Sunday, 21 April 2013

Herby Wholemeal Parmesan Profiteroles

 They said it was impossible, they said it couldn't be done, but it has....
..... duh, duhDUUUH!... Savoury profiteroles? 

You mean those things from the 1970s oozing with cream and smothered in chocolate sauce from the prepackaged box which were presented to unsuspecting dinner party guests by a natural 'choux pastry chef'? 
Yes, yes I do.

But are the savoury versions? turning a sweet, savoury?

I don't think I've ever come across a bigger sweet fan myself, I have sweet stuff for all 6 meals of the day (breakfast, lunch, mid afternoon snack, tea, pudding and midnight snack of course). And I absolutely love profiteroles, eclairs and sweet choux stuff, but not those cheaters who present a croquembouche from a plastic package! Once you master choux it is honestly easy peasy, I've failed twice in one day before but mastered it on the 3rd attempt, I found it was all about beating the eggs in REALLY well and making sure the dough looks pale, not yellow.
Anyway these savoury profiteroles, turning this sweet savoury has worked and it tastes so right! They're really light, crispy and golden ... plus I think they look a little bit like potatoes... hence the gardening photograph ....

They're also really versatile I used oregano to top them, it's my all time favourite herb and reminds me of the pizzas I had when I went to Italy on holiday, but you could use mixed herbs, chili or even smoked paprika. you don't have to use Parmesan either it could be any of your favourite hard cheeses really. I also didn't fill these with anything because I couldn't settle on one thing, they would be great for canapes or dipping into chutney and dips (like a mini ploughman's; cheese, wholemeal bread and chutney!) or fill them ricotta or flavoured cream cheese, there's just so much choice! 

Herby  Wholemeal Parmesan Profiteroles  

(makes 30)

  • 75g of butter
  • 175ml of water
  • 75g of wholemeal flour 
  • 25g of '00' of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g of grated Parmesan cheese
topping and filling-
  • 20g of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried oregano or any dried herb of your choice 
  • salt and pepper
  • filling (ricotta, cream cheese, see notes above)

  1. preheat the oven to 190oC/ 375oF/ mark 5, cut a piece of baking parchment to fit your baking tray and prepare a piping bag with a large nozzle
  2. but the butter and water into a pan and heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted and the water just boiled
  3. take the pan off the heat and tip in the flour, beat with the wooden spoon as hard as you can until it form a yellow dough and comes away from the side of the pan
  4. at this point I tip the dough into a food processor because I'm not very strong and it needs a lot of beating but if you're strong you can do it by hand. Add an each one at a time beating as hard as you can between adding so it becomes well Incorporated and forms a pale yellow dough, not bright yellow
  5. beat in the grated Parmesan and add some salt and pepper before spooning into a pipe bag and piping into the baking tray
  6. To make the blobs of dough into neat balls get a cup of water, wet you finger and smooth the tops. Mix the grated Parmesan and dried herbs before sprinkling over and adding some salt and pepper
  7. put in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, they should be a little firm and light brown. Take out and piece each one with a knife and turn them over so the slit faces upwards, return to the oven to dry out for 2 minutes
  8. leave to cool before either filling or putting in a cool place in a airtight box, keep for 2- 3 days

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Healthy Nutella

Question- Is here much else in the world better than a jar of Nutella and a spoon?

Answer before discovery- WHAT? Are you serious? no, no no,NOTHING in this world can beat Nutella

Answer after discovery- THIS! it's healthier, faster than going to the shop and... dare I even challenge... tastier!

Okay, 'now you've gone a bit crazy Emily' I hear you say, maybe I have but that's because this week I discovered nut butter. It's just amazing! Who ever was the first person to get a tad carried away with blitzing nuts in heir food processor was a genius. That's all it is! Nut's whizzed up for about 5 minutes to a paste. And it is delicious! Not to mention good for you.

This is another present for my friends along with the homemade oreos so I thought homemade Nutella and homemade oreos would go quite well together. So I looked on the back of a Nutella jar to find the ingredients and (not much to my surprise)I discovered it to be sugar, closely followed by oil, then hazelnuts (only 13%!) and then finally 'reduced-fat cocoa'. I mean if your gonna eat Nutella does it really make a difference that they add 'reduced-fat cocoa' when the highest ingredient is sugar and oil!?

So this Nutella is basically 75% hazelnuts and 25% dark chocolate with a little bit of natural sugar, honey. that's it. It has a heck of a lot more health benefits than shop bought too as, I'm gonna get sciencey, hazelnuts have cardiovascular benefits (making you less likely to get heart disease) because they contain unsaturated fats, meaning they help to lower your blood pressure. The reason they help to lower your blood pressure is because they are antioxidants, as well as containing vitamins and minerals and help to give us a boost of energy. Chocolate also helps act as a antioxidant helping to lower blood pressure and honey is too! Eating some of this for breakfast everyday (in moderation of course) will help you heart! AND IT TASTES GORGEOUS!

Healthy Nutella

(makes just over 200 millilitres)

  • 150 grams of roasted hazelnuts
  • 50 grams of dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp of honey (more or less depending on the amount of cocoa solid is you chocolate)
  1. break the chocolate into pieces and put into a heatproof bowl before putting over a pan of simmering water to melt
  2. put the hazelnuts into a food processor and whizz until they form a paste (about 5-10 minutes, be patient, it will happen)
  3. add in the melted chocolate, whizz again and taste to see how much honey you think you'll need
  4. spread on toast and enjoy while your heart pumps joyfully for evermore! 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Homemade Oreos

The annoying moment when you go outside to take pictures for your blog post to discover it has started raining for the first time in 3 weeks, take about bad timing! Anyway....
Om nom nom, oreos, who doesn't love an oreo!? I certainly do enjoy the odd packet oreo from time to time. But lets be honest, who would want a tiny weeny pre made packeted oreo when you could make your own massive one?

Well my Easter hols are sadly drawing to a close and next week I have two of my friends' birthdays coming up, one of whom absolutely adores oreos. She has them in her packed lunch every day and if you manage to sit next to her in the dinner hall she might just give you one. She also loves nutella so I'll be making some of that later this week but making it healthy, healthy nutella coming soon!

Have you ever noticed that if your twist an oreo and take out all the cream it tastes really sweet but the biscuits actually don't taste that good by themselves? Quite bitter really. Well during this recipe I had a little bit of a meltdown/ disaster so I'm not going to lie to you, I have a confession. 
After making the dough, putting it in the fridge, photographing it, slicing it, preheating the oven and putting the biscuits in I had a little taste of the dough (one of the advantages of being greedy) to discover I'd forgotten an ingredient. The sugar. Luckily I realised moments after putting them in so had to get them back out, put all the biscuits back in the food processor, add some sugar, roll into a sausage, put in the fridge and do the whole process again. But I can now tell you that it was definitely worth it. I know I just said I was making these for my friends birthday but I had to taste test them first of course (to check for poison) and I don't know how but they beat the regular oreos because the biscuits are much nicer. That's right. They beat 'em!

Homemade Oreos 

(makes about 30 oreos depending on size)


  • 300 grams of plain flour
  • 25 grams of cocoa powder
  • 200 grams of chilled butter (cubed)
  • 125 grams of caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

  • 150 grams of butter 
  • 200 grams of icing sugar
  • a few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
  1. put the cocoa and flour into a food processor and whizz until combined before adding the cubed butter and pulsing until you get bread crumbs
  2. 2 add the sugar and yolks then whizz again until it starts to form a dough
  3. take out and knead quickly to make sure everything's combined before rolling out into a long sausage, wrapping up and putting in the fridge for 1/2 an hour
  4. preheat the oven to 180oC/ 350oF/ gas 4 and prepare a baking sheet
  5. get the sausage from the from the fridge and cut into discs about 0.5 - 1.0 cm thick before laying out on the baking sheet and cooking for about 20 minutes and cooling on a wire rack (you might have to do it in two batches)

  1. While the biscuits are cooling make the cream by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl, adding the butter and whisking until you get a stiff and pale butter cream
  2. sandwich the cooled biscuits generously with the cream or store in a airtight container to sandwich on a later day

And finally eat them! Twist, lick and dunk of course. Thanks for reading and please let me know how they go if you try them, remember the sugar! Also let me know if you've had any baking disasters recently and if you managed to turn them around. Thank you very much and be sure to look out for the healthy nutella to accompany these which I'll be posting later this week.

Friday, 5 April 2013

spiced parsnip and hazelnut cake with maple frosting

Wow, I can nae believe that it is the April already and Mr Spring seems to still be in hibernation after that delicious lemon and raspberry battenberg, grrrr....... 
Because of this I decided to give it another go with this spiced parsnip and hazelnut cake with maple and mascarpone frosting, it is bliss, or in my Mum's word 'heaven' (but that is a tad bias, you'll only know if you give it ago however). I was going to make a carrot cake with our amazingly moist and TRULY scrumptious recipe from 'cakes and bakes from my mother's kitchen' recipe book but I decided that I was a bit fed up of the famous carrot cake, time to break the mould! (Not literally it was still cake shaped as you can see). 

I mean don't get me wrong, I love carrots.... That's a lie, I don't really, they usually make me feel ill but: 1. everything tastes better in a cake and 2. any fruit or veg in a cake counts towards your 5 a day but in cake form, right? I don't like parsnips with my Sunday roast either and the reason for that is because I just find them too sweet to be having in a savoury dish so I thought this would work quite well. 
The cake is extremely moist, so moist that when trying to cut it for the photos it collapsed so I brought in a fork to help clean up, I kept in the spices from the carrot cake recipe so it has a nice warmth to it but definitely has a parsnip taste to it. If you choose not to make this cake though you must do one thing for me and that is to make this icing. It's from my all time ultimate, best tasting cake ever (I will have to write the recipe out one day when strawberries are in season because it tastes best with them, it's white choc and maple syrup cake) and is made mainly with mascarpone and maple syrup so is quite liquidy really so best left in the fridge to set a little once iced.

On with the cake!

Spiced Parsnip and Hazelnut cake 

with Maple frosting

  • 225 grams of self-raising 
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder (you need extra rising agents because the grated parsnip makes it hard for the cake to rise)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or freshly grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 150 millilitres of sunflower oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 grams of light soft brown sugar
  • 350 grams of grated parsnips (I used about 4 parsnips and grated them using the food processor after peeling because it's quick and I'm lazy!)
  • zest of one orange
  • 80 grams of roasted hazelnuts roughly chopped
the amazing maple frosting!
  • 250 grams of mascarpone
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup 
  • 1 tablespoon of icing sugar
  • a handful of chopped hazelnuts
  1. preheat the oven to 180oC/ 350oF/ Gas mark 4 and grease and line a cake tin (I used a 22 centimetre one for this)
  2. mixing the flour, baking powder and spices in a large bowl and make a well in the middle
  3. in a separate bowl beat the eggs before adding the sugar and oil and mixing again until combined
  4. add the liquid to the flour and mix well before adding the parsnip, zest and hazelnuts and mixing
  5. pour the mix into the tin and bake for 50- 60 minutes 
  6. leave to cool on a wire rack while making the frosting
  7. put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat.... (that's it!)
  8. pour the frosting over the cake (there's enough to cover the sides too if you want... or you could just eat it like I did)
  9. sprinkle over the hazelnuts and eat!
This cake is best kept in the fridge and eaten in 3- 4 days