14 September 2011

As if I need an excuse to eat cake....it's National Cupcake Week!

It seems pretty much every day or week in the year is dedicated to some food group or another, to the point that it's getting a little bit daft. I mean Caesar Salad Day & Split Pea Soup Week, really? One of the more sensible events is National Cupcake Week which runs until this Friday, the ambition is to celebrate bakers creativity & passion, supporting & promoting local independent bakers as well as teaming up with some of the bigger boys of the baking world to raise money for CLIC Sargent. Hurrah for Cupcake Week I say! I never need an excuse to eat cake, but I've needed to find some fresh motivation to get back into my baking...consider me re-motivated.

So this was a complete experiment! I wanted to try & combine two of my favourite flavours in a cupcake, peanut butter & jam, or jelly if you're from tuther side of the pond? I don't normally keep peanut butter in the house, purely for the reason that it tends to disappear quite quickly, from jar to spoon to my tummy! I used my basic cupcake mixture as a base & gradually built up the flavour using crunchy peanut butter to add some texture. For the jammy bit, I made a light & fluffy butter cream flavoured with strawberry jam.

For the cakes
250g butter
3 eggs
275g caster sugar
350ml natural greek yoghurt
1tsp vanilla extract
100g peanut butter
450g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tsps baking powder

For the frosting
150g butter softened
250g icing sugar
Dash of milk
2tbsps strawberry jam

1. Melt the butter in a large bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla & sugar then add it to the melted butter, stirring well. Next mix in the yoghurt, then add the peanut butter.

2. Sift in the dry ingredients & fold together. Spoon into paper cases & bake at 180c/GM4 for around 20 minutes. Lift out & leave to cool while you prepare the frosting.

3. Cream together the butter & sugar with a fork until smooth & creamy. At this point I switch to a spatula to mix in dash of milk to loosen it up a little. Finally beat in the strawberry jam until fluffy & a gorgeous shade of pink.

4. Frost your cakes as you wish, mine always look a little rustic! For the larger cakes I topped them with a chunk of a Reeces Peanut Butter Cup!

The little star shaped cakes I made using some silicon moulds which were a pressie for my birthday. I was always a bit sceptical about silicon bakeware, but they worked really well, the cakes popped out really easily & they washed up a treat...think I might be a convert?

So what's the verdict? DELICIOUS! The saltiness from the peanut butter in the cake is really balanced by the sweet sticky jam in the frosting. It's got me thinking about other combinations I could have a crack at....any ideas, please share, always up for a challenge :-)

Hope you enjoy what's left of Cupcake Week. Eat cake! Oh & if you were wondering Caesar Salad Day is July 4th & Split Pea Soup Week is in November, might give that one a miss? Till next time, Rebecca x

7 September 2011

A Delicious menu to get me back in my foodie groove!

Do you find every now & again you suddenly get hit in the face with the fact that you're on a bit of a treadmill, seeming to do a lot & not much all at the same time? Well that's exactly what happened to me at the weekend! I feel like order has been lost & chaos reigns in my life at the moment. It's a scary reality to realise your stable diet for the last month has pretty much been cheese on toast, marmite spaghetti or, & I'm quite ashamed to admit this, Heinz ravioli eaten cold straight from the tin! With everything feeling so chaotic, I'd lost my enthusiasm for food, which is not like me at all. It was time to take stock & get control back - I do realise there is a risk that this post will appear to make me look like a control freak....I'm not I promise :-)

So I dusted off my pile of Olive & Delicious magazines that had accumulated still in their wrappers & set too looking for fresh inspiration. It always makes me hungry reading these mags, so I fuelled up with one of the few remaining things in my kitchen, a bowl of Coco Pops Rocks, (good grief it's not getting any better is it???) & marched off to the supermarket.

I'd decided I was going to cook dinner for my Mum, so patched together a menu from the July issue of Delicious. I wanted to share my creations with you in a bid to get myself back into my foodie groove & spur me on to do more.

To start I made Traditional Andalusian Gazpacho soup which was taken from Rick Stein's Spain book, complete with homemade croutons. It was the first time I'd made croutons & honestly, once you've tried them you'll never go back, dead simple to make too!

Main course was taken from the same Rick Stein feature, Lamb-stuffed aubergines with Moorish spices & manchego cheese, which I served with a green salad. Manchego is one of my weaknesses it was completely delicious paired with the lamb & succulent aubergine.

For dessert I chose a Fig & Raspberry tart which was yummy served warm with creme fraiche. It had an almond base so turned out a bit like a really posh bakewell tart.

The result was a big success! I've had a look around the wonderweb, but haven't been able to find any of the recipes, sorry :-( That said based on the dishes I tried, Rick Steins book could be worth a closer look.

So I'm feeling part way back on track, my fridge is full of fruit & veg & I'm actually cooking again! I'm feeling the restorative powers of having blogged & can feel the healing foodie vibes coming back at my from the blogsphere! I just need to sort out a hair cut, some exercise, tackle my paperwork, the mound of ironing & we're all good. For now, yours, a slightly more organised Rebecca x

p.s. I only have to look after me & get overwhelmed at times, Mum's & Dad's I don't know how you do it!

14 September 2011

As if I need an excuse to eat cake....it's National Cupcake Week!

It seems pretty much every day or week in the year is dedicated to some food group or another, to the point that it's getting a little bit daft. I mean Caesar Salad Day & Split Pea Soup Week, really? One of the more sensible events is National Cupcake Week which runs until this Friday, the ambition is to celebrate bakers creativity & passion, supporting & promoting local independent bakers as well as teaming up with some of the bigger boys of the baking world to raise money for CLIC Sargent. Hurrah for Cupcake Week I say! I never need an excuse to eat cake, but I've needed to find some fresh motivation to get back into my baking...consider me re-motivated.

So this was a complete experiment! I wanted to try & combine two of my favourite flavours in a cupcake, peanut butter & jam, or jelly if you're from tuther side of the pond? I don't normally keep peanut butter in the house, purely for the reason that it tends to disappear quite quickly, from jar to spoon to my tummy! I used my basic cupcake mixture as a base & gradually built up the flavour using crunchy peanut butter to add some texture. For the jammy bit, I made a light & fluffy butter cream flavoured with strawberry jam.

For the cakes
250g butter
3 eggs
275g caster sugar
350ml natural greek yoghurt
1tsp vanilla extract
100g peanut butter
450g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tsps baking powder

For the frosting
150g butter softened
250g icing sugar
Dash of milk
2tbsps strawberry jam

1. Melt the butter in a large bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla & sugar then add it to the melted butter, stirring well. Next mix in the yoghurt, then add the peanut butter.

2. Sift in the dry ingredients & fold together. Spoon into paper cases & bake at 180c/GM4 for around 20 minutes. Lift out & leave to cool while you prepare the frosting.

3. Cream together the butter & sugar with a fork until smooth & creamy. At this point I switch to a spatula to mix in dash of milk to loosen it up a little. Finally beat in the strawberry jam until fluffy & a gorgeous shade of pink.

4. Frost your cakes as you wish, mine always look a little rustic! For the larger cakes I topped them with a chunk of a Reeces Peanut Butter Cup!

The little star shaped cakes I made using some silicon moulds which were a pressie for my birthday. I was always a bit sceptical about silicon bakeware, but they worked really well, the cakes popped out really easily & they washed up a treat...think I might be a convert?

So what's the verdict? DELICIOUS! The saltiness from the peanut butter in the cake is really balanced by the sweet sticky jam in the frosting. It's got me thinking about other combinations I could have a crack at....any ideas, please share, always up for a challenge :-)

Hope you enjoy what's left of Cupcake Week. Eat cake! Oh & if you were wondering Caesar Salad Day is July 4th & Split Pea Soup Week is in November, might give that one a miss? Till next time, Rebecca x

7 September 2011

A Delicious menu to get me back in my foodie groove!

Do you find every now & again you suddenly get hit in the face with the fact that you're on a bit of a treadmill, seeming to do a lot & not much all at the same time? Well that's exactly what happened to me at the weekend! I feel like order has been lost & chaos reigns in my life at the moment. It's a scary reality to realise your stable diet for the last month has pretty much been cheese on toast, marmite spaghetti or, & I'm quite ashamed to admit this, Heinz ravioli eaten cold straight from the tin! With everything feeling so chaotic, I'd lost my enthusiasm for food, which is not like me at all. It was time to take stock & get control back - I do realise there is a risk that this post will appear to make me look like a control freak....I'm not I promise :-)

So I dusted off my pile of Olive & Delicious magazines that had accumulated still in their wrappers & set too looking for fresh inspiration. It always makes me hungry reading these mags, so I fuelled up with one of the few remaining things in my kitchen, a bowl of Coco Pops Rocks, (good grief it's not getting any better is it???) & marched off to the supermarket.

I'd decided I was going to cook dinner for my Mum, so patched together a menu from the July issue of Delicious. I wanted to share my creations with you in a bid to get myself back into my foodie groove & spur me on to do more.

To start I made Traditional Andalusian Gazpacho soup which was taken from Rick Stein's Spain book, complete with homemade croutons. It was the first time I'd made croutons & honestly, once you've tried them you'll never go back, dead simple to make too!

Main course was taken from the same Rick Stein feature, Lamb-stuffed aubergines with Moorish spices & manchego cheese, which I served with a green salad. Manchego is one of my weaknesses it was completely delicious paired with the lamb & succulent aubergine.

For dessert I chose a Fig & Raspberry tart which was yummy served warm with creme fraiche. It had an almond base so turned out a bit like a really posh bakewell tart.

The result was a big success! I've had a look around the wonderweb, but haven't been able to find any of the recipes, sorry :-( That said based on the dishes I tried, Rick Steins book could be worth a closer look.

So I'm feeling part way back on track, my fridge is full of fruit & veg & I'm actually cooking again! I'm feeling the restorative powers of having blogged & can feel the healing foodie vibes coming back at my from the blogsphere! I just need to sort out a hair cut, some exercise, tackle my paperwork, the mound of ironing & we're all good. For now, yours, a slightly more organised Rebecca x

p.s. I only have to look after me & get overwhelmed at times, Mum's & Dad's I don't know how you do it!
 

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