Tuesday 29 March 2011

Baked & Delicious Giveaway

I have been given a copy of a new baking magazine Baked & Delicious to review. I got issue#2 which comes with a silicone spatula and pastry brush. It's a slim, easy to read magazine with only 26 pages but filled with beautiful photos and clear instructions.  The magazine is divided into different sections:

  • Desserts
  • Breads & Savouries
  • Celebration Cakes
  • Patiserrie & fancy cakes
  • Classic cakes
  • Biscuits & Bakes
  • Better Baking Techniques 

It has a short history section and beautiful step-by-step photos which I particularly like.  For example, in this issue there is a recipe for tropical fruit pavlova which looks delicious.  Did you know that the legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova inspired this dessert when she visited New Zealand in the 1930s? To preview the first issue which gives you an idea about the layout and design, click here. 

For one lucky reader, you can win issues 2 -5 including the free silicone bakeware! Here's a preview of what's coming up in issue#3 and #4.

 Lemon drizzle cake, Sacher torte, Pizza margherita, Tarte tatin 

 Quiche Lorraine, Florentines, Angel food cake, Oatcakes

For a chance at winning, you need to be a resident in UK or Ireland.  Please leave a comment to tell me which is your favourite baking equipment and why. You also need to Like the Facebook page http://on.fb.me/bakedanddeliciousfacebook
Please leave your email address so I can contact you.  The closing date is Thurs 7th April at 2300 GMT. The lucky winner will be chosen at random.  Prizes will be sent directly by Baked & Delicious. Good luck!

Thursday 24 March 2011

Flourless Chocolate and Lime cake with salted chocolate and lime ganache

The special ingredient for this month's we should cocoa challenge is lime and immediately I thought of a lime and chocolate cake from Nigella that a colleague had baked previously which was absolutely delicious. My second thought was lime and chocolate cookies which I've never tried but thought would be interesting. 
The main inspiration for this month's theme is from one of my favourite chocolate shops in London - Montezuma.  They have a flavour called Sea Dog which is dark chocolate with lime and sea salt. By the way they have the best butterscotch chocolate ever, even better than Green & Black's which was previously my favourite. 

Anyway back to the cake. The night I made my cake was the day my colleague found out he's passed his MRCP exams.  It's a professional exam for doctors which is incredibly difficult and requires knowledge, skills, hard work and dedication.  Definitely worthy of a celebratory cake. 
I used Nigella's recipe for the lime and chocolate cake.  I then made a chocolate ganache with the Sea Dog chocolate as I needed something to cover up the holes in my cake and also to be able to write a message. 
The end result is a rich, soft cake with the tangy taste of lime.  The cake also smells amazing!  You can barely taste the salt but that could be because I didn't quite have 150g of the Sea Dog chocolate and had to use some plain chocolate as well. I might try adding 1/4 teaspoon sea salt next time. 

 Beat eggs and sugars 

 add cocoa powder &ground almond mixture

 adding lime zest and juice 

 the top cracked as I removed it from the oven 

 that's what ganache is for :) 

 My fav glitter icing 


For the cake
150g dark chocolate, chopped
150g unsalted butter
6 eggs
250g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
4 teaspoon cocoa powder
zest and juice of 1 lime

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and set aside. 
  • Beat the eggs and sugar using an electric mixer until about tripled in volume, pale and moussy. 
  • Mix the ground almonds with the cocoa powder and fold gently into the egg and sugar mixture, followed by slightly cooled chocolate mixture. 
  • Finally, fold in zest and juice of 1 lime.
  • Pour mixture into prepared cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes. 

Dark chocolate, lime and sea salt ganache
150g "Sea Dog" chocolate
140ml sour cream
60 icing sugar
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lime 
  • Put all the ingredients into a bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. 
  • Allow to melt but don't let it get too hot.
  • Remove from heat and stir vigorously until you have a smooth, glossy mixture.
  • Spread over cake with a palette knife and decorate as desired. 

Monday 21 March 2011

Portugese egg tarts

Portuguese egg tarts were evolved from "pastel de nata", a traditional Portuguese custard pastry that consists of custard in a crème brûlée-like consistency caramelized in a puff pastry case. It was created more than 200 years ago by Catholic Sisters at Jerónimos Monastery (Portuguese:Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) at Belém in Lisbon. Casa Pastéis de Belém was the first pastry shop outside of the convent to sell this pastry in 1837. I remember having these in Lisbon and they were amazing!! I have tried to re-create it at home but it's not quite the same.  However, it's good enough to fill the void :) Plus you can make almond biscotti with the leftover egg whites! 

 heat milk and vanilla seeds 

 after adding egg yolks 

 pastry shells 

 ready to go in the oven

Makes 10 of size shown

1 packet puff pastry
170g sugar
250mls milk
1 vanilla pod
3 tablespoons cornflour
6 egg yolks, beaten

  • Preheat oven to 180.
  • Cut pastry into 4 pieces.  Roll to thickness of 3mm. Cut into 10 pieces and use to line muffin tins. 
  • Heat sugar, milk and vanilla seeds in saucepan.
  • When the mixture is hot, take 3 tablespoons from the pan and mix with the cornflour to create a paste. 
  • Pour back into the milk and gently heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.
  • Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks.
  • Pour mixture into each pastry case and bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is lightly browned on top.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Peanut Butter Cups with Nutella

This recipe combines 2 of my favourite snacks - peanut butter and nutella. When I saw it on Barbara Bake's blog I knew I had to make it and that it would be extremely delicious and I was not wrong! The smell alone is enough to make your mouth water. It was delightfully crunchy with the right amount of peanut butter and the added lovely richness of nutella. Heaven on a plate :) Don't ask how many of these cups I ate! I did manage to share some... believe it or not and everyone loved it too! 

 peanut butter dough 

 I used the end of my rolling pin to make the indents 

 filled with yummy nutella 

 Would you like a bite? :) 

170g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
113g butter
150g light brown sugar (I reduced amount of sugar from the original recipe)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy but you can use smooth as well)

  • Sift the dry ingredients and set aside. 
  • Cream butter and sugar using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer. 
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Add peanut butter and continue beating on low speed. 
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat until just blended. 
  • Cover dough with clingfilm and chill until firm  (I skipped this step as I was too impatient and it turned out fine).
  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Roll dough into 1.5 inch balls.
  • Place each ball in a cup of a greased mini muffin tin.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are browned and crackled, the centres will not be completely set. 
  • Make a small deep well in the centre of the cookie while the dough is still warm (I used the end of a rolling pin). 
  • Fill with Nutella while still warm - it will melt and spread easily.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Earl grey tea banana bread

I made this earl grey tea banana bread for my friend Angie for breakfast when she came to visit as earl grey is her favourite tea.  This is in addition to the chocolate beetroot cake to ensure a warm welcome to London :) 
It's a lovely moist fragrant bread and went very well with a cup of tea.  It was definitely worth the extra effort making it.

 very strong tea

 melt butter, strong tea and sugars

 lovely 'tea syrup'

 mix ingredients 

 add bananas

 fresh from the oven 

5 Earl Grey Tea bags
150ml boiling water
45g brown sugar
180g golden caster sugar
100g butter
255ml sour cream
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
250g self raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 medium bananas

Preheat oven to 180C.
Place tea bags in mug and pour boiling water over it. 
Leave to steep for 5 minutes before removing teabags.
In a small saucepan, place strong tea, sugars and butter then melt over a low heat until the sugar granules have dispersed and it has turned into a buttery brown syrup. 
Leave to cool for 10 minutes or so. 
In a large bowl, mix together the sour cream and bicarbonate of soda and leave to stand for 5 minutes. 
Stir in the melted mixture and eggs. 
Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into another bowl. 
Gradually fold in the sour cream mixture followed by the mashed bananas. 
Divide into 2 loaf tins and sprinkle some brown sugar on top if you want a sugary crust (It's great!).
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool in tins for about 20 minutes before turning out to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Sunday 13 March 2011

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Special welcome to Angie who's come to visit and stay with me in London.  She wanted a cake with chocolate and preferably something slightly unusual so I decided on a chocolate beetroot cake. I've made it previously into a cupcake and I really enjoyed the flavour and texture. I used a different recipe this time and it turned out better than I expected.  I think you can actually taste the beetroot flavour and it gives a lovely richness to the colour and texture of the cake. The ganache is chocolatey and smooth and complements the cake very well. 
Apologies as I've been too busy to bake or blog recently... shock horror...but I do have quite a few posts to blog about as I had a bit of a baking frenzy before Angie's visit so do check back later for more goodies :) 

 blitz the beetroot

 add to batter 

 fresh from the oven

 chocolate ganache 

 ice the cake 

 my fav glitter gel writing

For the cake
250g cooked beetroot
100g dark chocolate
125g butter
250g light brown muscovado sugar
3 medium eggs
50g cocoa powder
225g self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the chocolate ganache
150g plain chocolate
140ml sour cream
60g icing sugar, sifted

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Grease and line a 22cm cake tin.
  • Melt chocolate over pot of simmering water and set aside to cool. 
  • Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well. 
  • Beat butter, eggs and sugar until pale and mousse like.
  • Blitz the beetroot.
  • Add half the beetroot and half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and fold through 4-5 times. 
  • Add remainder of the beetroot and dry ingredients and fold through until smooth.
  • Pour into the cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • To make the ganache, put all the ingredients into a bowl and set over simmering water.
  • Allow to melt but don't let it get too hot.
  • Remove from heat and stir vigorously until you have a smooth glossy mixture.
  • Leave to cool and thicken.
  • Spread over cake with a palette knife and decorate as desired. 

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Coffee Biscuits with Almond Flakes

Yet another simple and delicious recipe from my mum.  This is a 'freezer box' cookie where you can make the dough in advance and freeze until required.  If you are a coffee lover then this is definitely a cookie for you to try.  Its really light and crumbly with the wonderful aroma and taste of coffee.  The added crunch of the almond flakes gives it a nice texture. 

 cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy 

 adding coffee

320g self raising flour
70g almond flakes
250g butter
90g icing sugar
2 tablespoons instant coffee and 2 tablespoons water

  • Preheat oven to 180C. 
  • Bake almond flakes for 5-10mins until light brown. 
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy as shown. 
  • Dissolve coffee in hot water.  Leave to cool. 
  • Stir coffee mixture into the butter mixture until well mixed. 
  • Add in flour and mix well. 
  • Add in almond flakes and stir to form a dough.
  • Chill dough for 20 mins.
  • Divide dough into portions, wrap in clingfilm and freeze. (You can also bake the cookies immediately)
  • When you want your cookies, remove from freezer and cut into slices. 
  • Bake at 180C for 15 minutes. 

Almond Biscotti

I got this recipe from my mum which is a great way to use up left over egg whites.  It's a really easy and simple recipe with great results.  They're even better than the ones at Starbucks! I have made countless rounds of this recipe in the past few weeks including this lovely jar that I sold to a friend. The biscotti is light and crunchy with the delicious taste of roasted almonds. Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. 

 beat egg whites until stiff 

 adding almonds 

 bake in loaf tin 

 or a mini loaf tin 

4 egg whites
110g caster sugar
110g plain flour
200g whole almonds

  • Preheat oven to 170C. 
  • Beat egg whites for a few minutes and then add sugar gradually until stiff peaks form. 
  • Fold in the flour.
  • Add almonds and stir in the mixture with a spatula. 
  • Pour into a loaf tin or roll into a log. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes until light brown. 
  • Wrap in foil and keep for 1-2 days.
  • Slice thinly and bake again for 45 minutes at 130C until brown and crispy.