Easy Chocolate Fudge

Easy Chocolate Fudge

I have dreams of opening a chocolaterie. This is a new dream, borne of reading ‘Chocolat’ too many times, and certainly not one that is likely to come to fruition any time soon, my chocolate-making skills being what they are. But the thought of being surrounded by the smell of melting chocolate all day, tying boxes of treats with luxurious ribbons and spreading joy with truffles and caramels is definitely a tempting one. To keep the dream alive, I bought the ‘Chocolat’ recipe book and satisfied my chocolate cravings by losing myself in its pages and then opting for the simplest recipe – Chocolate Fudge. I’ve made three batches so far, with different ratios of dark/milk chocolate, and each one has been devoured by colleagues, friends and, um, me within hours of opening the tin. It’s just irresistible. If you’re looking for an easy DIY present for Christmas, or just fancy putting a smile on someone’s face, make this fudge, and be sure to snaffle a few pieces before you give it away. 

Easy Chocolate Fudge

Easy Chocolate Fudge
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Ingredients
  1. 300g dark chocolate
  2. 100g milk chocolate
  3. 397g sweetened condensed milk
  4. 25g unsalted butter
  5. 100g icing sugar
  6. 40g cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Line a square baking tin with baking paper and leave to one side.
  2. Place the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat when fully melted.
  3. In a separate saucepan, gently heat the butter and condensed milk until the butter is melted and the mixture is warmed through.
  4. Mix together with the chocolate. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and stir together until fully combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and use a knife to smooth the top. Place in the fridge for at least an hour until set.
  6. Remove the fudge from the fridge and cut using a knife warmed under the hot tap for a minute (it helps cut through). Dust with cocoa powder and enjoy!
Adapted from Joanne Harris & Fran Warde
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

 

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Chorizo & Borlotti Beans on Toast

 

Chorizo & Borlotti Beans on Toast // Amy Elizabeth

Here I go, brunching again… I would apologise but I’m pretty sure that this recipe will equally suffice for a lunch time snack or a lazy dinner so I think I’m off the hook. Baked beans on toast were a staple of my childhood, simple tinned beans piled high on white bread toast slathered in butter and topped with a handful of grated cheddar cheese. So simple, but so good. This is a bit of a grown-up version, inspired by brunch-time at Mrs Atha’s in Leeds on Saturday. If you haven’t been, you really must – the food is excellent but the surroundings are better, it’s a really gorgeous building with plenty of curios to entertain you whilst you wait for your order to arrive. Rich, smoky and sophisticated – this dish is a total winner and I was inspired to come home and make it for my very next meal. I didn’t, but only because Paul hates beans with a true passion, but as you can see, I didn’t wait long… 

Chorizo & Borlotti Beans on Toast // Amy Elizabeth

Chorizo & Borlotti Beans on Toast
Serves 3
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Ingredients
  1. 100g chorizo, sliced
  2. 1/2 onion, chopped
  3. 1 clove of garlic, crushed or finely grated
  4. 4 sprigs of thyme
  5. 400g chopped tomatoes
  6. 400g borlotti beans
  7. 1/2 tsp. paprika
  8. salt & pepper
  9. 4-6 slices of toast
Instructions
  1. Heat a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and fry for 3-5 minutes until the chorizo has released some oil and has started to brown.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and fry for another 5 minutes or so, until the onions have softened. Throw in the thyme leaves in the last minute and stir through.
  3. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, beans, paprika and seasoning. Stir together and turn down the heat.
  4. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until everything is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Serve on thick slices of buttered toast.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

Chorizo & Borlotti Beans on Toast // Amy Elizabeth

 

 

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Spicy Sausage Rolls

Spicy Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls. That bastion of the birthday party buffet. Although they invoke a lot of nostalgia, I think we can all admit that the sausage rolls that come out of packets are kind of sad and anaemic looking. It’s not the best state of affairs.

These sausage rolls are the exact opposite. Golden, flaky pastry, juicy nuggets of sausage meat with a bit of a kick. These are grown-up sausage rolls, and they make the perfect addition to any party.

They don’t take too long to make – unless you’re fancy and make your own pastry – but they are kind of messy. You do have to get your hands dirty – but the end product is totally worth it and the effort expended is minimal for the amount of praise you will receive. They also pack well in lunch boxes and for picnics.

Pro-Tip: Don’t leave your pastry unattended if you have a cat, or you might some rogue paw prints. (Don’t worry, we went out and bought some more!)

How to Make Spicy Sausage Rolls

You’ll need:

  • 500g sausage meat
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely grated
  • 2 tsp chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. chilli flakes (or more, if you’re adventurous)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 pack of ready-rolled puff pastry (around 320g)

1. Put the sausage meat into a medium sized bowl. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, chilli sauce, chilli flakes and 1 egg.

2. Using your hands, mix together the ingredients until fully combined.

3. Lay your pastry flat on a chopping board. Cut in half length-wise.

4. Working with one half of the pastry at a time, lay a sausage of the meat mixture down the centre. It should take up just over a third of the pastry.

5. Beat the second egg and, using a pastry brush. paint along the side of the pastry furthest from you until it’s covered in a thin layer of egg wash.

6. Pick up the edge of the pastry closest to you and fold over the sausage meat in the middle, keeping it tucked in.

7. Bring up the other (egg-washed) side of pastry over the top and lightly pinch together so that you end up with a fully sealed tube.

8. Repeat with the second half.

9. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and pre-heat the oven to 200°C. 

How to Make Spicy Sausage Rolls

10. Using a sharp knife, gently cut each roll into around 10-15 pieces (depending on how thick you want each sausage roll – I made mine pretty thin but you might like them chunky!). Go slowly to avoid pushing the sausage meat out of each end – I found it was easier to use a ‘sawing’ motion rather than a simple push to avoid this.

11. Place on the baking trays with a couple of centimetres between them. Give them all a thin coat of egg wash.

12. Bake for around 25-35 minutes (depending on thickness – mine were definitely ready at 25 minutes) until the pastry is golden and the sausage meat is cooked through.

13. Leave to cool on a wire rack and serve with a smug smile!

How to Make Spicy Sausage Rolls

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Soy & Chilli Seeds

soy chilli seeds 3

I am lazy when it comes to my lunch box. Whilst I know that it is healthier, cheaper and often tastier to pack your own, the draw of the ready-made sandwich from the shop downstairs, finished off with a slice of cake and maybe an apple on a good day is often too much to resist. It’s not good. So this week I am trying harder – packing a lunch which is a bit more virtuous than my usual lunch time treats in an effort to fuel my body with the stuff it actually needs, rather than the stuff it just wants (brownies, mostly). Which is where these seeds come in – they’re crunchy and spicy and exactly the kind of thing I should be snacking on during the work day. I roasted a whole batch on Sunday to make my way through the week, but a lot of them got snaffled whilst they were cooling on the side. They’re very more-ish.

As is often the case on this blog, this is more of a suggestion than a recipe. As always, you can adjust the spices and chilli to your own taste – mine were rather fiery so if you prefer something mild then go easy on the heat! Alternatively, why not throw in some cumin or smoked paprika instead? The world is your oyster, as they say.

soy chilli seeds

You’ll need:

  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

soy chilli seeds 2

1. Pre-heat the oven to 140°C

2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together all the ingredients until the seeds are evenly covered.

3. Spread the seeds evenly in one layer the bottom of a roasting tray.

4. Roast for 40 minutes, giving the tray a shake every 10 minutes. If the seeds stick to the bottom of the tray, just use a spatula to move them around.

5. Once the seeds have browned and gone a bit crunchy. Leave to cool and then put into a airtight container. They’ll keep quite a few days, if they last that long!

soy chilli seeds 4

 

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Chilli Cheese Fries (and a Giveaway!)

fries 1

Is there any greater comfort food than chilli cheese fries? When you’re feeling a bit bummed out about life, then a big pile of carbs and cheese is definitely the answer. I am an emotional eater and whilst usually it’s my sweet tooth that’s crying out for attention, when it’s really an emergency then salty, cheesy, carby goodness is what I crave. Add a little bit of spice to the equation and I’m so there. Don’t get me wrong, I know this isn’t the healthiest of habits, but sometimes you just need a little bit of something bad for you. Or a lot of something bad for you. There’s no judgement here, trust me.

fries 2

These bad boys were inspired by a casual flick through the Joy the Baker cookbook. That first time I chose to make a cake instead – a beautiful brown butter banana and rum cake, which sadly did not net me first place at the Blognix bake off – but the seed was planted. The next time emotional turmoil came a-knocking, chilli cheese fries was all I wanted. The ones I made certainly don’t look as fancy as the one in Joy’s picture, but they tasted darned good – scoffed with no regard to etiquette (although I did use a fork) whilst sat in front of the final episode of Orange is the New Black Season 2. I’m going to need another batch to get over the fact that it’s another year until Season 3. So dramatic.

fries 3

I love Joy the Baker. I love her blog. I love her podcast. I love her commitment to butter and sugar. She’s my kind of lady. Her cookbook is full of comfort food – for times when you are alone and times when you want to share that comfort with others. So I want to share a little of that with you, my lovely readers – I’m giving away a Joy the Baker cookbook! All you have to do is use this fancy little widget to let me know that you follow my blog – easy peasy. Good luck!

joy the baker
 

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Chorizo & Feta Couscous Salad

Chorizo and Feta Couscous Salad // Amy Elizabeth

I feel a bit like poor couscous has fallen out of favour in the foodie world; it’s now all about couscous’ sexier cousins – quinoa and bulgar wheat. And whilst, don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn down quinoa when it comes knocking, couscous was my first grain love. So easy, so delicious. Couscous, you’re the best. And you make an epic salad.

I’ve been taking this salad to work pretty much every day for the last week. It’s very more-ish – salty, spicy chorizo with creamy feta and tart sundried tomatoes all coddled by couscous’ welcoming grains. It’s simple to throw together and actually I already had in the cupboard – yes, I am the kind of person that always has chorizo on standby. Don’t judge me.

This is really more of a suggestion than a recipe – the best thing about salads is their infinite variety. You really can just chuck it all in and go. So feel free to mix this up – add your own unique twist, live on the edge, that sort of thing. Enjoy!

Chorizo and Feta Couscous Salad // Amy Elizabeth

For 2-3 portions, you’ll need:

  • 150g couscous
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 100g chorizo
  • 50g sundried tomatoes
  • 100g feta
  • 2 tsps harissa paste
  • big splash of olive oil
  • juice of one lemon

Chorizo and Feta Couscous Salad // Amy Elizabeth

1. Pour the stock over the couscous. Cover and leave to one side.

2. Remove the skin from the chorizo and chop into chunks. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

3. Chop the sundried tomatoes into slices.

4. Fluff up the couscous. In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil and harissa paste. Pour over the couscous and mix.

5. Add the chorizo and sundried tomatoes into the bowl of couscous. Mix together.

6. Portion into bowls (or lunch boxes). Crumble feta on top.

Chorizo and Feta Couscous Salad // Amy Elizabeth

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Bloody Mary Prawns

bloody mary prawns 1

There are some things that are just British institutions. The ice cream van. Sunday roasts. Stephen Fry. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is one of those British institutions – one that no doubt graces the cupboards of most people reading this – except those from Sheffield, of course, for whom Henderson’s Relish is a source of great pride. But how many of us use worcestershire sauce on a regular basis? Other than for epic grilled cheese sandwiches, my Lea & Perrins remains mostly untouched a lot of the time. So when Lea & Perrins got in touch to challenge me to try making a dish using their sauce, it was time to take down the bottle and get stuck in…

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBlc2JrBsqg]

There’s plenty of inspiration to be found on the Lea and Perrins with Sorted Food channel – I’m particularly taken with the baked eggs for a weekend brunch – but for me, you can’t think of Lea & Perrins without thinking of a Bloody Mary. But rather than just recreating this well-known drink – after all, everyone has a preference for how they like theirs – I whipped up this Bloody Mary Prawns dish. The prawns are super juicy and delicious, and they take on the spicy and savoury flavours of the traditional Bloody Mary so well. This dish makes an indulgent lunch for one or goes perfectly as a tapas-style dish in a larger spread.

lea and perrins 1

You’ll need: 

  • 3-4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or finely grated
  • 225g raw king prawns
  • cayenne pepper
  • 50ml vodka
  • 100ml passata
  • 2-3 drops Tabasco (or more, if you like it spicy!)
  • 10ml Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
  • Celery salt
  • Salt & pepper to taste

lea and perrins 2

1. Cover the raw prawns with a good amount of cayenne pepper and leave to one side.

2. Fry the shallots and garlic in a small amount of oil until starting to brown.

3. Add the prawns and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes until they’re starting to turn pink.

4. Add the vodka and bubble until the liquid is reduced by half.

5. Add the passata, Tabasco, Lea & Perrins, a dash of celery salt and salt & pepper to taste. Stir together and taste the sauce, adding any extra Lea & Perrins, Tabasco or seasoning as necessary.

lea and perrins 3

6. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until sauce has thickened and remove from the heat.

7. Serve with crusty bread – and celery, if that’s your thing.

bloody mary prawns 2

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This post is in collaboration with Lea & Perrins

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Yoghurt & Mint Potato Salad

potato salad 4.jpg

Whilst you can’t tell from looking out the window right now (or at least, you can’t whilst I’m typing this…), barbecue season is coming up fast. It kind of feels like we wait all year for the two or three days where the sun beats down hot enough to warrant a barbecue. Those afternoons are the best – hot coals, the smell of kebabs, glasses of cold Pimms, easy laughter and a little tinge of sunburn at the end of the day. It’s a British institution.

However, I don’t love everything about barbecues. Too often the add-ons get a bit forgotten. What should be a smorgasbord for the senses descends into gloopy coleslaw and a limp side salad. If it can’t go on the barbecue, it becomes an afterthought. Which, if you ask me, is a shame – there’s nothing better than a good buffet.

With a little bit of prep work, however, you don’t have to stick to dry bread rolls. This version takes a little bit more preparation but you can mix it all up in advance and whip it out at the last minute to wow your guests. Based on this recipe from My Darling Lemon Thyme, this potato salad is light, fresh, colourful, with a bit of a crunch. It’s as far away from that sad, mayonnaise-soaked dish that usually masquerades as a potato salad as it’s possible to be. Trust me.

potato salad 1.jpg

You’ll need:

  • 1kg new potatoes
  • 150ml natural yoghurt
  • handful of mint leaves, finely chopped (and a few extras left whole)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • a small glug of olive oil
  • 2 tsp. tahini
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 garlic clove – crushed or finely grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 240g radishes (or thereabouts)
  • a handful of cress

potato salad 2.jpg

1. Cut the potatoes in half (or quarters, depending on how big you want them).

2. Cover with water and throw in a few mint leaves. Bring to the boil.

3. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, mix together the yoghurt, mint, tahini, olive oil, sugar, garlic salt and pepper in a bowl.

4. Prepare your radishes and cress and set aside.

5. Once your potatoes are cooked through, drain and leave to cool.

6. When your potatoes are cooled a little (I prefer them a little warm but if you like them cold, leave in the fridge for a couple of hours) pop your potatoes, radishes and cress in a serving bowl.

7. Pour over the dressing and mix together. Garnish with a couple of mint leaves and serve!

potato salad 3.jpg

potato salad 5.jpg

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The Perfect Side Dish: Creamy Leeks

creamy leeks 2

We’ve finally plunged into the depths of winter, and alongside pumpkin spice lattes, tartan scarves and other such autumnal cliches, I think we should remember that this means we can have roast dinners again! Is there anything more fabulous? I think not.

Roast dinners are synonymous with family. With big bowls of steaming vegetables and succulent meats being passed around the table. Squabbling over the last bit of gravy. Roast dinners must be eaten when it’s dark outside, and they must be eaten with people you love. They certainly can’t be eaten alone – can you even roast a one person portion?

Some of my fondest memories revolve around roast dinners; it was sitting around the table for a weekly roast dinner with my housemates that I finally felt at home in Leeds. It was serving up a big roast dinner at Uni, which we had to eat in the hall because there was no other room long enough, which gave me one of my favourite nights there.

Roast dinners, however, require a lot of component parts to work. A roast dinner is greater than the sum of its parts, but each of its parts need to be delicious. Which is exactly where this creamy leeks recipe comes in. I can’t take credit for it – it’s a recipe I learnt from Stu (he of the Bread and Butter Pudding victory) but it has become an essential side dish for my roast dinners. The paprika is a surprising addition, but somehow it just works. And has anything ever tasted worse when it’s covered in melted cheese and breadcrumbs?

cooking leeks

You’ll need (Serves 4):

  • 2 large leeks, chopped
  • A big knob (teehee) of butter
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 150ml cream
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • A sprinkling of Panko breadcrumbs
  • A liberal helping of grated Parmesan

chopped leeks

1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Separate the leeks and add to the pan.

2. Sweat for five minutes over a low-medium heat.

3. Add the chicken stock and turn up the heat. Bubble until the chicken stock is mostly evaporated.

cream

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream, black pepper, paprika and garlic salt.

paprika

5. Pour into a oven-safe dish, cover in breadcrumbs and parmesan.

cheese

6. Bake at 180°C (which should be what you’re cooking the rest of your roast at, all being well) for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbling.

If it’s not quite browned off, finish off under the grill until the cheese is melted and delicious.

Serve on the side of your roast dinner, and reap the praises.

creamy leeks

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Chilli Caramel Popcorn

caramel chilli popcorn

A few weeks back my friend Gemma came to stay. We perused the shops in the Corn Exchange, cooed over a baby Labrador we saw and generally had a good old natter. I don’t get to see my friends from University very much, so when we get together, I like to do something a little bit special. Dinner and cocktails at Angelicas was the order of the day, so we put on our gladrags and headed into the skies of Leeds for a fancy night out.

Whilst the surroundings were Gossip Girl-esque, the cocktails divine and the service as pleasant as always, it was the starter which stood out in my mind as a true triumph. On a whim, we ordered a pot of chilli caramel popcorn to nibble whilst we decided on main courses, and it was a revelation in flavour. Salted caramel has long been the fashionable foodie choice, but this was on a whole other level. Combining the sweetness and the saltiness of your standard salted caramel offering with a kick of chilli – I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.

chilli caramel popcorn at angelicas So I set to and made my own version, scouring the Internet to check chilli levels before I embarked upon this experiment and turning to the ever-wonderful Joy the Baker and her new cookbook for a caramel popcorn recipe that I could adapt without disappointment. The result? Sickly sweet and perfectly crunchy popcorn with a kick that you don’t notice until a few seconds after you swallow. It was everything I dreamed of, and more. It was quickly gobbled up at Emma’s birthday party (mostly by me!) and so I deemed it a culinary success.

popcorn kernels 2

There’s a bit of time investment involved, but think nothing of it. Serve this up to your friends and they’ll be singing your praises for months and begging you to bring another tray around. Making the popcorn itself is surprisingly easy, and satisfying. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of that popping sound. The caramel sauce is a bit more involved but still something that beginner cooks could get their heads around with ease – just be careful of the melted sugar as it burns like hell if you get it on your skin.

For the popcorn, you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsps oil (I used vegetable but any low-flavoured oil will do)
  • 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels (you’ll be surprised how much this makes!)
  • Your biggest saucepan, just to be on the safe side
  • A sprinkling of salt

For the chilli caramel sauce you’ll need:

  • 400g brown sugar (I used demerara because I like the crunch that the granules give, but try golden caster if you’d prefer a smoother sauce)
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 1 big pinch of good quality salt
  • 1 tsp. bicarb of soda
  • 1/2 tbsp. cayenne chilli pepper

popcorn kernels

1. First things first, warm some oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Pour in your popcorn kernels and cover with a lid (leave it very slightly ajar). Turn the heat down a smidge and wait for it to pop!

2. Once all – or most – of your popcorn has popped, pour out into a big roasting tray and sprinkle over some salt. Pour slowly so you can avoid any unpopped kernels right at the bottom of the saucepan.

3. Pop the sugar, butter (cut into chunks), golden syrup and salt into a saucepan over a low-to-medium heat. As the sugar starts to melt and the mixture starts to come together, whisk to keep it smooth.

4. Once everything has melted and you have a nice smooth sauce, take off the heat and add the bicarb of soda and the cayenne chilli. Whisk until everything is combined.

caramel popcorn

5. Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and gently stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce is evenly distributed and most of the kernels are covered.

6. Heat the oven to 90°C and pop the tray into the oven for 45 minutes. Take out every 15 minutes and give a quick toss/stir to make sure everything is cooked evenly.

7. Leave to cool for half an hour or so and then transfer into a big bowl, ready for munching! Be warned, it doesn’t keep well (it’ll go soft after a couple of hours) so eat quickly!

caramel chilli popcorn

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