30 Dec 2014

Carrot and Leek Soup - Recipe

Carrot and Leek Soup
After all the eating over Christmas a bowl of freshly made soup is perfect.

Lets be honest some gadgets we purchase aren't going to get used as much as we would like but hubby and I love this soup maker.  From thinking about making soup to serving up takes all of 30 minutes and my new kitchen toy is definitely one of the best gadgets I have in my kitchen.

Hubby needs to lose some weight, I don't believe in diets, and making bowls of warm, comforting soup will be a great way to eat loads of veg, it will be filling and low in calories too.

I love this soup and if you are fed up with the usual Carrot and Coriander then why not give this recipe a try.

Conventional Recipe but can be made in a soup maker
450g leeks
450g carrots
1 medium onion
25g vegetable oil
1.5 litres stock
Seasoning

Clean and wash the leeks, chop, place them into a colander and wash under running  Peel the carrots and cut them into smallish pieces, chop the onion.

Add the oil to a large saucepan, add the vegetables. Stir, cover and ‘sweat’ them for 10 minutes on a low heat, shake the pan from time to time.

Pour in the stock, add seasoning, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the carrot is tender.  Liquidise the soup.

Any leftover soup can be frozen either in zip lock bags or by filling the holes in a silicone muffin tray with soup, freezing and then removing the muffin size portions of soup, as a rule of thumb a couple of these make one serving.  If you have an induction hob it's easy to defrost the portions in a pan on a low heat or defrost in the microwave.

Frozen portions of soup

More recipes:
Spicy Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
Mushroom Soup
Cauliflower Cheese Soup

24 Dec 2014

Seeded Bread with Melting Camembert - Breadmaker Recipe


I've absolutely no idea why I decided to line my Camembert Baker with baking paper, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Afterwards I realised it was a rubbish idea.....I couldn't take a decent photograph of the bread because of the paper and we had  to fight to get the Camembert off the baking parchment because the molten cheese had glued itself well and truly on.

The baker serves two purposes, it helps to keep the risen dough in shape and when the bread is nearly baked the cheese can be placed in the baker to cook into a molten lava.

The dough was made in my new and amazing Panasonic SD-ZB2502 breadmaker and it's all so easy to do.......this recipe however isn't from the book supplied with the machine but from my previous Panasonic breadmaker recipe book.

Breadmaker Recipe
500g strong white bread flour (I used Carr's)
1tsp fast action dried yeast
1½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
25g butter
2tbsp milk powder
300ml water
To decorate:
1 egg beaten
4 tsp mixed seeds
Box Camembert
White Vermouth

1. Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order recommended for your bread machine. Set to dough.
2. When dough is ready remove from the bread machine.  Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll each piece into a sausage shape 60cm long.  Press the three rolls together at the end and plait the dough together.
3. Grease a large baking tray and place the Camembert baker into the centre of the tray, grease the outside of the baker.  Wrap the plait around the outside of the baker and join the ends up to make a continuous plait.
4. Cover with oiled baking parchment and prove for 20 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 180oC Fan.
6. Brush the dough with beaten egg and sprinkle the seeds over, bake for 25 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, place the cheese in the baker, cut a cross in the middle of the cheese and pour over the Vermouth.  Return the bread to the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.


Back soon!



17 Dec 2014

Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes - Recipe


For some unknown reason I've got a mountain of gold mini cupcake cases, this recipe uses 18 cases and I've still got a whole heap left. These cute sticky gingerbread mini bakes are easy to make and a favourite of ours.  They keep for a few days and get stickier by the day but I doubt they'll last that long.

4 tbsp apple and ginger juice (I used Cawston Press) or ginger ale
90g dark muscovado sugar
⅛ tsp bicarbonate of soda
70g self-raising flour
1 level tsp ground ginger
1 medium egg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
White icing to decorate

You will need: 18 mini muffin cases - two mini muffin cake tins

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan.
2. Place the apple and ginger juice and the muscovado sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Take a wooden spoon and break down any lumps of sugar. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
3. Sift the flour and ginger into a bowl. Whisk the egg and oil together in another bowl, then slowly add this to the flour, whilst stirring continuously. Add the apple and ginger juice or ginger ale to the mixture in two goes whilst gently mixing it in.
4. Three-quarters fill each muffin case and bake for about 15 minutes until risen and firm. Remove from the tins and leave to cool.
5. Decorate with white icing.

One year ago:
                          Individual Raspberry Trifles
                          Last Minute Christmas Puddings
                          Meringue Topped Mince Pies
                          Mini Stollen

14 Dec 2014

Baileys Chocolate Truffles - Christmas Recipe

Now look what's happened, I've forgotten my words and everything!
I love Christmas bling and edible gold leaf is a must at this time of the year, just take a deep breath and forget how ridiculously expensive it is. It's a pain to use and sticks to everything except what you want it to stick to. My truffles are so delicious and melt in the mouth that they are worthy of a little adornment.

The recipe is Baileys, coffee, chocolate, butter and cream - yum, yum yum!  Easy to make and far nicer than most truffles you can buy.

Makes: 12
300g plain chocolate
2 tbsp whipping cream
1 tbsp cold strong fresh espresso coffee
2 tbsp Baileys
55g softened salted butter
To decorate:
edible gold leaf
sifted cocoa powder
sifted icing sugar

You will need:  12 sweet cases, baking trays and clingfilm!

Method:
1. Add 100g of the chocolate and the cream to a bowl set over a saucepan of warm water.  Leave until melted.  Remove the bowl from the pan and add the espresso, Baileys and butter, whisk together until smooth and thickened. Cool, cover with clingfilm and chill until firm.
2. Line a baking tray with cling film. Remove the mixture from the fridge and when the mixture becomes pliable roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls using the palms of your hands. Place the truffles onto the tray.  Cover with more clingfilm and place in the freezer.
3. Remove the tray from the freezer.
4. Take a fresh tray and cover with clingfilm. Melt the remaining 200g of dark chocolate. Dip the truffles into the chocolate to coat. Place on the tray. When the chocolate is set place a tiny piece of gold leaf on top of the truffle to decorate.  Roll the remaining truffles in either the cocoa or icing sugar.

6 Dec 2014

Christmas Panettone Pudding - Recipe


Panettone pudding isn't just for Christmas, it's so delicious and luxurious given the chance I would eat it all year. So here we have a luxurious but quick and easy pudding.
Cut two slices of panettone
Break into cubes
Pour over a mixture of sugar, eggs and double cream
Serves: 4
You will need:  300ml double cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 large slices of panettone cut into cubes.

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter an ovenproof dish.
2. Whisk the eggs, single cream, milk, vanilla extract and sugar.
3. Add the cubes of panettone into a large dish and pour over the egg mixture. Leave to stand for 30 minutes.
4. Place the dish into a large roasting pan, fill half way with hot water. Bake for 30 minutes or until softly set.
5. Dust the panettone with icing sugar.

30 Nov 2014

Raspberry and White Chocolate Brioche Pudding - Recipe


I love this pudding, it's easy to make, you don't need to spend loads of time in the kitchen and it's perfect for this time of the year when we are all beginning to feel festive. It's lightweight to eat compared to panettone pudding and I've substituted some of the cream for semi-skimmed milk to cut down on calories.I bought a pack of 8 brioche rolls from the shop that sells everything for a £1, they are really light and perfect for this pudding, I only used four of the rolls and popped the remaining four into the freezer for another day.

White buttons are best or white chocolate chips because the chocolate needs to melt quickly.When I came to make the pudding I found I had ran out of buttons and used chunks of chocolate.


I used frozen raspberries, which have a good amount of tang to them compared with fresh and for some Christmas spirit I marinated the frozen raspberries in brandy for a few minutes!

Serves: 4

You will need:  150ml semi-skimmed milk, 150ml whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 4 brioche rolls sliced horizontally into two, 100g frozen raspberries, 1 tbsp brandy, 25g white chocolate buttons

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.  Butter a dish which is large enough to take four brioche rolls.
2. Whisk the eggs, milk, cream and vanilla extract together.
3. Tip the frozen raspberries into a small bowl and stir in the brandy.
4. Place the cut brioche into the dish and pour the egg mixture over. Sprinkle over the raspberries and chocolate.
5. Place the dish in a roasting pan. Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until just set.
6. Dust with icing sugar.


20 Nov 2014

Potato Boulangère - Cooked in a Steam Combination Oven


I've made this Jamie Oliver recipe numerous times, it's quick, easy and a healthier option to the usual potato dauphinoise.  Potato Boulangère is simply thinly sliced potatoes, onions and stock layered up in a dish.  I like Delia's recipe too......

When I chose my new kitchen the purchase of a steam combination oven was an indulgence, especially as I had no idea if I was going to be happy with it but now I don't know how I managed without it. The advantage of cooking in this type of oven using the fan/steam mode is food doesn't dry out and also cooks quicker, I cooked this dish in just over 30 minutes at 200°C Fan/Steam.

Steam ovens have to be used with caution, when I first used mine I had one or two nasty burns and I learnt very quickly that my best friend was going to be a set of of double oven gloves that have an extra long cuff, a protective steam layer and don't let the heat through.  I'd recommend C'est Ca because they never let me down.


Adapted Recipe:
750g maincrop potatoes
1 onion, sliced
sage leaves
200ml vegetable stock
Parmesan cheese
butter

Conventional Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, add a layer over the base followed by a layer of onions, season. Build up the layers finishing with a layer of potatoes.
3. Pour the stock over the potatoes, season. Grate the Parmesan over the potatoes, top with a few fresh sage leaves. Top with a few pieces of butter. Cook for an hour until golden and the potatoes are cooked through.

The original recipe is on the Jamie Oliver website.

14 Nov 2014

Plum Slice is Always Nice!

Amazing Plum Cake with Ice Cream
Last September I was sent an email inviting me to attend the Range Leisure Autumn Feast with Uyen Luu who is a blogger, cookery book writer and supperclub owner.  Sadly I was unable to attend and reluctantly/happily! passed the invitation onto @PaulFoodie who is the London Reporter for our blog.

I've been told on many an occasion that the food, wine, event, the company, including Jeanne of Cook Sister, made a truly memorable evening for all.

I love dessert and whenever I go out for a meal I mostly start by looking at the dessert menu first. I thought I'd replicate the Plum Cake with Ice Cream that Uyen Luu cooked on the evening of the event........
Deliciously tender and buttery
I'd recommend getting the best plums possible because the 'ripen at home' ones from the supermarket tend to go mouldy before they ripen and the fruit needs to be as tasty as possible.

21 Oct 2014

The Technical Challenge: Ciabatta by Paul Hollywood - Recipe


Why didn't I try this easy recipe before?  My inspiration came from seeing Paul Hollywood on TV demonstrating this technical challenge from The Great British Bake Off.  He made it look easy enough, but with his skills, he makes everything look easy.

This is one occasion when you need a mixer with a dough hook, the mixture is so sticky I'd lose patience if I tried to make it by hand. If you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, but haven't used your bread machine for ages, let the dough setting do all the hard work for you.


I'm not in possession of a square plastic container to rise the dough, mine is deep and oblong, it was still okay and sometimes you just have to compromise.  After all, Paul Hollywood isn't about to knock on my front door any time soon to make sure I use a square container.

The dough is really easy to work with and I was more than a bit chuffed with my baked loaves of ciabatta, they don't have to look bakery perfect, but hubby thought I'd bought them!

Fresh from the oven
The bread doesn't take long to make, the kitchen is filled with the heady aroma of bread, it freezes well, can be warmed briefly in the microwave (don't tell Paul), and you can find the recipe on the BBC Food website.

I hope you too will have a go at this challenge!

Back soon with some fab product reviews........including making soup to go with my bread.....

12 Oct 2014

The Perfect Raspberry and Almond Cake - Recipe

Why triple almond? Ground almonds, almond extract and flaked almonds
Hooray! My raspberries didn't sink - joy of joys.  This cake has been very kind to me, it was moist, has a tender crumb, is full of lovely flavours and I used the last of the autumn raspberries.

It's an all in one cake mix, which means less time spent in the kitchen if you have limited time on your hands, and it's a wonderful cake-cum-dessert. For dessert pop a slice into the microwave on a low setting to heat through.

The cake is also delicious dusted with icing sugar and served with either a dollop of cream or creme fraiche.

We liked the cake with a dusting of icing sugar
Recipe:
115g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 large eggs beaten
115g softened butter
115g caster sugar
1tsp almond extract
40g ground almonds
175g fresh raspberries
2 tbsp flaked almonds

You will need:  20cm base lined round cake tin, greased with butter and floured.

1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC Fan.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, add the beaten eggs, almond extract, butter and sugar.  Beat together with an electric whisk for 2 minutes.  Fold in the ground almonds.
3. Dollop the cake batter into the tin.  Level the mixture, scatter over the raspberries and flaked almonds.

All it needs now is a scattering of flaked almonds 
4. Bake for 45 minutes until golden.  Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes.  Remove the cake from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
5. The cake can be cut into slices and frozen.

3 Oct 2014

Easy Strawberry Jam - Kenwood Cooking Chef Recipe


There is something special about homemade strawberry jam which makes it all seem so worthwhile, and you definitely can't beat your own jam slathered on a scone. I used to buy Strawberry Preserve with Champagne at the Good Food Show in Birmingham, but unfortunately they don't exhibit there anymore. Their jam is on another level to mine and I only wish my jam had champagne added to it. 

Strawberries with the sugar and lemon added.
Photographs of my jam being made in the Kenwood Cooking Chef.

Just a few minutes to dissolve the sugar
I made my jam the easy way with my kitchen toy, I find the hardest part of jam making is ensuring the sugar is completely dissolved - the machine does this quickly and efficiently.

Finished jam!
You may think I top my jam with cute cloth hats and put fancy labels on them, how wrong you would be.  It's wash, sterilise, pour jam into jars, top with waxed disc, cellophane held in place with an elastic band and a reused jam jar lid!  I know the jars look fabulous when they are dressed up, and I have seen some lovely photographs on blogs, but somehow I never seem to get past putting a lid on my jars.

The recipe came from Delicious Magazine and here is a link to a previous posting when I made the jam by hand.

Individual Lemon and Blueberry Steamed Pudding Recipe - Steam Combination Oven

Serve the pudding with golden syrup and double cream
Using a steam combination oven is really easy once you get into the swing of things.  When I first bought it my thoughts were that it would be a bit needy and I'd spend ages cleaning it out.  The good news is that once I got used to it this part isn't too much of a chore.

I love steamed puddings, preferably not the ones that weigh you down for a week, and the steam oven will make enough in one go to feed an army, not that I'll be doing that any time soon.

Non-stick Bacofoil is my best friend when I make steamed puddings, all you have to do is cut the foil into squares, pleat and cover the batter with the foil non shiny side down.

Fresh from the steamer
Recipe:

You will need: 8 x 175ml pudding basins

175g self-raising flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
150g fresh blueberries

1. Grease the basins well and place a disc of silicone baking paper in the base of each basin.
2. Add all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with a hand held whisk for two minutes until the batter is smooth.  Place the blueberries in a bowl and sprinkle over some extra flour to coat the fruit, stir gently into the cake batter.
3. Using an ice cream scoop place scoops of cake batter into the basins. Cover each basin with a piece of non-stick Bacofoil which has been pleated.
4. Place the puddings into the steamer following the manufacturers instructions. I cooked mine for 1hr 15minutes.
5. Remove the puddings from the steamer, remove the foil lids and turn out.
6. Any puddings now used can be turned out onto clingwrap, cool and then freeze. They can easily be reheated in a microwave.

Disclaimer:  My steam combination oven is a private purchase.

21 Sep 2014

Plum Cobbler - Recipe

The hot pudding is fabulous served with ice cream
The leaves are starting to fall off the trees, the nights are drawing in and Plum Cobbler is one of those comforting puddings we will soon be craving for.

This cobbler topping is beautifully light and airy, it is quick and easy to make and is a great alternative to a crumble topped pudding.

The recipe from Baking Mad's Autumn Recipes uses damsons but where I live they are ridiculously expensive and I used red plums with great success, but they must be ripe, otherwise they'll have to be pre-cooked for longer than the recipe suggests.

I placed the cobbler onto the plums in craggy blobs to make the pudding look lovely and homely or instead of one large pudding it can also be cooked in individual ramekins.

It's quite a large pudding and once cooled it can be cut into individual portions and frozen.

Disclaimer:  BakingMad.com have sent me a selection of products for this posting.

17 Sep 2014

Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes - National Cupcake Week 2014

Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes
I doubt anyone could eat more than one of these super indulgent cupcakes, they must be one of the richest cupcakes I have ever made.  Fortunately, I can freeze them and take one out of the freezer to thaw for those days when I need chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

It's National Cupcake Week and for once I managed to make some cupcakes and have posted them on the blog midweek - well done me!

My local Italian restaurant posted a Ferrero Rocher Cake on their Facebook page and it prompted me to make these cupcakes.  I know these Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes have been 'out there' for a long time but somehow I have never got round to making them.

The cupcakes I've seen posted on Facebook this year are truly amazing and inspirational works of creativity.

Here's the recipe to make 12

85g self-raising flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
110g caster sugar
110g softened salted butter
2 large eggs
1tsp baking powder
2tsp milk

You will need:  12 hole muffin tin and cupcake cases

1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC Fan.
2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk for a good couple of minutes.
3. Using an ice cream scoop place balls of the batter into the 12 cupcake cases.
4. Bake for 20 minutes until cooked.  Remove from the oven and cool.


For the Nutella Buttercream
225g sifted icing sugar
100g softened unsalted butter
2 heaped tablespoons Nutella
2 tsp milk

To decorate: 4 cubes of dark chocolate melted

1. Beat everything together for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add more milk if the mixture is too stiff.
2. Put the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a 1M nozzle and pipe onto the cupcakes.  Top with a Ferrero Rocher.
3. Drizzle over melted chocolate using a teaspoon.

12 Sep 2014

Mary Berry's Spiced Dorset Apple Traybake - Recipe

The traybake is spiced with cinnamon
This is a cake-cum-pudding - according to my hubby it needs a large bowl of 'Birds Custard' - there isn't a cure for his love of Bird's Custard, it comes from his school days. In fact he often boasts that he introduced an American businessman to custard and told him that English puddings have to be served with the pudding floating in custard!

Yes, I did give him a chunk of the cake with his beloved custard - I had a piece with a dollop of cream but creme fraiche would cut through the sweetness of the cake and for me it would be the best choice.

Mary Berry is the queen of the traybake and I don't think I had ever heard of a 'traybake' until many, many years ago when I bought her Ultimate Cake Book.  This book is very well thumbed and is getting a bit tatty but it is a turn to book when I'm in need of baking inspiration.

Part of my collection of Mary Berry cookery books
Adapted recipe and method:

You will need: 30cm x 23cm x 4cm greased and lined with baking parchment.

225g butter softened
550g Bramley cooking apples
1 tbsp bottled lemon juice
225g light brown sugar
300g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples, place them into a dish. Pour the lemon juice over the apples and toss gently together.
3. Put the butter, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon, eggs and milk into a large bowl. Beat with a hand held electric whisk for 2 minutes.
4. Dollop half the cake batter into the tin and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Place half the apple slices on top and sprinkle over the remaining ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Spoon the remaining cake batter on top in blobs and level the surface. Scatter the rest of the apple slices over the cake mixture and press them lightly into the surface.
5. Bake for 40 minutes until golden. Test the cake is cooked through with a skewer and the apples are soft and cooked. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. Remove the cake using the lining paper.

The original recipe, method and video how to make the cake is on the Daily Mail website.

28 Aug 2014

Sparkling Redcurrant Cupcakes - Recipe


I revealed on Facebook that I had for no apparent reason gone into blogger meltdown.  It didn't matter what I cooked it just seemed to fail. Cherries falling to the bottom of my cake, rocky roads that didn't quite rock and on and on it went.  I even made hubby a bacon sandwich that you definitely wouldn't pay for!  Although he did remind me he had already paid and that it tasted good all the same:)

My cupcakes may look a little like Christmas with the frosted redcurrants but I love redcurrants coated in sugar, the combination of sweet and tart is amazing, second only to dipping a stick of rhubarb into a bag of sugar.

I've got three redcurrant bushes in my fruit garden and they reward me with lots and lots of bright red bead like jewels that glisten in the sun.  The fruits can be eaten raw, cooked or can be frozen.  They fruit from July through to the middle of August and give us that all important vitamin C.  Unfortunately ants seem to enjoy my fruits too but there isn't much I can do about that!

Redcurrants cost a ridiculous amount of money in the shops and they are sold in minute quantities, I've no idea why because they grow so easily in this country.

At Christmas time we see recipes and images of redcurrants, where do we buy them from at Christmas and where do they come from?

These lovely cupcakes can be made using raspberries or a combination of redcurrants and raspberries. Yes, the fruits are inclined to sink to the bottom of the cupcake cases..........I've got that sinking feeling again!


Makes: 9
110g caster sugar
110g softened butter
110g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g redcurrants

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Fan 160ºC.
2. Place 9 cupcake cases in a muffin tin.
3. Add all the ingredients, except the redcurrants, to a bowl and mix together for 4 minutes until soft and fluffy.
4. Fold in half the redcurrants.  Place scoops of the mixture into the cupcake cases. Sprinkle the remaining redcurrants on top of the cake batter.
5. Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through. Place onto a cooling rack.
6. To make the icing: Add 100g icing sugar to a medium size bowl and stir in enough lemon juice to make a pouring consistency.  Colour the icing with a few drops of pink colouring.  Pour into a plastic bag, cut a tiny corner off the bag and decorate the tops of the cooled cupcakes. Take a few sprigs of redcurrants and brush with lightly whisked egg white, spoon over caster sugar to frost.  Place onto a tray lined with wax paper to dry.

17 Aug 2014

Mini Lemon Cheesecakes - Recipe

The inspiration for these mini desserts - yellow diamonds!
The way to a man's heart..........in my case my hubby loves jelly! He went to a posher school than me, they had an amazing school cook who made wonderful nursery puddings. He would happily eat nursery puddings and jelly and ice cream every week if I let him.

This lemon cheesecake is my hubby's favourite, it's a little retro using jelly instead of gelatine as a setting agent, but in this recipe it works really well, although to make the cheesecake layer less sweet simply cut down on the amount of sugar. I mostly make this dessert in a 20cm loose base sandwich tin for a low faff dessert but mini desserts always look really pretty.

You will need:  silicone cupcake tray

Makes: 8

170g Hobnob biscuits crushed
100g butter
Half a 1 pint lemon jelly
225g full fat cream cheese (not low fat)
55g caster sugar
grated zest of a lemon
Topping:
juice of a lemon
1-½ to 2 tsp arrowroot
30g caster sugar
butter
yellow food colouring (optional)
For the decoration:
Half a 1 pint lemon jelly

1. Place the biscuits into a bowl and crush using the end of a rolling pin(no fancy kitchen equipment needed here). Melt the butter.  Add the melted butter to the crushed biscuits.
2. Put the silicone tray onto a sturdy metal tray.  Divide the biscuit crumb mixture between the cavities. Press down with a spoon. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill.
3. Boil the kettle, add half the jelly tablet to a jug and make up to ¼ pint with hot water.  Stir to dissolve the jelly.  Cool and then place the jug in the fridge to chill until it is the consistency of unbeaten egg white.
4. Beat the cream cheese with the caster sugar and lemon rind.  Gradually whisk in the chilled jelly.  It will go lumpy but keep on beating with a hand whisk and it will become smooth.  Remove the cupcake tray from the fridge and fill the cavities nearly to the top with the cream cheese/jelly mixture making sure there is a space for the topping. There will be some cream cheese mixture left over when you make individual cheesecakes.  If making the 20cm cheesecake all the mixture will be used up.  Place the silicone tray back in the fridge to chill until the filling is set.
5. To make the topping: Make the lemon juice up to ¼ pint with water.  Place the arrowroot into a basin and mix with some of the liquid to make a smooth paste, add the rest of the liquid and the sugar. Pour into a small saucepan, bring to the boil whilst stirring to prevent lumps.  Boil to produce a clear mixture.  Remove from the heat, add the butter and a little yellow food colouring.  Let the mixture cool.
6. Take the cheesecakes from the fridge.  Spoon the sauce over the top.
7. Place the cheesecakes into the freezer to partially freeze, this will make it easier to remove them from the moulds.
8. In the meantime, make up the other half of the lemon jelly to ¼ pint as before.  Pour into heart shaped silicone moulds.  Chill down and then place in the freezer.  Remove from the freezer and take the hearts out of the mould.
9. Take the cheesecakes out of the freezer and remove from the moulds, place on individual plates to return to room temperature.  Place a heart on each plate.
10. Decoration: Half a lemon jelly dissolved in ¼ pint of hot water. Place on a tray and chill in the fridge until set, remove from the fridge and chop to make 'diamonds'.

31 Jul 2014

Strawberry Cake - Recipe

                                              Fantasy Cake - a recipe by Lisa Faulkner

I've been away from home this week and have indulged in some fabulous food, especially my treat of the week, which was an evening meal at Le Caprice. As regular readers know I love coffee, and I've had more than a few expertly made cups this week but the best was definitely at Le Caprice.

I made this cake a couple of weeks ago and have to say my strawberries have been amazing this year, I can't believe how many strawberries you can get off two rows. I've made a few strawberry cakes this year from them and these are now my favourite summer cakes, they're fabulous, especially if you serve them with cream.

I came across this recipe whilst browsing through some cookery books in the library, a quick search on the web and everyone agreed this cake is one of the best strawberry cakes ever.

The recipe can be found on the Waitrose website and they have a video on You Tube showing the cake being made -  I'd recommend using the method shown on the video and not the one on the website. My only comment regarding the recipe is the amount of strawberries used which is 400g, I used less and it was absolutely fine.

The cake keeps really well covered in cling wrap and stored in the fridge.

Make it before all the fresh strawberries disappear!


                                                       VIMTO SQUEEZY - REVIEW


I was delighted to be sent Vimto Original, Cherry and Strawberry to try, the weather has been hot and the timing was perfect.

The Vimto Squeezy is lighter than a cordial in taste, I'm not always very keen on cordials, some taste like boiled sweets - perhaps it's just me who thinks this, but these are excellent and definitely don't taste like boiled sweets!

These mini bottles are easily transportable to flavour bottles of water whilst you are out and about. Handily they will also fit into my handbag and take up no space at all.

The squeezy bottles come in a small 50ml bottle and are sugar free.  To flavour a 500ml bottle of water simply squirt in one teaspoon of Vimto.  There are approximately 25 servings in a bottle and at a RRP of just £2.49 they are very good value.  Available from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Co-op Stores.

Disclaimer:  I was sent the products for review, all thoughts are my own.












21 Jul 2014

Mini Raspberry Cream Brownies - Recipe


These petits fours are 'high faff' and take a bit of patience to make but they are well worth it. They're quite rich and I could only manage to eat one, which is no bad thing, because I really wouldn't want to know how calorific they are.

I've got a few raspberry canes at the bottom of the garden, there's nothing quite like home grown raspberries, they are in a league of their own.

My hob is induction and melting chocolate is a dream, it's possible to place the chocolate in a pan and melt it gently on the hob, it's so much easier than melting chocolate over a pan of water and I find the chocolate never overheats.

The cream is made from raspberry puree, cream and melted white chocolate, I added a little red food colouring to brighten up the raspberry cream to give it a pretty pink colour.

When I piped these I didn't let the raspberry cream chill down for long enough
I'm off for a week to eat at a few posh restaurants and some not so posh, drink coffee at some trendy coffee shops and some not so trendy.......but meanwhile I'll leave you with the recipe for these fabulous brownies.....

You will need:  22cm square baking tin, greased  and lined with baking parchment so the paper extends over all four sides.  4cm cutter.

80g salted butter
150g dark chocolate
115g caster sugar
2 small eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder

Raspberry Cream
250g raspberries
1 tbsp icing sugar
60ml cream
125g white chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
2. Place the chocolate and butter into a bowl and place over a saucepan with gently simmering water. Stir until the butter and chocolate have melted. Remove the bowl and allow to cool.
3.Place the sugar, eggs and vanilla in a bowl and mix until pale and creamy.
4. Fold in the cooled chocolate.  Sift over the flour and cocoa powder.
5. Pour into the baking tin and cook for 15-20 minutes. Cool in the tin. Place in the fridge for an hour.
6. Raspberry Cream.  Place 125g raspberries with the icing sugar into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Strain through a fine sieve. Add the raspberry puree to a small saucepan along with the cream and bring to the boil.  Add the pieces of white chocolate to the pan, remove from the heat and spoon the raspberry cream over the chocolate pieces.  Leave it for approximately 5 minutes and then whisk to a smooth glossy sauce.  Pour into a bowl and place in the fridge until chilled and set.
7. Take the cake out of the fridge, remove the cake from the tin.  Place on a board and cut out rounds using the cutter.
8. Place the chilled raspberry cream into a piping bag fitted with a 1M Wilton nozzle and pipe onto the brownie rounds, top with a fresh raspberry.

I'm submitting this post to the recipe linky #cookblogshare over at Supergolden Bakes.......

20 Jul 2014

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble - Recipe


One of my favourite fillings for crumble is strawberries and rhubarb - both the strawberries and rhubarb were picked from my garden and so it was more or less a free pudding.

The downside of this filling is that it looks more than a bit of a mess when it's served up and I think the filling is best suited to individual crumbles.  On a positive the filling is a glorious bright pink and tastes like heaven.  I like to let the crumble cool down for a while before I serve it with a dollop of ice cream.

I prefer to roast my rhubarb
The rhubarb is placed in the dish with the strawberries
A top tip is to combine the butter, flour and sugar with a fork -
 this method keeps hands and rings clean
The crumble rubble

For the filling:
6 sticks of rhubarb
4 tbsp water
8 tbsp caster sugar
250g strawberries

For the crumble:
110g butter
110g demerara sugar
200g flour

1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan.
2. Cut the rhubarb into sticks and place on an oven tray, sprinkle with the water and caster sugar and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and place the rhubarb without the juice into a greased ovenproof dish.  Add the strawberries to the dish.
4. To make the crumble, rub the butter into the flour and sugar. Cover the rhubarb and strawberries with the crumble mix and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the crumble is golden and the filling is bubbling over the crumble.

21 Jun 2014

Meringue Roulade with Elderflower Infused Strawberries - Recipe


Strawberries from the garden, egg whites from the freezer, chocolate from the store cupboard - I only had to buy the whipping cream.  I nearly got away with a free dessert!

The slightly adapted recipe is by Mary Berry and one I have used many, many times and in true Mary Berry style - I cut the finished roulade in half and put one half in the freezer for another day.

I serve my meringue with lots of macerated strawberries
I'm very sad but I always feel happy when I line a tin neatly
Remove the lining paper and dab meringue into the four corners (this secures the lining paper)
place the lining paper into the tin and then add the meringue
The cooked meringue 
Now for the recipe:
4 egg whites
225g caster sugar
pinch cream of tartar
300ml whipping cream
1tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar for dusting
dark chocolate for decoration

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC Fan. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
2. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until stiff. Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time, until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
3. Spread the egg whites evenly on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes.
4. Take a large sheet of baking parchment and dust with sifted icing sugar.  Turn the meringue over onto the baking parchment.  Remove the paper from the base of the meringue.
5. Whip the cream and vanilla extract to soft peaks.
6. Spread the cream over the meringue, roll the meringue from one of the long ends, using the parchment paper to help with the rolling. Dust with icing sugar.
7. Melt a few pieces of dark chocolate and drizzle over the meringue.
TIP: The cream of tartar helps stabilise the meringue and prevents weeping too.

Elderflower Infused Strawberries
200g fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon elderflower cordial
1 tablespoon caster sugar

1. Wash the strawberries.
2. Cut the strawberries into quarters.
3. Pour over the elderflower cordial, sprinkle over the caster sugar.
4. Mix together.
5. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

The swiss roll tin I used measures 34x24x2 and is part of the range of The Bakers Dozen James Martin Bakeware by Stellar Cookware.