26 May 2010

Week 19 - Paradise Cake

Hello! How are you all this week, hope you survived the mini heatwave! I'm struggling a little bit with the heat at the minute. Some of you may know I live in a loft apartment (ooo...makes me sound very SATC!), only problem is heat rises & my flat is quickly turned into a sauna. Now seeing as I spent most of the winter complaining how cold it was in the flat, you'd think I'd be happy...but no, I'm British, it's genetic that I have to complain about the weather! Never mind, saunas are meant to be good for you no?

So this weeks recipe is another one rescued from my Mum's scrapbook, she's raved about it for as long as I can remember, but I only ever think she's made it once! I've no idea where this recipe came from & I've never seen it in any other cookbooks, turns out it's a traditional Scottish recipe & that was about the sum total of Googles insight. That makes sense though, as both sides of my family are from the North East & I grew up pretty close to the borders. It's simple to make although I have to admit to taking a shortcut!

Now I know I've always said that baking is easy & cake mix shouldn't come out of a box, but LIFE'S TO SHORT TO MAKE PASTRY!! I have tried many times to make it & it always ends up a complete disaster. The first time I tried to blind bake pastry I didn't have any baking beans, the recipe said you could use rice instead. What I failed to notice was it said to wrap the rice in something first, I didn't, so ended up with uncooked grains of rice embedded in the pastry! I still haven't bought any baking beans & have come to terms with the fact that Jus-Rol can do something I can't & that doesn't make me a bad baker :-) Here goes...

250g shortcrust pastry (ready made or your own if you're feeling brave!)
100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg
60g glace cherries chopped
60g walnut pieces
60g ground almonds
100g sultanas

1. Grease a pie tin approx 18cm across. Roll out the pastry to line the tin, then trim off any excess

2. Cream together the butter & sugar, then beat in the egg until light & fluffy. Next stir in all the other ingredients & spread the mixture evenly into the pastry case, no need to blind bake!

3. Bake in the oven at 180c/GM5 for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin completely before tipping out

That last point I share with you from first hand experience, I got a bit over excited & tried to tip it out early! Lets just say you're lucky there's a picture this week, it took me a good 15 minutes to reconstruct it. But as I've always said, my cakes are not supermodels & it still tastes fantastic, I can see why Mum has gone on about it so much!

Have a good week, I hope the sun stays with you. We're fast approaching half way in my baking challenge & I'd really love to include some more of your requests, so please send your ideas my way. Ta ta, Rebecca x

19 May 2010

Week 18 - Mediterranean Muffins

I made it, I've survived my first marathon! Now this may be stating the bleedin obvious, but man alive 26.2 miles is a long way! Although I'd followed the training plan & was feeling ready for it, I don't think anything can prepare you mentally for the challenge. I also underestimated the difference of walking at night, it's all very well training in the Great Park after a good nights sleep & in the sunshine, but in the cold, depth of night, it's tough! That said it was an amazing experience, I have a huge amount of admiration for the Walk the Walk organisation, they have created a fantastic event & have raised a massive amount of money to support the fight against breast cancer. My own fundraising effort far surpassed my expectations & my total currently stands at £776, so thank you to everyone for their support.

I feel like I've consumed a huge amount of sugar over the last few weeks, so I've opted for a savoury recipe this week. I've chosen to use some of my favourite med style ingredients, but there are lots of other options like mozzarella or sun-dried tomatoes, the worlds your lobster!

300g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
150g halloumi cheese
125ml milk
40ml olive oil
2 eggs
50g olives
2 tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Sift the flour & baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Grate the halloumi & mix it in with the flour.

2. Lightly beat together the eggs & milk, stir in the olive oil, roughly chop the tomatoes & olives & add them to the liquids along with the oregano & some seasoning.

3. Add the eggy, milky mixture to the flour & stir until all the flour is combined. Line a 12 hole bun tin with paper cases & divide the mixture evenly. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for 30-35 minutes until well risen & golden brown on the top. Leave to rest in the tin for 5 minutes, then move to a rack to cool.

I like these best when they're still warm & you could easily pop them back into the oven for 10 minutes to warm them up again. Hope you enjoy this weeks savoury interlude! Next week I'll be digging out another of my mum's old recipes, we have no idea where it came from & have never come across it since, trust me it's a treat!

Also, just wondered if anyone had any tips or suggestions to improve the blog? I'm still new to this (well I've been doing it 18 weeks!) but would be grateful for any advice on how to improve it, or get more people to read it! Have a good week, Rebecca x

11 May 2010

Week 17 - Gingerbread Walkers

Hello cake mates! It's finally here, it's Moonwalk week! I'm so excited, I've finished training, my bra is definitely decorated in the 'Showtime' theme & I just want to get on & do it now! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me so far, not just with sponsorship, but with encouragement & footcare advice. Thanks also to Mum, Michael & Gemma who have given up a nights sleep to come & volunteer at the event, they'll be on one of the water stations & seeing them on route will definitely spur me on! This weeks recipe has been created as a last minute fundraising effort, on Tuesday I held a cookie sale at work & raised a fantastic £56. Thanks to everyone who bought one!

So my boss has now headed off on maternity leave & last week I mentioned I'd made an alternative cake for her. Well here it is, a nappy cake! I never knew such a thing even existed until I googled baby showers, but I've since found out they were featured in Sex & the City! It was a lot of fun to make, the gifts you can't see that were attached to the back included a rather large bar of chocolate, pro plus & ear plugs! It was quite an eye opener, who would have thought you could find a video tutorial on youtube on how to make a nappy cake. (And people think I have too much time on my hands!) Anyway, it went down a storm, so much so I think it's being kept as a decoration in baby's room.

Right, back to my little gingerbread walking buddies. I love gingerbread but don't make it that often, I'm a bit lazy when it comes to rolling & cutting out dough! It's easy to make the dough, it just needs a bit of muscle when you have to combine the flour. Make sure you keep an eye on them in the oven as they can turn from golden to burnt very quickly!

100g butter
100g demerara sugar
200g golden syrup
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
500g plain flour

1. Put the sugar & syrup into a pan & bring it up to boiling point over a gentle heat. Add the bicarb & give it a good stir, it will turn cloudy & froth up a bit so make sure you have room in the pan!

2. Chop the butter into small chunks & put into a large mixing bowl. Add the syrup mixture to the butter & stir until the butter is melted. Beat in the egg, then mix in the flour a little at a time until you end up with quite a stiff dough.

3. Dust a work surface with flour, then roll out the dough to about 2mm thick & cut out whatever shapes you like! I roll it out a little at a time as it makes it easier to handle. Pop them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper leaving a little space in between as they will expand.

4. Bake in the oven at 170c/GM3 for 10-15 minutes. I baked mine in batches, using a fresh bit of baking paper each time. That way it's easier to leave them to cool before decorating. I used a tube of writing icing to decorate mine. But in the past I've also used jelly tots & smarties, attaching them with a little bit of icing.

I never quite know how to eat a gingerbread man, legs first? I feel a bit bad biting his arms off! Never mind, they taste so good I quickly get over it! So that's me done for another week, wish me luck for Saturday, there's still time to sponsor me, just click here. Thanks again to everyone for their support & also for the messages letting me know you're still reading. I had a horrible feeling last week I was talking to myself, lovely to know I'm not! Take care, Rebecca x

5 May 2010

Week 16 - Millionaire's Shortbread

Hello, hope you all enjoyed the long weekend? I managed to time it perfectly & take advantage of the 5 hours of sunshine we did actually get! I completed my final long training walk on Saturday, 18 miles in 4.5 hours. So that's it, training done, I'm ready for the Moonwalk & I can't wait for the 15th May. I'm just hoping my feet heal in time, I'm still having problems with blisters & there doesn't seem to be enough compeed plasters in the world to help. I've even taken to padding around the office barefoot to avoid shoes making them worse! If anyone has any tried & tested methods to fix blisters, please please let me know, I've only got 10 days to go.

This weeks recipe is a request & one of my favourite sweet treats. I used to buy it ready made from the supermarket & always thought it would be really difficult to make at home? I came across this recipe in the Christmas edition of Olive magazine & thought I'd have a go! It's easier than you might think, it just takes a little time as you have to allow for cooling in between layers. That said, the result is amazing & I'll never go back to the shop bought stuff! Piccie will follow, my chocolate topping hadn't quite set yet!

Shortbread
50g caster sugar
150g butter
200g flour

Caramel

225g caster sugar
142ml double cream
25g butter

Topping
200g dark chocolate
40g butter
60g white chocolate

1. Blitz together the flour, sugar & butter in a food processor until you get a soft dough. Line a tin approx 20cm square with baking paper, leaving an overhang to make it easy to lift out of the tin. Tip the dough into the tin & firmly press down so it's evenly spread. Chill for 10 minutes, then bake in the oven at 160c/GM4 for 35 minutes until golden brown. Leave it to cool completely in the tin

2. To make the caramel, place all the ingredients into a pan & over a gentle heat bring it up to the boil until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer rapidly for about 30 minutes, it's tricky to know when it's ready, but I'm told you should drop a blob of caramel into a glass of water, if it stays together, it's done!

3. Once the base is cool, pour the caramel over the top & leave it to cool completely. Melt the dark chocolate & butter together, then pour over the caramel. Leave to set, then melt the white chocolate & drizzle over the top. Once it's all set, you can use the paper to lift it out of the tin & cut it into chunks

There's something really satisfying about making Millionaire's Shortbread, maybe because of the time that goes into it! The request came from my boss, who is leaving us (temporarily) to have a baby. So, I hope you enjoy it Kerry & that baby makes a safe arrival in the not too distant future! I have also made an alternative cake to mark the occasion, but as that's a surprise for Friday, I'll tell you about that next week. Right cake done, it's on to bra decorating for the Moonwalk...it's a very creative week! Enjoy, Rebecca

p.s. I'm not really sure if anyone is still reading this? If you are, make yourself known please :-)

26 May 2010

Week 19 - Paradise Cake

Hello! How are you all this week, hope you survived the mini heatwave! I'm struggling a little bit with the heat at the minute. Some of you may know I live in a loft apartment (ooo...makes me sound very SATC!), only problem is heat rises & my flat is quickly turned into a sauna. Now seeing as I spent most of the winter complaining how cold it was in the flat, you'd think I'd be happy...but no, I'm British, it's genetic that I have to complain about the weather! Never mind, saunas are meant to be good for you no?

So this weeks recipe is another one rescued from my Mum's scrapbook, she's raved about it for as long as I can remember, but I only ever think she's made it once! I've no idea where this recipe came from & I've never seen it in any other cookbooks, turns out it's a traditional Scottish recipe & that was about the sum total of Googles insight. That makes sense though, as both sides of my family are from the North East & I grew up pretty close to the borders. It's simple to make although I have to admit to taking a shortcut!

Now I know I've always said that baking is easy & cake mix shouldn't come out of a box, but LIFE'S TO SHORT TO MAKE PASTRY!! I have tried many times to make it & it always ends up a complete disaster. The first time I tried to blind bake pastry I didn't have any baking beans, the recipe said you could use rice instead. What I failed to notice was it said to wrap the rice in something first, I didn't, so ended up with uncooked grains of rice embedded in the pastry! I still haven't bought any baking beans & have come to terms with the fact that Jus-Rol can do something I can't & that doesn't make me a bad baker :-) Here goes...

250g shortcrust pastry (ready made or your own if you're feeling brave!)
100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg
60g glace cherries chopped
60g walnut pieces
60g ground almonds
100g sultanas

1. Grease a pie tin approx 18cm across. Roll out the pastry to line the tin, then trim off any excess

2. Cream together the butter & sugar, then beat in the egg until light & fluffy. Next stir in all the other ingredients & spread the mixture evenly into the pastry case, no need to blind bake!

3. Bake in the oven at 180c/GM5 for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin completely before tipping out

That last point I share with you from first hand experience, I got a bit over excited & tried to tip it out early! Lets just say you're lucky there's a picture this week, it took me a good 15 minutes to reconstruct it. But as I've always said, my cakes are not supermodels & it still tastes fantastic, I can see why Mum has gone on about it so much!

Have a good week, I hope the sun stays with you. We're fast approaching half way in my baking challenge & I'd really love to include some more of your requests, so please send your ideas my way. Ta ta, Rebecca x

19 May 2010

Week 18 - Mediterranean Muffins

I made it, I've survived my first marathon! Now this may be stating the bleedin obvious, but man alive 26.2 miles is a long way! Although I'd followed the training plan & was feeling ready for it, I don't think anything can prepare you mentally for the challenge. I also underestimated the difference of walking at night, it's all very well training in the Great Park after a good nights sleep & in the sunshine, but in the cold, depth of night, it's tough! That said it was an amazing experience, I have a huge amount of admiration for the Walk the Walk organisation, they have created a fantastic event & have raised a massive amount of money to support the fight against breast cancer. My own fundraising effort far surpassed my expectations & my total currently stands at £776, so thank you to everyone for their support.

I feel like I've consumed a huge amount of sugar over the last few weeks, so I've opted for a savoury recipe this week. I've chosen to use some of my favourite med style ingredients, but there are lots of other options like mozzarella or sun-dried tomatoes, the worlds your lobster!

300g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
150g halloumi cheese
125ml milk
40ml olive oil
2 eggs
50g olives
2 tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Sift the flour & baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Grate the halloumi & mix it in with the flour.

2. Lightly beat together the eggs & milk, stir in the olive oil, roughly chop the tomatoes & olives & add them to the liquids along with the oregano & some seasoning.

3. Add the eggy, milky mixture to the flour & stir until all the flour is combined. Line a 12 hole bun tin with paper cases & divide the mixture evenly. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for 30-35 minutes until well risen & golden brown on the top. Leave to rest in the tin for 5 minutes, then move to a rack to cool.

I like these best when they're still warm & you could easily pop them back into the oven for 10 minutes to warm them up again. Hope you enjoy this weeks savoury interlude! Next week I'll be digging out another of my mum's old recipes, we have no idea where it came from & have never come across it since, trust me it's a treat!

Also, just wondered if anyone had any tips or suggestions to improve the blog? I'm still new to this (well I've been doing it 18 weeks!) but would be grateful for any advice on how to improve it, or get more people to read it! Have a good week, Rebecca x

11 May 2010

Week 17 - Gingerbread Walkers

Hello cake mates! It's finally here, it's Moonwalk week! I'm so excited, I've finished training, my bra is definitely decorated in the 'Showtime' theme & I just want to get on & do it now! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me so far, not just with sponsorship, but with encouragement & footcare advice. Thanks also to Mum, Michael & Gemma who have given up a nights sleep to come & volunteer at the event, they'll be on one of the water stations & seeing them on route will definitely spur me on! This weeks recipe has been created as a last minute fundraising effort, on Tuesday I held a cookie sale at work & raised a fantastic £56. Thanks to everyone who bought one!

So my boss has now headed off on maternity leave & last week I mentioned I'd made an alternative cake for her. Well here it is, a nappy cake! I never knew such a thing even existed until I googled baby showers, but I've since found out they were featured in Sex & the City! It was a lot of fun to make, the gifts you can't see that were attached to the back included a rather large bar of chocolate, pro plus & ear plugs! It was quite an eye opener, who would have thought you could find a video tutorial on youtube on how to make a nappy cake. (And people think I have too much time on my hands!) Anyway, it went down a storm, so much so I think it's being kept as a decoration in baby's room.

Right, back to my little gingerbread walking buddies. I love gingerbread but don't make it that often, I'm a bit lazy when it comes to rolling & cutting out dough! It's easy to make the dough, it just needs a bit of muscle when you have to combine the flour. Make sure you keep an eye on them in the oven as they can turn from golden to burnt very quickly!

100g butter
100g demerara sugar
200g golden syrup
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
500g plain flour

1. Put the sugar & syrup into a pan & bring it up to boiling point over a gentle heat. Add the bicarb & give it a good stir, it will turn cloudy & froth up a bit so make sure you have room in the pan!

2. Chop the butter into small chunks & put into a large mixing bowl. Add the syrup mixture to the butter & stir until the butter is melted. Beat in the egg, then mix in the flour a little at a time until you end up with quite a stiff dough.

3. Dust a work surface with flour, then roll out the dough to about 2mm thick & cut out whatever shapes you like! I roll it out a little at a time as it makes it easier to handle. Pop them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper leaving a little space in between as they will expand.

4. Bake in the oven at 170c/GM3 for 10-15 minutes. I baked mine in batches, using a fresh bit of baking paper each time. That way it's easier to leave them to cool before decorating. I used a tube of writing icing to decorate mine. But in the past I've also used jelly tots & smarties, attaching them with a little bit of icing.

I never quite know how to eat a gingerbread man, legs first? I feel a bit bad biting his arms off! Never mind, they taste so good I quickly get over it! So that's me done for another week, wish me luck for Saturday, there's still time to sponsor me, just click here. Thanks again to everyone for their support & also for the messages letting me know you're still reading. I had a horrible feeling last week I was talking to myself, lovely to know I'm not! Take care, Rebecca x

5 May 2010

Week 16 - Millionaire's Shortbread

Hello, hope you all enjoyed the long weekend? I managed to time it perfectly & take advantage of the 5 hours of sunshine we did actually get! I completed my final long training walk on Saturday, 18 miles in 4.5 hours. So that's it, training done, I'm ready for the Moonwalk & I can't wait for the 15th May. I'm just hoping my feet heal in time, I'm still having problems with blisters & there doesn't seem to be enough compeed plasters in the world to help. I've even taken to padding around the office barefoot to avoid shoes making them worse! If anyone has any tried & tested methods to fix blisters, please please let me know, I've only got 10 days to go.

This weeks recipe is a request & one of my favourite sweet treats. I used to buy it ready made from the supermarket & always thought it would be really difficult to make at home? I came across this recipe in the Christmas edition of Olive magazine & thought I'd have a go! It's easier than you might think, it just takes a little time as you have to allow for cooling in between layers. That said, the result is amazing & I'll never go back to the shop bought stuff! Piccie will follow, my chocolate topping hadn't quite set yet!

Shortbread
50g caster sugar
150g butter
200g flour

Caramel

225g caster sugar
142ml double cream
25g butter

Topping
200g dark chocolate
40g butter
60g white chocolate

1. Blitz together the flour, sugar & butter in a food processor until you get a soft dough. Line a tin approx 20cm square with baking paper, leaving an overhang to make it easy to lift out of the tin. Tip the dough into the tin & firmly press down so it's evenly spread. Chill for 10 minutes, then bake in the oven at 160c/GM4 for 35 minutes until golden brown. Leave it to cool completely in the tin

2. To make the caramel, place all the ingredients into a pan & over a gentle heat bring it up to the boil until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer rapidly for about 30 minutes, it's tricky to know when it's ready, but I'm told you should drop a blob of caramel into a glass of water, if it stays together, it's done!

3. Once the base is cool, pour the caramel over the top & leave it to cool completely. Melt the dark chocolate & butter together, then pour over the caramel. Leave to set, then melt the white chocolate & drizzle over the top. Once it's all set, you can use the paper to lift it out of the tin & cut it into chunks

There's something really satisfying about making Millionaire's Shortbread, maybe because of the time that goes into it! The request came from my boss, who is leaving us (temporarily) to have a baby. So, I hope you enjoy it Kerry & that baby makes a safe arrival in the not too distant future! I have also made an alternative cake to mark the occasion, but as that's a surprise for Friday, I'll tell you about that next week. Right cake done, it's on to bra decorating for the Moonwalk...it's a very creative week! Enjoy, Rebecca

p.s. I'm not really sure if anyone is still reading this? If you are, make yourself known please :-)
 

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