Extreme Ginger Cookies

Ginger. Maybe my favourite spice. It’s a different kind of heat to other spices. I love that tingle!

So I love the ginger tingle, and I love a good biscuit, so I decided this past blustery cold weekend needed a warming ginger biscuit. But no ordinary, namby pamby ginger biscuit. I give you the extreme ginger cookie.

Extreme Ginger Cookies

I’ve used four different types of ginger in these babies: ground ginger, fresh ginger, stem ginger and ginger Spice Drops.

They’re the perfect treat for this time of year – they warm you up, not too sweet and perfect to dunk in a hot chocolate or a cuppa. The ginger is extreme – and so is the risk you’ll be going back for more!

Extreme Ginger Cookies

Makes 12-18 depending on size

  • 200g plain flour
  • 125g butter, room temperature
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 balls stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 drops ginger Spice Drops

What you do

  • Heat the oven to 200c
  • Line a baking tray with parchment
  • Cream together your butter and sugars until light
  • Add the spice drops, fresh and stem ginger and egg and mix well
  • Add flour, baking powder and dried ginger and combine until all mixed
  • Divide into small balls – about ping pong size. Don’t flatten them!
  • Cook in batches – you’ll get 6-8 on a tray
  • Cook for 10 mins until slightly golden
  • Resist the temptation to eat them all while they are still warm!

Extreme Ginger Cookies

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Sausage Week- One Pot Sausages and Lentils

Happy Sausage Week! It’s also cat goes missing comes back with mashed up leg week so my stress levels are on the edge this week and hence me only getting this to you at the very back end of such an important foodie week!

A good, well made, sausage is a thing of greatness. From a Sunday morning doorstep sandwich to a mid-week feast- it can lift a meal and a mood.

Grandad's Sausages

Grandad’s Sausages

Just don’t talk to me about crap sausages. You know the ones. 50p for six, indeterminate meat, no seasoning, ooze fatty water when you cook ‘em. But let’s not dwell on those- this week it is all about celebrating the great British banger.

New sausage start-up Grandad’s Sausages asked if I would like to try some of their flavours. Urm, let me think about that for a second. Yes please!

Matthew is one of the nicest guys around. He came to my work to drop off his sausages and told me about the bangers his gramps used to make. When he passed away, Matthew and his business partner decided to take the mantle and see if they could take Grandad’s sausages to the masses.

Overall, I was really impressed. I like my sausage meat with a wee bit more chunky texture but many of the flavours were bob-on. The pork and leek and Lincolnshire shone for me, and my hubby really liked the chilli (I think chilli has no place in a sausage, or in cheese, or in chocolate come to think of it). The pure pork was worth a second try as well.

Sausages and Lentils

So what to do with them? I came across this way of cooking lentils in the new River Cottage book and I am addicted! It is way more tasty than mashed potato and the addition of some good herbs and shallots and they are almost a meal on their own.

One pot sausage and lentils

Serves 3 (we totally had it between two!!)

  • 7 top quality sausages
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or crushed
  • 150g red lentils
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, picked
  • Oil
  • Salt and pepper

You also need a heavy bottomed pan or casserole which you can use on the hob and in the oven.

Sausages and Lentils

What you do

  • Heat oven to 200c
  • Oil your pan and, on a medium heat, brown your sausages on every side
  • Take your sausages from the pan and drop in the shallots and garlic and soften on a low heat – approx 5 mins
  • Add the lentils, herbs and stock and season with salt and pepper
  • Return your sausages to the pen, nestling them in so there aren’t too many lentils under them
  • Into the oven for 25 minutes until the sausages are cooked through
  • Serve with some greens and a hearty appetite

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Crocktober: Slow Cooker Beans & Ham

There’s gonna be a lot of slow cooker recipes coming up now autumn has set in!

Earlier this year we had a great breakfast in London at a coffee place called Salvation Janes. I had homemade beans with ham hock and feta and have been hankering after them ever since.

So I’ve finally got round to making my own big batch of beans and ham hock to have at work for lunches and to make weekend brekkie more tasty.

slow cooker beans on toast

This is such a good value dish- a whole hock cost me £2.29 from Leigh market and I only used half for this – the rest of the meat was frozen for another day. A 500g bag of haricot beans were about a pound and everything else was in the cupboard. It looks like it takes a long time to make, but actually all of that time is spent cooking. I reckon there is no more than ten minutes of prep and ten minutes of hob time in total.

If you shred the ham it kind of melts into the beans. If you fancy it more chunky, simply cut it in to small chunks instead.

One last tip. You know how slow cooker recipes always say use less liquid than in normal cooking? Well ignore that here. These beans are thirsty, so keep an eye on them as you may need to add more stock.

Slow Cooker Beans and Ham Hock

Serves – lots! I got nine small portions out of it- enough for a jacket potato or toast.

  •  500g bag dried haricot beans
  • 1 ham hock
  • Veg stock – 1.5-2l
  • Tomato puree- a small tin
  • Smoked paprika- 1 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper – 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper

You’ll also need a slow cooker.

What you do

First, get your ham cooked.

  • You need do nothing more than put it in the slow cooker on low. I don’t add any flavouring or stock – no need!
  • Put on a plate to cool and drain any fat which has come out during cooking
  • When cool, remove the fat, and shred the meat or cut into small chunks
  • You only need half so find a good use for the rest!

Now to pull it all together.

  • Rinse the haricot beans and put in a pan of boiling water. Simmer for 10 mins then drain
  • Put the beans in the slow cooker, along with 1.5l of the hot stock, tomato puree, paprika and cayenne. Mix well to ensure the spices and tomato are well mixed in
  • Add your shredded ham hock
  • Lid on, cook on low for 5-7 hours
  • Check every couple of hours, give a stir and add more stock if it looks like they are drying up
  • Check the seasoning before serving
  • Enjoy!

slow cooker beans on toast

Even though the ham is being cooked twice it doesn’t seem to overcook- slow cooker alchemy!

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