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Tag Archives: sugar

The ugliest macaroons ever

Some of you may be familiar with my previous attempt at making macaroons, if you fancy a laugh then here is the post Macaroon mess. The other day I decided to try again, the result was, if possible, even worse than my previous attempt. Baring in mind that I had put A LOT of pink food coloring in…Here is a picture of the first batch…

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Needless to say that these went straight into the bin. Luckily I had enough mixture for another go so into they oven they went and this time I sat and watched them through the oven door, they swelled up beautifully but started going brown on top so I took them out and as soon as I did they collapsed. The oven temperature must have been too high. My flatmate found me in the kitchen scraping the ruined remains off of the baking sheet in an attempt to salvage something. In the end I managed to get them in a bowl and dolloped some double cream on top. Better than nothing.

One day I will succeed! One day…

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Toffee caramel popcorn, by Lorraine Pascale

Me and my boyfriend (well me) decided to do a Disney night where we would watch our favourite Disney films. Unfortunately we couldn’t find all of them, the attic is a dark and scary place, so we made do with the ones that were within our reach: Snow White, Lady and the Tramp (one of my favourites), Fantasia (my boyfriend’s favourite, I was alright for the first 30 mins until I looked at the back of the DVD and saw how long the entire thing was) and Beauty and the Beast. What goes better with films than popcorn? I stumbled upon this recipe when I was flicking through Lorraine Pascale’s “Home cooking made easy” recipe book and thought it sounded fun and simple, which it is.

This is toffee caramel flavoured popcorn! YUMMY! Unfortunately we couldn’t fit it all in but you can store it for 2 days so we made it last.

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil

100 g popcorn kernels

100 g soft light brown sugar

100 g butter

150 g maple/golden syrup

Recipe

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium high heat then add the popcorn kernels and give the pan a shake to coat in the oil.

2. Put the lid on and every 20 seconds or so shake the pan, when you hear the first pop shake more often. Turn the heat down when the strangely fun popping begins and enjoy yourself by watching the mini firework display (if you have a see-through lid of course). Keep shaking it every so often until only a few pops can be heard, take it off the heat and leave to stand for a minute or so, then take off the lid and leave the popcorn to cool.

3. While the popcorn is cooling, heat the butter, maple/golden syrup and sugar in a small pan over a low heat. Simmer for 2 –  3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Take the pan off the heat when the mixture is syrupy and smooth.

4. Pour half of the sauce over the popcorn, mix it around with a couple of wooden spoons until the popcorn is covered and then pour the remaining half in, again mixing it all around until the popcorn is covered.

5. Let the popcorn cool right down before you eat it, otherwise things will get seriously sticky.

6. If, like me, you didn’t manage to finish it all you can put it in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Meggy x

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

Chocolate digestive cheesecake with white icing

Another recipe that my Nan picked out over Christmas! This cake is very easy to make however, I have a few suggestions to make to Miss Lorraine. The biscuit base is very crumbly and she only puts it in a room to chill for 2 hours, which didn’t work. It was still quite runny and tasted too cheesy, but when I left the half that hadn’t been eaten in the fridge overnight the next day it was gorgeous! As you can see though the white chocolate design didn’t go as planned but I think it gives it a nice homemade look!

Ingredients

400g of chocolate digestives (I don’t think that 50g less would hurt though) crushed into fine crumbs

75g of butter, melted and cooled slightly

4 x 200g tubs cream cheese

icing sugar, to taste (I used about 25g)

400g milk chocolate (at least 35% cocoa solids), or a mixture of 300g milk and 100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

1 tsp of vegetable oil

100g white chocolate

23cm springform tin

piping bag with a very small nozzle

Preperation

1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted and cooled butter squeezing them together with the back of a wooden spoon until everything is well incorporated. Put the biscuits in the springform tin and use something flat to make it nice and flat. (At this point Lorraine just leaves the biscuits but I think I would put them in the fridge while the filling is being made.)

2. Put the cream cheese and icing sugar together in a bowl and mix together gently. This should only take a few turns of the spoon.

3. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl doesn’t toch the water. You can also simply melt the chocolate in the microwave. Pour about a quarter of the chocolate into a jug, add the oil and put to the side. Before this is used again put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm it up a bit again, if you don’t have a microwave put a tea towl over it to keep warm.

4.  Add a large dollop of the cream cheese mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Keep adding the cream cheese mixture, one dollop at a time, mix it like mad until the mixture until the chocolate mixture begins to look smooth and silky. At this point, tip all of the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix together until everything is completely incorporated.

5. Tip the mixture on top of the biscuit base and smooth the top.  Put the cheesecake in the fridge for 20 minutes or until the chocolate at the top is beginning to firm up a little.

6. Five minutes before the cheesecake is ready, melt the white chocolate and make sure the jug of milk chocolate is nice and runny. Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and quickly pour the milk chocolate ontop of it until it is completely covered. Now drizzle white chocolate lines across the top about 2cm apart so you have a grid. Using a cocktail stick drag it across the white lines (this is how Lorraine does it but you can do whatever you want). Leave the cheesecake in the fridge for 2 hours.

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

Killer shortbread cake

This weekend I decided to make some chocolate shortbread biscuits with my boyfriend, I thought they’d be nice and pretty for the blog and we were going to make the biscuits in heart shapes ♥ I chose my recipe on bbc Good food (www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1272633/double-chocolate-shortbreads) and thought it sounded simple enough, there were only 2 steps. I made the dough, easy, wrapped it in cling-film and chilled it in the fridge for an hour, no problemo, but then… DISASTER!!!! When I got it out of the fridge it was so hard that I could have killed somebody with it! I left it for 15 minutes hoping it would become soft but it didn’t so I had to ask my mum for help… Yes, my mum fixes all my cooking disasters, or tries to. She got out the Magimix, which I think she’s had since before I was born, and put all the frozen dough inside, then she whirred it around a bit, added some water and we ended up with a very gooey mixture which I could definitely not roll out and cut into heart shapes. We got a pie dish and poured the mixture in, then put it in the oven for 30 minutes. The result tasted nice and chocolatey but it was the dryest cake I think I have ever tasted in my life, it was so dry that we had trouble swallowing it! That didn’t stop my sister and my boyfriend who managed to eat a quarter of it before giving in and admitting defeat!

What went wrong? Well, after some fierce interrogation my mum realised that I had put light brown sugar into the mixture instead of brown caster sugar… I had no idea that it would make such a difference!

So I’ve learned my lesson about sugar and I hope it’s a mistake I won’t be making again! Here is a picture of the dryest cake in the world, possibly fatal if too big a chunk is attempted to be devoured…

Meggy x

Yummy New York Cheesecake

You would think that France, being famed for its food, would have an enormous amount of ingredients in its supermarkets but alas, it is not so. The closest we can get to double cream (which I absolutely ADORE by the way) is “Chantilly” which comes in a can and you spray it on your food, which is not double cream at all. My mum started to lust after cheesecake after seeing it on tv and getting nostalgic about our home country and she asked me to make some, so I started trying to find a recipe. I was very disappointed because all of my favourite chefs use double cream in their cheesecake recipes so I started to despair but then my mum found a recipe that uses cream cheese and no double cream! However it did say that you need sour cream, which is also not available over here but sour cream is luckily very simple to make, and the digestive biscuits can be found in the “English aisle” along with PG tips and Heinz baked beans, unfortunately the price is much higher than in England as they are imported but it is impossible to use French biscuits because they would simply soak up all the liquid coming out of the cake and fall apart.

Anyway, this recipe might not be made with double cream but it is the best cheesecake I have ever tasted (if I do say so myself).

First of all, some quick tips : Keep everything at room temperature and be careful about mixing the ingredients! Under-beating can lead to a lumpy mixture, over-beating can whip in too much air.

Ingredients:

For the crust

(If you prefer a thick crust, which I do, add a quarter of each ingredient for the crust)

  • 85ml butter melted, plus extra for tin
  • 140g digestive biscuits , made into fine crumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar, granulated or golden castor

For the cheesecake filling

  • 3 x 300g/11oz pack full fat soft cheese
  • 250g golden castor sugar
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tsp)
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • 284ml carton soured cream

For the sour cream

  • 142ml carton soured cream
  • 1 tbsp golden castor sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

If you can’t get sour cream simply use natural yogurt with some lemon juice in it instead.

Preperation:

  1. Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with parchment paper. For the crust, melt the butter in a medium pan. Stir in the biscuit crumbs and sugar so the mixture is evenly moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.
  2. For the filling, increase the oven temperature to fan 200C/conventional 240C/gas 9. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the soft cheese at medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually add the sugar, then the flour and a pinch of salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle twice.
  3. Swap the paddle attachment for the whisk. Continue by adding the vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Whisk in the eggs and yolk, one at a time, scraping the bowl and whisk at least twice. Stir the 284ml carton of soured cream until smooth, then measure 200ml/7fl oz (just over 3⁄4 of the carton). Continue on low-speed as you add the measured soured cream (reserve the rest). Whisk to blend, but don’t over-beat. The batter should be smooth, light and somewhat airy.
  4. Brush the sides of the springform tin with melted butter and put on a baking sheet. Pour in the filling – if there are any lumps, sink them using a knife – the top should be as smooth as possible. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to fan 90C/conventional 110C/gas 1⁄4 and bake for 25 minutes more. If you gently shake the tin, the filling should have a slight wobble. Turn off the oven and open the oven door for a cheesecake that’s creamy in the centre, or leave it closed if you prefer a drier texture. Let cool in the oven for 2 hours. The cheesecake may get a slight crack on top as it cools.
  5. Combine the reserved soured cream with the 142ml carton, the sugar and lemon juice for the topping. Spread over the cheesecake right to the edges. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  6. Run a round-bladed knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges. Unlock the side, slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the parchment paper out from underneath.

This really is an amazingly gorgeous cake, and it is very filling, so it is ideal for when you have friends round to help you out!

Meggy x