Thursday, 27 February 2014

CLEMENTINE DRIZZLE CAKE

Last week I hosted a blogging chat (which trended!) and we all talked about how much we like a drizzle cake. I then realised I don’t have one on my blog and when my brother came home with a box of fresh, leafy clementines, I though it’s time to change that. The reason, I think, drizzle cake is so popular is because of how fresh it is. Any citrus works, lemon being the most popular, but something like clementine makes an equally refreshing change.

200g butter, room temperature
200g sugar
3 eggs
Pinch salt
200g self raising flour
A few splashes of milk
4 clementines
80g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to fan160/180c/4. Grease and flour a loaf tin.
Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one whilst beating then throw in the salt. Fold in the flour until you get a thick, smooth batter, then loosen with the milk until the mixture falls from the wood. Finally, add the zest of 3 clementines. Keep these though for the syrup.

Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake towards the bottom of the oven for 50 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Whilst the cake is still baking make the syrup from the juice of all for clementines and the zest from the remaining one which didn’t go into the cake. Slowly add the icing sugar to the juice and whisk with a fork to break up any clumps. You should have a sweet, orangey syrup, slightly thickened but not at all gloopy or like icing.


Once the cake is baked, remove from the oven and poke holes all over with a skewer. Pour over the syrup, allowing the cake to drink it before adding more. Leave to cool in the tin before turning about and enjoying this citrusy delight. 


Thursday, 20 February 2014

APRICOT OAT BLOCK

My mam and dad recently went up to Wensleydale for the weekend and brought me some stuff back from the creamery (including some lemon cheese, basically curd, but that’s another story). This recipe is more of a request from my mam who wanted me to make a version of their flapjack which is a dense block of sticky oats crammed with soft dried apricots. I said yes at first, thinking it might be one for the future, but when she brought me a square home to try, I knew I had to do it straight away. I think I might have just cracked it as well.

300g jumbo whole oats
150g butter, room temperature
100g soft light brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp apricot jam
250g soft dried apricots

Preheat the oven to fan160/180c/4. Line a small square tin with baking paper. You don’t want the tin to be big as it’s nice to have a tall block of flapjack, not a thin slice.
Mix together the oats and butter until soft and sticky. Add the sugar and give a quick mix. Spoon in the golden syrup and apricot jam and beat up until you have a really sticky, almost paste-like mix. Spoon half of this into the tin, press into the sides and evening out as much as possible. Arrange the apricots on top of this mixture in the tin, tightly packed together, then spoon over the remainder and even out.


Bake for 30-40 minutes towards to bottom of the oven until golden brown and firmed up. Turn the oven off, but leave the oat block in for about 20 minutes to help dry out a little. The mixture is very moist, and will be hard to cut if not. Once dried, remove from the oven, lift out from the tin and slice in square blocks. 


Thursday, 13 February 2014

GINGER WINE BRÛLÉE

If you didn’t realise by now, I'm a ginger addict. I am ginger, I eat it in any form, I like it savoury and sweet, I like it in my morning smoothie, in my cake, in my biscuits, in my Chinese meal, in my soup, in my blog name, as a soft drink, as an alcoholic drink and now in a crème brûlée. I’d only ever had ginger wine once before, in a rhubarb crumble and it was the best crumble I’ve ever had, so when I got some for Christmas as part of a ginger Rington’s set, I was looking forward to using it. I decided to make it into a classy dessert (since wine is quite a posh sounding thing anyway) and since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I begrudgingly catered for that. Crème brûlées with a ginger twist to enjoy with your partner or alone.

300ml double cream
50ml ginger wine
4 egg yolks
60g sugar
A couple of tbsps Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to fan130/150c/2. Place 4 small ramekins in a deep roasting tin.
Gently heat the cream and ginger wine on a small flame. In the meantime, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Once the cream is just beginning to boil and bubble, remove from the heat and slowly pour into the bowl, whilst continuing whisking, until combined and slightly thickened. Strain this through a sieve into a large jug then pour into each ramekin. Fill the roasting tin with hot water, just over half way up the sides of the ramekins, then cover over with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the custard has set, but is slightly wobbly.

Once set, take out of the tin and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. To finish, heat the grill to full, sprinkle a layer of Demerara sugar over each custard and grill for until you here the sugar bubbling and it’s golden on the top. If you have a blowtorch, you’re lucky and cool and could use that to caramelise the sugar! 


Thursday, 6 February 2014

MERINGUE BITES

I recently (and kindly) got sent some vanilla bean paste and extract from Singing Dog Vanilla, a top quality vanilla company based in the US. We don’t seem to have much choice for vanilla brands in the UK so it was nice to get my hands on something new to try, and not wanting to hang about, put their vanilla straight into this recipe. These crunchy meringue bites are spiked with vanilla extract and a tiny bit of bean paste then dipped in chocolate and rolled in toasted almonds, making them pleasant little bursts of flavour and texture. The recipe method is adapted from the Meringue Girls as I don’t think anything I could come up with would top theirs!

Now for the fun part, I’m hosting my first giveaway! 3 of you lucky readers could win a jar of this excellent vanilla bean paste. Entry details at the bottom, or in the EXTRAS section of the blog!

300g caster sugar
4 medium egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
A tiny bit vanilla bean paste to paint striped on the inside of the piping bag with (optional)
75g flaked almonds
75g chocolate

Preheat the oven to fan180/200c/7. Line a large roasting tin with baking paper and pour in the sugar, evening out to make a thin layer. Pop in the oven for 5 minutes to warm the sugar, just until the edges begin to melt.

In the meantime put the egg whites into a free standing mixture, fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a handheld, electric whisk). Whisk slowly at first, until bubbles begin to form, then up the speed to the top and whisk until the egg whites are shiny and form stiff peaks.

Remove the hot sugar from the oven and turn it down to fan80/100c/½, leaving the door slightly ajar to speed up the cool-down. Add the sugar, tablespoon by spoon, to the stiff meringue whilst still whisking on full speed. Avoid any clumps of sugar or any parts which have caramelised. Once the last spoon has been added, add the vanilla extract then leave the mixture whisking of full speed for 5-7 minutes until you can pinch the stiff meringue and not feel any sugary graininess.

Now it’s time for piping. Attach a plain and reasonably wide nozzle to a large piping bag and lining to baking trays with parchment. If you want the meringues to have a subtle striped effect, brush lines of vanilla bean paste down the inside of the piping bag. Carefully fill the bag with meringue and pipe little blobs onto the trays, quickly pulling up at the end so they have a spiked top. Bake for about 45 in the oven before turning off and leaving them to dry in the heat of the oven as it cools.


When the meringues are properly dried you’ll be able to pick them off the trays with their bottoms remaining intact, meaning it’s then time for the finishing touches. Heat a frying pan and throw in the almonds. Toast for a few minutes until they begin to pick up a darker colour and smell, well, toasty. Remove from the heat and either finely chop or pulse a few times in a food processor. Melt the chocolate for about 60 seconds (stiring half way through) in a microwave. Tip each meringue’s bottom in the melted chocolate then roll in the chopped almonds. Leave to set, and then eat! 




































Now for the Giveaway. To be in a chance with winning a jar of the vanilla bean paste I used in this recipe,go through the stages of the rafflecopter which includes following me on bloglovin and twitter. I’ll contact you via private message via either of this sites to ask for your address to pass on to Singing Dog if you win.



Singing Dog have said they’ll send the the paste straight from them and will be willing to ship it wherever you may be. How cool are they?

Make sure you check them out here and if you want to buy any other of their products, they’ve recommended you buy from here 

Also, make sure you retweet about the giveaway. Singing Dog deserve as much exposure as we can give them, their products truly are great!

I’m proper excited to be doing this and I genuinely hope you win!