Wednesday, 24 November 2010

❩❩ new bananas

seems a while back ~
it was my first blog where I shared my banana teabread recipe:
still a favourite and great for using up those over ripe fruits:
then I ate a piece of banana bread with dried fruits at a friends ....
so here's a yum alternative:

banana, apricot and sultana bread

you will need ....
75g apricots ~ chopped
{I used a ready-to-eat variety as they are softsoft}
75g sultanas
100g softened butter
125g caster sugar
3 ripe bananas ~ mashed
200g self raising flour
2 eggs ~ beaten
grated zest of a lemon
set your oven to 160°c/ gas 3:
line and grease a 1kg loaf tin:

cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy:
gradually add in the beaten egg, a little at a time:
stir in the mashed bananas, lemon zest and dried fruits: 
fold in the flour:
and pile into your prepared tin:
bake for 55 minutes:
test for doneness by pressing a skewer into the centre:
if it comes out clean ~ it's done!

cool in the tin for a while, then turn onto a 
cooling rack:

deliciously moist and some of your five a day:
keeps in a cake tin for 3-4 days:

Saturday, 13 November 2010

ꈸ rocking it

there's something warm in receiving a handwritten recipe:
like a baton being passed on:
cakes we are so familiar with:
the stuff of childhood and family:
hopefully these staples of baking will
always be handed along:
I'm doing just that for you ....
{my tweaked version}

Rock Cakes

you will need ....

 90g plain flour
90g wholemeal flour
{or 180g plain flour}
85g cold unsalted butter
85g caster sugar
85g seedless raisins
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 generous pinch of cinnamon
an egg
a little milk

preheat your oven to 180°c/350°f/gas 4:
line some baking sheets with greaseproof paper:

in a large bowl, add the flours and give them a little stir 
 with a whisk, to de-lump:
{a little tip I picked up from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall}

add the sugar and butter cut into little pieces:
now rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it looks
like sandy rubble:

mix in the cinnamon, raisins and baking powder:
whisk the egg in a small bowl and add to the mix:

mix mix and add a little {and I mean a scant little}
 milk to bind it all together:
it should be dry & crumbly so don't worry!
pile rocky heaps onto your baking sheets:
leaving space for them to spread:
you should easily make 12 rocks:

bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown:
leave to cool slightly before putting onto a 
cooling rack:
these will keep for 3-4 days in a tin:
as if!
{these are delish with dried apricots, cranberries or blueberries:
swap the cinnamon for lemon/orange zest for a fruity hit}

Sunday, 10 October 2010

❤ because we're worth it

as Nigella makes a return to our tv screens,
I thought I'd look through her older books:
the language she uses to describe her dishes really make me smile:
she loves to add 'ness' to the end of words
and frankly anyone who can slip the word 'frangible' into a recipe
deserves a nod:
her cake recipes are my kind of baking:
delicious with legacy:
instead of cake, we felt like making biscuits for a change:
these are made in a food processor
and are the best you'll ever taste:

custard creams

you will need ....

{for the biscuits}
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tablespoons custard powder
3 tablespoons caster sugar
50g butter
50g vegetable shortening
1 egg
1 tablespoon of milk

{for the custard cream}
100g icing sugar
1 tablespoon custard powder
50g soft butter
1 teaspoon boiling water

preheat your oven to 180°c/ gas 4
put the flour, baking powder and custard powder
into your processor and pulse for a few seconds:
add the butter & vegetable shortening {cut into cubes} 
and pulse until it's a crumbly rubble:
add the sugar to mix and then the beaten egg:
add the tablespoon of milk a dribble at a time
and pulse until the mixture forms a ball:
{you may not need all the milk, or you may need more}
make your dough into a blob, wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes:
now roll out your dough to about 4mm thick:
I rolled mine between two pieces of clingfilm as the
dough is very crumbly: {less mess too!}
carefully cut out your biscuits and put onto your baking sheets:
remember to cut out an even number of shapes ^_^
bake for 15 minutes then leave them to cool on a rack:
when they are completely cool ....
make your custard cream:
put the icing sugar and custard powder into your processor
and pulse to get rid of any lumps:
add the butter to mix until you get a smooth cream:
then add the teaspoon of boiling water:
carefully smear this yummy yellow cream onto a biscuit
and sandwich on another:
keep in an airtight container if they last that long:
{makes at least a dozen, maybe more depending on the size of your cutter}

Friday, 1 October 2010

⸭ a cake for early Autumn

seasons change:
golden light and harvest:
cooler temperatures and fresh flavours:
so let's have a light fruity cake:

blueberry burst:

you will need ....
125g butter {room temperature}
100g caster sugar {plus an extra couple of tablespoonfuls}
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated rind of an unwaxed lemon
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
100ml milk
2 large eggs {yolks separated from the whites}
200g fresh blueberries

preheat your oven to 180°c / gas 4:
grease a 20 x 20cm baking tin:
in a large bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar 
until light and fluffy:
add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing good between each:
gradually add the milk, mixing well:
stir through the vanilla and lemon zest:

now beat your egg whites to a fluff:
gradually add a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar
until the whites are glossy peaks:
back to your main bowl again ....
using a spatula, tumble in your blueberries and mix softly:
fold in the flour, baking powder and salt:
now carefully fold in the egg whites:
turn into your prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes or so:
test for doneness:
leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares:
will keep for a few days, but remember this is fresh fruit, 
so keep in a cool place but not the fridge:
{this cake would be tasty with raspberry or blackberries}

Monday, 16 August 2010

☯ away with the cicadas

we've been on a summer break at Viveka:
a beautiful retreat and experience in France:
delicious and nutritious vegetarian dishes
were prepared for us by Joseph and Liz:
homegrown salads and freshly baked bread everyday:
Joseph baked bread in his grandfathers tins:
he told me his family have been bakers since
the 16th century:

I swapped this gorgeous cake recipe 
for an origami ball & a book:
it's so so light and tasty:
it's the best carrot cake you'll ever make:
thank you for sharing PapaJo

this is his hand written ingredients list:
but I forgot to ask the method!
so we here is our own version with halved measures:
it turned out just as good:

Coconut Carrot Cake

our method ~

you will need ....
*any teacup will do if you don't have a set of measuring ones*
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup of sunflower or corn oil
2 eggs
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
a heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup walnut pieces
a teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup grated carrot

preheat your oven to 180°c/ gas 4:
line and grease a 20cm cake tin:
mix the sugar and oil together in a large bowl:
lightly beat the eggs and add gradually to the sugar/oil:
grate the carrot, tip into the bowl and stir:
add a teaspoon of vanilla and a very generous spoonful
*or two* of cinnamon:
now weigh out all your dry ingredients ~
flour, salt, coconut, baking powder and walnut pieces:
add to your bowl, carefully turn and mix:
pile into your prepared baking tin and bake for 35 - 40 minutes
or until golden and springy to touch:
leave to cool:
slice and share:
one of your five a day!

Monday, 26 July 2010

︘ things that make you go mMm

a raid on my friend Nicola's allotment gave me some
gorgeous stems of rhubarb:
not so pink but smelling yum:
as there wasn't a huge amount I decided to make
a pot of jam:
now don't be scared:
it's easypeasy!

rhubarb, ginger & lemon jam

you will need:
equal amounts of trimmed rhubarb weight 
and jam sugar
*you need jam sugar as rhubarb is low in pectin,
the science bit that makes your jam set*
yes yes it looks like far too much sugar
but this is jam remember?!
a thumb of ginger ~ finely grated
one or two lemons ~ zest finely grated
*ginger and lemon to your taste

firstly sterilise your jars by cleaning them
thoroughly with hot soapy water:
rinse well then pour over boiling water and
put into a low oven to keep warm:
yes the lids too!

wash and dry your rhubarb then cut into 2cm pieces:
pile into a saucepan and add the sugar:
heat very gently and stir stir:
yep it looks dry and you think it's going to burn 
but stir and watch:
the rhubarb will release it's juices and the
sugar will start to melt:
now put two small plates into the freezer:
you will need these later:
when your jam starts to look more jam like ~
turn up the heat and let it roll and bubble for about 6 minutes:
keep stirring occasionally:
the rhubarb should be tender but still have shape:

add the ginger and lemon zest:
stir stir:

now take one of your plates from the freezer 
and drop a little of your jam onto it:
let it cool slightly then push with your finger to see if it's set 
enough for your liking:
if it isn't, then roll and bubble for a bit longer:
get your other plate and test again:

turn off the heat and add a small knob of butter:
this will take care of any bubbly bits on the top of your jam:
leave to cool slightly:
now pour into the warm jars:
some people like to put a waxed disc on the top, 
but as I only make small batches I don't bother:
ready to eat as soon as it's set:
summer in a jar:

Friday, 16 July 2010

※summer flavours

the brilliant thing about Summer = herbs:
there's nothing better than
being able to pop outside to pick some leaves 
to add to your dish:
I ❤ thyme as much as the bees do:
and this Nigel Slater recipe uses two of the
best Summer flavours:

thyme and lemon cake

you will need :
200g softened butter
200g caster sugar
100g plain flour
100g ground almonds
{if you have nut allergy then omit almonds and use 200g flour}
½ teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 lemon ~ zest
1 teaspoon thyme leaves

for the top:
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 lemons ~ juice
½ teaspoon thyme leaves

set your oven to 160°c/ gas 3:
line and grease a loaf tin:
cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy:
lightly beat the eggs and add to the mixture little by little:
{we put a smiley face on the eggs that need using up first}
grate the lemon zest into a bowl and add the thyme leaves:
pound together to release the flavours then add to the mix:
now sift in the flour and baking powder:
add the ground almonds and stir through:
pile into your tin and bake for
45 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly:

meanwhile ....
mix the sugar, lemon juice and thyme leaves together:
when your cake is ready and still hot 
pierce all over with a skewer and
drizzle on the sugar+lemon+thyme syrup:
leave to cool:

Monday, 5 July 2010

☼ summertime

when the sun is shining, there's nothing better than 
a light cake with a cup of lady grey tea:
my creative friend Jenny sent me this tasty recipe:
 I have swapped her vanilla for lemon:
and she is right ~ never fails and is always supermoist!
thanks for sharing Jenny:
hope you don't mind my tweak:

coco-lemon cake

you will need ....
170g self raising flour ~ sieved from way up high:
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder:
170g caster sugar:
170g softened butter:
30g desiccated coconut:
3 eggs:
the grated zest of a lemon:
{or half teaspoon of vanilla for Jens original recipe}
100ml milk:
preheat your oven to 170°c/ gas 3:
grease and line the bottom of two round cake tins:
put all the ingredients into a big bowl and whisk on full
power {or maximum elbow}
until well combined and the mixture
drops off the spoon easily:
divide between the two tins:
bake for 30 ~ 35 minutes, until brown and springy:
cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning out 
to cool on a rack:

meanwhile toast a few teaspoons of coconut
either in a dry frying pan or under the grill:
watch it though as it burns really easily:

coconut buttercream

you will need ....
100g icing sugar ~ sifted:
60g softened butter:
1 teaspoon desiccated coconut:
a spritz of lemon juice:
{or a drop of vanilla essence}

mix together well with a spoon:

now spread some raspberry or strawberry jam on one of your cakes:
then sandwich them together:
cover the top with the coconut buttercream:
sprinkle with toasted coconut: