Author Archives: The Cooking spoon

Cheats Banoffee Pie, step by step.

Cheats Banoffee pie


It’s always good to have a cheats recipe or two up your sleeve, just in case you don’t have time, or simply aren’t in the mood for fuss. Especially now with the holidays around the corner, there’s plenty to do already.
Maybe someone is going to ask you to bring along a dessert at a dinner party, this would be perfect. And because I add a layer of chocolate to the base, the pie crust stays nice and crunchy and doesn’t go soggy.
This Cheats Banoffee Pie recipe is so good and very simple with just a few store cupboard ingredients. You can make my simple pastry crust recipe or make it even easier by buying a ready made crust. It’s all about as little effort as possible today.

Prep time : 30 min (if you’re making the crust, otherwise 10 min)
Cooking time : 20 min (for the pie crust)
Serves : 8
1 x 20cm/8in spring form tin

INGREDIENTS:


For the base:
• 1 x super simple pastry dough recipe or store bought ready pie crust
• 100 gr./ 3.5 oz. dark or milk chocolate (whichever you prefer) chopped
For the caramel filling:
• 1 x can 397gr./14oz. Dulce de Leche or creamy thick caramel from a jar
For the topping:
• 300ml/10fl oz. double cream
• 3 medium bananas, peeled and sliced
• 100 gr./ 3.5 oz. dark or milk chocolate (whichever you prefer)

METHOD:

1. Line the base of a 20cm/8in spring form tin with baking paper.
2. To make the base, follow the recipe for pie crust and bake accordingly. Let cool.
3. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until completely melted. Spread over the pie crust base and place in the freezer until set. This will only take 15 minutes or so.
4. For the filling, simply spread a can of dulce de leche over the chocolate.
5. Whip the cream in a bowl until soft peaks form.
6. Arrange the banana slices in neat rounds on top of the toffee. Spoon or pipe the cream on top and level. Set in the fridge for an hour.
7. Decorate with chocolate shavings or sprinkles.* see note

Note: I have a little trick for the chocolate shavings that I use all the time. Unwrap a chocolate bar and place it on a plate, flat side up. Place it in the microwave.
Set on defrost program and run for 30 to 60 seconds. Then take a vegetable peeler and shave off the curls.

Enjoy!

PS: the wonders you can do with a can of Dulce de Leche….or otherwise caramel related recipes

If you make this Cheats Banoffee Pie recipe, be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and if you love it, pin it. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! @thecookingspoonblog or hashtag it #thecookingspoonblog

Five Spice Chestnut Banana Bread with chocolate chips

This very satisfying Five Spice Chestnut Banana Bread with chocolate chips is one of those quick breads that you want to bake every week, especially during colder months. With warming and fragrant spices that just brings joy by the smell they spread through the house while baking. Perfect for breakfast with a little butter, as a snack or even as a dessert. The five spice takes it to the next level. Wondering what five spice is?

Let me explain.

Chinese Five spice is a combination of the five basic flavours, sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (hearty/savoury).

The components of this wonderful spice mix are cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cloves and peppercorns. You can find the mix at most supermarkets. It’s a very versatile spice mix that can be used in sweet and savoury dishes.

INGREDIENTS

WET
• 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
• 1/2 cup/100 gr. light brown sugar, packed
• 2 large eggs
• 1/4 cup mild olive oil
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cup grated zucchini, don’t pack to measure, instead fit loosely in the cup. (about 1 medium/large zucchini)

DRY
• 1 cup/125gr. whole wheat flour
• 1 cup/125 gr all purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp. cinnamon
• ½ tsp. Chinese five spice
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ cup chocolate chips (optional but recommend)
• 1 cup cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped (vacuum pack or can, drained)

METHOD:

Heat the oven to 180C/350F. Lightly oil a 9×5-inch/23x13cm loaf tin and line with baking paper.

Place grated zucchini op clean kitchen towel, roll it up and squeeze and twist, to drain as much of the liquid as you can.
In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat the mashed banana with the brown sugar, olive oil, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, Chinese five spice and salt.

Add this to the wet batter and mix very slowly until just combined. Remove bowl from stand mixer.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the zucchini, chestnuts and chocolate chips until just combined. Do not overmix

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out dry(-ish). It is still supposed to be moist since it’s a banana zucchini bread, however there should not be any batter still sticking to the skewer.
Should the bread become too dark you can tent some foil over the top loosely.

Remove from oven once it is finished baking and let it cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, then remove from tin with the parchment paper and let cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!

Brined Roast Turkey breast with Blueberry gravy

This festive turkey breast recipe is a great alternative to a whole roast turkey. Perfect for smaller crowds either for Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.

The Turkey breast is brined in a flavorful liquid infusing the breast with flavor and seasoning it throughout all while tenderizing it to butter-soft and juicy texture. Then it’s roast until golden perfection and served with a blueberry gravy

The great thing is that carving is so easy since the roast is boneless. 

All you need now are roast potatoes and vegetables for a complete Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner that is stress free yet fit for a king.


Prep time : 10-15 min

Cooking time : 60 min

Serves : 6

INGREDIENTS:

Turkey breast, about 1.2 – 1.5 kg./2.5 -3 pounds
Two large onions, peeled and sliced thick.
A sprig of each rosemary and thyme
2 tbsp neutral flavored olive oil
3 tbsp butter

Brine:
2 liters water
4 tbsp salt
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 onion sliced
2 bay leaves
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 tbsp all spice berries
4 cloves
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice

Blueberry Gravy
2 sjalottes, peeled and very finely chopped
1 rounded tbsp. flour
2 glasses/1 cup red wine
250 ml/ 1  cup good quality turkey or chicken stock
2-3 tbsp Blueberry jam

METHOD Turkey

Mix all the ingredients for the brine in a large sealable container.  Place the Turkey breast in the liquid and leave to marinate for 3 to 4 hours, or all day.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Remove the breast from the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Prepare a roasting tin. Grease generously with neutral flavored olive oil and add the onions in a layer to the tin, then the herbs and place the breast on top. Season with salt and pepper and spread all the butter over the Turkey breast.
Tent turkey breast loosely with aluminum foil.

Roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour; baste turkey breast with pan juices and remove foil.  Return to oven for about 3 more minutes and roast until the juices run clear and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, reads 165 degrees F (65 degrees C). Let the turkey breast rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

METHOD Blueberry gravy.

Remove the turkey breast from the roasting tin. Remove the onions and herbs.

Heat the stock and wine in a small saucepan and keep ready for adding to the sauce we are making.
Place the tin over a gentle heat, and tilt the tin and spoon off the fat into a bowl using a tablespoon, leave about 2 tablespoons of fat, along with all the juices, in the tin. Turn up the heat to medium and add the chopped sjalotte, cook quickly and scrape all the crusty bits from the base , then add the flour and keep stirring.  When the flour is absorbed start adding the wine and stock a  little at a time, whisking  after each addition. This is easiest with a whisk. Once you have incorporated all the liquid, add the blueberry jam. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Adjust the thickness of the gravy to your liking by adding more or less stock. 

Slice the Turkey breast and serve straight away with roast potatoes and vegetables and the Blueberry gravy.

Enjoy!

If you make this recipe please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love hearing from you.  And please don’t forget to tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations!

Caramel Chestnut Cream Cheese Crumble Bars.

Chestnut cream cheese crumble bars.

Caramel Chestnut cream cheese crumble bars.

For the ultimate sweet treat, try these Chestnut cream cheese crumble bars; a sweet nutty cookie base is topped with an unctuous chestnut cream cheese mixture, some puddles of white chocolate and more lumpy crunchy crumble on top. And in case that wasn’t enough,  a caramel drizzle on top.
The nuttiness is elevated by adding toasted Pecans in the crumble. I love these as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea or as a dessert. Chestnuts are so delicious and pair very well with savoury and sweet.
They’re a breeze to make; first you toast your pecans, then to a food processor add all the dry ingredients and pulse, including the pecans, add the wet ingredients and pulse again. You spread out 2/3 of the crumble onto a cookie sheet and pre bake the base. You make the filling and spread on top, covered by the remaining crumble and bake. That easy. The caramel drizzle is added once the bars have cooled and are cut into squares. So simple, right?
Lusciously decadent but oh so good.

The ingredients are very straight forward, oats (any kind will do), flour, pecans, cream cheese, cooked chestnuts, sugar, butter and some white chocolate chips….


Prep time : 10 min

Cooking time : 30

Serves : 16

INGREDIENTS:

Crumble:

  • 2 cups / 200 gr. oats (any kind)
  • 1 cup / 120 gr. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup / 30 gr. toasted pecan halves
  • 2/3 cups / 140 gr. butter
  • 1/4 cup / 50 gr coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup / 60 gr maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Filling:

  • 1 cup / 200 gr cooked chestnut drained* (see note)
  • 1 cup / 200 gr cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup / 60 gr maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup / 50 gr white chocolate chips (more or less)

TOP:

  • Pecans
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup / 60-70 gr ready made caramel from jar or similar

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pre heat your oven to 350 F / 180 C. Line a 8″x 8″/ 20cmx20cm baking tin.

Toast your in pecans in a dry pan until lightly golden. Transfer to a food processor, add the flour and oats and pulse until very fine crumb. Next add the butter, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Run the processor until it comes together and when you take a bit of crumb between your thumb and index finger , it should stick together. Add a little bit of water if it’s still to crumbly.

Press 2/3 of the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and pierce with a fork a few times. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F/180 C.

Meanwhile make the filling. Wipe the food processor clean with a paper towel, and add the chestnuts. Run the processor until the chestnuts are very fine. Next add the cream cheese, vanilla and maple syrup. Process until creamy. Add the white chocolate chips and pulse just once or twice to combine. Spread the filling over the base, and top with the remainder of the crumb mixture. Scatter with some pecans. Place back into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Cut into 16 squares and drizzle with the caramel.

Enjoy!

NOTE: the chestnuts usually come in a tin or in packs, either one is fine as long as they are cooked and drained. Even fresh ones cooked at home is fine too.

If you make this recipe please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love hearing from you.  And please don’t forget to tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations!

Wild Boar Stew with Pomegranate

Wild Boar Stew with Pomegranate


This meltingly tender Boar stew is simmered for hours with onions and smoky bacon in a red wine sauce, with the addition of Pomegranate molasses and Pomegranate juice to achieve a dark and rich stew that becomes seriously tender. This is one of those dishes that never fails to please.


The addition of Pomegranate enhances the flavor of the meat and pairs perfectly, making the stew extra tender and adding a hint of sweetness.
Comfort cooking is one of the pleasures of the cooler months and this wild boar stew is the perfect example. It is quick to put together and then simmers for a few hours filling the air with irresistible aroma. The thought of meat simmering for hours on the stove is infinitely comforting to me.

I have added some warm spices in just the right amount to give extra flavour without overpowering the boar.
This recipe is enough for 4 to 6 people but can easily be doubled and half can be frozen for another day.


Prep time : 20 min

Cooking time : 2 hrs.

Serves : 6



INGREDIENTS:


2 ½ pounds wild boar cut into 1 inch cubes (meat cut from the leg)
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon all spice
2 tablespoons flour for coating meat
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
6 large carrots, peeled and cut thick
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons Pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup red wine
1 cup unsweetened Pomegranate juice
2-3 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh Marjoram
2 Bay leaves, whole
2 teaspoons Fennel seeds
2 inch stick of cinnamon
2 to 3 tablespoons red current or other berry jam or jelly
Beurre Manié:
Mix together with your fingers or a small spoon,
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon flour



INSTRUCTIONS:

Get out a big cast iron pot with lid if you have it, otherwise ant heavy bottomed pan with lid will do.
Put it on the stove and turn up the heat to high.
Add the olive oil and bacon to the pan, fry until golden and crispy and remove to a plate.
Toss the boar with the salt, pepper and all spice and coat in the flour.
Fry the boar in batches in the hot bacon-oil until nice a dark golden brown, remove and place on a plate as you go until all the meat is browned.
Next add the onion and carrot and cook for a few minutes until it has taken colour, then add the garlic, stirring all the time. Add the tomato paste, Pomegranate molasses and honey, stir to coat all the meat and vegetables.
Next add the red wine, the Pomegranate juice and first 2 cups of the beef stock, you can add more as it cooks.
Add the remaining spices; the fresh thyme, Marjoram, Bay leaves, Fennel seeds and cinnamon.
Bring to a low simmer and cook for about 2 and a half to 3 hours, checking in between. Adding more broth if needed.
Stir in the beurre manié in small teaspoon sized balls, to thicken the stew as needed. Any remaining beurre manié may be frozen and is great to have in the freezer.
Before serving the Boar stew, add the jelly to sweeten to taste.
Serve the boar stew with mashed potatoes, noodles or rice. Enjoy. Leftovers are great but highly unlikely.

Enjoy!

If you make this recipe please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love hearing from you.  And please don’t forget to tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations!