Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Lemon Drizzle

I am trying my hardest to branch out with different flavours for my cakes besides my favourite chocolate cake. I definitely think being part of The Cake Slicers have helped me bake things I would have otherwise stayed away from. This lemon drizzle cake is an example of me branching out and making more citrus based cakes. This is the first of quite a few upcoming blogs about lemon and orange based cakes, I may even make some lime cakes. Now, I thought this cake was ok, I really missed an addition of a buttercream or icing, but I'm glad the drizzle is there as it caters to my sweet tooth. I understand there are many different recipes for lemon drizzle, this recipe comes from the fantastic book The Great British Book of Baking, the first series from The Great British Bake Off.

For the cake
200g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
2 lemons (rind/zest)
250g self-raising flour
100ml milk

For the drizzle
100g caster sugar
2 lemons juice

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.
This cake uses the all in one method, place the butter into bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add them to the butter, then add the sugar. Grate the lemon and place the zest to the cake mixture, then sift in the flour and finally add the 100ml milk. Once all the ingredients in-cooperated place in a greased deep cake tin and pour the batter in, ensuring you smooth over the top.  Place in the oven and bake between 50-60 minutes.
Meanwhile make the drizzle. Mix the sugar and lemon juice to make a runny glaze. Once the cakes are cooked pierce holes in the cake (with a skewer for example) then pour over the drizzle.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Mushroom and chickpea burger

I love burgers, I should really try to be varied with my diet, but I like to eat with what I am familiar with. With the recent horsemeat scandal, I thought I will make a vegetarian burger instead f my usual turkey, chicken or beef burger. This recipe is from BBC 30 Minute Suppers, an excellent book for busy people with busy live. I can't say how easy, tasty and nutritious this recipe and I think the most dedicated meat eater will be impressed with the flavoursome nature. Not only is this dish healthy, it is also cheap, my mushrooms cost around £1 and my chickpeas 30p, bargain!
Here is how my mushroom and chickpea burgers turned out:

Mushroom and chickpea burgers

I added a handful of chips and topped each burger with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream (perhaps not so healthy then?!). I first started by slicing the mushrooms and gently frying the mushrooms for around 7 minutes.
Sliced mushrooms

Mushrooms cooking
Meanwhile, I placed the chickpeas in a bowl and crushed until they were almost smooth.
Chickpeas in bowl
Crushed chickpeas
Whilst the mushrooms were softened I added to the chickpea mixture and added seasoning, seasoning is the key. To get a flavoursome burger,  I suggest you use 1tbsp curry powder, 1tbsp black pepper, 1 tea spoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of turmeric.
I shaped into patties and fried for 6 minutes on each side. Here is the link for the mushroom and chickpea burger.


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Red Velvet cake with Jamaican Rum buttercream icing.

This months selected cake from my online baking group, The Cake Slice Bakers, was a Red Velvet Cake with mascarporne cheese frosting. This was not the cake I originally voted for, but that's the good thing about trying something new, trying new cakes can turn out to be firm favourites.
Now, I'm not a big fan of cream cheese frostings so decided to use a rum flavoured buttercream frosting, which I have never made prior to making this cake, but I think worked out lovely. I had one of those "I should try ...." moments which paid of. In fact my family said that this was their FAVOURITE cake I have ever made, since I got into baking 2.5 years ago. That is some compliment and on that note, here is how my Red Velvet Cake with rum buttercream frosting turned out.
Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet covered
Red Velvet cake pre sprinkles
Slice of Red Velvet cake
I first started by combining all the dry ingredients together, the flour, coco, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, I creamed the butter and sugar together until combined.
Butter and sugar
Butter and sugar combined

I then added the oil, with one tablespoon of Christmas red food colouring to the butter and sugar mixture.
Oil and food colouring

I then added the the eggs, one at a time to the flour mixture and part of the butter and sugar and oil mixture.
Finally, I added the buttermilk and ensured everything was combined.
Red velvet mixture
I then placed the mixture in heart shape tins, perfect for Valentines day weekend.
Cake mixture pre baking
The cakes took around 30 minutes to bake and once baked I left to cool and got on with the icing.
Red Velvet baked
The given frosting for this cake was mascarpone cream cheese frosting but as stated earlier I'm not the biggest fan of cream cheese frosting so made a rum buttercream. I have used this basic buttercream recipe taken from The Great British Book of Baking.
I whisked the butter until light and fluffy and then added the icing sugar alongside 4 tablespoons of Jamaican rum which is 60% proof, but if you do not have this in our store cupboard, I suggest using white rum (not Malibu or any rum with coconut flavourings).
Butter whisked
Icing sugar and rum
I whisked for around 6 minutes until the buttercream was light and fluffy and left to in the fridge for 30 minutes (I also placed the cakes in the freezer for 20 minutes to prevent the crumbs falling off when the buttercream is added.
Buttercream whisked
I placed a dollop of buttercream on a layer of cake and added the other layer cake and added more buttercream. I decorated with sprinkles :-)
Red Velvet layer
Red Velvet cake

Ingredients for Red Velvet Cake
10-12 servings
Bake time 28-30 minutes
You will need Two 9 by 2 inch round cake pans, greased and bottoms lined with parchment paper circles.

2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) sifted self raising flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) coco
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or flavouring
1 tablespoon red food colouring
3/4 (6 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

For the buttercream
4 tablespoons of strong white rum
100g butter
400g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, coco baking powder and salt, then whisk the ingredients by hand to ensure they are all well mixed. In another small bowl, combine the oil, vanilla and food colouring. Cream the butter and sugar together medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With your mixer on low speed, drizzle the oil mixture into the batter until well combined.
Blend in the eggs one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not over beat the batter.
Divide the batter  evenly in prepared tins and smooth the tins. Place the tins in the middle of the oven and bake until the centres of the cake spring back when lightly touched, 28-30 minutes. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes, before removing the pans.

To make the rum buttercream, whisk the butter until light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar and white rum, then place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. To assemble the cake, place one of the layers, top side up, on a serving plate. Using a metal spatula, spread half of the frosting over the top of the cake, spreading it slightly over the edge of the cake. Place the next layer cake (top side up again) on top of the frosted later. Spread the remainder of the frosting over the top of the cake.


Friday, 15 February 2013

Low fat rum and raisin millionaire shortbread

This is the only biscuit based sweet in Harry Eastwood's low fat baking book. I've adapted the recipe from the usual millionaire shortbread to adding one of my favourite flavour combinations, rum and raisin. As per usual with this low fat baking book, the recipe takes a lot longer to make. Instead of the shortbread style base, this recipe uses low fat digestives which helps keep the calories low. I will definitely will make this again especially if I'm trying to shift a few pounds.
Here is how my low fat rum and raisin millionaire shortbread turned out:
Chocolate shortbread

I first started by placing the digestive biscuits in the food processor and pulsed with butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Biscuits for base

I also added some low fat cookies as I ran out of digestives, but it still turned out fine.
Butter and biscuits about to be blitzed
Once the biscuit was finely blended I placed in a baking dish.
Biscuits in tin
I then got on with the filling and heated the condensed milk for around 7 minutes and once cooked. I added a handful of raisins and 2 tablespoons of white rum.
Caramel making (need practise)
I then poured this over the biscuit base and left to set.
Once set, I added the melted chocolate over the top and left to set.
Chocolate squillionnaire

Ingredients for chocolate caramel squillionaire adapted from Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache.
Serves 12 - 372 calories and 18.7g per serving.
397g condensed milk
100g unsalted butter
3tbsp golden syrup
300g digestive biscuits
150g milk or dark chocolate
3 tablespoon of raisins
3 tablespoon of white rum

You will need a 22cm-square x 5 cm- deep brownie tin, a food processor, or a rolling pin and a heavy duty plastic bag.

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line the base of the tin with a baking paper.
2) Crush the biscuits. You can blitz the digestives in the bowl of the food processor until you have reached a consistency like sand. If you plan on doing this with a plastic bag and a rolling pin. Crumbs are not good here; we are after sand.
3) Heat the condensed milk in a pan, stirring constantly for around for 7 minutes. If the condensed milk start to burn, lower the heat or turn of the heat.
4) Melt the butter and golden syrup in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, and add to the condensed milk.
5) Tip the biscuit-base mixture into the prepared tin and press down on the palm of your hand, so that it is evenly distributed and quite well packed. Prick it with a fork a few times to let the air whilst it is setting and crisping in the oven. Place in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Once the biscuit base is cooked, take it out of the oven and set it aside.
6) Add the raisins and rum to the condensed milk and pour over the biscuit based.
7) Place it in the fridge for around an hour or two until set.
8) Whilst the base and filling are cooling, melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water until it is smooth and runny. Pour it over the caramel to make the third layer.
9) Set the cake in the fridge for another 20 minutes until cold.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cookies and cream brownies.

Many will remember this brownie recipe from Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy. It seems such a long time ago since Lorraine bumped onto the cooking/baking scene with her simple, easy and delicious bakes, and for me, this is one of her best recipes. The name "cookies and cream" is from the Oreo cookies that are used, these American cookies have a layer of cream in the middle (please correct me if I am wrong!). I used 2/3 of the recomended Oreos given in the recipe, but  Istrongly suggest you use the full amount as the cookies in the brownies were so nice, I wished they were more in the brownie mixture.
To make the brownies were simple enough, but a word of caution, the recipe states to use 2 tbsp of plain flour, I thought this was a mistake as never used so little flour in a brownie mixture. I instead used 3 tbsp of self-raising flour and this worked fine for me.
Here is how my version of the Cookies and Cream brownies turned out:
Cookies and Cream brownies

I first started by melting the butter and chocolate over a medium heat, but unfortunately deleted this picture from my camera. I then whisked the eggs, sugar and then folded in the dry ingredients before adding the broken Oreo biscuits.
Oreo combined in the brownie mixture

Once everything was in-cooperated I paced this in a brownie tin and let bake for 25-30 minutes.
Brownies pre bake
Once baked, I left to cool before cutting into small pieces.
Brownies baked.
The link for this classic brownie bake can be found here.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

American pancakes with caramelised bananas

I'm a big fan of pancakes, and as it is shrove Tuesday next week, I thought I'd share one of my most recent pancake creations. This recipe is adapted from Jo Wheatley's A Passion for Baking, which is one of my favourite baking books. Instead of using the suggested blueberries in blueberry sauce to accompany the pancakes, I used bananas as this was more readily available in the winter season. These pancakes are very simple to make, and they tasted delicious. The only change I'll make when I make these again, is that I'll add a teaspoon of baking powder to ensure they rise more (as this is more American to me).
Here is how my American pancakes with caramelised bananas turned out:
Pancakes with caramlised bananas. 

I first started by preparing the batter of flour, milk, eggs, melted butter and a pinch of salt.
Ingredients for pancakes
Pancake mixture

Once the ingredients were in-cooperated I ladled 2-3 spoonfuls of batter into the pan which made 2-3 pancakes.
Pancakes cooking

Once the pancakes were cooked I started on the caramelised bananas by chopping bananas and melting in butter and sugar.
Bananas cooking
After around 3 minutes the bananas were perfect for my pancakes.

Recipe for American pancakes (Makes about 6)
3 large eggs
1 mug of self-raising flour
1 mug full fat milk
a knob of unsalted butter, melted
a pinch of salt
sunflower oil for cooking the pancakes
unsalted butter for cooking the pancakes
2 ripe bananas, sliced
unsalted butter for cooking the bananas
2 tbsp dark muscavodo sugar

Mix together the flour, milk eggs, melted butter and pinch of salt. Heat a tablespoon of oil and a little butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat the butter gives the cooked pancakes a lovely nutty flavour.
Ladle 2-3 spoonfulls of batter into the pan making 2-3 little pancakes. Cook the pancakes for about 40 seconds, until the underside is golden and the little bubbles stop appearing on the top of the pancakes. Flip them over and cook the other side until golden brown and the pancakes have risen to about 1cm.
Remove from the pan and keep warm while you continue to cook more pancakes until you have used up all the batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed,
For the bananas, melt the butter and add the sliced bananas to the frying pan alongside the muscavodo sugar. Cook for around 3 minutes and ensure that the pan does not burn.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Honey and mustard roasted sausages and grapes with black peppered mash.

I recently was the lucky person randomly selected by fellow blogger Susie fold in the flour to receive four cooks/baking books as part of her blog anniversary giveaway. Susie was giving away Barefoot Contessa's "Foolproof recipes", Ruth Clements (aka The Pink Whisk) "A Busy Girls Guide to Cake Decorating", Green and Blacks "Ultimate Chocolate Recipes" and "Marshmallow Madness".

This recipe is inspired by Barefoot Contessa's recipe of sausage and grapes. I've adapted it slightly and instead of using Italian sausages, I stuck to simple Cumberland sausages and added two teaspoons of honey and one teaspoon of mustard to the sausages and two onions, finely sliced. I roasted the sausages for around 30 minutes (my cooker isn't that good) then added the grapes, whole to the sausages alongside the chopped onions for a further 30 minutes. Once everything was cooked I drizzled the honey and mustard sauce over the sausages.
Here is how my dish turned out:
Honey and mustard roasted sausages with grapes.

The recipe given is the original un adapted version of this dish from Barefoot Contessa (and in American measurements and quicker than my method).

1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian pork sausages
1 1/2 pounds hot Italian pork sausages
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds seedless grapes removed from the stems
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (or gas mark 6)
 Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the sausages and simmer for 8 minutes to remove some of the fat. Remove to a plate.
Melt the butter in a large roasting pan on top of the stove. Add the grapes and toss them to coat with butter. Transfer the sausages to the roasting pan, nestling them down in the grapes in one layer. Place in the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes, turning the sausages once, until they are browned and the grapes are tender.
Transfer the sausages and grapes to a serving platter with tongs and a slotted spoon and cover with the aluminium foil to keep them hot. Add the balsamic vinegar to the roasting pan and cook over a medium-high heat for 2 minutes to reduce the balsamic vinegar slightly. Pour over the sausages and grapes and serve hot.

I served my sausages with black peppered cheesy mash, but feel free to serve the sausages with jacket potatoes or even homemade chips.


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Steak Tagliata

This steak dish was first introduced to me after watching an episode of Nigellisima and to be honest I was not entirely impressed with this steak cut into small slices and placed on a bed of salad. It was in fact the version that I saw on a fellow bloggers Facebook page (The Goddess's kitchen) and she served the steak whole with new potatoes and peas; it looked delicious! That's what I love about cooking and collecting recipes, is that everything can be adapted to our tastes. I decided on making this dish, but keeping the steak whole for extra juiciness. I must admit this is very different to the steaks that I'm used to as the recipe uses cherry tomatoes as an accompaniment to steak. It worked, but I feel far to loyal to my traditional accompaniment to steak, Bearnaise, and Diane.
Here is how my steak turned out:
Steak tagliata

I served my steak tagliata with the cherry tomatoes and a side salad. I seasoned my steak and marinaded it for over 24 hours, which I think helped it make it super juicy.
Seasoned steak

Not the best picture I know, I then cooked the steak for 8 minutes on each side for a medium steak.
Steak cooking

Once the steak was cooked enough to my liking I added a tablespoon of oil and pan fried the cherry tomatoes.
Chopped tomatoes

Tomatoes cooking
Sorry about the mix quality of photos, but I hope you all can see how easy this dish is to make.

Recipe for steak tagliata - serves 2
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp crushed chillies
1tsp salt
1 sirloin steak
1 tbsp garlic
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
freshly cracked pepper

Season the steak with salt, pepper, crushed chillies and garlic - I advise this for 12-24 hours. Heat the oil in the frying pan and cook the steak for 5-6 minutes on each size depending on how you like your steak. Place the cherry tomatoes cut side down in the marinade and cook for around a minute or two, Pour the cherry tomatoes and marinade over the steak. Serve with a side salad.


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