Admittedly, this isn’t a very summery dish but the weather in Cornwall last weekend wasn’t very summery either…..
Mum doesn’t have much of an appetite anymore so every time I go home I try to make her something and for this visit she requested cottage pie. I adapted Gordon Ramsey’s Shepherd’s Pie recipe to make a luxurious cottage pie as I don’t like lamb. I have also increased the liquid quantities to leave enough for a gravy once the mince has been strained into the pie dish.
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My carrot cake is quite legendary but I have to be honest…..I have barely strayed from the original recipe. There are some recipes that you find and they are so good you daren’t change them. I have tweaked this carrot cake from BBC Good Food as much as I dare for fear of detracting from its amazingness. I have also added a not too sweet cream cheese icing but you can stick to the original glace icing if you prefer, which also keeps the cake dairy free. I doubled the original recipe to fit a 20x30cm tray bake tin. Halve the following if you want to make an 8″ round cake and bake for 30-45 minutes. This cake keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days and improves after a day or so if it lasts that long! Bring to room temperature before serving.
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I have a confession, I make ugly bread. It tastes good and I have been making spelt bread on and off for a few years now but have struggled to produce a nice looking loaf in a loaf tin. It was never going to win a prize, unless the prize was least attractive loaf so I recently took the plunge and bought a bannetone (proving basket) in an attempt to make more professional looking loaves. I picked mine up on eBay for around £10. Bannetones are made from cane or wicker and allow air to circulate around the dough to form a skin which keeps the structure of a loaf when its turned out before baking.
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A few weeks ago I bought Jo Wheatley’s new book Home Baking and whilst flicking through it, came across this scarily simple but impressive recipe. My workmate Tracy requested cheese and biscuits over cake for her office birthday celebrations last week so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out this recipe and use up some of my homemade caramelised red onion chutney. The original recipe calls for 2 tbsps of chutney but I doubled the amount as it didn’t seem to go far. You could also use a thin layer of chilli jam and Cheddar or Marmite and Gruyère for different flavours.
Continue reading “Onion Chutney & Cheddar Palmiers”
Finally the sun is shining and it was my friend Helen’s birthday last week so that could mean only one thing….cocktail inspired cupcakes!
I visited Cuba two years ago and this idea was born whilst chatting to our tour guide Leoel. He came from a family of bakers and he was telling me about Cuban tradition of a massive tray bake sponge cake soaked in sugar syrup and iced to protect it from drying out the harsh sun as the bakers carried the trays on their shoulders selling squares of cake to passers-by on scraps of cardboard.
I asked him if there was a mojito flavoured cake and he said no. We sat in the sun and dreamt up with a light vanilla sponge soaked in a mojito reduction syrup topped with creamy rum and lime icing. I came back, researched and tested recipes and came up with this. A love child of a few mojito cake recipes which together fit the brief we set in Cuba. I like to think Leoel’s father is now selling a mojito cake similar to this.
You can also use a 20x30cm tray bake tin rather than individual cupcakes which I find feeds a BBQ crowd well. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
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My housemate is going trekking in Peru next week so I felt the need to make something Peruvian to mark the occasion. Anticuchos (beef heart kebabs) weren’t quite doing it for me and I felt marmalade sandwiches were a bit basic then I stumbled upon Alfajores. Delicate shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with dulce de leche and dusted with icing sugar.
Pronounced Al-fa-ho-res, these little biscuits melt in the mouth thanks to the cornflour in the biscuit dough. Traditionally, these biscuits are round in shape and most recipes I researched called for a 2 inch plain or fluted round cutter but you could use any small cutters. I cheated and bought Bonne Maman Confiture de Caramel rather than making my own dulce de leche but it was quite runny and tricky to sandwich the biscuits together so I won’t short cut again!
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A highly under rated pudding. Yes it lacks wow factor but it is extremely comforting on a cold and wet weekend. Luckily I am over run with eggs on this ridiculously cold and wet May weekend.
This recipe was taken from the April 2005 edition of Waitrose Food Illustrated in a piece entitled Flossie’s Country Cooking and has been the only Baked Custard recipe I have used since. Such a simple recipe yet until April 2005 I found them tricky to cook so that the pale creamy custard stayed silky smooth and invariably ended up with tiny pockets of syrup where the mixture had bubbled in the oven. By using a bain marie (hot water bath) to cook the custard, the cooking is more controlled and I think produces the perfect custard. My only deviation from the original recipe was to add a little vanilla extract. It’s not very sweet so some may want to increase the amount of sugar slightly.
Continue reading “Baked Egg Custard”
So here I am about to embark on sharing my kitchen adventures. Triumphs and no doubt a few disasters….Hmmmm I probably won’t photograph them!
Growing up, I used to annoy my mum no end because I couldn’t just follow a recipe, I had to tweek or change it a bit. Sometimes the tweeks worked and other times they didn’t. Even now when I research classic recipes I take elements from two or three to create my own version. They are not wildly different but I hope I can become braver in creating recipes on this journey.
For the last 2 and a half years I have been baking for a friends stall and my savoury cooking has been very neglected so I thought I’d use this opportunity to start wading though the pile of recipes I have earmarked or torn out of magazines, don’t worry there are lots of cakes in the pile too!