Thursday, 28 January 2016

Pappardelle & Mushrooms en Papillotte

This pasta & mushroom dish, baked en papillotte (in a paper bag), is an easy to prepare meal which will entertain your guests with a hint of theatre. 

Pappardelle & Mushrooms en Papilliotte

Recently I was contacted by an Italian food magazine, Bellavita, and asked if I'd like to take part in their Blogger's Pasta Challenge.   (It's now published, so do go and check out the delicious dishes the other five UK bloggers have made!)   I was delighted to have been asked, but what sort of pasta dish should I make.  

From one of the groaning shelves which houses our my many cook books, I reached for a large glossy book imaginatively called 'Pasta' (Edited by Linda Fraser, 1996) in the hope it would give some inspiration!  Many of the dishes sounded delicious; lasagne, cannelloni, pasta salads and so on, but the dish which particularly caught my attention was 'Baked Seafood Spaghetti'.  Much of the dish was par-cooked ahead of time and then parcelled up in a greaseproof paper bag before being baked.  Although the recipe sadly didn't mention much about the virtues of this cooking method, I was enthralled.  It looked so interesting.  Certainly not something I've done before.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Vegan Chocolate Orange Macarons

Made with aquafaba, these bite sized vegan macaroons are deliciously crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  The rich, orange flavoured, vegan chocolate ganache counters beautifully against the sweet macaron making them a 'must try'.

Vegan Chocolate Orange Macarons, made with aquafaba

Macarons, specifically vegan macarons, have been on my 'to bake' list for some months now ever since I played around with aquafaba in a few recipes back in the summer when I made Peach Melba Eton Mess and Raspberry & Lemon Sandwiched Meringues.  I even used it in my GBBO inspired Triple Chocolate and Mango Tart.

For those who may not have come across aquafaba before, it is the usually disposed of liquid found in cans of pulses.  I even believe that the liquid surrounding tofu can be used in much the same way, though the preferred choice in the vegan world seems to be chickpea water.  This miraculous liquid, appropriately called aquafaba by the vegan community, can be used to replace egg whites making all manner of vegan food substitutes such as mayonnaise, buttercream, meringues and macarons, and I believe pasta!  It does appear, to me, to take longer to whip up into a good meringue than egg white so I really would recommend using an electric whisk for this job rather than a hand held balloon whisk, unless you're wanting to give your arms a good work out of course!

Aquafaba Meringue


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Styling the EU Notification Banner on BlogSpot

A small snippet of code which totally transforms the aesthetics of the EU cookies notification bar.  Relocating the notification to the bottom of the screen and co-ordinating the colours with those of your blog's pallet gives it more of a professional feel!

Styling the EU notification banner

Last summer you may recall receiving an official memo from Google advising that, as a BlogSpot blogger, you were responsible for advising your EU readers that your site uses cookies and that the notification had to be placed in a prominent position.  

That afternoon I sat reading the advice alongside the associated links and, to be honest, I hadn't a clue how to go about implementing one on my home page.  I had already included such information in my disclaimer page, but that, according to the memo wasn't prominent enough.  As Only Crumbs Remain was still very much a fledgling being only a couple of months old, I actually briefly flirted with the idea of closing down my site!  Yes, I know!  I bet I wasn't the only person either to be daunted by this piece of officialdom!  I didn't want to be breaking any of the laws which the clever people in the EU had made!  The following morning after receiving that memo, I was immensely relieved and pleased to see that Google had kindly placed their own EU notification banner onto my BlogSpot site!  Phew!  But....

....the notification banner was chunky, ugly and hid a large portion of my own site's banner.  Yes, OK, I wasn't sure how to go about placing one on my site myself, and I was grateful that Google had done the technical work for me, but I didn't want it to detract from the look and feel of my site. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Mango & Coconut Energy Balls

Made with mango and coconut and containing no added sugar or fat, these energy balls are healthy to snack upon and are very easily made from store cupboard ingredients, making them perfect for when the munchies hit!

Mango & Coconut Energy Balls, containing no added sugar or fat

 I have been so pleased with the deliciousness of the date, apple & almond energy balls which I made a week or two ago.  So much so, I've already made several batches of them.  Not only have I found them to be naturally sweet and moreish in their own right, they are definitely helping me to keep away from unhealthy snack choices.  In fact I think my waist line may have shrunk a wee bit!  Bikini here I come ;-) 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Russian Caravan Cupcakes

Infused with a full-bodied Russian Caravan tea and finished with a ruffle of tea flavoured buttercream and faux tea leaves in the form of a few chocolate sprinkles, these simple Victoria sponge cupcakes are packed with flavour! 
Russian Caravan Cupcakes

If you could gauge how quintessentially 'English' somebody is by the volume of tea they drink then I firmly believe that I'd be perhaps a little more 'English' than many others.  I just love a good cup of tea; I drink it with all of my meals and many many times in between - you know elevenses and afternoon tea.   A cup of the finest Rosie-Lee solves any problem, or so they say.

I usually brew up de-caffeinated teas these days due to the bucket load of tea I drink.  I must admit it does have a slightly different flavour to regular tea but after a couple of cups I was sold.  This said, I do still indulge in 'regular' tea twice a day; a green lemon tea after my evening meal rounds things off nicely.  But of a late afternoon, when Chester, our feline friend is rounding me up wanting a fuss, we will sit on the sofa together with a couple of biscuits each and a teapot full of a good, full-bodied, Rosie-Lee.  

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Energy Balls - Date, Apple & Almonds

These little vegan energy balls, easily made from store cupboard ingredients, contain no added sugar or fat making them perfect for snacking upon when the munchies hit.

Energy Balls with Dates, Apple & Almonds
I have a confession to share with you!  It's nothing dreadful or earth shattering.  The world won't stop by learning this fact either, thankfully.  You don't even need to sit down before you hear (or read) this.  But it's a fact which may be true for a large percentage of the population.  OK, so are you ready? ..... I'm a snacker!  Yes, I have a tendency to snack. You may even call me a grazer, that's how work colleagues referred to my eating habits. 

The problem is what I graze upon,  it's often items which I may have baked such as those delicious Rugelach (they didn't last long! ) or even a shop bought biscuit or bar of chocolate - ooh chocolate!  Yes, I know I should have a banana or an apple perhaps, but they simply don't seem to hit the spot.  Although I was blessed with quite a fast metabolism, the years are starting to creep upon me and my metabolism isn't quite as speedy as it once was.  My dad, who used to call me Skinny Ribs no longer does and Mr E now describes me as a 'real' woman providing something to get hold of! ;-)  Cheeky!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

A New Year & A New Home Page!

Recently I started to upgrade Only Crumbs Remain's BlogSpot home site and thought it may be useful to share my experience so far.  

Happy New Year to everybody who pops by Only Crumbs Remain, Mr E & I hope you've all had a lovely few days enjoying the festive celebrations with your family and friends and that Santa brought you what you hoped for.  I was so excited to receive my main gift this year, more about that in a future post!  We also truly hope you've not been affected by the devastating floods which have hit this part, and other parts, of the UK in recent days!  Our heart goes out to you if you've been affected.