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Tag Archives: baking

English scones, by Delia Smith

Even though I have been living in France for 7 years I still crave english food ! I can’t stand going through the day without a cup of tea and when I visit my home country I HAVE to have double cream with every dessert as well as visiting my favourite restaurants, especially chinese restaurants, which aren’t english but my favourite chinese dish (crispy duck pancakes) IS NOT SERVED in France ! I think that if you own a chinese restaurant it should be law to serve crispy duck ! Anyway enough about crispy duck, this post is about scones, which are an english treat sorely missed in our household. We have managed to get our hands on some clotted cream and I decided to make some scones to go with it.

These are SO easy to make and I will definitely make some more ! Unfortunately I wasted half a scone by trying out a topping variation called “thunder and lightning” which is clotted cream and treacle, honey or golden syrup…

I used Black treacle which… I did not like at all, however, the golden syrup one was gorgeous ! Despite my untidy presentation !

Here’s how to make this gorgeous, english tea-time snack.

Ingredients

225g of self-raising flour

40g of butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons of caster sugar

a pinch of salt

150 ml milk

a bit of extra flour

Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 220 C/gas mark 7/425 F and grease a baking sheet.

2. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub the butter into it rapidly, using your fingertips.

3. Stir in the sugar and salt, then take a knife and use it to mix in the milk, little by little.

4. Flour your hands and knead the mixture to a soft dough, if it feels dry add some more milk. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll it out until it is about 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick. Take a 1 1/2 or 2 inch (4 or 5 cm) pastry cutter (I used a glass because we don’t have any !), place it on the dough and then tap it sharply so that it goes straight into the dough, don’t twist it unless you want funny shaped scones.

5. When you’ve cut as many scone shapes as possible out of the dough place the scones on a greased baking sheet, dust each one with some extra flour and bake near the top of the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

6. Cool on a wire rack and eat them as fresh as possible!

Meggy x

Banana, cherry and white-chocolate cupcakes/muffins, by Nigella Lawson

First of all, sorry I haven’t put a post on for a while, I’ve been very busy what with some exams coming up. I eventually found the time to make these lovely cupcakes, there was a discussion as to whether they are cupcakes or muffins. I think they are a cross, cuffins if you like ! These were so easy to make, and yet so delicious. They taste so much of banana and then occasionally you get a lovely burst of white chocolate or cherry in your mouth! I think that cranberries would be good instead of the cherries too.

Ingredients

125g unsalted butter

200g cater sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 ripe bananas

60ml (4 tbls) sour cram

2 large eggs

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

300g plain flour

40g dried cherries, chopped

50g white chocolate, chopped, or buttons

12-bun muffin tin with paper cases (although, I managed to get a good 18 out of the mixture)

Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/gas mark 4.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then, off the heat, add the sugar, vanilla and soft bananas, mashing them with a fork in the pan (or before they go in the pan). Stir in the sour cram and the eggs and, still using your fork or wooden spoon, beat to mix. Add the bicarb and the baking powder, and stir it in as well, finally stir in the flour, cherries and chocolate.

3. When the mixture’s just blended, divide between the 12 muffin cases and cook for 20 minutes or until golden and springy on top. Remove the cupcakes in their papers to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Meggy x

Twisty chocolate bread, by Jamie Oliver

I have never made bread before, despite watching The fabulous Baker Brothers and Lorraine Pascale, and the other day I just thought why not ? I found a recipe in Jamie Oliver’s The return of the naked chef and it was brilliant! I mixed the yeast with the water and was fascinated when I came back to it a few minutes later and it was all frothy and then when I mixed the yeast with the flour it was like fluffing a cushion up! I was so excited when I left the bread to prove and it grew to twice the size! I felt bad rolling it out to make my bread, especially as my dad kept saying “it’s alive you know! that’s why it’s bigger!” that just made me feel guilty.  I also spent about 40 minutes cracking hazelnuts to put in the bread because we didn’t have any ready ones. Remember to buy them already shelled everyone, it’s a huge time saver.

This bread was so gorgeous, we made it at night and then cooked it in the morning and had it for breakfast like croissant, yummy yummy! If you think making bread is a pain in the neck give this a try, I found it so fun and I will definitely be making more bread in the future!

Ingredients

30 g fresh yeast/3 x 7g sachets of dried yeast

30 g honey (or sugar)

625 ml/just over 1 pint of tepid water

1 kg/just over 2lb strong bread flour

30 g/1 oz salt

extra flour for dusting

200 g soft butter

200 g hazelnuts, lightly roasted and crushed or broken up

310 g/11 oz chocolate (70 % cocoa) smashed up or grated

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6

1. Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in half the tepid water.

2. On a clean surface or in a large bowl, make a pile of the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the dissolved yeast mixture. With 4 fingers of one hand, make circular movements from the centre moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour until the yeast mixture is soaked up. Pour the other half of the tepid water into the centre and incorporate all of the flour to make a moist dough.

3. Knead the dough (which was so fun) for 5 minutes.

4. Flour your hands and the top of the dough, make it into a round shape and place on a baking tray. Deeply score the dough with a knife and leave to prove until it’s doubled in size. You should leave it in a warm, moist, drought-free place for it to prove quicker. This should take about 40 minutes.

5. Divide the dough into equal parts. Prove for a second tile and then take each piece of dough and push out into a square shape on the floured board. The roll out to about 17 cm/7 inches wide. At this point, roll the other way and keep rolling to achieve a rectangle about 0.5 cm/1/4 inches thick. Using a knife, spread the butter thinly across the dough. Sprinkle tha hazelnuts and the chocolate over and roll up across the width like a swiss roll. Cut across into 2 cm/1 inch wide slices. Place the slices next to each other on a greased baking tray, cut side upwards, with small gaps in between. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before mmmmmmming at it’s tastiness.

I reheated one of these for breakfast the next day and it was still gorgeous.

Meggy x

Blondies, by Nigella Lawson

You may have been expecting a Valentine’s day recipe but, due to my boyfriend not being on school holidays yet, I am celebrating it next week instead and I will be cooking a 3 course meal and lots and lots of cakey snacky things to eat in front of a nice romantic film. Be sure not to miss that future post, either everything will go wrong or only a few things will.

These little treats are simply divine. Think of a brownie, then imagine it not brown and with oats et voila! Les Blondies! Nigella Lawson says that she came up with the name after baking some brownies then, a few days later, some of these. When I first made these we were amazed at how tasty they are, they’re everyone’s favourite cakey snack, even better than brownies! I have been meaning to show them to you, dear readers, for a while but I kept getting sidetracked. Once, I even got all the ingredients out and started weighing them, before realising that I was 150 grams short of oats. So FINALLY I have managed to make a batch, I highly recommend these to everyone, they are just so gorgeous.

Ingredients

200 g of oats, not instant

100 g of plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

150 g of soft, unsalted butter

100 g of light muscovado sugar

1 x 397 g of condensed milk (my boyfriend has a strange fetish for this ingredient and insists on licking the can out when I’ve finished with it, which I find quite disgusting as condensed milk is good but mixed with other things, not by itself)

1 egg

1 x 170 g packet dark choccy chips

Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line a 23 cm cake tin or a foil tray, approximately 30 x 20 x 5 cm with foil.

2. Combine the oats, flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.

3. In another bowl, beat or mix the soft butter with sugar until pale and airily creamy, then beat in the condensed milk followed by the oats, flour and bicarb mixture.

4. When these are well mixed, beat in the egg, then fold in the choccy chips.

5. Pour, or spoon, the mixture into your tin or tray and smooth it down. Cook in the pre heated oven for about 35 mins. When it’s ready it will be dark gold around the edges and coming away from the tin. It might seem squidgy underneath but fear not, this is normal. Leave in the tin until it’s firm then put it on a wire rack to cool. When it’s cool cut it up into squares, then devour it.

By the way, this lovely cake stands can be found on the Etsy shop Tour de Force, click on the link or on the button in my sidebar.

Meggy x

Sandra’s Gateau au Poire

My mum goes to her friends house once a week where they sew, drink tea and eat cake. Last week she came back raving about a cake that her friend had made and wanted me to make it. It’s a chocolate cake with pears, it’s a very very easy to make and it was very nice, it’s quite dry on the outside but nice and gooey on the inside. The recipe is a bit odd, the mesurements are in tablespoons,  it’s made with an entire packet of baking powder (about 11 grams) and only a tablespoon and a half of flour, I was very skeptical but followed the recipe and it worked!

This cake is perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.

Ingredients

3 eggs

6 tablespoons of caster sugar

1 and a half tablespoons of plain flour (I know it seems odd but trust me)

1 packet (11 g) of baking powder

150 g of dark chocolate

100 g of butter

a can of tinned pears, drain the juice first

A 20 cm cake tin

Preperation

1. Heat the oven to 190 C/400 F/Gas mark 6 then grease your cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan and while it’s melting beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl.

3. Add the baking powder and flour, still mixing, then add the melted butter and chocolate. Make sure everything is mixed together properly and then pour into the cake tin.

4. Put the pears ontop of the mixture, if they sink don’t worry, then put the cake tin in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Check after 40, just to be on the safe side.

5. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then take it out of the cake tin, sliding a palette knife round the edges if it’s stuck, leave to cool for a little longer, then serve with a good cuppa tea.

Meggy x

The fabulous (and ever so slightly gorgeous) baker brothers

I have just discovered Channel 4’s The fabulous baker brothers and oh yummy! The food didn’t look bad either! I didn’t know if I was watching it for the food or for the eye candy in the end. Henry Herbert (cute name) and Tom Herbert (my favourite) each showed us some recipe’s that all sounded gorgeous, especially the steak pie and the pitta bread which I plan on making soon. Everything is made in a traditional bread oven in their bakery and comes out looking lovely. They also have little competitions to see who can make the best food. The recipe’s all seem to take hours and hours to cook, one of them passed the time by chopping up some wood for their bread oven in a tight, white t-shirt, ok I’ll stop commenting on their good looks now! I can’t wait for the next episode which is, for all you English food fans that get channel 4, Wednesday at 8.30 pm (English time).

Coconut and cherry banana bread

This cake may not be the prettiest cake in the world but it sure tastes nice! As the chef, Nigella Lawson, herself says in the recipe book Kitchen “to look at, I grant you, this is not a joyous creation, but it’s damp and luscious taste is all the more heightened for being unforseen” I just love the way she talks, everything sounds so amazing! It is a very simple cake that has a brilliant taste and it also leaves hardly any washing up as everything is mixed in the same pan!

Ingredients

125g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing

4 small-medium bananas (approx. 500g with the skin on)

150g of caster sugar

2 eggs

175g plain flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

100g of dried cherries

100g of desicated coconut

1 x 900g (2lb) loaf tin

Preperation

1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/gas mark 3. Put a loaf liner in your tin, or just line the bottom with baking parchment and grease the sides.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, take off the heat and leave to cool. Peel and mash the bananas in another bowl.

3. Beat the sugar into the cooled, melted butter, then beat in the bananas and the eggs. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and bicarb. Finally, add the dried cherries and coconut.

4. Fold well so that everthing is incorporated, then pour and scrape into the lined loaf tin and smooth the top.

5. Bake for 5o mins, but check after 45. When it’s ready, the cake will be coming away from the sides of the tin and will be bouncy on top. Leave it in the tin for 10 mins before transfering to a wire rack to cool.

Yummy yummy!

Meggy x

Spiced apple and raisin pie, by Delia Smith

After a huge amount of apples bought by my mum for an excessive amount of money (which doesn’t seem right to me…) my cooking thoughts have been revolving around apples and what I could do with them before they go out of date, even though my mum was told that they are magic apples that don’t go out of date for 6 months, I do not want any of them to go to waste, just in case. Half of them also taste like pears and the other half of lemons which is odd, but I won’t deny that they taste good. The first day I had a nice healthy salad with raisins and the normal apples that we need to use up before we start the “special” apples. Then I decided on an apple pie for saturday night, yum yum!

Delia Smith has been my parents cooking goddess since before I was born probably, we have loads of books by her and one has been used so much the cover has come of, been replaced, come off again, been replaced, etc. For me, she is like the fairy godmother of cooking. This was a very nice pie with spices, apples and raisins, my boyfriend was disappointed because he doesn’t like any of these things so he just had a bowl of custard but for those of us who have developed our taste buds beyond sweets and biscuits it was lovely!

Ingredients

For the pastry

110g of whole wheat flour

110g of self-raising flour

50g of margarine/butter

50g of lard

a pinch of salt

cold water, to mix

For the filling

700g of Bramley apples (or expensive ones that taste like pears in my case)

25g of soft brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

75g of raisins

1/4 whole nutmeg, grated

To glaze

milk and caster sugar

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/400 F/200 C. Grease a 9 1/2 inch (24cm) pie-plate.

2. Quarter and peel the apples then slice them thinly into a saucepan and mix them with the sugar, spices and raisins. Sprinkle in the water and cook for 10 mins or until the apples are soft and fluffy. Next, empty the mixture into a bowl to cool.

3. Make the pastry by mixing the flours together and rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingers. Add some water and the pinch of salt and you should have a nice ball of pastry. If it’s a sticky lump (which is what I had at first) just add a bit more flour. Cut the pastry ball in half and roll one half out to a round then transfer it to line the pie-plate. Spoon in the filling, then roll out the other half of the pastry and cover the rest of the pie like a lid. Trim it and decorate with the spare pastry, brush with milk and sugar glaze, then place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 30 mins.

Yummy yummy apple pie…

Meggy x

My cooking Christmas

What a lovely Christmas I’ve had! My grandparents are here and my mum and dad’s Christmas dinner was absolutely wonderful, as always! I didn’t want to try my hand at the Christmas dinner for fear of messing it up, maybe next year!

Guess what I got for Christmas then… 3 recipe books!!! Yes I’m going to be very busy this year! I got Kitchen by Nigella Lawson, How to be a domestic goddess by Nigella Lawson (finally I have some of my heroine’s cook books!) and Home cooking made easy by Lorraine Pascale.

You may be surprised that the first recipe I did was a Lorraine Pascale one and not Nigella, well, after promising my grandma that I’d make her something she spotted “Caramelised banana bread and butter pudding with toasted pecan nuts” in Lorraine’s recipe book and said how much she loved it so I said I’d make it for her! My dad is very sceptical about Lorraine Pascale because he says that somebody that young can’t cook well enough to have their own TV show, but as I pointed out he’s already had her Five spice baked ribs and I didn’t hear him complain about that! He’s also doesn’t like her because she was a model and then suddenly changed career paths and became a chef, he’s just upset his life isn’t that glamorous, but that’s just dad being dad. This was my chance to prove to him that Lorraine is a good cook so I concentrated very hard on the recipe to get it right…

I definitely proved him wrong! The bread and butter pudding was so gorgeous! Everybody loved it! So I am going to share it with you!

Caramelised banana bread and butter pudding with toasted pecans

Ingredients

75 g butter, at room temperature

1 medium loaf of crusty white bread, cut into 8-10 slices about 2cm thick

400ml double cream (I managed to substitute this with “creme epais” which is still a feeble replacement for double cream but better than nothing)

300 ml creme fraiche

75g soft light brown sugar, plus 25g extra for sprinkling

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod/vanilla extract

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

4 eggs

2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1cm slices

100g pecan nuts (I used brazil nuts which were yummy yummy!)

4-litre capacity baking dish, about 25 x 30cm

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Grease the ovenproof dish with some of the butter.

2. Using the remaining butter, butter the bread slices on one side and, them in half diagonally and arrange them any way you like in the prepared baking dish.

3. Put the cream, creme fraiche, the 75g sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon and eggs in a large jug and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and well mixed.

4. Now put the banana slices and pecans between the slices of bread, with a few landing on top. Pour the liquid over the bread and allow it to soak through for a few seconds, then use the back of a spoon to squidge everything down into the liquid. Finally scatter the remaining sugar over the top. Bake the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the mixture has just set and looks nicely caramelised.

5. Serve at once. This is delicious with a little more fresh cream poured over it.

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meggy x

Black Beer Gingerbread

Last night we saw my heroine, Nigella Lawson, on the TV and she was doing a Christmas episode! She was throwing a cocktail for her glamorous friends in her beautiful house that was covered in fairy lights, and was making lots of snacky things to serve. She also made candles out of apples and cucumber which was (as she admitted) quite crazy but I liked it. One of the snacks she made was Black beer gingerbread, it looked very nice and my mum and I were drooling in front of the screen, you could almost smell the spices… So I made decided to make it!

Of course nothing goes smoothly in my kitchen. The first thing that I had trouble with were the measurements, which is in cups, but I soon got used to it.  Then I NEARLY forgot the golden syrup, so mum, who had been waiting for my mistake, swooped in and tried to take over. But everything was soon under control and the mixture was put in the oven.

Here is a picture of my gingerbread (that I tried to make look just like Nigella’s with the reindeer, snow and trees)! It is very nice! Even my boyfriend who doesn’t like spices likes it!

 

Ingredients

10 tablespoons of butter, plus some for greasing

1 cup of golden syrup

1 cup of dark brown sugar (packed) + 2 tablespoons

1 cup of stout

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoons of ground cloves

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 ¼ cups of sour cream

2 eggs

1 rectangular aluminium foil pan, approximately 13 by 9 inches

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/ 325 Fahrenheit and grease your foil pan
  2. Put the butter, syrup, dark brown sugar, stout, ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves into a pan and melt gently over a low heat
  3. Take off the heat and whisk in the flour and baking powder. You will need to get rid of any lumps
  4. Whisk the sour cream and eggs together then beat into the gingerbread mixture, whisking again for a smooth batter.
  5. Pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake for about 45 minutes, when it’s ready it will be gleamingly risen at the centre, and coming away from the pan at the sides.
  6. Let the gingerbread cool before cutting it into slices or squares.

Meggy x