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
juice of a lemon
1-½ to 2 tsp arrowroot
30g caster sugar
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'.