I thought it would be fun to begin this first day of the year with my Top Ten All Time Most Popular Posts. Some of them are not surprisingly so . . . but there are a few surprises in the bunch, which surprised even me!
So without further adieu on with the show!
Fudge Brownie Pie
Not only is this the most viewed and most popular recipe on the blog, but it was also amongst the top Pins in the UK for this past year. High praise indeed when it comes to popularity, but I can hold my hand up and say that this is a fabulous bake and a winner on all counts. It's delicious full stop!
Toad in the Hole
You can't get more British than Toad in the Hole. No surprise here that it is so popular. Brilliantly browned and meaty bangers nestled in a bed of yorkshire pudding batter and baked until the batter is light and crisp. Slathered with onion gravy and served up with some veg and mash, this is a winner/winner of a dinner!
Spicy Plum Chutney.
I don't think I had ever eaten chutney prior to moving over to the UK. It was, however, one of the first things I learned to make in culinary school and something which I have come to love. This spiced plum version is a real favourite of ours and not surprisingly a favourite with all of you as well!
Sticky Toffee Cake
Not sticky toffee pudding, but a deliciously moist cake studded with caramel chunks of dates and then topped with a beautiful sweet brown sugar caramel glaze. No surprise here either. Sticky Toffee has to be one of the most popular flavours in the UK and much sought after, but this is a cake, not the pudding . . .
Baked Corned Beef Hash
Ok, I will admit, this one surprised me. It's corned beef hash, and it's baked. Nothing complicated here, but simple ingredients and flavours, simply prepared. It is delicious, economical and easy, but then again . . . perhaps those things are all a part of it's appeal and popularity!
Beans on Toast
Oh my but this did make me smile. It's such a simple dish, but also very popular with the readers. It's a simple dish. Comfort food. Simple ingredients with a little twist of a cheese and onion on toast base. Simply delicious, and you think so too!
Potato, Cauliflower and Cheddar Bake
What can I say. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S
There, I said it. A fabulous mix of potates, cauliflower and creamy sharp cheddar cheese, with just enough of a crunch on top to make it look and taste beautiful. It is one of our all time favourites too. Scrummo!
Slow Roasted Pork Belly
A delicious treatment of an economical cut of meat, done up wonderfully with a crisp crackling on the exterior and succulent moist pork inside. Proof positive that tasty doesn't have to be expensive. Grandmother did know best! (I always knew that.)
Who does NOT love a macaroon? Not a macaron, but a macaroon, it's simple and plain country cousin. There is no faffing about or pretense here. This is just good cooking. Deliciously chewy and yet crisp.
Nigel's Sweet and Hot Plum Chutney
No surprise here either. You can't NOT love one of Nigel Slater's recipes. I simply adore them for their simplicity and delicious flavours. He cooks exactly like I want to eat and apparently how you like to eat too! We all love Nigel!
Do you want to know what my favourite recipe of the year was??? It was really hard for me to choose because I cooked so much deliciousness. Hard as the choice was though I have finally settled on these delicious Sour Cherry Amaretti, which I cooked way back in January of last year!
They were absolutely wonderful. I just adored them and every time I think of them I want to bake them all over again! You will too.
*Sour Cherry Amaretti*
Makes about 2 dozen
Delicious little almond flavoured biscuits, sweet and chewy and flecked with bits of dried sour cherries. Do be careful with the almond flavouring. Too much will be too much. You only want a couple drops.
120g golden caster sugar (10 TBS)
180g ground almonds (2 cups +2 TBS)
the finely grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
2 to 3 drops of pure almond extract
pinch of fine sea salt
60g dried sour cherries, roughly chopped (6 1/2 TBS)
2 large free range egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp liquid honey
a bowl of sifted icing sugar to roll them in
Preheat the oven to 170*C/ 325*F/ gas mark 3. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside.
Measure the ground almonds, sugar, lemon zest and almond extract into a bowl. Rub together to help to distribute the ingredients evenly and release the oils and flavour from the lemon zest. Stir in the cherries.
Whip the egg white along with the honey until soft peaks form. Fold them into the almond mixture with a fork. You should have a soft malleable mixture.
Pinch off heaped tablespoon sized lumps of the dough. Roll into an egg shape between your hands then drop into the bowl of icing sugar. Toss gently to generously coat. Place onto the prepared baking sheet, gently pressing down on each side to make sort of a deconstructed triangular shape.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through the baking time. When done they should have taken on some colour, but still remain relatively pale and chewy in the centre. Allow to cool completely before eating. Store in an airtight container.
If you can't get the sour cherries you can use chopped dried cranberries, dried apricots or even dried blueberries. All are very good!
Happy New Year!
Here's to another twelve months of delicious adventures shared together!