Archive for category Baking
What a long break from blogging I’ve had, (did anyone notice, haha)! I often go longer than I mean to between posts although long ago gave up trying to keep up with all the bloggers that post without fail each week (or each day)! However this was a long break even for me. After a fabulous holiday spent in Vermont where I completely forgot about everything and all routine went out of the window I was left wondering if there was a recipe left in me, I had no inspiration at all, until the discovery of this season’s blood oranges put me back on track!
I think part of the reason for my lack of inspiration is that I’m caught with that January feeling that I should be eating more healthily but not wanting to, then wondering what’s wrong with me that I have so little control! My head is a busy place this month! Anyone else feel the same or are you all diligently watching what you are eating? Kudos to you if you are! I am pretty much a rule follower but hate been told what to do so I think all the articles and constant talk of diets makes me rebel, after all isn’t January depressing enough? So for those rebels out there I offer you cake in January! For those avoiding cake, I’m sorry save this recipe and healthy new year recipes will resume!
I was so happy to come across the first of the blood oranges but then typically a few sat in the fruit bowl which led me to make this blood orange cake, a simple cake made with olive oil. Using olive oil eliminates the need to soften butter, which in colder climates can take quite a while! I based my cake on the Lemon Olive Oil cake that I make regularly. That cake is such a success so I thought I would swap blood orange juice for the lemon. I didn’t have yoghurt available so made my own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to 125 mls of milk. This cake is not fancy, it’s just the right sort of plain with a simple blood orange syrup topping it. I like a slice with a cup of coffee but it would be great served with ice-cream as a dessert!
I wont pretend this is healthy in any way but it is good!
Blood Orange Cake
- 250 grams sugar
- 1 egg
- 125 ml buttermilk
- 100 ml olive oil
- 250 grams self-raising flour
- zest and juice of 3 blood oranges, reserve the juice for the syrup
for the glaze
- 60 grams sugar
- 100 ml blood orange juice
Grease and base line an 8 inch cake tin (I used a silicone one this time). Preheat oven to 350 F, 180 C, Gas 4.
- Whisk together the sugar and eggs.
- Mix in the buttermilk.
- Add the olive oil and blood orange zest.
- Fold in the flour.
- Pour mixture into cake tin.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean when inserted into middle of cake.
- While cake is baking make the syrup by putting the blood orange juice and sugar into a small sauce pan and heat until the sugar has melted, remove from the heat and leave until needed.
- When the cake is baked, take from the oven and while still hot prick cake surface with a toothpick and pour the blood orange syrup over the cake. Leave to cool in the tin.
For years my only experience of pumpkins was carving faces into them at Halloween, my sister and I used to get one each and were left (at a surprisingly young age!) to carve them ourselves, after such fun we would roast the pumpkin seeds but that was all we ate of the pumpkin. I was all grown up before I would taste pumpkin pie and if I’m honest it’s not my favourite thing although there is something about it that has me craving it and trying again each autumn. I’ve decided that it’s the flavour of the spices that keeps me coming back. You can buy pumpkin pie spice although its only available here at inflated import prices so I thought Id try to make my own.
If you bake you are likely to already have the spices you need for this, it will take mere moments to make. You will the then have the perfect spice for your autumn baking regardless of whether pumpkin is involved!
tip: Saving an old spice jar is perfect for this if you don’t already have a little tin or jar. While you are at it why not make extra to give as a little gift?
Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- a pinch of cloves
- Measure all of the spices into a small bowl, stir to combine.
- Keep in a small tin or jar.
I saw these on Pinterest last year, pumpkin time had passed for me so I kept the idea stored and now that “pumpkin time” has returned these were, of course, the first thing I wanted to make!
Please do make these! They are good, seriously good! The recipe was by the Blue eyed bakers and they say you will need “comfy pants”, indeed this is true! These cute little donuts are sweet and spicy with a hint of pumpkin pie, just perfect for kicking off autumn and pumpkin time!
Making baked donuts was a first for me, I wonder why have I never tried baked donuts before? I guess I’m not usually not a great donut fan as I find half way through you begin to taste the oil and the whole thing is reminiscent of fries! However with baked donuts they are more cakey and not oily. With mini baked donuts they are cute and the small size means less guilt (kinda, sorta!)
The recipe was in cups so for all those here in the UK I made the recipe and weighed all the ingredients in grams so you too can share in the delight that is the mini baked donut!
These donuts, as delicious and cute as they are do not store well, in fact not at all. You have a couple of hours at the most to enjoy these little treats, after that the sugar begins to melt! You can make the donuts ahead of time but don’t coat with the sugar until just before serving.
I pretty much followed the Blue Eyed Bakers recipe so have linked to that and just included the measurements in grams below. The only change I made was to leave out the cloves (husband is a hater) and I coated half of my donuts in plain sugar as cinnamon is not as popular here! I love cinnamon everything (does anyone remember those cinnamon toothpicks years ago?) but I am aware that as strange as it may be to me not everyone likes cinnamon as I do and actually the donuts themselves are quite cinnamon-y so the plain sugar-coating was equally good, these mini donuts really are my new favourite thing!
Mini Pumpkin Donuts
- 250 grams plain flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 90 mls vegetable oil
- 75 grams light muscovado sugar
- 1 egg
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 170 grams canned (or fresh, pureed) pumpkin
- 125 mls milk
for the sugar-coating (for half cinnamon sugar-coated donuts and half plain sugared donuts)
- 100 grams melted butter
- 130 grams sugar
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
For a mix of cinnamon sugared and plain sugared donuts mix 70 grams of the sugar with the cinnamon to coat one half of the donuts. Use the remaining sugar to coat the other half of the donuts.
- To see how to make these delightful donuts see here on the Blue Eyed Bakers blog
This post is because of my husband. My husband is not straight forward to cook for, when I first met him he ate no vegetables at all, sorry a slight exaggeration, he ate peas, but the peas had to be from a can and called mushy! Can that be called a vegetable? Id say no so return to the statement that my husband ate no vegetables. This wasn’t such a problem when we were young and didn’t worry about health concerns, I just left any vegetables off of his plate. I tried over the years to sneak healthier things into my husbands food, lots of times very successfully although there were times after he learned to be suspicious when I got caught out! In more recent years, tastes and health have changed and including vegetables is now not so difficult, although that does not include any kind of brassica!
I look after and cook for children so often times if I make something that turns out to be popular with all 3 children (a very rare event!) I will try it out at home on my husband! This pie is one such thing, thumbs up from the kids and my husband! In the beginning my husband would pick out the carrots but now he eats it all! Pie is a favourite of my husbands, he says he particularly likes mine and was concerned one day that if anything happened to me he may never get to have that pie again! It’s true that a lot of what I cook is made up at the time and no recipe is followed, luckily I have a food blog to record these things! I have been meaning to get this recipe written down for a long time so just for my lovely husband here it is!
I do tend to use store-bought pastry but get the all-butter kind so no other weirdly named ingredients are added. This recipe works just as well with puff or shortbread pastry. I don’t have pastry on the bottom as I can’t face the worry of soggy bottoms and it cuts down on the calories.
Despite many attempts taking a pretty picture of a pie proved impossible!
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tbsp oil
- 200 ml chicken stock
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium leek, cleaned and sliced
- 1 sheet of ready to roll short crust or puff pastry
for the sauce
- 225 ml milk plus a little extra for brushing the pastry
- 20 grams plain flour
- 20 grams butter
- 1/2 heaped teaspoon dried tarragon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6.
- Add the stock to a sauce pan and add the sliced carrots, briefly cook for a few minutes until jut softened. Turn off the heat and set aside, keep the stock as you made need some to thin the sauce later.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the chicken pieces, stir to coat in oil until chicken begins to colour. Add the leeks and fry gently until leeks are softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- To make the sauce add the milk, flour and butter to a saucepan, heat over a medium heat whisking constantly until mixture comes to the boil and has thickened. When this happens remove from the heat and add the tarragon and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and leeks and also add the carrots, stir together. If you would like a thinner sauce use some of the reserved stock from the carrots to thin to the consistency you like. Tip into a pie dish.
- With a piece of paper towel wipe the edge of the pie dish with a little milk so the pastry will stick.
- Put the prepared pastry sheet over the pie dish and press firmly around the edge of the pastry so it sticks to the dish and seals all the way around it then trim any excess pastry away with a knife.
- Brush the pie with a little milk and bake for 25 minutes.
Like it or not in these parts of the world summer seems to have given over to autumn. There is a distinct chill to that breeze and the sun is sitting a little lower, not to mention those darker mornings! I’m not too sad though as autumn brings its own treats, one of which is blackberries! There are lots of blackberries around at the moment, certainly you can buy them but the ones I find a real treat are the free ones found in so many hedgerows! It’s so lovely to pick your own blackberries if you can find them. This is something I did very recently, I ended up with quite a few blackberries and I cooked some with apples but the rest made it into these muffins.
I have been trying to focus more on salad than cake recently but these blackberries needed using so combining together a couple of recipes I tried to make these a little healthier, I used the most unrefined sugar I could, they only have 1 egg and use a small amount of olive oil rather than butter. I know, who am I kidding? Muffins are not a health food but I like to think this recipe is slightly healthier than some muffin recipes! I will update here as next time I’m making these I will try wholemeal flour and less sugar.
I like making muffins as they are so easy, not too much mixing is required so a good old bowl and wooden spoon will do here, just mix together the dry ingredients, then the wet and add together. It’s as easy as that! These muffins were lovely and light, nice and cinnamony with little bursts of delicious blackberries. In 30 minutes you have a lovely autumn treat!
Blackberry Oat Muffins
- 175 grams self-raising flour
- 50 grams porridge oats (I used old-fashioned, larger oats)
- 140 light muscodavo sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 egg
- 150 ml buttermilk
- 90 ml olive oil plus a little for greasing tin
- 150 grams blackberries, rinsed
- Preheat your oven to 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6. Grease a muffin tin with a little olive oil and place a muffin case in each one.
- Put the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and baking soda into a bowl and mix together.
- In a separate bowl beat together the egg, buttermilk and oil.
- Lightly mix the wet mixture into the flour mixture.
- Gently fold in the blackberries.
- Divide between the prepared muffin cases and bake for 20 -25 minutes.
I was invited to take part in Titan Travel’s June supper club. The recipe for the month was Basel Tart, a cheese and onion tart originating in Basel, one of the many destinations that Titan Travel go to. Basel is on the banks of the Rhine in North West Switzerland. I’ve not been to Basel but it looks lovely, with lovely river scenes and many museums and theatres.
Basel tart is a big, satisfying tart. Its made with onions and bacon that are caramelised before adding Gruyère cheese. I thought that I didn’t like Gruyère but actually I really enjoyed this! Rosemary and coriander are the herbal additions to Basel tart, not herbs that I would usually put together but they flavour this tart perfectly. This is a great tart for a crowd or maybe for a picnic.
- 470 grams plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 120 grams butter
- 100 ml cold water
- 60 grams butter
- 6 onions, sliced
- pinch salt
- 80 grams bacon, smoked preferably
- 470 ml milk
- 75 grams plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 450 grams Gruyère cheese (I used just under 400 grams which worked fine)
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
For the directions to make Basel tart see this link at Titan Travel
I had a lot of left over pastry from this recipe, handy for another time! I used less cheese than suggested as the supermarket I used sold Gruyère in 200 gram packs and strangely only had 2 left the day I shopped! I needed to cook my tart for a further 40 minutes than the suggested cooking time.
I know some may be rolling their eyes and thinking not another brownie recipe! True, there are a million and despite the fact that there is probably a brownie recipe in half of the cook books I own I still find myself searching for “the” brownie recipe. You know the one. I like my brownie really dark and “chocolatey”, squidgy in the middle, it mustn’t be too dry, I like a crackly top and I prefer no nuts in mine but to each their own. So you can see I’m as particular about my brownie as Goldilocks was about her porridge! A lackluster brownie is such a disappointment!
I could go on and on trying out new brownie recipes just in case its “the one” but a couple of years ago I found a recipe in one of my favourite cake books, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. Those brownies were really good, ticking all the right boxes! So that’s the recipe I’ve gone back to, Ive tweaked it a bit over time, adding less sugar than the vast amount in the original recipe. I always use dark chocolate that’s good for eating such as Lindt or Green and Blacks, I’m not a fan of the taste of cooking chocolate. Like the advice to only use wine in cooking that you would drink I believe the same applies to chocolate.
In the picture you will notice that my brownies are quite flat, this is not how I prefer them but I used the pan I bought that calls itself a “brownie” pan, which is rectangular. I would recommend using a square pan so the brownies are deeper thus more squidgy in the middle!
The inspiration for this post comes from my friend, Lorrie, who has asked me more than once for my brownie recipe! (finally, the recipe Lorrie!) I made her some a long time ago and she remembered them! In fact this is my most asked for recipe!
Do you have a favourite brownie recipe? Do let me know, I am quite addicted to brownie recipes!
Brownies (adapted from this recipe)
- 170 grams (6 oz) butter, (if watching your salt intake use unsalted but for an added flavour dimension use salted butter)
- 170 grams (6 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
- 225 grams (8 oz) caster sugar, I use unrefined
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp espresso coffee powder
- 130(4.5 oz) grams plain flour
- 3 large eggs
- A little icing sugar to decorate (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 170 c, 325 f, Gas 3. Grease and line with baking paper a brownie pan.
- Place the butter and chopped chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt. Stir until combined. Remove from the heat.
- Add the sugar, vanilla and coffee, stir until combined. Mixture will appear grainy.
- Mix together the eggs and add to the chocolate mixture in 3 stages stirring well between additions.
- Add the flour and mix until combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for around 20 – 25 minutes. The brownies are cooked when they look cooked on the surface but are still a little soft in the middle.
- Leave to cool in pan and when completely cooled remove from pan and cut into portions.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar.
I have abstained from baking, particularly cakes for the last few weeks. Well one can only abstain for so long! It was a long weekend here last week and I wanted to make a cake! You would imagine that I would have known exactly what to bake but that was not the case, choosing which cake proved to be a hard decision. Lots of recipe perusing left me with a craving for an orange cake, lots more perusing led me to the discovery of orange and cardamom cakes! After all this perusing I was out of time and now didn’t have all the ingredients for any of the cakes I found so I improvised, using my Lemon Olive Oil cake recipe but swapping orange and cardamom for lemon and making my own buttermilk as I forgot to buy yoghurt! I could not have been more disorganised if Id tried!
Despite my disorganisation this cake was a triumph! Orange and cardamom are a match made in heaven! The smell of the fresh ground cardamom and the orange zest is amazing, if ever I get around to making my own body scrub this will be the scent I use! The cake is light and fluffy and very moist.
note : Making your own buttermilk, if you don’t have any, is really easy! Just stir 1 tbsp of lemon juice into 1 cup of milk, it will begin to thicken almost immediately, leave for 10 minutes and use instead buttermilk
Orange Cardamom Cake
- 200 grams (1 cup) caster sugar (I use unrefined)
- zest of 1 large orange (unwaxed if you can)
- 3 cardamom pods
- 2 eggs
- 220 grams (1.5 cups) self-raising flour
- 20o mls (3/4 cup) buttermilk
- 155 mls (2/3 cup) olive oil
- Pre heat your oven to 180 C, 350 F, Gas 4. Grease and base line a loaf tin.
- Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and grind until powdery using a pestle and mortar. Add to the sugar with the orange zest and using your fingers mix together well, this releases the oils in the zest and makes a wonderful fragrant mix.
- Whisk together the orange, cardamom sugar and the eggs, adding the eggs one at a time. I use my stand mixer for this.
- Mix in the buttermilk.
- Mix in the olive oil.
- Fold in the flour.
- Pour into prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
My posts are so infrequent at the moment one would be forgiven for wondering if I have stopped eating! Truth is I’m doing my first Whole 30 and although its going well (I’m on day 27!) I have found myself in the pattern of eating pretty much the same few meals on rotation, although it is a little boring its made my life the last month easier.
I made these canapes for guests at Easter and luckily remembered to take a picture, admittedly only when all the best looking ones had been eaten! So apologies for my “keeping it real” themed picture!
These canapes are just the easiest thing ever! Just 3 ingredients, it’s hardly even a recipe. I saw the idea in a magazine advertisement years ago and I have made them ever since when I want to produce a quick canape that tastes good and looks like I’ve made an effort. The original recipe called for Port Salut cheese, a mild semi soft French cheese made from cows milk. It used to be easy enough to get in the UK but this time I had to go to 2 supermarkets to find mine. If you can’t get hold of Port Salut, I think Muenster or Gouda work instead.
Couldn’t be Easier Cheese and Cherry Tomato Canapes
- 1 pack puff pastry
- 1 tbsp of butter, melted
- 2 packs of Port Salut cheese, cut into thin slices
- 12 cherry tomatoes, each sliced in half
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220 C, 425 F, Gas 7. Grease a mini tart tin with the melted butter.
- Roll out the puff pastry and using a small cutter cut out 24 circles.
- Put the pastry circles into the mini tart tin, pushing the pastry down to line the bottoms of the tin.
- Place a slice of cheese into each pastry round. some of the slices cut at the wider end of the cheese will need trimming to fit into the pastry.
- Top each piece of cheese with a cherry tomato half.
- Give each tart a grind of black pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry has browned, some of the tomatoes will be starting to caramelise. You can at this stage take out the browner ones leaving the rest to cook a little more, I find they never cook evenly.
- Place onto a serving platter and serve at room temperature.
Lemon brownies, who knew? I recently came across them on Pinterest and couldn’t believe I had never heard of them! I love brownies and I love lemon, of course that would be a good combination, why hadn’t I thought of it before! All the recipes I found were in cups so I did a bit of converting, added a bit more lemon and made these to serve with coffee at Easter. They are so easy to make, I love cakes that come together quickly with the minimum of fuss and these certainly fit that bill. I think I like them even more than chocolate brownies and my husband who doesn’t like brownies at all (imagine!) loved these! They are moist yet light and the lemon is strong without been overpowering, these are my new go to cake! Well they will be when I bake again! I’m having a baking break at the moment, all that baking is not good for a girls waistband!
- 115 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 150 grams caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 125 grams plain flour
- 2 lemons, unwaxed if possible as you will need the zest
For the glaze
- 100 grams icing sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 180C, 350F, Gas 4. Grease and base line your brownie pan, the pan I use measures 11 x 9 inches.
- Zest and juice your lemons. You will need the zest of one of the lemons for the cake mix and a further 2 tsp of zest for the glaze. For the cake mix you will need 2 tbsp of juice and a further 2 tbsp for the glaze
- Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
- Add the eggs, one a time mixing between additions.
- Add the lemon zest and juice.
- Fold the flour into the wet mixture.
- Pour into your prepared baking pan and bake for around 25 minutes until the top is golden and it is cooked through.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan.
- To make the glaze simply mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice and zest.
- Spread the glaze over the brownie and cut into squares.