30 Apr 2015

Hidden Raspberry Cupcakes Recipe

Hidden Raspberry Cupcakes

I bought the raspberries on the spur of the moment, it was a grey day and they looked bright and beautiful, I did wonder if it might be an expensive purchase I'd later regret. My head said don't buy them, my heart said I really want those raspberries. Well was I in for a nice surprise the raspberries from the supermarket smell and taste delicious.

The chocolate cupcakes with a hidden raspberry and topped with chocolate fudge frosting are a real indulgent happy sweet treat and my favourite way to eat them is to cut the cupcakes in half to show off the raspberry within.

Hidden Raspberry Cupcake showing the raspberry

Top Tip:  To prevent greasy cupcake cases try sifting a little flour into each section of the muffin tray prior to placing the cupcake cases into the tin.  After the cupcakes have cooled simple dust away the excess flour.

Makes: 12
You will need:  12 section muffin tin and paper cases
150g softened butter
150g caster sugar
160g self raising flour
15g cocoa powder, sifted

1. Preheat the oven to 180oC.
2. Add all of the ingredients, except for the raspberries, to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until smooth.
3. Divide the batter between the cake cases and place a raspberry on top, press slightly into the batter.

Chocolate cupcake batter with a raspberry
Experimenting with different size cupcake cases, the largest cupcakes were too large for the amount of cake batter
4. Bake for 25 minutes until cooked. Place the tray onto a cooling rack for 5 minutes and then remove the cupcakes onto a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Fudge Icing
You will need:
100g plain chocolate
2 tbsp milk
50g unsalted butter, cubed
75g icing sugar, sifted
Raspberry Flavouring

1.Place the chocolate, milk and butter into a small pan and heat very gently, stir until the chocolate and butter have melted.
2. Remove the pan from the heat, add the icing sugar and a few drops of raspberry flavouring. Keep on stirring until the mixture is thick and smooth. If too thick add a little more milk to thin slightly. Should the mixture separate, add a little cold milk which should bring the mixture back to an icing consistency.
3. Spread the icing over the top of the cakes.

More Raspberry Recipes:
Triple Almond and Raspberry Cake
Fresh Raspberry and Almond Traybake
Peach and Raspberry Slice

22 Apr 2015

Italian Style Bread Recipe

Italian Style Bread Straight From The Oven

I've never had anything other than success making dough in the breadmaker and find most recipes work out absolutely fine, I just keep an eye out to see if the dough needs more water adding.

If you've not used your breadmaker for a while, I guarantee this is a recipe you will make time and again. It's a delicious soft bread for sandwiches, has a good crust, can be toasted on the griddle pan, eaten with butter or spread, keeps well, can be frozen and defrosts perfectly - what's not to like.

Italian Style Bread

1 tsp Easy Bake yeast
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
350ml water

You will need:  A large baking tray lined with baking paper and floured

1. Place the ingredients into the bread pan in the order as outlined in your manufacturers instructions.
2. Set the dough setting.
3. When the machine has finished making the dough, tip the pan to one side and carefully remove the dough directly onto the floured baking tray.
4. Flour your fingers and roughly shape the dough ensuring the air isn't knocked out of it.  Flour the top of the dough and leave to prove uncovered until doubled in size.
5. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
6. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
7. Once cool the bread can be sliced and frozen.

Recipe taken from Fresh Bread in the Morning From Your Bread Machine by Annette Yates.

15 Apr 2015

Cherry Tomato, Cheese and Red Onion Marmalade Quiche

Cherry Tomato, Cheese and Red Onion Marmalade Quiche

We've had a welcome taste of summer here in the West Midlands and quiche with a bowl of salad is always a hit with us on warmer days.

The April edition of BBC Goodfood Magazine has a recipe for BLT tart and in true food blogger style I adapted the recipe, just slightly. Unlike the original recipe I made my own shortcrust - maybe I'll give myself a gold star!

When I opened the bag of rocket to grab a few leaves for garnishing the quiche, it was a bit of a surprise to see giant rocket, it was really disappointing on taste and texture, I'll be sure to look for smaller leaves next time.

A layer of red onion marmalade is spread over the base of the pastry and makes for a very tasty quiche.

You will need:
Rectangle baking tin 36x12x3cm, baking beans, baking paper

170g plain flour
85g lard, chopped
85g butter, chopped
2-3 tbsp chilled water

1. Add the flour to a bowl and rub the lard and butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water until a dough can be formed.  Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in clingfilm. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
2. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
3. Roll out the pastry and line the tin, trim the excess pastry.  Dock with a fork all over the pastry.
4. Take a large piece of crumpled baking paper, place on top of the pastry, fill with baking beans and place on a large tray, place in the oven to cook for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the tin from the oven and carefully remove the baking paper (don't forget the baking beans will be very hot). I mostly laboriously spoon them out into a dish until I can safely pick up the baking paper along with the last remaining baking beans.
6. Brush the base and sides of the pastry case with beaten egg.
7. Return the tin to the oven for 5 minutes or until golden.

For the filling:
150g whipping cream
100g grated mature cheddar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of red onion marmalade
10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Reset the oven temperature to 180ºC.
2. Add the eggs and egg yolk to a bowl and whisk together, add the whipping cream, grated cheese, black pepper and a pinch of salt.
3. Spread the red onion marmalade over the base of the cooked pastry case.  Pour the mixture into the case, top with the cherry tomato halves.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.
4. Garnish with rocket.

9 Apr 2015

Steam Combination Oven -Traybake Vegetables

Steam Combination Oven Traybake Vegetables

When I first had my steam combination oven cooking vegetables was a bit of a hit and miss affair - timings are everything and I didn't really get it that carrots would cook in double quick time and my potatoes from raw would take about an hour to cook.

After using the oven for a year or so I find the best way to cook potatoes is to coat them in oil and add them to the tray for an hour, add the onions and the carrots for the last ten minutes of cooking time.  There is nothing more delicious than caramelised vegetables and they taste so much sweeter than steamed or roasted.

Vegetables on the tray ready for the steam combination oven

I spray the oven tray with oil before adding the vegetables, this makes the tray non-stick and saves on washing up too.

Onion, potatoes and apples being cooked in a steam combination oven

Add pork chops to the tray, slices of eating apples, vegetables and in an hour you have a complete meal cooked and ready for the table.

The above photographs were taken about a year ago whilst I was getting used to the oven.  The roasties don't look very golden but a year on and the story is improved.  We're getting caramelised vegetables, I'm cooking whole meals on the tray and loving every minute using my new kitchen toy.

My combi oven cooks by either convection, steam or a combination.  It's now a real workhorse in the kitchen, and the only negative, the oven isn't self cleaning and my shiny oven interior is now long gone but at least I'm getting my value from it.

I'm pleased that I didn't choose a dedicated steam oven because of it's limitations, the steam combi oven gives the cook far more flexibility.

More posts:
Potato Daupinoise
Potato Boulangere
Almond and Lemon Drizzle Cake
Individual Lemon and Blueberry Steamed Puddings
Red Onion Focaccia