Chorizo and Cheese Scones

Chorizo and Cheese Scones

These Chorizo and Cheese Scones are a real savoury treat. Portable and packed full of flavour these delicious scones are the perfect picnic food. I adore cheese scones, so these yummy scones with the addition of one my favourite ingredients, chorizo are a winning formula. Go on, try them.

Chorizo and Cheese Scones

You may recall that I’ve cut out refined sugar (just for the summer!), well I’m doing my best but my goodness is it hard, seriously hard. I’ve found baking without sugar somewhat limiting too, I have baked a honey cake with great success but my attempt at sugar free cookies was a little disappointing. I’m really missing the weekly homemade cakes I used to make, there’s something so comforting knowing that there’s a delicious homemade cake in the kitchen.

For the next few weeks, I shall have to get my cake fix by watching the Great British Bake Off which is back on our screens this Wednesday, I can’t wait. Yes, I did apply and no I didn’t get anywhere near the auditions, boo! That said, it won’t stop me enjoying the new series. I’ve managed to find out that cake is the theme for the first week, so hopefully it will be a good test of the new bakers skills. I’m sure that we will be in for a real treat whatever. Bring on series 6!

Back to my savoury scones, they are super quick to rustle up making them ideal for an impromptu picnic if the Great British weather holds up.

Chorizo and Cheese Scones

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:Chorizo and Cheese Scones

225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
a pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter (softened)
125g extra mature cheddar cheese
75g diced cooking chorizo
100ml milk (plus extra for brushing)

Method:

1. Pre heat your oven to Fan 200c.

2. In a dry frying pan cook the chorizo for about 5 minutes, so the oils release and the chorizo just starts to crisp. Set aside.

3. Put the flour, baking powder, smoked paprika and salt in a large bowl and stir together.

4. Add the butter and rub together using your finger tips so it resembles breadcrumbs.

5. Stir in 100g of the cheese and the cooked chorizo plus any oil from the pan.

6. Make a well in the centre and add the milk gradually, cutting through the mixture with a blunt edge knife as you do, to form a dough.

7. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and bring it together, then roll out using a rolling pin so that it is 2cm thick.

8. Using a 6.5cm round cutter cut out 8 rounds.

9. Place the scones on a non stick tray, brush with a little milk and top with the remaining 25g of grated cheese.

Chorizo and Cheese Scones

10. Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown.

Chorizo and Cheese Scones

11. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the tray and then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy served with butter.

Recipe by Julie McPherson

Chorizo and Cheese Scones

Until next time, happy baking.

Julie
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Kenwood kCook Review

Kenwood kCook

I’m a huge fan of the Kenwood products and my trusty kMix stand mixer is my pride and joy. So you can imagine my delight when a few months ago I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit a Kenwood press event in London showcasing their brand new products. The Kenwood kCook and the Kenwood MultiOne were two of the new Kenwood products being unveiled and demonstrated by the lovely Miranda Gore Browne, finalist from the very first series of the Great British Bake Off. Being a massive Bake Off fan, this was a real treat for me.

Here’s a picture of Miranda putting the Kenwood MultiOne through its paces.

Miranda Gore Browne

Miranda also demonstrated the simplicity of the Kenwood kCook and how easy it was to create a chicken curry from scratch. So, when I was given the opportunity to review the Kenwood kCook (RRP £329.99), I jumped at the chance. The Kenwood kCook is a cooking appliance with a variety of capabilities at the touch of a button, it can chop and blend with its processing blades, it can gently stir with its stirring paddle and it can steam fish and vegetables with the steaming basket. With a 1.5 litre bowl it is designed to feed a family of four. The kCook has 3 pre set programmes, One Pot for risotto, chilli, bolognese and curry, Sauce/Soup and of course a Steam function too.

I decided to try out the chicken curry recipe for myself. The chicken curry recipe along with over 200 other recipes can be found on the Kenwood app. Using the processing blade to chop the onion, garlic and celery and then later on the stirring paddle to continuously stir the curry, I found the whole process really easy and with minimal washing up too.

chicken curry

I was keen to try out the macaroni cheese recipe from the Kenwood app too. I don’t often make macaroni cheese, as I’m put off by the constant stirring involved. However, using the paddle attachment on the kCook meant that the laborious stirring involved in making a cheese sauce was done for me and I was delighted with the finished dish.

The model I reviewed is designed to feed a family of four, therefore to suit larger families like my own I would like to see Kenwood offer a kCook that has the capacity to feed 6.

Overall, I think the kCook is a superb addition to households feeding 4 or less, its compact design is great if you are limited on space and its multi functionality means you are free to leave it to cook for you. All in all, I was very impressed with the Kenwood kCook.

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: I was sent the Kenwood kCook on loan for the purposes of this review. I have not been paid or sponsored to write this review. All words and opinions are honest and my own.

Giveaway: Win Cake by Rachel Allen

Cake by Rachel Allen

I have a fabulous giveaway for readers of Julie’s Family Kitchen who want to get baking this summer. I am giving away one brand new copy of Cake by Rachel Allen. Cake is a superb cookbook that will appeal to anyone who loves to bake cakes, whether you are a seasoned pro or just starting out there are recipes for everyone.

Packed full of foolproof cakes and clever decorating ideas this must is a real must for keen bakers. The book is divided into chapters including, Easy, Fast, Healthy, Classic, Teatime, Dessert, Children’s Decorating ideas, Celebration and Festive. So it really does cover everything you’ll need. Cake is a beautifully styled book with stunning photography and clear instructions.

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Cake by Rachel Allen you will need to complete the Rafflecopter entry form. Please provide an answer to the giveaway question as a blog comment. Leaving a blog comment is mandatory, so please follow this requirement to ensure your entry is valid. Once, you have done that there are further chances to win.

Cake by Rachel Allen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close at 00:00 on 17 August 2015 and is open to UK entrants only. I wish you all the very best of luck.

Until next time.

Julie
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Terms and Conditions:
This giveaway will close at 00:00 on 17 August 2015. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by Julie’s Family Kitchen. Julie’s Family Kitchen will send out the prize direct to the winner. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 3 days of the closing date. The prize is as stated, a copy of Cake by Rachel Allen, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open to UK residents only.

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Mediterranean Veg and Pancetta Tagliatelle

Mediterranean Veg and Pancetta Tagliatelle

Packed full of delicious Mediterranean flavours, my Mediterranean Veg and Pancetta Tagliatelle is a simple pasta dish that’s cheap and easy to prepare. It’s made with diced courgette and aubergine in a rich tomatoey sauce with salty pancetta. If you’ve been growing your own vegetables and have a glut of courgettes, this recipe is a clever way of making use of them.

With the children off school for 7 weeks this summer (whatever happened to the 6 week holidays?), I’m sure I will be fixing up many meals like this.

My oldest daughter who is ten wants to learn to cook. I think she’s definitely ready, however she wasn’t too impressed with my suggestion that I teach her how to make an omelette first seeing that the only eggs she will eat are in form of cake! I guess I need to get my thinking cap on and come up with some good staple recipes for her to learn. Any suggestions and recommendations are most welcome. In fact, this recipes probably fits the bill.

Mediterranean Veg and Pancetta Tagliatelle

Mediterranean Veg and Pancetta Tagliatelle

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsMediterranean Veg and Pancetta Tagliatelle

1 aubergine
1 courgette
1 red onion
100g cubetti di pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 x 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning or dried oregano
400g tagliatelle
salt and black pepper
Parmesan cheese to serve

Method

1. In a large lidded casserole pan heat the olive oil.

2. Dice the aubergine and courgette into 1cm cubes.

3. Finely chop the red onion.

4. Sauté the aubergine, courgette and onion until beginning to soften and then add the pancetta. Sauté for a further 5 minutes until the pancetta begins to crisp.

5. Add the tinned tomatoes, Italian herb seasoning or oregano. Then season well with salt and black pepper.

6. Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid partially on for 30 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente.

8. Scoop out a small cup of pasta cooking water. Once the tagliatelle is cooked drain and transfer to the sauce, along with a splash of the pasta cooking water.

9. Stir well on a high heat for about 30 seconds then serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!

Recipe by Julie McPherson

I’d definitely recommend serving this dish with a sliced garlic baguette and a mixed salad for a delicious family meal.

Until next time.

Julie
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My Simple Italian by Theo Randall Review and Giveaway

My Simple Italian

My Simple Italian by Theo Randall is a culinary cookbook delight packed full of 100 tantalising Italian inspired recipes. I make no apology for saying that cooking Italian inspired food is my all time favourite way of cooking. I love the Mediterranean flavours, its freshness and simplicity.

Theo Randall is an accomplished Italian Chef who is well known for his Italian dishes and does not disappoint with his latest book My Simple Italian.

Browsing through My Simple Italian, I’ve found plenty of delicious looking dishes that I can’t wait to try out. The book is helpfully categorised by the type of dishes such as small plates, soups, pasta, large plates for sharing, main dishes, side dishes, desserts plus there’s a useful chapter on basic kitchen staples like pesto and mayonnaise. In addition, each recipe is clearly labelled with the amount of time required for preparation, great if you need to keep an eye on the time or have all day to leisurely prepare.

I really like the sound of the Minestrone Verde made with swiss chard and borlotti beans, I can imagine eating it with chunks of crusty bread for a satisfying lunch. The Risotto with Peas, Prosciutto and Parmesan is just the kind of comfort food I’d enjoy when eating home alone. Whilst the Beef and Porcini Stew with rosemary and tomato looks divine and perfect for colder wintry days. Not forgetting the heavenly sounding Soft Chocolate Cake with Whisky, yum! I’m sure that would cure any chocolate craving.

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of My Simple Italian by Theo Randall you will need to complete the Rafflecopter entry form. Please provide an answer to the giveaway question as a blog comment. Leaving a blog comment is mandatory, so please follow this requirement to ensure your entry is valid. Once, you have done that there are further chances to win.

My Simple Italian

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close at 00:00 on 17 August 2015 and is open to UK entrants only. I wish you all the very best of luck.

Until next time.

Julie
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Terms & Conditions:
This giveaway will close at 00:00 on 17 August 2015. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by Ebury Publishing. I am hosting it on behalf of Ebury Publishing. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. Ebury Publishing or their representative will send out the prize within 14 days of the winner providing me with their name and address. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 7 days of the closing date. The prize is as stated, a copy of My Simple Italian by Theo Randall, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open to UK entrants only.

Disclosure:
Ebury Publishing are kindly offering the prize to one lucky reader. Ebury Publishing sent me a copy of My Simple Italian to review. I have not been sponsored or paid to host this giveaway. All opinions are honest and my own.

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Stellar Hard Anodised 8 inch Round Cake Tin Review

Stellar Hard Anodised 8 inch Round Cake Tin

Taking on a cake tin review whilst attempting to go sugar-free might have been a recipe for disaster. However, thankfully not as it gave me a great excuse to get baking again and this time using honey instead of refined sugar. I found a lovely Rachel Allen recipe for a date and almond honey cake from her book Cake.

Having never made the cake before and using the new Stellar Hard Anodised 8 inch Round Cake Tin I was sent to review, I was concerned about the cake sticking. I need not have worried, the non stick tin allowed the cake to slip out with ease. The Stellar Hard Anodised 8 inch Round Cake Tin (RRP £12.50) is a solid tin and well made benefiting from a lifetime guarantee. It’s perfect for upside cakes or cakes with lots of moisture as the solid construction means that nothing will leak out.

SHA20 SHA22 Stellar Hard Anodised Round Cake Tins Deep

The Stellar Hard Anodised bakeware and ovenware range is made from aluminium alloy and has been electrochemically hardened (hard anodised) for long lasting durability. The non stick surface is unlike others as it will not peel or flake off or rust. There’s nothing worse than rusting cake tins.

I was genuinely happy with Stellar Hard Anodised 8 inch Round Cake Tin as it performed very well in this bake. In addition, I found it very easy to clean in hot soapy water using a soft sponge.

Stellar Hard Anodised 8 inch Round Cake Tin

SHA20 SHA22 Stellar Hard Anodised Round Cake Tins Deep

The date and almond honey cake was a huge success (phew!), I was worried that a cake made without any sugar might be a let down but it was absolutely not. Hubby and I both loved the cake and the kids thought it was fantastic too.

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: I was sent the Stellar Hard Anodised 8 inch Round Cake Tin for the purposes of this review. I have not been paid or sponsored to write this review. All opinions are honest and my own.

June Degustabox Review & Giveaway

Degustabox June 2015

When the lovely folks at Degustabox asked me to review their food boxes, I thought why not. Seeing that I generally like all things to do with food, it seemed like a brilliant opportunity to try out some new products.

Degustabox is a monthly food box subscription service, for £12.99 each month you receive between 9 and 14 different food or drink items delivered to your door. With the value of the box contents exceeding the monthly payment, it’s a way of trying new products for less than the shop price.

So here’s a summary of the items I received in the June Degustabox and my review of them.

  1. Kallo Sea Salt and Vinegar corn and rice snack, at only 91 calories a bag these were promising but personally I found the flavour very over powering.

  2. Kallo Belgian Chocolate with Caramel Pieces rice cake thins, these were a huge hit with the kids. They happily chomped on these as their after school snack.

  3. Brioche Pasquier Pitch Chocolate Brioche, a pack of 6 individually wrapped brioche filled with a chocolate flavour centre. The children enjoyed these at breakfast time and gave them a big thumbs up.

  4. Brioche Pasquier Pitch Chocolate Chip Brioche, a pack of 4 individually wrapped brioche. Again these with just as yummy and the children loved them.

  5. Zeo zesty lime drink, hubby really liked this and described it as being like a delicious lemonade style drink but not too sweet.

  6. Zeo peach and grapefruit drink, the girls shared this but I think they found the flavours a little unusual.

  7. Vybe Juice coconut water, I’ve not yet tried this but I’m sure to use it in smoothies soon.

  8. Melba Thins Multigrain, probably my favourite item from the box. These little melba toasts are delicious topped with cheese, I would definitely buy these.

  9. Icycl is a frozen vodka icepop. Definitely one for the grownups.

  10. Rekorderlig Strawberry Lime Cider, well it’s been a few years since I’ve drunk cider and this is not like the cider I remember. It is however a refreshing and fruity drink, best served chilled.

  11. Love Chin Chin cinnamon flavour, described as ‘crunches like a biscuit, taste like a cake’ these are a famous sweet snack from West Africa. These are different and not like anything I’ve tried before but tasty all the same.

  12. Cocoon Organic Coconut Sugar, described a natural alternative to sugar, it’s made from the coconut nut tree blossom sap! I have yet to try this, it can be used as a replacement for sugar in baking in equal quantities.

Degustabox June 2015

If you fancy the chance of trying out a Degustabox for yourself, then why not enter the giveaway to win the July Degustabox. You’ll have to be quick though, this giveaway ends soon.

To be in with a chance of winning the July Dugustabox (RRP £12.99), you will need to complete the Rafflecopter entry form. Please provide an answer to the giveaway question as a blog comment. Leaving a blog comment is mandatory, so please follow this requirement to ensure your entry is valid. Once, you have done that there are further chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close at 00:00 on 13 July 2015 and is open to over 18’s and UK entrants only. I wish you all the very best of luck.

I also have a discount code, that you can use on the Degustabox website that will save you £3.00 off your first box. The discount code is LFM08 and it’s valid until October 2015.

Until next time.

Julie
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Terms & Conditions
This giveaway will close at 00:00 on 13 July 2015. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by Degustabox. I am hosting it on behalf of Degustabox. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. Degustabox or their representative will send out the prize, the winner must provide their name, address, contact mobile phone number and email address before the 19 July 2015 to receive the July Degustabox. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 3 days of the closing date. The prize is as stated, a Degustabox for July, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open only to residents in mainland UK (excluding Northern Ireland and Scottish Highlands and Islands) and entrants must be over 18.

Disclosure:
Degustabox are kindly offering the prize to one lucky reader. Degustabox sent me the June box to review. I have not been sponsored or paid to host this giveaway. All opinions are honest and my own.

Parma Ham, Fig and Feta Salad

Parma Ham, Fig and Feta Salad

Wow! It’s scorching hot here today, in the south east of England in fact it’s set to break record temperatures. On days like today, I like to eat quite simply. Nothing fussy, just light and tasty salads are perfect, after all it is far too warm for anything else.

The inspiration for this Parma Ham, Fig and Feta Salad came from a starter I enjoyed over the weekend. Hubby are I had a lovely night away at a luxurious hotel and dined in their restaurant (thanks mum for baby sitting). Knowing that I could recreate my own version back home I came up with this delicious salad. Mine is a little different, as I’ve put my own twist on it with the rocket and splash of balsamic vinegar. Needless to say, I’m delighted with the result and I think you’ll be too.

This is certainly a lunch size portion for one or a starter for two.

Parma Ham, Fig and Feta Salad

Parma Ham, Fig and Feta Salad

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 15mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsParma Ham, Fig and Feta Salad

A large handful of rocket leaves
2 figs
2 slices of Parma Ham
50g feta cheese (diced)
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Method

Pre heat your grill
Cut the figs in half and grill for approximately 8 minutes, turning half way through.
Place the rocket in your serving plate and add to it the Parma ham torn in pieces.
Add the feta cubes.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.
Then, top with the grilled figs.
Enjoy immediately.

Parma Ham, Fig and Feta Salad

Parma Ham, Fig and Feta Salad

I’ve packed the children off to school with bottles of water and smothered them head to toe in factor 50 suncream. I know they will be wilting when I collect them later, so I’ve homemade ice lollies in the freezer for them as an after school treat.

Enjoy the sun, stay safe and remember we never know how long it will last so let’s make the most of it.

Until next time.

Julie
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Date and Banana Cacao Smoothie

Date and Banana Cacao Smoothie

My Date and Banana Cacao Smoothie is healthy and tastes incredible. It’s a smoothie I’ve been making frequently recently because for the last three and a half weeks I’ve not eaten any chocolate, cake, biscuits and cookies. For me, this a seriously long time.

Now, you maybe asking yourself why? Especially from someone how loves to bake sweet things it might seem rather odd. Well, I assure you I have good reason. I’d fallen into a snacking rut and craved sweet things constantly. The excessive amount of sugar I was consuming was having a terrible effect, my moods were all over the place and I had started to put on weight too.

So, I made a decision to cut out as much refined sugar from my diet as possible for the time being. My intention is to return to eating everything in moderation after the summer, after all life might get a bit dull if there’s no cake!

Date and Banana Cacao Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 5mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsDate and Banana Cacao Smoothie

1 banana
3 medjool dates
100ml coconut milk
100ml cold water
1 tablespoon cacao powder

Method

1. Cut the banana into chunks.

2. Halve and remove the stones from the dates.

3. Then, add the coconut milk, water, banana, dates and cacao powder to a blender.

4. Pulse the smoothie to break down the dates, then continue to blitz in the blender until smooth.

5. Enjoy immediately.

Now, I’m no saint and I have been finding it quite tough at times. They are a few things I’ve discovered which I think are good at keeping me in check. Medjool dates are plump sticky gooey dates that taste sublime, they have become my healthy snack of choice. Apparently four medjool dates count as one of your five a day too.

Date and Banana Cacao Smoothie

I’ve also recently discovered how amazing cacao powder is, it is similar in appearance to cocoa powder however it is made by cold pressing unroasted cacao beans, whereas cocoa powder is heat treated and consequently loses some of its health benefits. Cacao powder gives a dark intense chocolatey taste when added to recipes. This latest smoothie of mine includes both medjool dates and cacao powder, it’s a rich chocolatey flavoured smoothie that gives you a chocolate fix without any refined sugar plus it is dairy free too.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Until next time.

Julie
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Baking for the School Summer Fair

If you have children or grandchildren, you’ll know that it’s that time of the year when the school summer fair is looming on the school calendar. A few years ago I was the secretary of the school PTA, so I know only too well how much hard work goes into getting the school summer fair organised.

Although I’m no longer involved in the running of the school PTA, baking for the school summer fair is something I still like to do. If you are looking to bake something this year to go on sale, I have put together a collection of fail safe recipes that taste really good and should sell well too.

Cupcakes are always good sellers, so I usually bake a batch of 24 cupcakes. Needless to say, the time I baked 300 cupcakes was the exception to the rule after an 18 hour marathon effort of baking and decorating!

Sweetie Vanilla Cupcakes
I made these for the summer fair last year and I will probably make them again this year.
Sweetie Vanilla Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes
I’m sure these decadent cupcakes will appeal to everyone. With their secret salted caramel centre, these really will sell like hot cakes!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake
The perfect old school classic flavours of this cake are sure to make it very popular indeed. It’s a great cake to bake if you are looking for a straight forward bake and don’t want to bother decorating a cake with buttercream. Easily sliced into 8 to 10 portions, it will sell well with cups of tea.
Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

Victoria Sandwich
This is a Mary Berry classic, using the easy all in one method, this cake can be whipped up in no time at all.
Victoria Sandwich Cake

Tropical White Chocolate Cookies
If you don’t want to bake cakes, then these yummy soft cookies filled with white chocolate chips, pineapple and coconut are a fab alternative.
Tropical White Chocolate Cookies

I’m sure whatever you bake for the school summer fair, regardless whether you have baked something fancy or simple I’m sure your contribution will be appreciated, so go on get baking.

Until next time.

Julie
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