Recipe: Slow-cooker Sesame & Honey Shredded Chicken

On the first day of Autumn I needed no encouragement to get the slow-cooker out. One-pot meals are my favourite as they often need minimum effort and taste great. 

I've inherited my Mum's old slow-cooker and intend to make just about anything and everything in it this year. Plenty of batch cooking to fill the freezer for work lunches and quick,  home cooked dinners. 

This first recipe is perfect for this limbo weather; for salads, sandwiches or for dinner served however you fancy!
Slow-cooked sesame honey shredded chicken
(Recipe adapted from Comfort of Cooking, serves 4-5)

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or 4 chicken breasts
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil/olive oil
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
4 tsp cornflour
80ml water

To serve:

Your choice of rice
Handful of chopped spring onions
Sesame seeds

Season the chicken and add to the slow cooker. In a bowl, combine the onion, garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oil and chilli flakes before pouring over the chicken. Cover with the slow cooker lid and cook for 3-4 hours on low; or 2 hours on high.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker onto a plate and shred into bite sized pieces. In a small bowl or jug, dissolve the cornflour in the water and add to the chicken sauce in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 10 minutes until it starts to thicken.

Cook the rice to packet instructions and serve with the chicken. Scatter over chopped spring onions and a generous helping of sesame seeds.

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Recipe: Mini Cinnamon Doughnuts with Brown Butter Drizzle

I'm late to the brown(ed) butter party, I know. But either way, here's my offering. Baked doughnuts, rolled in cinnamon sugar and topped with a drizzle of browned butter glaze. These doughnuts took me an hour to make from start to finish, which is a feat in itself. With minimal mess and effort, these mini guys are great if you're short of time.

And if you haven't tried browned butter before now, its essentially burnt melted butter...sounds appetising? No, didn't think so. But when you call it beurre noisette it sounds heaps better! In recipes it lends a rich, nutty depth and smells incredible.

Cinnamon sugar doughnuts
(Recipe adapted from Lakeland, makes 6 mini doughnuts)

75g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
55g caster sugar
60ml milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp olive oil (you could substitute this with 10g browned butter instead)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon sugar coat:

60g unsalted butter, melted
60g soft brown sugar / golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Browned butter glaze:

250g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp milk

Heat the oven to 160 degrees and lightly brush a doughnut pan with oil. If you don't have a doughnut pan you could use a small cupcake tray or similar instead.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to a large mixing bowl and gently whisk. (This does the same job as a sieve, but much easier). Add the sugar and stir together.

In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the milk, egg, oil and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Using either a teaspoon or a piping bag, fill each doughnut hole 3/4 full with the batter. Bake in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes, until firm and springy to touch.

Prepare the cinnamon sugar coat whilst the doughnuts are baking. Put the melted butter in one bowl, and the sugar and cinnamon mixed together in another. When the doughnuts are slightly cooled from the oven (this should take only a few minutes as they're so small), gently dunk each doughnut into the butter before rolling in the sugar mix. Place on a plate and leave to cool.

For the glaze, start by making the browned butter (notes below). Use a pan with a light colour bottom to monitor the colour of the browning butter easier. Place on a low heat and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. The butter will foam up and start to brown. Continue to watch and stir (occasionally) as the butter turns from a lemony-yellow colour, to a golden tan and then toast colour. This should only take a few minutes for this small amount. Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl to cool slightly.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the salt. Continue to add the wet ingredients and whisk together. Start with 2 tablespoons of milk and add more as necessary to get a smooth, glossy glaze.

Use a piping bag or spoon to drizzle over the cooled doughnuts.

N.B. Browned butter is the result of the butterfat and milk solids separating when melting. The milk solids will sink to the bottom and start to brown first. These dregs are perfectly fine to use in recipes, providing you don't burn them. However, I drained them for this glaze as it would look a little unsightly. But, in a cookie dough, for example, they would be completely fine.

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Upside-down Banana Cake with Maple-caramel Sauce

The sun may still be out (slightly), but as far as I'm concerned, we're well into pecan, maple and cinnamon season! When searching for a way to use up some overripe bananas I found this recipe, jumped straight into the car to get supplies and got straight in the kitchen.

I'm pretty sure you could make this in a large cake/tart tin if you don't have a big enough square serving plate. I didn't, so opted to serve it on a baking sheet!

Upside-down banana cake with maple-caramel sauce
(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food)

100g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
8tbsp maple syrup
3 small overripe bananas and 1 very overripe banana
200g soft dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
2tsp vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
100g pecans, roughly chopped
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cinnamon
200g pot full-fat Greek yogurt, plus extra (or vanilla ice cream) to serve

For the sauce:
100g whole pecans
100g salted butter, diced
100ml double cream
100ml maple syrup

Heat the oven to 160 degrees and grease and line the bottom of a 20cm square tin.

Pour half the maple syrup (4tbsp) over the bottom of the tin, swirl around to give a good coating. Peel and chop the 3 ripe bananas in half and slice lengthways and place cut side down in the tin.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the eggs and the final very ripe banana, mixing gently. Tip the flour and pecans into a blender and blitz together until the pecans are ground. Stir the flour into the butter mixture and add the bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon. Fold in the yogurt.

Carefully spoon over the bananas, smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.

To make the sauce, toast the pecans for a few minutes in a pan before adding the rest of the ingredients. Cook on a low heat until all of the butter has melted. Leave to bubble for a further 5 minutes whilst the sauce thickens.

Once the cake is cooked and straight from the oven, poke it half way down with a  skewer all over. Pour over the remaining 4tbsp of maple syrup and leave it to soak in for a few minutes. Upturn the cake onto a serving plate. Reheat the sauce, and serve with Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream.

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Homemade Burger & Sweet Potato Chips

Time for a change this week - a savoury recipe. This is my ultimate burger recipe, a combination of all my favourite burger things but also a good foundation to start with and add your own favourite fillings.

You don't need any fancy tools, but the recipes include a few tricks I've learnt to help.

In case you were wondering, my ultimate burger starts with a toasted brioche bun, topped with one quarter pounder, burger sauce, grilled halloumi, cos lettuce, plum tomatoes and caramelised onion relish. Served with herby baked sweet potato chips and washed down with a Nutella milkshake.

Without further ado,

Brioche burger buns
(Recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo, makes 6 for burgers or 12 for sliders)

My personal favourite burger bun is brioche, below is the recipe I use. Regular shop bought buns of your choice are perfectly good also. Spread a little butter over the cut sides and grill before serving.

260g strong plain white flour
25g caster sugar
5g salt
2tsp dried instant milk
70ml warm milk
3 medium eggs
100g softened butter (cubed)

Egg wash:
1 egg, beaten
2tbsp milk
2tsp sesame seeds

Mix together the flour, sugar and salt with a dough hook in a mixer on a low speed. Continue to mix whilst slowly adding the yeast, milk and eggs until incorporated, approximately 2 minutes. Turn up to a medium speed and continue to mix for a further 5 minutes.

Once soft and elastic, tip into a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour.

Dust your work surface and hands with flour, roll the proved dough into a long rectangle. Slice into 6 (or 12 for sliders), shape each individual bun and place on a large lined tray. Brush with the egg wash.

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Brush once more and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack before using for your burgers.

Hamburger patties
(Recipe adapted from hamburger gourmet)

 In order to make the most tender, juicy patties, handle them as little as possible. Keep a bowl of warm water to hand when shaping the patties, dip your fingers in after each one to stop them sticking. A burger press can help to make uniformly sized patties, but using your hands is just as good. After shaping, press a thumbprint into the centre to allow for even cooking when they expand with the heat. Season with salt which will form a nice crust whilst cooking and stack them up between waxed discs or greaseproof paper. Don't be tempted to make your patties too thick, they'll only take longer to cook through and loose their tenderness. To make a quarter pounder, you will need 150-170g of minced beef (you should be able to get around 3 patties out of a regular 500g supermarket pack).

Always cook on a high heat in order to get a patty that's crusty on the outside and tender in the middle. Cook the thumbprint side down first to allow an expansion in the heat. Flip over with a spatula and press down, once only, in a short, sharp motion. For blue, cook for 2 minutes on each side; rare, 3 minutes; medium, 4 minutes and well done, 5 minutes.


Feel free to use a combination of your favourite cheeses, sauces and relishes. Bear in mind, some cheeses melt better than others and most have completely different flavours when pairing with relishes.

Sweet potato chips

1 medium - large sweet potato per person
To season, dried herbs of your choice, salt and 1tbsp of oil per serving

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into long 1cm chips. Place into a resealable sandwich bag. Add the seasoning, seal and shake the bag to give the chips a good even coat.

Spread the chips evenly onto a baking tray and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until golden and slightly crispy on the edges.

Nutella milkshake
(Makes 2, double up as required)

500ml milk
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
2-3tbsps Nutella

Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz until well combined and smooth.

Pour into glasses to serve.


In order to have everything ready at the same time, assembled burgers can be kept warm in the oven for a short while on a low heat, around 160 degrees.

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Chocolate & Lime Mini Cakes

Inspired by last week's The Great British Bake Off, I found this recipe for chocolate and lime cake by a GBBO graduate, Ruby Tandoh.

Not a flavour combination I've tried before, but it's won me over. These cakes are so light and airy and the lime adds to the fresh feel. Not the usual dense chocolate cakes I'm used to...but that just makes it perfectly ok to eat a plate to myself.

Although these cakes are simple to make and have no complicated ingredients, along the way you will be using three different bowls. This requires a little coordination (though probably more for me!) so be sure to fully read the method before you start.

Chocolate and lime mini cakes
(Recipe adapted from Ruby Tandoh, The Guardian)

150g dark chocolate
125g salted butter, cubed
zest of 3 limes
3 large eggs, separated
200g caster sugar
70g plain flour

Heat the oven to 170 degrees and thoroughly grease a silicone mould. (Ruby uses one 22cm loose bottomed cake tin lined with baking paper...this will be a lot easier to remove than individual mini cakes from a silicone moulds - the choice is yours)!

To start, melt the chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water, or on a low temperature in the microwave for short bursts.

Into the melted chocolate, stir in the butter and zest until fully melted. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together the egg yolks and 100g sugar until creamy and pale in colour.

In a clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites until foamy. Whilst continuing to whisk, add the remaining 100g sugar a spoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Continue until the mixture leaves a soft, glossy peak.

At this point, you'll have all three bowls on the go! To combine them...

Fold the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture. Now fold a third of this into the egg whites until just combined. Add the next third, and so on.

Sift in the flour, gently fold until just combined - it this stage its really important to keep as much of the air in the batter as possible. Add the remaining flour by sifting into the bowl and fold once more.

Spoon the wobbly, light batter into the tin/mini cake moulds.

If you choose to make individual mini cakes, bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. For one 22cm cake, bake for 30 - 35 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin before turning out.

Serve with a drizzle of chocolate ganache. my recipe on Supergolden Bakes #cookblogshare

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