the ganache. Make sure the whole top of the cake gets dunked in or you’ll get a patchy finish. As you lift it, twist clockwise, gently. This will prevent the ganache from dripping too much down the sides. We don’t mind the drip though, gives it a more home-made look! Repeat with all the cupcakes.

We used cake crumbs and chunks of chocolate to decorate but you can use anything really – chopped nuts, coloured sprinkles, chocolate buttons…then pack it carefully in a cake tin , box or tupperware for your picnic!

x Anu &Suba

 

 

 

 

Lavender & Sea Salt Brownies

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Rupert and I just came back from a lovely wee holiday in Tuscany. Apart from the few photographs I took, the main bit of evidence I have for this is the weighing scale. Let me tell you friends, four days in the motherland of Pasta, Pecorino and Prosecco is well enough time to do you in. Not to mention, I stopped everywhere there was a pasticceria to buy myself cantucci. I ate this 250g bag of it in one sitting, and left these for Rupert.

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Anyway! I was very inspired to make some Italian type cookies and cakes, with lots of lovely ground almonds, pistachios and chestnuts. Tuscany is excellent for Necci, chestnut flour pancakes. Recipes normally suggest having them as a dessert, with ricotta, but we had some with boar ragout, which was terrific!

I had lots of ideas pouring in as I poured some strawberry Margarita into myself, while sitting at this beautiful piazza in Sienna. As you can see, I’m looking off into the distance, picturing pistachio marzipans and chestnut flour cakes, surrounded by a halo of beautiful light, depicting all my bright ideas, obvs! I’ll share those just as soon as I’ve had a chance to test them out and make sure I’ve got them just right.

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Soooo, while I work on some of those ideas, here’s a really chocolatey, chewy brownie recipe I made for my friends a couple of weeks ago. I really liked how well the different flavours mixed – rich and chocolatey with sweet, salty, woody and herbaceous – and I think it turned out so chewy because I got a super tip about putting the brownie straight from the oven into the fridge for a while, from Top with Cinnamon, which is a marvellous recipe blog by Izy Hossack. Okay, so here it is, the recipe for Lavender & Sea Salt Brownies.

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Makes about 20 mini-brownies/ 12 regular sized ones

2 eggs

4.5 oz / 125g butter

5 oz flour

2 oz cocoa powder

10 oz caster sugar

4 oz good quality dark chocolate

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp dried lavendar flowers and a bit more to sprinkle over brownies

1/3 tsp maldon salt and a bit more to sprinkle over brownies

To make the brownies:

Preheat oven to 180 deg.c.

Line a pan with baking paper. It’s usually recommended that you use a square pan for brownies (about 8″). But mine has gone missing so I used a rectangular baking dish, which was 10″ x 7″, and it turned out fine. 

Start with making the ‘lavender sugar’ – by blitzing the lavender with the sugar and salt in a food processor. 

Then melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. Mix well to incorporate both and take it off the heat. You should transfer it to your mixing bowl now. Add one beaten egg at a time, stirring well after each addition and then add the vanilla extract in and give it another proper mix. Set it aside for now.

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Sift the flour and cocoa powder together and then add the Lavender sugar. Mix to combine them. Add these dry ingredients to the chocolatey mix and stir it all in together so it is combined. You can use a cake mixer or kitchen aid too of course.

Pour the batter into the tin or baking dish and smooth it out as best as you can.Sprinkle some crushed sea salt and crushed lavender flowers sparingly over the batter. Put it in the oven for about 20 – 30 minutes. 

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This is the great tip I got from Izy’s blog. Once it has baked, take it out and immediately put it in the freezer. Make room in your freezer beforehand, so you’re not, like me, trying to push your peas and ice cream tubs to the side with one hand while balancing a hot tin of cake with the other. You might also want to put a tea towel down and the tin over it so you don’t singe anything. Leave it in there till the brownie has cooled down completely – the tin should no longer be warm. 

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Then cut it up as you like it. I wanted mini brownies because I was going to pack them into individual wee bags and tie them up with some string but you can serve them on a plate or straight out of the tin!