Tuesday, 24 September 2013

NUTTY CHOCOLATE CAKE

I feel it’s time I posted a celebratory recipe, not only for the blog being one, but also because I’ve been shortlisted for ‘best young blogger’ at the 2013 Blog North Awards!!! I’ve been grinning from ear to ear since finding out, and if you want me to grin even more, you can help me win and vote for me here. Cheers! Anyway, the best way to celebrate is always with a cake. I made this one for my dad’s birthday back in July but I thought the flavours would be better for the coming-colder season (I went mad for fresh flavours in the summer, in case you didn’t notice). It’s adapted from a milk chocolate cake my mum makes once a year which is the only chocolate cake she’ll really eat because it’s not too rich or fudgey in any way. I like a bit of fudge, but instead of just making it chocolatier I added it in the form of peanut butter, and then also added more texture by using the crunchy variety. The result is a nutty, chocolaty (but not over chocolaty) beauty.

For the sponge

200g self raising flour
225g caster sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
¾ tsp salt
110g butter
2 eggs beaten with 5 tbsp milk
Splash vanilla
2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
For the ganache
60g butter
4tbsp cocoa powder
225g icing sugar
3tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

For the peanut butter cream

90g butter
180g sugar
2 tbsp peanut butter

Preheat oven to fan160/180c/4. Line and grease 2 20cm cake tins.
To make the sponge, sieve together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt and then rub in the butter. Gradually stir in the eggs and milk, then add the vanilla and peanut butter to perk up the flavour. Pour equally between the cake tins and bake for 30-35mins at the bottom of the oven until risen and the sponge survives the skewer test. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
In the meantime make the ganache. Melt the butter then stir in the cocoa powder. When melted, take off the heat then add the icing sugar and loosen with the milk and vanilla. Beat rigorously until thick and smooth. It will thicken more as it sits.
For the butter cream beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the icing sugar then add the peanut butter until cream coloured.

Now you can assemble the cake. Spread the butter cream over one of the cakes then top with the other. Top with the ganache, in a swirly pattern with the spoon. To finish, sprinkle over some roughly chopped pistachios (optional) and enjoy.
 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

THE BLOG IS ONE

WHEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!
A bit of a different post today, and I’m not too keen on different because I like to keep the blog organised, a recipe a week is the strict system I try to stay to. But today is special. The blog is one year old today and it’s been a mint venture. I’m proud of all the recipes on here; I can’t believe that they old turned out right (being honest they all didn’t, but those ones did not make the blog). It struck me one day that what I’m doing must be working because I actually make my own recipes when people come round now- I have my own go-to bakes, and that makes me feel proud.

That's a pic of me and some buds in celebration mode (on a mates holiday in Spain earlier this year). A little more blurry eyed than suitable for a 1st birthday.

To celebrate I thought I’d post my favourite recipes, and some other things I’ve been doing separate to the blog.
My favourite recipe to impress
HONEYDEW CHEESECAKE 


 
My favourite and most delicious recipe for having mates round
PEACH DOUGHNUTS





































The recipe I was surprised worked/my favourite photograph
VANILLA SLICES




































My favourite family recipe
CARAWAY CAKE




































My favourite spruce up of an old Yorkshire recipe
SLY CAKES

 


































My favourite festive recipe
CINDER TOFFEE TART






































In other news I’ve taken my food writing further than the blog. I was published in olive, which actually is my ultimate favourite recipe. I’ve also started writing student recipes for my university newspaper (Leeds Student). You can read my first feature for them here , including this chorizo burger (yep, I can do savoury as well).  One more thing, just recently I was emailed by StudentCom who have asked me to be their food writer, and they want me as the ginger bread lad. So not only have my recipes and writing impressed, my persona has as well. I'll post my features on twitter as soon as they go live.

Here’s to many more years of the ginger bread lad, and hopefully more impact from me in the world of food writing. If you want me for anything, get in touch, I’m thirsty for the experience.

To finish I thought I’d sneak peek the latest thing I’ve been working on for Leeds Student, a pre-drinks feature which seems fitting for the celebratory post. Cool and Fiery tequila and Lemonade. CHEERS!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, 13 September 2013

ALMOND AND APRICOT MACAROONS

Before you scroll down to the picture and expect to see a light orange, sandwiched macaroon, I’ll warn you, these are not them sorts of macaroons! I call them macarons anyway, and these are the more beastly looking ones, that are usually coconut flavoured. I prefer these, not just because I can’t make the others (I have had a massive disaster that I don’t wish to share) but they’re less hassle, and have a lot more substance. Think a giant biscuit with a tough exterior that gives to a squishy, almond centre when bitten. And just to perk these beauties up a bit more, I’ve about half a teaspoon of apricot jam to each. Give me these over the plastic looking ones any day.  

The whites of 2 large eggs
200g ground almonds

275g caster sugar
1 tsp almond liquor or extract

4-5 tbsp apricot jam
Makes- 8
Preheat oven to fan 180/200c/6. Line 2 small baking trays with parchment.
Begin by beating the egg whites until frothy and expanded. Blitz the ground almonds in a food processer, then begin to alternate adding the sugar and egg whites (the latter of which you might not need all of). When the mixture just begins to form a dough when pressed, add the almond extract and mix again.

Shape the mixture into 8 balls then press down on the tray. Push into the centre of each with your thumb to make a dent where the jam will sit. Smooth out any cracked edges from the thumb marks before baking for 16-18 minutes, with a piece of baking paper sat on top of the tray so they don’t catch too much.
When baked, the macaroons should be golden brown on the outsides but still feel like they will give a little. Whilst got, add about half a tsp of apricot jam to the dent in each macaroon so that it can melt a little into the surface. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

BANOFFEE MOUSSE

A while ago I had a recipe on here for banoffee dessert, which tasted great but as a recipe I wasn’t fully happy with it so it got deleted. In it though it had my banoffee brittle invention, which was the best part of the recipe, and gave much needed life and flavour to those dried bananas they sometimes put in pet food that alone taste no more pleasant than cardboard. So I decided to revamp the whole banoffee theme and make a rich and silky banana mousse, marbled with dulce de leche (the best ready-made product for recipes) and stick the banoffee brittle on top for contrast in texture. This one is now worthy on a blog post.

For the banoffee brittle
75g golden, unrefined sugar (has a much more toffee-like flavour)
50g dried bananas, chopped into chips

For the mousse
 
3 ripe bananas
400ml double cream
50g icing sugar
Splash of vanilla extract
397g tin of dulce de leche (or carnation caramel)

Makes 4-6, depending on size of glass.
To make the brittle melt the sugar in a pan and once light brown and just beginning to bubble, turn of the heat and add the chopped dried bananas, swirly to disperse. Pour onto a baking sheet, spread out and leave to set.

Blend the bananas with 1tbsp of the cream, until thick and gooey. Whip up the cream and sugar, with the splash of vanilla, until it starts to form definite peaks. Stir in the blended banana and mix well. Add about half on the dulce de leche and this stage and mix so there is a light marble affect. Chop/smash the banoffee brittle into chip-size pieces.

You can now assemble the mousses. Fill each glass just under half way with the mousse, then top with a tsp of dulce de leche, and stir a tiny bit to add more of a definite marble. Add a layer of the brittle, then top again with the mousse, dulce de leche and finish with a final crunchy topping of the brittle. Repeat until all your glasses are full.