Wednesday, 23 November 2011

vanilla custard tart

I am not really a fan of custard tarts but I do like this one, maybe it is because it is not a shop brought on. For this I have used a Pate Sucree pastry which is also known as  sweet pastry. If you want to jazz up the tart you could always scatter it with fresh berries then sprinkle over some icing sugar or cocoa powder.

What you need:
4 oz plain flour
pinch salt
2 oz butter (soft)
2 oz caster sugar
2 egg yolks

2 egg yolks
1 1/2 oz caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod split and scrape out seeds
450ml single cream

what you do:
On a work top sift your flour and salt.
add the sugar and make a well add the butter. Using your fingers and start rubbing the flour into the butter. Start from the inside so that you still have a well when it is time to add the eggs. Once you have a the butter mixed in with most of the flour and sugar add the eggs and mix in the rest of the flour and sugar. Once you have a dough
 start to knead your pastry. Once it is smooth
wrap it in cling film  and put it in the fridge. Leave for at least 30 minutes. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out your pastry. Line your pastry tin ( look in pastry tips for how to line your tin) then prick the base,
cover with grease proof paper and add your beans. Put in the fridge and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 200 o'C (put in a baking tray as you will need to place your pastry tin on this) and bake your pastry blind for 10 minutes then remove beans and grease proof paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove pastry (but leave the tray in the oven)
and lower your oven temp to 160 o'C

beat the eggs, yolk and sugar until thick.
In a pan place you cream and vanilla pod and seeds. Cook on a low heat until the cream just starts to boil. Remove the pod and pour into the egg mix stirring constantly. place a large jug on your work top and put a sieve on top of it the pour your custard mix through this. 
Put your cooled pre- baked pastry case on your tray in the oven and pour in the custard mix (this will help prevent spills)

bake for 45 minutes until lightly set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Remove from tin.

Happy Baking 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Cookie Swap Lebkuchen

A while ago I was reading this blog love and olive oil  and they are doing a cookie swap, as I was reading it I was disappointed to read that it was in the US only (I live in UK) but reading further down the page it was open to other countries as long as you could drum up other blogger's who would take part. So I posted on my face book and twitter page and found out that there was in fact a lot of blogger's from UK doing it so I signed up for it.
Its a bit like a secret Santa just instead of presents we do biscuits. We all get emails saying who we are sending to. We have to have them posted by the 5th december and then do our blog by the 12th.

So I have recieved my email telling me who I will be sending my biscuits to now ( Helen at bakery cottage,  Catherine at soup-tuesday and Bob at foodie bob )
 I have to decide how to send them as I have never sent any baked food by post. I will tell you what I received once I have told you how to make Lebkucken.
My Lebkucken are not like the ones you can buy they are a soft moist texture but the smells and taste are yummy even if I do say so my self. These are a fantastic little Christmas biscuit. 

What you need:
250g plain flour
85g Almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of - ground cloves, ground nutmeg and black pepper (you can do as big a pinch as you like)
200ml honey
85g butter
zest 1 lemon ( use the juice for the icing)


Royal Icing
2 egg whites or 1 sachet of egg white powder (follow packet instructions to make up)
500g icing sugar shifted
1 tsp lemon juice
food colouring (your choice)
decorations of your choice

Melted chocolate

What you do:


Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl including the zest.

In a pan heat the honey and the butter until the butter has melted,

 pour this into the dry mix and using a wooden spoon mix until it forms a dough.
 cover with a tea towel and leave until cool
Preheat your oven to 160 o'C and line your baking trays with grease proof paper.
Knead the dough for a couple of seconds so that the dough is smooth

Roll out your dough to a minimum of 1cm thick and cut out your desired shapes. Place them on the baking tray but leave a gap between them. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on the middle shelf.
Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool

Decorating and Packing 

Royal Icing

To make royal icing whisk the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks (had to borrow my mother in-laws whisk. I will get round to buying one eventually.)
 add lemon juice and whisk some more, fold in the icing sugar until fully incorporated. (note to self remove whisk before adding the icing sugar)
 (also see royal icing/flooding technique) Place into you piping bags or bottles do the outlines
 water down the icing so that it is slightly runny, then fill in and leave to set.

Melted Chocolate

Break up your chocolate into a bowl and place the bowl onto a pan of simmering water (make sure the water and the bowl do not touch), then you can pipe, brush or dip your biscuits into it. For the snowmans hat, eyes, nose, mouth, buttons and scarf I piped it on. For the christmas trees I brushed it on and then sprinkled some hundreds and thousands onto them.

To send them I brought some plastic containers covered the base in grease proof paper then place the cookies inside making sure I put more grease proof in to protect them.

Once the where all secure I put the lids on and wrapped in parcel paper already to be posted. Ok so I sent 2 in the post and hand delivered one as she lives round the corner.

What I received.

As you can see by my blog roll that I follow a lot of blogs so I was really pleased that when I opened by first parcel it was to find poppy seed and lemon biscuits from Beckie writer of beesteas. Her biscuits are absolutely yummy, my 3 year old son has eaten most of them. What was left I had to make sure they where out of reach and where he could not climb or put a chair but I am sure he will find away. What I like about the biscuits is even though the lemon is tart it is not over powering. So I am looking forward to when she posts the recipe as I will definitely be making some even if I have to do two batches.

My second batch of cookies was from the lovely Amy writer of weeklybakeoff.(another one that I follow, I was that pleased I jumped up and down like a big kid). Her biscuits where a (please note the where as they did not last long) Peanut butter and Bournville Cookie. Two of my favourite things in a cookie made me one happy lady. My daughter tried these ones and she loved them which made me laugh as she does not like peanut butter so I decided not tell her what is in them. I am also going to make sure that when I bake these she is not in so she can not see what goes into them. (Yes I know I am a sneaky mummy hiding what goes into food/baked goods.)

My third and final batch of cookies arrived this morning (7/12/11). These where from the lovely Julie who writes this fantastic blog julie bradhen (another one of the blogs I follow, again I was jumping up and down like a kid, simple things and all that.)
Julie was also kind enough to put in two little presents one was a little red Christmas tree with white dots (Now handing on the Christmas tree) and the other was a Green and Blacks milk chocolate (this I will keep for after the kids have gone to bed.).
the biscuits that I received are Molasses. This is the first time that I have ever had a Molasses biscuit and I am please to say they are really really yummy so much so in fact I don not think I will share them with my kids ok so we all know I will as I am a great big softy when it comes to my babies.
These cookies had a lovely crunchy out side while still chewy on the inside. Out of the three batches of cookies that I received I think this is going to be the first one I bake.

If you have a blog and are interested in signing up, click on this link  cookie swap notifications and sign up. They will then keep you updated.
You can also find them on Face Book ( facebook.Great-Food-Blogger-Cookie-Swap )

Happy Baking

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Honey and Cream Cupcakes

I love honey, it is one of my favourite things to have on fresh home made bread which is toasted, my kids not so much a fan of it so far this has been the only way to get them to eat it and they love these cupcakes. (this is one of the reasons why I love baking, I can sneak in the things they do not like.)

what you need:
4 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
1 egg separated
7 tbsp honey ( I used clear runny honey)
9 oz plain flour sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
8 tbsp milk ( you may need more as you need a dough to be of soft dropping consistency)

300 ml double cream
honey (enough to drizzle over the cream. You can put as much or as little as you want)

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 180o'C and line you cupcake tins with cases or you can just butter your tins, you will need about 18.
In a bowl beat the butter and the sugar until creamy.
 Beat in the egg yolk. Add honey and mix it in.
 Fold in the flour and bicarbonate of soda until combined
 then add in the milk.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff and
then fold into the cupcake mixture until fully combined (please make sure it is fully combined or you will end up with whites spots once cooked) Divide between cupcake case.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes (put them on the shelf just below the middle) check they are cooked by inserting a skewer they should also be firm to touch.

If you are baking them directly in the tin then leave them in there for about 5 minutes then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you are baking them in cupcake cases then turn them out on to a wire rack.

Once your cupcakes are cool whip your cream until you get stiff peaks (if doing this by hand like me then get ready for sore arms) Taste your cream as you may want to add a pinch of caster sugar into it just to make it sweet. Pipe the cream onto your cup cakes and then drizzle in honey.

Happy Baking

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Lambs Liver Pasty

I am afraid I only have a photo of the finish product and one of it just after I have folded it over as it seems I have lost all pictures that were on my phone.
For these I did not leave them in the oven for the times that I have indicated as I knew we would be reheating them and I did not want the pastry to burn.
Now I am not a liver fan seriously hate the stuff but my lovely (ok not always so lovely) man loves liver and forgoes it for me so I found this recipe and thought I would give it a go and while cooking the liver (had to taste it to make sure it was cooked as he was not in) I thought I would give one of the pasty's a try and I loved it, I mean really loved it so now I make them when ever I fancy a bit of liver, which in all honesty is not very often.
You can get about 6 decent sized ones and have a bit of filling left over (depends on how thick you do your pastry I tend to do 1/4 inch thick)
If you are concerned that you are going to get a soggy bottom when cooking the pastry you can brush the inside with beaten egg but you must let it dry before you add on your filling.
What you need:
8 oz plain flour
1/2 tsp crushed sea salt
2 oz margarine (I used stork)
2 oz vegetable fat
2 tbsp cold water (you may need more, only use enough to form the dough)
4 oz lambs liver cut in to bit size pcs
4 oz bacon (you can use lardon's) diced
1 small to medium sized onion chopped finely
1 oz lard
2 oz mushrooms sliced
1/2 tbsp parsley (fresh or dry)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper to season
1 beaten egg
grated cheese

what you do:
Sieve flour and salt into a bowl add the lard and (run your hands under cold water before you do this bit) rub with your fingers until your flour resembles breadcrumbs
add water and using your hands mix to form a dough. Knead it for a few minutes then wrap in cling film and stick it in the fridge for an hour.
Roll out your pastry and cut out circles that are 15cm in diameter and leave to rest. cover with a tea towel.
Preheat your oven to 180o'C
Melt the lard in a frying pan add the liver, onion and bacon and fry for about 5 minutes add the mushrooms and herbs and fry for a couple of minutes.
 Divide the filling between the pastry, only put on one half of the pastry as you will be folding the pastry over,
lightly brush edges with a little beaten egg fold the pastry over the filling

and pinch the pastry together, You can crimp it. Place the pastry on a baking tray brush with beaten egg and sprinkle on the cheese. Pierce a hole at the top of your pastry to let out the steam. Place in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until a nice dark golden brown.

Happy Baking

Friday, 11 November 2011

Chocolate, date and Almond filo coil

I am not a fan of dates but me being me I love them in this. Normally I would buy my Filo pastry when doing this but since I really got into my baking I tend to try and make my own stuff. I have spent ages trying to get the pastry just right and Think I finally have.
This tastes great hot or cold, on its own or with cream it is up to you.

What you need:
4 oz plain flour
pinch salt
5 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 oz butter melted (this is to stick the sheets of pastry together so only melt when you are ready)
3 oz unsalted butter
4 oz dark chocolate
4 oz ground Almonds
4 oz chopped dates
3 oz icing sugar
2 tbsp cold water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Cocoa powder
icing sugar
ground cinnamon.

What you do:

In a bowl sieve your flour and salt.
 Add the water to form a stiff dough.
Place your dough onto a work top make a hole in the centre and add your 2 tbsp of oil and start to knead your dough. Knead until your dough is smooth and elastic.

Very lightly oil your the dough in this ans cover with a damp tea towel
 and leave it to rest for two hours.
Melt the chocolate with the butter in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Once melted remove from heat and add the almonds, dates, sugar, water and cinnamon and mix to create a past cover with a tea towel and leave to cool completely.
Divide dough into 12 pieces. very lightly flour your work top and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to as thin as you can get them. If you are going to stack them sprinkle some flour on them to help prevent sticking. leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Very gently stretch the dough, you need it to be transparent.

I did this by putting my fingertips under the dough and gently pulling at it. Take your time. I did not stack my dough I had them all spread out on very lightly floured plastic place mats on the dining room table.
If you are going to stack the I suggest you do so with  lightly floured grease proof baking paper between each sheet of dough.
Preheat your oven to 180o'C, place a baking tray in there on the middle shelf and grease a round cake tin.
 When you come to use it lightly brush off and excess flour place on sheet on the work top and gently brush with a little melted butter place another sheet of pastry onto this
 and take some of your cooled chocolate filling and roll into a sausage shape, place this onto on edge of your pastry
 and tightly roll. Place this along the outside of your tin.
Repeat the process of placing two sheets of pastry together and rolling with the chocolate mix until your tin is full.
Brush the top of your coil with the rest of the melted butter and place in the oven on the middle shelf on top of the baking tray (help prevent soggy bottom) and bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Leave in the tin for a few minutes then remove.
very gently dust with icing sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder.

Happy Baking

Filo Pastry

I have been messing about with this recipe for a long time, trying different methods to getting the correct thinness as there is no way to roll it to a transparent thickness not unless you are a machine. I will warn  you that it looks nothing like the shop brought stuff but does taste as nice. It does take a while to make as you need to leave the pastry to stand for a couple of hours and you also need cold hands and a cool environment.
I have found the perfect place for me to do this is at the dining room table using the plastic place mats we have.
You also need to be very light handed when it come to stretching the dough.
You can double up on this recipe to make more if you need more than 12 sheets.

What you need:
4 oz plain flour
pinch salt
5 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp of olive oil

What you do:
In a bowl sieve your flour and salt. Add the water to form a stiff dough.

Place your dough onto a work top make a hole in the centre and add your 2 tbsp of oil and start to knead your dough. Knead until your dough is smooth and elastic.

Very lightly oil your the dough in this ans cover with a damp tea towel and leave it to rest for two hours.
Divide dough into 12 pieces.
very lightly flour your work top and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to as thin as you can get them
. If you are going to stack them sprinkle some flour on them to help prevent sticking. leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Very gently stretch the dough, you need it to be transparent.

I did this by putting my fingertips under the dough and gently pulling at it. Take your time. I did not stack my dough I had them all spread out on very lightly floured plastic place mats on the dining room table.
If you are going to stack the I suggest you do so with  lightly floured grease proof baking paper between each sheet of dough. When you come to use it lightly brush off and excess flour.
If you are going to need to put any sheets together for your recipe I suggest very lightly butter it with melted butter.

Happy baking

Corn Bread

My youngest step son come over on Tuesday for his tea and he had requested Chilli, so I thought maybe we would have corn bread to go with it and I am so pleased that we did as it really does go well together.
If you do not know where to get the corn meal from Asda do it, it is in the world food isle. If you can not find it you can use polenta instead.

What you need:
3 oz butter
4 oz margarine
4 oz plain flour
1 1/2 oz caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
6 oz cornmeal
12 floz milk
2 eggs

What you do:
Preheat your oven to 190 o'C and butter you loaf tin and line the base.
In a small sauce pan place your butter and margarine. Put it on a low to medium heat and allow to melt completely.
While your butter is melting sift your flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl
and mix in the cornmeal.

Put your milk in a large jug, add your eggs and melted butter and whisk it all together.

Add your milk mix to your dry ingredients, mix until combined,
try not to over mix it, pour it into your loaf tin
 and place in the oven on the bottom shelf and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Do the skewer test (it needs to come out clear)
leave to cool in your tin for about 10 minutes and then transfer onto a wire rack. This can be sliced while warm or cold.
Sorry about the finished photo certain people started picking at it after the meal.

Happy Baking

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Gipsy Bread

So I had a load of treacle left after making my bonfire night toffee and I was wondering what I could do with it when I remembered that Gipsy Bread uses it and low and behold what was left in the tin was exactly what I needed.
I love the smell and taste of treacle (just a bit of useless information for you)
when using it heat up your spoons or the tin as it is easier to handle.
Normally you would use mixed peel in this but since I did not have any I used what mixed dried fruit I had in the kitchen.

What you need:
10oz self raising flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 oz brown sugar
6 oz sultanas
1 oz chopped peel
6 oz black treacle
2 tbsp milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp bicarbonate

what you do:
grease you loaf tin with butter, make sure you do it really well especially the corners.
Preheat your oven to 180 o'c .
In a large mixing bowl put your flour, salt, ginger, sugar, sultanas and peel

In a medium sized pan put your treacle and 1 tbsp of milk and mix,
heat this up on a low to medium heat you want it to be heat through and make the treacle like liquid so that it is smooth and runny. DO NOT LET IT BOIL
In a cup mix your bicarbonate of soda with 1 tbsp of milk so that the bicarbonate dissolves.
Once your treacle has reached the desired consistency remove from heat and in your egg and whisk.
Then whisk in your milk and bicarbonate of soda mix.
Mix your treacle mix into your flour
 start off with a wooden spoon and when it cools use your hand and mix until it is all combined and starts to stick together a bit like a dough. Put this in your loaf tin.
Place your loaf tin on the bottom shelf of your oven and bake for 45minutes then turn down your oven temperature to 160o'C and bake for another 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in your loaf tin for 10 minutes then carefully remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

As you can see this one ended up slightly burnt but that is only because my son escaped and figured getting him back in safe and sound was worth burning the loaf.
Happy baking

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Banana and oat bars

For this months challenge the pink whisk is doing trays bakes, so I thought I would enter this yummy banana and oat bar.
Normally I would cook this in my Swiss roll tin but it seems it along with my whisk have disappeared so today I have baked it in my square cake tin, so the oats will be a bit thicker than normal, which I am sure my children will not mind.
I have added a handful of mixed dried fruit to go with the banana's but you can use some chopped nuts any that you type that you want. I also added a teaspoon of cinnamon just to give it a bit of a kick but you do not have to do this.

What you need:
8oz porridge oats
8oz caster sugar
8oz plain flour
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
8oz butter (you can use soft or hard it does not matter)
2 eggs beaten
4 bananas peeled and sliced
a handful of mixed dried fruit (you can use nuts instead)
1 tsp of cinnamon (optional)

What you do:
Grease a Swiss roll tin with butter and preheat your oven to 190o'C
In a large bowl mix all your dried ingredients together.

With your hands rub the butter then add the eggs and mix with your hands until it is all combined and forms a slightly sticky dough.
Line your greased tin with half the the dough
 and spread the banana slices onto this, sprinkle on your dried mix fruit, spinkle on you cinnamon

 and cover with the rest of your oat dough and press down.

Place on the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm to touch.

Leave on the tray to cool completely then cut into bars.

Happy Baking

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bonfire Night Toffee

I have enjoyed making this today more so because my hubby has been in the kitchen helping me while I was do the thermometer checks. It will take a while to get to the desired temperature about 30 minutes but it is so simple.
You will need to heat your spoons when weighing out your treacle and boiling water from a kettle when cleaning.
I should also tell you it is a very hard and chewy toffee and if you have the teeth for it very yummy

What you need:
8oz Demerara Sugar
8oz black treacle
4oz Butter

What you do:
Butter your square tin

On a medium heat melt the butter in a heavy based pan

Add the treacle and sugar and continue to heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat up
slightly and simmer until it reaches a temperature of 140oC on your sugar thermometer.
Pour into your tin and allow to cool
 when it is starting to set use a sharp knife and mark out squares. when cold break your toffee into pieces and store in wrapped grease proof paper in and air tight container.

Happy Baking

Cinder Toffee (honey Comb)

This recipe is not my own but is so Yummy I just had to share I do believe that it is originally a Jamie Oliver recipe but can not be sure as it is on paper from my mother in-law.
If you are going to make this make sure you use an old heavy based pan and when it come to cleaning use boiled water.

What you need
300g caster sugar
150g Golden syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
5 tbsp cold water
1 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

What you do:
line a small square tin ( I have used my brownie tin.)

In your heavy based pan put the caster sugar, Golden Syrup, Cream of Tartar and cold water. Put it on a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Increase your heat to medium to high and bring your mix to the boil, stir ocassionaly cook it until it reaches 154oC on your sugar thermometer,
While your mix is bubbling fill your sink so that when the pan sits into it it comes to about 1/4 of a way up the side. DO NOT FILL TO HIGH AS WATER WILL RUIN YOUR TOFFEE MIX.

Place your pan in the water and add the Bicarbonate of Soda and whisk, it will foam up, pour it into your tin and allow to cool.
When it is cool remove the baking paper if you find it is sticking just lightly damp it.
This is the fun part you need to smash it if you do not have a nice clean hammer then use the back of a sharp knife.
store in an air tight container

Happy Baking

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Thin Crust White Bread

Two days ago my lovely partner made some home made soup which we  had for tea last night while we were discussing what to make for the children's tea I asked if he would like bread, which we forgot to buy on our shopping trip to Asda yesterday morning, I know why buy it when i can make it, so I said I would make some. Now I have used 1kg of flour so I have made some rolls and a loaf , as it seems we forgot to buy a loaf of  bread to (at least I managed to get everything I need for the macaroons I am making today) so you can  make two loafs out of this, lots of bread rolls or a loaf and some bread rolls.

what you need:
1kg strong white flour
650ml of water needs to be blood temperature
1 sachet of easy bake yeast
2 1/2 tsp crushed sea salt
2 1/2 tsp caster sugar
4 tbsp of olive oil.

what you do:
Place your flour onto your work top mix in your yeast, salt and sugar. make a large well and pour in your oil

and water mix to create a dough.

 Knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough.

Place your dough into a floured bowl and and cover with cling film
and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place, it want to double in size.

Lightly flour a work top and place your dough onto this, gently knead down and cut in half.
If you are making rolls then cut your dough into equal amounts and place onto floured baking trays

if you are making loaf shape to how you want it circle or rectangle and place on a floured baking tray

cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place until again it has doubled in size
Near the end of the proving time preheat your oven to 160o'C
When your bread dough is ready to go in the oven place sprinkle with flour
rolls - middle shelf and bake for 15 -20 minutes

loafs - on bottom shelf and bake for 30- 40 minutes.

They must sound hollow when they are tapped
Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Happy Baking