Monday, 10 August 2009

Milk Free Caramel Squares

ok so after a massive hiatus of burnt, inedible and generally failed recipes I'm back with a new recipe.....Milk free caramel squares - they are very rich and calorie loaded, so don't make these too often or if you a lot of exercise :-) )

I devised these as I can't eat milk (makes me very unwell) so had to find an alternative to condensed milk...which turned out to be coconut milk made up thicker than directed.

So here goes

These are based on a recipe I found here

(I doubled this recipe and used a tray roughly 12" x 10" x 1.5" / 30cm x 25cm x 3.5cm)

1/2 of a Large packet of cheap digestive biscuits
100g butter

125g (4 1/4 oz) butter
100g (3 3/4 oz) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
120ml of thick coconut milk (made up as below to consistency similar to double cream)

Coconut Milk
1 cup cold water
2 cups of coconut milk powder (I used maggi coconut milk powder)

Chocolate topping:
62.5g / half bar 81% dark chocolate (I used arabica 81% from LIDL)
50g / half bar 70% Dark Chocolate (Fairtrade 70% from LIDL)
62.5g / half bar 60% Dark Chocolate (again from LIDL)

1) Line a tray with greaseproof paper and preheat oven to 150C

2) crush the digestive biscuits into a rough crumb (preferably no big bits)

3) melt 75g of butter in a pan on a medium heat then add the biscuits and mix thoroughly, we are looking for a darkening of the biscuit crumbs enough to moisten them, if they look dry then add more butter and mix in

4) spoon the mixture into the previously papered tray and firm down with a spoon (Should stick together without looking oily)

5) bake biscuit crust in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes

6) remove from oven and leave to cool

7) In a thick bottomed sauce pan / pot (thick bottomed is best as they heat evenly and hold heat better) put the butter, sugar, syrup and the coconut milk into a pot and on a high heat stir bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes while stirring continuously (be careful here sugar burns can be very dangerous)

8) after 5 minutes the mixture should have darkened to a rich golden colour similar to butter scotch

9) remove from heat and vigorously stir for a further 3 minutes

10) pour mixture over the biscuit base and smooth

11) put tray into freezer to chill and firm the caramel and biscuit base

12) break the chocolate into smallish chunks and place into a bowl

13) place the bowl over a pot of water

14) heat on a medium heat and stir the chocolate till fully melted and mixed but not boiling

15) Remove tray from freezer and pour melted chocolate over and smooth with a spoon or similar making sure of even coverage.

16) allow to cool, then place in fridge to firm up overnight (if you can wait that long)

17) once chilled, peel greaseproof paper carefully from caramel square block and cut into slices (needs muscle here)

18) serve either on its own, with some leftover coconut milk or with some icecream
(oddly cheap icecream doesn't bother me (probably due to only containing whey rather than full milk), its the expensive stuff with real milk and cream that makes me unwell).

My only issues with this recipe is the slight saltiness which is either due to the salted butter or the brand of biscuits I used, also my biscuit base was a tad dry so tended to fall apart when cut into squares, so next time I think I will make a shortcake base as shown on the original recipe and hope it turns out better.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Tuna pasta bake with cheese and pepperoni

So initial recipe, something warm and filling for these chilly winter nights

Tuna pasta bake with cheese and pepperoni

Serves 4 to 6 people


1) 2.5 -> 3 cups of pasta (whatever floats your boat, I used twists)

2) One Jar pasta sauce (my personal fave is the jamie oliver stuff, as I don't have the space to make / store home made)

3) One can tuna in brine / water

4) Wafer thin pepperoni (I use the Dulano wafer thin stuff from LIDL but again whatever floats your boat)

5) Cheese (for the topping, I used about 150g or there abouts of mature cheddar)

6) Pepper (preferably fresh ground black) to taste and some mixed italian herbs


1) Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4

2) Boil a largish pot of water and add some salt (sea salt is best, but table/cooking salt will do)
3) Once boiling; add the pasta to the pot and stir, cook for 10 to 15 mins or until tender

4) While the pasta is cooking, open the tuna and drain off the brine / water and break it up with a fork or similar

5) Grate the cheese roughly (coarsely grated is what we are aiming for, fine grate makes it clump)

6) Drain the pasta and return to the pot

7) Add the tuna and the pasta sauce and mix well

8) Add some pepper and the herbs as per your preference (I'm kinda heavy handed in that respect) and stir some more

9) Place in a (preferably) ceramic oven dish and level it out

10) Shred some pepperoni using a knife or tear it up with your fingers and scatter over the pasta

11) Sprinkle the grated cheese over the pasta and pepperoni evenly

12) Add some more pepper to the top if you wish (yes I love the taste of pepper)

13) Place uncovered into the oven and bake for between 15 and 25 mins (depending on how brown you like the cheese)

14) Remove from the oven and let stand for a few mins (careful its hot)

15) Eat!

Here is what you hopefully should end up with
(yes I forgot the step by step photos I intended to take :-P and I used my cell phone camera rather than getting the "proper" digi cam...I was hungry!)