Sunday 15 March 2015

Smore Than Peanut Butter Cookies - Recipe

Love peanut butter ? Love Nutella chocolate spread ? Love marshmallows ?

If the answer to the above three questions is "yes" - then you will adore this simple recipe for these divine sandwich cookies. Honestly - these are SO easy to make, you may wish to make them with your kids.


250g of chunky peanut butter
250g of soft brown sugar
65g of desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

For the filling

nutella chocolate spread

You will either need two x revolutionary macaron mats (use large side) - or trays prepped with baking paper. I like to use the macaron mats as my cookies all end up perfect shape and size.

I've actually forgotten how many cookies this made as it's a couple of weeks since I originally made them and didn't get round to writing up the recipe....oops ! I'm pretty sure it made 20 sandwich cookies / 40 cookies if unfilled.

Literally, mix all ingredients together by hand with a wooden spoon - adding desiccated coconut last. First time I tried this, I did it with a hand mixer and almost burned out the motor.... it was smoking a bit !

Damper your hands and roll into small balls - about the size of a 20p in diameter - then flatten a little in both directions with a fork. These cookies don't spread.

Bake at 175deg C for 10 mins, until golden. Allow to firm up on the mats before transferring to a wire rack to totally cool.

Filling your cookies :

First of all, pair your cookies. I like to lay them out in rows with tops and bottoms opposite to each other. I do the exact same when I make macarons....

For the filling in these, I like to use the large pink and white type marshmallows - those made by Princes are really nice, as are Sainsburys.

One marshmallow is enough to fill two sandwich cookies.

Put two or 3 marshmallows on a saucer and blast in the microwave for a few seconds until all melted and puffed up. Take a spoonful of mallow at a time and put on to one cookie bottom. Don't go too mad - as it will spread. Do the marshmallow bit on half of all the cookie and LEAVE for at least 10 mins.

Put nutella chocolate spread on the base of the other half of the cookies.

Once the mallow has stiffened up and turned firm but sticky, you can eventually sandwich your pretty little cookies together and enjoy.

Little word of warning - if you sandwich them too early, they will slide apart and end up a sticky mess - so it is worth waiting :-)

Sarah-Jane Nash - - March 2015

Beef Biryani - A One Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Recipe

I really cannot tell you enough how much I adore my electric pressure cooker.... It's revolutionised my kitchen..... My old stove top pressure cooker has long gone. The electric one is SO much better. 

It's silent. The heat on the stove doesn't need adjusting. It automatically seals when it gets to pressure. It keeps warm after cooking has finished.....

Basically, I can go and get on with ANYTHING else I fancy in the house and just let the pressure cooker simply get on with it..

I'll be honest - I have two. I have one at home and one at work ! I use the one at work for homemade soups for lunch (given I often end up feeding staff too), casseroles etc. I waxed on about them so much that my mum and my best friend now have them too and I believe love theirs as much as I do mine.

First - a little word about cooking rice in a pressure cooker.

Cooking rice and pulses is so quick and easy in the pressure cooker. I often cook just rice to serve alongside something else.

If you are just cooking rice, use 1 cup of WASHED, long grain rice. Add a little salt, a tiny dribble of oil (to prevent foaming) and 1.1/2 cups of water. Bring to pressure and cook for 12 minutes for perfect rice. 

If you haven't washed the rice first, there will not be enough water. I don't wash it after cooking and there will be no liquid left to drain.

I never cook less than 1 cup of rice in my pressure cooker. Always make sure it's at least 1/5th full and never more than 1/2 full with rice / pasta / pulses to allow for expansion. Of course - you can cook far more rice than one cup if you wish to - just use the 1:1.1/2 ratio of rice to water.

For this recipe, as there is already liquid in the pot - I don't add as much water....

This recipe is enough to feed 4 people. If you have a 6ltr electric pressure cooker, there is enough volume in the pot to double this recipe if required.

Ingredients :

500 > 600g stewing beef ( I like skirt as a cut)
150g greek or thick yogurt
1.1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala
3 cardomom pods (cracked open - I use the bottom of the jar !)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
2 heaped tsp chilli powder
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 cup milk
1 cup long grain rice
2 medium onions
handful of fresh coriander

For this recipe, the meat really needs to marinade for at least a couple of hours or overnight (if you have time) to infuse the flavours.

It's very simple. Take all the spices, garlic, ginger, yogurt plus 1 tsp of the salt and mix with the beef. Set aside in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

When ready to cook, finely chop 1 onion. Turn on the electric pressure cooker. If it doesn't have a brown function, just set it to 15 mins on any cooking section and cancel it when you are done

Add a tablespoon of oil and add the chopped onion. After a minute or two, add the marinaded meat and brown for a few minutes to enhance the flavour. Add in 150mls of boiling water and then bring to pressure for 30mins. If I was using chicken instead of beef, I'd just cook it for 10 mins instead of 30. Skirt is a tough, stewing cut of been but very tasty - if I was oven cooking skirt, I'd give it a good 3 hours to get it as tender as this !

When the 30 mins are up, wait 5 mins for the pressure to drop before carefully releasing any excess steam. Open the pressure cooker and add the 1 cup of washed rice and 1 cup of milk.

If you like coriander, finely chop the stalks and add these now. Reserve the leafy green tops as garnish. Give a good stir and replace the lid. Reset the cooker to cook for 12 minutes.

With about 5 mins left to go, finely slice the remaining onion. Fry in some oil until golden and crispy (almost over-done).

As soon as the beeper on your oven goes, carefully release steam. As we know there is very liquid left, it is safe to do so and won't spurt liquid out the vent (soups etc need to be left to drop pressure naturally before opening).

The biryani may initially look a bit wet - but inside about 60 seconds, the excess moisture will soon evaporate off.

Serve dressed with crispy fried onions and leafy, fragrant coriander.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - March 2015