Cooking With Charl

Amateur home cook, with a love for baking and all things garlic :)

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

After having a really busy day at work and a boring night ahead, what else was I going to do but bake? So I thought is share with you a picture of my manic kitchen full of biscuits, 345 to be exact! Now I just need someone to eat them all! Gift bags at the ready 🙂

(Gingerbread recipe will follow!)

Merry Christmas 🙂



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Waiting patiently

Was browsing through old photos and came across this delightful picture of one of my friends dogs, yoshi waiting on my mat in the kitchen for the latest bake 🙂 he’s always sniffing around for treats and always appreciates all the cooking that goes on in our home whenever he comes round!


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My Christmas Shortbread

This year I have decided to make little shortbread gifts for friends and family for Christmas, I have already made 2 batches and they don’t stay around for long! They are super easy to make and the recipe can be easily doubled.

Makes around 60 stars

  • – 170g plain flour
  • – 70g sugar
  • – 120g butter


  • – If using a food processor mix all ingredients together until well combined and starts to create a ball.
  • – If the butter is cold it will form a breadcrumb like texture, if you tip this out onto a clean working surface and start to work it together, the heat from your hand will help soften the butter and form a ball.
  • – If you do not own a food processor rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips, when well combined add the sugar and repeat step 2.
  • – Flour a clean work surface and roll out the dough to around 1/2 cm thickness for crisp biscuits.
  • – You can then cut the shortbread into any shape you like, I like to use a small star cutter as it works great for guests or packaging up for little gifts! (cutter from wilkinsons)


  • – Cut out your stars and place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Any left over dough form back together with your hands, roll out and cut more stars!!
  • – When all stars are cut, places baking trays into the fridge and chill for 30 mins.
  • – Preheat oven to gm4/160 fan/ and bake for 10-12 mins.
  • – When cooked the shortbread will start to bubble on top, and be a very light golden brown.
  • – When ready leave to cool on the tray as the biscuits will be quite soft still (they will harden as they cool)
  • – Remove and place on a wire cooling rack and sprinkle with sugar while still warm.


I have some cute little bags I like to put these in to give to people at Christmas. These polythene bags are easily found online.


I always make more for the biscuit tin! Not that I get many, everyone gets to them before I do 😦

I hope you like my recipe 🙂
Merry Christmas!!!!


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Tomato Bruschetta


Starting off simple,

I came across these lovely looking tomatoes and couldn’t resist! These various tomatoes can be quite difficult to find and ordinary red salad tomatoes or cherry tomatoes work just as well but does not deliver the vibrant burst of colour, I found mine on the off chance whilst wondering around lidl! They are slightly more expensive than standard tomatoes but definitely worth a try, my personal favorites are the ones that look like little watermelons 🙂

This dish looks and is very simple but Ive learnt a few tricks that make it that little bit special!

  • Firstly get your hands on some ciabatta bread, I like to use the indiviual ones. Cut in half length ways and drizzle all sides with olive oil.
  • Heat up a griddle pan until smoking hot and place the ciabatta soft side up straight onto the bars.
  • Whilst ciabatta is toasting, cut tomatoes into various shapes, (i like it to look quite rustic!) and place in a bowl, add, a few chopped basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • If using standard salad tomatoes my advice would be to peel them, to do this boil the kettle and score the underside of the tomaotes with a cross (not the end that attactched to the vine) place in a bowl and cover them in boiling water, leave for 2-4 mins then blast them in cold water to stop the cooking process. Now the outer skin should just peel straight off.
  • Keep an eye on the ciabatta turning once, you want nice bar marks on the bread but be careful not to burn it!
  • Once ciabatta is toasted on both sides take off the heat. Take a garlic clove, cut the end off and rub the garlic over the hot toasted bread, this makes the world of difference and I NEVER leave this step out!
  • Finally spoon over the tomatoes and drizzle and juices and oil left over in the bowl over the bruschetta.

As I said this is a very simple dish to create and its what I love to eat as a snack, if your as mad on garlic as I am then you can crush half a clove directly into the tomatoes when seasoning for an extra garlicky hit!

I hope you enjoy my first proper post 🙂



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Welcome to Cooking With Charl :)

Welcome to Cooking With Charl,

I decided to start a home cooking/baking blog, as I spend all my free time in the kitchen and when looking for new recipes I have found quite a few blogs very helpful so I thought I could return the favour!

Hopefully I will inspire others to get in the kitchen and get creative!

I have been cooking from an early age helping mom out and creating a mess! Since then, cooking is my one and only hobby, I do a lot of general home cooking for me and the other half and for for friends, but my passion is baking! I plan to share all sorts of recipes that I have tried and tested, along with adaptations of my own.

I hope you enjoy reading this!


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