A beast of an Easter biscuit

Chocolate Easter Biscuits

Fasting time is over

It's now time to crack on

and have an Eggs-cellent Easter

And eat chocolate all day long!

Easter is a favourite of mine because of the 4 day break!  Unless it's planned to rain for those 4 days, of course. So I thought I would share this great Easter biscuit recipe that I made with a group of year 4/5 children which went down a treat! So if you're in need of an extra indoor activity this Bank Holiday remember to share this one with your foodie friends...

I'm keeping it brief this week, as although I'm not one for giving things up.... a slight Easter digital detox is what I need!!

Happy Easter and thank you for being here on this Fuss Free journey! To keep up with what I get up to keep an eye on Instagram or the FFF FB page!

Lisa.

Chocolate Easter Biscuits

• 75g dark chocolate, broken

• 100g butter

• 110g plain flour

• 125g light brown sugar

• 1 tsp bicarb of soda

• 1 large egg

• 50g milk chocolate, broken

• 100g yellow marzipan

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/355 fahr/gas 4

2. Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl, and place over a simmering pan of water to melt. When melted put to one side

3. In another bowl measure out the flour and bicarb. Then add the egg and sugar to the slightly cooled chocolate and butter mixture

4. Bring the wet and dry mixtures together, and mix until just the flour has just disappeared. Let the mix sit for a few minutes to firm up

5. Prepare a baking tray with parchment and place a tablespoon of mixture on the tray making sure they are well spaced apart. Better to cook them in two batches and spread them out!

6. Bake for 9-10 minutes and when ready leave to cool for a few minutes on the tray to firm up, and then cool them on a cooling rack

7. Prepare your marzipan eggs by making them between blueberry and hazelnut size

8. Melt the milk chocolate in a pan or in the microwave on a medium heat so as not to burn it. Place a small blob of melted chocolate in the middle of the biscuit and set the eggs on that.

9. Then drizzle milk chocolate over the biscuit.

Original recipe idea from GoodtoKnow

Confessions of a young Valentine

Fuss free chocolate fondant

I fear I may have put them off Valentine's day for life by being a world class B. It wasn't my intention. This happened a long time ago.

The first scenario was at Primary school. I hadn't realised that this boy had admired me from afar. So part of my response, I think, was shock. However.  He was the most talented artist even at age 10, and he had drawn this beautiful card on a folded piece of white A4 paper. He had drawn the world in pencil with such accuracy, carefully coloured with appropriate blue water and green land and there stood a person. At the top written in angled bubbled writing was 'I think the world of you'.

GULP.

I'm not sure what it said inside the card. But clearly, a lot of time, effort and thought had gone into this personalised card. So what, you may ask was my response to such an overture of love?

This is really hard to write. And I can't believe this was my response. I was 10 and was probably rather embarrassed.

I ripped it up. Yes. I know. How awful. Not straight away. I clearly have this card etched into my brain so I looked at it for a while. But not long after receiving this card. I ripped it up.

If this happened to one of my boys I would be devastated for them after bearing their heart. So Matt K. I am sorry. I loved what you drew. Thank you. Please forgive me.

And there is more.

Whether it is as bad I'm not sure. But I guess if peoples feeling are hurt,  then there is no sliding scale here.

Valentines occasion number two was in middle school. This particular boy had been asking me out and I had not given him the time of day. As Valentine's day drew near, on the quadrangle at school I conceded and said yes.

The next day he arrived at school. Box of chocolates in hands. Roses to be specific. I gladly took the chocolates and shortly after receiving said chocolates, I unceremoniously relinquished him from boyfriend duties. Dumped on Valentine's day.

Ouch.

Chocolate roses were eaten (my bezzie and I were big chocolate fans) and not a second thought for the other side of the story.  If this happened to one of my boys I would be devastated for them for being brave enough to bear their heart. So Adam S. I am sorry. I loved the Roses. Thank you. Please forgive me.

As I sit here and heal the ghosts of Valentine's past, I feel that 30 years is long enough to have held these stories with me. It is time to forgive that young girl who wasn't so aware of peoples feelings and the impact that this could have. I think part of my reason for wanting to have boys was that girls can be so harsh!  And I was that girl on this occasion.

But what I take from it is that I have two boys who's hearts are open and I can readdress the balance by filling them with a little love each day. This goes beyond a prescribed day to show your love.

This year even my husband doesn't need to buy me flowers as I bought some myself when I recorded this recipe video. So maybe that's the biggest learning of all from this week. Not just showing our love to others but to show it to ourselves as well and not wait for someone to do that for us.

However ever you choose to spend this Wednesday. Enjoy. Why not post up what you cook in our FFF Facebook community?

Chocolate fondant

This recipe will make at least 3 pots. If you are doing a double date and need at least 4, follow the quantities in brackets.

    • 125g butter, chopped (167g)
    • 125g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces (167g)
    • 125g caster sugar (167g)
    • 35g plain flour (47g)
    • 3 eggs (4 eggs)
    • Tbsp of cocoa powder
    • 2 dariole moulds 6fl oz (4 moulds)
    • Butter wrapper or parchment for buttering the moulds

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

  1. Place the butter and chocolate in a bowl and place over a bowl of simmering water and leave to slowly melt
  2. In another bowl break the eggs, add the caster sugar and flour and whisk together to make a smooth mixture
  3. Rub the inside of the moulds with a little of the melted butter and then put the cocoa inside the mould and spin it round so that the mould becomes coated
  4. Once the chocolate and butter mixture is melted add it to the other mixture and whisk until incorporated together
  5. Measure 137g of the mixture into each mould and place in the oven for 13 minutes (If you want to cook them later just set aside until you are ready to cook)
  6. You know the pot is ready when you take it out of the oven and the pot is cooked around the outside and has a sunken uncooked bit in the middle
  7. Turn the chocolate pot out on to a plate, and either drizzle over single cream or a dollop of whipped cream

Made TV-Christmas Rocky Road

Christmas Rocky Road:

Rocky road is great at any time of year, but especially at Christmas!  This is a classic recipe from Nigella that I make year after year, and I often mix it up by changing the type of fruit, nuts or biscuits I use.

Jamie from Made TV was surprised at how easy it was to make, so I hope you will give it a go. I am sure if you turned up to a party with a plate of these you would be very popular!  But be warned...they are super moorish...

Remember to check out the fuss-free mince pies we made too and the edible Christmas gifts that I made recently on the Hairy Bikers Home for Christmas show...Truffles and Panforte & Amaretti and stained glass window biscuits

Christmas Rocky Road

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 150g milk chocolate
  • 175g soft butter
  • 4 tbsp. golden syrup
  • 200g ginger biscuits
  • 150g hazelnuts
  • 150g red glace cherries, chopped
  • 125g  mini marshmallows
  • edible stars or glitter
  • Approx 25cm x 20cm tray or disposable foil tray, parchment
  1. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and then put it into a heavy-based pan with the butter and syrup, then melt over a gentle heat
  2. Put the biscuits into a bag and bash them with a rolling pin to get big and little-sized crumbs
  3. Put the hazelnuts into another bag and bash them as well
  4. Take the pan off the heat, and add the crushed biscuits and nuts, chopped glacé cherries and mini-marshmallows. Stir well to coat everything with syrupy chocolate
  5. Tip into a foil tray or dish lined with parchment (I used one approx 25cm x 20cm, smoothing the top as best you can with a spoon.  Sprinkle over the edible stars or glitter if using
  6. Once cooled, leave in the fridge until firm enough to cut, which will take about 1½–2 hours. Then take the set block of rocky road out of the foil tray onto a chopping board and get ready to cut with a sharp knife
  7. Cut it into bite-sized squares (or larger!) It is quite rich, so it can go a long way if you chop it small!

Cracking Christmas Cooking

Christmas chocolate truffles and Panforte

The last few weeks have been the craziest in the 1-year lifespan of The Fuss Free Foodie! A last minute shoot working on short foodie video for a British food maker, local TV network Made coming to do Christmas cooking in my house, and not to mention all the chat about my Hairy Biker appearances! (Click here to see Ep. 8 29 mins Ep. 9 29 mins on the iPlayer)

It made me wonder; at this time of year in the nature of living my brand...how does the Fuss free Foodie keep life fuss-free?! Well first of all in true FFF nature, let's keep things real. I don't always manage it! But I am aware of how it needs to be and I am getting better at living life this way.

It's so easy, at this time of year to feel the weight of the 'to-do' list on your shoulders. Balancing the daily routine whilst working towards making the magic of Christmas come alive and putting things in place for the big day.

This year's journey has been very much of a journey of self, as well as bringing the FFF to life. If there is one thing I have learnt to do more this year is trust that things will work out as they are supposed to.  So I'm trusting that Christmas will happen!  No amount of me playing over my to-do list in my head will make it happen any faster...or easier.  The doubts and negativity (monkey chatter!!) do not help!!

But what I do listen to more is my internal sat nav....or intuition! Those things that pop into your consciousness, normally at random times...in the shower for me. Maybe, someone, I've not contacted in a while, or an event I need to book or an idea of how to do something better. These are the things I'm listening to. So as I'm internally directed as to what 'feels' right for me, I get less caught up in the things I feel I 'should' be doing.  At this time of year, fuss-free is for me!

As the last week draws in, I am conscious I need to dedicate some time to my family and enjoy our Christmas. So I will be posting up my pieces from Made TV and see below some of my classic Christmas recipes from last year. Remember to follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to not miss a thing!

I hope you will continue to join me on the journey in 2018. Thank you all for your kind comments, loves, likes and shares this year!

Merry Christmas all!  Lisa x

Christmas Spiced Truffles (Hairy Bikers Home for Christmas Ep.   mins)

Syrup

  • 50g dark brown sugar
    • 250ml water
    • 1 mulled spice bag
  1. Put everything in a pan. Stir, bring to the boil, and simmer for a minute
  2. Pop into a jar and leave overnight or at least for a few hours.

Truffles

    • 100ml of syrup
    • 25g brown sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 150g dark chocolate, finely chopped
    • Cocoa powder, chocolate strands or edible bronze rocks (Waitrose)
  1. Finely chop chocolate on a chopping board
  2. Place chocolate in a bowl and set aside
  3. Place the syrup, sugar and salt into a pan. Bring to the boil for 30 seconds
  4. Pour the syrup over the chocolate
  5. Leave for a couple of minutes, to let the warmth start to melt the chocolate. Stir the mixture, starting from the inside and working your way outwards
  6. Cool and then place in the fridge until it is firm but not too hard
  7. I always feel less is more with the stirring to avoid splitting potential. If there are a few little bits of choc it actually gives the truffle a nice bit of crunch!
  8. If you chill the mixture overnight pull it out of the fridge half an hour before rolling
  9. Dip your hands in cocoa to stop the mixture sticking to your hands. Take spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into lots of little balls
  10. Then re-roll the balls in the palms of your hands to make them sticky, then dip them in your chosen coating
  11. Pop into a cellophane bag or box....or just enjoy!

Panforte (Original recipe from Nigella Christmas )

Chewy Tuscan fruit and nut dessert. Great with a cup of tea, coffee or a great addition to a cheese board esp a sharp white cheese!

Ingredients

  • 20cm springform tin
  • Parchment
  • Extra butter for lining the tin
  • 125g almonds in skins
  • 100g blanched almonds
  • 120g whole hazelnuts
  • 75 soft figs, cut off the stalk, snipped into little slithers
  • 200g orange and lemon peel
  • Shake of white pepper
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 50g plain flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g honey
  • 30g butter

Prepare the tin

  • Rub the base of the tin with butter, then add a disk of parchment the size tin to the base and around the sides
  • Rub butter over the parchment to ensure it is easy to remove at the end

Prepare the wet ingredients

  • In a pan gently melt the butter, sugar and honey until the sugar is no longer grainy and all nicely melted. Mix

Prepare the dry ingredients

  • Meanwhile, place the whole nuts and chopped fruits in a heatproof bowl. Stir
  • Add the spices, flour and cocoa into the nuts and fruit. Stir
  • For a fully traditional Italian version you can add separate spices, but for a more fuss free recipe you can use mixed spice. (1/2 ground cloves, 1 tsp cinnamon, grating of nutmeg)

Make the batter

  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir thoroughly so that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together with no bits of flour left un-stirred

Pour into the tin and cooking

  • Pour the mixture into your springform tin. Pat down with the back of the spoon
  • Wet your hands and push the mixture into the tin to compress it all together and achieve a flat surface. Use your fist in the middle and knuckles to get around the edges.  You could wear disposable gloves if you prefer!!
  • Cook in an oven at 170 deg/gas mark 3 for 45-1hr. It is ready to come out when the top of the cake is bubbling all over the top, not just around the edges. Leave the cake in the tin to completely cool before removing from the tin. At this point the cake should feel firm to the touch

Cutting and presenting

  • Remove the collar and paper and place onto a chopping board and chop into quarters and then into eighths. Chop each eighth into 3.
  • A tip for cutting is to go in with the tip/point of the knife into the middle and carve without using the back of the knife, as this can result in it breaking.
  • Place 6-8 in a bag and tie with ribbon
  • If your panforte feels too bendy and not hard. Reline the tin and stick it back into the oven for another 20-25 minutes until its really bubbling. It needs to reheat totally and then it will start the bubbling process again.

See the blog with the recipes from the first 2 episodes of The Hairy Bikers Home for Christmas

How to put together your Christmas cheese board

Christmas Chicken liver parfait

10 minute chocolate chip cookies

10-minute chocolate chip cookies

It seems that evolving never ends! Once we’ve learned something it doesn’t mean that we never have to work on it ever again!! In blogging about my life as it unfolds, it serves as a great reminder to myself the lessons I’m learning and somehow by writing it down, I hope it will lock it in even further.
I asked myself…. is this my self-discovery this week? I still work on things that I have worked on all my life, and it’s the same with my kids; I thought once I taught them manners that that would be it, but it seems I still have to remind them of their Ps and Qs! We all need to rinse and repeat on certain things!
So I thought; What did I get from this week? I went blank. Nothing. I learned nothing?! Did my creativity dry up? Is it time to just write recipes with no blurb? I decided I would sleep on it.
As I reflected on the week in bed, I acknowledged that this was a checklist heavy week.  Lots got done, and things progressed massively but little yoga was done and the emphasis was more on doing rather than being. And I think I found my learn.
In the past, I have been all about thinking about what I need to do, but most of my evolving has not been about logic, intellect, and thinking. It has been about feeling and hearing what is at the core of my heart, finding the answers that lie within and doing things that make my heart sing. I had slipped back into a comfortable old pattern of being overly productive and not focusing on what I need to do to feel good.
As I finish this I realise that I need to not clean my house but go do some body balance at the gym, less thinking in my head and more being in my body. So my goal for the weekend is to disconnect from the to-dos and connect with the people around me and to do things that make my heart sing. Isn’t that why we were put on the planet?! To enjoy life.
And what better way to do that but by having a batch of quick cookies by your side! Sending love Foodies for a beautiful weekend. Do you know someone who would love this recipe (or a batch of delicious fuss free cookies?!) then please remember to keep sharing the fuss free love bu sharing the link on Facebook or click the share button below  Lisa

10-minute choc chip cookies

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking  powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 100g dark chocolate chips or chocolate chopped into chunks (or milk if you prefer)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190℃/375℉/Gas Mark 5
  2. Gently melt the butter in a pan
  3. Put both the sugars into a bowl and add the melted butter and stir
  4. Beat in the egg and vanilla
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl, stir, then add the chocolate chips
  6. Spoon heaped dessert spoon sizes of mixture onto a lined baking sheet, leaving about 4cm in between each dollop as they spread!
  7. Bake for 8-10 mins until they are turning pale golden brown
  8. Leave on the tray for a few minutes to firm up, and then cool on a wire rack
Double chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies
  • Substitute 40g of the plain flour for cocoa powder instead
  • Add 75g chocolate chips and add 40g chopped hazelnuts
The original recipe is from River Cottage Everyday by Hugh F-W.