Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Homemade Orange Curd

Containing less refined sugar than lemon curd, this reduced sugar orange preserve is delicious both spread on toast and used as an element within cakes and bakes.  It makes a lovely alternative to the usual lemon curd.

Recipe for homemade reduced sugar orange curd

 One of my favourite preserves for topping my morning round of toast is undoubtedly lemon curd, but having an idea for a specific bake rattling around my head, which includes an orange element, I set to and made a homemade batch of orange curd.  Not only is it as delicious as its cousin, lemon curd, it also contains far less refined sugar. 


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Strawberry & Basil Pavlova

This marshmallowy pavlova is made with a Swiss meringue & topped with macerated strawberries.  It's a straightforward bake which makes for a great centre piece when entertaining friends and family.  

Strawberry & Basil Pavlova made using the Swiss meringue technique.

Being a huge fan of the classic pavlova dessert made the decision of how to use the eggs whites left over from a batch of Bavarian Slices very easy.  Pavlova is such a classic dessert which can easily be made either as an individual portion or as a larger centre piece for family get-togethers.  The meringue shell is usually filled with cream and topped with delicious fruit.  It's a fabulous summertime dessert which makes great use of the fresh ripening berries.

Having heard Carol Kirkwood, arguably one of the nation's favourite weather reporters, the other day describe last night's moon as a Strawberry Moon our Pavlova simply had to be filled with this wonderful fruit.  It simply seemed rude not to buy a punnet of delicious strawberries which are gracing our shelves at the moment.   Strawberry Moon is such an interesting description and having Googled it I learnt that not only is it very infrequent, but it was coined after the North American Algonquin tribe who saw it as the start of the strawberry harvest.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Bavarian Slice

With flaky puff pastry, creamy custard, sharp raspberries & sweet icing, this Bavarian Slice is certainly a delicious teatime treat.
Bavarian Slices made with flaky puff pastry, creamy custard, sharp raspberries and sweet icing feathered icing

Dads are worth their weight in gold, and my dad is certainly no exception.  Over the years he's not only cleaned and dressed my grazed knees and accompanied me to the hospital with broken bones, but he's also taught me how to hang wallpaper, point stone walls and change the tyres on a car!  So with Father's Day just around the corner and knowing how much he adores Bavarian Slices I donned my apron and made a small batch of this patisserie classic, adding my own little delicious twist along the way in the form of fresh raspberries.

A Bavarian Slice is very similar to a custard slice.  The bakes are both constructed like a sandwich with puff pastry encasing a layer of thick creamy custard and decorated with a sweet icing to the upper pastry surface.  However, the Bavarian Slice is a little more indulgent, and dare I say posher, than the slightly plainer custard slice with its layer of jam sat snugly beneath the creamier filling.  The icing is also usually finished with the classic feathering pattern too.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Baked Neapolitan Cheesecake

Inspired by the classic ice cream, this Baked Neapolitan Cheesecake is easy to make & rewards you with a delicious dessert containing a medley of flavours!  

Baked Neapolitan Cheesecake Recipe

As a child I was never particularly keen on ice cream!  Yes, I was a fussy child, but I would always manage to make an exception for Neapolitan Ice Cream.  The triple striped layer of vanilla, strawberry & chocolate always enticed me.  It was simply far more exciting and tasty than plain old vanilla.  Having bought a block of the ice cream the other week the idea of a Neapolitan Cheesecake came to mind.  The thought of the classic Neapolitan flavours - chocolate, vanilla and strawberry - layered in a baked cheesecake meant that such a dessert was soon going to be adorning our dining table!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Chocolate Orange Marbled Cupcakes

Made with a marbled Victoria sponge, filled with a chocolate orange ganache & topped with a vanilla frosting, a chocolate orange segment and drizzle, these cupcakes are perfect if you're looking for something a little bit special in a cupcake form.

How to make Terry's Chocolate Orange Marbled Cupcakes

This batch of Chocolate Orange Marbled Cupcakes were made especially for a visit to Mr E's side of the family across the boarder from Yorkshire into Lancashire.  Knowing that the Lancashire lot enjoy the classic chocolate-orange flavour combo we decided to decorate our cupcakes with the fun and inspired shape of Terry's chocolate orange.

Terry's Chocolate Orange Marbled Cupcakes Recipe

Wanting to make these cupcakes a little bit more special than just a frosting topped sponge, I included a few extra delicious element providing a range of different textures.  Firstly the chocolate-orange Victoria sponge was marbled with a vanilla sponge.  The baked sponge was partially hollowed out and filled with a chocolate orange ganache.  The cupcakes were then topped with a vanilla buttercream  swirl before having a chocolate orange glaze drizzled over them.  They were then finished with a Terry's chocolate orange segment.  The vanilla elements helped to lighten these chocolate packed cupcakes, producing a delicious cake which really worked.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Individual Queen of Puddings

A delicious historic bake consisting of three distinct layers of custard, jam and meringue, these individual Queen of Puddings were made to mark HRH the Queen's official birthday

Individual Queen of Pudding recipe made with the classic three layers of custard, jam and meringue

Next Saturday, June 11th, will see HRH the Queen celebrate her official birthday thereby giving her two birthdays each year, her biological birthday being April 21st.  The Telegraph explains that the two-birthday tradition began in 1748 with King George II. 

To me it seemed the perfect reason to bake and the dish which jumped into my mind was the Queen of Puddings.  After all, not only is the name appropriate but it too also has a long history.  GBBO's British Book of Baking, which accompanied the first series, shares a Queen of Pudding recipe which dates from 1669.   The Food Timeline discusses the Queen of Pudding's history and how it compares to Manchester Pudding.


Monday, 30 May 2016

Lemon Mousse Cake

This delicate & airy genoise birthday cake was brought to life with the lashings of lemon curd held within the light mousse.  Being made with aquafaba, the delicious lemon mousse is free of raw eggs making it safe for many groups in our communities. 

Lemon Mousse Cake, made with a genoise sponge and a lemon mousse containing aquafaba making it safe for for those vulnerable to raw eggs

Earlier this month saw David, our dear friend and neighbour, celebrate his 81st birthday.  Being a firm believer that birthday celebrations are never complete without a cake I donned my pinny and got into the kitchen to bake.

Knowing that David has a fondness for lemon flavours and light cakes in particular I searched through my extensive collection of baking books and came across a recipe for a version of a lemon chiffon cake, in 'Cakes & Cake Decorating'.  The image for the cake showed it presented simply with no fuss.  It really did look delicious with a thick layer of lemon mousse sandwiched within a straightforward swiss roll type of sponge.  However, as I read the method it became clear that the recipe was far from suitable for our elderly neighbour due to the raw eggs within the mousse layer.  The mousse also contained gelatin which, living in a vegetarian household, is a product which I clearly don't use.  The cake obviously needed modifying to suit the specific needs of David and of course ourselves.


Friday, 27 May 2016

No-Knead Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia

This no-knead focaccia, flavoured with rosemary and garlic, is easy to make and great for tearing and sharing with family and friends. It's perfect for dipping into olive oil and balsamic vinegar, served with soup or even grilled to make a wonderful bruschetta topped with a medley of flavoursome tomatoes.

No-Knead Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia

Since watching Paul Hollywood learn how to make the wonder of no-knead bread when he was in New York for his series City Bakes I have certainly got back into my bread making groove.  Our delicious, fresh, well aerated and easy to make no-knead bread with white and wholemeal flour has regularly been on our table, or rather in the bread crock, for the past few weeks!

Wanting to try a less conventionally shaped loaf and having received a stunning *Le Crouset rectangular dish, courtesy of Steamer Trading Cookshop, Mr E and I couldn't resist trying to make a no-knead focaccia.  Usually breads are baked in some sort of metal container, be that a loaf tin or tray, but this stoneware dish worked really well having evenly conducted the heat throughout.  The rectangular shape is perfect to house the focaccia and its stunning appearance and almost ombre cool mint colour is perfect when brought to a table surrounded by family and friends.

Our Le Creuset dish, in cool mint, courtesy of Steamer Trading Cookshop, arrived well packed almost russian doll like.

Steamer Trading Cookshop is an established chain of 36 well equipped and helpful stores spread across the UK with a cluster on the south coast and spreading as far north as Glasgow.  Along with stocking a wide range of kitchenalia, the stores also offer a knife sharpening service as well as hiring out a range of different cake tins for those special bakes.  They also have a fantastic online shop.  Their easy to navigate site is packed to the rafters with tips and information found within their 'buying guides' section on topics such as lining a tart tin with pastry, judging if preserves are set, to frothing milk for a delicious cappuccino!  And as for their product list - it's phenomenal.  Along with the expected pots and pans there are more specific items such as grapefruit knives, chinois (conical sieves) and zabagolione pans; it's certainly likely that you'll find your next coveted kitchen item with Steamer Trading Cookshop!

How to make No-Knead Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia

Focaccia is a bread which Mr E & I have enjoyed in the past with it's delicious flavour arising from the olive oil and other elements.  It's a bread which is great for tearing and sharing with family and friends served with soup or as a dip with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  It is undoubtedly tastiest when eaten warm but any cold left overs can be reinvigorated by splitting it before grilling and serving as a bruschetta with a medley of chopped tomatoes, for instance. 

This no-knead focaccia, classically flavoured with garlic and rosemary, was a big success. Not only did I struggle to keep my hands off the bread whilst I took my photographs, Mr E has already requested we make it again!  The fresh rosemary was amazing in the bread bringing a wonderful balanced flavour alongside the mild garlic and wonderful olive oil.  Three garlic cloves had been allowed to infuse in a quantity of olive oil for about 24 hours before I started making the dough, though if you prefer, shop bought flavoured oils can easily be found in most supermarkets.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Homemade Lemon Curd

Homemade lemon curd is easy to make and results in a wonderful, fresh and zingy curd which is not only delicious on toast but also lifts a host of different bakes. It also makes for a wonderful gift too.

How to make homemade Lemon Curd

Fresh, homemade lemon curd is such a treat.  Not only is it perfect spread onto a slice of toast in the morning, it also lends itself to being the perfect addition to many bakes.  That delicious, luscious lemon freshness can really lift a bake from being good to amazing.  Although I've used lemon curd in a few bakes, such as these raspberry & lemon meringue sandwiches and a batch of chocolate eclairs with lemon and chantilly cream, I've not as yet shared the recipe for this easy to make preserve....until now! 

How to make homemade Lemon Curd

Not only is lemon curd great to use in your own baking and delicious spread on toast, it also makes a great gift for food lovers.  Imagine receiving a jar of lovingly made lemon curd finished with a gingham cloth and ribbon as part of a birthday treat.  You could even consider jarring some as an end of year gift for your child's teacher!   Foodies are sure to appreciate it.