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)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Spiced apple and raisin croustade

Week 37, Bake 37.

So this week I have been back at my lovely job and it has been the first week back at school for all the kids. The good news I received this week was that on Monday I will be now working 4 days a week! Which of course is really exciting and so I didn't do my bake on Wednesday as I decided to enjoy my last Wednesday off (till half term!) and I went back to Stourhead. I can now say that I am well and truly in love with Somerset. As one of my favourite old books says: "There is probable no English county so underrated as Somerset. All too seldom does one hear it mentioned as one of the great beauty spots of the West... Certainly there is more scenic variety to be found in Somerset than in any other part of the West - moorland, hilscape, romantic coastal reaches, coombes, woodlands, flats all are here." (Lovely Britain, P.E. Barnes)

Anyway enough of my dreamy talk about a beautiful county, here is this weeks bake. I have never made filo pastry before and doubt I will do again, but it was a technical challenge which I tried and didn't fail at.
  • 300g of strong white bread flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 30g of unsalted butter (melted)
  • 150ml of water
  • 1 egg
  • 6 cooking apples
  • 50g of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 75g of raisins
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (runny)
  • 100g of brown sugar
  • Icing sugar to dust
  1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Mix the water, egg and butter in a jug and beat it together. Now pour it into the well and using your hands bring the sticky dough together and knead it in the bowl until it comes away from the sides easily.
  3. Now turn it out onto a floured work surface and work until the dough comes away from your hands. Then knead it like you would if you were making bread. You really want the gluten to get stretched. Once it is smooth and elasticated, cover and let it rest on the work surface for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, peel and core the apples then pop them into a frying pan with some melted butter. On a low heat let them soften.
  5. Now add in the raisins, cinnamon, honey and sugar and wack up the heat so that the sugar melts and starts to caramelise.
  6. Don't let the apples break up too much and once soft and slightly sticky, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  7. Now it is the hard part, stretching out the pastry. You will want the pastry to measure 80x80cm stretched out in one sheet. I did this on my dining room table and used a bed sheet to make sure it didn't stick to the table or dry out. I think you could also use your table covered in cling film as this may give you some grip. Stretch out the dough with your hands then when it becomes too big, lay it on the table and continue stretching it out. I used melted butter and a pastry knife to make sure it didn't dry out.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 190c.
  9. Once at the correct size cover with cling film to make sure it doesn't dry out and then cut a section of the pastry (20x40cm) to work with. Brush the melted butter on both sides them place it into the tin (a 23cm spring form tin) with the edges over hanging. Do with 5 more times making sure the whole of the tin is covered.
  10. Now once there are 6 rectangles in the tin, spoon in your apple mixture. The fold the sides of the pastry over to cover the top. Use any left over pastry to decorate the top and then glaze the pastry with more melted butter and some brown sugar.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and crisp.
  12. Dust a bit of icing sugar on top and serve with fresh cream.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Scrabble Cookies

Week 36, Bake 36.
This week I decided I would have a go at enhancing my icing skills especially as this week I have gone 'back to school' (even though it was a training week). So here is my scrabble cookies, I am quite chuffed them especially as I didn't have a square cutter.

  • 380g of plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 225g of salted butter (soft)
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Icing sugar
  • Black food colouring
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170.
  2. In a bowl sift the flour and mix with the baking powder.
  3. Now in a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the vanilla essence and the beaten egg a little at a time. Keep beating until it is incorporated.
  5. Beat in the flour mixture a little at a time, when it gets hard to beat bring the dough together with your hands.
  6. Dust a surface with flour and roll out the dough, until it is about 1cm thick.
  7. Dust your cutter with flour (I used a knife and cut out square with it).
  8. Place the squares on baking parchment and pop in the freezer for 5 minutes to harden up.
  9. Now cook for 8-10 minutes (or until the biscuits have just a little colour).
  10. Leave on the baking tray for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  11. Now make your 1st lot of icing. Mix a little water and icing sugar together until you get a tick icing which you can pipe. Once the cookies are cool, pipe a square on the top of the cookies.
  12. Do this to all of them, now add some more water to the icing just enough so it gets loose and can fill a square. Use a toothpick to drag the icing round all sides of the square until it is full. Leave to dry for an hour.
  13. Now make the black icing, I added the colouring and a very small amount of water to get the right consistency, it has to be thick enough to pipe with a nozzle.
  14. Pipe the letters on with a bigger nozzle and then the numbers on with your smallest nozzle.