Hetty chatters…

"…every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other."

New Home

please find the new home of my blog here:

http://hettychatters.blogspot.co.uk/

I  hope you follow me to my new location!

Many thanks,

Hetty x

Chocolate Mousse and Orange Shortbread Hearts

To put it most simply, this dessert received an almost record number of ‘mmmmmmmmmmm’s from everyone, prepared ahead of time, effortless to both make and serve, and tastes just so…mmmmm.
This is perfect for when you are having guests over. I am a believer in getting the best tastes in the simplest ways, after all, we are busy people, things to do, people to see, baking needs to be efficient , and as much as I love endless hours in the kitchen (and I really really do!) you don’t always have the time. This is a good effective bake, needs very little washing up through minimal bowl usage, and so it really isn’t daunting in the slightest.

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Ingredients for the Mousse

200g good quality dark chocolate
4 large free range eggs, separated
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Whipped vanilla cream to serve (add vanilla seeds to double cream and whip to make your own)

Method

Melt the chocolate gently, and in a separate bowl whisk the egg whites into soft peaks, add the sugar, and continue to whip into stiff peaks whilst waiting for the chocolate. Next, remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the egg yolks one at a time, at first it looks like it will seize, but it doesn’t, have faith. Add a spoonful of the egg whites to the chocolate, and fold gently with a metal spoon, this will help to soften the mixture, then add the rest of the egg whites in 3 batches, again folding gently so not to remove the air. Spoon the mixture into your chosen vessel and place in the fridge to set for at least an hour. Top with the cream and prepare to serve!

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Happy little pudding lovers! Ben has a spot on his nose to match his jumper…

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It was hard to keep Alice’s pudding still to take a picture, I ate mine too quickly so had to borrow hers to show you the mousse…

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Yep, this was the only state that I could photograph my own pudding in!

 

Ingredients for the Shortbread

125g caster sugar
225g unsalted butter
300g plain flour
50g ground rice
The zest of 6 satsumas, or 3 oranges, think generous here, you want lots of lovely flavour.

Method
Cream together the butter and sugar, then tip in the flour and ground rice, rub with your fingertips like you are making a crumble, so that it becomes very well mixed. Then, combine the breadcrumbs and kneed gently to form a good pliable but stiff dough. Either roll and shape, or push into your moulds.  It is best here to chill for half an hour, but if you impatient like me you will survive if you put it straight in the oven.

Bake at 180 degrees C for about 15 minutes. If you can, get the shortbread out the oven whilst it has barely  any colouring, they will still feel quite soft, but this is the best way to get a nice crumbly biscuit with just enough of a bite.  Transfer to a cooling rack once you can push them out of the moulds, and dust liberally with caster sugar. They keep well in an airtight container, but ours never make it to needing to keep…

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I loooove silicone moulds now, I am officially a total convert! Lakeland, you are a haven!

Enjoy everyone.

2013 Resolution: Project blogging!

Well, after a long Christmas holiday, greatly enjoyed by myself and my family, and a pleasant little whirl of parties, giggles, pajamas, food, cooking (mainly by me), playing and smiles, I can safely say we were so lucky as to have had a marvelous Christmas period, now alas, it is a new year, and time to upscale my little internet space (and that is a promise and resolution, I shall not disappoint on).

Here are some Christmas photographs,my camera has been clicking away merrily, and I now have a massive store of recipe photos that can’t wait to be shared.

So my resolution is: to blog blog blog and blog some more, and I hope and aim to keep you entertained along the way!

Here represents our Christmas day, I feel we need a good catch up. Sorry for the major overload of snaps.

Christmas 2012

If anyone would like their own drinking glasses, you can get them here at urban outfitters, along with mustaches and many many fun novelty gifts.

OH and guess where my Christmas Caviar came from? Lidl! Yes Lidl, do not put anything past Lidl, always worth a good explore.

The Truffle oil was one of a few lovely little gifts I bought my brother Ben, also seen in drinking glasses, from Amazon seller Truffle Hunter

Other little things i bought for fellow foodie Ben were from Taste Spice, and they went down a treat!

This was this our none traditional Christmas pudding to give everyone a bit more choice on after dinner sweets:

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That’s a Flourless Chocolate Cake, deeeeeelish!

There were many more Christmassy times of significant fun, here are some photos I’d like to share:

DSC00597Chocolate spoons for the Christmas drinks party I helped my Land -lady pull together. SO sweet right?! Spoon moulds here, from Lakeland, a real nice novelty, good alternative to flakes for ice cream and to accompany puddings.

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These are my finished Christmas hampers, more on these another day! I was very excited to hand these out though!

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A Christmas Ball, with wonderful friends, this picture summarizes our mood, a very umm merry one! (I promise you Spencer there on the end was happy too, Spencer SMILE!)

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A little bit of hosting with a gorgeous and most fabulous friend E, you can read her very clever blog here . We assembled and served canapes for a friend of mine, and then when the work was done, we kick and twirl-started the dancing in the kitchen, and let it continue through the whole house all evening long.

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Childish games involving lots of icing sugar cream and jelly babies and no hands at the Show Team Christmas party, here are my two ‘adopted brothers’ …can never get them in the same photo, typical!

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A side saddle lesson was one of my lovely Christmas gifts, such a great thing to try!

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I was lucky enough to bring in the new year with more gorgeous friends.

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And one last photo, on returning home from the Canape party, having chats with Ollie, he loves to know all the party gossip.

So readers, we shall be seeing a great deal more of each other. To those who supported me by following and offering lovely comments in 2012, I thank you very much, in these early days especially they mean such a lot to me! I shall repay you with countless recipes and jovial chattering in 2013. I have very much enjoyed starting this blog, and I am teeming with ideas that could be of use and interest to my readers, and hopefully new readers too!

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Happy New Year all.

Christmas Foody Ideas #2 Easy Peasy Fruit Loaves

This recipe is pretty much 3 easy steps, requires no messing about, and they are super duper tasty, plus look very sweet in their little containers, and will look even better in my Christmas hampers.

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I saw the postman drive down the drive way and eagerly collected my parcel:

DSC00561Yes more Pipii treats!

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I really did amp up the Christmas atmosphere at this point, I got a bit excited switching on an Ella Fitzgerald treasure trove of warming Christmas songs.

Okay okay enough distractions, recipe!

400ml water
500g Caster sugar
350g mixed fruit, I went for a a mixed bag with some peel in for that little bit of zingy taste, with some dried berries mixed in for color and size difference
50g butter
450g plain flour
1tsp mixed spice
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
1tsp allspice – as much/little spice as you like really, the original recipe I used I felt was just not enough! It was seriously lacking Christmassy punchy warm spices.
1tsp baking powder

Method

In a big pan over a medium heat but your fruit, butter, sugar and water, mix until all dissolved/melted then take off the heat. Next, sieve in your flour, spices and baking powder, combine, then spoon into your prepared cases of choice. It is that simple, a one pan wonder if you like.  Bake at 180 degrees C for about 25 mins for small, 30 mins for medium and 35 for large, just test them, they should be shiny and golden on top, and be clean when a skewer is inserted. Sprinkle over some brown sugar once they are out the oven for a finishing touch.

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I’m going to wrap them in cellophane and tie with a little ribbon for my hampers. Until then, they are going into the freezer, they freeze like a dream.

Enjoy!

Christmas Foody Ideas #1 Almond Praline

Arhhhhhhhhhh this stuff is amazing, I know its super simple but that makes it all the more fun, I decided the only thing I like more than almond praline are Macarons, quite fitting as they both have lots of almonds in, so I suppose I must thank the humble almond for my favorite sweet treats.

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Warnings need to be iterated before we start:
1.Don’t use a pan you like, go for one which you don’t really like at all, cleaning up after caramelized sugar is not a fun thing.
2. Melted sugar is hotter than the sun, don’t think you can sneak a warm caramel almond, you can’t, the burn on my first finger and thumb demonstrate this.
3. It is addictive,  insanely moreish, and I feel really sick because I’ve eaten probably nearly half a batch, and am now not sure what to do with my sugary sickly slightly self-pitying state.

My kitchen looks a bit like an experimentation lab at the moment, alas, recipes are finalized  and a baking marathon is in order to get my Christmas hampers finished, which now means a blogging marathon to tell as many people as I can about it.

Good news also, my camera is going to be replaced, the one with the leaky battery, so some time in the not so distant future, non-fuzzy photos should be hitting my little internet space!

Recipe, just two things:

Equal measures of plain almonds and granulated sugar

Method

I wouldn’t do more than 200g of each at a time, because you must NOT stir the mix, just shake gently if anything to get any sugar from round the sides. (why you can’t stir melting sugar is one of life’s great mysteries to me?!) Go for a low/mid heat, and just watch your sugar caramelize, when its all melted, the almonds will start to make a popping sound, once you’ve heard a few of those noises, you’re good to go, so just pour your mix onto a tray lined with baking parchment and leave to set. Then chop up and bag up.

Don’t they just look like little auburn jewels? They taste like them too.

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This is great just as a treat, or pulsed in a blender and sprinkled over hot chocolates, ice cream or puddings.  You could make a little label to tell your recipient what might be nice.

Submerse your pan, when finished, in to a sink full of hot water, eventually all the sugar will dissolve off if you leave it an hour or so.

And just for a change, here is what I am listening too, to help keep the myself calm in the midst of a warm christmassy-smelling mist of toasted almonds and caramel. I’ll crack onto the Christmas tunes later in the day.

Enjoyenjoyenjoy!

Winter treats coming soon…WATCH THIS SPACE!

In a good week of absence from posting (well yeah I’m still getting into the swing of this blogging thing!) I have been busy I promise! I passed my driving theory test, which is a big box ticked, and have been concocting giddy delightful recipes for my Christmas hampers, this year, I am excited! I LOVE Christmas, and as you can gather from my previous posts, I am easily delighted by the prospect of giving gifts, making things, and well, anything that requires being made in the kitchen. (At 19 years young I have finally resigned myself to the fact that I am unalterably fascinated by baking, it’s official.)

So please look forward to your Christmas bakes and wrapping ideas that I shall attempt to grace you with, I have already started stocking the freezer, and this week I shall get all my recipes onto my little  comfy cranny of the internet.

Myself and a wonderful friend spent hours pouring over these nifty websites, and ordering our jars, bottles, ribbons, wrapping, molds, labels, loaf tins etc etc etc! So I shall leave you with some links in case anyone wants to have a gander. I am in charge of sweets and she is in charge of savory, so she has hold of most of the jars and bottles!

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http://www.pipii.co.uk/ be excited! This website was made for the easily excitable who loves wrapping presents. The larger loaf tins, stickers, bell stars, blackboard labels, little houses, transparent sweet bags and striped straws are all from here.

http://www.lakeland.co.uk/in-the-kitchen/preserving/bottling-and-labeling   great for all cookware, and kilner jars, as well as baking molds, the smaller cardboard loaf molds are from here, as are the heart and spoon molds.

http://waresofknutsford.co.uk/ for every type of jar and preserving bottle under the sun! The honey jar with the spoon is from here

http://www.wbc.co.uk/14-inch-wicker-hamper-basket?gclid=COClmOrG_rMCFXHLtAodrB0ASg we have hampers similar to these

http://www.johnlewis.com/341494/Product.aspx  but I love this range of baskets too

Have a look around these websites, they are my favorites. And, whilst we’re here, this is one example of a simple delicious treat to make, and freeze ahead of time, remember we made chocolate brownies? Well why not bake them individually, i have some in the freezer now will let you know how they are after a super chilled slumber. Here’s a little sample: ENJOY, and beware, these websites are very easy to get carried away on!

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Fluffy Little Savory Scones

I made something similar ages and ages ago, but couldn’t, in all honesty, be bothered to locate the recipe, so to recreate them I just went with what I felt might be the right sort of ingredients to put in. The result, in this instance was something that left me with a smug little rosy cheeked smile when I shared these out. They would make a great starter or canape served warm after baking in a mini muffin tray, I made them in a normal muffin tray, which would make a great accompaniment for a picnic.

for 6:

120g self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

60g cheese of choice, I went for Parmesan and Mature Cheddar

2tbsp natural yogurt

3tbsp oil of choice, think I used some olive oil, and the oil from the sun-dried toms

A handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

A handful of fresh chopped parsley

1 egg

6 cubes of feta cheese

Mix everything into a nice gunky dough then spoon into a well greased muffin tray, push in little feta hearts and top up to cover the feta. Bake for about 15-20 minutes 200 degrees C, until the tops are crisp and golden and they slip up easily out of the tray, and there you have a perfect snack, or picnic party piece that’s simple and just something different to try!  These were a good hit with my test subjects!

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Cushy Banana Crumbles

Before we go any further, make sure you have a Rom-Com ready to start, a blanket, a sofa, pajamas and the kettle ready to boil. Got that? Okay, this is, for me, the epitome of what should accompany banana and apricot crumble.

This made 3 crumbles, in ramekins. This recipe is super relaxed, add more or less of whatever you fancy and it’ll turn out good anyway, it’s comfort food, you can do what you like, I’ll just give you a guide to my perfect crumble:
3tbsp porridge oats
2tbsp pumpkin seeds
1tbsp butter
1tbsp honey
1tbsp golden syrup
1tbsp light brown sugar
1 banana
1 handful dried apricots
Vanilla yogurt to serve

In a pan warm the butter, oats, sugar, seeds, honey and syrup, until well combined. Slice the bananas and apricots and arrange in the bottom of the ramekins. Top with the crumble, then sprinkle a little ground cinnamon and ginger on top of that for more lovely warm flavors.  Bake for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees C. If you are impatient like me, turn the grill on for a couple of minutes towards the end of the cooking time to the get the tops extra crunchy ahead of schedule. Wrap the bottom of the Ramekins in a tea towel, pour yogurt over the top of the crumble, grab a spoon, grab your cup of tea, move to sofa, press play on the film, bring your knees up, wrap the blanket over you, and savor the moment, and every last bite.

Nifty Gift

I like to put lots of thought into presents, I like to get excited in a girly, fairy-god-motheresque kind of way. So last Sunday morning spent baking presents, wearing pj bottoms and a nice soft jumper, was as good as any morning is going to get for me.
I just made some basic cupcakes, I’ve tried a few recipes and decided . I hollowed out the middle with a gimmick product ‘cupcake corer‘ which turned out to do the job quite nicely, and filled the middles with lemon curd and strawberry jam for extra delicousness. I was asked if these came from the Hummingbird Bakery so I suppose I can call that a job well done?! Topped them with butter-cream and put them in a pretty little cake box, this one I found in Morrisons if anyone is looking for some!

Also, great tip I picked up from The Great British Bake Off Masterclass, put cold butter in a jug with warm water and leave for a minute to soften, then drain and you have perfect, baking-ready butter instead!


Always invest in good jams and curd of not making your own(I shall be doing that soon!), they taste so much better, I think anyway. Plus the labels are prettier.


Basic vanilla cupcakes with extra filling and butter-cream: This makes 6-8 cupcakes, I use a muffin tray.

115g soft unsalted butter
115g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
115g self raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp glycerin
Lemon curd
Strawberry jam (or any chosen fillings!)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, line your tray with pretty cupcake cases. Whisk the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk, when pale and fluffy add the egg a spoonful at a time with a spoonful of flour too, this stops it from curdling. Next sift in the rest of the flour into the mix, and the baking powder, then mix in the milk, glycerin and vanilla.  Spoon into cases and cook for about 15 mins, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Once cool,  cut off any uneven parts of the cupcake, so you have a flat surface to ice onto (eat these bits!) use the cupcake corer, twist it in until about a 3rd deep, then twist back up again, be gentle and it will work. Then fill with chosen super tasty treats.

For the butter cream:

250g unsalted butter
250g sifted icing sugar
1-2 tbsp of chosen flavor, i used 2 tbsp of lemon juice, and 1 tbsp of strawberry jam after splitting the mix. Then, just a dot of food coloring.

Cream the soft butter and sugar together with the liquid. Then either pipe or spread into mounds on the cupcakes. Top with a little extra decor if you like.


I love making birthday cards too, as you can see, they don’t need to take hours of labor,  and can be simple designs done whilst watching Sunday Brunch. I used a water soluble pen to write with, and then added shadows with a fine paint brush dabbed with water.

The yellow have grated lemon zest atop, and sliced strawberries on the pink ones. A heavy dusting of icing sugar for finishing makes the butter-cream dry to the touch.


How happy to these little beauties make you? Pro-looking cakes, affordable and simple, to make a perfect gift!

Peanut Butter Drop Scones

Little scotch pancakes are delicious, but why not ramp up the scale of delicious?

You will need:

2 eggs
275ml semi skimmed milk
225g self raising flour
25g light muscavado sugar
25g caster sugar
1tsp cream of tartar
3tbsp crunchy peanut butter  plus some extra blobs for later(I only had smooth in, but I have a feeling crunchy will be even better)
Butter and a flavorless oil like sunflower for frying
Honey for serving, ohh and I went for a few almond flakes too.

Whisk the eggs and milk, then whisk in the flour and tartar, then sugar, then add the peanut butter. The mix should be pale and a bit gloopy, and leave trails of 1-2 seconds off the whisk.

Use a ladle, measure about a quarter ladle (make them too thick and they just get too stodgy) of mix to form each scone in a frying pan, preheated with butter and oil on a medium heat. After about a minute, add extra lovely blobs of peanut butter and cover over gently with the mixture that will not yet be cooked. Flip them over and cook the other side, they should be going a bit golden with crispy edges.

Take them out and start stacking them on a warm plate. I find it best to cook them all, then return to the pan to crisp up and warm through again before serving. Serve with liberal amounts of honey and dig into that rich peanutty little parcel of wonderfulness.

Enjoy.

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