Sunday, 7 September 2014

GOODBYE GINGER BREAD LAD

After 2 years of creating recipes and blogging them every single week, I feel like this project has come to an end. I’ve achieved what I wanted to, an online cookbook which has over 100 recipes, and ones that I’ll continue to make and be proud of. This past month I’ve been mega busy finishing my MA, whilst working and volunteering and trying to create a recipe started to feel like another thing I had to keep up with, another deadline to meet, and that’s not what I wanted from this. I’ve since finished my MA and I’m now looking for a full time job, so I feel like soon I’ll (hopefully) be onto a different stage in life. It’s not to say I won’t blog again in the future, I’m already considering setting blog pages for The Ginger Bread Dad, or the The Ginger Bread Grandad.

A massive thank you for your support, I’ve met some great cyber friends along the way and I’ll keep open the twitter account so I can still admire your food ventures and occasionally tweet what I’m eating without the pressure of crafting a recipe out of it. This site will also stay open and exist as the online cookbook that I wanted it to be. Getting my recipe published in olive, and winning ‘Best Young Blogger’ at the 2013 ‘Blog North Awards’ amongst my greatest achievements in life. I will also greatly miss pretending to be a 1950s film star.

THANK YOU EVERYONE


Wil- formerly The Ginger Bread Lad 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

RUSSIAN SLICE

If you haven’t had Russian slice before then you haven’t live. It’s a dense, boozy cake, usually made with the left over bits of other cakes and squashed together with some rum and jam. It’s hard to find recipes for it anywhere really, I don’t really think there is an exact one, and the existing ones I came across all used stale, bought cake. Not wanting to have any chemicals or preservatives in something I’d like to call homemade, I decided to make it completely from scratch, with a plain vanilla and chocolate sponge (from the same batter) that I leave out for about a day to dry up before reviving with the booze and topping with icing. I’m proud to say that I’ve created and mastered my own recipe for a homemade Russian slice.

250g butter, room temp
250g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
250g self raising flour
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp cocoa powder
A few splashes of milk (if necessary)
5 tbsp dark rum
3 tbsp apricot jam

For the Icing
8 tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp dark rum
About 2 squares of dark chocolate

Preheat oven to fan160/180c/4. Grease 2 loaf tins with butter then dust with icing sugar.
Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Alternate adding the eggs and flour, whilst mixing, until you have a thick cake batter. Add the vanilla extract and then loosen the batter with some milk if it seems too thick. Pour half of this mixture into one of the tins. Add the cocoa powder to the other half, stir well and then pour this into the other tin. Bake both for about 35-40 minutes, until risen and springy. Turn both of the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool. Leave these here, covered with a little kitchen paper, overnight and longer to dry out.

Line a loaf tin with cling film, going both ways and leaving excess over the edges.
Once the cakes are dry break them up randomly into a large mixing bowl. Pour over the rum and apricot jam and mix well (with your hands) until you have a dense and wet mixture. Press the mixture firmly into the loaf tin, levelling it out and then covering with the excess cling film. Take another loaf tin and fill with weights (or anything heavy-jam jars work) and place on top of the cake to weigh it down. Refrigerate overnight for the cake to set and the flavours develop.


Once the cake is ready, remove the weight but leave in the tin to ice. Mix together the icing sugar and rum until you have a thick icing then pour over the cake and spread out. Melt the chocolate for a minute in the microwave and spoon over in lines (in one direction) over the icing. Take a toothpick or a knife and drag the icing in lines backwards and forwards in the other direction to give you a feathered affect. Pop back in the fridge for the icing to set before removing from the tin with the cling film, slicing and enjoying this boozy, underrated and 100% homemade treat.  


Monday, 4 August 2014

VEGAN BANANA, COCONUT AND LIME CAKE

When I’ve been in cafes lately I’ve noticed that the vegan cake that I’ve been daring to try is loads better than the normal varieties. They have more interesting flavours, are more fudgy and coming with less guilt (especially for me since my brother is a vegan). I wondered how they could possibly achieve this and, without examining existing recipes that much, I did what I do with all the vegan recipes I make: experiment. I put in banana instead of eggs and coconut oil instead of butter, two ingredients which, if you think about it, add a much more distinctive flavour. I weighed the banana like you weigh eggs when concocting a recipe then worked on other ingredients from there, adding lime to zest things up. I expected a massive disaster. What I actually got was one of the finest cakes I’ve ever made. It’s a miracle. Veganism wins.

1 medium-large ripe banana (about 250g with the skin on)
8 tbsp coconut oil
200g golden caster sugar
250g self raising flour
Zest and juice of 2 limes

Heat the oven to fan180/200c/6.
Grease a loaf tine with a little bit of coconut oil and then dust it with a little bit of flour.


Mush the banana into a paste-like consistency in a large bowl. Add the coconut oil and whip together with the banana. Stir in the sugar and then the flour until you have a thick cake batter. Zest in the limes then squeeze in juice to thin out the batter. Stir well then pour into tin and bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack. I’d say serve with coffee but if you want a full-on vegan health experience have it with some boiling water and lemon. 



Saturday, 26 July 2014

BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

I will admit that my last blondie recipe (strawberry blondes) wasn’t really a blondie, delicious nonetheless, but not really a blondie. It didn’t have the density, that chewiness that blondies have. I will also admit that I thought blondies were called that because they used white chocolate and after eating quite a lot of them on my coffee break at uni and researching, I realised its because of the soft brown sugar. Weird how you use a darker sugar and it gets called a lighter name (my excuse for not knowing).  So this recipe is all about capturing that. It’s a blondie recipe at its simplest, the only addition being a browning of the butter to give an even deeper, richer flavour.  

125g butter
200g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g flour
A splash of milk (if necessary)

Makes 8 

Preheat oven to fan160/180c/4.
Line and grease a 8x8 brownie tin.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and leave to simmer for a good few minutes once fully melted. When the butter is properly bubbly keep an eye on the colour and smell, when it starts to ripple brown when stirred, and smell slightly nutty, remove from the heat. Pour the butter into a mixing bowl then add the sugar. Stir together well until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and give another mix. Finally, add the flour. Beat well until you have a thick, almost sticky batter. It should be like this, but if it is too stiff add a little splash of milk to loosen. Pour the mixture into the tin and even out.


Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is cracked looking but you can feel the blondie still has a firm squidgy-ness (the density is what you want). Leave to cool in the tin before removing and cutting one way 4 times, and the other way 2, so that you have 8 strips. These go perfectly with a coffee. 


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

APRICOT AND ALMOND FRITTATA

This is a mega speedy dessert, made in my favourite miniature frying pan, but if you want to make one to feed a few people just triple the recipe I’d say. It’s like a pastry-less almond-y custard tart, but filled with juicy tart apricots. A sweet frittata. It takes no time but tastes like it took a long time. Win.  

1 egg
Splash of milk
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
3 tbsp amaretto liqueur
3 apricots, sliced in half, stones removed
Tiny knob of butter and ½ tsp golden caster sugar for frying

In a small bowl mix beat together the egg, milk, sugar and 2 tbsps of the amaretto to make a smooth batter for the frittata.

Preheat the grill ready for browning the top of the frittata. Melt the butter over a low flame in a miniature frying pan with ½ tsp of sugar. Add the apricots, halved faces down first off and fry for about 20 seconds. Flip them over, so the halves are facing upwards then add 1 tbsp of the amaretto and fry for about 20-30 seconds.

Pour over the batter and swish around the pan a little. Allow to set, swishing occasionally for about 2-3 minutes until there only remains a little bit of thin batter in the pan. At this point place under the grill (leaving the handle outside) to brown, rise and set the rest of the batter. It will probably take about 1 minute to set.


Once ready, slide off the pan onto a little place and enjoy this mini sweet take on a savoury classic. 


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

RHUBARB AND RASPBERRY PIE

I suppose this pie could be called ‘pink pie’ since the insides are all pink, but I opted for the other alliteration of ‘rhubarb and raspberry’ as the title since you also have to know what’s in there. It’s a pie that’s quite summery actually, even though most pies are autumnal/wintery. The sharpness of both of the fruits help liven this little classic up and, served with some ice cream, it makes a perfect post-dinner treat.

200g plain flour
100g cold butter
About 6 tbsp water
175g raspberries
175g rhubarb, chopped
75g golden sugar
2 extra tbsps flour
1 egg
A little extra sugar for sprinkling

Make the pastry by blitzing the flour and butter, or rubbing in by hand. Slowly add the water and mix until a dough just about forms. Transfer it onto a sheet of cling-film, wrap around and press into a ball. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Mix together the raspberries, chopped rhubarb, sugar and flour in a bowl then set to one side.

Heat the oven to fan170/190/5.
Once chilled, allow the pastry to warm up for 5 minutes before rolling out and using just over half to line a small pie dish. Press the pastry into the corners of the dish with a little ball of the excess pastry then take a knife around the edges of the pie to cut off any that is hanging over. Fill the now pastry-lined dish with the fruit. Re-roll the left over pastry into a circle for the lid. Lay over the top of the pie and cut away any large excess, but leave a slight overhang to turn under for sealing. Press a fork around the entire outside of the pie to seal the two pastry layers together and create a crimped look. Slice 2 holes in the centre of the pie to let the steam escape. You can make any shapes to stick on top with the left over pastry, but I crafted a ‘R + R Pie’ design, which looked rough, but quite charming.

Beat the egg with a folk then brush over the top of the pie to help give a shiny finish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and the fruit bubbles out of the little slit. Sprinkle over some sugar to finish and serve hot. 


Monday, 30 June 2014

WIMBLEDON MESS

The words Wimbledon and Mess should not be together, since Wimbledon is the best time of the year. This is a take on an Eton mess though, using the food staple of Wimbledon at the centre: strawberries and cream. To play up to the theme I’ve also added pistachios and a little white chocolate (white and green like the tennis balls- a combination I’ve already tried to last year’s Wimbledon in ice cream here) which adds extra bursts of flavour and texture alongside the meringue. On another note, I used Scottish strawberries. That one’s for you Murray.

400ml double cream
Splash of vanilla extract
About 16 strawberries, 12 hulled, 4 left whole
1 tbsp icing sugar
4 meringue nests
100g shelled pistachios
A few squares of white chocolate

Whip the double cream until it just reaches medium peak stage. Blend the 12 hulled strawberries into a thick sauce then add the icing sugar and mix in well. Break the meringue nests into bite size pieces into the cream alongside half of the pistachios. Pour the blended strawberries into the cream, leaving a few teaspoons behind, then gently ripple through.


Divide the mixture equally between 4 wine glasses. Take the left over blended strawberries and pour a little bit onto the top of each mess so that you can do another, more defined ripple. Scatter the remainder of the pistachios on top of each. Put a slit in the bottom of the 4 whole strawberries and onto the lip of each glass. Finally, run a knife over the back on the white chocolate squares to create thin, shard like pieces and scatter over the top. A beautiful mess to enjoy in front of the tennis. 


Monday, 23 June 2014

PINA COLADA SUMMER PUDDINGS

The flavours of pina colada scream summer time. I think it’s the coconut in particular, it just makes me think of sun, probably because most sun creams have it in and, being ginger, sun cream is often my best friend. I had planned to make a pina colada tart but it completely failed. Not wanting to give up with the rum, coconut and pineapple combo thought, my mam suggested doing this instead and it completely worked. What you get is a mini, liquor soaked casing holding sweet, and juicy pineapple and mango chunks. Eat in the garden whilst wearing shades (and coconut sun cream).

1 white, uncut loaf (better if slightly stale)
250g pineapple chunks
250g mango chunks
2 tsp coconut milk (use the creamy part if possible)
2 tsp rum (plus a little extra for brushing)
100g golden sugar

Line 6 mini basins (I used plastic pudding moulds) with cling film. Cut the crust off of the bread. Slice random pieces and begin to line the basins with them, pressing together and patching up any wholes. Brush the bread with some rum or spare coconut milk to help form the moulds easily and make sure you have some bread left over for the lids. Once all 6 are lined with bread prepare the fruit.

Cut the pineapple and mango into small, diced chunks and throw into a saucepan with the coconut milk, rum and sugar. Bring to boil and then allow to simmer for a minute or so, just so that the liquid gets a little syrupy and the fruit has sweetened.

Spoon the hot pineapple and mango into each mould, along with the liquid, until each is full. Reserve a few teaspoons for topping the puddings. Take the spare slices of bread and use to seal each pudding, again patching together if need be. Make sure each is tightly sealed. Put a small, dipped plate on top of each pudding to press down each so that the filling and casing are compact together. Stack them for extra weight, placing something like a tip on the top one. Put in the fridge to set (preferably overnight) along with the spare fruit.


To serve, turn the puddings out of the basins by releasing them with the cling film. Spoon over the spare fruit and tuck in.   

                                                       

Monday, 16 June 2014

MALT LOAF

This recipe is thanks to my auntie whose house is right at the back of ours meaning we’re always swapping things we’ve made over the fence. She gave me a few slices of this loaf cake the other day and it was delicious. When I asked her for the recipe I couldn’t believe how flipping easy it was and also that it included bran flakes, which add to its mellow richness. You’ve got to make this cake, not only for the ease but also for how amazing it makes the house smell when baking. And also how tasty it is. You could even have a slice or two for breakfast, it does after all contain bran flakes and milk.

*This recipe uses all the same measurements from 1 cup. Either use the exact (American) cup measurements or a small teacup*

1 cup of bran flakes soaked in 1 cup of milk for 1 hour
1 cup of self raising flour
1 cup of golden caster sugar
1 cup of sultanas or raisins
Pinch of cinnamon
Small grating of nutmeg (or pinch of ground nutmeg)

Preheat oven to fan160/180c/4. Grease and line a 1” loaf tin.


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl then spoon into the tin. Bake for about 40-50 minutes until golden and springy and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and leaving to cool on a wire rack. Keep the cake in an airtight container, it tastes just as good (if not better) after a few days. 


Monday, 9 June 2014

MANGO AND NECTARINE SMOOTHIE

We’re currently having the kitchen decorated at home so I can’t get to the oven. However, I’d still like to give you a recipe that’s worthy of the blog and one I’ve been enjoying every morning. Frozen fruit is the best thing for smoothies. It’s cheap, lasts long and keeps them ice cold and refreshing. Frozen mango is the one I’m always adding lately and firstly found it worked beautifully with pear. We had some nectarines in the fruit basket though and I decided to plonk one in with the mango and the result was a winner. The soft flesh gives the smoothest texture and the tartness gives the a punchy after taste. Healthy breakfast at its tastiest.

2 bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
1 pear or apple, chopped around the core
A handful of frozen mango
1 nectarine, peeled and squeezed from the stone


Put all the ingredients in a blender with enough cold water to come half way up the fruit. Blitz until thick and smooth and bubbling, then drink down this sweet morning treat. 


Saturday, 31 May 2014

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE CAKE

I’m not usually a fan of these sorts of hybrid recipes because the original thing is usually better but, after trying a crumble cake in a café in Leeds, I think there is a place for this one. The smell of crumble through the house is always the best smell then when you find it’s topping a sweet blueberry filling, which tops a vanilla cake, you know it’s going to be a good day.

For the filling
300g blueberries
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
3 tsp corn flour

For the cake
200g golden caster sugar
200g butter, room temperature
3 eggs
200g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Splash of milk

For the crumble topping
100g plain flour
70g unrefined golden sugar (adds more crunch)
50g cold butter

Preheat oven to fan160/180/4. Grease and line a small square cake tin.
Put the blueberries in a sauce pan with a tiny splash of water and bring to boil. Add the sugar and allow to simmer so they break down and become jammy. Once some of the blueberries are just still holding their shape add the corn flour and remove from the heat. Allow to cool.

For the cake, beat together the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, and then mix in the flour so that you have a thick batter. Stir in the vanilla extract and splash of milk to thin the mixture, but you do want it reasonably thick so that the blueberries can sit firmly on top of it.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread out along the base, but reserve a little bit. Spoon over the blueberries so that they cover the entire top of the cake mixture. Take the remaining cake mixture and blob over the blueberries then gently spread it out so you have a light, marbled covering of it. This is just to stop of the blueberry liquid absorbing the crumble topping.

Set to one side for a minute while you make the crumble topping. Rub together the flour, unrefined sugar and butter until you a thick bread crumb consistency. Scatter over the top of the cake, covering with a thick layer.


Bake for 50 minutes until the cake is firm and the topping golden. Leave to cool in the tin before removing and slicing into 9 squares. 


Saturday, 24 May 2014

HOT ICE

When the sun is blazing, like it recently has been, everyone wants something icy. Icecream, ice-pops, choc-ice.  Anything that brings out your inner 7 year old. I thought I’d do a slushy, granita sort of recipe, but make it more interesting by playing with the sensation you get from eating it. Hot and cold at the same time. The cold is obviously the frozen ice aspect. The hot is the fact that what is frozen is ginger ale infused with cinnamon and chilli. It tastes delicious and packs a punch.

600ml ginger ale
½ cinnamon stick
½ a red chilli
Chilli flakes and sliced crystalised ginger for topping (optional)

Put the ginger ale, cinnamon stick and half a chilli in a pan and slowly bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Allow to gently boil for a few minutes before removing from the heat and pouring through a sieve into a jug. Leave to cool.

Once cooled pour into a container and freeze for an hour before taking a fork to the mixture and giving it a good stir to break up any frozen pieces. Freeze again and repeat this process until completely frozen and the ice has a hard but slushy texture.

To serve top with the crystalised ginger and chilli flakes.


Saturday, 17 May 2014

BANOFFEE PIES

I wasn’t going to post this because I planned to make them following a recipe on the bbc good food website but by the end I changed quite a bit and put my ginger stamp on them, literally. The reason I was making banoffee pies in the first place was so that they could be eaten after a night out, alongside bread (the best post drinking food). They went down a storm, my mate even calling them ‘the best thing to grace [her] tastebuds’ and you should trust her, even if she was slightly intoxicated. They have a ginger biscuit base and caramel cream, just to make things a bit more special than the regular banoffee.

200g ginger biscuits
110g butter, melted
1  397g tin dulce de leche or Carnation caramel
200 ml double cream
2 ripe bananas
A shaving of dark chocolate (optional)

Makes 6

I used medium-holed Yorkshire puddings tins for these, lining the bottoms with parchment and an extra strip which hangs over the edges to help release them. But if you own mini loose bottomed tart tins, you’re very lucky and should use them.

Blitz the ginger biscuits in a food processor then pour in the melted butter and blitz again. Spoon the mixture into the tins and press down with the back of a spoon to form mini shells, so make sure you go up the sides. Press quite firmly because you want the base to be sturdy. Once you’ve done all six put them in the fridge for at least over an hour to set (I did overnight).

Once the bases have set release them from the tin(s). If they’re stuck a little bit, just gently tease the sides with a knife, but if you used my trick of putting a strip of baking paper under, you should be able to pull this and release them easily enough.

Into each base spoon about 2 tbsps of the caramel, spreading out a little. Then chop the bananas, I did them on a slight diagonal and reasonably thin, and arrange them on top of the caramel. You can usually get about 3 or 4 in each tart, depending on the size of the cut.


Whip up the cream until it just becomes stiff and then take a few heaped tablespoons of the caramel and mix in. Spoon onto each tart, swirling around a little to make a fluffy effect. To finish take a tiny amount of the caramel and drop onto of the cream. With a tooth pick ripple it around, just to make a nice little pattern on the top. Grate a tiny bit of chocolate on to the side too and then place (and keep) in the fridge until ready for eating, which in my case was 4.30am. 


Saturday, 10 May 2014

HONEY SHORTBREAD FINGERS

I had plans for making lemon thyme or lavender short bread, imaging there was some growing in the garden. When I got there we had parsley, basil, bay, mint and rosemary, none of which I fancied putting in shortbread. I searched the kitchen for an alternative, resisting ginger and lemon since I use them in every other recipe and decided on honey, which makes these already rich biscuits that little bit richer.
I didn’t intend these shortbread fingers to look this monstrous, they grew huge in the oven, so cut them smaller if you wish.

250g plain flour
85g golden caster sugar
170g butter, room temperature
2 tbsp honey

 Heat the oven to fan140/160c/3. Line 2 baking trays with parchment.
To make the shortbread mix the flour and sugar in a bowl then rub in the butter until the mixture goes clumpy. Add the honey then begin to kneed in the bowl, until the mixture forms a workable dough. Transfer onto a surface then roll out, to the thickness of about 2 £1 coins stacked (I couldn’t think of a better description sorry).


Even off the sides of the dough with a knife then begin to cut into rectangular fingers. Reroll the any off cuts or mistakes and continue until you have used all the mixture and filled the trays with shortbread fingers.

 Bake for about 20-25 minutes towards the bottom of the oven, covering the tops of the trays with a piece of baking paper to stop any fingers catching. Once baked transfer straight onto a wire rack. If they felt a bit spongy at first don't worry, they’ll crisp on the rack. 


Saturday, 3 May 2014

PISTACHIO CAKE

I find it hard to describe the flavour of pistachios; I think they have a warmth about them, so basically they just perk up this very basic sponge with subtle nuttiness. Green is my favourite colour and I’m always attracted to pistachio cake in shops mainly because of that reason. When I baked this cake the outside was golden so I expected not much green inside. I thought I hadn’t cracked it. Adding loads of pistachios for full on green impact would have cost a bomb and I’m really not into food colouring. I was surprised though. The inside does have a subtle green tinge which is nice (fluorescent food is never good). I think overall the word that describes this cake best is subtle, even down to the basic buttercream. Subtlety is a winner.

For the Cake
250g butter, room temperature
250g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
225g self raising flour
100g shelled pistachios, blitzed in a food processor (I roasted pistachios with the shells on and removed them myself)
Couple of splashes of milk

For the Buttercream
175g butter, room temperature
300g icing sugar
A handful of pistachios to decorate

Heat oven the oven to fan170/190c/5. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Alternate adding the eggs and flour until you get smooth batter then add the blitzed pistachios and mix in well so that the mixture is tinged with green. If the batter seems too thick, loosen with some milk until it just falls from the spoon. 

Pour the mixture equally between the two tins then bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and springy to touch. Once baked, leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tins before turning each out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the buttercream, gently whip the butter until smooth whilst gradually adding the icing sugar until it’s all incorporate and silky.


To assemble, take the cooled cakes and cut off any peaked parts (and eat these bits-the perks of baking it) so that the cakes a level for stacking. Spoon half of the buttercream over one the cakes and smooth out. Place the other cake on top before piling the remainder of the buttercream on top and scattering over a handful of pistachios. Enjoy. 


Friday, 25 April 2014

ROSEMARY BAKED FRUIT

Two things made me do this recipe. The first was rhubarb, I want to keep baking with it while it’s at its best. The second was these miniature casserole dishes my mam bought that I thought baked fruit would really work in. This is probably my simplest recipe ever, but still delicious. I’ve things a tiny bit more interesting by flavouring the apple and rhubarb with rosemary and a tiny bit of orange juice.  It makes for a fragrant surprise. You can really use any fruit you like with this, but I kept things simple. Simple wins sometimes. 

1 ½ sticks rhubarb, chopped into small chunks
1 small apple, cut into small cubes                      
1 tsp flour
A squeeze of orange juice
4 tsps unrefined sugar
1 sprig of rosemary

Serves 2

Preheat the oven to fan200/220/7.  Have 2 miniature small casserole dishes ready, or alternatively one small baking dish, or adjust the recipe to make however much baked fruit you want. 

Collect together the chopped rhubarb and apple and place in the dishes. Spoon over ½ a tsp of flour into each then toss a little. This will help thicken any juices that run from the fruit. Squeeze a little bit of juice from an orange over the fruit, to help stop the apple browning then add 2 tsps of sugar to each and toss again. Finally, cut the sprig of rosemary in 2 and place on top of the fruit. Clamp on the lids and bake for about 20 minutes, until bubbling and the fruit gives when touched. Remove the rosemary before tucking in.



Saturday, 19 April 2014

ELDERFLOWER CORNBREAD

It’s not often I look to the states from recipe inspiration, I’m usually pushing the finest Yorkshire has to offer, but I’ll make an exception for cornbread. Having said that, I’ve English-ified it a bit, by flavouring it with fragrant elderflower. The staple of America meets with the flavours of England and the result is delicious. A duel identity cake.

160g plain flour
175g polenta
1 tbsp baking powder
40g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
50g butter, melted
150ml milk
325g tin sweetcorn, drained (260g drained weight)
4 tbsp elderflower cordial
For the Drizzle Icing
3 heaped tbsps icing sugar
1 tbsp elderflower cordial

Grease an 8 inch round, springform cake tin well with butter. Heat the oven to fan180/200c/6.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, polenta, baking powder and sugar and stir well. Make a well in the centre then add the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk. Stir until things just about come together, you want it a bit lumpy still. Add the sweetcorn and mix in slightly again then finish with elderflower cordial and one last stir.

In the meantime make the drizzle icing for the top. Put the icing sugar into a bowl and then slowly spoon in the cordial, mixing until you get a thin, but not watery, drizzle consistency.

Pour into the tin and bake for 30 minutes at the bottom of the oven, or until golden brown and springy to touch. Leave to cool slightly in the tin before removing from the tin and drizzle all over with the icing.


Saturday, 12 April 2014

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE FONDANTS

It’s the time of the year when we all go mad (and way too far) with chocolate. I thought I’d tap into that period of indulgence and make a recipe which is indulgence personified, a rich fondant with a surprise white chocolate burst that ripples through the dark, silky pool. To stop this introduction sounding like an M&S advert, I’d like to say that these were a lot easier than I imagined they would be. Don’t be scared, give them a go!

Cocoa powder for dusting
110g plain chocolate
110g butter
2 eggs and 2 egg yolk
100g golden caster sugar
Pinch salt
2 tbsps plain flour
8 squares of white chocolate

Heat the oven to fan180/200c/6 and place a baking tray inside while it heats. Grease 4 ramekins really well with butter then spoon in some cocoa powder and tap around so that it sticks and covers the entire inside of the ramekins, knocking out any excess. 

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl placed over a small pan of simmering water. Once melted, take of the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the chocolate and butter to the egg mixture, gently folding in. Sift in the flour then give the mixture one last good fold until everything is smooth and silky. Fill each ramekin half way with the mixture, then add 2 squares of white chocolate to the centre of each, then cover just short of the top with the rest of the mixture.

Bake for between 12-14 minutes on the tray or until the top has formed a crust but a wobble remains. Leave to cool for about 1 minute before gently easing round the sides with a thin knife and turning out onto a plate. 


Friday, 4 April 2014

SPICED SODA BUNS

Sometimes I just can’t be bothered with recipes that take ages. I know you’re supposed to have loads of pride when you do something that took time and effort, but the easiest things are equally as rewarding. I made these as an alternative to hot cross buns. Yes, they are completely different and nothing will beat the original but if you want something, quick, spiced, bread-y and homely, these little dudes are the ticket.

250g self raising flour
250g wholemeal plain flour
Pinch salt
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
A good grating of nutmeg
75g raisins
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp golden syrup
The zest of 1 orange and 2 tbsps of the juice
About 250ml-300ml milk

Heat oven to fan180/200c/6. Line 2 small trays with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients and stir well. Make a well in the centre and add the honey and syrup. Zest in the orange then add the juice and finally pour in the milk slowly, strirring throughout until you have a single dough, that is slightly on the sticky side. You might not need all the milk.


Tip out onto the surface and kneed for about a minute, just until the dough seems workable. Shape into 6 balls and slightly flatten each. Lightly flour the end of a wooden spoon and press down to make a cross effect on each bun. Bake for about 20 minutes at the top of the oven, or until golden brown and the buns make a hollow sound when you tap the bottoms. 

Soda bread doesn't usually keep very well, but I always find with all bread that a few minutes in a hot oven really livens it back up. Serve with with butter and/or jam. 



Friday, 28 March 2014

OLD ENGLISH REGENCY SYLLABUB

I’ve mentioned it on here before that I’m doing my MA English dissertation on a (really good) food writer called Michael Bateman, whose archive of work is in my uni’s special collections. I keep coming across gems that I want to update, and this recipe was part of an official letter from the Sharrow Bay Hotel to Bateman, along with a recipe for shortbread. First off I liked the title of the recipe, and then the simplicity. I’ve tweaked it a bit, using grapefruit instead of orange just to give it an extra tang. I’d like to end the intro with a little quote about syllabub I also found in the collection, one from Elizabeth David. She said ‘We find that the syllabub can replace the synthetic ice cream which replaced the trifle which replaced the syllabub in the first place’. It’s time to reclaim the syllabub again.

The zest and juice of 1 grapefruit and 1 lemon
300ml double cream
80g icing sugar
A good slosh of dry sherry

Using a fine grater, zest the grapefruit and lemon into a small bowl then squeeze in the juice. Pour the cream into a large bowl and begin to whisk (I’d recommend an electric one, on slow) and, when just starting to thicken, add the icing sugar. Whilst whisking, slowly pour in the zests and juices and keep the whisk running until you start to get ripples in the cream. Add the sherry, and then do one last good whisk until the cream has stiffened and the ripples sit neatly. Don’t go too far though or the cream may separate.

I served the syllabub piped into 8 mini teacups, but you can choose whatever you like to serve them. They’d go well with shortbread. 


Thursday, 20 March 2014

LEMON CHEESE DODGERS

First thing first, lemon cheese is not a block of cheddar flavoured with lemon or anything like that, it is basically good quality curd. My mam and dad brought me some home when they went to the Wensleydale creamery and I’ve been wanting the delicious pot up. Imagine a jammy dodger but fresher, with lemon. That’s what these biscuits are. I’m really not ashamed that the little bit of sun we had last week has produced 3 citrus recipes in the last month. Bring on summer and more citrus!

150g flour
75g corn flour
¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
50g sugar
2 tbsp butter
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
Lemon cheese or curd for filling (you need about ½ a tsp for each dodger)

Makes 18-20 dodgers.
Heat the oven to fan160/180c/4. Line two trays with baking paper or parchment. Have a small biscuit cutter, and another less than half the size of this one ready for when cutting the biscuits.

Mix together all of the dry ingredients then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles very fine breadcrumbs. Zest in the lemon then add the juice and the egg and stirs around until the mixure forms a dough. If it looks too dry add a few splashes of water, but go steady because you don’t want the mixture to be sticky.

Form the mixture into a ball and roll out, to about the thickness of a £1 coin on a lightly floured surface. Begin to cut out little circles of the mixture and transferring them onto the baking trays, constantly re-rolling the left over mixture to get more biscuits. When you have them all lined up, take a smaller cutter and remove the centre of half of the circles. If you want to roll out the little circles to get a few more biscuits, go ahead. Why waste?


Once all the mixture is used, bake the biscuits for around 10 minutes until hard and lightly coloured. Transfer onto a wire rack and leave to cool. When all the biscuits are cool you can begin to fill. Spoon about ½ tsp of lemon curd onto each whole biscuit and top with the holey biscuits to form a little dodger. Enjoy with a cup of tea. 


Thursday, 13 March 2014

LAGER AND LIME CAKE

I’ve been meaning to upload the actual recipe for this for ages and since I’m currently snowed under with MA work and waiter work I thought I’d unleash it. It suits the current hot weather. I believe this is my best ever recipe and it’s the one I managed to get published in olive magazine. Read about that here and see my grinning face and more about the cake. Without further ado, I give you lager and lime cake.

For the Sponge
100 butter
200g sugar
2 eggs
225g self raising flour
200ml lager of choice
1 lime

For the Lager Butter Cream
50g butter
100g icing sugar
4 tsp lager

For the Lime Icing
150g icing sugar
4tbsp lime juice

Heat oven to 180c/160fan/gas 4. Grease the base and sides of 2 20cm shallow cake tins and line with baking parchment. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl then beat in the eggs. Alternate mixing in the flour and lager until a cake batter forms. Add the zest of the whole lime, but the juice of half.

Pour the mixture equally into the tins and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow each to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning both out onto a wire rack, peeling of the lining paper and leaving to cool completely.


For the butter cream beat the butter until pale and soft then gradually beat in the icing sugar followed by the lager. Spread the butter cream over one of the cakes then top with the other. Mix the icing sugar and lime juice to make the icing, using the remaining half of lime if you can, and spread over the cake, allowing a little to run over the side. 





































Olive's photo was 1000x better than mine, one day I will take pictures of their quality. Go look at it in all its styled glory!