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.