Chocolate Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

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My lovely friend Carlie made me a chocolate brioche for my birthday the other week and it tasted amazing! But rather than just scoffing it all I thought I would put it to a better tasty use. This recipe could be used with normal bread however or you could buy some fancy bread from the supermarket and use that as long as you can get 12 slices out of it.

Ingredients:
12 small slices of brioche or bread
A handful of sultanas
A handful of raisins
300ml Double cream
150ml Milk
1tsp Vanilla extract
25g Caster sugar
2 Eggs
A sprinkle of grated nutmeg
Demerara sugar for sprinkling
Grated zest of a lemon

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Cut the slices of bread/brioche into triangles or in half and arrange in an oven proof dish. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (that’s a fan oven). Grate the lemon zest over the slices and scatter the sultanas and raisins.

Add the milk and cream to a saucepan and heat until just about boiling. Add the vanilla extract and nutmeg and stir continuously. Whisk the eggs together with the caster sugar in a bowl and slowly add the hot milk mixture whisking all the time. Pour the custard over the bread and sprinkle liberally with the Demerara sugar.

Let the bread soak up the custard for about 20mins then add to the oven for 30-40mins until golden and crispy. Can be reheated as and when you have a slice. Good with ice cream or on its own.

Carrot & Coriander Soup

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The winter season has finally caught up with me and I now have a cold! So to combat it I made some carrot and coriander soup with a peppery bite to clear the sinuses. I had some sweet potato going spare so I added that too and I really think it gave the soup a little sweetness. I made a big panful, but like some of the other recipes here you can increase or decrease them as you see fit. With this soup I will say that you do have to season frequently and at the end have a good taste to see if it needs more. I also add more ground coriander towards the end if I don’t think it has enough of a kick.

Ingredients:
1kg Carrots
2 Medium-sized sweet potatoes (optional)
1 Big white onion
2 Cloves of garlic
3tsp+ of ground coriander (the extra for roasting and last minute sprinkling)
3 pints of vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you have it)
Lots of sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 Good glugs of extra virgin olive oil (one for the carrots and one for the onion and garlic)

Equipment:
All you need is a big pan if you are making a lot and a stick blender. If you don’t have a stick blender you can use a a regular blender, just let the soup cool before you blitz it OR failing that you could give it a good mash and have chunky soup!

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First of all preheat the oven to 215 degrees Celsius (fan assisted). Cut the carrots into batons and slice the sweet potato thickly. Arrange on a baking tray and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and ground coriander. Cover with the first good glug of oil and put in the oven for 30mins.

Whilst they are roasting, peel and chop the onion. Add to a big pan with a little olive oil on a medium heat to soften. Crush the garlic and add to the pan. Cook until the onions go a little translucent and the garlic colours.

Once the thirty minutes are up get the carrots out and put to one side. Boil some water in the kettle and make the vegetable stock. I use stock cubes for soup because they are quick and easy but if you have your own stock then use that. Add the stock to the onions and garlic and turn the heat up. Add the roasted veg and the rest of the ground coriander and bring to the boil. Season at this point and make sure the stock is flavoursome.

Use the stick blender to bring it together and taste again. Season if you think it needs it and add more ground coriander if it lacks that kick. I also add a bit more water if the consistency is a bit thick (but I do like a thick soup). Turn the heat down a little and let it simmer for a bit. Now it’s ready to serve or if you are like me and thinking ahead cover and leave it to reheat for the rest of the week. Should be ok for a couple of days. Use to get rid of that cold!

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

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I had been thinking about doing this all day. There is nothing better than thinking about what’s in the cupboards and how they could go together. Again, this is a very simple, quick and easy dish. Low effort but maximum flavour. I found myself on my own so I made it for one but the quantities could easily be multiplied. Having said that all the quantities are up to you depending on how you like it.

Ingredients for one:
150g Chestnut mushrooms
200g Cream cheese
1 Big clove of garlic
A sprinkling of dried thyme
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
A good handful of dried egg pasta (I used a tagliatelle variety so it could be coated in all the sauce)
A glug of olive oil
A good grated of Parmesan for the finish

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Put a medium pot of salty water on the hob to boil. Once there add the pasta and keep an eye on it.

Slice the mushrooms up and put a little olive oil in a medium frying pan and throw them in on a medium/high heat. Finely chop the garlic and add that to the pan. Add some freshly cracked black pepper and a good sprinkle of thyme too and give it a good toss in the pan. Turn the heat down a little and check the pasta.

The pasta will only take about three mins to cook. Once soft turn the heat off and leave a minute in the water. Add the cream cheese to the pan of mushrooms and stir until it’s melted and creamy. Drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan. Give it a good mix so all the pasta is coated and plate up. Grate the Parmesan on top and enjoy!

Sesame and Poppy Seed Bagels

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I had a bit of a fear of baking stuff other than plain white bread. It took me ages to get good at the simple bread recipe (which will end up on here eventually) so starting on another one made me a bit reluctant. I know that it isn’t a stretch doing bagels because it is largely a white bread recipe you follow in the early stages. But they turned out really well! Shaping was a bit difficult, some of them lost their holes, but I’m putting this down to it being a first attempt. But they turned out light chewy and really tasty. It is actually quite straight forward as long as you have confidence with the dough and trust your gut. I think the best thing to do is just go for it! Makes 12-14 bagels.

Ingredients:
500g Strong white bread flour
7g Dried yeast
1tsp Salt
1tbsp Golden syrup
1 Egg, beaten
300ml Water
Vegetable oil for greasing
Sesame seeds and poppy seeds

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Mix the flour, yeast, salt and egg together in a big bowl until fully combined. Add just enough of the water so that it comes together as dough. You don’t have to use warm water, I don’t unless there is a reason. The dough always comes together well with cold water. Oil the work surface and knead it until you have a smooth dough. Leave it to prove in the bowl covered in cling film for at least an hour until doubled in size.

Flour the work surface and knock back the dough (get all the air bubbles out of it) and divide into 12 parts for each bagel. To shape them I get the dough and roll it between my hands until I have a sausage and then pinch then ends together folded round my fingers. The dough is sticky at this point so the join will hold. Put them on a greased piece of baking paper and leave to prove for another 10-12mins. At this point put a big pan of water on the boil and preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius.

Once they have risen a bit you can get to boiling them. Don’t worry if they haven’t risen too much they will get bigger in the water and the oven. Before you boil them add the spoonful of golden syrup to the boiling water. It’ll add a subtle sweetness to the crust when they are baking. Spoon them in carefully in batches of four. Keep an eye on them as they only need a minute. I put a stopwatch on as I put them in and note the times they go in. Then take them out when they reach the next minute. While they are wet push them into the different seeds or whatever you choose to top them with. Put them back on the baking paper they proved on and put them on a baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 10-12mins or until golden.

Let them cool right down before you eat them. They of course go really well toasted with cream cheese, but the world is your bagel!