Trying Matcha Green Tea

Hello again,

Somehow I made it to November 2016 to try matcha green tea even though it’s the drink everyone’s been obsessing over for a good year or two now.

I’m not going to lie, the reason I hadn’t tried matcha for so long is because I didn’t believe that something so green could taste as nice as ordinary tea. Although matcha lattes look incredibly Instagram-able and different, they’re still green.

Pure Chimp kindly sent me a sample of their matcha green tea, which meant that I finally had to give in and try it. I put it off for a week or so but eventually I boiled the kettle and decided to get it over and done with. It sounds really over-dramatic, but I was really nervous to try this matcha tea. I’d never even tried ordinary green tea, let alone the matcha sort…

img_3847

I don’t know why but before I opened the packet, I thought that the matcha was going to be in tea bags. I feel stupid now I know that it’s actually a powder. You learn something new every day. The packet suggested using half a tea spoon for cup but seeing as my Disney princess mug is huge, I used a little short of a full teaspoon. It was really easy to mix even though I don’t have one of those fancy steamers. All I did was slowly add boiling water and stir in the powder as I was doing so.

img_3849

Even when I’d made the tea I was still really skeptical. It smelt like ordinary tea and it had the same consistency as normal tea. However, I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, it was still green. Now I don’t have anything against the colour green, but it does look a little like pea soup, doesn’t it?

After being over-dramatic, I tried my matcha tea and absolutely loved it. In my opinion, it just tastes like really strong black tea, which is a real winner in my books. It’s supposedly a lot healthier than normal tea so I’m really glad that I’ve discovered matcha. Matcha lattes are next on my list now, if I love the tea I can only adore the latte.

img_3851

On a more serious note, matcha is also vegan which I know is important to a lot of people. Congratulations for sustaining the vegan way of life… go and reward yourself with a hot cup of matcha.

As always, thank you for reading.

I’d love to know if any of you have tried matcha and what your thoughts are…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies Baking Recipe

Hello again,

Today I just really felt like making some cookies. I’ve only actually made my own cookies once before and they spread all over the baking tray – I basically ended up with a tray of cookie dough. It still tasted nice, but it was far from the 12 perfectly round cookies that I thought I was going to have baked.

For these cookies I found a recipe online as a guideline but changed the amount of almost every ingredient because I don’t like using sugar in baking. Although this recipe still has a lot of sugar, it has about half as much as the original recipe told me to put in.

I also discovered that if you leave the cookie dough in the fridge for a few days in a sealed container, when you take it out it’ll taste just like the cookie dough chunks that Ben & Jerry’s put in their ice cream. There’s an idea…

img_2958

Ingredients

  • 270g self-raising flour
  • 185g soft brown sugar
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 175g chocolate chips

Steps

Cream together butter, brown sugar and caster sugar

I put the oven in the microwave a little bit until it went down to room temperature so it would mix with the sugar easier than it would if it came straight out of the fridge. I used my electric mixer because I doubt a hand whisk would’ve mixed it all together well.

Add eggs and vanilla extract

Again, using the electric mixer.

img_2882

Sift in flour

Because there’s such a lot of flour I added a little bit at a time so I could see if the mixture was looking too dry or too soggy. I didn’t want to put all of the flour in at once and realise that I’d put too much in and it also makes it easier to mix together when you add it in stages.

Add chocolate chips

The recipe told me to use 325g of chocolate chips so I bought three packets of them, which gave me 300g. I ended up using less than two packets because it seemed like there was way too much chocolate in the mixture. Also, the mixture already contained quite a lot of sugar by this point so I didn’t want to add too much chocolate. Surely that would’ve been sickly?

img_2886

Preheat the oven

I preheated mine to 170 degrees because that was the rough number that the recipes I looked at online gave me.

Cool the dough 

I ended up leaving mine in the fridge for nearly an hour because I was waiting for my boyfriend to come so I didn’t have to leave the cookies baking in the oven by themselves. However, I’m sure about 15 minutes is fine. Also, I saw some recipes that didn’t say anything about cooling the dough, so maybe it’s fine to just put them straight in the oven…

Cook the cookies!

I ended up cooking mine for 15 minutes because when they come out of the oven, you can eat them when they’re warm or soft. Then, when they’ve cooled down, you can eat them when they’re crumbly. The first batch I put in made quite thick cookies as I rolled the dough into perfectly round balls so they only spread a little bit. With the second batch, I pressed them down so they were a little thinner. The thinner ones are definitely better if you want to dunk them in tea.

img_2887

Thanks for reading!

No-Bake Granola Breakfast Bars

Hello again,

For a while now I’ve wanted to try and bake (or in this case: freeze) my own granola bars. I look online for a few recipes but in the end I decided to put whatever I wanted in them. A lot of them were suggesting chocolate chips, coconut, seeds, cherries and a lot of other ingredients that I’m not interested in

Ingredients 

  • Rolled oats (300g)
  • Nuts
  • Raisins and sultanas
  • Peanut butter (150g)
  • Golden syrup (I have no idea how much I used – why would you weigh syrup?)

Other recipes that I saw used honey instead of golden syrup if you wanted an alternative.

If you wanted to you could finely chops the nuts so they blend in with the oats. I didn’t have the patience for that. Also, use as many nuts and dried fruits as your heart desires. I definitely did, as you can see from the photos…

Steps

  • Place all of the nuts (and seeds if you’re using them) onto a baking tray with grease-proof paper and heat for 10 minutes at 180 degrees.
  • Heat the peanut butter and golden syrup until the mixtures is warm – there’s no need to wait for it to boil.
  • Put the nuts in a bowl with the raisins, or any dried fruit that you want to use, and the oats.
  • Pour the warm peanut butter/syrup mixture into the bowl with the nuts, fruit and oats.
  • Mix all of the ingredients together until all of the oats are covered.
  • Flatten the mixture into a tray – you can use any size depending on how thick or long you want the bars to be.
  • Put the tray in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  • When the mixture is frozen, take it out of the freezer and cut out the individual cereal bars while the mixture is still in the tray – this will stop the bars from crumbling and falling apart.

I found this recipe so easy to follow and I was surprised at how well the bars turned out! I’ve just tasted one and it was delicious. Filling, but delicious. Maybe next time I’ll make them a bit thinner…

Thanks for reading!

Let me know if you have any alternative recipes for granola bars or if you use any ingredients that I have listed here…

Ways you can reach me:

  • Email: courteneynoonan@hotmail.co.uk
  • Twitter: @courteneyjn
  • Instagram: @courteneynoonan

Bye for now,

Courteney x

Baking: Gooey Brownies and Chocolatey Treats 

Hello again,

Today I did a little baking with my siblings. We planned to originally just bake brownies, but walked past some Rice Krispies in Aldi and decided we’d have time to make some Rice Krispie nests too.

These treats are ideal for eating as snacks or desserts, which is very appropriate for Christmas time.

Rice Krispie Nests

Ingredients:

  • Rice Krispies
  • Lots of milk chocolate
  • Nuts (optional)
  • Marshmallows  (optional)

I love making these because they’re so simple and quick to prepare. All we did was melt the the chocolate in the microwave, gradually mix the Rice Krispies with the melted chocolate and add the nuts and marshmallows. Afterwards, we had had some chocolate pieces left over so we cut them into smaller pieces and used them as decorations for the tops of the nests.



This was the first time we have added any optional ingredients to the nests. The chopped nuts and marshmallows made them much tastier. It reminded me a little of the tast of rocky road.

Brownies

Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Chocolate – I usually use milk and dark
  • Plain flour
  • Cocoa powder
  • Eggs
  • Caster sugar
  • Chopped nuts (optional)

I don’t want to give the the exact quantities because everyone makes brownies differently. I usually try a different recipe each time but recently I haven’t been using scales. It’s pretty easy to work out how much of each ingredient needs to go into the mixture.

I always bake brownies so they’re gooey and soft in the middle. They’re also really tasty when they’re warm so I usually try them when they’ve recently been taken out of the oven.

Sometimes, I make a topping using melted chocolate and cream cheese. This can be put in a pot to dip the brownies in or you can pour it on top of the brownies whine they’ve just been taken out of the oven and are still in the tin.

I tend to use a deeper tin to bake the brownies in so they dont go hard all the way through. Using a thinner tin does this.

Today’s batch of brownies has been really popular. We made them a couple of hours ago and they’re nearly all gone.

Thank you for reading!

Let me know if you have any baking suggestions for us…

Ways you can reach me:

  • Email: courteneynoonan@hotmail.co.uk
  • Twitter: @courteneyjn
  • Instagram: @courteneynoonan

Bye for now,

Courteney x

Baking: Shredded Wheat Easter Nests 

Hello again,

Yesterday I made the most delicious Easter treat; it’s probably the easiest recipe to follow. Ever.

Here are the simple steps that I followed:

  • Melt lots and lots of chocolate in a saucepan or in the microwave – make sure you don’t burn it!
  • Crumble up shredded wheat or ordinary cornflakes
  • Mix them together in a large bowl
  • Put them into bun cases
  • Decorate them with cute chicks and mini eggs
  • Leave the to set
  • EAT!

Altogether, the ingredients only cost me a few pounds and I made 28 nests in total. This is ideal if you’re on a budget.

Thank you for reading! I really hope you try to make them this Easter, I think it would be nice to send these to people as gifts as opposed to giving people Easter eggs.

Ways you can reach me:

  • Email: courteneynoonan@hotmail.co.uk
  • Twitter: @courteneyjn
  • Instagram: @courteneynoonan

Bye for now,

Courteney x

Brownies With A Creamy Chocolate Sauce

Hello again,

After looking through numerous recipes for brownies, I came across one that impressed me by the gooey topping that you coat over the top to the brownie. I found this on the BBC’s GoodFood website, titled ‘Alex’s Mega Brownies’. The recipe claims to make between 16 and 20 servings, depending on the size of the cut brownie squares. They can be small, appetising snacks or larger desserts. The method is very easy to follow; I chose it so it would be easy for me to bake with my younger brother and sister. Complicated recipes are no fun for them.

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs
50g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 tablespoons of milk
4 tablespoons mixed white and milk chocolate chips
100g milk chocolate
75g full-fat soft cheese

Method

Heat your oven to 180°c so it’s hot enough for when you want to bake the brownie.

Line a 20cm square tin, or a tin of a similar size, with butter or grease-proof paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together with a whisk.

Add the eggs one by one and whisk the mixture together.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and milk and whisk all of the mixture together. You can use an ordinary or electric whisk – it doesn’t really matter.

Spoon the mixture into the tin evenly.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes but keep checking them before hand so they don’t burn. To check if the brownie is done, poke a knife into different points in the brownie and if there’s no mixture on the knife when you pull it out, it’s done.

Topping

Melt the chocolate and mix with soft cheese
Spread over cooled brownies

Thank you for reading!

Let me know if you decide to bake these brownies…

Ways you can reach me:

  • Email: courteneynoonan@hotmail.co.uk
  • Twitter: @courteneyjn
  • Instagram: @courteneynoonan

Bye for now,

Courteney x

A Walk In The Woods & Blackberry Crumble

Hello again,

One of my favourite things about autumn is being able to go for a walk with my family; I love the crunching of the crisp, golden leaves beneath my wellies.
Another favourite of mine are blackberries. And most importantly: blackberry crumble.

IMG_8815.JPG

This time when my mum made it we added cranberries and cooking apples; we also made some jam.
IMG_8812.JPG
What are your favourite things about autumn?

IMG_8755.JPG

Thanks for reading!

Let me know about the things that you like to do with your loved ones and the things that you like to bake…

Ways you can reach me:

  • Email: courteneynoonan@hotmail.co.uk
  • Twitter: @courteneyjn
  • Instagram: @courteneynoonan

Bye for now,

Courteney x