Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Spiced Pears in Red Grape Juice

Spiced Pears in Red Grape Juice 

Eaten hot (which I prefer) or cold, this simple dessert smells of Christmas and the holiday season. It's so tasty on a cold winter day eaten warm it's to tasty to also be good for you. Equally good served cold in the summer.
As red grape juice is used instead of wine unlike most poached pear recipes, children and adults wishing not to drink alcohol can also share in this tasty and healthy dessert. Plus it's one of your five a day :)
Any left over liquid can be used on ice cream :)

  • 750mls Red Grape juice
  • 4 Ripe firm pears (peeled and insides removed from the bottom of the pear, keep any juices and add to the saucepan)
  • 1/2 orange (cut into 4 leave peel on again add any juice to the saucepan)
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 2 -3 Cloves
  • A little ginger (it adds a nice kick, I used fresh peeled ginger about the size of a 1/3 of my finger)
  • A teaspoon honey
How To
Put all ingredients except the pears into a medium sized saucepan and heat until it boils, stir well and add the pears, reduce heat so the liquid simmers (a low heat but it bubbles slowly). If you have a lid put it on the saucepan.
Simmer making sure you keep putting the juice mix over the pears for 40 minutes to 1 hour until tender (not to soft but not hard).
Remove the pears and put into bowls add the orange piece for decoration. Heat the liquid on boiling for 10 minutes until it reduces and thickens, spoon some of the liquid over each pear, be careful not to add the ginger, cloves or cinnamon. Leave to stand for a few minutes so the boiling liquid does not burn anyone. Can no be served hot. If you prefer it cold, leave to cool than place in a fridge for 3 - 4 hours before serving.

This post is linked to Cook and Celebrate: Christmas 2014 organised by Yen from Eat your heart out, Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe and me from Bake for Happy Kids.
Please link your post with us if you are also cooking something special for your Christmas celebration for the whole of December 2014.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Soda Bread Tea Towel arrived


http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3056085My tea towel with my mom's recipe for soda bread arrived. I still need to hem it, but I am so happy with the results of the print I thought I would post it anyway.
The recipe printed on it is at http://nezumiworldcakeshop.blogspot.co.uk/2007/09/soda-bread.html
The design is scaled for the cotton/ linen fabric mix and is available at spoonflower at http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3056085 as a fat quarter (1 tea towel) or by the yard (4 tea towels)
Now to hem it and make a soda bread.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Pineapple and Coconut Upside Down Cake

The weather is getting cooler and sometimes after a hard week working its just nice to relax with a warm slice of cake with custard or cream. Brings me back to my childhood, when there were some really back winters, my mom always made tasty warm treats to warm us up :)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400ºF/ gas mark 6
Prepare your baking tin (I used a greaseproof paper circle at the bottom of my silicone baking tin for ease of turn the cake out)

For the cake
  • 6 slices canned pineapple (drain the juice reserving 3 tablespoons of the liquid)
  • 100 grams/ 4oz/  ½ cup caster sugar/ (superfine USA)
  • 100 grams/ 4oz/  1 stick soft butter
  • 100 grams/ 4oz/ cup plain flour/ (all-purpose flour USA)
  •  3 Heaped tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder 
  •  2 Medium eggs 
Place your pineapple rings into your baking tin I overlapped my because I think it looks pretty when baked.
Beat together in a large bowl the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and continue beating the mixture.
Fold in the flour, coconut and pineapple liquid.
Mix until just combined (not over mixing)
Spoon mixture onto the pineapple slices and cook for approx. 30 minutes in a moderate heat oven or until brown.

Tip: if you put a knife into the centre of the cake it should come out clean (no mixture sticking to it)
Leave to cool slightly before carefully removing. Can be served it warm or cold, on its own or with custard or cream or both :)

Monday, 15 September 2014

Greengauge and Marzipan Cakes

I love greengages and meant to post this last month but time seems to speed by to fast. Greengages are a small sweet green coloured plum, they are only in the supermarket (cheap) for a few weeks each year and are great to eat as they are, but are also excellent to cook with. Most sweet plum recipes work with them. 

Preheat the oven 180 C / 350 F / Gas mark 4 
Prepare a 12-hole bun tray with paper cases

For the Grengage and Marzipan Cakes
  • 75g/ 3oz Softened butter
  • 75g/ 3oz Caster sugar
  • 1 Extra large egg (room temperature)
  • 100g/ 4oz Self raising flour (with a pinch of salt added)
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 6 Greengages (remove stones)
  • 100g/ 4oz Marzipan (also known as  almond paste)
To make the Cakes
Place the  butter and sugar into a large bowl then beat with spoon or electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
Add the egg one to the butter/ sugar mixture, beating until smooth.  
Add the flour, cinnamon and salt, fold them into the mixture until combined.

Chop the greengages and marzipan into silimar sized small cubes and add to the mixture,
lightly mixing in.

Divide the mixture into the prepared 12 bun tray filling each papercase so they are just over half full.

Bake the cakes for 12 - 15 minutes until golden-brown. Leave to cool.

No need to add any icing, these are sweet enough. For serving you could lightly dust with icing sugar (also known as confectioners sugar)

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Carrot Salad

OK this is not a cake or bake but it is sweet and good for you, plus with all the warm weather making a selection of salads to share with some tasty breads makes a perfect light lunch or diner.

  • 8 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons English mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (or lemon if you can not get a lime)
  • The grated zest from1 unwaxed lime (or lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey, to taste(depending on how sweet the carrots are)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds  

Grate the carrots into ribbons or long strips into a large bowl (you can use a peeler for this) and add the sliced spring onions and chopped parsley.
In a small bowl mix the mustard, lime, oils, honey, vinegar and salt mix well, taste to see if it needs more honey or mustard.
Add the oil mix to the carrots and mix making sure the carrots are evenly coated in the oil/ mustard mixture.
Leave for a couple of hours for all the flavours to combine, you may find the carrots shrink that is OK.
Serve in a large bowl or small individual bowls sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and lightly mix in just before serving.

Experiment adding different herbs, mustards and oils

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Focaccia Bread

So following on from the Victoria sandwich last week, I made a focaccia bread using a recipe from Paul Hollywood as this week is the the Great British Bake Off's bread week. I used some crushed rock salt instead of sea salt (I think it tastes more salty) and sprinkled on lots of dried rosemary.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off is back on TV (its the second week already), its moved from BBC 2 to BBC 1, I nearly missed it! (it is also available to watch on the BBC player)
So I decided to make some cake to eat while watching it, this Victoria sandwich recipe is from the wonderful Mary Berry's website. OK I halved the recipe and made one cake round and chopped it in half as there were only 2 of to eat it. I also added a little vanilla paste to the cake mix and made a vanilla buttercream instead of what looks like fresh cream (its missing from the recipe but the photo looks like it has whipped cream. So here's the photo of my cake and very tasty it was :)
Next week is bread week so I am planning to make Paul Hollywoods focaccia bread recipe

Friday, 2 May 2014

Soda Bread Tea Towel

My mom would have been 70 this month she died this year at the start of January, so it is an upsetting month for us. This weeks competition from Spoonflower is "Moms recipe tea towels" the brief was "No matter where you live in the world, nothing spells comfort like a home cooked meal from your mom or grandmother. Celebrate the important culinary women in your life this Mother's Day by designing a lovely recipe just like mom used to make. Recipes should fit a fat quarter-yard of our Linen-Cotton Canvas fabric. Entries will be previewed at the scale of a fat quarter (27" x 18")"
So the image up top is my entry "Mom's recipes - soda bread tea towel" with yes my moms soda bread recipe is on it. She made this all the time often making extra to give to friends.  I have this recipe here on this blog on a previous post from a few years ago, if you fancy making it :) My mom liked her fancy tea towels I am sure she would have been so happy to see the recipe on one.
To vote or just look at any of the entries in this week competition click on the link below, please remember to make sure you go all the way down to the bottom of the page and hit submit when you do vote so it is counted (you don't need to sign up to vote)

Monday, 17 March 2014

Irish Coffee Butterfly Cakes

Irish Coffee Butterfly Cakes 
I love coffee and as it St Patricks Day today a little Baileys added to the mix makes everything extra tasty and a little special :)
Preheat the oven 180 C / 350 F / Gas mark 4 
Prepare a 12-hole bun tray with paper cases

For the Butterfly Cakes
  • 100g/4oz Softened butter
  • 100g/4oz Caster sugar
  • 2 Small eggs (room temperature)
  • 100g/4oz Self raising flour (with a pinch of salt added)
  • 25g/1oz Ground almonds
  • 1 tsp Coffee extract (1 used 2 tsp coffee granules mixed with a tsp of boiling water)
  • 1 tbsp Baileys Original Irish Cream
For the buttercream
  • 125g/4½oz Softened butter
  • 200g/8oz Icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1 tsp Coffee extract (1 used 2 tsp coffee granules mixed with a tsp of boiling water)
  • 1 tbsp Baileys Original Irish Cream
To make the Butterfly Cakes
Place the  butter and sugar into a large bowl then beat with spoon or electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time (beat the first egg into the mixture totally before adding the second) to the butter/ sugar mixture, beating until smooth.  
Add the flour, ground almonds and salt fold them into the mixture until combined.
Stir in the coffee and bailey's.
Divide the mixture into the prepared 12 bun tray filling each papercase so they are just over half full.
Bake the cakes for 12 - 15 minutes until golden-brown. Leave to cool.

To make Buttercream
Put the butter, icing sugar, coffee extract and baileys into a large bowl. Beat with a spoon or electric mixer until smooth and creamy. 

To assemble butterfly cakes
Using a sharp knife hold it at an angle and cut a round out of the top of the cake. 
Using the round, cut it in half to make your wings.
Add a heaped teaspoon of buttercream into the hollow of the cake.
Place the wings into the buttercream
Dust lightly with a little icing sugar.  

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Apple and Blueberry Pies

It was my birthday recently and I popped into TK Max for a scarf as a present/ treat for myself, but I went to the household section first and found a baking tray with apple shapes and a matching set of apple cutters and they were half price :) so I bought them instead of the scarf.

One problem with the matching cutters was only one cutter (there are 5 in the pack) fit the tray.  This matching cutter cut the bottom pastry shape for the pie, I had to adjust a smaller shaped cutter for the lids to fit.

Apple and Blueberry Pies
  • 1 Sheet puff pastry (made or bought)
  • 1 Large cooking apple
  •  A few handfuls of blueberries 
  •  Sugar to taste (1 used about 1 heaped teaspoon as the blueberries were very sweet)
  •  1 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  1 heaped teaspoon cornflour
Preheat oven at 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6
Prepare baking tray (You can use a normal baking tray with rounds, I just wanted to try my new tray)

    Peel and dice the apple and put in a bowl with the blueberries, sugar and cinnamon, mix to together.

    Cut out pastry shapes and put into baking tray, divide up the apple mixture and add.

    Cut pie lids (you may need to re-roll your pastry)
    Wet the edges and place onto the baking tray pressing to edges to seal. Using a fork stab each pie lid (to let the steam out  as the pies cook)
    Cook until golden brown.

    Serve hot or cold with custard, ice-cream or cream

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