Sunday, 27 February 2011

Bread and butter pudding

Feeling in the mood for baking but not wanting to have to spend the next week eating a whole cake I looked for some individual recipes. On Delia Smith's website I found an individual bread and butter pudding which looked lovely. Below is my slightly ammended recipe.

1 slice bread
½ oz (10 g)) maragrine
1 level teaspoon chopped candied peel
¾ oz (20 g) currants
2½ fl oz (60 ml) milk
2 tablespoons fat free fromage frais
¾ oz (20 g) caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 small egg
ground cinnamon

1) Grease the inside of the tin
2) Butter the bread and cut to fit the dish, kitchen scissors are handy. If presentation is important, you can cut the centres from 2 slices of bread, but the crusts give it a nice texture.
3) Put one layer of bread, then half the currants/peel, the second layer of bread and the rest of the fruit
4) Combine the milk, cream, sugar and lemon juice and mix in a whisked egg before pouring over the bread. Sprinkle over the cinnamon
5) Bake for about 35 minutes at 180C

I don't have any ramekin dishes but had some mini heart shaped springform cake tins which were about the right size. Note to self, don't use these again as they leak! The milk mixture seeped out the bottom but I just poured a little milk over occasionally. It might not have been as moist as it should have been but serving it with custard helped I'm sure. I fancy trying it with brown sugar to give a more caramelised taste too. Definatley one to make again though.

Banana and chocolate chip muffins

After my experiment beyond my usual banana bread recipe I fancied trying some muffins, that way I could make smaller amounts rather than have to eat a whole loaf in a few days.

On a search of the internet I found a lot of recipes that used vegetable oil, but the idea of putting this in cake seemed a bit odd to me, though I know it can be a good ingredient. The BBC food website came up with one that sounded promising, so I gave it a go. It's a very useful website, where you can search by ingredient, and there are reviews etc... but personally I find the options and links a bit overwhelming. Worth a look though.

Anyway, you will need

1 large ripe banana mashed
240ml milk
1 egg

60g melted margarine*
180g self-raising flour

125g caster
125g chocolate chips

* Make sure the margarine is fully melted without being burnt, mine had lumps which I had to smooth out later

1) Mix the banana, milk, egg and margarine and mix well.
2) Stir in the dry ingredients mixing as little as possible, sieving the dry ingredients helps as there are less lumps. The mixture will be quite runny.
3) Bake in a muffin tin for 20 min at 190 C

The result was a dense moist muffin with a chocolate kick. I only made half a dozen to try out the recipe and while they were tasty I might keep trying for a less stodgy recipe.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

New Blog

Searching for a particular recipe I came across a fantastic blog, The Godesses's Kitchen. The look is bright and colourful and the food looks so yummy. The loaf cakes, like lemon curd and blueberry and the chocolate orange look tasty and in particular I can't wait to try the plum cake. Head on over and take a look for so inspiration

Monday, 14 February 2011

Coffee and walnut muffins

I've been trying to make things outside my usual repertoire, which basically is making things I like myself. I'm odd in that I don't like coffee the drink but I do like the flavour in food, so I thought the classic coffee and walnut combo would be good.
I based the recipe on my standard bun recipe, with a bit more flour to counter the added liquid. It makes 12 buns or fills 8 muffin cases.
4 1/2 oz Self raising flour
4 oz margarine
4 oz caster sugar
2 eggs
50g walnuts halves
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp instant coffee
1) Set the oven to 180 C and line a cupcake/muffin in with cases
2) Beat the margarine and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Beat in the eggs one at a time
4) Mix in the flour
5) Add just enough boiling water to the coffee to make a paste and stir half of it into the main mixture
6) Crush the walnuts into small pieces with a rolling pin and stir in ***This part can be left out for those who don't like nuts***
7) Spoon into the baking cases and bake for 20 min for cupcakes or 30 min for muffins
For the decoration sieve 200g of icing sugar into a bowl. Add a little of the coffee mixture to colour the icing and add boiling water a teaspoon at a time until it makes a thick enough paste to cover the back of a spoon. Dip the cupcakes into the mixture and spread evenly. Leave to dry.
For the buttercream whip 75g of margarine with 150g of sieved icing sugar and the rest of the coffee mixture. Pipe the buttercream into rosettes and top with a piece of walnut.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Lemon yougurt cake

Choosing a cake for a family celebration can be tricky. Some people don't like nuts, some aren't fond of chocolate (incredible I know!) and some don't like fresh cream. Lemon does seem to be a winner though and this lemon yougurt cake went down well at a recent gathering.

It's from my Australian Women's Weekly cakes book. It is a fantastic book with everyday and special occasion recipes using normal ingredients. I'm working my way through them! This recipe is posted here.
It's a lovely lemon cake with yougurt and coconut in it, moist in the middle and quite fluffy. The syrup poured over the cake at the end is worth making, it gives the crust a lemon kick. I only used half the recipe as I was worried about the cake ending up 'wet' but I think it could take it if left for a few hours to soak in. A lemon zester makes the decoration a lot easier too. It's also a good idea to use full fat yougurt, as most recipe books I've come across say the low fat versions affect the chemistry of the ingredients.

The baba ring tin makes the cake a bit more special I think.

Banana and Honey Loaf

I do have a fondness for banana bread, it feels almost healthy because it's a bread, but I suppose I have to accept it's really cake.

Anyway, I ended up with a few over-ripe bananas and felt like being a bit more adventurous than my usual banana bread recipe. So I turned to my mentor Marry Berry, the recipe can be found here. The picture in the link makes it look really stodgy but they used 3 bananas and I used 2, so don't let this put you off. (The book recipe says 225g which I took to be unpeeled.) One important tip, squeezy honey is a lot less messy, I only managed to get it on the kettle, my sleeve and the scales for once.
The centre is nice and banana-y with the honey coming out more in the crust which is lovely and sweet. I had mine plain with a nice cup of tea, but it would go well with some butter too. Well worth a bit more effort, it might become my new standby. It smells amazing when it comes out of the oven too!

Monday, 7 February 2011


I have been pondering lately what exactly is baking? Watching 'Baking Made Easy' on BBC2 I have some issues with Lorraine Pascal's definition of 'anything that goes in the oven'. This means on her show she's made chocolate cake, mille feuille but also gammon and macaroni cheese. This just seems wrong to me, but I can't quite say why. Loads of recipes are for, say, baked fish, but I wouldn't call this baking. I wouldn't limit it to sweet things eaither, as bread is sometimes savoury. The dictionary defines baking as cooking in a dry heat in an oven so I suppose she's right. I can't help feeling cheated though when she makes something meaty!

The show itself has some lovely recipes and ideas and is usually what it says on the tin: easy. The presenter is an ex-model, who having done a baking diploma and worked in restaurants now has her own shop. She is a good teacher giving hints and tips but when I watch I just don't feel she's a pro. For example when she made chocolate cake by adding chocolate to a vanilla batter she poured it into the pan without mixing it using a flexible spatula first, so it had an unmixed vanilla bit on the top. She supplies Selfridges, so her usual quaility must be high, but when I watch Delia or someone I usually think, wow I couldn't do it as good as that, but with her I think I could. Hmm

If you're interested the page is here:

and you can find all the past episodes on iPlayer.