Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Baked Custard

Baked Custard doesn't really sound that pretty or appetising, but I have recently made some, and it was demolished in pretty quick time!  
It's lovely served cold with fruit salad or any other fruits
You can either make it in small ramekins or one large dish.

Always place the custard dish in a bain-marie - larger tin with very hot water in, about halfway up, so that the custard steams a little ...........

3 large eggs
1/3 cup of sugar - caster or demerara 
1 tsp. vanilla essence
pinch of salt

2.1/2 cups of very warm Full Fat Creamy Milk - this has the best taste
pinch of either ground nutmeg or cinnamon 

1. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and frothy - it wont be thick, but still liquidy.
2. Very slowly whisk in the warm milk a little at a time - so as not to scramble the eggs.
3. Add the cinnamon or nutmeg to taste.
4. Pour into a very lightly greased bowl and bake for approx. 30mins to 45 - until the custard is 'set'.
5. Leave to cool then refrigerate - covered.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Date Syrup Cake - quick, easy and yummy

Oven: 170 deg. C
Bake: approx. 30mins/45 mins. or until cooked (!)

Ingredients - small cake:
60g butter
125 g date syrup **

100g plain flour
1 large teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
100g caster sugar#pinch of salt

125 ml milk
1 beaten egg

1. Melt the butter gently with the date syrup. Stirring. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
2. Sift together all the dry ingredients

3. Beat the egg and milk together.
4. Add the egg and milk to the dry ingredients, then gently stir in (or electric whisk) the butter and syrup. This should make a nice gloopy mixture. *

4. Pour into a baking tin (6" x 8" x 1.5") - use a paper liner, which saves you greasing the tin. 
5. Test with a skewer to see if cooked through.
6. Cool on a wire rack.  

*You could add some sultanas or raisins to this cake.  Dredge some flour over them before adding in to the mixture.* 

**This is also the recipe for a gingerbread cake, so you could replace the date syrup for golden syrup.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Fairy Cakes/Cupcakes

I've been experimenting with a few 'fairy cake' recipes, and found this one, from the Hairy Bikers, has the nicest texture and keeps the best, so you dont have to eat them all 
on the same day!

Oven: 180 deg. C
Ingredients: - makes 12
7ozs. (200g) self-raising flour
1 tsp. bi carb.
3ozs. (75g) caster or golden caster sugar
3.5 ozs. blueberries (optional)
1 unwaxed lemon zest - finely grated
2 free range eggs - beaten
1/4 pt. (150 ml)  low-fat natural yogurt (or double cream)
2 tblspns. semi-skimmed milk (or little more if needed)
2 fl.oz. (50ml.) sunflower oil

Lemon Icing:
3.5ozs.(100g) icing sugar
4 tsps. fresh lemon juice

1. preheat oven. and line a 12 hole muffin/fairy cake tin with paper cups
2. Sift the flour and bi-carb and stir in the sugar, (blueberries) and lemon zest.
3. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, then beat in the yogurt, milk and oil.
4. Stir into the flour and mix together - lightly.
5. Divide the batter evenly into the paper cups and bake for 16-18 minutes until the cakes are well risen and golden.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6. Ice with the lemon icing when cool.

Sandwich a dollop of lemon curd in the centre with a blob of batter on top.  (These are technical terms! :o) )
You could also use jam.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Cake Pops - with leftover (Christmas) cake - no cooking

·        400g/14oz Christmas Cake
·        100g/3½oz Dark Chocolate
·        100g/3½oz White Chocolate
·        sprinkles, to decorate
  • 12 round lolly sticks. 
  • Method
1.      Break the Christmas cake into pieces then blend in the food processor for a few minutes to turn into crumbs.
2.      Divide the mix into 12 and shape into balls. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.
3.      Melt the chocolates in separate bowls, over pans of simmering water or in a microwave.
4.      Make a hole in each ball with a lolly stick, then dip the end of the stick in the melted chocolate and place back in the hole. Repeat with the other sticks and leave to set for about 30 minutes.
5.      Re-melt the chocolate if necessary, then, using a teaspoon pour the chocolate over a cake pop, holding it over the bowl. Work quickly to get a smooth finish. Tap the cake pop on the side of the bowl to get rid of the excess chocolate, then stick into a piece of polystyrene or upturned colander while you coat the rest of the pops.
6.      Once the chocolate has set slightly, but is still sticky, coat in sprinkles then leave to set completely.

Recipe Tips

Use an upturned colander or a polystyrene block to keep your cake pops standing while they set - just make sure your lolly sticks will fit in the colander holes before you start.    

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Cranberry & Apple Sauce - simple

600gms of fresh cranberries
2 Granny Smith Apples - peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Demerara Sugar - to taste  - (quite a lot!)
squeeze of fresh lemon juice 
Small amount of water

Place all the above ingredients into a saucepan, and gently bring to the boil - stirring.
Stir in the sugar a few tablespoons at a time and taste for sweetness.
Adding some lemon juice.
Stir until almost all of the cranberries have popped and the condiment is squishy and to your taste.

Pour boiling water into 3 small jars and lids.  Drain carefully as they will be hot!
Spoon the cranberry sauce into the jars. Using double paper towel or tea-towel, hold the jar carefully and tap several times onto your work surface to remove any air bubbles - check the jars.  Use a skewer if any air bubbles remain.
Lid the jars, label and store until needed.
Eat cold with poultry.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Walnut Cake (small) - All-in-One Sponge cake

This very easy cake can be made with a lovely cream cheese frosting - (though pic here is without it).

Oven: 180 deg.C - preheated
Paper Cake liner  or  buttered and floured baking tin

175g. butter (unsalted preferably) (3ozs.)
112g. caster sugar (approx. 3ozs.)
70g. self-raising flour (approx. 2.5 ozs.)
25 - 50g. walnuts - blitzed very fine in a blender - (or ready bought)
1/4tsp. baking powder
2 medium eggs - beaten
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
few drops of almond extract
grated lemon zest - about 1/2 a lemon is fine

Beat all the ingredients together.
If the batter is a little stiff, add some warm water or milk (cold) - or little of both.
The batter should be a nice 'dropping consistency' cake batter, but not too loose.
Bake for approximately 45 mins and test with a skewer to see if cooked through.
Cover with foil, if it needs cooking longer.

Cool in the tin, then frost with cream cheese frosting:

200g (7oz) butter, softened
220g (7oz) full-fat cream cheese
700g icing sugar, sieved

Cream all ingredients together.
Add little zest or lemon juice if wanted, and spread on cake.  If you turn the cake and use the base, you'll have a nice smooth bottom (! :o) ) to work on.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Christmas Pudding - Healthy! and delicious

I tend to make my Christmas Puds around November time, then wrap and freeze them. Everyone seems to love this recipe as - (apart from being delicious) - isn't claggy or too heavy. (No suet is used). It can also be eaten without being stored for too long.

Although steaming is a bit of a chore, it gives a much better taste and texture. I have tried microwaving this recipe but didnt like it at all.
Steaming is definitely best. If you haven't got a steamer or trivet, you can use some metal jamjar lids and stand the bowl on these. Have the boiling, then simmering water come up at least halfway, and check frequently to replace with more hot water. Use a lid to cover to keep in the steam.

This recipe originally comes from "Richard & Judy's Countdown to Christmas" - (my Christmas Bible! - I actually bought a second copy at for 1p!)

1. Soak the dried fruit overnight in your alcohol of choice - you can use a fruit juice if you dont want to use alcohol - (apple, grape or orange.)  Stir from time to time.
3 ozs. currants (75g)
3 ozs sultanas
4 ozs. raisins (115g) 
you can also include some chopped up apricots - which are lovely
4 tbls (or a little more!) brandy or rum

Next day - in a large mixing bowl  add -
3 ozs. glace cherries (rinsed, drained, dried and halved) - (can use maraschino cherries - added to dried fruit mix)
3ozs. plain or SR flour
1 tsp. mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 ozs. fresh breadcrumbs (50g)
2 ozs. sugar - demerara
2 tsp (vegetarian) gravy browning .......... I think this just helps the colour.
1/2 a lemon & 1/2 an orange (or clementine) - grated zest + 1 tbl. lemon juice
4 ozs grated apple (115g) - no need to peel
4ozs finely grated carrot (peeled) ..... I whizz the apple & carrot in my food processor till almost mushy.
2 eggs + 4 tbls. milk
2 tbls. molasses or cane sugar syrup - (I use molasses)

2. Dust the glace cherries in some of the flour before adding to the rest of the pudding's dry ingredients.

3. Mix all the dry ingredients together first, before adding the wet ones.
Mix together thoroughly - the smell is gorgeous!

4. Place into a buttered 2 pt. (1.2 ltre) Pyrex bowl (or similar), cover well with a sheet of buttered greaseproof or baking parchment, - pleat this to allow for the pudding to rise, then foil over the top - tucking in well around the bowl edges. (I also tend to pleat the foil.) Tie with string to make a handle, or make a flat strip of foil to place under and over the bowl - so you can lift the hot bowl out easily.   Check every so often as you will need to refill with hot water as it evaporates.

Steam for approx. 3 hrs - 4hrs. (If you steam it for longer, you may not need to resteam it as long on the day you need it.)

Cool the pudding - I usually leave it at least overnight covered, then wrap it well  in baking parchment and foil and freeze  until required. It should be defrosted at least two days before needed - at this stage you can add some more alcohol :)   Just keep it in the fridge, till you need it.

On the day: Pierce with a skewer and pour a little more brandy or rum over the Pudding (if necessary) and Steam (covered)  for at least 1-2 hrs. It can be kept on a low light once the re-steaming time is up.You cant really overcook it but you can just test it to see if it's heated right through properly.
lovely smelling mixture :o)
Place in well buttered dish and cover with greaseproof paper - with a pleat in the centre to allow for expansion
Make a second similar cover with foil and a 'strap' of foil, to lift it out easily when cooked
This is a really light and yummy pud,  and tastes of Christmas! -  and I wouldn't go back to making it any other way. Thanks Richard and Judy!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Rainbow Foam Jellies

I found this recipe on this website:
and thought it looked fun .............

5 or more 85gm packets of gelatine (jello) - different colours and flavours

Mix each jelly, using 1/4 cup water less than the instructions call for.
Put them in the fridge until they are half set.
Take the first colour and shisk until frothy and pour into a mould or glass to set completely in the fridge.
Add the other colours, one at a time, in the same way.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Easy Pumpkin Cake for Halloween

4 eggs - beaten
2 cups of Demerara sugar
1.1/2 cups sunflower oil
3 cups of SR Flour - sifted with
2 tsps. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
2 tsps. bi-carb
large pinch of salt

2 cups (or 1 can) of solid packed pumpkin (100% natural) - Libbys. (approx. 454 gm.)
1 cup of walnuts - if wanted

1. Add the sugar to the beaten eggs and whisk until smooth and creamy.
2. Whisk the oil in well.
3. Add the dry ingredients, a large spoonful at a time - mixing in in between.
4. Add the pumpkin, beating so mixture is not overbeaten, but is nice and creamy.
You can add the walnuts into the cake at this stage (or use them on top to decorate).

5. Grease and flour your tin or tins and pour the batter in (about 3/4 way up) - you can get two cakes easily out of this mixture.

6. Bake at 180 deg. C 45 - 1 hr. - test with a skewer to see when cooked through.

4 tblspns. butter - softened
3 ozs. of cream cheese
approx. 2 cups of icing sugar - sieved
1 tsp. good vanilla essence

Mix all the ingredients well together and spread over top of warm cake.
For a smoother topping - turn the cakes upside down and ice on the flatter bottom!

I also grate chocolate over the top.

spooky pumpkin cake :o)

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Leftover - Potato, Bacon and Cheese Pie

this is a really easy recipe using leftovers - no particular quantities

Oven: 180/90 deg. C - approx. 30 mins.

leftover potatoes - chopped up (small - ish)
bacon or ham or fry a few fresh pieces and also chop them up
1 onion - peeled, chopped and sauteed in butter or oil until softened 
soft cheese - eg. goats cheese - chopped roughly
2 eggs, smallish amount of milk and some double cream - mixed together
filo pastry or shortcrust or just crushed cracker base
small amount of melted butter for brushing filo sheets

If using filo, using some melted butter, brush each of the filo leaves.
Butter a baking dish and lay a couple of layers down - with some overlapping edges -

Beat the eggs, milk and cream together, + seasoning to taste - set aside

Fill pastry with the above cooked ingredients.

Pour the creamy/eggy sauce over the top - to just about cover.

Place the cheese on top - (can also use grated cheese.) *
fold over the extra flaps of pastry, into the centre - cover all the filling.
Brush melted butter over the top.

*dont use too much salt for the filling as the cheese and bacon will be quite salty. 

Bake until the pastry is nicely browned on top.
This reheats well.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Apple Chutney

Ingredients: approx. makes about 4lbs. of chutney
1lb. onions - peeled/chopped
1/2pt. white vinegar
2 lbs. apples after coring and peeling
4 ozs. sultanas
1 tsp. pickling spice
1 tsp. ground ginger
12 ozs. Demerara sugar
(sterilised jars*)

1. add 1/2 of the vinegar and chopped onions to your saucepan and simmer until almost soft.
2. Add the chopped apples with the sultanas, pickling spice (tied in a small piece of muslin or similar), ground ginger and enough of the vinegar to stop the ingredients from sticking and burning.l
3. Cook gently, stirring from time to time, until the ingredients are soft.
4. Add the remainder of the vinegar if you have some left.
5. Thoroughly stir in the sugar.
6. Boil until the mixture has become thick, but not too dry.
7. Remove the spice bag and pour into sterilised* jars.  Seal.

* put your jars in the oven at about 190 deg.C approx. and leave until they are hot.
Remove with gloves!
I stand mine on a baking tray so they are easier to lift out.
Take care!