The apple of my eye

Mrs Stovies loves a snifter of Amaretto, and there’s no doubting that she also loves a nice slice of cake too. Moist and moreish, this recipe combines the two and we hope you love it as much as Mrs S does.

40ml Amaretto
40ml Apple juice
100g Sultanas
2 Large cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
170g Butter, very very soft
200g Caster sugar
2 Large eggs
350g Self raising flour, wholemeal
100g Ground almonds
1tsp Cinnamon

To top:
Water icing* (50g icing sugar + 2-3tsp water)
A handful of flaked almonds

*Stir the water in gradually, one tsp first then half a teaspoon at a time allowing to sit for a moment before adding the next. When the icing runs off the spoon in thick ribbons it’s spot on. If not, add a tad more water.

Soak the sultanas in the Amaretto and apple juice. If you are feeling adventurous play with the proportion of booze to juice, you could even swap the Amaretto for Calvados for a doubly appley flavour. Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, then add the eggs one at a time and keep beating until smooth and glossy. Add flour, ground almonds and cinnamon, mix thoroughly then fold in the apple and sultanas.

Bake in a round tin for about an hour at gas 4 / 180°c and once baked leave to cool for about 20 minutes in the tin before moving the cake to a wire rack. Once completely cool, drizzle with water icing and scatter with flaked almonds.

Winging it

Need a nibble to spice up your barbecue, or more realistically in this weather to scoff on the sofa while watching a good gory movie? We’ve go a perfect, fool-proof recipe for Salt & Chilli Chicken Wings for you. This little lot will make 12 wings, enough for two people but easily multiplies.

12 Chicken wings
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
1 tsp Rice vinegar
2 tsp Fivespice powder
2 tsp Salt
3 Spring onions
1 Red chilli

Mix together the seasonings & sauces and use as a marinade for the chicken. Leave the meat to soak up the tasty goodness for at least half an hour. When ready, roughly chop the chilli and spring onions and mix with the chicken wings before cooking in a hot (gas mark 6-7) oven for around 30 minutes – enjoy!

Bananarama

Mr Stovies isn’t so much of a cake maker but this banana loaf is a stalwart of his recipe book and even he can’t mess it up! We’re also led to believe it’s at least 1 of your 5 a day. Maybe even more…

Just in case the title of this post got you wondering if the 80’s popsters were still alive, they are and they’re still performing. It’s not pretty but this cover of their hit Love in the First Degree is.

Ingredients:
4 medium ripe bananas
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
125g softened butter
3 eggs
3tbsp golden syrup
1tbsp coconut
250g selff raising flour
200g sugar

First things first, preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a reasonable sized loaf tin (about 1lb size).

Peel the bananas and break them into a large mixing bowl. Smash to a pulp using a hefty wooden spoon. Takes a bit of time but it’s fun!

This bit is a little more taxing – dump all other ingredients in and mix very well into a nice smoothish cake batter. There will still be some lumps of chocolate and banana but the rest of the mixture should be smooth. It’s best to use a spoon and some good old elbow grease for this, mechanical mixing devices will destroy the good lumps.

Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for an hour to an hour and a half. From an hour onwards check on the loaf regularly as the ripeness of the bananas and the strength of your oven will vary the cooking time. When baked fully it will have risen and be nice and springy to the touch. The standard spike test may not work too well here though as the choc chips and banana will leave goo streaks on it!

Leave in the tin for about quarter of an hour before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Great served warm with some crème fraîche or custard. The white chocolate turns deliciously caramelly but you could swap it out for a rich dark chocolate and some walnuts instead.

Crumbly goodness

Happy New Year Stovies’ fans, we hope you had a good one and are almost recovered from your festive excesses. Team Stovies have certainly been feeling the waistbands straining a little more than usual!

Now that the tins of Christmas biccies have all been eaten Mr Stovies has been baking up some healthy-ish treats to refill the tins with. This is old school baking with no gadgets required.

Simple Oaty Slices:

175g Porridge oats
30g Flaked almonds (or chopped hazelnuts if you fancy)
125g Wholemeal or brown flour
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
75g Dessicated coconut
150g Caster sugar
30ml Golden syrup
150g Butter

In a bowl mix together the oats, flour, sugar, coconut and almonds. In a large saucepan slowly melt together the butter, golden syrup and bicarb.

When the liquid starts to foam,  thoroughly mix in the dry ingredients and transfer to a greased baking tray. Bake in a medium oven (gas 4/180’c) for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into either mouth sized morsels or man sized chunks of crumbly goodness.

Pop-tastic!

You can’t have a decent movie night without popcorn right? We settled down for a bit of a movie marathon recently and rather than plumping for the easy option of homemade salted popcorn (simply pop the corn in with a good chunk of salted butter. Anchor is good for flavour) Mrs Stovies tried to devise her own recipe for cinema style sweet popcorn. The stuff from the counter, not the toffee one that comes in a bag. After a couple of failed attempts here’s the recipe that worked, and boy was it good. Crunchy, hot and sweet enough but not toothache inducing. Munch away, just don’t rustle too much!

Cinema Style Sweet Popcorn

2 handfuls Corn kernals
50g Caster sugar
75ml Water
25g Butter
1-2tsp Vanilla syrup (3-4 drops Vanilla extract if you don’t have the coffee shop type syrup around)

First get the popcorn on the go. Put the kernels into the biggest pan you own, with the lid on. No oil, no butter, nothing. Sit on a medium flame/heat and wait with baited breath for the pops to start. When the pops become infrequent, turn off the heat and leave to sit, with the lid on while you do the sugary bit.

In a small saucepan bring the sugar and water up to the boil, keep it going until the liquid turns golden. When it does drop in the vanilla and butter and keeps stirring while it melts together. When you’re ready pour this over the warm popcorn and stir like a mad thing to coat all of the popped corn before it sets.

Pour into a big bowl and share over a good movie.