Sometimes you just need cookies…

Fact. Sometimes you do just need a good cookie to make you feel better. Trust me, I know.

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Sometimes only  a hug will do. And a cookie is sort of the same thing. Warm, soft and very tasty.

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Sometimes you just need to cry it out. Which is absolutely fine.

But its so so much better to cry over a cookie.

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For me, I need this kind of cookie comfort at essay deadline time. When I’m a complete nervous wreck, the only thing that can cheer me up is a good cookie.

These are perfect essay cookies. Easy (and quick) to make, and ridiculously delicious, they are guaranteed make anybody feel better. (Also, for those times when you can’t wait for cookies, the dough is actually just as good, if not better. I probably consumed about half of it raw before they even made it to the oven…

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White Chocolate Chip Cookies

(this recipe was adapted from Nigella!)

100 grams of butter

140 grams brown sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 egg

200 grams plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

200g white chocolate chips

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In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt together the butter, brown sugar and syrup.

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In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.

Beat the egg into the butter mixture, then add the flour mixture. Leave this to cool in the fridge for about an hour, while the oven preheats to 175 degrees.

Once it is cool, mix in the chocolate chips. Using your hands, shape the dough into balls, about the size of walnuts, and place them on a lined baking tray. Make sure you leave some space between them or you will end up with one giant cookie! (That does sort of sound appealing, however…)

Bake for 12-15 minutes. They should still be soft and a light brown colour when they are done!

Enjoy with a nice cup of tea while still warm!

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xxR

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

This is the best thing ever.

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I say that a lot. But this time I’m being serious. This is actually the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. It’s the perfect combination of soft white bread and the sweetest sugary cinnamony goo in the middle. 

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I mean, its so good that I don’t really have anything else to say about it. I gave it to my house girls and they too just loved it. They want at least one loaf a week.

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So, I feel like I should warn you that it is a little dangerous. You may become addicted.

But, you have to try it.

End of story.

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Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

This loaf uses enriched dough, which means that it is made with milk and sugar, which gives it almost more a cake like texture than bread like. It’s a bit of a labour but trust me- its worth it! 

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2 teaspoons active dry yeast 

235 ml warm milk

80 ml warm water 

2 tablespoons sugar 

1 1/2 teaspoons salt 

60 grams melted butter 

445 grams bread flour 

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In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and water. Leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes for it to activate (it should look sort of frothy!)

Mix in the sugar, salt and butter. Gradually add the flour until the dough comes together. If it is too dry and doesn’t want to come together, add a bit of water. This is naturally a very wet dough- so don’t panic if it seems way too wet! That’s part of the magic.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for 7-10 minutes or until it becomes elasticy. Again, this is a VERY wet dough, so don’t worry if you are struggling with this phase- persevere and it will be fine!

Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

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For the filling:

50 grams caster sugar

20 grams soft brown sugar

1 tablespoon of cinnamon (or more, if you’re into that)

40 grams butter

Mix them all together into a sort of sugary paste.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch all the air out of it and knead it again for 5-7 minutes.

Roll it out into a rectangle and spread the sugary goo over the top.

Then start rolling it up, the way you would do a Swiss roll or something like that, until it has formed a log. Fold the ends down and transfer the log to a loaf tin, with the seam facing down. Let it rise for another 40-60 minutes.

Bake in a 180 degree oven for 40-50 minutes or until it is golden brown. 

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Enjoy while it is warm!

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xxR

Mini Peppers Stuffed with Giant Couscous

September is the new January. Cold, rainy, short days and long nights.

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No, I’m joking. September, for me, IS the new January, but it has nothing to do with the weather, which has been surprisingly warm recently! September is the new January because it’s all about new beginnings. New school year, new house. I’m back in London basically for good now, and about to start the first term of my final year. Scary!

So September is all about new things, and I want to try everything I can. But I am also aware that this is my last year! I might never get a chance to be a student again, which is both slightly a relief and very sad.

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This meal is healthy and delicious and encompasses my favourite ingredients. It’s the perfect meal for tripping from September into October, and getting into the swing of school and the routine of reading (a lot.)

 

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Giant Couscous stuffed Mini Peppers (I also really enjoy the irony of stuffing giant couscous into tiny peppers!)

olive oil
2-3 mini peppers per person
150g giant couscous
4 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
a bunch of basil leaves
50g crumbled feta
juice of half a lemon

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Begin by roasting the peppers. Cut their tops off (but keep these to use as hats later!), drizzle with olive oil and put them in the oven at 180 degrees for about 6 minutes, or until they start to soften. You don’t want them to cook too much, because they will be going back in the oven later, so if they are starting to look really soft- whip them out!

In the meantime, make your couscous. Simply boil it in a saucepan for 6-8 minutes or until it has started to soften. One of the best things about giant couscous is how it retains some bite, so don’t let it get too soft, or what is the point?

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While it is boiling away, finely chop the garlic, spring onions and basil.

Once the couscous is cooked, mix in the garlic, spring onions, basil and feta. Drizzle with some lemon juice and a splash of olive oil.

Once the peppers are suitably soft, take them out and spoon some of the couscous mixture into each one.

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When you are almost ready to serve, put the pepper back in the oven for 2-3 minutes. This heats them up and also allows some delicious pepper juice to ooze into the couscous. Take them out of the oven, put on their hats, and they are ready to go!

I served mine with a roasted tomato, basil and garlic salad. Also, I was pretty limited by the size of my tiny peppers, but if you wanted to use normal peppers, you totally could, which would also allow for more ingredients in the stuffing. Maybe tomatoes, raisins, spinach, pine nuts or breadcrumbs? Just up the cooking time for the pepper.

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Enjoy and happy October!

xxR