26 Mar 2014

Pineapple and Lime Cake - Recipe

This cake uses tinned crushed pineapple but a tin of pineapple slices or cubes can be used, unfortunately fresh pineapple wouldn't work because you need to use the juice from the tin.

The topping is a cream cheese icing and I know recipes always say cakes can't be frozen with this icing but I find they thaw without any problems.  I always slice and freeze my cakes otherwise I'd end up the size of a house.

The cake is full of fabulous ingredients and we loved it
You will need:  20cm springform tin cake tin buttered and lined - I lined the base and sides.

200g butter softened
200g light brown sugar
4 large eggs
200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
225g tin crushed pineapple
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest and juice of 1 lime

For the icing:
200g full fat cream cheese
70g butter, softened
400g icing sugar, sifted
Zest of 1 lime
2 tsp lime juice

1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/Fan 150ºC.
2. Add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy.
3. Beat the eggs together, add a little at a time to the cake batter.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices.  Fold into the cake batter.
5. Stir in the pineapple, pineapple juice, lime zest and juice and vanilla extract.
6. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a cocktail stick placed into the cake comes out clean.
7. Place the tin on a cooling rack and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the tin and place on the rack to cool completely.

To make the icing:
1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.
2. Add the sifted icing sugar a little at a time otherwise you will end up with icing sugar all over the kitchen, beat until smooth.  Add the lime juice and beat again.
3. Spread over the cooled cake and decorate with the zest of a lime.

20 Mar 2014

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with a Chilli Cherry Tomato Sauce - Recipe

Neither me, hubby or this blog can live on cake alone.........although I would if I could.  Hence a recipe for an easy midweek meal.

Photographing hot meals can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, whilst I'm faffing about with the camera in the kitchen the food is getting cold, I mostly give hubby his meal whilst I'm taking photographs and then it's me who has to suffer cold food.

The bashed out chicken breast fillet is topped with a Parmesan and parsley crust and today a warming chilli tomato sauce served with a heap of spaghetti was perfect.

I didn't use fresh tomatoes but opened a tin of cherry tomatoes, next time I make it though I'm going to open a tin of chopped tomatoes and cook a few fresh cherry tomatoes in the sauce, I'm not really a fan of tinned cherry tomatoes.

Serves: 2

2 skinless fillet chicken breasts
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg beaten
50g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
50g grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground salt and pepper

For the Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion finely chopped
1 crushed clove garlic
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Tin of cherry tomatoes or
12 cherry tomatoes and a tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
freshly ground salt and pepper
chopped parsley to garnish

To serve:

1. Taking 3 shallow bowls or plates - place the flour into a shallow bowl. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Take another bowl and mix the breadcrumbs and parsley together, add the Parmesan cheese and seasoning.  
2. Bash the chicken breast between two pieces of clingwrap - coat the chicken on both sides in the flour, then the egg and lastly the breadcrumb mixture.
3. Cover a plate in clingwrap and place both coated chicken breasts onto the plate.  Cover with clingwrap.  Place in the fridge.
4. Make the sauce by heating the oil in a pan.  Add the chopped onion and garlic.  Cook gently on a medium heat for a few minutes until the onion has softened.  Add the tomatoes and chilli and then add the Worcester and soy sauce, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 25 minutes.
5. Drizzle a little oil over the chicken and either pan fry or grill for approximately 5 minutes each side.
6. Garnish the finished dish with extra chopped parsley.

13 Mar 2014

Carrot Cake with Coconut and Pineapple - Recipe

I'm always happy to buy a coffee and a piece of carrot cake from Pret - the one I usually head for is situated in Selfridges Food Hall. It's the perfect place for a spot of people watching.

I really prefer indie coffee shops, but in the week they've mostly been taken over by 'suits' and laptops - try going into them with shopping bags and you feel like Bridget Jones entering the board room wearing the wrong attire.

Pret make the lightest moist carrot cake and I'm always happy with their coffee too, to be fair I like everything from Pret.  I've had their cookery book 'Food on the Move' for years now and it's amazing that they have shared their recipes with us.

I made my carrot cake in a tin with individual squares and made nine cakes, they were a bit on the large side though, next time I'm going to try 10 or 11 cakes.  The cake tin came from Lakeland.

Slightly adapted recipe - the iced cakes will freeze and thaw successfully.

You will need:  21cm square baking tin greased and lined with baking paper or a 12 hole square tin greased and base lined.

For the cake:
2 eggs
200g soft brown sugar
150ml vegetable oil
200g grated carrot
50g chopped walnuts
75g diced tinned pineapple
50g dessicated coconut
200g plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt

For the icing: (I made half this quantity)
400g sifted icing sugar
100g full fat cream cheese at room temperature
50g soft unsalted butter
1tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
2. Take an electric whisk at full speed and whisk the eggs until doubled in volume. Add the sugar, whisk until light and fluffy.  Whisking add the oil slowly.  Whisk until the mixture leaves a trail.
3. Fold in the carrots, walnuts, pineapple pieces and coconut.
4. Sift the flour, cinnamon, bicarb and salt over the batter.  Fold in gently.
5. Place the cake batter into the baking tin.  Bake for 1 hour for the square tin or 40 minutes for the small square cakes.
6. Cool the cakes for 15 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack.

Method for the icing:
1. Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract together.
2. Beat in the sifted icing a third at a time (carefully otherwise the kitchen will be covered in icing sugar)
3. Spread the icing over the top of the cake.
4. Decorate.

8 Mar 2014

In Search of the Perfect Scone Recipe

I like to put cream on my scone first and then a dollop of  jam, I'm not fussed about cream/jam or jam/cream but I do like to see the jam dripping down the cream.  Now that's my excuse because the strawberry jam I made last year didn't set very well and drips everywhere.

At home we always eat our scones with butter................

I'm always looking for the perfect scone recipe but I think you have to be light handed to make a scone regardless of the recipe.  I wouldn't say scone making comes naturally to me, I must be a bit heavy handed.  I've tried the 'only scone recipe you will ever need', the 'ultimate scone recipe', the 'best scone recipe ever', 'the perfect scone' - I've made all of them.

Where I used to work the scones were huge and I could always taste the raising agent, but I loved them. I asked the cook how she managed to get them to rise so much and she said 'bicarb'.

My favourite scones are the ones I have eaten at Allpress, Shoreditch, London - they are huge clouds of yumminess and topped with amazing jam and cream - oh how I long for this recipe.

My best scone recipe is by Delia Smith, they are easy to make and are successful every time. I can't find the recipe on her site but it's here on the BBC Food website.

Roll out to 2.5cm and place on a floured tray (it's easier to clean a floured tray)

Fresh from the oven
              These scones freeze well, defrost and refresh in a microwave oven for a fluffy scone.

I'm still looking for the scone recipe with that special something which will produce a huge fluffy scone and as soon as I find it my readers will be the first to know with a recipe to accompany.

In the meantime here's a few scone recipes I've made previously.

1 Mar 2014

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes - Recipe

Fairtrade bananas are used in this recipe
Fairtrade fortnight is from 24th February through to 9th March 2014.  I'm a week late with my Fairtrade posting but better late than never.

Chocolate makes everything taste better and these little beauties have chocolate chips in the cake too. Banana and chocolate is a wonderful pairing and you can't really go wrong.

Somehow in my kitchen there are always a couple of black bananas left in the fruit bowl, you've got to bake these delicious cupcakes, you know you want to........

Kitchen Kit: Food Processor

Makes: 10

You will need:  muffin tin lined with cupcake cases

80g softened salted butter
100g soft brown sugar
1 large egg
50ml room temperature milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
130g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 very ripe bananas mashed
40g dark chocolate chips

For the topping:

50g dark chocolate
15g salted butter
Cadbury chocolate flakes

1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
2. Place the softened butter and sugar in the food processor. Process to combine.  Scrape down and then add the egg, milk and vanilla extract.  Process quickly, scrape down again.
3. Add the flour and baking powder, process until combined.  Add the mashed banana and process. Using the pulse function quickly add the chocolate chips.
4. Fill the muffin cases. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
5. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the tins and cool on a baking tray.
6. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, add the chocolate and butter stirring until melted.
7. Take a spoon and add blobs of the chocolate mixture on top of each cupcake, cool slightly and add a piece of flake.
8. Eat!