12 Mar 2015

Blueberry and Lemon Drizzle Mini Loaf Cakes

Blueberry and lemon drizzle mini loaf cakes

I turned to one of my Mary Berry cookbooks for this delicious recipe - I've adapted her lime and blueberry ring drizzle cake and used lemon to replace her suggested lime but only because I had lemons in the fridge, this was an instantaneous bake and there wasn't time to go out shopping for a few limes. The crystallised lemon rind is quick, easy to make and delicious, not a step to miss out.

110g soft butter
110g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
50g blueberries (use some of the measured flour to coat the blueberries)

Crunchy glaze:
3 tablespoons lemon juice
75g granulated sugar

Crystallised lemon rind:
1 lemon rind (I used a zester)
70g caster sugar
100ml cold water

You will need: 8 greased and lined mini loaf moulds.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.  Cut 8 strips of baking parchment and line the loaf tin moulds.

mini loaf tin lined with paper strips

Place the butter, caster sugar, flour, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the eggs, milk, and lemon zest. Beat with an electric hand whisk for about 2 minutes until smooth.

Divide half the batter between the eight moulds. Scatter the floured blueberries over the batter. Spoon the rest of the mixture over the blueberries and spread it evenly to cover the fruit.

mini loaf tins filled with cake batter

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until well risen. Whilst the cakes bake, make the glaze by mixing the lemon juice with the granulated sugar.  Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then loosen the sides with a palette knife. Lift them out of the tin with the baking paper strips and place on a wire rack to cool.

mini blueberry and lemon drizzle loaf cakes drizzled with a crunchy glaze

While the cakes are still warm, prick them all over with a skewer. Stir the glaze, then spoon it over the warm cakes. Leave to cool.

To make the candied lemon rind, use a zester to remove the rind from lemons in long strands. Or, if you are handy with a knife, thinly slice the lemon rind away from the lemon and cut into fine strips. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine the rind, sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the rind is translucent. Remove from the heat. Use a fork to spread the rind in a single layer, over the tray. Put to one side for 5 minutes to set.
Now the candied zest is ready to decorate the cakes as you wish.

7 Mar 2015

Bread Maker Tomato and Caramelised Onion Focaccia

slice of tomato and caramelised onion focaccia
Best eaten fresh from the oven
Bread makers are perfect for making bread dough - from adding a few ingredients to the pan, setting the menu and getting the finished dough out of the pan it took less than an hour.

When the dough was ready I rolled it out to fit into a non-stick tray which I sprinkled with semolina to give a crisp base and it also prevents the dough from sticking.

I'm experimenting with my new machine, which I reviewed a few months back, and love the fact that I can make dough or bake a delicious loaf of bread and leave it whilst I get on with other tasks.

the bread dough after proving for focaccia

You will need:
300g strong white flour
1 tbsp olive oil
170ml water
1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:
1 vine tomato, sliced
1 red onion
extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
balsamic vinegar
Optional: Rosemary leaves to scatter over

Baking tray 30cm x 25cm

1. Make the dough according to the manufacturers instructions.
2. Sprinkle over the base of the tray a couple of tablespoons of semolina. Roll out the dough to fit the baking tray and lift onto the tray and press the dough to fit, if it springs back a little don't worry.
3. Using your fingertips make indentations over the dough.
4. Slice the red onion, place into a microwaveable bowl and sprinkle over 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (cover with clingwrap and microwave for 2 minutes).
5. Arrange the onion and sliced tomato over the dough, scatter over the grated Parmesan cheese.
6. Cover the dough with a piece of clingwrap and leave to prove until double in size.
7. Preheat the oven 190ºC.
8. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes until golden.

Leave a comment below and let me know if  you too love your bread maker.

More recipes:
Apple and Ginger Buns
Goats Cheese and Rosemary Buns
Sunburst Rolls

5 Mar 2015

Apple and Raspberry Pie: Recipe

Baked apple and raspberry pie
Deep filled apple and raspberry pie fresh from the oven
It's British Pie Week from 2-8 March and I love a good pie, whether it's an apple pie that has to be served with Birds Custard, otherwise hubby sulks, or a chicken and leek pie served with a pot of delicious gravy.

Who better to turn to for a recipe than Mary Berry whose books I've grown up with.  This recipe is called Autumn Fruit Pie, the original recipe uses blackberries and apples, and comes from Mary Berry Cooks The Perfect......this book is full to bursting with an array of tempting new recipes.

apple and raspberries ready for a pastry lid

the apple and raspberry pie ready for the oven

Slightly adapted recipe
You will need:
23cm Pie tin 3.5cm deep - I used a tarte tatin dish but it was a little too large

800g Bramley apples thinly sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice (bottled is fine)
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
225g fresh raspberries

350g plain flour
175g cold salted butter
1tbsp milk to glaze
2tsp caster sugar to sprinkle over

1. Place the flour and cubes of butter into a food processor and blend to breadcrumbs. Add 5 to 6 tablespoons of iced cold water and whizz until the mixture comes together. Tip out onto a floured surface and wrap in clingwrap and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
2. Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut into two making one piece slightly larger.
3. Place a large baking tin in the oven and preheat the oven to 180ºC .
4. Roll the larger piece of pastry out to line the pastry tin leaving the pastry overlapping at the edges.
5. Peel and core the apples.  Cut into thin slices and toss with the lemon juice.  Sprinkle over the caster sugar and flour and mix together to coat. Tip the apples and raspberries into the pastry case.
6. Roll out the lid until larger than the tin.  Brush the rim of the pastry with milk and place the pastry lid over the fruit. Press the pastry edges together.  Trim off the excess. With the back edge of a knife tap all round the edges to secure.  Crimp the edges together.  Cut a slit in centre of the pie 2cm long.
7. Make leaves with the pastry trimmings, Brush the lid with milk.  Place the leaves on the pastry lid. Sprinkle the caster sugar over.
8. Place the pie on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 180ºC and bake for 35 minutes.  Leave the pie to cool slightly before serving.