Filo Pastry Mince Pies Bites

I don’t really post about it here, but I belong to Slimming World. I rejoined recently to eat healthily and mindfully.

Tonight we have a taster session, effectively a buffet full of healthy food designed to give you a pile of ideas for food to try at home.
After a bit of googling and checking of syn values I settled on Filo Pastry Mince Pies Bites. I bought a jar of Mincemeat from Waitrose which came in a 1 syn a TSP, and after playing round came up with a recipe.
These a 2 syns (or 40 calories) a bite/pie. They are really light, and more inspired by Mince Pies than anything but when your average Mince Pie can be 11 syns (220 calories) it’s a nice alternative.

Two Sheets of Filo Pastry.
Jar of Mincemeat
Egg (for binding and glazing)
Frylight (to grease)
Preheat the oven 180°C (mine is fan assisted) and spray a 12 hole cupcake tray with Frylight.
Lay out the two Filo pastry sheets, lengthwise ontop of each other. Cut in half, and half again.
Layer the pastry together and cut into thirds.
Lay out twelve squares of Filo on a clean counter top.
Crack and beat an egg, using now using a pastry brush, lightly brush egg into the centre of the pastry.
Add the second piece of Filo ontop of the twelve squares, in a star type pattern. Add a level teaspoon of Mincemeat to each Filo star.
Fold one corner of the pastry in over the Mincemeat, level out if needed. Using he pastry brush egg wash each section of pastry before folding another section ontop. Repeat until folded into a parcel.
Place each Filo bite into a hole in the cupcake tray, and add an egg glaze ontop of each.

Bake on on 180°C for 10 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack to cool.


(These are family approved, I left these on the cake plate Sunday evening and by Monday when I got home from work they had all been eaten.)

Triple Chocolate Brownies Recipe

Brownies are my ultimate sweet treat.
They are chocolatey, gooey whilst holding thier shape. I’ve been making them for about five years now, and they are the perfect treat for a birthday gift or dinner party.
The bake time is really important with brownies. Overcook them and they turn to dry biscuits, undercook them and they won’t hold thier shape.
If you have self control, they also freeze well. I’ll often freeze half the batch either for later or a specific occasion.

I’ve spent the last week baking, and am on my third tray of these, and I wanted to share my recipe;

185g unsalted butter
185g dark chocolate (broken into chunks)
250g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
65g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate (chopped small)
50g milk chocolate (chopped small)
50g Fudge (chopped small)
Preheat the oven to 160°c, and line your tin.
Before starting cooking weigh everything out, and read the recipe twice.
Start by melting the chocolate . I do this in a microwave in15-20 second intervals, but you could also use the Baine Marie method. Be careful the chocolate doesn’t burn, by stirring and checking. Once the chocolate has melted start incorporating the butter, add it gradually and keep stirring. Heat it gently with the same method as the chocolate if needs be. Once melted together leave to cool.
Next the most time consuming step, creaming the eggs and sugar. Use an electric mixer, on the highest setting for 7-10 minutes, or until the mixture has got fluffy and light.
Once the egg mixture is ready, fold in the cooled chocolate butter.
Next sift in the cocoa/flour, and fold until combined. Add in half the chopped chocolate and fudge.
Pour the batter into a tin, and add the final fudge and chocolate chunks. Prod them into the batter.
Put the brownie mix into the oven for 30-35 minutes. If you want to take the bake out earlier to tell if it’s done, give the bake a light shake bake and forth. There will be some movement but it should still hold together.
Once done, put in the side to cool in the tin. Its best to leave it 3+ hours (or overnight) as the brownie is very dense and takes a while to cool fully.

Peanut butter and Nutella; as 50 g of melted Peanut Butter to the butter/sugar mix. Substitute 50g of Nutella with dark chocolate to the chocolate butter. At the end, melt together another 50g of peanut butter and Nutella and mix this through the tip of the bake.
Caramel; add small measures of caramel evenly across the lined tin before adding the batter. Add the batter ontop of the caramel in the tin and ad 100g of melted caramel across the top of the bake.
Creme Egg; follow the recipe above and 15 minutes from the end of the bake remove the brownie batter from the oven and add mini creme eggs into the par cooked batter. Add to the oven for the last 15 minutes.

Barbican Blogger Night; Cocktails, Pizza and Cinema

A little while ago, the The Barbican Leisure Park invited a few bloggers on a night out.

I’ve been visiting the Leisure Park since I got a Saturday job as a teenager. It was the venue for my first date, and many, many subsequent dates. It’s where I first discovered Cheesy Bites, and that I am terrible at bowling.

It’s the only place I feel completely, unhesitatingly confident driving as I know the route so well.

Accepting that invite was an easy yes.

We started off at Pizza Express, where there were cocktails and doughballs (and olives, and sun-dried tomatoes and all sorts of incredible things).

We got to sample the new drinks menu, with a light Tails Cocktail as a welcome drink. Espresso Martini’s are an easy favourite any time, and Pizza Express’ addition of vanilla added a sweet edge to the cocktail.

At Bella Italia, we shared some of the new menu options family style. Carbonara, Marinara pasata, Pollo Piccante pizza and a couple delicious vegan options with the both a pizza (i can’t find the name of), and a spaghetti in a lentil ragu.

The pizza was my first time trying Vegan cheese and there was no, noteable difference, i really enjoyed it.

We then split off into smaller groups, a few of the bloggers went to see A Simple Favor (Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick👌), a couple made their way home and Nicole and I went to see Venom.

Avoiding spoilers, it was as fun as the trailers made it look.

We were lucky enough to be treated to the evening, but a trip to the cinema is one of my favourite things to do with Matt, family or friends.

It’s one of the better things about the cooler months, in the last couple weeks I’ve been to see First Man, and Bohemian Rhapsody.Mow just to tick A Star is Born off the watch list…

I’ve added a little highlights section on my Instagram from the evening if you fancy a gander.