29 Oct 2012

Victoria sponge

This one is Mary Berries' recipe from last year’s Great British Bake Off book. You can’t beat a good Victoria sponge as a tea time treat and this one is excellent.  I had some strawberries that needed using up so I made some conserve and used that with a few tablespoons of jam.  The sponge is golden and moist as it should be and holds a good amount of filling when sandwiched together. You can find the recipe here. Mary Berry uses just jam for her filling but I always add some whipped cream….

1 Oct 2012

Fruit tart

This is Nigellas’ “no-fuss fruit tart”, well I don’t think it really is a tart, it’s actually one of those no-cook cheesecakes masquerading as a tart. I kind of never really think of no-bake cheesecakes as real cheesecakes anyway and think they should just be called desserts so I am kind of glad that Nigella has called it a tart. Not that I think the no-bake stuff isn’t delicious (but I do prefer the proper baked cheesecake). In fact I cannot wait to try the chocolate hazelnut cheesecake from Nigellissima which I  bought last week. It is fabulous of course and I have already earmarked lots of recipes that I want to try! (I also loved the TV programmed which aired last Monday). 

Anyway let’s concentrate - the fruit tart-well it doesn’t need much concentration actually-it’s just a construction job (albeit a bit of an expensive one). You have a standard cheesecake biscuit bottom topped with luscious lemony cream and fruit. You do need to buy good quality lemon curd here as it has a pretty starring role, I have bought the cheap stuff once and regretted it!  And use whatever fruit you like ofcourse I used strawberries, blackberries,blueberries and a last minute addition of some mango also tasted great. The perfect pud on a very hot summers day (which is when I made this). Admittedly we are unlikely to get one of those now for a while now here in the UK :( …I will post more weather-suited things hopefully once I have cleared my summer backlog of baking….you can find the recipe here and enjoy the pics below…  

5 Aug 2012

Strawberries and cream cheesecake

I’ll start off by saying sorry for the unannounced hiatus on the blog. It has been crazy-busy at my end and although I did a fair bit of baking last month there just has not been time to upload. But I am hoping for a lull really soon so posts should pick up! This cheesecake is from The Hummingbirdbakery’s cake days book. They have put in to the  summer afternoon tea section…I’m not sure though that you can have anything more than a slice of this at one sitting as it’s a very rich cheesecake. I don’t think you can go wrong though-nubbly biscuit base, fruity creamy cheesecake topped with a velvety layer of mascarpone cream….you really do have to try it before the summer is up…(and sorry for the not-so-great hastily taken pictures!better ones next time I promise!)

(Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery)

Serves 8-12
You need one 20cm springform cake tin
(mine is 23 cm-it was fine)

For the base:
220 g digestive biscuits
100g butter, melted

For the filling:
200g fresh strawberries (chopped)
180g castor sugar
600g cream cheese
2 eggs

Line the tin with baking parchment. Process biscuits and butter until fine crumbs and line tin with them. Place in fridge for 20-30 mins.

Place the strawberries in a saucepan with 80g of the sugar and 30ml of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the strawberries are soft and the liquid has reduced by half (takes about 10 mins on medium heat-do not cook for too long on strawberries will burn-there should be some liquid left and its fine too have too much rather than too little)   Set aside until completely cold.
Preheat the oven to 160℃. Prepare the filling by beating together the cream cheese and the remaining sugar on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time. Pour in the cooked strawberries and stir in by hand.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 30 mins or until firm with a slight wobble in the middle. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature still in the tin, then place in the fridge to chill and set for 1-2 hours.
For the topping:
100g mascarpone
20g icing sugar
100ml double cream

Beat the mascarpone and icing sugar on a medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until soft peaks form. Then fold the double cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Spread on top of the cheesecake and chill again for 1 hour. Decorate cheesecake with fresh strawberries.

10 Jun 2012

Apple and cinnamon muffins

These muffins are again from Nigella Kitchen. They really are the best tasting healthy muffins I have ever had, even my not-particularly- health- conscious husband really liked them. They are moist and fruity from the apples, wholesome tasting from the spelt flour and have a lovely crunch on top from the almonds (spelt flour is a wholegrain flour which is high in nutrients). I made them the week when my baby was ill and it was one of those weeks when even making your porridge in the morning feels like a chore and it was great to have these to grab and go. I will definitely make them again when I have a couple of old apples that need using up. Recipe is below pics:

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins, taken from Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson
Makes 12 muffins
2 eating apples or 1 large cooking apple, peeled and cut into small dice
250g plain flour or spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
125g light brown sugar, plus 4 tsp for topping
125ml honey
60ml runny natural yoghurt
125ml flavourless vegetable oil
2 eggs
75g whole almonds, skin on
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius and line a 12-hold muffin tin with papers.
2. Measure the flour, baking powder and 1 tsp cinnamon into a bowl.
3. Whisk together the 125g brown sugar, honey, oil and eggs in a bowl or a jug
4. Chop the almonds roughly and add half of them to the flour. Keep the other half aside, and to them add the second teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 4 tsp of brown sugar. This will make the topping for your muffins.
5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Add the chopped apple and stir to combine. As with all muffin batters, don’t overmix – the lumpier and heavier the batter, the lighter the finished muffin will be.
6. Spoon the batter into the muffin papers and sprinkle with the topping.
7. Put into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, by which time the muffins should have risen, and become beautifully golden.
8. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes, before taking them out of the pan 

7 May 2012

Blueberry cornmeal muffins

These muffins are slightly different from your usual blueberry muffin because of the addition of cornmeal. This makes the top golden and crunchy.  The cornmeal also means that the tops are flat rather than domed. They are from Nigella Kitchen. The recipe makes 12 but the muffins are quite small so they do get finishes very very quickly…if you wanted a slightly healthier muffin you could I suppose experiment with reducing  the sugar and upping the blueberries….Also I found the stipulated 200◦C too high-the tops got browned too quickly so maybe 180◦C would be better.  They are very yummy eaten warm.

Recipe :
Makes 12
150g plain flour
100g cornmeal-it doesn’t specify which kind in the book but I used course cornmeal
2tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarb
150g caster  sugar
125ml veg oil
125ml buttermilk or plain runny yoghurt
1 egg
100g bluberries

 Preheat oven to 180◦C and line muffin tin with cases
Mix flour, cornmeal, bicarb, baking powder and sugar
In a measuring jug pour in the oil and buttermilk and whisk in egg
Stir wet ingrediants into dry, fold in half the blueberries
Divide this batter between each case, dot the remaining blueberries on top-about three per muffin.
Cook for 15-25 mins until a cake tester comes out clean

Birthday baking

Here are some pictures of some birthday baking I did last weekend. The Birthday cake is a chocolate fudge cake surrounded by white chocolate cigarillos. I made it in 2 x 20cm tins. And the cupcakes are from the Hummingbird bakery book-I have blogged about those before.

22 Apr 2012

Tangy and chilli Kerala beef fry

Hello again, it’s been awhile as I have been away on holiday in Singapore. Hope you all had a good Easter break. I have not had much time to do baking recently so here’s a Savoury recipe that I have made quite a few times recently. It’s from miss masalas blog. Do not be put off by the ingredients list-this is super quick and easy to make and fairly low in fat too. I tend not to have fresh red chillies on hand so I use four whole red dried chillies. I also found the amount of coconut was too much for me so I used half the amount and I used frozen grated coconut. I have lots of newsagents nearby owned by south Indians so things like coconut and fresh curry leaves are readily available. I also used double the amount of tamarind roughly. Again from the south Indian shops I buy  one of those jelly-ish blocks of seedless tamarind. I soak a 2 by 1 inch piece roughly in a few tablespoon of boiling water and then crush the tamarind in this after it has soaked for a bit. I use 2-3 teaspoons of this paste.

Feeds 2
     350gm thin beef steaks
     50gm fresh grated coconut
       1 medium onion
       Half tsp fennel powder
        1 tsp coriander powder
        1 tsp cumin powder
        Half tsp chilli powder
        4 whole red chillies
        20 -30 fresh or freshly frozen curry leave
    1 inch ginger
    4 medium cloves garlic
       1 tsp tamarind paste
         2 tbsp oil
      Salt to taste
   If using frozen coconut, take it out of the freezer first. Slice the beef steaks very thin and chop the onion into small pieces. If using boneless chunks of meat, cut them into small bite-sized pieces. Peel and finely chop the ginger and garlic.
In a medium sized wok, bring the oil to heat over a high heat. When it starts sizzling, add the onions, ginger and garlic, chillies and curry leaves and fry until the mixture turns golden in colour. This will take 5-10 minutes.
Next, toss in the beef with all the spice powders and fry on a high heat until the meat is cooked and turns a rich dark shade. Now stir in the coconut, tamarind and when it’s mixed through with the beef, add 2-3 tablespoons of warm water and simmer until it is absorbed. Add salt to taste and eat straightaway curled into hot rotis.
If using a pressure cooker, pressure cook on high for one whistle and at least 25 minutes on low. Don’t add the coconut or tamarind until after the meat is cooked

18 Mar 2012

Red velvet cupcakes

I have never really been a fan of red velvet cupcakes; I would look at the recipes and think what is the point of just adding loads of food colouring to a normal vanilla sponge with a little bit of cocoa powder? And they never tasted better than a vanilla cupcake when I have bought them. But recently I had some cream cheese to use up and I bought this book, “Making cupcakes with Lola” and I liked the look of the recipe. I was intrigued by the additions of single cream and melted chocolate, and the amount of food colouring was not too excessive compared to some recipes. The actual cake batter tasted and smelled great. I could tell they were going tasted good. They were really good, moist and with a good chocolate hit topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting.

Recipe: makes 12
200g/1.5 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
100g/7 tablespoons soft butter cubed
175g/3/4 cup castor sugar
1 egg beaten
2 teaspoons red food colouring
25g/1 oz. dark chocolate melted
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 ml/1/2 cup single cream/light cream

cream cheese frosting
65g soft butter
250g cream cheese
185 g icing sugar

preheat oven to 180 degrees, sift together all dry ingredients. Put butter and sugar in a
bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. slowly beat in egg mixing well. slowly mix in food colouring. Beat in melted chocolate, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Gently fold in half the sifted dry ingrediantes,then half the cream.Repeat with the remaining dry ingrediants and cream. Bake for 20-25 mins. let cool completely before decorating.
to make the frosting beat butter until soft and smooth,add cream cheese and beat on slow speed then add sugar and beat until smooth and glossy. Refrigerate until firm enough to pipe. slice a sliver of the tops of a few cakes to make crumbs to sprinkle on  top.

26 Feb 2012

Tres Leches Cupcakes

These cupcakes are again from Martha Stewarts Cupcakes. They are based on a Latin American cake and are doused with a mixture of three milks- condensed, evaporated and fresh cream. They are rich sticky and very moist and topped with fresh cream they are almost pudding like. The cake mixture is very light and frothy because of all the whipped egg whites and it has very little fat in it, because of these two factors the cakes do not taste as rich as you might think they would. 

The amount of liquid that you have to douse them in seems like a lot but it does get absorbed. The cakes do not get as soggy as you might think, though you do have to use paper-lined foil liners.


The recipe in the book is for about 20 cupcakes, I made half that amount and it made 14 cupcakes.

Recipe for 12-14 cupcakes:
3 large eggs separated
Small pinch bicarb and small pinch coarse salt
½ cup sugar
1oz unsalted butter,melted and cooled
½ cup flour
1 can evaporated milk (6 oz,small can)
14 oz condensed milk
1/3 cup fresh double cream
1.5 cups fresh double cream plus two teaspoons icing sugar for the topping
1. Preheat oven to 160◦C. Line cupcake tins with paper-lined foil liners. With an electric mixer on medium speed whisk the egg white with the bicarb and salt until you get soft peaks. Reduce speed to low. Add yolks and sugar, whisk until completely combined. Fold in melted butter with a flexible spatula.  Add flour in 2 batches, folding until just combined after each addition.
2. Divide batter evenly between lined cups, filling each half way. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating tins halfway through or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean
3. Whisk together the three milks, when the cupcakes come out of the oven make holes in them using a skewer  and brush with the cakes with the milk mixture, repeating until all the liquid has been absorbed. Allow cupcakes to absorb mixture for 30 mins atleast
4. To finish whip the double cream with the icing sugar and dollop or pipe on top. You can also sprinkle with cinnamon if you like.