Vanilla Rolls

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Vanilla Rolls are a Christmas classic…I think not only in the Czech Republic, but in Europe in general. In Germany they called these ‘Vanillekipferl’, in Czech it’s ‘vanilkove rohlicky’…ehm…well, I’ll stick with ‘vanilla rolls’ in this post 🙂

You would struggle to find a person who doesn’t like these Christmas cookies. The magical vanilla smell, amazingly sweet, smooth flavour, the crunch and structure that just melts in your mouth, combining vanilla and almonds…mmmmmmmm…who could resist?! I guarantee, once you try these, you’ll bake them every year!

Many people make them with hazelnuts instead of almonds…in our family we always used almonds. They are so much nicer with almonds – crunchy, but soft, less fatty, just delicious…

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Recipe: Vanilla Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 560g plain flour
  • 420g unsalted butter
  • 220g finely ground almonds
  • 160g caster sugar
  • vanilla icing sugar (you can infuse icing sugar with vanilla pods by leaving the pods in the icing sugar for at least a week, or mix icing sugar with vanilla sugar)

Method

  • Leave the butter to soften in room temperature for about an hour, then cut into smaller chunks, place in a big mixing bowl, add the caster sugar and mix together until smooth and fluffy.
  • Mix in the ground almonds.
  • Gradually add flour and mix in to create a smooth, non-sticky dough.
  • Wrap in a clinking film and leave to rest in a cool place for a few hours, best overnight.
  • Pre-heat oven to 170C, line baking trays with baking paper.
  • Prepare a spare sheet of baking paper, put all the vanilla icing sugar on it (you will dip the warm rolls in it).
  • Form small rolls from the dough.

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  • Bake for 10 mins or until they start to have kind of a pinkish-gold colour.
  • Still warm, but not hot rolls dip in and cover all in vanilla icing sugar. Place on side and leave to cool down completely.

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They taste best when stored in a cool, dry place in a cookie box for a couple of weeks, so you can bake them well in advance for Christmas and then you’ll have a delicious treat with no stress 😉 Enjoy!

Pad Thai with King Prawns

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A couple of years back, I absolutely fell in love with Thai cuisine. I think it was thanks to Chilli Banana, an amazing Thai restaurant in Liverpool. They are also in Wilmslow, Macclesfield and Bramhall, but I’ve only ever been in the one in Liverpool…many, many, many times, as we lived just across the street. I’ve tried Thai before I discovered Chilli Banana, but it just never had the “wow-effect” for me.

Now, after a Thai cooking course, with a couple of Thai cookbooks and no Thai restaurant close to us, I’m trying to bring my “Thai cooking “ skills to perfection.

If you asked me, what’s my favourite Thai dish, I couldn’t answer…it’s either Penang curry, massaman…or pad thai noodles…

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So here is my recipe for quick Pad Thai Gung (pad thai with king prawns) – there are a few shortcuts, I just made it as easy as possible to be able to prepare it as a quick week night dinner.

RECIPE: Pad Thai Gung
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 400g rice noodles (medium)
  • 300g of cooked king prawns
  • 75g bean sprouts
  • bunch of spring onions (cut into chunky pieces)
  • 2 tbsp of light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of tamarind paste
  • pinch of granulated garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • coriander (fresh or I have frozen chopped one always by hand)
  • lime

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Method

1. Cook the noodles, follow the instructions on the package. When cooked, drain and run cold water through them, so they stop cooking. Then leave them on side.
2. Mix the tamarind paste, fish sauce, sugar and soya sauce.
3. Stir-fry the bean sprouts and spring onions with the coconut oil in a large pan or wok, quickly over high heat. Push vegetable to the side of the pan, add two eggs, break the yolk and let cook for a bit, when it’s starting to be cooked, just mix and break the egg into small bits. Mix in with the vegetable.
4. Add prawns to the pan, then noodles and at the end end the “sauce-mix”. Stir well.
5. Add lime juice to taste and any of the sauces if needed.
6. Mix in coriander and serve with a wedge of lime.

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I’m not a big fan of nuts in food, but you can add crushed peanuts.

Christmas Party at Sapporo Teppanyaki, Manchester

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Never Too Much Food Rating: 8.5 / 10

If you are looking for a place where you can have both, great food and fun, head to Sapporo Teppanyaki.

Last Friday we had our work Christmas do and instead of a traditional, quiet dinner, we went for the Christmas party at Sapporo Teppanyaki. I have never been before and love Asian cuisine, so I was really excited.
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This years Christmas menu looks really tempting. I was absolutely sure with my choice for main, but would be happier if I could give up on dessert and have at least 3 starters instead. The choice of starters was amazing!

I had the chicken soup to start with. It definitely warmed me up, just what I needed on that cold Friday night!
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As a starter I chose the SHAKE ABURI NIGIRI (Salmon nigiri bruleed and topped with salmon row, flying fish roe, and black caviar) – if you love sushi, this is the starter to go for. I was sooo excited that I have eaten one, before I took a photo! The rice was perfect, as the rest of it. I didn’t feel like it added much to the dish to brulee the salmon, but it was the best dish of the night. Wish I could have been eating these all night!
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Before the main there was time for some fun and tricks. The chefs were great, we had so much fun and although catching fried potato chips in a Japanese restaurant is a bit surprising (why don’t they throw sushi rolls?! Maybe because I would catch even those that were for other people at the table!), we had a great laugh. I even forgot that I combined delicious salmon nigiri with potato chips 🙂

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My choice for main was the rack of lamb with Japanese 7 spices. It was delicious, with some fried rice and vegetables. I ordered medium…and they were nicely pink. Really admire the chefs to entertain us and remember at the same time, how we all wanted the meat to be cooked.

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For a dessert I had the cheesecake… It was lovely, still wish I could have had the starter again tho…haha 🙂

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Overall, it was a great night, it’s a perfect place for a work do or if you want to have fun with friends! The food was good, the Christmas menu was a little bit of a fusion, definitely not purely Japanese, but everything was tasty and together with the chefs and their jokes it makes for an amazing and entertaining night!

I’ll definitely be back for sushi!!!!!!!!

Restaurant details:

Sapporo Teppanyaki Manchester, 91-93 Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4JN

Restaurant’s website

Spiced Hot Apple: The Perfect Winter Drink

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Out of all four season I like winter the least 🙂 To be fair, this year the really cold days haven’t come yet, but I feel cold all the time.

Some would probably recommend mulled wine or tea with a shot of rum as hot drinks ideal for cold winter nights, but what if you don’t feel like drinking alcohol and want something more special than a cup of tea?

SPICED HOT APPLE is the answer!

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One of my favourite hot drinks that will make you feel warm, is easy to prepare and so delicious that you will want to drink it even when it’s not so cold 🙂

RECIPE: Spiced Hot Apple

Ingredients:

  • cloudy apple juice
  • caster sugar
  • cinnamon sticks
  • whole cloves
  • whole star anise

Method:

  1. Place all spices into a pan, add juice and bring to boil.
  2. Add sugar. I usually add 3 tablespoons for 2 cups of the final drink, but it depends on everyone’s taste.
  3. Turn the heat down and leave to just slightly bubble for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Pour to prepared glasses or cups over a sieve catching all spices – you will only need the cinnamon sticks, the look nice in the final drink I think 🙂

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If you are up for something sweeter, try pear juice! Can’t decide which one I like the most…

 

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The traditional Christmas biscuits: Coffee filled ‘walnuts’

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The festive season for me starts with the Christmas baking, about 3 or 4 weeks before Christmas, in many families the kitchen gets busier than at any other time of the year. And it smells sooooooo…Christmassy 🙂

All the spices, like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted nuts…I love that time of year more than Christmas itself actually. This year I’m staying in the UK for Christmas, for the first year ever. But that doesn’t mean I would give up on this amazing tradition of baking Christmas biscuits.

On my list this year are vanilla rolls, walnut shaped biscuits filled with coffee buttercream, jam filled kind-of-butter-biscuits, gingerbreads and …and a mystery one…I don’t know myself, will see what I can find in my recipe collection 🙂

RECIPE: COFFEE CREAM FILLED WALNUT SHAPED BISCUITS

Ingredients:

  • 400g plain flour
  • 500g unsalted butter
  • 160g ground hazelnuts
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 2tbsp dark cocoa

For the filling:

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 210g icing sugar
  • 1 espresso cup with strooong coffee

Method:

  • Leave the butter soften in room temperature.
  • cream the butter with sugar, mix in the hazelnuts and cocoa
  • Start adding flour, slowly work the flour into the butter mixture, until the dough is smooth and not sticky. You need to work the dough as quickly as possible, because the butter tends to melt when working the dough with hands.

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  • wrap in a kitchen cling film and place to the fridge. Leave to rest overnight (at least, the dough can stay in the fridge for up to a week)
  • Take the dough out of the fridge about an hour before you want to start baking.
  • Preheat the oven 160C
  • Prepare the moulds and start forming the dough into the moulds leaving a dimple in the middle – for the filling afterwards 😉

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  • Put on a baking tray and place in the oven
  • Bake for about 7mins – or when the dough stops bubbling.
  • Take out, hit each mould slightly to losen the biscuit, they should then fall out of the mould easily.

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  • Leave to cool completely.
  • The filling: make a strong small cup of coffee, leave to cool. Cream the butter with sugar and gradually add the cold coffee. Don’t put all at once, it may be too much…mix as much to make a creamy, spreadable texture.
  • Fill the cold biscuits, filling on one site and covering with other…store in an airtight container in a cold place and enjoy at Christmas!

Notes:

  • Walnut moulds are necessary – can be found on Etsy or contact me at nevertoomuchfood@gmail.com
  • After filling the biscuits, store in a cold place and eat within 2 weeks
  • The recipe makes loooooads…exactly 192 halfs, so after filling them it will be 96 ‘walnuts’. Of course, some were eaten during baking, so it may be over 200 halfs 😉