Saturday, 27 April 2013

White chocolate topped refridgerator cake

I love a good no bake chocolate dish, and this refrigerator cake is one which is perfect where you can make your own twist and adapt to your own liking. I think it is always best to follow the original recipe if you are making it to the first time, but when making the second or third time I definitely feel you can always try and do your own thing. Refrigerator cake is usually made with raisins, chocolate, digestive biscuits but I used pistachio nuts, dessicated coconut and sultanas to give my refrigerator cake a lovely nutty, yet tasty texture. I decided on making a white chocolate topping for my refrigerator cake as I have seen this on one of Jo Wheatley's A Passion for Baking, but I used only 200g white chocolate for my topping and not 500g as suggested in her book. The result, a not so good looking Refrigerator cake, but a delicious, crunchy tasty no bake, easy bar.
Here is how my refrigerator cake turned out:
White chocolate topped refrigerator cake
White chocolate refrigerator cake
I think next time I make this, I will stick to a chocolate topping as it looks far more prettier! x

Recipe for white topped refrigerator cake.
55g raisins
115g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
115g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
55g butter
2tbsp golden syrup
175g digestive biscuits
50g pistachio
50g dessicated coconut

200g white chocolate
25g butter

1) Put the chocolate, butter and syrup in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until melted.
2) Stir in the digestive biscuits, pistachios, raisins and dessicated coconut. Turn into a greased and base-lined 18cm/7 inch square  tin and let cool. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
3) To make the topping, place the white chocolate and butter into a small heatproof bowl and melt over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir and pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuit base. Chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight. Cut into slices to serve.



Thursday, 25 April 2013

Aloo Keema

As stated in my previous post, I recently received a copy of Food, Glorious Food and the second recipe which I made from this book is Misbah's Aloo Keema. Misbah is a primary school teacher who was born in Pakistan, and grew up on this dish which her mother used to make. She has recreated a healthier version of her childhood favourite and entered the dish into Food, Glorious Food. This dish was not chosen in the Yorkshire heat and lost out to the eventual winner of the show, white chicken korma (which I will blog about shortly).
I have previously made a similar version of this dish,  a beef keema but never have made this with potatoes, which was the main reason why I made this, nothing beats a twist on a classic. I thought the addition of potatoes would make this dish more substantial, and when served with naan or chapattis makes the dish considerably hearty. Not only that, but I found making this dish extremely easy, perfect for a mid week evening meal.
Here is how my Aloo Keema turned out:
Aloo Keema
I'm a firm believe in seasoning and I started by seasoning the mince in the morning before work, with garlic cloves, scotch bonnet pepper, curry powder, garam masala, salt and pepper and left to marinade as this further enhances the flavour of the dish.

Mince being seasoned.
I then began to fry the mince and onions until brown, and began to chop the potatoes.
Mince fried.
Potatoes chopped.
Once the mince began to brown I added the passata and then the potatoes and left to cook for 20 minutes.
Passata added to mince
Potatoes cooking in dish

Recipe for Misbah's Aloo Keema - serves 4
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
a tablespoon of ground ginger
8 garlic cloves, chopped
7-8 chillies (I used 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper with seeds)
400g canned tomatoes (I used passata)
750 ml water
2lbs minced lamb or mutton (I used beef)
8 new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1tsp garam masala

Heat the oil. Add the onions and salt to taste. Fry until the onions are slightly brown. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for 5 minutes.
Pour in the tomatoes and 250ml of the water, and cook over a medium heat until the liquid evaporates, the ingredients turn into a paste and separated oil can be seen.
Add the mince and fry until it changed colour. Add another 250ml of the water and cook slowly until it evaporates. Turn up the heat and cook briskly for 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are ready. Let the water evaporate then cook for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with the garam masala and serve with rice, naan bread, pitta bread or chapattis.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Lemon and Almond Streamliner cake - April The Cake Slice Bakers.

Unfortunately I missed last months bake for my online baking group, The Cake Slicers due to me being  busy and not finding the time to make March's cake. Since October, The Cake Slice Bakers have been baking from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson, which is on the whole a fabulous American baking book. I must be honest,  I was not very keen on this months choices of bake and eventually following a close call with another cake this months cake, Lemon and Almond Streamliner won the votes. The good thing about joining an online baking group, is that I get to try new recipes which I would usually not bother to make it. Often I am pleasantly surprised with the outcome of the cakes.

The recipe for this cake is actually based on another recipe which the author found in 1967 and was unable to find the reason as to why the cake was called "streamliner". This cake uses almond paste for extra moistness , something which I can image my local Asda supermarket does not sell, I did not even bother to look for it in the supermarket or attempt to make it (there was a recipe given for it in the book). Instead, I cheated and simply used ground almonds as this was readily available. The cake was fairly easy to make, and with a lot of the cake recipes in this book, it uses buttermilk. The texture of the cake was like a pudding, according to my family. It was really soft and moist and I think it tasted far better the next day.
Here is how my Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake turned out:
Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake.
Lemon and Almond Streamliner cake.

I loosely followed the method for the recipe for making this cake. The topping for the cake in the book is for a lemon custard and I will share further along in the blog, but I am useless at making custard so used my favourite lemon buttercream recipe. I also followed my preferred method of mixing the eggs and butter together and whisked (the book suggests to mix the dry ingredients first). I will, however share the recipe that is given in the book, as I would not want my fellow blog readers to get into my bad (or I suppose it could be good) baking habits.
Butter and sugar
Butter and sugar mixed

I then added parts of the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder), ground almonds, milk, eggs, vegetable oil and buttermilk, mixed and continued to add these ingredients until everything was combined.
I wanted a lemony taste in the cake as I know that ground almonds can be quite overpowering so I decided to add the zest of a lemon, shame my lemon was on it's last leg and I could not properly in cooperate it in the mixture.

Dry ingredients added alongside eggs
Grated lemon added
Once everything was mixed together I placed in a spring form baking tin.
Mixture for cake

Lemon and almond cake prebake.

Once baked I left to cool and made my butter cream recipe.
Cake baked

For the lemon butter cream to top my cake I just whisked 75g butter and slowly added 300g icing sugar, and the grated zest and juice of 1 lemon.
Buttercream in the making


Recipe for Lemon and Almond Streamliner cake.
For the lemon custard
Grated zest of 2 lemons
3/4 cup whole milk
3 1/2 ounces sugar\4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup of lemon juice, from three lemons
4 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small cubes.

For the cake
1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) self- raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking  powder
3/4 cup (6 ounces) almond paste, at room temperature (I used 4 ounces of ground almonds)
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
3 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup buttermilk.

To make the lemon custard, combine the lemon zest, milk, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over a medium-low heat until just hot. Meanwhile, in a bowl, thoroughly whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until well combined then whisk in the cornstarch. Slowly whisk a third of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the hot milk and cook over medium-low heat, whisking steadily, until the custard begins to thicken and bubble for 1 minute. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and whisk in the butter until it has melted. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly upon the surface of the custard and place in the refrigerator to cool for about 2 hours. The custard is easiest with once it has set.
Centre an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F.
To make the cake, sift together the flour and baking powder, then whisk the mixture to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the almond paste, butter, sugar, oil and vanilla on low speed until blended; gradually increase the speed to high cream until very light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes, stopping the mixer frequently to scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 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 mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the 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 mixture before the last of the flour has been in cooperated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not over beat the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread it evenly. Bake for around 45 minutes, until the cake is baked.
Leave the cake to cool and once cooled spread a thin layer of lemon custard on the sides of the cake to seal the cake and give it a light shine. Put the rest of the lemon custard on the top of the cake, spreading it just barely out to the edge. Use your spatula to make a swirly design in the custard on the top of the cake. Allow the assembled cake to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes,
Eat and enjoy.



Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Food, Glorious Food, a book review.

I recently received a cook book to review. Not any old cookbook, but a cookbook that has the same name as my Blog and Facebook page, and is based on a TV series on ITV3. Of course, the book is Food, Glorious Food and many thanks to Fiona from Octuopus Publishing for my review copy. I have watched a few episodes of the show, and to be honest, I don't think the show truly shows the diversity and imaginative recipes as the book does.  The book features dishes originating from every continent, and am quite impressed with the number of South African inspired recipes, such as Bobotie and Turmeric Rice and South African Chicken curry as it is a cuisine I an unfamiliar with, so this has given me the opportunity to try some new dishes.

I presumed the cook book would be split into chapters covering starters, mains and puddings, however the book is split into regional areas;
* South - West
* South - East
* North - East
* North - West
* London
* The Midlands

I can only imagine that the recipes were split according to the regions, as that is the style of the show. The recipes are very, very diverse and imaginative, and nothing that you will see in many other cookbooks. As each recipe is given by a contestant, all the dishes are easy to replicate in home kitchens. I also like how every recipe is accompanied by a picture of the cooked/ baked dish, and it also features a note by each contestant, which gives the reader an insight to the background of the recipe.
 So far I've made double chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache, aloo keema and South African Bobotie with turmeric rice.
Other recipes that have caught my eye are: Somerset chicken, Coconut curried whiting and shrimp gratin, meat and potato pie, fiery ginger cake and carrot cake. My only criticism to this book (which is more to do with personal preference) would be the two recipes which contains game, game pie and damson jelly and game lasagna. I am unsure as to whether these two dishes would go sell particularly  well as not everyone likes game. I strongly recommend this cook book for anyone who fancies trying a variety of new, unique and delicious recipes (that will be everyone then) as I have tried and enjoyed a few recipes that I would never usually try.
The recipe I will share with you is my first creation, chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache. This recipe is from Samantha Egan who described these brownies as the perfect combination of baking and chocolate. Now, I've made brownies on several occasions, but this recipe is unique to me as I usually do not top my brownies with anything, but this recipe uses chocolate ganache to top the brownies, which makes them super chocolatey. I will share further recipes from this book, but thought I'd get this one out the way first.
Here is how my triple chocolate ganache brownies turned out:
Triple chocolate ganache brownies.
I have also made Mishbah's Aloo Keema, which turned out to be superliciously spicy and tasty.
Aloo Keema
I also made Jane White's South African Bobotie with turmeric rice which was delicious and a new way of using mince for my evening meal.

Triple chocolate ganache brownies.
I first started by melting dark chocolate with butter and left to cool.
Dark chocolate and butter.
Dark chocolate and butter melted.
In a separate bowl, I beat the eggs with vanilla essence.
Eggs and milk

I then added the eggs and vanilla essence to the chocolate mixture.
Eggs and milk added to the chocolate mixture
I sifted the flour and coco and folded into the mixture. I then placed the mixture in a square tin and placed pieces of white chocolate in the mixture, around 10 pieces.
Brownies pre bake

I left to bake in the oven for 20 minutes, and once baked, left to cool.
Brownies baked

Once baked, I began to make the chocolate ganache, I tend to use chocolate and butter to make my ganache, instead of the more common cream and chocolate method, suggested in the book. I melted milk and dark chocolate in a bowl on top of simmering water.
Chocolate and butter for ganache

Once melted, I left to cool and thicken before spreading on top of the brownies.
Ganache on top of brownies

I placed the brownies topped with the chocoalate ganache in the fridge to set which took around 3 hours.
Chocolate Ganache set on brownies.
I then cut into square pieces and thoroughly enjoyed.

Ingredients - serves 9
135g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
200g caste sugar
2 large eggs
1 vanilla pod, split open length ways (I used 1 tbsp vanilla essence)
80g plain flour
1 heaped tsp coco powder
25g white chocolate chunks (I used 9 pieces of white chocolate)
25g milk chocolate chunks
25g dark chocolate chunks

For the ganache
150g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
150 ml double cream
25 butter

(I used 100g dark chocolate, 50g milk chocolate and 125g butter)

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Butter a 20cm (8 inch) square baking tin and line it with baking parchment.
Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Give it a good mix to ensure all the chocolate has melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Leave for 5 minutes to cool a little.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla seed/essence. Add this mixture to the chocolate a bit at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and coco and fold together. Finally, stir in the chocolate chunks, distributing them as evenly as possible.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until the sponge springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, or a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn on to a wire rack to cool.

To make the ganache, put the chocolate and cream (or use butter instead like I did) in a heated bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, give it a good mix then remove from the heat and add the butter mixing until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Spread the ganache over the brownies sponge, then place in the fridge to set for at least a couple of hours.

I received a copy of Food, Glorious Food for review. I was not required to write a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Thai Green Pork Curry

This is the third time I have eaten this far eastern dish, and as the saying goes, third time lucky. I first tried this dish in a Thai restaurant, and was less than impressed, there was a lack of spice and oomh. The second time I made this recipe, it was from Jamie's 30 minute meals cookbook, but I queried the recipe as it did not contain any Thai green paste, or lime leaves, so I questioned the authenticity of the recipe. This is the third time I have made this and I must say I have fallen in love with this flavoursome (and somewhat unusual taste, to my taste buds). I have (heavily) adapted this recipe from my Weight Watchers Nice n Spicy and instead of using low fat cheese for the curry sauce, I used low fat coconut milk - surely this is the preferred ingredients in a Thai Green Curry. I also accidentally used green paste, instead of red paste - as suggested in the recipe, but I am in love with the Thai Green Curry. The curry was still in fact, healthy as using low fat coconut milk, and fry light, and pork loin reduced the saturated fats.
Here is how my Thai Green Pork Curry turned out:
Thai Green Pork Curry

Thai Green Pork Curry
Thai Green Pork Curry

Recipe for Thai Green Pork Curry
Serves 4 
calorie controlled cooking spray
500g pork loin tenderloin, cut into even chunks
4 shallots
1 teaspoon ginger puree 
2 1/2 tablespoons green Thai curry paste
can of 400ml low fat coconut milk
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
1 tbsp curry powder
salt and pepper

1) Marinade the pork with 2 cloves of garlic, black pepper, salt, 1 tbsp curry powder and 1 1/2 tbsp green Thai paste, leave to marinade over night.
2) Heat a wide, liddled, non stick saucepan and spray with the cooking spray. Cook the pork for 5 minutes, stirring until browned all over. Add the shallots, ginger puree and 1 tbsp curry paste and cook gently for 3 minutes
3) Add the coconut milk, and leave to cook on a low heat for 25 minutes, and stir every 10 minutes or so.

Serve with basmati rice and stir fry vegetables. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Jamaican bun

For Easter, Jamaican bun is the traditional bake that is eaten in Jamaica, hence the name. As I am of Jamaican heritage, Jamaican food features heavily in my diet, however the food that I tend to blog about is not Jamaican food, as I have pushed myself to try a wide variety of food.  I have never made Jamaican bun before, but I have certainly brought it on many occasions, and eat this at least twice  a month.
Traditionally, this bread is eaten with Jamaican cheese, but I tend to eat this with good ol cheddar cheese as this easily available. The best way of comparing the flavour of my Jamaican bun, is think of a panettone, but with a darker colour and a richer texture (and a better taste!). As I have grown up on this, I must say this is one of the better sweet breads out there. I made the unfortunate error of forgetting the yeast first time round, so had to remake this; I was determined to make this bread for Easter. The bread needs to rise twice, and on the second time the mixed dry fruit is added. I think this is a lovely sweet bread to make on the weekend.
Here is how my Jamaican bun turned out:
Jamaican bun
Jamaican bun
Jamaican bun
Jamaican bun - pre bake
Recipe taken from Levi Roots Reggae Reggae Cookbook

Makes 1 large loaf, cuts into 10 slices
400g very strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
100g strong brown bread flour
7g sachet easy blend dried yeast
75g dark muscavodo sugar
1tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1//2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
150ml milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g dried mixed fruit
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
butter, to serve

Put both flours, the yeast, both sugars, the mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and vanilla essence into a large bowl.
Warm the butter and milk until just tepid in a small pan. Add to the dry ingredients with the egg, and using your hands, bring the mixture together.
Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then cover with greased clingfilm and leave in a warm place.
Lightly grease a baking tray with butter. Empty out the risen dough on to a lightly floured surface, tip in the dried fruit and knead the dough together. Shape into a round and put on to the prepared tray. Cover with greased clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 1-1 1/2 hours or until the loaf has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/ gas mark 5. Bake the bun for 50 minutes until risen and brown.
For the glaze, put the sugar and 3 tablespoons of boiling water in a heatproof bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds to dissolve the sugar. Alternatively, heat the sugar and water in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved. Brush the glaze over the warm loaf and serve warm, sliced as it is or with a smothering of butter.



Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Everything Burger

As many of my fellow bloggers are aware, I love a good burger, and am so pleased with myself to have recently purchased "The Burger" cookbook, a cookbook containing 100 glorious burger recipes. I have so far made the London Burger which suited a nice relaxed weekend breakfast.
This recipe, The Everything Burger, is a beef burger topped with "everything", to which I think the writer is alluding to burger sides dishes. The recipe suggested to top the beef patties with jalapenos and coleslaw, but I decided to go one better and topped my burger with jalapeno coleslaw and cheese, which was a lovely combination and flavoursome. I think I will be more adventurous with my burger toppings, and will definitely top my burgers with something over than cheese from now on (or cranberry sauce for my turkey burgers).
The recipe was easy to make, as they are simple beef burgers topped with extras, I actually placed the jalapeno coleslaw underneath, then the cheese and topped with the burger - (if you coleslawlook at the picture, you can see a hint of coleslaw underneath the cheese). I recommend this book to all fellow burger lovers out there.
 Here is how my Everything burger turned out:
The Everything burger
Recipe for The Everything Burger
Makes 4
450 g fresh beef mince
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
vegetable oil, for frying
cheddar cheese
4 soft burger buns
mustard for spreading
burger suace/burger relish for topping.

1) Place the mince into a medium-sized bowl with the salt and pepper abd gently mix to combine, then divide into four equal sized portions and shape each portion into a patty.
2) Place a largy frying pan or ridged griddle pan over a medium-high heat and add enouh oil to coat the base of the pan. Add the patties, partially cover and cook for about 4 minutes, without movingm until the burgers are brown and release easily from the pan. Turn, place grated cheddar cheese on top of each burger, partially cover again and cook for a further 3 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
3) Spread the mustard on both halves of the buns and place a few slices of jalepenos on eachb un base. Set a burger on top of each base, add some coleslaw and a tomato slice, serve immediately.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Singing Hinnies

I love trying new recipes for my weekend breakfast, as this makes a change from my usual cereal or porridge which I  have Monday-Friday. Sunday breakfast usually are Jamaican inspired dishes, so Saturdays is the day where I get to experiment with a variety of different breakfast ideas. On my Facebook page, I have a folder entitled "Weekend Breakfast" which shows the different dishes I have tried and made.
This dish, Singing Hinnies, are one of my more recent new tries. The recipe is from Jo Wheatley's A Passion for Baking, which is a fantastic bakery book which covers a diverse range of baking. I am not sure of the origins of Singing Hinnies, and never heard of them before stumbling upon this recipe. I remember choosing to make this as the recipe looked very easy, and I am all for easy recipes. Although this dish is in not my top 5 for Weekend breakfast, I will probably make again, If I am pressed for time and want a quick breakfast treat.
Here is how my Singing Hinnies turned out:
Singing Hinnies

Singing Hinnies

I first started by weighing self-raising flour and butter, and mixed together to make a crumbly/ sandy texture.
Flour and butter mixture
I then weighed sultanas, and beat an egg and added milk to the beaten egg, and then added this to the flour mixture.
Egg and milk

Egg and sultanas added to the flour mixture

I then formed the mixture into a round ball and then rolled out, and cut into circles using a 6cm cutter.
Singing Hinnies shaped into a ball

Rolled out Singing Hinnies
I served my Singing Hinnies with strawberry jam and butter.
Recipe for Singing Hinnies, from Jo Wheatley's A Passion for Baking.
250g self-raising flour
a pinch of salt
120g chilled and diced
90g currants
1 large egg, beaten
2-3 tbsp full-fat milk to combine
plain flour for rolling out.

To serve
clotted cream

You will need a 6 cm round cutter

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the diced butter, and using your fingers rub into the flour until thoroughly combined and the mixture looks like crumble or sand.
Add the currants, beaten egg and enough milk to combine and to bring the dough together.
Lightly dust the work surface with plain flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5 mm.
Using a plain cutter, stamp out 6 cm circles from the dough. Re-roll and stamp out the offcuts until you have used up all the dough.
Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and lightly grease the pan with butter or lard. Add the Singing Hinnies to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until golden, turning down the heat if they are browning too quickly.
Serve warm with butter, clotted cream, honey or jam.

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