The Pink Spritz

In Collaboration with Crock-Pot 

pink-spritz-5

One of the best things about our new house is the bar cart. A little copper cart in the corner, stocked with our favourite booze for making cocktails. Our friends have kindly gifted us some little bits and pieces, from match cocktail shakers to all the fancy bar tools you need to mix up a little something of an evening. Which is a good thing, because we’re staying in a whole lot more because this new house needs paying for (… especially now damp is starting to come through the walls…). 

pink-spritz-2

So, when Crock-Pot asked me to shake up a little spritz appropriate for a night in, I luckily had almost everything I needed on hand. The best thing about a spritz cocktail is that it always feels a little bit fancy (it’s all those bubbles) and you can adjust them so easily; this recipe makes two but if you like yours a bit stronger, keep all the gin mix to yourself and just top it off with the bubbles. Or swap out the elderflower cordial for elderflower liqueur. 

pink-spritz-3

You don’t have to use pink bubbles for this cocktail, but it’s just a bit more fun when things are pink, isn’t it? Especially for a night in with a little bit of pampering involved. Maybe a face mask. Maybe a home pedicure. Maybe just a giant bar of chocolate and a whole lot of Gilmore Girls. You do you, and let the spritz do its thing. I used a dry-ish Rose Brut but anything sparkly and pink will work. 

pink-spritz-4

Pink Spritz
Serves 2
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 shot gin
  2. 1 shot freshly squeeze lemon juice
  3. 1 shot elderflower cordial
  4. Sparkling Rosé
  5. Ice
Instructions
  1. Shake the gin, lemon juice and elderflower over ice.
  2. Strain into two champagne flutes and top off with the Sparkling Rosé.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Pomegranate & Walnut Chicken Stew

pomegranatewalnutchickenstew

I’m sure I’m not the only basic bitch around here who is a big fan of autumn. After a rather disappointing summer, it is a joy to be experiencing a season who knows its stuff, isn’t it? The crispness in the air in the mornings. The crunchy leaves under foot. This is the very best time of year, for me. The sun is still shining more often than not, but it’s still perfectly acceptable to turn your attention to comfort food. Because, of course, the joy of the changing seasons is so much in the change in menu, is it not? Roast dinners with plenty of gravy, freshly baked apple pies, stews and big hunks of crusty bread. The food of autumn is like wrapping yourself in a snuggly blanket. I have some old favourites that I always like to bring out at this time of year – sausage and bean casserole, my fail safe chicken curry and these pork, apple & cheddar meatballs – but it’s always nice to try something a little bit different. 

pomegranatewalnutchickenstew2

I made this pomegranate & walnut chicken stew for a dinner party of sorts, served up alongside some other middle Eastern inspired dishes, but I actually think it’s a pretty good weeknight meal. It’s warming and cosy, but with the bright crunch of the pomegranate seeds doesn’t feel too wintery. Plus, it reheats pretty well in the microwave (sans pomegranate seeds) if you want to take the leftovers in for lunch the next day. The combination of toasted walnuts and sweet pomegranate molasses is enough to brighten even the rainiest of days, and you can easily double (or triple) if you’re feeding a big group. Serve with rice or fresh flatbreads, and maybe some honey roasted carrots if you’re after some more vegetables in you life. 

Pomegranate & Walnut Chicken Stew
Serves 3
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 300g walnut halves
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  4. 400ml chicken stock
  5. 50ml pomegranate molasses
  6. 2 tbsp. honey
  7. 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  8. pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg
  9. salt & pepper to taste
  10. pomegranate seeds & chopped parsley, to serve (optional)
Instructions
  1. Toast the walnut halves in a frying pan over a medium heat. Allow to cool and then blend in a food processor until you have a fine meal.
  2. In a large saucepan or casserole dish, fry the onions and chicken until the onions have softened and the chicken has started to brown.
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Stir in the pomegranate molasses, honey, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg followed by the ground walnuts. Season to taste.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-25 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve with basmati rice or flatbreads (or both!), and scatter the pomegranate seeds & parsley on top.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

 

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

A New Challenge: 40 Loaves

Bread Making Challenge - 40 Loaves // Amy Elizabeth  

Baking bread brings me the greatest joy. Partly, that is due to the unparalleled flavoursome goodness of freshly cooked bread spread liberally with salted butter. But the other part is very much the process. The kneading. The waiting. The shaping. Bread dough feels so much more satisfying than any other kind – it springs back when it’s pushed, it reshapes as you pull. But, whilst I can knock up a loaf of white bread pretty easily without worrying, I am nervous to try other kinds of bread for fear of failure. Bread is tricky business, although the pay off is worth it. 

Bread Making Challenge - 40 Loaves // Amy Elizabeth

One thing I have learnt from my years in the kitchen is that nothing is ever as hard as it seems, and failure is never as bad as it can appear. Perhaps this is a lesson I could well do with learning in other arenas of my life, but where usually I am an anxious perfectionist, in the kitchen I can relax a little. Never tried something before? Give it a go. The stakes are pretty low when all you waste is some time and flour. Time and again I have felt daunted by a new kitchen skill only to find it not as difficult as I first imagined – as long as you find yourself a good recipe or guide and actually pay attention. 

Bread Making Challenge - 40 Loaves // Amy Elizabeth

So, with all of that in mind, I am setting myself a challenge. A bread-making challenge. 40 different loaves in (hopefully) 40 weeks. This is supposed to be a fun challenge, so I’m not setting too many parameters. I’m just going to bake a bunch of bread and eat a bunch of bread and be happy about it. So if I find a loaf particularly tricky, I might remake it the following week. If I have a particularly busy week, I might do two the next week, or just skip that week entirely. Bread-making can be therapeutic and relaxing, so I see no reason to change that and make it pressured and exhausting. It takes time to make a good loaf of bread, so if I haven’t got the time for whatever reason, then 

Bread Making Challenge - 40 Loaves // Amy Elizabeth

I started off with my go-to bread recipe – the basic white loaf from James Morton’s Baking Bread book which I’m pretty sure will become my Bible during this project. As luck would have it, I also spotted this video from Betty’s today with a few top tips that I’ll be taking on board (that home-made proving drawer in the sink is genius!). 

Does anyone else have any top tips or foolproof recipes to share? 40 loaves is a lot of loaves, after all… 

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Apricot & Almond Cake

Apricot & Almond Cake // Amy Elizabeth

Okay, so I know summer has barely shown its face so far this year, but we can still enjoy all of the yummy summer fruits, right? Obviously I am a big fan of sweet strawberries and raspberries, but there’s no denying that they get more than their fair share of airtime at this time of year. What about the other fruits? They’ve been waiting for their time to shine all year and then they get overshadowed by showy strawberries. Apricots, blackcurrants and cherries are all pretty damn delicious right now and I think we need to spend some time with them. This apricot and almond cake was a delight to make – a simple batter dotted with little golden jewels (it’s worth taking the time to arrange them in a pretty pattern, if just for you own satisfaction), which comes up smelling absolutely gorgeous and is perfect served warm with a dollop of cream. This is the cake we deserve this summer. 

Apricot & Almond Cake // Amy Elizabeth

Apricot & Almond Cake
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 110g unsalted butter, softened
  2. 150g caster sugar
  3. 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  4. 90g ground almonds
  5. 40g self-raising flour
  6. 1 tbsp. milk
  7. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. 4-5 apricots, quartered
  9. sprinkling of flaked almonds
  10. dusting of icing sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare a 20cm cake tin by greasing with butter, lining the bottom with baking paper and dusting with flour.
  2. Place all of the cake ingredients (butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds, flour, milk and vanilla extract) into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer or whisk until light and fluffy.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Place the apricot quarters on the top, pressing down lightly.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Check after 20 minutes if the top is browning too quickly and cover with foil if needed. The cake should be springy to the touch when cooked, and a skewer should come out clean when inserted into the centre.
  5. Turn out onto a wire rack and dust with icing sugar. Allow to cool completely or serve warm with cream or ice cream.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/
Apricot & Almond Cake // Amy Elizabeth

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

4 Slow Cooker Meals That Are Saving My Life Right Now

slow cooker

[Photo by yvonne lee harijanto]

As you may have heard me moan about, we don’t currently have a kitchen. The people who owned this house before us took everything but the kitchen sink with them and, since we’re doing a bit of remodelling to get some more space and allow me that wine fridge I’ve always wanted, we’re on hold with actually building said kitchen. My current set up is an old chest of drawers in the garage, upon which sits my microwave, toaster, kettle and slow cooker. And do you know what? It could be worse. There’s a lot you can do with a slow cooker, which means we’re not constantly eating takeaways and ready meals. Here’s the five slow cooker meals we’ve been eating on rotation and which are very much saving my life right now. 

Harissa Chicken Stew

  • 4 chicken breasts 
  • 2 carrots, chopped into chunks 
  • 1 can coconut milk 
  • 1 jar harissa paste
  • big slosh of soy sauce
  • generous squeeze of honey

Drop everything into the slow cooker, give it a stir and cook on high for at least 4 hours. If you’re cooking for more than 6, I’d drop it down to low. Serve with salads, flatbreads and couscous. 

Lamb Madras Curry 

  • 500g diced lamb 
  • 1 jar of passata 
  • 1/2 jar madras curry paste

Mix everything together and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for up to 8 hours. Serve with mini naan breads cooked in the toaster or microwave rice. 

Sort-of Chicken Fajitas 

  • 2 peppers, sliced  
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced 
  • 1 onion, sliced 
  • 6 chicken breasts 
  • 250g Nandos Lemon & Herb sauce 

Put all the veg at the bottom and lay the chicken on top. Pour over the sauce and cook on high for 4 hours or low for up to 8 hours. Remove the chicken and shred before returning to the slow cooker and stirring through the sauce. Serve with tortilla wraps, fresh crunchy lettuce and grated cheese. 

Sausage and Bean Stew 

  • 1 packet of sausages 
  • 1 can of kidney beans 
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • glass of red wine
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 tsp. dried basil 
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano 
  • big pinch of sugar 

Ideally, brown your sausages before adding to the slow cooker but you can skip this step if you’re surviving in a garage kitchen like me. Throw everything else in the slow cooker with the sausages (browned or not) and cook on low for up to 8 hours. Serve with crusty bread and the rest of the red wine. 

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Strawberry, Rhubarb & Pistachio Crumble

Rhubarb, Strawberry & Pistachio Crumbles // Amy Elizabeth

This is my favourite time of year. June just feels so full of promise – and when the sun is shining, there’s no other time I like better. I think a big part of it, however, is the delicious produce that’s available at this time of year. British asparagus season is a true highlight of my year, and I have no shame about that. I try to avoid my favourite summer produce at any other time – raspberries, strawberries, asparagus and all that good stuff just can’t live up to their summer promise at any other time. That moment when you catch the scent of fresh, sweet, ripe strawberries? Is one of the very best things about being alive, I’m pretty sure of it. 

Rhubarb, Strawberry & Pistachio Crumbles // Amy Elizabeth

These little puddings are the perfect way to showcase some of the very best of June – tart rhubarb, super sweet strawberries and a lovely, buttery crumble punctuated with creamy, nutty pistachios. You can make them all as one big pudding to serve a group or pop them into ramekins for individual desserts – either for a fancy dinner party situation or just to sit in front of the telly on a summer evening (especially when the weather doesn’t quite match up to how summery this tastes…). 

Rhubarb, Strawberry & Pistachio Crumbles // Amy Elizabeth

Strawberry, Rhubarb & Pistachio Crumble
Write a review
Print
For the fruit filling
  1. 250g strawberries, quartered
  2. 250g rhubarb, in 1cm chunks
  3. 85g caster sugar
For the crumble topping
  1. 200g plain flour
  2. 100g unsalted butter, in 1cm cubes
  3. 100g soft brown sugar
  4. 85g pistachios, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the strawberries, rhubarb and caster sugar into a pan over a low heat and gently simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if required. Turn off the heat and leave to one side.
  3. Place the flour, butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and rub together with the tips of your fingers until soft and crumbly. Mix through the pistachio pieces.
  4. Spoon the fruit into individual ramekins or a baking dish. Top with the crumble and bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the fruit filling is piping hot.
  5. Serve with ice cream or a drizzle of double cream.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies

Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies // Amy Elizabeth

Baking should be fun. It’s butter and sugar and flour and joy. For me, it’s sticking on a podcast, closing the door to the kitchen and taking my time making something delicious. Is there anything more fun than that? Some baked goods, however, are more fun than others – and I think anything with sprinkles very much falls into the category of ‘most fun’. I spotted these confetti cookies on the Smitten Kitchen blog and I knew immediately that I had to make them. All kudos to Deb, because when I’d finished, Paul hoovered up two in a row and admonished me for not making cookies more often. So I added a little cocoa powder, swapped my pastel sprinkles for chocolate ones and these were born. Cookies that are made of chocolate and fun – can there be anything better? 

Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies // Amy Elizabeth

Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies
Yields 24
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 350g plain flour
  2. 25g cocoa powder
  3. 1 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1/4 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
  5. 3/4 tsp. table salt
  6. 200g unsalted butter, softened
  7. 80g cream cheese
  8. 250g caster sugar
  9. 1 large egg
  10. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  11. 140g (ish) chocolate vermicelli sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C and prepare two baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb of soda and salt.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, butter and sugar until fluffy (using an electric mixer is recommended!). Add the eggs and vanilla and mix.
  4. Add the flour mixture gradually until everything is just incorporated.
  5. Using your hands, roll a tablespoon-ish of mixture into a ball. Gently roll in the sprinkles until coated.
  6. Place on the prepared baking sheet and press down slightly so the cookies are flat and about 1/2 inch tall. Repeat, placing cookies about two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes - they should still be a little soft. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Although soft, they should keep their shape after that few minutes - if not, they may need a couple of extra minutes in the oven.
  8. Using an electric mixer, add the butter and cream cheese gradually until
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/
Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies // Amy Elizabeth

 

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Mini Egg Brownies

Mini Egg Brownies // Amy Elizabeth

There are a lot of things that I can’t resist. An ASOS sale code. New books. Tuna’s little paw when she’s begging for food. But my biggest weakness is, and has always been, Mini Eggs. There’s something about the crunchy sugary shell and the creamy chocolate within that just hits all the right spots, and opening a bag of them is a surefire way to have me scoffing the whole packet. So it’s probably a good thing that they’re only really easy to get hold of for a few months of the year, because replacing meals with Mini Eggs is definitely not the sort of balanced diet that I’m going for right now.

Mini Egg Brownies // Amy Elizabeth

However, I do like to make the most of them when they are here, so as well as tipping them straight into my mouth, I baked them into some brownies because… well, why not? If it’s good on its own, then it’s bound to be better in a brownie. See also: Toblerone, which is also one of my weaknesses, chocolate-wise. With only a few days left until Easter, chances are that Mini Eggs aren’t going to be around for much longer – so bake up a bunch of these and share them with your friends (or polish them off yourself, I won’t tell anyone. Easter is a chocolate holiday, after all!). 

Mini Egg Brownies // Amy Elizabeth

Mini Egg Brownies
Yields 12
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  2. 175g unsalted butter
  3. 325g caster sugar
  4. 130g plain flour, sifted
  5. 3 eggs
  6. 200g Mini Eggs, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a square tin with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, followed by the flour, making sure each is well incorporated. Beat in the eggs until you have a thick mixture.
  4. Add about two-thirds of the chopped Mini Eggs to the mixture and fold in until spread evenly through the batter.
  5. Pour into the prepared baking tray and sprinkle the remaining Mini Eggs on top, pressing down slightly into the mixture.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until set on top but still soft and squidgy. Brownies are better slightly fudgy, so don't worry if they seem a little underdone - they'll firm up out of the oven. As long as they don't seem liquidy when you move the tray, then you're golden!
  7. Leave to cool and cut into 12-16 squares with a sharp knife.
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

 

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Rhubarb & Strawberry Galette

Rhubarb & Strawberry Almond Galette // Amy Elizabeth

Did you know that it’s Pi Day? And do you know what’s better than pie? Pie. 

And do you know what’s even better than home-made pie? An easy galette that requires almost no precision. It’s all the beauty of pie – sweet, fruity filling paired with crumbly pastry – but with less of the work. You just squidge this one together, and embrace the home-spun, rustic look. Tart rhubarb, sweet strawberries and crunchy flaked almonds, all held together by this almond pastry made by your own fair hand, Is there anything better? And on Pi Day, of all days. 

Rhubarb & Strawberry Almond Galette // Amy Elizabeth

Rhubarb & Strawberry Almond Galette
Write a review
Print
For the pastry
  1. 225g plain flour
  2. 150g ground almonds
  3. 175g golden caster sugar
  4. 200g cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  5. 1 egg yolk
For the filling
  1. 200g rhubarb, in 1cm slices
  2. 200g strawberries, halved
  3. 2 tbsp. golden caster sugar
  4. juice of 1/2 lemon
  5. 50g ground almonds
  6. 1 egg, beaten
  7. big handful flaked almonds
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, ground almonds, caster sugar and cold butter by using a food processor or by 'cutting in' using a knife or pastry cutter, until the mixture has the texture of breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the yolk and mix together until the mixture forms a soft pastry. You may need to get your hands involved! Press into a flat disk, cover in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  3. Pop your fruit into a bowl with the caster sugar and lemon juice and leave to one side.
  4. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll into a circle that's roughly 30cm across and 5mm thick. I rolled mine straight out onto a lined baking tray to make it a little easier to manoeuvre later on.
  5. Scatter the ground almonds into a circle in the middle of your pastry, leaving a thick border around the edge. Pile the fruit on top, leaving behind any juice at the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Fold the sides of the pastry around the fruit. Patch together if you get any cracks as best you can - there's no rules with this one!
  7. Place the galette in the fridge for a further 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 170C. Remove the galette from the fridge and brush with beaten egg. Scatter over flaked almonds.
  9. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the pastry is golden and the fruit is tender.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature, with cream or ice cream if you fancy it!
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/
Rhubarb & Strawberry Almond Galette // Amy Elizabeth

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Prawn & Chorizo Puy Lentil Salad

Prawn & Chorizo Puy Lentil Salad // Amy Elizabeth

I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to make, and this one came at me at a very unusual time. You wouldn’t usually expect hen dos to be a source of foodie inspiration, but I found myself very well fed at my friend Katie’s hen do a couple of weeks ago, which lead to mixing up this salad for lunches this week. I am always a little apprehensive about hen dos, and always proved wrong in my apprehension when I actually attend them. This one was really lovely; it really does my heart good to spend time with women – even when they are women that I don’t really know all that well. Between bottles of prosecco, a little life-drawing (!) and a kitchen dance party in Pikachu onesies, it was a wonderful way to spend a weekend.

Prawn & Chorizo Puy Lentil Salad // Amy Elizabeth

Cooking for 15 is no easy feat at the best of times, so I was particularly impressed by bridesmaid Millie’s kitchen skills as she whipped up a range of delicious dishes for us to feast on – including a warm lentil and chorizo salad for lunch before the aforementioned life drawing class. Served with lashings of pinot grigio and a pile of garlic bread, it was the perfect way to feed a hungry crowd, and it worked just as well scaled back for my lunchboxes this week. And since it’s technically a salad, albeit a warm one, I can kid myself that this means I’m making summer dishes already! 

Prawn & Chorizo Puy Lentil Salad // Amy Elizabeth

Prawn & Chorizo Puy Lentil Salad
Serves 3
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 100g Italian-style salad leaves
  2. 250g cooked puy lentils
  3. 200g chorizo, sliced
  4. 180g uncooked king prawns
  5. 150g feta, crumbled
  6. olive oil
  7. balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Put the puy lentils, salad leaves and feta in a large bowl and place to one side.
  2. In a small frying pan, gently fry the chorizo over a medium heat until browned and sizzling. Tip into the bowl along with most of the oil that's been released by the chorizo.
  3. Pop the prawns into the pan and fry until cooked through. Add to the bowl.
  4. Pour over a generous lug of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and toss together all the ingredients until well-mixed.
  5. Serve warm with crusty bread.
Notes
  1. As this is a salad, all quantities are approximate and can be adjusted for taste or for whatever you have in the cupboard.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest