Tag Archives: cooking
Don’t worry my fellow readers, i will be back soon and will have a new cake for you next week, a very special cake indeed!
I wanted to make a nice simple afternoon cake, so i decided to go for a fresh and light tasting apple cake, using Greek yoghurt to add to the lightness of the sponge, a perfect accompaniment for Mothering Sunday.
What You Need:
3 Large Granny Smith Apples peeled and chopped into cubes, 25ml Apricot Brandy, 300g Greek yoghurt (I used Total), 4 eggs, 1 and a quarter teasp of baking powder, 225g caster sugar, 400g plain flour, 125ml olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 180c.
First add the eggs and sugar to a bowl and whisk until combined, then add in the yoghurt, brandy and oil until you have a lovely runny batter. To the mixture then add the sieved flour and baking powder, mixing to form a thick luscious cake mixture. Finally fold in the the chopped apple, place in a greased 9” cake tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes. When done leave to cool, i drizzled over some left over cream cheese frosting.
This month I decided to try the famous cupcake bakery which is in London and New York. The book is a joy to look at with delicious pictures and easy to follow instructions. I wanted to try the Key Lime Pie, as this is something I have never tried before and is not a popular treat in the UK, but is a traditional american dessert, naked after the Florida grown lime .also i had loads of limes left over from christmas (^-^) . I suppose a key lime pie is a cross between a cheesecake and a lemon meringue pie.
The natural green filing and the crunchy biscuit crust really compliment well, topped with fluffy meringue, or cream . I will definitely try this again as it is so easy to make, does not take much time and I think will suit well for summer BBQs and parties. The book helped me perfect my biscuit crust skill which before was hit and miss. You can find the book in all good bookstores, i got mine for christmas. Yum .
Decembers ‘Cook of the Month’ comes form the cookery book ‘The French Kitchen’ (2002, Doubleday, London) , by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde. Harris is also the author of Chocolat, so if you have read the book you can imagine how scrumptious and inviting the recipes, language and photos are. This book also does not disappoint with a chocolate section. The one recipe that did stand out for me was a Blueberry Tart, which in the book looks like it came straight out of boulangerie.
So i went and picked up some fresh blueberries from the city market yesterday. I would of had more blueberries in the tart if someone in the night didn’t eat them! But anyway, there was enough for what I want to do. What is great about this recipe is that so far this is the best pastry I have ever tried to make, Pâte Brisée. This is a nice light, buttery and flakey pastry which was so easy to work with, roll and bake.
The recipe was easy to follow but it can also be adapted for season and taste. This would be great to substitute the blueberries with blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries or even strawberries. I will also be using the Pâte Brisée recipe again for the future. You can find the recipe here or buy the book (it’s worth it). In the end it tasted great, was easy to make and I learnt something new… a perfect ‘Cook of the Month’.
“Serve cold, if you can wait.” (^-^)
I remember eating cherries in cakes when I was young so a nostalgic throwback recipe was perfect on a very wet, cold and windy day in Cambridge. Simple and sweet, nice with a cup of tea.
What You Need:
500g self raising flour, 4 eggs, 150g butter, 230g caster sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 rind of orange, 2 drops of almond essence, 100g glace cherries, 250ml milk. (Makes 12 muffins)
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Take a small bowl and melt the butter. Now add to the melted butter the eggs, milk and almond extract. Whisk until light and frothy. In a separate mixing bowl add the rest of the ingredients, including the cherries roughly chopped. Mix together the dry ingredients and then make a well in the centre and add the butter batter. Beat vigourously trapping the air for 5mins. Spoon the mixture into cases and bake for 20-30mins. Cool and the eat!
Recently I bought an old recipe book off ebay for 50p, which I thought was a bargain. To my surprise inside someone had left their newspaper cut outs of Christmas Cake recipes. This included recipes on how make American frosting, almond paste, royal icing and rich fruit sponge. I wanted to share my find with you. I am unsure of the age of the second, but recipes both were published in the Daily Telegraph, and the first is from the 1940s, as on the back it talks about the premiere of Gone With The Wind in Leicester Square, London. The movie was released here in 1940 and ran for 4 years during The Blitz, bombing of London during WWII. This year we are having the christmas cake made as a present so i wont be trying the recipes out yet, but feel free to have a go and show me the results (^-^)
Overly indulgent, vintage delight.
There is nothing more yummy than a house full with the smell of freshly baked bread. The best thing about your own bread is that you have created it yourself, you know what’s in it and a feeling of accomplishment. Bread is one of my biggest vices, I remember when I was a student in Manchester there was a really great German bakery nearby and I would go there a buy a different type of bread each time and make a big chunky soup. However the bread was so delicious on many occasions I would seem to eat the whole loaf in one sitting (^-^)
What You need:
15g yeast, 570g wholemeal flour, 600ml warm water, 2 tablespoons of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar.
First place your flour in a container in the oven on a low heat for 5 minutes and let it warm up. Prepare your yeast if it is a dried yeast at this time. Now take the warm flour and add it to a mixing bowl, stir in the sugar and the salt evenly and then the yeast, followed by the water. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined well and transfer onto a floured surface. Spread the dough into a rectangle and then fold one side into the centre and the other side over. Now in a lightly oiled loaf tin place the dough inside and press down around the edges and then dust with flour. Cover over the loaf with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 40mins.
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Once the dough has risen, place the loaf tin on the middle tray of the oven and bake for 40mins. Then turn out the bread and place back into the oven for 5 minutes upside down to crisp up the bottom and the sides. Cool on a rack and the serve.
Lashings of butter.
In winter the most wonderful thing is Cranberries, rich in colour and flavour, bitter yet sweet perfect for desserts and savoury dishes. What I love is a brie sandwich with a generous spread of cranberry jam. This is a very simple recipe you can find in many different cookbooks.
What You Need:
300g Fresh Cranberries, 300g Caster Sugar
Simple simmer the ingredients in a pan until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat and boil for around 5 minutes or until jam consistency (105c). Jar straight away into a recycled sterilised jar and seal.
For you or as a gift.
Anything with mint is a winner for me and this jelly sauce is no exception. The combination of apple and mint gives the bitter sweet taste , you can use with roast pork and lamb, an ideal compliment for your Sunday dinner.
What you Need:
8 small apples (granny smith are good especially apples with pinkish skin for colour), 450g sugar, 2 tablespoons liquid pectin, 30g fresh mint (roughly chopped), 1 juice of lemon.
First quarter the apples and add to a large saucepan, fill the pan with enough water to cover the apples and add the mint and lemon juice. Bring this mixture to the boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Take off the heat and cool. After, drain the liquid from the apples and set aside. With a potato masher lightly mash the apple mint mixture and pour the puree into a sieve over a large bowl. With the back of a spoon push and mush the apple in the sieve to extract the juice and fine pulp, be patient you will find after a while you will have got quite a lot out of the mixture. Once you have extracted as much as you can discard the mush left overs, and take the strained juice/pulp and pour into a measuring jug and then top up with the cooking juice, to 1 pint.
Take the 1 pint of mixture and add to a clean saucepan and mix in the sugar. On a low heat stir until all the sugar has dissolved, now add the pectin. Turn up the heat and rapidly boil the mixture for 15mins, once the jelly has done it should have reached the temperature of 105C. Take off the heat and pour into a recycled sterilised jar, seal straight away, cool at room temperature and then chill. Do not worry if your mixture is liquidly when you add it to the jar because as it cools it will set.