Monday, 13 February 2017

Homity Pie

Homity Pie is a simple, homely, and nutritious bake just like a great big hug in pie form!  It is a vegetarian open pie packed with potatoes, spring onions, leeks, and cheese, and is delicious served either with a green salad or a medley of your favourite vegetables.  

Homemade Homity Pie

The first time that Mr E & I came across Homity Pie, I seem to recall, was some three or four years ago whilst having lunch in a lovely vegetarian tea room / cafe in the market town of Skipton one chilly November day.   It was listed on the specials board, 'homity pie served with seasonal vegetables'.  Neither of us had heard of it, but after quizzing the waitress Mr E quickly decided that that was for him.

You see, Mr E loves his potatoes and Homity Pie is packed full of the humble potato.  They're certainly the star of the show.  But with a few other basic ingredients, of onions, cheese and parsley, this vegetarian open pie is transformed into a delicious and nutritious family feast.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Vegan Rich Chocolate Orange Dessert

This easy to make luxurious chocolate orange dessert would be perfect for Valentine's Day, date night, or on those ocassions when you feel the need for a delicious chocolate pudding.  This recipe is vegan friendly, meaning it is also suitable for those who need to avoid dairy and / or eggs.  It is also gluten free.

Vegan and Gluten Free Individal Chocolate Orange Dessert Recipe

If you're planning a romantic meal for you and your special somebody, then, regardless of what you have for your main course, you're going to need an indulgent and delicious dessert.  Surely that means a chocolate dessert.

Chocolate desserts, to me at least, are a must for Valentine's Day.  They're also perfect for date night, birthdays, when entertaining friends and family, and quite possibly every other day which ends in a 'y'!

Easy Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Dessert Recipe

This dessert is both gluten free and vegan friendly.  Now, although it is free of ingredients like butter, cream, milk and eggs which we ordinarily rely on to bring a certain amount of flavour to a recipe, this Rich Chocolate Orange Dessert is far from being flavour free.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

'Loveheart' Styled Shortbread Biscuits

These delicious homemade shortbread biscuits, flavoured with lemon zest, are a lot of fun & would make a lovely gift for that special someone on Valentine's Day!
Perfect for Valentine's Day, Loveheart Styled Shortbread Biscuits

Allow me to share a secret with you.  It's not a massive secret, just something that you probably don't know.

It was early in 2004, a leap year you may note, and having dated Mr E for several months I knew he was 'the one'!  A few weeks earlier I'd enjoyed a few 'loveheart' sweets, you know the ones with the cute little messages on them.  Anyway I noticed that some of the phrases had been updated from how I recalled them as a child.   Now there were phrases like 'Marry Me', and 'Say Yes'!  My mind started to work and a few weeks later on, 29th February, a leap year day, with the help of a few hand selected 'Lovehearts' I plucked up the courage and popped the question to him!  The rest, as they say, is history! 😊

Shortbread biscuit recipe with lemon zest

Anyway, in deciding which recipes to share running up to Valentine's Day, Mr E came up with the idea of some simple biscuits with writing on them, 'Loveheart' style.  What a great idea.  Not only did it hark back to those lovely little sweets and the progression in our relationship, but it also prompted me to share a biscuit recipe, something which is a little lacking here on Only Crumbs Remain.


Monday, 30 January 2017

Cherry & Almond Cupcakes

The delicious flavour combinaton of cherry & almond can be found in these pretty cupcakes.  The pink colour of the buttercream frosting make them perfect for a girl's birthday, Valentine's day ....... or simply just because.

Cherry & Almond Cupcake recipe

If you popped into my recent side-by-side baking post where I looked at eggs curdling in cake batter, you may have been left wondering what I did with the cupcakes.  Well, those plain and humble cupcakes were very simply transformed into these pretty and inviting Cherry and Almond Cupcakes.


Friday, 27 January 2017

Side-by-Side Baking - Split Cake Batter

If you've ever wondered why cake batter splits when we add eggs to the mixture, can it be rectified or if it really matters then continue reading.  Here I carry out a 4 way comparison bake looking at the different batters and the resultant cupcakes.  

Discussing why cake batters curdle and split, how we can prevent it happening and asking id it really matters

It's been quite some time since I last shared a Side-by-Side Baking post, in fact it was way back on the 9th August.  Metaphorically speaking there was certainly a thick layer of dust on them when I dug them out, think Miss Havisham of Great Expectations and you probably won't be far wrong!   As I mentioned in my end of year review post it's a series I want to continue here on Only Crumbs Remain not least because it allows me to learn why certain techniques, for instance, are employed in baking.

Now, I have two warnings about this post.  Firstly this post is a little bit lengthy so you may want to grab a pot of tea or coffee before settling down to read!  And, secondly, there is a little bit of science in this post (after all, baking in the school setting wasn't once called 'Domestic Science' for no reason!).  I've aimed to keep the technical stuff to a minimum, especially as I'm not the greatest scientist (you should see my face when Mr E tries to explain the bending of timespace - and yes, those conversations do happen!), and so I've linked into several internet articles should you want to read more detail from the author's particular slant.

About my Side by Side Baking Series.


Why cupcake and cake batters curdle

If you're new to Only Crumbs Remain, you may be wondering what my Side-by-Side baking series is all about.  Basically, it's an ongoing series of posts where I look at the effects certain techniques and food products have on given bakes.  More often than not, and I certainly include myself here, we are shown how to make, say a Victoria Sponge, but with little understanding of why we may be folding in the flour so gently and what would happen to our cake if we don't.  This series is designed to experiment with and highlight such techniques and products with a view to appreciating why we carry out them out.  So for instance, I've already looked at resting Yorkshire Pudding batters before baking, folding in flour by hand against that folded in with a spatula, butter quality in cake batters and the all-in-one method against the traditional creaming-in-method.  These bakes are designed to focus upon one aspect of baking (or even ingredient) to see if we can make our bakes even better or even if there are some, dare I say, short cuts we can take to achieve a good result.  Therefore, in this series there will always be at least two separate batches baked in these comparisons to allow me, and you as the reader, to literally compare them Side-by-Side. 

Side-by-Side Baking - Split or Curdled Eggs in Cake Batter 

Why eggs cause our cake batters to curdle

So our first foray into our baking comparisons this year is to look at why a cake batter splits / curdles when eggs are added, can it be rectified, and to ask if it really matters or if it affects the final bake. 

The prompt for this baking comparison came from one of my recipe books, How Baking Works (and what to do when it doesn't) by James Morton (I'm sure you recall him as the young Scottish GBBO constestant in series 3 who was training to be a doctor.)  As the title implies, his book is far more than a recipe book.  If you're unfamiliar with it he goes through the step by step process of making chocolate brownies,  macarons, biscuits and so on and explains why we carry out certain steps and even offers troubleshooting guidance if the bake fails.  In his chapter for cakes he goes through the steps for the classic creaming method.  He explains that the eggs need to be added to the creamed butter and sugar one at a time and went on to say that  'curdling has been shown not to affect the final rise'!

When I read this I was somewhat surprised.  Not only because just about every cake recipe we read on line and in many tangible recipe books suggests adding a spoonful of flour with the last egg (in order to prevent, or remedy, any split / curdled batter) but also because the darling queen of baking herself, Mary Berry, has probably pulled a few faces at split batters on GBBO in the past!   


Monday, 23 January 2017

Mincemeat & Apple Galette (Free Form Pie)

This charmingly rustic galette (also known as a free-form pie) makes great use of left over sweet mincemeat.  The mixture is bulked out with apple which contains no additional sugar.  Decorated with a few slices of apple, this mincemeat & apple galette makes a lovely midweek dessert.  

How to make a mincemeat & apple galette / free form pie

Four weeks post Christmas, I can now confirm that all of our sweet mincemeat has been used!  

After the Christmas period I often find that we have half a jar, or so, of mincemeat lurking in the back of the fridge, hiding behind the yogurts and cheeses!  It sits there for days, which soon become weeks, being ignored and overlooked.  Not wanting to waste it, after all there is nothing wrong with it, the question is what use with this fruity mixture.

homemade mincemeat & apple galette / free form pie recipe

In fact there are several recipes which can be rustled up with half a jar of mincemeat, most of which are a far cry from the traditional mincepie.  How do flapjacks, chocolate brownies, cupcakes or even stuffed apples grab you?  (Further into the post you will find links to 6 recipes by UK bloggers perfect for using up left over sweet mincemeat.)        


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Vegan Chocolate & Cherry Cupcakes

Whether you're taking part in Veganuary, want to make a batch of tasty vegan cupcakes for a vegan friend or relative, or are simply intrigued by egg free and vegan cake recipes, then these easy to make vegan cupcakes, flavoured with the classic combination of chocolate and cherry, are a must try.  They are super light and moist, and are topped with a vegan chocolate ganache and a fresh cherry!

Easy to make vegan Chocolate & Cherry Cupcakes

Being quite a traditional home baker eggs feature regularly in my bakes.  Whether its a simple Victoria sponge, fun cupcakes, a pastry bake or even a meringue, it's rare for eggs not to feature in my ingredient list.

Although Mr E & I have been vegetarian for more years than we care to remember, we seldom try out vegan recipes.  It's relatively straightforward to replace butter, milk and cream in a recipe - but eggs are a different matter.  Imagine baking a Victoria Sponge or attempting a genoise cake without eggs!  As a traditional baker the thought leaves me in a bit of a spin to be honest!

Hen eggs

Back in November, regular readers of Only Crumbs Remain may recall our Pear Chocolate and Spice Cake which had started out with the plan of being a vegan cake, well that was the intention on the drawing board!  However my chosen egg replacer, chia seeds, had proved to be difficult, near impossible, to grind with a pestle & mortar (not being in possession of a spice or coffee grinder) and so after an hour of pounding those pesky little seeds I cracked and added eggs to the mixture instead! Literally!


Friday, 6 January 2017

Vegetarian Tomato, Lentil & Bacon Soup

A delicious, hearty & nutritious soup containing easily sourced frugal ingredients and chunks of vegetarian bacon!  To bring further texture and interest to the soup,  it can either be served with more crispy meat-free Quorn bacon pieces or croutons.

Homemade Vegetarian Tomato, Lentil & Bacon Soup recipe, made with Quorn meat free bacon

Soup is a perfect quick meal for those cold and frosty winter days.  Homemade soup recipes are nutritious, quick and easy to make.  Not only are they perfect for using up any left over vegetables, grains and even pasta from the previous day, but such recipes can easily be scaled up for the surplus to be portioned up and stored in the fridge or freezer for another day.

This Vegetarian Tomato, Lentil and Bacon Soup is perfect for those chillier days.  Imagine returning home from a walk when the ground beneath your feet is frosty and cold and the northerly breeze makes the air feel even colder!  Brrrrr!  Chilly!  Within ten minutes, if there's a batch stored in the fridge, you could be sat down cradling a bowl of thick hearty vegetarian soup, perhaps served with some crusty bread, enjoying the warmth as it returns to the extremities.


Saturday, 31 December 2016

Best Bakes 2016

Looking back at the popular best bakes on Only Crumbs Remain during 2016.

Best Bakes 2016 on Only Crumbs Remain
2017 is creeping upon us and with that comes the excitement and anticipation of what the new year will hold.  It's also a traditional time to cast our minds back over the previous 12 months, allowing us to remember the highlights of 2016.  So, with that in mind I thought it would be interesting to look back through the recipes on Only Crumbs Remain and share the 10 best bakes of 2016, according to statistics, but also a few of our personal favourites.

So without further ado, here are Only Crumbs Remain's Top 10 Best Bakes of 2016!   In many ways, these bakes have been chosen by you, the reader, and so really are the most popular bakes!  If you find yourself tempted by one of these recipes, just click the on the green recipe name!

Vegetarian chicken and Leek Pie

So starting off our best bakes countdown are these delicious vegetarian chicken and leek pies.  These were such a winner for Mr E & I with the robust vegetarian hot water crust pastry filled with a creamy sauce containing a quorn chicken substitute and leeks.  These pies were packed with a delicious and easy to make filling meaning they were far more satisfying than many shop bought versions which seem to be predominantly filled with air!

Apple Roses with a Cream Cheese Pastry

Aren't they pretty!  And they're such a perfect bake for Valentine's Day.  Or perhaps Mother's day, or even just because!   It's amazing how a little bit of pastry and a couple of apples can produce such an effective, and of course delicious, bake!  The majority of the apple roses I saw over on Pinterest, which inspired this bake, were made with shop bought puff pastry, a pastry I enjoy along with the next person.  But having thoroughly enjoyed some Rugelach which had been made with a cream cheese pastry just a couple of months before, I chose to ring the changes and use a different pastry.