Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Bounty Slice

Yum yum, these should be called crack cakes .... they are addictive
You can use Mars or Snickers Bars if you like, they are equally yummy & addictive.

300g Bounty bars
50g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
150g rice krispies
200g milk chocolate
1 tbsp desiccated coconut, toasted (optional)

Chop the Bounty bars & place in a heatproof bowl with the butter & syrup over a pan of boiling water.  Heat until the mixture has melted.
Beat the butter, syrup & Bounty mixture until smooth.
Add the rice krispies & mix.
Place the mixture in a tin & smooth the top with a spoon, then leave to cool.
Melt the milk chocolate & pour on top of the bounty krispie mixture & sprinkle over the desiccated coconut.
Leave to cool & cut into slices.

Baked Cheese & Ham Bread Pudding

If you have a leftover loaf (not the fake sliced Hovis stuff please), this is a great way to use it up.  I made this for my bro & served it up alongside some of my yummy Dr Pepper Ribs.
The recipe is from one of my fave cookbooks Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros.

3 eggs
250ml milk
250ml pouring cream
freshly grated nutmeg
80g softened butter
1 loaf sliced 1cm thick, crusts removed
200g finely sliced ham or bacon
200g edam, grated
60g parmesan, grated

Preheat your oven to 180oC/Gas 4, & lightly butter a 30 x 20 5 cm ovenproof dish.
Whip the eggs in a bowl, then whisk in the milk & cream.  Season with nutmeg & salt.
Butter the bread slices on one side only.  Lay half of them, buttered side up, in the dish in a slightly overlapping layer.  Pour over half of the egg mixture & leave for five minutes for the bread to soak some of it up.
Layer half the ham over the bread & sprinkle with half the edam & parmesan.
Repeat the bread & butter layer then cover with the remaining egg mixture & the rest of the ham.  
Press down gently on the ham so some of the egg mixture leaks through, the finish off with the rest of the cheese.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden & crusty.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Beetroot & chocolate might sound like a strange combination, but it really works .... try this cake & you'll know exactly what I mean.
I came across this recipe on Joy the Baker's Blog, I used the cream cheese frosting in Joy's post, although I think a chocolate fudge icing would be delicious too.

Chorizo Empanadas & Guacamole

Mexican cornish pasties .... deepfried. Need I say more?

Rough Puff Pastry
100g plain flour
a pinch of salt
75g unsalted butter
50ml cold water

115g kidney beans
1/2 a red onion
50g chorizo
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp coriander
115g sweet corn
vegetable oil, for deep frying

1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsps coriander
1 avocado
1 lime
a pinch chili flakes
a slug olive oil
salt & pepper

Chop the red onion, garlic & chorizo & place in a frying pan over a medium heat, cook until the onions & garlic soften.
Put the beans, sweetcorn & chopped coriander into a bowl & add the softened onion & chorizo mixture, mix & leave to cool.

To make the rough puff pastry, mix together the flour & salt.  Cut the butter into 1cm pieces & toss them into the flour, so that they are coated.

Add the cold water and stir until the mixture comes together to form a dough.  Be careful not to overmix, you do not want the butter to melt into the pastry.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 10 x 30cm.  Fold the bottom third of the dough up over the middle section, and then fold the top third of the dough on top.  Turn the dough round 90 degrees, so that the folds are now at the side.  Cover and place the dough back into the fridge for 30 minutes.  Repeat the folding & rolling three more times, refrigerating inbetween.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface, using a 9cm cookie cutter, cut out circles, you should be able to get about 10 circles from the dough.

Place a teaspoon of the bean & chorizo mixture into the center of the dough circles, brush the edges with water, & bring up the edges, pressing them together to seal well.

Heat about 2cm of oil in a frying pan.  Cook the empanadas over a medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side, until the pastry is golden brown.

To make the guacamole, place all the ingredients into a blender & blend until smooth, season to taste.

A Pretty Chocolate Birthday Cake

I made this for my cousins Birthday.
It is made from a chocolate sponge, cut into three, sandwiched together with pink fluffy meringue buttercream icing & topped off with a chocolate buttercream & lots of sprinkles!

Chocolate sponge
75g dark chocolate
100g unsalted butter
100g dark brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
175g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
2 eggs
150ml milk

Pink meringue buttercream
4 egg whites
225g caster sugar
325g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a blob of pink food colouring (optional)

Chocolate buttercream
240 grams unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
300 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
 320 grams confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate sponge
Preheat the oven to 170oC.
Combine the chocolate with the sugar, butter & syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until everything is melted & mixed.  Allow to cool.
Sift the flour & cocoa powder into a large bowl, add the chocolate mixture  & carefully beat together.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition, then add the milk & mix well once more.
Spoon the mixture into a 20cm tin & bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until springy to touch.

Chocolate buttercream
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).

pink meringue buttercream
Place the egg whites & sugar in a saucepan & stir over a moderate heat until the mixture is hot & the sugar is dissolved.  Pour the mixture into a bowl & beat with an electric whisk for about 5 minutes, until very thick, it will hold it's shape once cooled.
Beat the butter into the meringue, about 50g at a time.  Once all of the butter is mixed, stop whisking.  If the mixture appears lumpy or curdled, warm the mixture slightly in the microwave & beat again until creamy.  Add the vanilla & food colouring.

Bakewell Tart

Bakewell & custard, bakewell & cream, bakewell warm, bakewell cold, bakewell for desert, bakewell for tea. 
This recipe is from Peyton & Byrne's British Baking, the recipe was one of the best I've come across, however I found the pastry so crumbly, I was unable to roll it without it breaking.  I added some cold water to the crumble mixture & kneaded it a little to bring it together, be careful not to over-knead your pastry, as it will become greasy & horrid.
I made a few changes to the recipe, as I personally like a stronger almond flavour, I added a teaspoon of almond extract to the frangipane. I also excluded the fresh raspberries, as they are no longer in season, so I upped the jam by 50g.

For the sweetcrust pastry
200g plain flour
85g unsalted butter
50g icing sugar
1 egg yolk

Frangipane filling
200g ground almonds
200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
1tsp almond extract
50g self raising flour

Raspberry jam filling
150g good quality seeded raspberry jam

50g flaked almonds
Icing sugar to finish

In a bowl cream the butter, then add the icing sugar, mix until light and fluffy. Add in the beaten egg yolk & flour, & enough cold water to bring the mixture together, knead until the mixture turns into a dough.  Wrap in cling film & place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Once the pastry has been rested, roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of 2mm.  Place the rolled pastry into a tart tin, & put back into the fridge for another half hour.

To make the frangipane, start by creaming the butter & caster sugar together until pale & fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Add the almond extract & then fold in the ground almonds & flour & mix until just incorporated.

Take the rested tart case out of the fridge & cover the base with the raspberry jam, next dollop the almond mixture over the jam, smooth the mixture all over making sure the mixture comes right up to the edges of the tart case.  Sprinkle the ground almonds on top of the frangipane.

Bake the tart for 30 minutes, & then cover with a piece of foil to stop the almonds burning & continue to bake for another 10 - 15 minutes.

Once cooled, sprinkle with lots of icing sugar.

Lemon Drizzle Loaf

The fam always asking for this cake, it is easy enough to whip up in the morning & serve it at tea time, still warm if your lucky.  
You can bake in a circular tin if you haven't got a loaf tin.
The recipe is from Peyton & Byrne's British Baking.

175g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
175g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
2 eggs
75ml milk
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

100g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3. Butter a 900g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
Beat the softened butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and whisk well until fully incorporated. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the milk. Sift the flour and baking powder together and gently fold into the mixture until well combined, but don't over mix
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level off the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. When the cake is completely cook, transfer to a serving plate.

Make the drizzle for the glaze by heating the caster sugar and the juice of the lemon in a heavy-bottomed pan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid becomes syrupy.
 Prick the top of the cake all over with a skewer and then pour the syrup over the top, letting it sink into the holes, to become absorbed by the cake, and drizzle down the sides. The cake will keep in an airtight tin for 3-4 days.

The BEST Sausage Rolls

Everyone loves sausage rolls right?  If you make these everyone will love you too.  
Please buy sausages from your butchers for these, supermarket ones just won't do the job.
The recipe can be found here on The Guardian's 'How to bake: hot crust sausage roll' by Dan Lepard.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Raspberry & Vanilla Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for my friend Chloe's hen weekend.  Pink, glitter, hearts & cake .... surely a combo that any girl would appreciate!
I bought ready made & coloured  icing, which I rolled out & cut heart shapes out of, I then sprayed the hearts with a little water & sprinkled some edible glitter over. 

110g butter
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
110g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream Icing
150g butter
300g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional filling
A few tablespoons of raspberry jam for the filling

Preheat the oven to 160oC
To make the cupcakes, mix all of the sponge ingredients together in a large bowl.
Put a spoonful of sponge mixture (around 50g) into a cupcake case.
Bake for around 20 minutes, or until springy when touched.
Leave to cool.

Beat together the butter, icing sugar & vanilla with an electric whisk until smooth & fluffy.  You may need to add a little milk if your icing appears too thick.
Place the icing into a piping bag.

If you are filling your cupcakes with jam, use a small round object (a small cosmetic bottle lid works well), or a knife to cut a round circle out of the top of the cupcake sponge.  If using a lid, push down into the surface of the sponge & twist a little, this should ease the sponge out from the centre & leave you with a small hole.
Put a couple of tablespoons of jam into a piping bag & pipe the jam into the holes.

Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cakes in a swirl shape.

Roll out the coloured icing using a little icing sugar to stop it from stick to your work surface, cut heart shapes out of the icing using a cookie cutter.  
Spray the heart shape pieces of icing with water & sprinkle over the glitter, leave to cool then place on top of the buttercream icing.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Coconut & Lime Cake

I find people either love or hate coconut, I love it.  I guess that's alright then ....
I tweaked this recipe a little, adding lime curd to the filling & drizzling the sponges with rum, well, you can't have coconut without rum, can you?
The recipe is from Peyton & Byrne & has been adapted from the coconut & raspberry fairy cakes, I just doubled the mixture & divided it into two 10" tins.

4 eggs
300g self-raising flour
60g desiccated coconut
120g natural yogurt

Coconut Icing
2 large eggs 
115g caster sugar
175g unsalted butter
50 ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170oC/gas 3
Grease & line two 10" tins

In a bowl cream the butter & sugar & sugar together until pale & fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Sift the flour into the creamed mixture & mix until all the flour is well incorporated.  Add the coconut & yogurt and mix just until incorporated.  Divide the mixture between two tins & bake for about 35 - 40 minutes until the cakes are springy to touch.
Turn out out the cakes onto a cooling rack.

Combine the egg whites & caster sugar in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water & whisk continuously by hand until the sugar has dissolved (about 8 - 10 minutes).  Test by rubbing a small amount between your fingertips; it should feel completely smooth, with no sugar grains.
When the sugar has dissolved & the syrup is warm to the touch, remove the bowl from the pan.
Using an electric had-held whisk, whisk for about 10 minutes until fluffy peaks form & the mixture has cooled (check by touching the bottom of the bowl).
The meringue needs to be completely cool before adding the butter.

Start by adding small lumps of the softened butter a little at a time, whisking well after each addition & scraping down the bowl from time to time.  The icing may appear to curdle & split  as you add the butter, but keep going & it will come back together again.
Gradually add the shaken coconut milk & the vanilla extract until everything is well incorporated & the icing is smooth.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Gluten-free Pecan Pie

First pecan pie I've made. Ever.  You don't have to make this gluten free, just make a normal sweet shortcrust pastry.  I must say, it was rather tasty.  Serve it warm with lashings of cream .....
The recipe is from Leon Baking & Puddings.

Serves 8 - 10

For the sweet pastry
150g butter
100g caster sugar
1 free-range egg, 1 yolk
270g gluten-free plain flour (I used Doves Farm)

For the Filling
50g butter
225g golden syrup
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 large free-range eggs
200g pecan nut halves

Cream together the butter & sugar until smooth.

Add the egg & egg yolk & mix until fully incorporated.  Add the flour & quickly bring it together in a ball.  Wrap the pastry in clingfilm & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Butter a 23-25cm fluted flan till.
Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to about 3-5mm thick & line your tart case with it.  
Trim the edges & chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 160oC/325oF/gas mark 3

Line the chilled pastry case with baking paper , & fill it with baking beans.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes then remove the baking beans.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Put the butter & golden syrup into a saucepan over a low heat.  When the mixture becomes runny, take it off the heat & whisk in the sugar.

In a bowl, whisk the cornflour & eggs until smooth then add it to the syrup & butter mixture.

Fill the pastry case with the pecan halves.  Pour the golden syrup mixture on top and fill it up to just below the edge of the case.  Put into the oven, making sure not to spill any liquid over the sides, this might make it difficult to remove from the tin once baked.

Bake for around 40 minutes, or until the tart is golden in colour & it has slightly risen in the middle.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Watermelon & Feta Salad

I don't like melon .... well, I didn't, until I made this little beaut of a salad.
It goes fantastically well with my Dr Pepper Ribs.

800g watermelon, chopped
 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
200g feta, crumbled 
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
micro herbs

Put the watermelon, feta & red onion into a bowl & toss.

Drizzle with the olive oil, lemon juice & some seasoning.

Garnish with the micro herbs.

Dr Pepper Ribs

Once you have made these ribs, you will never want to order ribs off a menu again .... they just won't compare.  Try them & you'll know what I'm talking about.  This recipe is from Delicious Magazine.

Serves 4 as a main

1.5kg British pork spare ribs
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 litres Dr Pepper
125g soft brown sugar
60ml maple syrup
125ml tomato ketchup
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
60 ml soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 160oC/fan140oC/gas 3.  Line 2 large roasting trays will foil.

Divide the ribs, star anise & cinnamon between the trays & pour 750ml of Dr Pepper into each tray.
Cover with more foil and roast for 90 minutes or until the meat is tender & cooked through.

For the glaze, put the remaining 500ml of Dr Pepper and the remaining ingredients into a pan & cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes until reduces by about half.  Stir the mixture throughout to avoid burning.

Remove the ribs from the oven & discard any cooking liquid in the tin.

Turn the oven up to 180oC/160oC/gas 4.  

Put the ribs on a roasting rack set over a tray, using a pastry brush, coat the ribs with the glaze.

Roast for 15 minutes, turn the ribs over & baste with more glaze.

Cook the ribs, turning and basting every 15 minutes for a further 30 - 45 minutes or until dark & sticky.