Friday, 26 December 2008

Lemon Ice Cream Tart

So today is the 26th December – otherwise known as Boxing Day, in my view the sad day after Christmas when all the excitement and waiting is over. But, it is definitely not all bad – now I have lots of nice new things to enjoy and lots of delicious food to finish off..what a hardship.. :) . Yesterday I had the great pleasure in receiving some things which will no doubt be featuring on here very soon…doughnuts anyone??

I hope everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable day yesterday and spent it just how you like to. For me it was church, followed by my Granny and Uncle David coming round, getting the lunch ready, present time!!! and then the most important meal of the year – Christmas lunch! We had a fantastically delicious traditional meal – thankyou Mummy :) For pudding, we served Christmas pudding and (finally I mention it!) this gorgeous tart.

We served it a few night before Christmas to some other friends and it went down very well, but we still had half left. Some of the people at lunch yesterday (me included) are not such fans of Christmas pud, so we had this instead. It goes a long way! It does have quite a bit of alcohol in but hey, its Christmas and it tastes yummy. It does make a lot, as I say, so it is perfect at big celebrations. It is also good for Christmas because it does not go in the oven, which is good as the oven will probably be busy with all the rest of the Christmas lunch. Also, it can be made far in advance so doesn't need to be hurriedly done on the day of the celebration. I think our lemons were quite small, as in the end we added the juice and zest of four rather than two, and perhaps it could have had even more lemony taste. Or if you prefer, you could I suppose reduce some of the alcohol. I really liked the ginger nut crust and think it is much more interesting (for this tart) then a plain digestive one, because it adds a sharp extra element.

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Lemon ice cream tart with ginger nut crust, from Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater

120g butter

400g ginger biscuits

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For the filling:

150ml white wine

2tbsp marsala

grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

grated zest of an orange

4tbsp caster sugar

500ml double cream

  1. You will need a loose bottomed tart tin with a diameter of about 21cm. Line the base of the tart tin with a single piece of greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan. Crush the biscuits in a food processor or bash them in a plastic bag. You want them to be a coarse powder.
  3. Stir the biscuits into the butter. Line the base of the tin with the buttered crumbs, pushing far up the edges. Put the crumb lined tin in the freezer.
  4. Pour the wine into the bowl of a food mixer. Add the Marsala and the grated zest of the lemons and orange. Squeeze the lemons and add the juice.
  5. Add the sugar and cream to the wine and zest mixture, then beat slowly until thick. The consistency needs to be soft and thick, so that it lies in voluptuous folds rather than standing in stiff peaks.
  6. Scrape the mixture into the crumb lined tin and freeze for at least four hours. Remove from the freezer 15-20 mins before you intend to serve it.

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Of course, now that Christmas is over, it means so is my Advent Series. It was not.. ahem…successful, and I, for all manner of reasons, did not quite manage to post every day.. hehe. But I did enjoy doing it and I think I posted more than I normally do, which was fun. Perhaps posting everyday was a little ambitious for me – and I have renewed admiration for those that do this, such as Marie! I hope you enjoyed what I did do!


Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope you all have a fantastic day - I am having a lovely one with the family.
Recipes to follow soon!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

December 18th – Parmesan Sables

Ten Days it has been! Oooh dear :( But I have been ill with a feverr for a majority of that time and since my appetite has been tiny – which is very worrying for me! Hehe Oh well back to baking todayy.


These are some goood biscuits. They are from this months Waitrose Magazine which is one of the many food magazines I always like – it has a nice mix of good recipes and lovely is very English if that makes a lot of sense!

These biscuits are simple to make because you can just whizz them all up in the Magimix, roll, wet, coat and bake! You can make them just as bake and freeze cookies and then coat them in the edging when you need to, or not even edge them at all if you don’t want to. I like the edging though, it adds a delicious crunchy edge. I love poppy seeds – see last post! – but this was my first time eating the black onion seeds which the batch above are coated with and i thought they worked well too.


Above is the poppy seed version, which were my favourite but we served them to my Mum’s friends at her Christmas party and they liked both! You could coat them with different things too – the recipe suggests sesame seeds.You can find the recipe here. I had no problems with this recipe at all..although I am not sure if it makes quite as many as it says.

That’s all for now, although I would like to say I wont be able to post for a few days as I am very busy! However, i was absolutely thrilled to receive a charming award from Marie a few days ago. I will definitely try to pass this on , by doing the post from my Dads blackberry! x

Monday, 8 December 2008

December 8th – Lemon, Poppyseed and Yoghurt Cake!

Mmmmm! = one word to describe this cake! Others would be light and fresh and well quite summery really, although we are in deepest darkest winter here. It was a is quite a dense cake – one of those ones which is mainly a cake but oh so nearly a tea bread too! Like, in the picture in the book (it is a Tamsin Day-Lewis recipe) it shows a slice spread with Greek yoghurt!

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I made just one change to this recipe – instead of using two lemons, I used one and one lime, to give it an extra tang. I also had no problems with this cake! I just had too wait a while half way through making it as I couldn’t open the poppy seeds, but as soon as my sister came home they were opened and we were off again. When I took it out the oven it had a few cracks on top, but when I came back half an hour later (after letting it cool) these cracks had all closed up! It stll wasn’t quite as flat and perfect as the book – my Daddy and I call it “rustic” :) But, all in all it is a welcomed tea cake which is perking up our table through all the bad weather at the moment.

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Short and sweet post I’m afraid :D xx

Friday, 5 December 2008

December 5th – Mini Banoffee Pies!

At the beginning of this Advent Series I admit I did not enjoy it so much. I so wanted to post every day I just baked quickly and hurriedly and didnt really get to enjoy it as much as normal – especially not posting late at night! But now I see the true benefits of this series. Today after school I got to munch on chocolate biscuit cake AND still have an excuse for making 15 mini banoffee pies – I must post today! Yay! I am glad Advent is 24 days loong…. :)

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My Mum is catering for a large party tomorrow, and one of the desserts she is making is a few big banoffee pies – lucky party guests I say! But at the end, there was a bowl of biscuit crumbs, chocolate shavings and toffee left to be used up. So, with a few bananas and pears (my Daddy and sister oddly hate bananas!) and some whipped coffee-cream – these mini puddings were made.

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I did not follow a recipe as such because the ingredients were mainly waiting to be used up – and I just made as many as possible until the toffee ran out! My mum had boiled condensed milk in its tins for hours until you take it out and the gorgeous sticky toffee has formed inside. It is a dangerous process ( the pressure could possibly cause the cans to explode :O ) but it produces the most yummy toffee, far better than the shop-bought stuff. I popped it back in the microwave today as it had gone quite firm and sticky so impossible to spread but after a minute or so it was much easier. I used about half that tin and got fifteen little pies. My godmother Sue is staying and she explained the process too me and off I went! I put the cake cases in the tins and squashed down the melted butter and biscuit crumbs, then spread the toffee, layered the bananas or pears, put a healthy dollop of coffee cream on top, sprinkled with grated chocolate and voila!

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Although, as I say, I did make this using a few leftovers – I would definitely make it again without any leftovers and doing it all especially! They are quite tricky to serve…I made them up in the cake cases in the cupcake tin, then lifted them all out onto a lovely red (Christmassy!) platter and people helped themselves from there – eaten on a plate with a spoon…gorgeous!

Until tomorrow…. :D x

Thursday, 4 December 2008

December 4th – Chocolate Biscuit Cake…

a sure favourite!
Its true, I cannot resist this cake – ever! No matter how full I am or what I have eaten – this cake goes with anything and can be eaten anytime. And the best thing? Easy peasy to make, with very little effort and no oven.
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I also love this cake because (other than its easiness and moreishness) it is made from ingredients which I am generally very likely to have in – just chocolate, golden syrup, butter, sultanas and biscuits! Of course, you could make it even more basic by taking out the sultanas if you are not a fan but I think that they add a great aspect of chewiness. You could also add more: I like it with glace cherries but did not include them this time as I am saving them for another Advent Series recipe. The recipe includes nuts, but I didnt include those. Sort of like the mincemeat, you can easily alter the recipe to your requirements. Once we made it with maltesers, which was, although it sort of goes without saying – amazing! Marshmallows would also be good – like a Rocky Road…the possibilities are endless!
Next time, I would add more chocolate as this recipe is sort of meant to be chocolate with biscuit in, but my version was more like biscuit rolled in chocolate – if that makes any sense! But, no matter, because it means my family gets to keep this tray and I shall make another for my school Christmas Fair.
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Right now I have described it in such loving terms – time for the sort of unnecessary recipe! And, yes, I do realise this is another Rachel Allen recipe…what can I say! :D You can find the recipe here (scroll down :P )

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

December 3rd – Mincemeat Crumble Cake

I have found my camera lead! This means I can show off my mincemeat I made yesterday. Once you have mixed everything together, you add the suet, so your mincemeat looks like this, all gorgeously Christmassy and juicy:

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Then, Delia says to heat it in the oven for 3 hours so that the suet all melts and you can no longer see any white strands. However, all I did was cover it with clingfilm and put the whole bowl in the microwave for 5-6 minutes and it was all gone easy peasy! So then all that was left was to pop it into jars (wash them with boiling water beforehand) and you end up with beautiful mincemeat ready to go:

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So today, it was December 3rd and a new recipe! I wanted to start using my mincemeat straight away so I made a Mincemeat Crumble Cake. Its got three components/layers but they are all very simple: a thin vanilla sponge to soak up all the mincemeat juices, then a mincemeat and apple mix, then a big crumble topping. I did like this cake but I had a little drama – the oven was not on fan but on oven and top grill, when I put it in. Not realising, I just left it for its 40minutes by which time I took it out and my crumble topping was now complete charcoal! My Mum cut off the burntness and we put the cake back in for five more minutes on its normal setting to cook properly all the way through. When we took it out it perhaps wasn’t as pretty as I had intended but tasted just as good! All rather embarrassing to admit, but my intro bit does say “document by successes and failures” although I would not call this a failure at all but just a bit of an accident!

When we ate it though it had worked just as planned: the strong vanilla sponge was a yummy base, and the mincemeat and added apple were rich, plump and juicy. Then what was left of the crumble topping was nice and did add the extra crunch needed to make it all complete. Definitely worth a try – just make sure your oven is on the right setting :D

The recipe was good, but the method described seemed quite long and round-about and using a lot of plates and bowls. I did the crumble all in the Magimix then emptied it into a bowl and set aside. Then I put all the sponge ingredients in at the same time and whizzed and done! But, below I have printed the original recipe.

Mincemeat Crumble Cake, from Entertaining with Katie Stewart.

Makes a 22.5cm (9 inch) cake


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2 dessert apples

225-350g (8oz-12oz) mincemeat

175g (6oz) self raising flour

pinch of salt

100g (4oz) butter

100g (4oz) caster sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

2tbsp milk

Crumble Topping:

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100g (4oz) self raising flour

75g (3oz) butter

75g (3oz) caster sugar

25g (1oz) flaked almonds


  1. Heat the oven to 180’C. Grease a 22.5cm (9inch) spring clip tin.
  2. Sift the flour for the crumble topping into a bowl. Add the butter and cut in with two table knives using a scissor like movement until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the sugar and flaked almonds and set aside.
  4. Peel, quarter and core the apples, then dice finely and mix into the mincemeat.
  5. Sift the flour and salt for the cake on to a plate. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until soft and light.
  6. Lightly mix the eggs and vanilla essence and add to the creamed mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition – add a little of the flour along with the last few additions of egg.
  7. Gently fold half the remaining flour into the mixture, then add the rest of the flour and milk and mix until blended.
  8. spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and spread level. Fork the apple and mincemeat mixture evenly over the filling and cake. Then spread the crumble topping evenly over the filling and cake.

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9. Place in the heated oven and bake for 45-50minutes. Allow to cool in the tin before opening the sides.

P.S. Sorry for the “interesting” and oddly lit photos, but I am making these things at about 7 when it is dark :(

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Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Advent Series!

As this is my first Christmas blogging, I have decided to set myself a little challenge to make me bake lots and also post more! Every day through the Advent season, right up until Christmas Eve, I will post a festive recipe. I have lots of things in the planning: my first gingerbread house, cherry and pineapple cake, mince pies, ecclefachan cakes, a festive cookie, a cookie tree, crumble cake and lots more! I will also be trying some savoury things in the run up such as pork and practicing the goodies for real Christmas Day. Also, before clever people out there point out to me that as I post this it is the 2nd of December – I did want to post yesterday but today’s recipe needed 24hours soaking and I’m jut not organised enough to start the day before!
December 1st & 2nd – Homemade Mincemeat :)
This is a recipe from Delia Smiths Christmas book from a few years ago, but I double the recipe. I thought I would start my series with mincemeat because then I can go onto make lots of things using it. No pictures today as my camera lead has gone missing (aaah!) but I will put them up when it turns up.
The thing I like about making your own mincemeat is that you can alter the mix of ingredients to your own tasting. My Mum doesn’t really like candied peel, but we all love glace cherries in our mince pies so we replaced half the peel with cherries. We also only used half the almonds as I don’t really like the texture if there are too many nuts. You get great results with this recipe: lots of jars full of delicious mincemeat just waiting to be turned into something even more yummy.
Whilst making this, I decided that as much as I love homemade mincemeat, I’m not such a fan of having the job of making it! The process is pretty much just weigh, chop, mix, heat, mix, jar! Because of course the mixture is just currants and fruit etc, there is not the best mixture to eat! However, I would still always do it because it smells absolutely gorgeous, just like Christmas, and you know exactly what is in it so it is better than buying shop bought.
This link has the recipe. As I said, I doubled it. I got 11 medium jars out of it, and the original recipe says you get 3lb. As it is simply fruit and sultanas etc. it would be an easy recipe to double or half and make your own quantities.
See you tomorrow for December 3rd’s recipe!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Its never to early..

To be festive!

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I saw this cake in the Observer Food Monthly magazine (it is a Nigel Slater recipe) and made it because I am feeling extremely excited about Christmas and this looked like a perfect early festive cake!

The cake smelt amazing whilst cooking because of the cinnamon and ginger, and looks lovely once its done. It only took 25 minutes to cook and I had the oven on quite low. Finally I spread the large amount of big pillowy Clementine icing on top and it was perfect! Once I had the icing on I popped it all in the fridge so the icing could set a bit and make it a bit easier to cut.

ginger cake 003 (My cake ingredients waiting to be turned into something delicious!)

A note about this icing: in the recipe it said 300ml of cream cheese, and of course on the cream cheese tub it is measured in grams. I put the whole tub of 200g of Philadelphia in and I was happy, but you might need more if you want it even thicker or less if you prefer it thinner.

I made quite a few substitutions in this recipe, not because I didn't think they would work but simply because I didn’t have the ingredients in. The main one was not including the diced ginger or ginger syrup. This made the cinnamon more prominent – not a bad thing in my eyes (or taste buds!) Then I used plain brown sugar instead of muscovado, which meant the cake wasn’t such a dark treacly colour. Finally, I used raisins instead of sultanas!

Maybe in future I would try with the ginger syrup etc. to get a much stronger ginger taste, or even go the other way and add extra clementine to the cake itself to make it extra fruity. Parts of the method for making this cake were similar to my last recipe. One last complaint is it uses lots of bowls, mixers, saucepans and spoons! Here is the link to the recipe for the cake! :)

(The finished cake, with the zest of one more clementine on top!)

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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Cake and An Award!

What could be better?

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Mmmmm this tea bread was absolutely delicious! I wasn’t sure whether I would really like it but I definitely do. The recipe calls it a dark and sticky tea bread which is perfect for it – it is like a dark toffee cake in some ways. Making it was such fun as well because you boil sugar, sultanas, water and butter up with bicarbonate of soda! Like making honeycomb, it puffs up very high so if you make this watch it very carefully – just as the recipe suggests :) I liked this unusual technique of boiling everything together because the mixture goes from a very pale golden brown, gradually to a dark golden all the way through to a thick dark toffee-mixture. Also, the liquid rehydrates the raisins and they puff up like cranberries! The recipe says to cook for 1 1/2 hours, but I only did it 45 minutes and it was definitely done – in fact it probably could have had less.

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The recipe is from Frugal Food by Delia Smith. This book was originally published in 1976 ( I have the old version!) but Delia has recently republished it as a big hardback book – the same recipes but in more modern measurements. You can find the recipe here, on Delia Online.

Now, my award! I was thrilled to receive the I <3 Your Blog Award from Steph, of Obsessed With Baking. Steph started her blog a few months before I did and I urge you to go over and read it. She is a member of TWD and the Daring Bakers and makes lots of delicious things!


I am passing this award onto:

1. Marie of A Year From Oak Cottage

2. Tulip of Tulip’s Kitchen

3. Antonia of Food, Glorious Food!

4. Culinary Travels Of A Kitchen Goddess

5. Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

I hope they like it and thank-you again Steph!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Bakewell Slice

The exact origins of Bakewell Tart are not very clear, but the story that most people know is the one about the woman from Bakewell, in 1820. She owned a pub called the White Horse Inn and left instructions for her cook to cook a jam tart. However instead of stirring the eggs and almond mixture into the pastry, she spread it on top of the pastry. It was such a hit it became a regular feature at the pub (now called the Rutland Arms) and two shops in Bakewell still claim to sell the original recipe. There is also Cherry Bakewell (like the Kipling variety – iced with half a glace cherry on top) and there's also a Bakewell pudding which is made with puff pastry.
The Bakewell Tart I made yesterday is from Tana Ramsay’s book “real family food” and is a traditional version – shortcrust pastry, spread with jam and covered with an almond sponge. It was yummy! We won this book in a competition a while ago but this is the first recipe we have made from it. Also, it is the only Ramsay family book in our house! But this recipe did work well, was easy to do and had great results. A keeper methinks!
The recipe said to use 375g bought shortcrust pastry, but as I belong to Baked from Scratch <<<> I decided to make my own so I used my Mum's simple recipe...
250g plain flour
125g butter
50mls water
Put your butter and flour in a mixer and whizz to breadcrumbs. Add as much water as you need to bring it together to a dough!

Then I carried on with Tana’s recipe..

Bakewell Slice, from real family food by Tana Ramsay.

375g pack of shortcrust pastry (or make your own as above...)
8tbsp raspberry jam (I used blackcurrant but you could use any flavour – strawberry and cherry would be good too)
170g/6oz unsalted butter, softened
200g/8oz caster sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2tbsp lemon juice
1tsp baking powder
250g/110oz ground almonds
50g/2oz flaked almonds
icing sugar, to dust

1. Roll out the pastry until it is approximately 3mm/ 1/8 inch thick. Line a 22cm/9inch tart tin and trim the edges with a knife. Chill in the fridge for ½ hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 190’C/375’F/Gas Mark 5. Prick the base of the pastry, add some baking beans or dried pasta then bake blind for approximately 15minutes. Remove the baking beans and place the pastry back in the oven to lightly colour for five minutes.
3. Spread the jam over the pastry and start to make the filling.
4. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs and lemon juice. Add the almond extract and fold in the ground almonds.
5. Spoon the mixture over the jam base and spread evenly. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling is golden on top and feels firm in the middle. If the pastry starts to get too brown, cover with foil.
7. Remove and allow to cool.
8. Dust lightly with icing sugar. When totally cool, slice up.

Oh, and todays special Food Holidays are: National Pumpkin Day, National Pretzel Day and National Mince Meat Pie Day. October is also National Caramel Month and National Vegetarian Awareness Month. I love these random days!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Digestive Biscuits

Recently my parents went to stay in a beautiful hotel (Le Manoir de Raynaudes) in the tarn region of South-West FranceThey had a lovely time and brought back lots of presents! First up, for me and my sister, some very pretty and totally French chocolate baguettes :)
They also bought home two bags of crackly, nutty, almond tuile biscuits which my Mum adores and were greatly appreciated at my Dad’s work!
Finally, Mummy took her book that Orlando Murrin (the owner of the hotel) has written all the way to France. It is full of recipes for the food that Orlando serves at the hotel. He signed it too!
It is a beautiful book and my parents had a lovely long weekend there. Because they had such a nice time and they told me how good the food was, I decided to recreate some of the yummy food they had had over there back in rainy easy task! They had told me about some delicious digestive biscuits they had been given and as the recipe was in the book, and I adore digestives I chose to give these a go.
Sure enough, they were truly scrumptious! Nutty from the oatmeal, crunchy round the edges and softer in the middle. I like these because they could be used either truly savoury for a cheeseboard, or sweeter by being dipped in chocolate for homemade chocolate digestives!

Here is the recipe – try them and see what you can do! Also, buy the book as there are lots more yummy things in it – I would like to try the mint truffles next :)

Home-made digestives, from A Table In The Tarn by Orlando Murrin
Makes 15-30, depending on size

100 medium oatmeal or rolled oats
100g wholemeal flour
45g brow sugar
75g butter
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3-4tbsp milk
squeeze of lemon juice
1. Process the first 3 ingredients until well combined.(Oatmeal, brown sugar, wholemeal flour)

1. Add the butter, bicarb and salt, then most of the milk and lemon juice. Whizz until the mixture comes together, adding the remaining milk if necessary. The dough will be slightly tacky.
2. Roll out on a floured surface to biscuit thickness and stamp out rounds of whatever size you fancy. Making them small and elegant is harder work than making large ones. Prick once or twice decoratively with a fork.
3. Bake at 200’C (190’Fan) for 10-12 minutes, till just starting to go brown at the edges, not all over. Smaller ones might take less time.

Veryy yummy! Oh, whilst researching for a fun topic for me and Chloe to do as a form assembly, I stumbled upon a great website with a National Food Day for every single day of the year, as well as Food Weeks and months. Every time I post I shall update you on that days day (if you are still following!) although I warn you some are extremely random! Today, October 21st, is Apple Day and National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day! October is the month of many random foods, including National Cookie Month – very appropriate considering my last post! Also, this week is Chicken Soup for the Soul Week!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Lemon Drizzle Cake

OK, so yesterday I said I wasn’t such a fan of cake. I do like, however sticky iced loaf cakes – just like this one!
One thing I find very annoying about baking is when I settle down to make whatever I have chosen, and then I find haven’t got one of the ingredients. So out I hop to the shops, buy what I need, come back and try again. I read a little further down the recipe and check the fridge and OH there is another ingredient I don’t have! Out to the shops I go again, trying not to catch the person’s eye at the till or just exclaiming “Forgot this!” Aargh it is very annoying and makes me want to own a Sainsbury’s so I would only have to go downstairs! I know, normal people would read the whole recipe through first but what can I say!

My Mum found this recipe on The Guardian website and it was a nice simple bake pretty much just organising the wet and dry ingredients separately and then mixing together. Not a lot to say about the cake apart from: it has a nice dense crumb, and if you are a lemon fan, try it out because it does have a strong lemon tang!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

More Cookies!

I know, another cookie recipe! At this rate I should probably rename this blog Cookie Baker! Ok maybe not, but I do know that this is my seventh cookie recipe on here! I make them a lot because there are soo many different cookies you can make and they are so easy to whip up. My favourite two sweets are cookies and pie J and I’m not such a fan of cake – so it all makes sense really! Anyway, these cookies do deserve to be on here!
There’s often a little story behind my cookie bakes – a new book, an event or a time honoured recipe. Today however it was just this simple equation: Sister wants cookies + Teen Baker wants cookies and a break from homework and to blog = ...double chocolate cookies!

They are from Rachel Allen’s book, Bake, just like the oaty ones last week. Not quite as healthy as the oaty ones, but just as tasty. Rachel Allen provides the basic cookie recipe and then I added the Double Choc Variation so I’ve included that beneath the recipe below. Another variation she had was dried cranberry (which I tried recently when a packet came free in our Ocado shop and I liked) and white chocolate which sound yummy
These cookies came out crisp on the outside and like a brownie inside! They have hardened up slightly since but still have a delicious fudgy centre.
Basic Cookie Recipe, and double chocolate chip variation, from Bake by Rachel Allen

225g (8oz) butter, softened
110g (4oz) caster sugar
275g (10oz) plain flour

1. Preheat the oven to 170’C (325’F), Gas Mark 3.
2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in a food mixer until soft.
3. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
4. Sift in the flour and spices or grated zest (if using) and bring the mixture together to from a dough.
5. Using your hands, roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place them slightly apart on a baking tray.
6. Flatten them slightly with the back of a damp fork and bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes or until they are slightly firm on top. (mine took 12 minutes, they were very soft when I took them out but they harden as they cool on the tray)
7. Carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Double chocolate chip variation:
Use 250g (9oz) plain flour and add 50g (2oz) sifted cocoa powder to the flour. Bring the dough together and mix in 125g (4 ½ oz) dark or white chocolate chips ( I bashed up most of a 200g milk chocolate bar).

A couple of weeks ago now, I was thrilled to receive my first blogging award! It was from the great Marie, at A Year from Oak Cottage. It was the Brilliante Weblog Premio-2008 Award (to give it its full title!) and I was very honoured. Thank you Marie!
I know I have to pass this on to seven people, I think, but I’m still deciding so I will get back to you! Tomorrow, its lemon time :)

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Oaty Cookies x 2!

Q: What do you do when it is rainy and cold outside, and your blog feels neglected?
A: Bake cookies!
Or to be precise oat and vanilla cookies, followed by oat and raisin cookies! Both were yummy!
A few days ago I got Rachel Allen’s new book, Bake. I love Rachel Allen and her books – and I’d love to see her if I go to Ballymaloe when I am older.
The first cookie, Oat and Vanilla Shortbread was my first roll-and-slice cookie. I got the dough together and rolled it but I couldn’t get the perfect circles as in her photos, so mine were rectangular. It didn’t affect the crunchy, melt-in-the-mouth taste though! It would be easy to put add-ins to this shortbread – it might be extra good with lemon or orange zest, but they were good with just vanilla.

Oat and Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
Makes about 40

200g (7oz) butter, softened
100g (3 ½ oz) icing sugar, sifted
1tsp vanilla extract
200g (7oz) plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
100g (3 ½ oz) porridge oats

1. Preheat the oven to 180’C (350’F), Gas Mark 4.
2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft. (I did both the cookies using first my hand-held mixer and then swapping to my wooden spoon).
3. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
4. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then stir in the oats and bring the mixture together to form a dough.
5. Using a sheet of cling film to cover the dough, roll it into a log about 30cm (12in) long and 6cm (2 ½ in) in diameter.
6. Allow to chill in the fridge, covered in the cling film, for about 30 minutes until firm.
7. Remove the cling film, slice the log into rounds about 5mm (1/4 in) thick and place slightly apart on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

8. Bake in the oven for 15minutes or until light golden brown and dry to the touch.
9. Carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Whilst those were chilling in the fridge, I tidied up and got started again on Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies. These were slightly different to the shortbread – a much stickier dough. Rachel Allen says you don’t need to line the trays but I always do as a precaution – after my chocolate cookies stuck! Rachel also says you could try putting chocolate in these instead of the raisins – but I’d like them with both!

Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies
makes about 30 cookies

110g (4oz) butter, softened
110g (4oz) caster sugar
110g (4oz) soft brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp water
1tsp vanilla extract
250g (9oz) porridge oats
110g (4oz) self-raising flour
1 level tsp salt (I left this out because my butter was salted)
110g (4oz) raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 180’C (350’F), Gas Mark 4.
2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft.
3. Add the sugars and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
4. Add the egg, water and vanilla extract while still beating.
5. Reduce the speed and gently mix in the oats, flour, salt and raisins to form a dough.
6. Using your hands, roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place slightly apart on two baking trays.

7. Bake in the oven for 12-25 minutes or until light golden brown but still slightly soft in the centre.
8. Allow to cool on the trays for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

As you can see, I slightly overcooked the first batch of Oat and Raisin Cookies so they were a bit darker than the rest. Happily, this did not affect the taste and we are feasting on cookies! Now I'm off to Youth Group at the church where it is Film & Popcorn Night tonight - and I'm stuffed already!