Archive for the ‘British Food’ Category

Some Healthier Comfort Foods

Sunday, January 24th, 2016
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If you’re anything like me, then there’s a good chance you may well have overindulged slightly over the festive season. However, January’s never the best time to try and shift a few pounds, especially since all you really want to do is tuck into some good old fashioned comfort food. This is why we’ve tracked down some comfort food recipes with a twist, giving you all the deliciousness without the calories- so take a look!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Who doesn’t like a hearty portion of spaghetti and meatballs? Well this recipe will allow you to tuck into a proper portion without having to worry too much about the waistline. Using turkey instead of the traditional beef, it will allow you to cut down on the calories whilst still being absolutely delicious. All in all the recipe will take about 40 minutes from start to finish, making it perfect for a midweek meal, so why don’t you take a look here?

Macaroni Cheese

Or alternatively, there’s a lighter version of macaroni cheese. This recipe uses cauliflower to cut down on the carb-filled pasta, as well as some low fat sour cream to make sure that it retains that wonderful creaminess without being too overindulgent. If you feel like treating yourself, you could try out the Panko breadcrumb topping that will set it apart from your ordinary mac and cheese. Tempted you? Then find out more here!

Cottage Pie

And how about the old family favourite, a cottage pie? Well thanks to some more cunning use of cauliflower, this time to hold back on the amount of potato in the topping, and also using plenty of wholesome veg in the filling, you’ll be able to tuck in without feeling too guilty about it all! The recipe makes enough pie to feed 6-8 hungry mouths, perfect if you’ve got a few people coming over for a meal, take a look at it here!

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Now this one might surprise you but it turns out that one of the best things about a good, rich chocolate brownie is that you can replace a few ingredients with healthier alternatives and not notice the difference! This recipe from the Food Network uses both wholegrain flour and a low fat yoghurt in the mix but still tastes as delicious as ever, what more could you ask for?

So there  you have it, some healthy comfort food alternatives that are perfect for those looking to cut back a little. We hope that you find them useful in keeping to those New Year’s Resolutions but do let us know if you have any other great healthy recipes that we could share!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Solo Travellers: Recipes For One

Sunday, November 15th, 2015
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Whether you’re holidaying alone or travelling for business, it can be hard to know what to cook for just one person in self-catering accommodation. To help you out, we’ve included below three quick and easy recipes which are all perfect for a solo meal. None of the recipes take longer than 20 minutes and they’re all super tasty- you need never stress about making a meal for one again!

Spicy Chicken Stir Fry with Peanuts

Time to make:  15 minutes  Recipe via: delish.com

Recipes for one person

Image via delish.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 chicken breast, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ jalepeño
  • 110g snow peas
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method:

  1. Heat oil over a medium temperature and fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes until browned.
  2. Add the garlic, peas, jalapeño and 2 tbsp water and cook for 3 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, stir in lime juice and peanuts.

 

Bean and red pepper burritos

Time to make: 13 minutes  Recipe via: allrecipes.co.uk

Ingredients:

  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ¼ red pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp garlic, chopped
  • 200g pinto beans
  • ½ jalepeño, chopped
  • 3 tbsp cream cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C, wrap tortilla in tin foil and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil over medium temperature. Add red pepper, onion, jalapeño and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add beans, stirring occasionally for a further 3 minutes.
  4. Add cream cheese and salt. Cook for 2 minutes then add coriander.
  5. Serve by spooning mixture down the centre of the tortilla and then roll up.

 

Salami and courgette flatbread

Time to make:  17 minutes  Recipe via: bbcgoodfood.com

Recipe for one person

Image via bbcgoodfood.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 flatbread or Mediterranean wrap
  • 1 courgette, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp chilli and tomato pasta sauce
  • 2 slices of salami
  • 25g emmental cheese, grated

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan and place griddle pan over high heat. In a bowl, toss courgette, olive oil, oregano and salt. Cook courgette slices on griddle for 2-3 minutes on each side or until tender.
  2. Place flatbread on a baking sheet and spread pasta sauce evenly. Scatter courgette, salami and cheese on top. Toppings can be changed to suit your preferences!
  3. Bake in oven for 8 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is crisp.
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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Afternoon Tea Recipes

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
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After the end of this year’s Great British Bake Off, we’re currently experiencing a giant cake-shaped hole in our lives and we’re sure many of you are feeling the same. To remedy this, we suggest planning your own afternoon tea, complete with dainty sandwiches, teapots and of course, lots of beautiful cakes. To get you started, here’s a few delicious baking recipes that would be perfect served for afternoon tea.

Pink Macarons with Chocolate Filling

Afternoon tea isn’t afternoon tea without some cute little macarons on the table- these pretty pink ones are Instagram gold. This recipe makes 20 macarons and takes around an hour and a quarter. Recipe via bakingmad.com

Pink Macarons with Chocolate Filling

Pink Macarons with Chocolate Filling

Ingredients:

  • 175g icing sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • Egg whites from 3 large eggs
  • 75g unrefined golden caster sugar
  • Few drops of pink food colouring
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g dark chocolate chips
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tsp brandy
  • 15g unsalted butter

Method:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment and heat oven to 160C.
  2. Mix ground almonds and icing sugar together in a food processor, then sift into a bowl.
  3. Place the egg whites into a separate bowl and add pinch of salt. To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites into soft peaks, then gradually whisk in caster sugar until thick and glossy. Add a few drops of pink food colouring into the mix.
  4. Fold half of the almond and icing sugar mix into the meringue and stir in. With care, add the remaining almond and icing sugar mix- fold it in using a metal spatula or spoon until it is shiny with a thick, ribbon-like consistency.
  5. Spoon mix into a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle. Pipe small equal rounds onto the baking sheets, each around 3cm across. Tap the baking sheet gently on the work surface and then leave to stand for around 10 minutes until a slight skin forms.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes before cooling.
  7. For the chocolate filling, heat the chocolate and double cream in a pan until melted. Add the butter and brandy and beat into a smooth consistency. Spread the filling on half of each macaron and then sandwich together.

 

Battenburg Cake

A true classic for afternoon tea, Battenburg always looks pretty and brings a bit of nostalgia to the table. This recipe will serve 8-10 people and take around 25 minutes to make. Recipe via goodtoknow.co.uk

Battenburg Cake

Battenburg Cake

Ingredients:

  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g softened butter
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Pink or red liquid food colouring
  • 10-12 apricot glaze or smooth apricot jam
  • 350g white marzipan
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method:

  1. Line a 26cm x 16.5cm baking tin with parchment and cut and extra piece of parchment the length of the tin, just slightly taller than the height of the tin.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, adding a dessert spoon of flour with each egg, which stops the mixture from curdling. Fold in the remaining flour and milk.
  3. Spoon half of the mixture lengthways into one half of the baking tin. Place the strip of baking parchment into the tin to keep the two coloured sponges separate. Add the food dye to the remaining mixture and spoon into the other half of the tin.
  4. Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes or until well-risen and firm to touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then leave to cool fully on a wire rack.
  5. Cut in half to separate the two colours and neaten around the edges. Cut in half again to give four strips of cake (two of each colour). Spread the apricot jam over the cake and stick the strips together in a chequerboard pattern.
  6. Roll the marzipan out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, until it’s the length of the cake and just more than four times the width. Place the cake at the edge of the marzipan and roll it up, neatening the edges at the end.
  7. Use a knife to make a criss-cross pattern on top of the cake and cut the ends off each side so you can see the different-coloured sponges.

 

Strawberry Cream Tea Cake

You can’t have an afternoon tea without scones and this super-sized scone is something a little different and impressive to serve to your guests. This recipe serves six and takes around 50 minutes. Recipe via bbcgoodfood.com

Strawberry Cream Tea Cake

Strawberry Cream Tea Cake

Ingredients:

  • 175g frozen butter
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 150ml full fat milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 350g sliced strawberries
  • 1 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 140g clotted cream
  • Small drop vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 220C. Grate butter into a bowl using the coarse side of a box grater. Place grated butter in freezer for 5 minutes.
  2. Next, with a spatula, mix the butter, flour, 50g sugar and baking powder. Add the lemon juice and milk and bring together until you have a dough speckled with butter. Knead several times on a floured surface.
  3. Roll into a circle and press into lightly greased round tin (around 20cm). Brush the top with the beaten egg and dust with a little more sugar. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  4. While the scone cools, mix the strawberries, sugar and jam in a bowl, then set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the clotted cream, 50g sugar and vanilla extract until stiff.
  5. Assemble the cake by placing the scone base on a plate, spread the cream on top, and then pile the strawberries on. Cut into slices.

If you succeed in trying any of the above recipes then let us know how you get on! We’d love to see your efforts- you can send us your images via Facebook or Twitter.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Recipes For Baking With Children

Saturday, September 26th, 2015
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Looking to try something a little different with the kids this weekend? If so, why not try a spot of baking? Great for rainy days, baking not only provides hours of fun but also teaches children valuable cooking skills. We’ve listed a selection of easy baking recipes below to help get you started; who knows, your little one may be a future contestant on the Great British Bake Off!

Brownies

This extremely easy brownie recipe is great for children, it allows them to get involved in kitchen activities and rewards them with a tasty chocolate treat. The following recipe will make between 16 and 20 brownies, depending on portion size and takes around 45 minutes from start to finish.

Ingredients

  • 175g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 75g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line a 20cm square, deep baking tin with baking parchment.
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter with an electric whisk before adding the eggs one at a time.
  3. Sift in flour, cocoa powder and baking powder to the egg mixture before adding the milk. Mix everything together then stir in the chocolate chips before pouring the mixture into the baking tin.
  4. Level off the mixture and place in the oven for 30 minutes, until the top is set. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into small squares and serve.

Pizza

Children love pizza, it’s a quick and easy meal that tastes great and is fantastic for sharing. If you feel like making your own homemade pizza then we would suggest the following recipe. It takes around 40 minutes to make and at the end you’ll have two delicious pizzas perfect for a family of four.

Ingredients

For the base

  • 300g strong bread flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt

For the tomato sauce

  • 100ml passata
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Handful fresh basil

For the topping

  • 125g mozzarella, sliced
  • Handful cherry tomatoes
  • Handful grated parmesan

Method

  1. Start by making the base. Sift the flour into a large bowl then stir in the instant yeast and salt. Make a well in the mixture and pour in 200ml of warm water along with the olive oil. Bring the mixture together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft, wet dough. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around five minutes until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave to one side.
  2. Make the tomato sauce by mixing together the passata, garlic and basil before seasoning to taste. Leave to sit at room temperature until ready to use.
  3. Split the dough into two then start rolling it out on a lightly floured surface until the rounds are about 25cm across. Make sure the dough is very thin otherwise it will not bake in the oven. Place the rounds onto floured baking sheets.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 8 and place another backing sheet or an upturned baking tray onto the top shelf of the oven.
  5. Top the dough with a layer of the tomato sauce before scattering over the cheese and cherry tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Place one of the pizzas onto the preheated sheet/upturned oven tray and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven before repeating this step with the remaining pizza.

Gingerbread Men

Christmas is fast approaching and what better treat to enjoy over the festive period than gingerbread men?  This recipe is very easy to make and a lot of fun to decorate. You can make 20 gingerbread men from this recipe and from start to finish the process, should take around two hours.

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg

To Decorate

  • Writing icing
  • Cake decorations

Method

  1. Sift together the flour, ginger, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend well until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and stir through.
  2. Beat the golden syrup and egg together then add to the breadcrumb mixture. Pulse in the food processor until the mixture comes together. Tip the dough out and knead until smooth. Wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes whilst you preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  3. Take the dough from the fridge and remove the cling film. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until around 0.5cm. Using gingerbread man cutters, cut out 20 gingerbread men and put them on the baking try, leaving space between each.
  4. Bake in the oven until light golden-brown. Take the gingerbread men from the oven and leave to cool on the try for ten minutes before moving to a wire rack. Once the gingerbread men are completely cooled, decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.
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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her husband.

Discover: Best Restaurants in Chester

Saturday, August 29th, 2015
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If you’re visiting the beautiful Roman city of Chester then you’re in for a treat as it’s home to some of the best restaurants around; there’s an abundance of independent eateries, quirky coffee shops and delicious delis for you to explore. The blog-writing team here at Sykes Cottages are big fans of eating out and need no excuse to peruse a menu, so take advantage of our expertise and discover some of the best places to eat in Chester, as voted for by locals.

Best for… a romantic meal

A firm favourite with us, La Fattoria on Lower Bridge Street is the place to go in Chester for an authentic Italian experience. Everything is freshly made and the pizzas (which we thoroughly recommend) are cooked in a proper pizza oven. La Fattoria has a welcoming, lively atmosphere and the food is mouth-wateringly good. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more intimate, try Sticky Walnut which is tucked away in the Chester suburb of Hoole and is another great option. This award-winning bistro has a strong reputation and offers ambitious, imaginative and downright delicious dishes.

Best if… you’re on a budget

Siam Thai on City Road is a delightful Thai restaurant in a lovely setting overlooking the canal. If you’re on a budget, you need to try their Early Sitting Menu, which offers tasty, traditional Thai food at excellent value. Eat from 5pm-6.45pm on weekdays, or 3.30pm-6.30pm on weekends and you can enjoy two courses for just £12.50 per person. Unlike many early bird menus, Siam Thai also offers plenty of choice with a wide range of dishes available including curries, Pad Thai and stir fried meals.

Best for… celebrations

If you want to book somewhere special for a celebration, American BBQ restaurant, Hickory’s is a fantastic choice. In an idyllic location on the banks of the River Dee, Hickory’s offers a mouthwatering menu full of slow-cooked ribs, burgers, steaks and skewers and you’ll also get free popcorn on your table- you’ll need to bring your appetite for this one! The drinks menu is another highlight with a wide range of cocktails, milkshakes and sodas; try the Cherry Cream Soda for a real treat!

Best for… families

For something a little different that the kids are bound to love, head to Hanky Panky on Commonhall Street. This specialist pancake café offers an impressive choice of both sweet and savoury pancakes with example menu items including Fisherman’s Friend (smoked salmon, crème fraiche with rocket, topped with chives) and The Sticky Toffee (sticky toffee fudge ice cream topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce).

Best for… lunch

There’s no shortage of fantastic cafes, pubs and delis around Chester which serve fabulous lunch options. If you want a recommendation however, we suggest you take a look at Watergate Deli on the lower Rows of Watergate Street. Watergate Deli is a charming and characterful, family-run coffee shop and deli which serves delicious home-made cakes, sandwiches, salads, pies and soups, all made using locally sourced produce.

If you’re planning a trip to Chester then don’t forget to take a look at our fabulous holiday cottages in Chester; we have some great properties in the area for you to choose from! If you do indulge in a meal out while you’re here, let us know what you thought on Twitter or Facebook.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.