Monday, 31 December 2012

A new challenge

New years eve 2012, my parents and I sat down to watch Julie and Julia it seemed like the perfect film to watch at the end of my baking year. This being the first film my mum has watched this year and it also showing my dad that I am not the only person to get huffy whilst baking (hopefully he will learn for next time, not to poke the bear!). Anyway as we ring in the new year in England after having a brilliant 2012 it seems only appropriate to tell you what my next challenge will be.

I love baking, but I love cooking just as much, in fact at one point in my life I had a serious plan to become a chef. After two days of work experience in a 5* hotel I realised that I could not cut the pressure. And so cooking went back to being a hobby, a way to relax after a long day at university, to help me relax after an argument, or just to let me show my creative side. Anyway, I wanted to have a new challenge, something just as fun but also difficult, because what is life without the odd struggle? So here it is, my next challenge: To create a new recipe each week. It could be baked, boiled, fried, roasted, smoked or steamed, it just has to come out of my head and onto a plate. 

So here is to 2013... a year of creating new things (and playing with my new Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer)!


52 Bakes in 52 Weeks.

52 bakes in 52 weeks. That was the plan. The whole reason I thought up this baking challenge was because I had been technically unemployed for 9 months, was working in my parents business and felt, to be honest, really crap that I had nothing going for me. After about two months of my bakes, I was off to Somerset for an interview at my dream job working with children with dyslexia. I got the job, passed my driving test and moved to Somerset in the space of a month. Things had changed quickly. And yet, I still carried on baking. At the start I did it to have something positive to look forward to each week, being jobless, living with your parents and stuck in the middle of nowhere was kind of depressing. It was a great challenge, I got to spend hours thinking about baking, time to sit and create recipes and I have to admit, the best thing really was the praise I got. The comments on this blog have be absolutely lovely, I have also had amazing comments from my friends on Facebook and of course the praise from the B&B guests and my work colleagues (and the kids I see!).

So enough with the serious stuff! What has been my favourite bake... probably the Eton Mess cake. I cannot tell you how happy I was when eating it and how sad I was when it was all gone. I loved creating recipes like the Eton Mess Cake and the Reblochen Quiche, and of course my feeble attempts at sugar-craft. I only burnt myself 4 times (which I think is pretty good considering how clumsy I am) and have even spent nights dreaming of baking! I have spent way too much money on baking equipment which I probably didn't "need" and even enjoyed a day out at The Cake and Bake Show.

So what next? We first I must say to anyone who decides to do a year of baking or cooking, how great and fun it is. But for me personally, I will not be doing another year of a different bake each week, it has served me well but I am slowly running out of ideas. Instead I will be doing a new and possibly harder challenge... but you will just have to wait until the new year to find out that one!

So here it is, my final bake. Number 52. And of course I have set myself a big 'showstopping' challenge: Croquembouche.

  • 200g of plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 150g of butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 250ml of double cream 
  • 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 300g of caster sugar
  • 150g of 70% dark chocolate
  • 150ml of cream 
  • Royal icing
  • 100g of butter, softened
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 100g of self raising flour
  • 25g of coco powder
  • 150g of milk chocolate
  • chocolate transfer paper
  1. Sift the flour onto a large piece of greaseproof paper. This will get air into the mixture. I halved this mixture for ease.
  2. Put the salt, butter and water into a saucepan and and gently heat until the butter is melted, then quickly bring it up to boiling point.
  3. As soon as it boils, take it off the heat and pour in the sifted flour then beat it! The mixture will be a mess at first, but keep beating until it becomes a heavy dough.
  4. Put the pan back on the heat and keep beating for 2-5 minutes, until the dough comes into a ball and when you press your finger into it the dough it is greasy.
  5. Tip the dough out into a mixing bowl and allow to cool, until it is just warm.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 200c.
  7. Now using an electric mixer slowly add the eggs in a bit at a time, mix well in between each addition. Once it is all added the mixture should look like a shiny paste and be liquid enough to be able to pipe. If you need to make it easier to pipe, break another egg and slowly add it until you get it to the right consistency. It should fall off a spoon slowly.
  8. Now pipe the mixture with a wide circle nozzle onto a greaseproof paper. Pipe circles about 2-3cm wide.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes without opening the oven door. Then reduce the oven temperature to 180c and open the oven door to let the steam out. Cook for another 5 minutes to dry them out. 
  10.  Remove them from the oven and poke a hole in them so that they can dry out and you can pipe them later. 
  11. Now make the chocolate cake presents. Beat the softened butter with the caster sugar, then gradually add the eggs and vanilla essence (basic cake recipe here). 
  12. Fold in the flour and coco powder then pop in a pirex dish and microwave for 3-4 minutes.
  13. Once cooled break up the cake into cake crumbs and mold them with a little butter and icing sugar so that they stick together (like cake pops). 
  14. Mold them into present shapes then leave them in the fridge to cool. Meanwhile melt the chocolate, then drizzle it over the cake pops on a cooling rack and cover the chocolate with cut up squares of the chocolate transfer paper. Let these harden then peel off the transfer paper to revel 'wrapping paper'. 
  15. Once all the choux rolls have cooled (it should make around 180-200) whip the cream with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and using a small nozzle pipe the cream into the hole you made in each choux. 
  16. Now melt the sugar with 4 tablespoons of water to create a light coloured caramel. 
  17. Start creating the croquembouche by making a circle of profiteroles in a 25cm circle and 'glueing down' with the caramel. Continue building up and inwards. Be VERY CAREFUL of burning yourself on... I burnt myself badly on my finger 5 minutes from the end of a year of baking, typical! 
  18. Once you have built the tower pop it in the fridge so the cream doesn't turn and make the chocolate genache. Warm the cream in a saucepan until you can just keep your finger in it, then remove from the heat and break the chocolate into it and melt it by stirring. 
  19. Let it cool slightly and drizzle over the Croquembouche (I piped mine which I regret as I don't think it looks that good).
  20. Finally, roll out white royal icing and cut out stars to decorate. Spray with silver icing spray then using the caramel stick the stars to the croquembouche and you are done!

I actually found myself rather sad at the end of this bake, a year has passed and in the end I have achieved a lot. But that's just it, it is an ending. However the one thing I have been craving all year is a Kitchen Aid Mixer, well thanks to some money for Christmas and me saving up I have been fortunate enough to buy myself on in the sales! So I now have a Candy Apple Red Kitchen Aid Mixer, which means its not really an ending but a beginning... 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The penultimate bake.

Week 51, Bake 51. 

On the 13th of December it was my brother's 25th birthday. Sadly he spent the day where he lives in London, so I couldn't bake this for him on his actual birthday, which annoyed me as I was super excited about creating this bake. Anyway, I digress. I decided to create a themed cake as I am rubbish at novelty cakes and wanted to do something a little bit special. When we were kids we used to always get Lego for Christmas and our birthdays. To be honest, we were obsessed. Each year going to the Lego convention, being 'Gold' members of the Lego club and even getting VIP tickets to Lego land before it opened. The love of Lego has never gone away, and so I decided to create a Lego cake for him to help him remember his childhood (plus it would be so much fun for me!). I created two cakes to create a tier effect, the lower tier is a chocolate cake and then the upper tier is a vanilla cake. So here it is my Lego bake.

For the chocolate cake:
  • 200g of butter
  • 50g of milk chocolate
  • 350g of plain flour
  • 400g of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g of coco powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml of milk with a splash of lemon juice in it.
For the vanilla cake:
  • 200g of unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 250g of self-raising flour
  • 3 tablespoons of milk

And everything else!
  • Icing sugar
  • 200g of butter
  • splash of milk
  • Jam
  • Royal icing
  • Assorted food colouring
  • Lego men 
(Be prepared... this may take a while!)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170c. 
  2. Melt the chocolate and  butter together making sure not to burn. 
  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, a pinch of salt, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder together. 
  4. Break the eggs and whisk them with milk. Boil the kettle.
  5. Now add the butter/chocolate mix to the dry ingredients, and whilst whisking add the eggs/milk also into the bowl. 
  6. Now mix 150ml of boiling water into the cake mixture. 
  7. Line and grease a 23cm spring pan cake tin then pour the mixture into it and cook for 45 minutes (or until you put a knife in and it comes out clean).
  8. Now make the vanilla sponge. Cream the butter and sugar together until light, pale and fluffy. 
  9. In a jug, beat the eggs together and slowly add this to the butter/sugar mixture whilst still beating it. 
  10. Add in the vanilla essence. 
  11. Now sift the flour and fold it in. At this point you can also add the milk. 
  12. Line and grease two 19cm sandwich tins and divide the mixture into two. 
  13. Cook at the same temperature for 18-20 minutes or until slightly golden. 
  14. Once out of the oven, take them out of their tins and pop them onto a cooling rack. 
  15. Beat the butter and icing sugar together to create a butter-cream icing, use some milk to loosen this up.
  16. Once the cakes are cool, cover them both with the butter-cream icing. This will help the royal icing to stick. 
  17. Make the vanilla cake by putting jam in the middle, like a Victoria Sponge. 
  18. Roll out some royal icing to cover the cakes. 
  19. On the top tier, slice a quarter of the icing off and peel it away. Now using some different colour icing create Lego blocks so it looks like the cake is made of Lego. 
  20. Make bigger Lego blocks out of the left over icing to have at the base of the cake. 
  21. Pipe any words you want on it and then assemble your Lego figures on it.
After all that work, all I can say is that I hope he likes it!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Time to play with my blow torch!

Week 50, Bake 50. 

Only two more to go after this! People have started asking me what I am going to do next year... Will I continue baking? Will I start a new challenge? Will I do something crafty instead of cooking? And my answer...? Well actually I do have a good idea but I won't reveal it until January 1st 2013. Anyway, back to baking! So as I said in my previous blog, I am back home for the holidays and so decided to bake something a little different. I couldn't do it in Somerset as I don't have half the equipment (individual dishes and my blow torch). To be honest half the reason why I did this bake was so that I could play with my blow torch again! So here it is: Creme Brulee.

  • 500ml of double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Plus extra caster sugar
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150c. 
  2. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds into the cream, chop the pod up and add it to the cream. 
  3. Now put the cream into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together until they become lighter in colour. 
  5. Take the cream off the heat and pour a small splash into the eggs continuously whisking so the eggs don't scramble. Now pour the rest in gently. 
  6. Whisk until it becomes thicker, if it doesn't then pop it back on the heat in a saucepan and gently warm it for another minute. 
  7. Now get your ramekins, place them in a deep roasting tray and fill them 2/3rds full with the custard mixture. Surround them with hot water to create a ban Marie (about half way up the ramekins) then bake for about 30 minutes. They will be done when there is a slight wobble in the centre of the custard. 
  8. Finally, finish them off with the a tablespoon of caster sugar. Using your blow torch (yes... Blow torch!) caramelise the sugar. Serve right away with raspberries.

End of term treats

Week 49, Bake 49. 

No I haven't fallen at the last hurdle and given up on Bake 48... I just haven't had the time to write up my last bake entry. Since the mince pies, I have had a very busy last week of term then packed and drove up to Norfolk (250 miles) to my parents for the festive season... and now of all things I have a cold! So here is my 49th bake, cake pop treats for the kids at the end of term!

(makes about 30)

  • 400g of butter (at room temperature)
  • 220g of caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 220g of self-rising flour
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 250g of milk chocolate
  • Royal icing and colouring
  • Edible glitter
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c and line a cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. First make the cake, do this by beating 220g of the soften butter together with the caster sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Now in a jug, beat the eggs together and add to the butter/sugar one tablespoon at a time, so not to curdle the mixture. Now beat in the vanilla essence into it.
  4. Sift the flour and cornflour into the mixture and fold it in, so not to loose air.
  5. Turn the cake into the lined tin and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the tin once cooked and cool until you are able to touch it.
  7. Once cool crumble the cake into a mixing bowl, and make the whole cake into crumbs.
  8. Now make your butter cream, beat the remaining butter and icing sugar together. Add this to your cake mixture and using your hands squish both the mixtures together until everything is combined.
  9. You can now shape your cake pops. Once you have done this, pop them in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden up.
  10. Meanwhile melt the packet of chocolate. Now dip a lolly pop stick into the chocolate and inset it into the bottom of your pop and put in back into the fridge for another 10-20 minutes. Do this for the rest of the cake pops. To make sure they stay the perfect shape, I put them into a block of oasis.
  11. Now dip the whole cake pop into the melted chocolate to cover it then twist the pop to remove the excess chocolate.
  12. Pop these back in the Oasis and allow to harden. 
  13. Meanwhile make the pudding decorations, a rolled out circle of white icing for the top, red balls covered in glitter and green icing to make holly leaves. 
  14. Now all you have to do is assemble them, using water to stick them to the icing. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mince Pies

Week 48, Bake 48. 

We only have two weeks left at school (I love working in a private school). And so I have started my Christmas bakes early so my colleagues can appreciate them too! This week I have baked mince pies with homemade mincemeat and it is magic! So here is the recipe for the mincemeat:

Makes approximately 22

  • 500g of plain flour
  • 300g of unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • a good few pinches of caster sugar
  • 2 eggs (for the pastry)
  • milk
  • butter to grease the pan
  • mincemeat
  • an egg to glaze
  1. In a large bowl mix the flour, butter, salt, sugar and eggs together by scrunching them with your hands. 
  2. Add in enough milk to bring the mixture into a ball. 
  3. Cover with cling film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180c. 
  5. Now divide the ball into manageable chunks to work on whilst the rest will sit in the fridge until needed. 
  6. Grease a muffin pan with butter. 
  7. Roll out the pastry and using a 10cm cutter and a 7cm cutter, cut out the base and top. 
  8. Place the base in the muffin pan and fill with the mincemeat. Fold in the edges of the base and using the beaten egg glue the top to the base. 
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. 
  10. Eat slightly warm. Yum!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Somerset Floods

So we have had some very rainy days in Somerset and here are my pictures of the terrible floods which we have faced. Clearly the only thing to do in a flood is to pop out and take pictures!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Polaroid Fridge Magnets

I have been planning to make these Polaroid Fridge Magnets for ages but just have never got round to it. Well, last weekend with all the rugby on I finally sat down to make these Polaroid fridge magnets.

What you need:
  • Get yourself a Polaroid template on Google
  • Pictures printed onto the template, your chosen size
  • Sticky magnets
  • Paint brush
  • Mod Podge

What to do: (its very simple)
  1. Cut out your pictures and stick one of the sticky magnets onto the centre back. 
  2. Carefully paint a thin layer of mod podge over the pictures, be careful not to smear the ink. 
  3. Continue to paint layers of mod podge over the Polaroids until they are sufficiently covered. 
  4. Let them dry and your done! Easy. 

Jammy Dodgers

Week 47, Bake 47. 

It is rapidly beginning to look like Christmas and we have only got 3 weeks left of our school term. So from now on my bakes will be christmassy. Here is my recipe for Jammy Dodgers, my last non-Christmas bake (before my brothers birthday of course).

  • 175g of slightly salted butter 
  • 75g of caster sugar
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon of raspberry jam per cookie
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together (making sure the butter is at room temperature). When smooth (not fluffy) beat in the flour. 
  2. When the flour is almost all mixed in, add in the vanilla essence and then knead it into a dough. 
  3. Pop in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. 
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180c. 
  5. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is half a centimetre thick, cut into circles using an 9cm cookie cutter. 
  6. Place the discs onto baking parchment then in half of the discs cut out a star from the centre. 
  7. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until the cookies are slightly coloured. 
  8. Leave on the baking parchment until the cookies are solid then allow them to cool on a cooling rack. 
  9. Now carefully assemble the cookies, spreading a teaspoon of the jam in the centre. 
  10. Sprinkle with icing sugar if you wish.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

Week 46, Bake 46. 

I am actually really happy to be back at school, last week with my parents they had the builders in and so the house was busy and very cold! So this week I'm back to school and back in Somerset where there is heating! Thankfully I had it turned up on Saturday night as we had an unexpected snowfall. It was very exciting, until the moment I realised I had to get to church and had never driven in the snow before. After getting halfway up one hill, I realised it was too dangerous to risk going so I went home (past many cars getting help from the AA and branches in the road).

Anyway, this weeks bake is a cinnamon swirl loaf. Enjoy!

  • 512g of plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 7g of dried fast action yeast
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 60ml of oil
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 300ml of warm water
  • 20g of soft butter
  • 50g of soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 15g of butter
  • 120g of icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of warm water
  1. In a large bowl place the flour, egg, yeast, sugar, salt (not touching the yeast) and oil together and using your hands combine. 
  2. Add the lemon juice and water and bring into a sticky dough. 
  3. Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead until elastic (about 10 minutes). 
  4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover (I use an oiled shower cap) to leave in a warm place for 1 hour until it has doubled in size. 
  5. Now make the cinnamon sugar, combine the sugar and cinnamon together making sure there are no lumps.  
  6. Punch down the dough, and roll it out into a 12" x 24" rectangle. 
  7. Spread the dough with butter then sprinkle all the cinnamon sugar on it. 
  8. Now roll it using the longest side and make sure the seem is sealed. 
  9. Cut along the length of the roll and turn out the 2 sides so that the layers show. 
  10. Now start twist the two sides together so it looks like rope. Roll it into a bun, then pop it into a greased spring-form cake tin. 
  11. Cover again and let it rise for 30 minutes whilst you pre-heat the oven to 190c. 
  12. Cook for 25-30 minutes. 
  13. Now make the icing, mix the soften butter, icing sugar and water together until you get a consistency you like. 
  14. Using a piping bag, pipe lines across the bread and serve warm. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Vanilla and chocolate swirl cake

Week 45, Bake 45. 

It is half term! And so as my parents could not visit me I decided to visit them, which sadly has meant staying in their freezing house this past week (they are having building work done currently which means a massive whole in the roof). So this week mum and dad requested that I make them a chocolate cake, so here it is, a chocolate and vanilla swirl cake.

  • 225g of salted butter
  • 225g of caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon on vanilla essence
  • 225g of self-raising flour
  • 3 tablespoons of coco powder (one mixed with one tablespoon of warm water)
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • Butter for making buttercream
  • Icing
  • Splash of double cream
  • 150g milk chocolate
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c and line two cake tins. 
  2. Beat the soften butter and then add the sugar, beat until light and fluffy. 
  3. Add the eggs a little at a time so the mixture doesn't curdle. 
  4. Now add the vanilla essence and fold in the sifted flour. Add the milk. 
  5. Divide the mixture into half and add the coco to one of the half. This is now your chocolate mixture.
  6. Pop each mixture into a piping bag and pipe a blob of the vanilla mixture into the center of each pan. Now using the chocolate mixture, pipe a blob of that into the center of the vanilla blob. Keep alternating until you get a tiger effect and use up all the mixture.
  7. Pop into the oven for 20 minutes. 
  8. Cool on a wire cooling rack. 
  9. Make the butter cream but beating the butter and icing sugar together, add the cream to make it spreadable. 
  10. Put the butter cream into the center of the cake and peice the cake together. Now melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of water and pipe it into a cobweb shape on top.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Reblochon Quiche Lorraine

Week 44, Bake 44. 

So now that I am all-warmed-up after my cold morning at Stourhead, I decided to spend the rest of my day baking, especially as I haven't been well enough to bake at all this week! I love a French dish called tarteflette and this is my bake-take on it. A Reblochon Quiche Lorraine. And it tastes SMASHING. 

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 150g of soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 200g of Reblochon cheese
  • 6 rashes of bacon
  • 1 clove of smoked garlic
  • 4 eggs
  • 100ml of milk
  • 100ml of double cream
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced to decorate 
  1. In a large mixing bowl, make a well in the flour, pour the egg, butter, salt and sugar. 
  2. Using your hand scrunch the ingredients together bringing in the flour, this makes a lovely squelchy noise. 
  3. Add the milk and continue to bring the ingredients together until it becomes a short dough. 
  4. Cling-film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
  5. Once it has relaxed, butter your quiche tin and roll out the dough as thin as possible. Lay it in the tin, and use some left over pastry to push it into the folds of the tin. Prick it with a fork (we don't want any soggy bottoms here!) and once again cool in the fridge. (I cooled mine for 20 minutes). 
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 190c and then pop the pastry in and blind bake it (I used rice and greaseproof paper) and bake for 15 minutes. 
  7. Remove the greaseproof paper and rice and bake for a further 4-5 minutes until it slightly colours. 
  8. Remove from the oven and now make your mixture. Reduce the oven temperature to 160c.
  9. Fry the bacon and garlic until it slightly colours and leave to cool. 
  10. Cut the Reblochon up into cubes (you can leave on the rind as this is edible).  
  11. Whisk the eggs, milk and double cream together.
  12. Now layer the quiche, bacon first, then the cubed Reblochon, the egg mixture and then decorate with your halved cherry tomatoes.  
  13. Pop into the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. 
  14. Serve when the center is only slightly wobbly. It may look runny, but this is the pockets of Reblochon.


Stourhead on such a cold day!

So today is the day when the leaves were supposed to be best at Stourhead and thankfully the weather was perfect for taking photos... although a little on the absolutely freezing side! As you know already Stourhead is my favourite place to go in Somerset (actually technically it is in Wiltshire but I am allowing it to be in Somerset, just because I'm nice!). So here are a few of my pictures, the composition gets worse and worse throughout as my hands got colder and colder. -1c! I got there when the gates opened with a lot of other budding photographers who had bigger cameras than me... and stayed for 3 hours, with a cuppa break to bring my fingers back to life. As I was leaving the place started to really full up with people, and driving out of the car park there were queues back to the main road of cars. So clearly I got the best day and the best time... hope you like my pictures.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Cornish Pasty all-in-one meal

Week 43, Bake 43. 

The Great British Bake Off is over! And I am really happy with the person who won. But now my Tuesday night has just gotten a little worse. So this week I decided to make something with pastry as I havn't done that in a while. I got this idea after my dad suggested it (then I adpated his idea) and I do feel guilty that I havnt made it for him, my plan was to go home in half term but its such a long way so I decided to make the pasty this week. This pasty has got a savory content at one end and then at the other end it has apple sauce as a dessert, a whole meal in one!

  • 500g of plain flour
  • 125g of lard
  • 125g of butter
  • pinch of salt
  • two small potatos
  • half an onion
  • 300g of pork sholder
  • a few sprigs of rosemary
  • half a can of sliced tinned peaches
  • apples to make apple sauce
  • caster sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  1. In a large bowl rub together the salt, cold lard, cold butter and flour. You want to get it to become breadcrumbs-like. I do mine from a height so that air gets trapped in it. 
  2.  Now using 6 tablespoons of water bring the pastry together and wrap in clingfilm to put in the fridge for 30-60mins. 
  3. Meanwhile prepare your ingredients: dice the onion, potatoes and pork.Sprinkle the pork with seasoning and rosemary. 
  4. Chop the peaches into chunks and drain some of the syrup off them by using kitchen towel. 
  5. Make the applesauce by softening apples over a medium heat in some butter, adding caster sugar to taste. 
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 220c.
  7. It is time to assemble the pasty's now. Roll out a quarter of the dough into a circle about 23cm diameter. 
  8. In a quarter of a circle pile up the potatoes, onion, meat and peaches. In the other quarter of the same half, pile up the cooled apple sauce. Leave enough of a ring around the filling to be able to crimp. 
  9. Seal the pastry using the beaten egg then crimp the circular edge by folding it over. 
  10. Egg wash the whole of the pasty and pop it onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. 
  11. Bake all 4 pasties in the oven for 10 minutes, then turning the temperature down to 180 after and baking for a further 40-45 minutes. 
  12. Remove and serve warm. Yum!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Banoffee cupcakes

Week 42, Bake 42.

Banoffee cupcakes. This idea came to me one night (as they do) and so I decided to create a banoffee cupcake to take into work for my fellow therapists. As an added wow I thought I should use my new chocolate transfer paper!

  • 125g of soft butter
  •  175g of caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large bananas mashed
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of hot milk
  • 1tsp of baking powder
  • 225g of plain flour
  • 1 packet of green and blacks dark chocolate
  • 170g of butter (for the icing)
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 60ml of water
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 118ml of double cream
  • 2 tsp of vinilla essence
  • chocolate transfer paper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170c.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 
  3. Beat the eggs into a cup and add a little at a time whilst beating the butter/sugar mixture. 
  4. Now fold in the mashed bananas. 
  5. In a small mug, mix the baking soda and milk together until dissolved. 
  6. Now add this to the cupcake mixture and fold in the sifted flour and baking powder. You dont want to loose too much air at this point.
  7. Divide into cupcake cases (I piped mine in) and cook for 15-20 minutes. 
  8. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and cool. 
  9. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. 
  10. Now the exciting bit, get out the chocolate transfer paper and spread thinly your chocolate over it. Let it cool in a cool room. My flat was actually quite warm from all the cooking so it took longer to set. 
  11. Once it is almost set carve out your shapes in the paper. 
  12. Now, make the butter cream icing. Beat the butter till light and fluffy. 
  13. Gradually add in the icing sugar and beat together. 
  14. Either pipe or spread the icing over the cupcakes. 
  15. Now make the caramel, in a clean saucepan mix together the water and sugar. 
  16. Let it boil on a medium-high heat until it becomes amber. 
  17. Now pour in the double cream (and vanilla essence) this will bubble and spit a lot so make sure you have your extractor fan on (I am very proud to say my fire alarm didn't go off!). 
  18. Put back on the heat and continuously stir for 3 minutes. 
  19. Now let it cool for a minute or two and then drizzle over the top of the cupcakes. 
  20. Divide up the chocolate shards and pop into your cupcakes and your done!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Apple and Blueberry Slump

Week 41, Bake 41.

I have been ill this week. I do not like being ill, it is really really boring. I vaguely remember when I was a kid that we had a 'rainy days' box which my parents put in different bits and pieces which we could do when we were ill. So I remember there were colouring books and toy cars and just anything to keep you entertained when you were ill. Sadly I do not have one of these boxes anymore, and so I popped to TESCO and brought gossip magazines and a Christmas making magazine. I am rubbish at being ill, I have now exhausted sky+ and read all my magazines, but thankfully today I am a bit better. So I decided to bake... this recipe is my mothers (taken from some magazine ages ago) and has become a family classic. Sadly I cannot eat it tonight, as it is destined to go to a lunch with me tomorrow.

  • 450g of apples
  • 30g of butter
  • 150g of blueberries
  • 75g of light brown sugar
  • 250g of marscapone
  • (For the slump):
  • 85g of butter
  • 200g of self-raising flour
  • 50g of light brown sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 pint of milk

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190c.
  2. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. In a frying pan, melt the butter and on a medium heat add the apples turning occasionally until soft. 
  3. Tip in an oven proof dish and mix in the blueberries, now add the sugar and stir it together. 
  4. In a large bowl, tip in the flour and cubed butter and rub it together with your fingers. Once it resembles breadcrumbs, mix in the sugar and the lemon zest. 
  5. Make a well in the mixture and add in the milk and mix it until it becomes a paste. 
  6. Now put blobs of the mixture on top of the apples and also put blobs of the marscapone on top to make sure the apples are covered. 
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the the topping has risen and is golden.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Exotic Mushroom, Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Crust Pizza

Week 40, Bake 40.

I decided to have a go at a stuffed crust... Dominos can't be the only ones who can do it ... right?

  • 250g of strong white bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4g of dried yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 150ml of water
  • 1/2 a can of tinned cherry tomato's
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • glug of Worcester sauce
  • a squirt of tomato puree
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of smoked garlic
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • Parmesan 
  • spinach
  • ricotta
  • assorted mushrooms
  • olive oil to drizzel

  1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in a big bowl and make a well in the middle.
  2. Now pour the water and oil into the well and bring the dough together, now knead it for 10-15 minutes or until it becomes elasticated. 
  3. Pop back in the bowl and cover then allow it to rise for 1 hour. 
  4. Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Dice the onion. 
  5. Now in a sauce pan, put the onion and some olive oil and let them soften, add the garlic and cook on a low heat.
  6. Now add the tinned tomato's, salt, sugar, Worcester sauce, and tomato puree together and on a high heat reduce the sauce. 
  7. Once thick enough, puree the sauce in a food processor. 
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 170c.
  9. Now, with the dough, punch it down and covering your hands in oil, pull it out to the size you want. 
  10. Tear up the ball of mozzarella and then lay it a few centimetres in from the edges. Now roll the edges over to seal in the mozzarella and thus creating a stuffed crust. 
  11.  Bake for 5 minutes. Then remove and start to assemble the toppings. 
  12. Tomato sauce first, then a layer of spinach, grated Parmesan, the chopped exotic mushrooms (I used oyster and shittake) and then the ricotta. 
  13. Now pop it in the oven for a further 10 minutes (or until the mushrooms are cooked). 
  14. Serve straight away. 

The Cake and Bake Show

This week I have been very busy at work, but also last week I went to the Cake and Bake Show! It was such a busy day, and Earls Court was full of people all talking about baking. My day started with a lovely train ride to London, through the green misty fields of England. I saw deer frolicing in the fields, hot air ballons over the Somerset horizen, the sun rising over the kennet and avon canal so actually it was a lovely start to my day. I got to London, and as I came out of Earls Court tube station I was faced with a huge que! Not impressed, but as the true Brit I joined the long walking que. The further we walked the more worried I was getting about how long I would have to que and possibly miss my classroom session, thankfully in the quwerky way we Brits have, I ended up at the front of the que and able to go straight in.

So I ended up going to a classroom to learn how to paint flowers on cakes. I was rather dissopinted as I spent £5 extra to hear the same talk as people who could stand next to a small picket fence. Anyway the talk was helpful but I doubt my poor arty skills will let me paint flowers well on a cake.

The show was full of bakers, I saw Eric Lanlard, series one and two Great British Bake Off winners, Cathryn and Sarah-Jane from this years show and of course the ledgend Paul Hollywood. I caught some of the demonstrations by them but spent a lot of time looking round all of the lovely shops. I do now feel terrible (like I have cheated on baking) because I ended up going to a Betty Crocker class on how to use their cake mixes, in my defence, it was free, I got to take the cookie brownies I made home and ... it was free!

So to sum up, it was really busy (almost uncomfortably so), a good day but im not sure if I would do it again soon..

Friday, 21 September 2012

Cheese and Marmite Scones and the Cake and Bake show

Tomorrow I will be going to the Cake and Bake show! And of course I am very excited, a whole day of looking and learning about baking! Anyway as I can't bake tomorrow (on my usual baking day) I had to bake today and I didn't really want it to be too taxing as I am knackered from a long week at work and I didn't get in till past 11 last night after getting majorly lost! Anyway so here is this weeks bake, my love for marmite is still quite new (barley a year old) and yet I had to do at least one bake dedicated to it.

  • 225g of self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 55g of butter
  • 30g of grated cheddar
  • 125ml of milk
  • 4 teaspoons of marmite
  • Extra cheese for sprinkling on top
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl rub the butter and flour together with your fingers until you get fine breadcrumbs. 
  3. Now grate the cheddar and mix into the bowl. 
  4. In a jug pour the milk and then mix in the marmite. To make sure you get all the marmite off the spoon, first brush your measuring spoon with sunflower oil and this will help the marmite slide off easily. 
  5. Now beat the marmite into the milk until it is all mixed in. 
  6. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the milk and mix in using a knife. 
  7. Only pour in enough to make the dough come together without any flour showing. 
  8. Roll out until 2cm thick, then cut out with a 5cm pastry cutter and put your scones on greaseproof paper on a baking tray. 
  9. Now add some cheese to sprinkle on top and cook for 15-20 minutes. 
  10. Serve with butter
 I would have put pictures of the process but sadly I can't get the new blogger to work...

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Apple crumble cupcakes

Week 38. Bake 38.

As I have been driving to work this week I have seen a sign about PYO apples. And so as I was up at 7:30 this morning (I know, a totally shocking time on a Saturday morning) I decided to pop along. I presumed (as there was no website to check) that it would open at 9am, so driving along at 9:15am past the sign in my little car this morning I happened to notice it was 10am it opened. So instead of going to the outlet centre and spending money I don't have, I decided to go for a walk up Glastonbury Tor. And so I walked up the Tor, I actually over took someone and enjoyed the view over somerset in the early morning. I finally found the apple orchard and rolled my little car onto the farm and found out there were over 10 varieties of apples to choose from. I picked at least one of everything but put them all in the same bag so have no clue which apple is which variety. Anyway, by 11am I had been up Glastonbury Tor, had ran into some children from my school, picked 6.5kg of apples and was back at home with a cuppa.
So this weeks back is again to celebrate autumn. I love autumn and this week has definitely felt like it!

Ingredients: (makes 6)
  • 90g of plain flour
  • 10g of corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 90g of caster sugar
  • 3/4 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 60ml of milk
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 60ml of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 apple
  • splash of apple juice
  • 75g of unsalted butter (for the icing)
  • icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon (for the icing)
  • 100g of plain flour
  • 50g of butter
  • 25g of sugar
  • a sprinkle of brown sugar
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c.
  2. In a bowl sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a jug measure out the milk and add some lemon juice and leave for five minutes.
  4. Now, in a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk and then add in the sugar and beat.
  5. Add in the vanilla essence and the vegetable oil and beat.
  6. Now beat in a third of the flour mixture, then a third of the milk and keep alternating between the two until it is incorporated.
  7. Divide the mixture into the cupcake cases, they need to be about 3/4 full.
  8. Now bake for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, peel and core the apple and chop into chunks. Put in some water and the apple juice and stew until the apple is soft.
  10. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.
  11. Now make the crumble mix, rub the butter into the flour then add in the sugar. Put in a baking dish and sprinkle some brown sugar over the top then bake in the oven until golden brown.
  12. Make the icing by beating butter and icing sugar together with 1/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon (add more if you like, but I like mine to be subtle).
  13. It is now time to assemble your cupcakes.
  14. Cut the core out of the cupcakes and fill with the stewed apple.
  15. Pipe the icing over the cupcake into a swirl.
  16. Now break up the crumble topping and sprinkle over the top of the cupcake.
  17. Finally dust the cupcake with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  18. And eat with a cuppa (because everything is better with a cuppa)