Cooking With Charl

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

Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling (a mary berry adaptation)


I absolutley love carrot cake, but its something i rarely bake myself as i can never get my cream cheese frosting just right, but i came across these little lovelys in the new good food magazine. originally from a feature on Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief by Mary Berry.

Now im not one to ever tamper with any of Marys recipes but i struggled with the ingredient ‘shredded bran cereal’ that she uses, as this could be a number of things, and we are not ceareal eaters in the house, and i wanted to make these quickly so i subsituted for porridge oats which i love in muffins anyway, so really this was nothing more than an experiment, which thankfully worked in my favor 🙂


(makes 12)

For the filling

  • 150g cream cheese
  • grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

For the muffins,

  • 50g porridge oats
  • 225ml milk
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 150g grated carrot
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 200g self raising flour (if using plain flour add 2 tsps baking powder, 3 in total)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil


  • Preheat the oven to 220c/gm7, place 12 muffin cases in muffin tins and set aside.
  • Place porridge oats in a bowl, cover with the milk and add the zest of half an orange, leave to sit for 5 mins.
  • In a large bowl add the light brown sugar, carrots and the porridge mixture and give it a good mix.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into the bowl but DO NOT MIX.
  • Break the eggs into a measuring jug with the oil and mix together until the eggs are properly broken up. Add this to the large mixing bowl and combine everything together.
  • Mix together the cream cheese, caster sugar and 1/2 orange zest in a small bowl and set aside.
  • With a tablespoon place a dollop of the batter in each muffin case, making sure to cover the bottom of the case, then add a teaspoon of the cream cheese filling in the centre of each muffin.
  • Use the rest of the batter to spoon over the filling making sure all cakes are evenly filled.
  • Bake in the over for 15-20 mins until the cakes spring back when touched and are golden brown in colour.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack and eat within 1 day.



I was quite impressed with my experiment and I think the porridge gives the cakes a nice texture 🙂 and after having friends over there are only 2 left!

If you want the original recipe you can find it through the Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief’s website.

Happy baking 🙂


chipotle chicken stew :)

My recipe kindly stolen by my boyfriend 🙂



Paleo Mexican Chicken Stew

Per serving aim:
36.8g protein
21g carbs (8.4g of sugars max)
21g fat
6g fiber
420 cals

Per serving actual:
39g protein
18g carbs (14g of sugar)
12g fat
4g fiber
381 cals


4 Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets (480g)
2 Red Onions
3 Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped
1 Tsp Chipotle Paste
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cans (400g each) chopped tomatoes
Few coriander leaves

Serves: 3


Heat oil in medium pan, add chopped onion (say 2/3rds) and cook for 5 minutes until softened and starting to turn golden, adding garlic in the final minute. Stir in chipotle paste and tomatoes. Add the chiciken and spoon over the sauce, simmer gently for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked.
Remove the chicken and shred with 2 forks, then stir back into the sauce. Scatter with red onion and coriander. Serve with the remaining onion and tortillas or rice.

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more new recipes…

My boyfriend is currently on a weight loss mission and has been keeping track and posting what he is eating online, as most of what he eats i cook, i thought i may as well repost the recipes and reclaim them 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂

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Basic pasta recipe

So this is my basic pasta recipe, from this you can make all sorts such as lasagne sheets, tagliatelle, ravioli just to name a few! I will follow up with other recipes that use this as a starter. Pasta has become my favourite thing to make in the kitchen, I find it quite relaxing and very rewarding.

Although pasta is cheap to buy, I think it’s worth the effort to make it from scratch. If your like me, eggs, ’00’flour and olive oil are store cupboard ingredients and therefore pasta is always a dinner option 🙂

I love my pasta machine but it is possible to make pasta without one you just need to master rolling it out as thinly as possible. Although pasta machines you can now pick up for around £10 and are well worth the investment.


As a rule 100g ’00’flour to 1 medium egg.

100g ’00’flour per person
2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Place flour in a mixing bowl, and make a well in the centre.
  • Add the egg and oil and gradually start to mix together from the middle outwards with a fork.
  • When dough starts to bind together start to work with your hands.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed the dough for around 5-10 mins until the dough begins to look smooth.
  • Refrigerate for 20 mins.



  • Flatten the dough out with your hands and if making a large amount divide the dough into smaller portions as its easier to work with.
  • Set your pasta machine to its thickest setting and roll through once


  • Fold the dough 2/3 of the way over and again with the other side to create a rectangle (as shown)



  • Keep the machine on thickest setting and roll the dough through again and repeat the folding process 3 times.
  • When the dough has been rolled through 3x on thickest setting, gradually start to decrease the thickness setting rolling the dough through once on each notch.



  • Keep dough well floured to avoid sticking!


My pasta machine runs from 1-9 (1 being the thickest)

For lasagne sheets, tagliatelle, spaghetti, pappardelle – setting 7

For ravioli -9


I will follow up with more recipes that use this pasta technique soon 🙂


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This is my ‘better late than never’ gingerbread recipe. It featured in my christmas post, which shows the shortbread and gingerbread star cookies I gave as gifts for Christmas. Although gingerbread is traditionally a christmas thing, it’s good all year round, and ginger is fantastic for settling a funny tummy!

You will need

350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g butter
175g light soft brown sugar
1 egg
4 tbsp golden syrup


  • Place flour, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon into a food processor, add the butter and mix until the mix looks like breadcrumbs.
  • If you don’t have a food processor rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Mix the egg and golden syrup together and add to the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Mix either by hand or in a processor until the mixture clumps together into a ball.
  • Knead the mixture to bring it all together and form a ball, refrigerate for around 20 mins.
  • Roll out the dough and cut whatever shapes you like! I like to make small stars as they are good as gifts and great for the biscuit tin!
  • Traditionally, people like to cut men out of the dough, which is great for children to decorate!
  • Preheat the oven to 180c/gm 4 and grease baking trays, greaseproof paper always works best 🙂
  • Place cut out shapes on the baking trays and place in the fridge for 30 mins (this helps maintain the shape when cooking).
  • Bake in the oven for 10-12 mins for stars and 12-15 for gingerbread men.
  • When baked, the cookies should be slightly darker in colour and may still be a little soft but will harden when cooling.
  • When cooled decorate however you wish 🙂


I hope this recipe inspires you to make gingerbread whatever time if year!

Happy baking 🙂

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Cupcakes (basic recipe)

This recipe is especially for my friend Ali , she likes to bake but always cheats with cake mixes! (Much to my disgust! Lol) I’ve told her how easy it is to make cupcakes from scratch and thought I’d post it on here for others to have a look 🙂

This recipe can easily be doubled or used as a basic Victoria sponge recipe if divided between 2 shallow cake tins.

You will need

(Makes 6 large cupcakes)

110g self raising flour ( for plain flour add 2 tsp baking powder)
100g unsalted softened butter
100g caster sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
2tbsp milk


There are so many techniques that people use for sponge, I find the all in one method works well for a basic sponge. I have included 2 techniques in this recipe 🙂

The ‘all in one’ method

  • Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer until well combined

The creaming method

  • Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until light and creamy.
  • Gradually mix in the egg and vanilla.
  • Fold in the flour (and baking powder if using plain flour) a little at a time.
  • When mixture seems to appear stiff add the milk and then continue to add the flour.


Separate into 6 muffin cases and bake in a preheated oven at 180c gm4 for 15-20 mins until cakes spring back when touched.



150g butter
300g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp milk

Whisk all ingredients together until light and fluffy, start slowly making sure icing sugar doesn’t fly everywhere.

Using a star shaped nozzle, fill a piping bag with the buttercream frosting and pipe swirls on top on cooled cupcakes starting from the outside working into the middle.


I will be doing separate posts for other cupcakes as I tend to bake a few different types, these are just 2 of my favourite recipes that I bake. You can get many different decorations now from the supermarket such as stars, silver balls, glitter etc which make a simple cake look special! Fantastic given as a gift 🙂

Vanilla chocolate marble cupcakes (picture)

  • Make cupcake batter as normal, when well combined split the mixture into two equal portions and mix 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder into one half.
  • One teaspoon at a time, fill the cupcake cases with alternate chocolate and vanilla batter until 3/4 full.
  • Take a teaspoon handle and gently swirl the 2 mixtures together in the cases, careful not to over mix.
  • Bake as normal 180c gm 4 for 15-20 mins
  • For the chocolate frosting I just add a teaspoon of cocoa powder into the basic buttercream frosting.

Sticky jam cupcakes

  • Make basic cupcake batter.
  • Put 2 teaspoons of batter in each cupcake case and make a small dip in the middle.
  • Place a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each cupcake and then continue to fill with remaining batter.
  • Bake as normal 180c gm4 for 15-20 mins, when cool decorate with buttercream frosting
  • As I say this is my fool proof cupcake recipe that I always fall back on, and once you’ve mastered this you can become quite inventive with flavours and frostings.

Happy baking 🙂

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Chilli con carne/chilli beef tacos winter warmer :)

It’s the start of the year, it’s cold, dark and depressing! So I decided to make some chilli to warm everyone up! This recipe doubles as chilli beef tacos all you need to do is reduce it longer to create a thicker sauce. (Also, I leave out the beans for tacos!)

You will need

500g lean mince beef
2 cans plum tomatoes
2 beef stock cubes
4 onions
4 garlic cloves
1tsp ground corriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2tsp ground chilli powder
2tsp smoked paprika
1tsp paprika
2tsp mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
Can of red kidney beans (chilli con carne version)

To serve
Plain boiled rice (90g rice per person)
12 taco shells


  • Brown the mince in a hot saucepan, no oil needed, tip away any excess fat.
  • Add chopped onions and garlic, I like to use a garlic crusher, it saves so much time in the kitchen as you don’t need to peel the garlic! Just pop it in and crush! It’s my ‘can’t live without’ kitchen tool.


  • Next, add the beef stock cubes and all of the dry herbs and spices and mix well over heat for 1-2 minutes, careful not to burn the spices!


  • Lastly add the plum tomatoes and a can of water, break up the tomatoes in the pan with a wooden spoon, leave to simmer for at least an hour.


For chilli

  • Add the kidney beans after the tomatoes and water and leave to simmer in the sauce.
  • For me, I usually simmer for around 1 hour to create a nice ooozy sauce to pour over hot rice

For tacos

  • Leave the beans out if the mix, and simmer for around 1 1/2 hours until the sauce is almost dry, being careful not to burn it!
  • Serve in warm taco shells with lettuce and cheese 🙂




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