I am often impatient when it comes to cooking, and love bakes that can be created quickly and easily. When I crave a flavour or a particular bake, I try to have a few shortcuts up my sleeve to achieve them more quickly than usual. Crave is a book all about this phenomenon, containing some ‘instant’ recipes that can be made in less than 20 minutes, ranging to recipes that are worth waiting for.
I’ve gone one step further, simplifying my recipes even more so that when you get a little peckish in the advert breaks, you can nip into your kitchen and whip up some treats!
I’ve joined forces with British Gas to create bakes that are not only super fast, but use so much less energy than regular bakes too, shown by my smart energy monitor connected to my smart meter. I care deeply about the environment and changing climates and the effect this has on people across the globe, which is why I work with Tearfund, so this is a small step in the right direction. Ready in just a few minutes, these recipes also use energy-efficient methods to encourage smarter baking, such as using the microwave rather than the oven, only filling the kettle with the exact amount of water needed, and using a bit of elbow grease instead of the food processor.
Here are 4 of my favourite quick-fix recipes that you can knock up instead of watching the ad breaks. Try them for yourself in the next ad break and share photos of your creations with me on social using #adbakes!
Peanut butter truffles
Adapted from Twist
Makes 10 tasty truffles
1 tbsp (15g) butter
50g smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
50g icing sugar
1. Pulse together the butter and peanut butter in a food processor until they are well combined.
2. Add in both of the sugars and pulse again until the mix starts to clump together - it will be quite crumbly.
3. Roll the mixture between your hands into small evenly shaped balls and place onto a baking tray. You can shape all the mixture now, or make a few truffles and save the rest to shape later.
4. Put the chocolate in a heatproof piping bag and melt in the microwave, then drizzle the truffles with the melted chocolate.
5. Eat immediately or chill and enjoy later – they’re great for giving as gifts!
Energy saving top tip: Use the microwave to melt the chocolate, rather than a saucepan on the hob – it’s quicker and uses less energy.
Lemon and pistachio cheesecake pots
Adapted from Crave
Ingredients for the base:
4 digestive biscuits
40g pistachio nuts + extra to decorate
Ingredients for the cheesecake:
200g full-fat cream cheese
½ lemon, juice and zest
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon curd
1. Melt the butter in the microwave for around ten seconds.
2. Crush the biscuits in a sealed baguntil they are finely ground, then add the pistachios and roughly crush.
3. Add the butter and stir through the crushed biscuits, then divide the mixture into two small glasses, pressing it down to create an even layer.
4. Beat the cream cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar together in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth.
5. Stir through half the lemon zest, saving the rest for decoration.
6. Add a layer of the cream cheese mixture and then lemon curd alternately on top of the biscuit base, finishing with a spoonful of cheesecake.
7. Top with the remaining lemon zest and a few chopped pistachio nuts – and enjoy!
Energy saving top tip: Melt the butter in the microwave instead of on the hob for half the energy use. For even more energy saving, crush the biscuits and pistachios by hand using a handy rolling pin rather than the food processor – you’ll burn some calories too!
Martha’s microwave brownie
Adapted from Twist
2 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp chocolate chips
Whipped cream and chocolate shavings, to decorate
1. In a small bowl, mix together the butter and both types of sugar.
2. Microwave for one minute, stirring halfway through – the sugar and butter will start to melt together.
3. Leave the sugar to cool for a minute, then beat in the cocoa powder followed by the egg.
4. Fold in the flour gently - you want to avoid developing too much gluten, which would make it rise too much and take on a tougher texture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Divide the mixture between two ramekins – you can refrigerate this and microwave later on for a midnight snack.
6. Microwave for a further 30-45 seconds - it will rise and fall a little while cooking and it should still be slightly gooey when done.
7. Serve with a big dollop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings, and then get stuck in with a spoon!
Energy saving top tip: Make sure to only use the microwave for a short time to keep your brownie nice and gooey – you’ll save energy and avoid over-baking.
Coconut and lime teacup pudding
Adapted from Crave
50g butter at room temperature
50g self-raising flour
50g caster sugar
25ml coconut milk
½ lime, zest and juice
25g granulated sugar
1. Grease two porcelain teacups or ramekins with plenty of butter and set to one side.
2. In a small bowl, beat together the butter, flour, caster sugar and egg until they resemble a smooth, thick batter.
3. Fold through the lime zest and divide the mixture between two teacups.
4. Mix together the coconut milk, lime juice and granulated sugar in a small jug.
5. Pour this mixture over the top of the two puddings so the top is covered in liquid.
6. Save the cost of heating up your oven and cook in the microwave on full power for two minutes until the cake is risen and the top is springy – it’s quicker and far more energy efficient.
7. Allow to cool for a minute or two before turning out onto a plate or enjoying straight from the cup.
Energy saving top tip: Forget the ten-minute technical, pop your brownie mix in the microwave instead of the oven for a fraction of the time and energy.
To find out more about energy efficiency in the kitchen, take a look at British Gas’ tips here