Showing posts with label Baking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baking. Show all posts

The Cake and Bake Show - London

I was kindly sent an invite to the Cake and Bake show but as I wasn't able to go, a friend of mine went instead and had a fantastic time!  Here's Jonathan's write up about the day.

Last weekend saw The Cake and Bake show return for the second year to Earls Court and I was luckily enough to go along on the Friday.  To be honest I am not a great baker, not enough patience and too much estimating. But this show was amazing.

Below: Ceri Olofson’s wedding cake with edible flowers.


Firstly, and most obvious, there’s loads of cakes.  For me the showstopper was the Wedding Cake of The Future exhibit.  Some amazing creations of tier upon tier of beautiful cakes. One by Ceri Olofson with rice paper flowers that looked so real but apparently just melt in your mouth – not that I got to try one.  These cakes just optimized the saying “too good to eat”.

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Sponge Cake with Summer Berries

Well let me tell you, me and this 'I Heart Cake Mould' are best friends!
A truly marvelous silicone cake mould that enables you to easily create six heart shaped slices of cake.

Now, the mould isn’t actually heart shaped, but instead it's made up of six heart shapes.  Simply bake your favourite cake and all you have to do is divide the cake up equally and you'll have half a dozen cute heart shaped slices!


The silicone I Heart Cake Mould is perfect for baking a cake at anytime but would be fantastic for your loved ones birthday and especially Valentines day.
You might already know that I'm not really a cake making kind of person, I simply am not very good with baking of any sort and so not too much baking happens in this house.  As you can imagine, Paul (the husband) was really pleased to know I'd been sent this fantastic silicone mould as he knew it meant I would have to make a cake!
 Of course, you don’t have to stick to sponges, how about making some heart shaped jellies?
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Favourite British Pie - Lemon Meringue

These days it's so easy to go out and buy a ready-made dessert from a supermarket or shop but easier still not to bother having one at all. Even though there's something quite satisfying about making a nice dessert for everyone to ooh and aah over, I wonder why most of us still don't bother.

Is it because most people think like me and that it would be too complicated?  Well it isn't, I'd never made a lemon meringue pie before in my life.  Fear not and trust me, it's a doddle - if I can do it anyone can!
  

I was set a challenge by Most Wanted, the lifestyle magazine for their 'Making Summer Taste Better' series asking if I could make a dessert that was fairly easy, not over complicated and perfect for alfresco dining but costing no more than £7.00

So in an attempt to inspire everyone to have a go and make your own desserts instead of buying ready-made, here I go with lemon meringue pie.

By the way this pie serves 8 to 10 people and actually cost less than the challenge set and cost just £5.99 to make which is fantastic.  You can find the ingredient price list at the end of this post. 

Time for a small confession; I've been writing this blog for over five years and have never made meringue before until now and it has to be said I'm quite proud of my meringue!

My top tip for success when baking or cooking in general:
Get everything ready before you begin.  Have a quick read of your chosen recipe prepare your ingredients.  For example in this recipe, zest your lemons, separate your egg yolks from the whites, get the pastry out of the fridge.

Yes I know I used ready-made pastry, but one step at a time here please, I've only just got to mastering meringue never mind making pastry.

Also, have you got the right equipment at the ready, saucepans baking tin?  Have a quick check and your good to go!

Print Recipe


 For the filling you will need:

grated zest and juice of 4 large lemons
90g cornflour
600ml cold water
4 large egg yolks
175g caster sugar


For the meringue you will need:

5 large egg whites
250g  caster sugar
 
For the pastry base you will need:
1 x 500g ready-made shortcrust pastry 


How to do it:

While your getting everything ready, remove the pastry from the fridge as it's better if it's at room temperature.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough and line your loose-bottomed flan tin (mine was 24cm).  Prick the pastry base all over with a fork and line with a piece of greaseproof paper, allowing it to come above the rim so it can be easily lifted out after baking.  Fill the shell with ceramic baking beans, or uncooked rice, and bake in a preheated oven at 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and foil and bake the pastry shell for 5 minutes or until the base has dried out, then remove from the oven.
If the pastry has risen during baking, gently press it down with your hand.


Reduce the temperature to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2 and get on with the filling:

Mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour. Bring the water to a boil, then stir into the lemon mixture. Return to the pan and bring back to a boil, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
Leave to cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks mixed with the sugar. Return to a low heat and cook, stirring, until just simmering. Leave to cool a bit before pouring into the pastry shell.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff then whisk in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time on maximum speed.
 

Pile on top of the filling and spread over - don't fuss too much, I didn't and mine turned out okay.



Bake for 45 minutes or until crisp and brown on top.  Leave to cool a bit before attempting to remove from the tin.  Recipe adapted from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook


Ingredients purchased from a well known top UK supermarket cost:

Pastry £1.25
Kitty Campbell's Free range very large eggs £2.00
Cornflour 75p
4 lemons £1.00 on offer 4 for the price of 3
Caster sugar 99p - and of course you wont need to use the whole box

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Quick Soda Bread - Nigel's Lazy Loaf

Nigel Slater's idea of baking the loaf in a preheated cast iron casserole dish is a good one, but I'm thinking the loaf might have a bit more colour round the edge if it was just baking on a baking tray. 


Overall I was really pleased with how this loaf turned out - not being a one for baking and all that.  Using the cast iron casserole did make the loaf cook quick - 25 minutes and it's done!
One thing's for sure, once the loaf was cut and smothered in butter, it tasted good.  Whatever, I would still make it this way again.
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Cheesy Leek and Bacon Muffins - Easy Recipe

These Cheesy Leek and Bacon Muffins are really easy to make and are quite delicious as a quick lunchtime snack.


Great to pop in your lunchbox too.
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Good Energy Cooking - Vegetable Filo Pastry Tart

How to cut the carbon calories in your kitchen - Good Energy has teamed up with Arthur Potts Dawson for a second year to encourage a low-carbon approach to cooking.  I was set a challenge to cook one of Arthur's four new recipes.  With the mention of Feta in the ingredients, for me it was easy to choose, Vegetable Filo Pastry Tart it had to be.

Vegetable tart

Scrummy yummy feta cheese with very slightly crunchy vegetables in a creamy sauce, all encased in crispy filo pastry - what's not to like?!
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Polenta Crusted Flatbread - Easy to Make Recipe

Okay my flatbread wasn't exactly what you'd call flat!  But it was rather moreish and so easy to make.  Polenta is ground cornmeal and available in any good supermarket usually somewhere near to the pasta shelf. 


It also was the nearest taste I've ever got trying to make the 'Hearty Italian' bread they serve in SubWay the high street sandwich shop.
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Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia - Easy to Make

I came across this fantastic recipe by Lorraine Pascale in her book Baking Made Easy and it has to be said - this was easy!  Foccacia is an Italian flat bread and you can vary the topping to suit your taste - for example  Caramelised Red Onion or Cheese would be good!


As you're probably already aware, I don't do baking!  But this certainly turned out rather nice indeed.  Of course a good baking tray is vital and the Eazistore I reviewed a while back is still looking like new.
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Leek Bacon Parmesan and Cheddar Quiche Recipe

If you're looking for something healthy to eat which is low in calories then my ultimate quiche made with double cream is most certainly not the way to go!  However, if you're wanting something delicious and very moreish then the double cream does it. 


If you follow this blog you will know that we now have three hens - hence we have a lot of eggs! Quiche is a good way to use up eggs.
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Camembert Baked in the Box with Bacon Dust

Melty, sticky, gooey cheese that oozes from its box and topped with bacon dust.  Ready in no time and all that's needed is fresh crusty bread and you're all set to dive in. 
With some bacon in the fridge in need of being used up what to do but make bacon dust!

Camembert Baked in the Box with Bacon Dust

Having had a bit of a Google I think I just might have invented this as there seems to be no other baked Camembert with bacon dust recipes to be found. 
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The Best Apple Strudel Recipe

Almost everyone in the UK will have seen the Marks and Spencer advert for their apple strudel on television and I think nearly everyone has tried one!


Although I'm not one for desserts I had a go at making it myself.  Now I'm so not into pastry or baking but the result (although it didn't quite look like the M&S one) was good.
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Carrot and Walnut Eccles Cakes and a Nice Cup of PG Tips Tea!

Three lovely fresh tasting teas have recently been added to PG Tips range.  They've teamed up with top chef Tristan Welch who has come up with some lovely recipes to compliment their new range of teas.

Carrot and Walnut Eccles Cakes
  
The leaves are pressed at different stages during fermentation in order to capture and preserve the genuine and refined taste of fresh tea in each new 
blend:

PG Tips Tea
  •  The Fresh One: Pressed within hours of picking to give a uniquely clean, smooth, golden and fresh-tasting tea.  A refreshing pick-me up
  • The Delicate One: A delicate tasting blend that combines lightly pressed leaves and decaffeinated tea. A gentle, mellow cup for those moments of relaxation
  • The Strong One: A full flavour blend with extra-pressed leaves and a rich, rounded character. For those times when you need a kick start.
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Snickerdoodles from the Cookie Book Cookiepedia!

Cookiepedia!  This book is a serious must have if your into baking and love cookies - it has more cookie recipes in it than you can shake a stick at!
Chocolaty cookies, buttery cookies, fruity cookies, sweet cookies, fancy cookies, spicy cookies, nutty and seeded cookies, savory cookies including 'Salt and Pepper' cookies which I quite like the sound of. 


In the end I made 'Snickerdoodles' Why? Because I like the mad name they've been given!  Cookies rolled in cinnamon-sugar before baking....
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Coconut Oat and Yoghurt Cookies

The nice people at 'TOTAL' very kindly sent me some Greek Yoghurt to try out.
The great thing about TOTAL is it can be used in cooking and the 2% and 10% versions won't split when heated.

Total Greek Yogurt

I'm already a big fan of TOTAL yoghurt and always use it in cooking as it I really do think it is the best! Proper natural Greek yoghurt produced in Greece.
On with the Coconut Oat and TOTAL Greek Yoghurt Cookies!.......

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Chicken Leek and Ham Pie in a Cheese and White Wine Sauce

Another dinner from a dinner; how about making a pie from your left over Sunday roast chicken!  It's really easy to do. Nice tender bits of chicken and ham with leeks in a cheese and white wine sauce, topped with crispy puff pastry; what's not to like?

Chicken Leek and Ham Pie

I love making another dinner from leftovers - I say it's the way to go 😋

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Chocolate Chip Muffins - Now Perfected

Last week I had a fit in my head and wanted to make muffins. I'd never made them before and every one of my chocolate chips sank to the bottom of each muffin; not good. So, the next day I gave them another go, perfect.

The first recipe I tried was one from the BBC website. But now I was armed with Nigella Lawson's recipe, success!


Her addition of vegetable oil I thought was strange but what do I know and it worked so I would use this recipe again.

Here is Nigella's recipe, which I followed exactly but I could only get 9 muffins and not 12 but I would think that's just me pouring too much in each muffin case.



For 12 you will need:
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Half-teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 tablespoons best quality cocoa
175g caster sugar
150g chocolate chips - plus more for sprinkling later
250ml milk
90ml vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6

How to do it:

Fill a 12-bun muffin tray with paper cases.

Weigh out the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug.
Mix both together, you will have a runny batter. Now spoon into the muffin cases.

Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top then cook for 20 minutes or until the muffins are risen and springy.
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A GLUG OF OIL