Sunday, October 24, 2010

FINE CHOCOLATES FOR CHRISTMAS



I have been invited by Chocolate Craft, an artisan chocolate company based in Old Alresford, Hampshire, to try their Christmas Pudding Truffles with Courvoisier VS Cognac.

These beautiful Christmas Pudding Truffles contain fruits, nuts, spices and Courvoisier. They are made from 70% plain chocolate and 33.6% cocoa solids milk chocolate. If you think you and your guests won't have any room left for Christmas Pudding these are a great idea, and they certainly haven't been mean with the Cognac!

Chocolate Craft are an award winning artisan company making handmade chocolates with Hampshire cream and natural ingredients. Their handmade chocolates can be purchased either online or from selected retailers and you can see the list of stockists here.


Thank you David.

Monday, October 18, 2010

LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE - NATIONAL BAKING WEEK 2010


It's National Baking Week from 18-24 October and what could be better than a lemon drizzle cake.

As with most of the cakes I cook, this can be cut into squares and frozen. The cake defrosts perfectly. This is a very fluffy cake and instead of using the usual three eggs, this recipe uses only two and the juice of a lemon is used, giving a very lemony cake. Also the topping is just a little different from the usual lemon drizzle cake.

I know some people think baking is too time consuming, but you don't need any special equipment for this recipe, and even if you just throw everything into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes, the cake will still be lovely.

Hope this has encouraged you to bake a cake this week!

125g butter, 175g caster sugar, 2 large eggs, 175g self-raising flour, 2 unwaxed lemons, 50g granulated sugar.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Lightly oil an 18cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy. Beat the eggs, then gradually add a little of the egg to the creamed mixture, adding 1 tablespoon of flour after each addition.
3. Finely grate the rind from 1 of the lemons and stir into the creamed mixture, beating well until smooth. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, strain, then stir into the mixture.
4. Spoon into the prepared tin, level the surface and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
5. Using a zester, remove the peel from the last lemon and mix with 25g of the granulated sugar and reserve.
6. Squeeze the juice into a small saucepan. Add the rest of the granulated sugar to the lemon juice in the saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally. When the sugar has dissolved, simmer gently for 3-4 minutes until syrupy.
7. Price the cake all over with a cocktail stick, to allow the syrup to soak in.
8. Sprinkle the lemon zest and sugar over the top of the cake, drizzle over the syrup and leave to cool in the tin. Cut into squares.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

CHOCOLATE FUDGE - NATIONAL CHOCOLATE WEEK 2010


It's not very often that I make sweets, other than chocolate truffles for Christmas.

National Chocolate Week is from the 11 October to 17 October 2010, so this is the perfect excuse to make something indulgent. You can see a list of events in your area by clicking here.

My chocolate fudge was easy to make because last year my husband bought me a Kenwood Cooking Chef. Basically, instead of having to use a sugar thermometer, the Kenwood is thermostatically controlled and will make wonderful things like fudge!

The recipe for the fudge is from the Kenwood Cooking Chef Recipe Book. I have given the method for the Kenwood Cooking Chef so you can see exactly what is involved when using this machine.

250g chocolate (64% cocoa solids), 200g sugar, 75g glucose, 100ml water, 35ml sweet evaporated milk, 200g fondant icing, 10ml vanilla extract, 40g unsalted butter.

1. Grate the chocolate in the Food Processor Attachment with the thin shredding disc. Attach the Flexi Beater. Place the sugar, glucose and water into the mixing bowl. Set the temperature to 115°C and the speed to stirring 2. Allow to cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the evaporated milk and bring the temperature back to 115°C. Add the fondant icing, and bring the temperature back to 115°C. Cook for another 2 minutes. When the temperature is at 80°C add the chocolate, the vanilla extract and the butter. Continue to stir until the mixture is amalgamated.
3. Pour into a 25 x 15 x 1.5cm tray lined with greaseproof paper. Allow to cool before slicing.

Monday, October 04, 2010

NIGELLA'S CHOCOLATE BANANA MUFFINS


Nigella has brought us some great muffin recipes to try at home and these in particular were met with a huge mmmm! Whose recipe is this, asked my husband - Nigella's I replied. My husband said he thought her double chocolate chip muffins couldn't be beaten but mmmmm.

I have frozen these and they thaw successfully, I've even thawed them and warmed them up in the microwave, although Nigella says to put them in the oven for a few minutes to warm.

Why not make some? You'll be glad you did!

This recipe comes from Nigella's new book Kitchen
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