Biscuit Heaven with Lotus Biscoff

I was absolutely delighted when I received this box full of Lotus Biscuit goodness! Like most of you, I know and love the sweet little red biscuits that so often come with a cup of coffee – but I had never tried the now famous Lotus Biscoff Spread, or the new Chocolate Lotus Biscuits. So the last few weeks have been absolute biscuit heaven as I’ve munched my way through this box of biscuit joy.

Lotus Biscoff Biscuts and Biscoff Spread

A box full of biscuit treats

I’ve found that enjoying my morning coffee with a Lotus biscuit really brightens the day, making me feel like I’m somewhere far fancier than my home office.

The handy Biscoff Pocket Packs and little packs of Chocolate Lotus Biscuits have been fab to pop in my bag for busy days too. Here I am enjoying them on a recent train journey to London…

Lotus Biscoff with Chocolate

A treat for the train journey

I guess many of you will want to hear about the Biscoff spread, which is known to be so addictively good that I’ve even heard it referred to as ‘crack in jar’. After sampling both the smooth and crunchy varieties of the spread, I can indeed confirm that it is that good – you’ll go in for a tiny teaspoonful as a treat and it won’t be enough…you find yourself stopping at the third spoonful and that’s before you’ve even spread it on anything. It is super sweet, so works well on bagels and fruit toast, as well as on a pancake.

The ridiculously tempting Lotus Biscoff Spreads

The ridiculously tempting Lotus Biscoff Spreads

I was intrigued about possibilities for cooking and baking with the spread, that sweet caramelised flavour could work so well in a range of desserts…cheese cake, bread and butter pudding, tiramisu to name a few. I visited the Lotus Biscuits website and was pleased to find a whole range of recipes to choose from, so this weekend I got my bake on and attempted some chocolate brownies with Biscoff centres. I (loosely) followed this recipe from the website.

Brownie Mix, which you then add balls of Biscoff to!

Brownie Mix, which you then add balls of Biscoff to

I chose a nice simple recipe that I knew would go down well. Essentially it was a case of making chocolate brownies in the usual way and creating some Biscoff balls out of the spread to dot into the brownie mixture. You create the balls by adding powered sugar and I used a little flour too, so that they form a dough like texture. Once baked you get lovely gooey brownies with a tasty Biscoff centre! Mmmmm….

Tucking into a tasty brownie with a Biscoff centre

Tucking into a tasty brownie with a Biscoff centre

The biscuity brownie smell that filled the house was amazing!

There were plenty more recipes on the website, I particularly liked the idea of using it in cheesecake or cake icing. As I’ve still got some spread left (a real exercise in self control!), I’ll definitely be having a go at a few more recipes too. Watch this space for more.

Take a look at www.lotusbiscuits.co.uk to explore the full range of Biscoff goodies and where to buy them from.

…Right, I’m off for my daily cappuccino and Biscoff break now xXx

 

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Banana Oatmeal Cookies

The other day I was left with quite a few icky, overripe bananas. So in the spirit of waste not want not I turned to the internet for some banana recipes, I know that overripe bananas are supposed to be the best for cooking/baking with so I was hoping to find something tempting that would also magically fit with the random contents of my cupboards.

Firstly I came across Buzzfeed’s ’17 Delicious Ways To Use Up Old Bananas’  – this proved to an absolute treasure trove of nommy nana recipe inspiration! Do take a look – there’s everything from classic banana bread to cheesecake, smoothies and cakes.

However I was rather limited by my slightly bare cupboards but this recipe for cookies (well, to me they were more like flapjacks) was a perfect fit! Essentially mixing mushed bananas, oats, raisins with a tiny bit of butter, sugar and cinnamon. I also added honey.

So here goes….Banana Oatmeal “Cookies”
Taken from bionicbites.com Adapted from The Burlap Bag

Ingredients

2 large overripe bananas
1 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
butter or oil to grease two cookie sheets

– I added honey to the mixture too!

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mash bananas with oats, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and butter.

3. Mix in walnuts and raisins.

4. Drop a tablespoon of banana-oatmeal mixture on a greased cookie sheet and then flatten with the back of a spoon. (Skip flattening if you like soft cookies). To make 16 flat cookies, you’ll need two cookie sheets.

5. Bake 35 minutes.

6. Flip cookies.

7. Bake an addition 10 more minutes.

My cookies were still quite moist and more like a flapjack in consistency but enjoyable and pretty healthy too – here’s a look at the results…

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I’d recommend this recipe – super quick and easy to prepare, pretty healthy and very satisfying.

Halloween soup

This post is my entry into the 1st Edition Tiendeo cooking competition  for Seasonal Recipes! Find out more about them at: http://www.tiendeo.co.uk/Winchester.

I’m a big kid and will always carve a pumpkin on Halloween night, despite living in a place where we don’t even get trick or treaters. I just love doing it, how often do you have an excuse to carve a face into a vegetable?! Even though I’m not all that good at pumpkin artistry I still attempt it every year…

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This year’s attempt!

My other tradition for Halloween night is to use some of the pumpkin flesh to make a batch of soup, something I also loving doing. Soups are so simple but often so satisfyingly tasty. Here’s a snap shot of this year’s Halloween soup, served with toasted pine nuts, buttered granary bread and a side of garlic stuffed mushrooms…

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This year’s Halloween soup

It was a really tasty soup, if I do say so myself! It was lovely and thick, perfect for the wintery weather we’ve been having. For anyone who’s interested in recreating my Halloween soup, here’s a rough recipe….

Ingredients:

  • Roasted pumpkin and/or Butternut squash (I used both)
  • Roasted pepper (I used an orange one – mainly for the colour, red or yellow would be fine too)
  • Carrots and Parnships steamed in butter
  • Chopped red onion sweated in butter
  • A clove or two of chopped garlic
  • Chicken Stock
  • Low fat/single pouring cream
  • Garlic Salt
  • Mixed herbs
  • Toasted pine nuts for garnish

As you can imagine with soup, you essentially just chop and blend the ingredients in a food processor and add a little cream to taste. I kept the consistency fairly thick so that the pine nuts would float on top nicely.

So that was my Halloween. Hope everyone else had a good one and that the trick or treaters were fewer than expected – leaving you with a plentiful supply of sweets!

xXx

Ice Tea Recipe

Ice tea is amazing in this hot weather! I find it’s a wonderful way to get my tea fix in the current heatwave. I like to whip up a batch, store it in the fridge and take it to work in my Keep Cup.

I’ve tried many different recipes and shop bought blends – but have finally struck tea gold by combining Ahmad Tea’s English Afternoon Tea, Twinings Strawberry & Mango, Camomile Tea, a spoonful of honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon. The lemon and the lovely hint of bergamot in the Ahmad Tea give a citrus note – while the rest provides the fruity sweetness you tend to need in a cold drink.

It’s very enjoyable with just a few ice cubes but for special occasions you can garnish with lemon wedges and strawberry pieces – it’s a fabulous summertime refresher!

Here’s a batch in progress right now, it just needs to cool and it’ll be ready for me in the morning…

Ice Tea in Progress

Healthy Seafood Lasagne

Here’s a very rough recipe for a hearty, but fairly healthy dinner I made earlier in the week. It’s a seafood lasagne!

Ingredients:

Tinned tomatoes
Reduced fat cream cheese
Mixed seafood (I used prawns, scallops, mussels and shrimps)
Creme fraiche
Dill (I used dried)
Lasagne sheets (I just used the standard shop bought variety)
Reduced fat cheddar cheese
Parsley (optional for a topping/garnish)

So all did was to fry the garlic in a little olive oil and add in the tinned tomatoes, followed by the cream cheese (about half of small tub) and mix them together. The sauce was a little pink in colour, but it tastes great. Once the sauce seemed thick enough I added the seafood in and made sure it was all well mixed.

Setting that mixture to one side, I then added some of the remaining cream cheese to the creme fraiche and mixed some dried dill. For extra creaminess you can add in a little ricotta here too

After that it was a simple case of layering the seafood mixture in baking dish, covering with lasagne sheets and repeating this to end up with a covering of lasagne sheets on the top. I then covered the top with the creme fraiche mixture and finished with a topping of the reduced fat cheddar and some chopped parsley.

Here’s the resulting dish straight out of the oven…

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My reduced fat seafood lasagne

Prawn Pizza Ciabatta

Prawn Pizza Ciabatta

Here’s last nights dinner before I added the final magical ingredient…Laverstoke Park Farm Mozzerella! Recipe to follow…

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Prawn, Salmon & Mushroom Lasagne

Here’s a yummy pescetarian recipe I mish mashed together in the kitchen this evening and it turned out to be quite delightful…

Prawn, Salmon & Mushroom Lasagne ingredients (not that many!)…

– Cooked & peeled prawns (you could cook up raw ones or use frozen)

– Mushrooms (obviously!)

– Creme Fraiche

– Garlic salt

– Dill (dried is fine)

– Smoked salmon pate (you could use actual Smoked Salmon – this was all I had!)

– Marscapone cheese

– Splash of white wine

– Parmesan cheese

– Pre-made lasagne sheets

You can probably guess what to do just from looking at the list above, but here’s how I cobbled them together…

Firstly I fried the mushrooms in a little butter, white wine, dill and garlic salt, then mixed in the Creme Fraiche to make a creamy consistency and added the prawns at the last minute. Then I layered the mixture  in a baking tray with the lasagne sheets, adding smoked salmon and marscapone cheese to the other layers and topping off with Parmesan cheese. Popped it in the oven until the cheese was golden brown (about 25 mins) and then Tom and I promptly demolished it!