Monday, 22 September 2008

Chocolate Tart

At the weekend it was my friend Chloe’s birthday party and sleepover. Chloe and I have a long lasting joke about Our Love of Pie and we thought our sleepover would be a perfect opportunity to make one together! We decided on a chocolate pie because we both adore chocolate, but in the end we made a tart.
It was an easy recipe to follow and we didn’t make any alterations. We thought about doing a lattice lid but decided we weren’t sure how to cook that with the tart! We also had a slightly smaller tin than the recipe suggests but we were fine eating the leftovers! We made a slightly makeshift contraption so that the pastry would bake blind but because it was a bit too small and not quite heavy enough, the edges did rise a bit. In future I would make this tart in my pie tin which has the inner layer to let it bake blind properly. Luckily, this did not affect the taste one bit!
Chocolate Tart, from roast chicken and other stories by Simon Hopkinson.
For the pastry: 175g/6oz butter
65g/2 ½ oz icing sugar
2 egg yolks
225g / 8oz plain flour
For the filling: 3 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
40g/ 1 ½ oz caster sugar
150g/ 5 oz butter
200g/7oz dark, bitter chocolate, broken into pieces
1. To make the pastry, put the butter, sugar and egg yolks in a bowl (or food processor) and work together quickly. Blend in the flour, and work to a homogenous paste. Chill for at least one hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 350’F/180’C/Gas Mark 4. Roll out the pastry as thinly as you can and use it to line a 20.5cm/8 inch tart tin. Bake blind in the oven for about 25 minutes or until pale golden in colour but cooked through.

3. Remove from oven and increase oven heat to 375’F/190’C/Gas Mark 5.
4. Meanwhile, to make the filling, put the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat vigorously together, preferably with an electric mixer, until really thick and fluffy. (For some reason Chloe and I beat for ages and still could not get fluffy – and only fairly thick. It didn’t seem to matter we just had a runnier mix.)
5. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Pour onto the egg mixture whilst just warm. Briefly beat together until well combined, then pour into the pastry case.
6. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, then remove and leave to cool.
7. Refrigerate over night. Serve with thick cream.
I loved this tart! Very rich and creamy, even after a night in the fridge. The recipe didn’t include this last step but it was very necessary. On Sunday, it was the party! About 10 of us went to Fortnum & Mason’s Ice Cream Parlour. It was amazing. We could each choose 3 flavours of ice cream and have them either in a bowl or in cones in a little stand. I chose R & P (chocolate ice cream, marshmallow, biscuit and strawberries – but actually just chocolate!), Toffee (vanilla with crunchy toffee in) and Lemon Curd. The Lemon Curd was my favourite it was exactly like Lemon Curd out the jar! Two plates filled with sweets such as jelly beans, candy letters and aniseed balls came to decorate our ice creams with. We all had freshly squeezed orange juice to drink and after our ice cream came the most massive chocolate cake! It was very impressive but most of us were too full to finish our mega slices! Here are my pictures. My ice cream! Mmm
Sweets for my ice cream!

Birthday Girls Slice!
Whole Cake !

After we had eaten everything, we had a good nose around Fortnums! The ice cream parlour shares its floor with the Christmas range so we had fun looking at Christmas trees, baubles and crackers! Well, Sainsburys has started stocking Christmas cake so why not Fortnums! Afterwards we looked at the fashion, huge confectionery ranges, chocolates, wall of Rare Marmalades, the perfumes and admired the people buying ther fruit and veg there before heading home. It was a very enjoyable weekend and I would advise everyone in London, or all those who can travel there - to visit!

Friday, 12 September 2008

A Lemony Surprise

Ooof what a busy week. The first week of school is always pretty hectic for obvious reasons but this seems to have been busier than ever! With new teachers and a complicated new 2 week timetable – plus the fact that Y9 = about a trillion pieces of homework a day! I have been looking forward to getting back in the kitchen and making something scrumptious to share with you. My Mum found this recipe on Bibliocook and I would have made it a few days ago but my Mum has a catering do tomorrow so the kitchen was very busy! Then I thought I would wait until Sunday when my Granny is coming to lunch but then I checked her and noticed that would mean a week would have gone past without posting! So, here I am this evening .

This recipe does make a large tray full and you can see that as you mix up the 2 stages to this recipe – first the shortbread base and then the delicious and tangy filling. It took a lot of grating and juicing to get the right amount of lemon but don’t scrimp on the amounts – in this recipe it is far better to have too much lemon then not enough because you want the tangy lemon, otherwise you might end up with something bland and that would be a waste! All in all a successful pud – I took Bibliocook’s advice and cooked it for only 25 minutes out of the 35 suggested. My only problem with these was how to properly describe them to my sister (or on here!) when they were in the oven. A bar cookie? A shortbread and set lemon custard? Lemon Slice? Also I ended up photographing at about 8pm so I am sorry about the nasty photos
A yummy success - i think lemon is my favourite flavour at the moment.
Go over to Bibliocook's fabulous site now for the recipe.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Cheese Scones

I’ve been promising something savoury for a while now so finally here I am! Probably as savoury as I am going to get on here – I do way prefer cooking sweet things. Also, my Mum takes care of the savoury and there aren’t specific recipes just a bit of this and a pinch of that, equalling a delicious meal!

I said I would make these when my Dad got home, and as he got back yesterday morning I did these this evening. Simple ingredients, simple method – lovely result!

Cheese Scones from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book

Makes 16 (no way would the batch make this much if you want them the thickness it suggests in the book. I got 8 big ones and one widgy one with the left over bit of dough!)

1. Grease a baking sheet. (Oh I didn’t grease it! They came off fairly easily although perhaps greasing it would have been easier...).
2. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and rub in the fat until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. (I did this in the Magimix.)
3. Stir in half the cheese, the mustard and enough milk to give a fairly soft, light dough.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to about 2cm (3/4inch) thick and cut into rounds 5cm (2inch) plain cutter.
5. Put on the baking sheet, brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
6. Bake in the oven at 220’C (425’F) mark 7 for about 10 minutes.
7. Cool on a wire rack.

Although I would choose a fruity scone with jam and clotted cream as The Best Scone Ever - I liked these! In my mind they are best warm with some good butter on top – lovely.

As you can see below they sort of exploded into interesting shapes whilst baking, but they were for my Dad and he liked them so that’s all that matters.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Lemon & Sultana Cookies


As I wrote my post late last night, ditsy old me forgot to mention I am submitting these to Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy as part of her 1st Blogoversary Bash! Go there now to submit your favourite party food, and Happy 1st Blogoversary!!


Sorry for the lack of posts – I was busy trying to celebrate my last week of freedom before school started! But today the inevitable happened and I went back to school to Y9 (I still feel like a Y7!), to a new form, new timetable and new teachers. It is a shock to the system after 6 weeks of getting up at 9am, staying in my pyjamas until 10am then either meeting up with someone or most days just reading etc so my most active thing was a spot of baking! I will try to keep posting regularly as school calms down as I really enjoy writing this blog, receiving your comments and cooking in the brand new kitchen (more another time). Meanwhile I have still been reading all your blogs and your recipes which made me feel slightly guilty!

Today after I got home and explained to my Mum everything about school she told me she had found a recipe for me to make! The other day I did make a chocolate cake and although it was tasty it wasn’t very photogenic or interesting to post. Also, I know I mentioned I would be making something savoury but the idea was Cheese Scones because they are one of his favourite things but he is in Canada for work at the moment so I will make them when he is back! For now though, its cookie time!

At my house we get loads of food magazines – Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Olive and BBC Good Food all come through our door and are read cover to cover by me and my Mum. Sometimes, well every Olive issue, a small book comes free with the main magazine such as “30 Menus for 4” or “The Little Book of Soups” etc! Or a really good one comes through like this...

Who could resist a book called 52 Cakes, Bakes and Chocolate! It came with BBC Good Food a couple of years ago, I think around 2006 and I am surprised we haven’t baked from it more. My sister has made the chocolate and orange cookies a couple of times which were delicious but other than that I don’t think anything else has been produced. From now on (after two great cookie successes) there shall be more things coming from this book (I have my eye on some almond surprise cookies) and it is a real shame it isn’t available in the shops – although there is one called 101 Cakes and Bakes which may share some recipes but I haven’t got.

Easy to make and an absolute winner for me as I adore lemon curd – its delicious over decent vanilla ice cream, crushed meringue and sliced strawberries, a real taste of summer! – and anything lemon! The sultana’s make the cookies nice and chewy. Here’s the recipe which I shall be using again:

Lemon and Sultana Cookies, from BBC Good Food 52 Cakes, Bakes and Chocolate
Makes 30
350g/12oz plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
140g/5oz butter, cut into small squares
175g/6oz caster sugar
85g/3oz sultanas
100g/4oz lemon curd
2 eggs, beaten
ICING: 100g/4oz sifted icing sugar (or serious elbow work if not sifting!)
2tbsp fresh lemon juice ( I just used the juice of a whole lemon!)

1. Heat oven to 200’C/fan 180C/gas6.
2. Line 3 baking sheets (I used 2 trays several times). Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (I blitzed mine in the magimix then put in a bowl).
3. Stir in the sugar and sultanas, add the lemon curd and eggs, then mix into a soft dough.
4. Shape the dough into 30 small balls about 2.5cm wide then put on the baking sheets allowing plenty of space between them so that they can spread. Using your fingers flatten the tops slightly.

5. Bake for 11-15 minutes until risen and light golden. Leave to cool for 1 min on the baking sheets then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
6. Blend the icing sugar and lemon juice then drizzle over each cookie.
Try them! They are yummy and make lots!