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!