Friday, 21 April 2017

Carrot And Walnut Cake



I love carrot cake and this is one of my favourite recipes. It comes via Delicious Magazine and includes sultanas, walnuts and desiccated coconut.

Carrot And Walnut Cake

Ingredients

Sunflower oil to grease
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp mixed spice
50g desiccated coconut
75g sultanas
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
100g carrot, grated (about 1 large carrot)
Edible flowers to decorate (optional)
For the cream cheese icing
150g unsalted butter, well softened
450g full-fat cream cheese (we like Philadelphia)
150g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest 1 lemon

Method

1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. Lightly oil and bottom-line 3 x 20-cm sandwich tins. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until fluffy and light. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition, then beat through the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and baking powder with a pinch of salt, then fold in the mixed spice, coconut, sultanas, walnuts and carrot.

2. Divide the mixture between the tins, then bake for 20-25 minutes until risen, springy and a skewer pushed into the centres comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Stir through the vanilla and lemon zest, then chill until ready to use.

4. To assemble the cake, put a cooled sponge on a serving plate (if it has risen a lot you may need to slice off the top or put the sponge upside-down), then spread over a thin layer of icing. Top with another sponge, then repeat with another layer of icing. Top with the third sponge, then use the rest of the icing to completely cover the cake. Decorate with the edible flowers (optional) and serve immediately.

MAKE AHEAD The iced cake will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge. Freeze the cooked, un-iced sponges for up to 3 months, well-wrapped in cling film. Defrost completely to ice and decorate.



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Friday, 31 March 2017

Wensleydale Tarts and Purple Sprouting Broccoli

SPRING is here and the weather is improving. Among the best ingredients in April is purple sprouting broccoli and here's a lovely, tasty recipe from Delicious Magazine.

Wensleydale Tarts and Purple Sprouting Broccoli



    Serves 6
    Takes 25 minutes to make, 35 minutes to cook, plus chilling and cooling
   
Ingredients

    12 small spears of purple sprouting broccoli
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 banana shallots, finely sliced
    3 large free-range eggs and 2 yolks, beaten
    250ml double cream
    150g wensleydale, grated
    35g cream cheese
    Green salad to serve

For the pastry

    300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    80g shelled walnuts, whizzed in a food processor until finely ground
    ½ tsp fine salt
    120g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
    Finely grated zest of 1½ lemons
    1 medium free-range egg yolk
    2 tbsp ice-cold water

Method

  1. To make the pastry, put the flour, ground walnuts and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the lemon zest and egg yolk, then pulse, gradually adding the water until the mixture just comes together. Tip out on to a lightly floured surface, bring together with your hands, then knead briefly. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film, then chill for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin and use to line 6 x 12cm fluted tart tins (see tip), pressing the pastry right down into the tins and into the sides. Chill for 10 minutes.
  4. .Line the tarts with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice, then blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans/rice, then bake for 5-10 minutes more until golden. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas
  5. Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli spears in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh in ice-cold water. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the shallots for 10-12 minutes until very soft and golden.
  6. Whisk the eggs, yolks, cream, wensleydale and cream cheese in a jug, then season. Divide the shallots equally among the cases. Divide the broccoli spears, broken into smaller florets, among the tart cases, then pour over the egg mix. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and just set.
  7. Take out of the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the tins and cool to room temperature. Serve with a few green salad leaves.
Tip: When lining the pastry cases, let the excess pastry hang over the sides. This stops the cases shrinking. After blind baking, trim off the excess with a serrated knife before you add the egg mixture.
   
You can freeze the finished tarts. Reheat in the oven from frozen for 15-20 minutes.
  

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Six Hour Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

It's spring and how better to celebrate in the kitchen than with a wonderful joint of spring lamb. This recipe by Simmone Logue is not to be rushed and is all the better for it. The lamb is marinated overnight and then takes six hours to cook. The result is an incredibly tender delicious dish.

Six Hour Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
with charred red peppers and rosemary gravy



Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 large carrot, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
5 bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 tbsp peppercorns
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1.6kg British lamb shoulder, on the bone
500ml red wine
2 tsp sea salt
1 litre fresh chicken stock
½ batch mint pesto

For the charred red peppers
2 red peppers
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 fresh rosemary sprig, leaves picked

METHOD

    1. Put the chopped carrot, celery and onions in a large baking dish. Add the garlic, herbs, peppercorns, vinegar and sugar, then mix together. Rest the lamb on top. Pour the wine over the lamb, then add the salt. Cover, then marinate in the fridge overnight, turning once.
    2. The next day, heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 4. Pour the stock into the baking dish and turn the lamb again. Cover with baking paper, then a tight layer of foil, and cook for 5½ hours.
    3. When the cooking time is up, remove the lamb from the oven and turn up the temperature to 200°C/ 180°C fan/gas 6. Remove the foil and baking paper, then cook the lamb, skin-side up, for 30 minutes more.
    4. When the lamb is done, remove it from the oven. Strain 1 litre of the cooking juices from the baking dish into a clean saucepan. Skim off the oil from the top, put the pan over a high heat and cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds, making a rich gravy.
    5. Meanwhile heat the grill to high. Line a baking tray with foil, put the whole red peppers on it and grill, turning now and then, for about 25-30 minutes until the skins have blackened and blistered. Put the peppers in a plastic bag and leave to sweat for 10 minutes, then slip the skins from the flesh, slice the peppers and remove the seeds. Put the peppers in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic and rosemary and gently mix together.
    6. For the lamb, pull the shoulder blade from the joint: it should just slip out. Serve the lamb with the roasted red peppers and gravy.




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Friday, 10 March 2017

Chocolate Guinness Cake

This is a wonderful recipe posted on my friend's blog at www.frantaffsticbakes.co.uk/ Have a look at it for lots more scrumptious bakes. I used to work with Fran and can testify at first hand that her baking skills are second to none.

This cake includes two of my favourite things - alcohol and chocolate!



Chocolate Guinness Cake


Ingredients
250ml Guinness
250g unsalted butter
80g cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
2 free range eggs
1tsp vanilla essence
140ml buttermilk
280g plain flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
For the frosting
50g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
125g full-fat cream cheese
Cocoa powder for dusting (optional but pretty)

Method
    Preheat oven to 170C and line the base of a 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.
    Heat the Guinness and butter in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar.
    Mix the eggs, vanilla essence and buttermilk and then add to the Guinness mixture.
    Sift the remaining ingredients into a large bowl or freestanding mixer. Set your mixer or a hand-held whisk on low and pour in the Guinness mixture. Mix well until everything is combined.
    Pour the batter (it will be quite runny but this is normal) into the cake tin and bake for around 45 minutes or until you have a lovely bouncy sponge which springs back when lightly pressed. Let it cool completely and then turn out.
    Make the frosting by mixing the icing sugar and butter together until sandy. Add the cream cheese and mix further until combined and light and fluffy.
    Spread the frosting all over the gorgeous cake and sprinkle with cocoa powder to finish.  Serve with a generous amount of double cream.


This is a tried and tested recipe from the wonderful Hummingbird Cake Book.





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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Rum


NOW this is my kind of cake, loaded with dark rum and delicious for afternoon tea or served warm as a dessert with a dollop of Devonshire cream or custard.


Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Rum

Ingredients

    1 large can pineapple rings (8 rings), drained
    2 free-range eggs
    125g/4½oz caster sugar
    150g/5¼oz plain flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp vanilla sugar (make your own by placing a split vanilla pod in some caster sugar)
    50g/1¾oz butter, melted
    ½ lemon, zest only
    75ml/2½fl oz milk
    3 tbsp good-quality dark rum

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C/350F/Gas 3.
  2. Line the bottom and the sides of a large ovenproof dish or cake tin with the pineapple rings (cut the pineapple rings in half to line the sides).
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until frothy.
  4. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar together until well combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and sugar mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Add the melted butter, the lemon zest, milk and dark rum to the mixture. Stir to combine.
  7. Pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish over the pineapples. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until risen and golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  8. Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack. When it is cooled, cut into slices to serve.


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Friday, 2 December 2016

Beef And Vegetable Casserole




I looked out this morning at a beautiful Devon winter scene with frost turning everything white. My thoughts turned to warming comfort food for the evening and what could be better than a beef and vegetable casserole? I use Red Ruby Devon beef for its flavour and high welfare standards.

This is a perfect BBC GoodFood recipe which delivers on simplicity and taste. It's easy to prepare and the long slow cook allows the beef to become tender and the flavours to develop.

Beef And Vegetable Casserole

Serves 5

Ingredients
   
2 celery, sticks, thickly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 really big carrots, halved lengthways then very chunkily sliced
5 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 beef stock cube, crumbled
850g stewing beef (featherblade or brisket works nicely), cut into nice large chunks

Method

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Put the kettle on. Put the celery, onion, carrots, bay and 1 thyme sprig in a casserole with 1 tbsp oil and the butter. Soften for 10 mins, then stir in the flour until it doesn’t look dusty anymore, followed by the tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock cubes.

Gradually stir in 600ml hot water, then tip in the beef and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and put in the oven for 2hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30mins – 1hr more until the meat is really tender and the sauce is thickened.



Casserole Pot

It's handy to have a casserole pot (dutch oven) that goes straight from hob to oven. I have a Greenpan one, which is ideal and so easy to clean. On the left is a similar one from the USA.


     




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Friday, 11 November 2016

Treacle Apple Pudding

There is a decided chill in the air and my thoughts have been turning to warming comfort food. What could be better than a steaming Treacle Apple Pudding?

Serve with custard or cream - or both. I know you can make your own custard but I was born in the land of Ambrosia so I always serve it with puddings. Delicious.

The recipe, which is one of my favourites, is from the BBC Good Food website.





Treacle Apple Pudding


    2–3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped (about 250g flesh)
    100g light soft brown sugar
    50g golden syrup, plus 2 tbsp
    butter, for greasing
    1 tangy eating apple, such as Braeburn
    squeeze of lemon juice
    175g self-raising flour
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1 large egg

1. Heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Put the chopped Bramleys in a saucepan, add 100ml water and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 5 mins until the apples are very soft. Beat to a purée with a wooden spoon. Add the sugar and 50g of the syrup, bring to a simmer, then set aside and cool.
   
2. While you wait, grease the inside of a 1.3-litre pudding basin. Spoon 2 tbsp syrup into the bottom. Peel and core the eating apple, slice half and chop the rest. Toss in the lemon juice and nestle the sliced apple into the syrup in the bottom of the basin.

3. Sift the flour, bicarb and spices into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Beat the egg into the saucy apple, then tip this and the remaining chopped apple into the bowl and stir until smooth. It will start to rise a little as you mix. Quickly turn the batter into the basin, level the top, then bake for 40–45 mins or until well risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cover with foil towards the end of cooking if the sponge browns too quickly. Leave to rest for a few mins, then turn out onto a plate.






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