27 Apr 2014

Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle Cake - Recipe

Lemon Drizzle Cake with a Crunchy Topping
I've been making this recipe for more years than I care to remember.  It's easy to make, only requires a few ingredients, bakes well and freezes too - not forgetting it is amazingly delicious.

This last week I've been away from home and it doesn't leave any time for baking, but I just managed to find time to make this Mary Berry recipe.  There are lots of recipes for lemon drizzle but this one has a tender crumb and the granulated sugar topping is perfect.

Mary Berry calls these Crunchy Lemon Syrup Loaves
Instead of making loaf cakes use a small oblong tin and make a traybake
 or the batter can be used to make cupcakes
It can get a bit messy in my kitchen!

You will need:
2 eggs at room temperature
175g self-raising flour
175g caster sugar
100g soft margarine (Stork)
1 tsp baking powder
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4 tbsp milk

For the crunchy topping:
100g granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon (to get more juice from the lemon simply pierce the lemon and place in the microwave for 10 seconds)

2 x 450g loaf tins, greased and lined

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Beat together the soft margarine, eggs, flour, caster sugar,  milk, baking powder and lemon zest until smooth, using an ice cream scoop place the batter into the prepared loaf tins.
3. Bake for about 35 minutes until golden brown.  Place the tins onto a wire rack to cool.
4. Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the topping by mixing together the granulated sugar and lemon juice.
5. Leave the loaves in their tins and pour the topping over them.  Leave to cool before removing from the tins.

More Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipes:
This Year:          Almond and Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Four Years Ago: Lemon Drizzle Cake - National Baking Week

26 Apr 2014

Cawston Press New Canned Drinks - Review


Cawston Press have just launched their first canned drinks - sparkling Cloudy Apple and sparkling Rhubarb, especially for grown ups.  Summer is just around the corner and the cans are perfect for summer picnics - we like cans, if there are children about we don't have to worry about bottles getting broken.

They are very refreshing, made from pressed juice and not concentrate. It is always reassuring to know there aren't any hidden nasties in the drink such as colours or preservatives.

The cans were sent to me in a fabulous presentation box
Cawston always have a keen eye for detail
Cloudy Apple - a blend of apples including British Cox and Bramleys with a total apple juice content of 70% and mixed with sparkling water.

Rhubarb - pressed apples and rhubarb with a total juice content of 20% and mixed with gentle carbonated water.

Cawston Press are a premium soft drinks company.

The 330ml cans are available from Waitrose and Booths (in a six pack, RRP £4.99).  Individual cans can be purchased from WH Smith, Whole Foods, As Nature Intended and Planet Organic (RRP 99p each) and all good independent retailers.

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

Thank you to Cawston Press for the review products.

16 Apr 2014

Easter Egg Cupcakes - Recipe

Easter Egg Cupcakes with Smashed Eggs
The blogosphere is on overload with Cadbury Creme Eggs recipes, but alas I'm not a fan of the Creme Egg.  The photographs and recipes I've seen though are enough to make me wish I was a Creme Egg fan.

I've used my favourite chocolate filled eggs because I'm happy that I can decorate my cakes and eat the eggs at the same time.

I made some of the cupcakes in muffin cases and others in a friand tin.

Makes: 12 chocolate cakes
You will need: 150g softened unsalted butter, 150g caster sugar, 150g self-raising flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 25g cocoa powder, 3 eggs

1. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cake cases. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat for 2 minutes. Divide the mixture among the cases.
2. Bake in a preheated oven, 180°C for 20 minutes until they are risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Fudge Icing

You will need: 25g unsalted butter, 15g cocoa powder, 175g icing sugar, 2/3 tablespoons of milk.

1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the cocoa powder and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the icing sugar and milk, mixing until smooth.
2. Return to the heat for 1 minute, stirring until it has a glossy pouring consistency, if it is too thick add a teaspoon of milk. Quickly spread the icing over the cakes whilst it is still warm. Top with mini eggs.

Nature's Path Nice and Nobbly Granola Bars - Review

Nature's Path are an organic cereal producer who produce gluten-free products.  They are also a family run independent company.

New to the cereal range are the Gluten Free Nice and Nobbly Granola Bars - I've been sent Trail Mix which contains cranberries, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, flax seeds and gluten-free oats and also Dark Chocolate Chip which is basically the same as the Trail Mix but contains chunks of Fair Trade dark chocolate.  There are five bars in each box and each bar weighs 35g.

Delicious gluten-free treats
The perfect size bar to pop in the handbag for snacking, or for the lunch box as a sweet treat. These delicious bars are so good I'm not sure I would want to share with anyone, they are mine, all mine - sorry hubby!

I love granola and now it comes in a handy bar - for those who doubt gluten free can be delicious, I know these bars will delight you.

Disclaimer:  The bars were sent to me for review purposes, all thoughts are my own.

Thank you to Nature's Path for the delicious granola bars.


8 Apr 2014

Raspberry Cheesecake - Recipe

No bake Mini Raspberry Cheesecake
These were supposed to be called raspberry rippled cheesecakes but my rippling wasn't great.  I've always liked cheesecake but I haven't made a cheesecake for some time now and these mini cheesecakes were really lovely and remind me of warm days. I used a silicone muffin tray which makes turning them out easy.

I'm suffering from 'writers block' and my posts are a 'little to the point' at the moment, hopefully I'll find something interesting to say in future posts - maybe I should say I fell into the raspberry canes in my fruit patch whilst picking the raspberries but I have to admit the raspberries came from the freezer cabinet in Waitrose!

Do you prefer bake or no bake cheesecake? I would be really interested to know.

Will they freeze?  I have no idea - they didn't get as far as the freezer but I can't see
a reason why they shouldn't freeze and thaw successfully.

Makes: 6 in a regular size silicone muffin tray or 12 in a silicone mini muffin tray

Ingredients:
55g butter
115g crushed digestive biscuits
3 tbsp water
2tsp powdered gelatine
150g raspberries + extra to decorate
2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
150ml double cream
150ml ready made custard
freeze dried raspberries to decorate

Method:
1. Melt the butter and add the crushed digestives. Place the silicone tray onto a metal tray. Divide the biscuit mixture between the six holes. Press the biscuit mixture down with the back of a spoon.  Place the tray in the fridge for an hour.
2. Place the water into a heatproof bowl, sprinkle over the gelatine, leave on one side for 5 minutes.
3. Puree the raspberries, then press through a plastic sieve to remove the seeds.
4. Place the bowl of gelatine in a saucepan of gently simmering water and heat for 5 minutes, stirring until the gelatine is a clear liquid.
5. Pour the cream into a bowl and whisk to soft peaks.  Fold into the custard with the grated zest of a lemon and the sugar.  Stir 1½ tablespoons of the gelatine into the raspberry puree and fold the remainder of the gelatine into the custard and cream mixture.  Pour the mixture into the muffin moulds.  Place blobs of the raspberry puree on top and taking a skewer swirl the mixtures together. Chill in the fridge for a few hours to set.
6. Remove the cheesecakes from the moulds and decorate with extra raspberries and freeze dried raspberries.


7 Apr 2014

Sponsored Video - #getsquashd with Robinsons



Grab your straw, some cool water and hold on tight – we’re going for a ride!

Robinsons (the squash peeps) challenged Framestore, the Oscar winning VFX team behind Gravity to #GETSQUASHD in Zero Gravity. Could they rise to the challenge?

In this short video, you might not see George Clooney, Sandra Bullock or even the Muppets, but you will be taken in a plane to a point of zero gravity. Then the #getsquashd stunt begins!

Now it’s time to unfasten your seatbelt! We see the lid of a metallic case pop open and numerous pouches of Robinsons Squash'd set free to experience their own zero gravity moment. A balloon is popped to release water which mostly stays together as one blob and impressively, it’s then infused with a dash of Robinsons Squash'd making it go a lovely bright wobbly orange before being sucked up through a straw. Seeing really is believing!

Robinsons are challenging us to make their new Squash'd in unexpected ways and if you click through to their site, you’ll see some very funny clips of people doing just that – off the road 4x4 cars in Scotland, football freestylers and hula hooping girls all give it a go.

It looks like a fun drink, which I’ll be trying in my office! Perhaps I’ll do it in a client meeting on Tuesday just to get a reaction;)

Enjoy all of the challenges and add your own. Plus #GETSQUASHD to win a GoPro Hero3 over on the Robinson Get Squashed website.

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Robinsons, but all thoughts are our own.

4 Apr 2014

Hummingbird Cake - Recipe

The cake has to be stored in the fridge or cut into portions and freeze
The last three cakes I've made have used tinned crushed pineapple and thankfully I have now used up the last tin...........I chose to make this cake because I love the name Hummingbird Cake!

Apparently this cake recipe has been around since the 19th century and is a tradition in the Southern United States.  Hummingbird cake is made using coconut, banana, spices, crushed pineapple and pecans, with a cream cheese frosting.

The 'cake lady' at my local coffee shop used to make this cake and it goes perfectly with a cup of coffee, but for me any cake goes perfectly with a cup of coffee.

Hummingbird Cake
It's a really easy cake to make and you don't need any fancy kitchen equipment - all you need is a bowl, spoon and a sieve.

You will need:  23cm square cake tin greased and base lined.

Ingredients:
450g can crushed pineapple
150g plain flour
75g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
220g soft light brown sugar
45g desiccated coconut
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
180ml vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 180ÂșC.
2. Pour the contents of the tin of crushed pineapple into a sieve set over a basin and leave to drain. Press down with a potato masher to get the syrup to drain into the bowl.  Reserve 60ml of the pineapple syrup for later.
3. Sift the plain and self raising flour into a bowl, followed by the bicarbonate of soda and spices. Add the sugar to the bowl, stir in the drained pineapple, reserved syrup, coconut, banana, eggs and oil.  Pour the cake batter into the cake tin.
4. Bake the cake for approximately 40 minutes. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes, remove the cake to a rack to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting
30g butter, softened
60g full fat cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
240g icing sugar
Pecans, chopped to decorate

1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl.  Add the vanilla extract and gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar.
2. Spread over the cooled cake.
3. Decorate with chopped pecans.


2 Apr 2014

Judge Vegetable Chopper - Review


Here's an easy to use piece of kitchen kit - all you have to do is press the plunger, the stainless steel blades rotate and swiftly do the work for you.  The base of the Judge Vegetable Chopper catches the chopped vegetables which meant I didn't have to spend my time chasing vegetables around the chopping board.

Chopped celery
I used the vegetable chopper today to make a quick pasta dish.  Chilli, onion and celery were chopped very quickly - the more you chop the finer the vegetables.  Herbs, garlic, chillies and nuts are quickly and easily chopped too.
  • Easy to assemble and after use wash in warm soapy water
  • Judge 25 year guarantee
  • Price £10 
  • For stockist details please visit judgecookware.co.uk or can be purchased from online retailers
Disclaimer:  I was sent the product for review, all thoughts are my own.

Thank you Judge Cookware for the review product.