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Happy Easter and a Hot Cross Bun Comeback

April 20, 2014

Not to be defeated I tried again at the Brioche Hot Cross Buns.

Brioche Hot Cross Bun

The full lo-down soon, but in the meantime Happy Easter everyone. I’ll be at Euston Church remembering why it really is happy.

 

Easter recipe ideas from all over the place

April 17, 2014


Well, it’s gone hot crossed bun and creme egg crazy on the internet over the last few days.

Here’s a few favourites: Easter Egg IcecreamCreme Egg Shake, Creme Egg Chocolate Loaf Cake, Simnel Cupcakes, Hot Cross Cookies and last but most respectfully someone who picked themselves up after a similar fail and baked more hot cross buns. <late addition for these pure-bred hot cross buns – worth a look just to see the amazing rise on the dough>

On that note, as evidenced by my most recent fail I am clearly not able to compete in the Easter baking extravaganza this year, so I will be baking some more Cardamom Sables and going out for brunch at Caravan Kings Cross instead.

I have however been sent some mouth watering recipes by food agencies from two very different countries – Ireland and Malaysia. I am not being paid to publish them (just so you know) but I thought I’d share them with you as they would be quite easy to get the ingredients for even at late notice and look ideal for feeding a crowd. You could even use the leftovers of the Rib-Eye to make the Murtabak.

Thyme-Encrusted Roast Rib-Eye of Beef with Horseradish Cream
by the Irish Food Board to promote grass fed Irish beef www.irishbeef.co.uk

Thyme-Encrusted Roast Rib-Eye of Beef with Horseradish Cream

Preparation time: 40 minutes plus at least 4 hours marinating
Total cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes plus 30 minutes resting time for the beef
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
2.25kg (5lb) boned and rolled rib-eye of beef
450ml (¾ pint) red wine
150ml (¼ pint) red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground allspice
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed

For the horseradish cream:
200ml (7fl oz) crème frâiche
4 tbsp creamed horseradish
1 tsp prepared English mustard
1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
roasted root vegetables, to serve (these can be cooked in the still-warm oven while the beef is
resting)

Method:
Place the beef in a large, non-metallic dish. Pour the wine into a jug and add the vinegar, sugar, allspice, bay leaf and half of the thyme.
Mix well and pour over the beef, turning to coat the joint evenly. Cover loosely with clingfilm and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours (or up to two days is perfect) turning occasionally.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5. Remove the beef from the marinade and allow the meat to come back up to room temperature.
Mix the crushed peppercorns with the remaining thyme and press all over the surface of the beef to coat the surface as evenly as possible.
Place in a roasting tin and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes for medium rare. If you prefer your beef more well done, leave it to cook for an extra 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the horseradish cream: mix the crème frâiche, horseradish and chives together in a bowl. Season to taste, spoon into a serving dish and chill until needed.
When the beef is cooked, transfer to a warmed platter and cover with tin foil, then leave to rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Carve into slices, arrange on warmed plates with the roasted root vegetables and hand around the bowl of horseradish cream at the table.

For more info follow @grasstronomy on Twitter or https://www.facebook.com/Grasstronomy

Or what about something from further away?

Murtabak from Malaysia
by Caroline Mili Artiss for Malaysia Kitchen (www.malaysiakitchen.co.uk)

Murtabarak from Malaysia

Murtabarak from Malaysia

A pancake style sandwich stuffed with minced meat. A malaysian version of Panini?

For Roti (serves 6-8)
Ingredients:
500g plain flour
Pinch salt
250 ml warm water
125ml olive oil
1 tsp yeast
1 egg white
½ tsp sugar

Method:
Mix dry and wet ingredients slowly and knead
Rest for two hours before dividing it into 8 balls and put in fridge for a minimum 8 hours

For the filling:
300g minced meat (could use leftovers from the roast beef!)
1 brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp curry powder
Salt to taste
1 red onion, sliced thinly
4 eggs

Method:
When ready to make, take out dough balls and let it come to room temperature. Make the filling. Cook minced meat with red onions, garlic, curry powder and salt until dry, this should take about 6 – 8 minutes., then add the sliced onion and stir in.
Roll out or toss a ball of roti to as thin as you can get. Here is the part you can cheat if you like, with frozen paratha.
Add a large spoonful of filling to the middle, a spoonful or 2 of egg mixture and fold up, you can do this on your work surface or in the pan. Then adding a little oil cook both sides for a few minutes on a low heat so the bread can cook and become nice and crispy.

Hot Cross Bun FAIL

April 15, 2014

The tag line for this blog is “tales of triumph and disaster in the kitchen”, so in the interests of transparency I’m going to show you my latest flop.

I tried to make Brioche Hot Cross Buns from my latest copy of the Simple Things Magazine (Christmas subscription present and I love it). I had decided to make them a dark chocolate chunk and cranberry version and I knew I had limited amount of time in the morning before I had to dash out to a hen do.

I left them on a timer for their second rise and to bake. I realise on the way to the tube that I’d forgotten to put the cross on them. They didn’t rise and they overbaked. This resulted in some very solid, dry bits of “bread” with the occasionally moment of choc-chunk relief. Mr B insisted that they tasted fine, but on having one later in the day when they had cooled politely said “maybe they were better hot out of the oven”.

Not hot, not crossed and not buns. Bin-time for these boys.

ps. some did get eaten with custard / raided for the cranberries and choc so they weren’t entirely wasted. I would have made bread pudding or something if we’d been in for tea.

Hot crossed brioche buns

Rock buns

 

Rhubarb and Custard Fool with Cardamom Sablé Soldiers

April 13, 2014

BIANCA
Fie! what a foolish duty call you this?
LUCENTIO
I would your duty were as foolish too:
The wisdom of your duty, fair Bianca,
Hath cost me an hundred crowns since supper-time.
BIANCA
The more fool you, for laying on my duty.
PETRUCHIO
Katharina, I charge thee, tell these headstrong women
What duty they do owe their lords and husbands.

THE TAMING OF THE SHRES ACT 5, SCENE 2 – WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

rhubarb fool breakfast and dessert

Fooling around in two different ways

This won’t cost you a hundred crowns before or after supper-time. It’s pushing the limits of fool-ish ness as it doesn’t include cream, but I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream so I’ve used Total Greek Yoghurt and custard powder. There’s a school of thought that says that “fool” comes from the French word fouler meaning to crush, so it qualifies because it has crushed fruit in it. That said, apparently the this is “dismissed by the Oxford English Dictionary as baseless and inconsistent with the early use of the word”. So hey, who knows.

Rhubarb and Custard Breakfast Yoghurt pot

Breakfast Fool

You can either eat this for breakfast with muesli, put it in a pot for a picnic (yoghurt keeps better than cream), or make the sable soldiers and dunk them for a back-garden summer’s evening dessert.

See this month’s Rangemaster blog post for the full recipe.

Serves 2

For the fool:
1 can rhubarb in light syrup (450g)
1 handful frozen berries
half a large pot of greek yoghurt (any fat content is fine)
6 tsbsp custard powder

Pudding version – with cardamom sablé soldiers:
100g caster sugar
6 cardamom pod
1oog cold butter cut into small cubes.
150g plain flour
1 egg

Breakfast version:
handful of granola or muesli

Dunking Fool

Easter Egg Nest Cake for the Nigella Cookalong

April 6, 2014

Easter is not far away now, which means it’s fair game to start sprinkling mini eggs over things. It’s also fair game for me to put a little reminder to you that eater isn’t all about bunnies and eggs. Consider for a moment, the egg:

Easter is a time for celebration, so whilst it’s not all about chocolate and cake there’s a good reason to make one.

Easter Egg Nest Cake from Feast by Nigella

Gluten Free Easter Cake

I’ve just become aware of the Nigella cookalong (inspired by Forever Nigella?). Each month the Nigella web team set a recipe and everyone makes it. This recipe is so easy and happens to be gluten free. Do listen though when Nigella tells you not to panic  - it will sink horrifically after baking. That’s when you fill it with chocolate cream.

Easter Egg Nest Cake
by Nigella, from Feast

For the cake
250 grams dark chocolate (chopped)
125 grams unsalted butter (softened)
6 medium eggs (2 whole, 4 separated)
175 grams caster sugar (75g for yolk mixture, 100g for whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping
125 grams dark chocolate (chopped)
250 ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 packet mini chocolate egg (for decorating)

Chocolate Easter Cake

Filled with chocolate cream

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C.

Line the bottom of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment, or better still, Bake-O-Glide but do not grease the sides of the tine.

Melt the 250g chocolate with the butter in either a double boiler or a microwave and then set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the 4 egg whites until firm, then gradually add the 100g of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape and peak gleamingly – but not stiff.

Remove this bowl (if you’re using a freestanding mixer, as I do, though a handheld job would do fine) and set aside while you whisk, in another bowl, the 2 whole eggs and 4 yolks with the 75g of sugar and the vanilla extract, and then gently fold in the chocolate mixture.  Lighten the mixture with some egg whites – just dollop a large spoonful in and stir briskly – and then fold in the rest of the whisked whites gently, in about three goes.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly on the surface.  Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack;  the middle will sink as it cools and the sides splinter.  You want this to look like a cake with a crater in it, so do not panic at the vision of imperfection in front of you.  That’s one of the reasons this cake is so unstressful to make.

To finish the cake, carefully remove it from the tin and  place it on a plate or cake-stand, not worrying if bits fall off here and there.  Put them back in a loose fashion.

Melt the chocolate for the topping and leave it to cool a little.  Whip the cream until it is firming up and aerated but still soft, and then add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate.  Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolatey cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake with a rubber spatula, and then arrange the little sugar Easter eggs on top.

Mini Egg Cake for Easter

Spring colours

 

I’m entering this cake into We Should CocoaLove Cake, and Let’s Cook Sweet Treats for Easter.

Foodie Penpals March 2014

April 1, 2014

This month my parcel came from Helen of HelenMakes. She makes these lovely knitted “monsters” (I think they look rather friendly):

One of Helen’s Monsters

A large percentage of my goodies came from Helen’s local co-operative grocery store in south Manchester. It’s called Unicorn Grocery and I wish it would move to North London. It looks like a treasure trove of healthy interesting foods and it’s also owned and run by the employees.

Now, onto the important bit. Food. Helen has my respect for getting Mr B to eat something vegan. He wolfed down the Vanoffee raw chocolate bar and declared it as good as a normal chocolate bar, even after I’d explained what it was. Nice one Helen. I’m not going to comment on everything, but I enjoyed every single item.

Foodie Penpals March 2014

  • Wasabi Peas (not photographed)
  • Apricot, Date and Cashew Granola:  couldn’t have been more spot on. I love dried dates and cashews are one of my favourite nuts and it’s cereal. If you don’t know my feeling about cereal my now then you’ve not been paying attention.
  • Papadi Gathiya: A crisp like snack made from fried gram flour and seasoned with indian spices. They are a Gujurati speciality. Funnily enough I experienced these at work a few years back and never knew what they were. Now I do and they are really really good.
  • Cherry Raisins from Nakd
  • Dried apple rings: dried fruit. Yes please.
  • Vanoffee dark chocolate from the raw chocolate company: see above (I wish I’d got a look in)
  • Rocket seeds for planting: what a lovely thought – the foodie penpal gift that keeps giving!
  • Munchy Seeds: Mmm

You can see what everyone else got here

The Lean Green Bean

More about Foodie Penpals

Started by The Lean Green Bean, Foodie penpals is a way for food bloggers and blog readers to get to know each other, via a lovely parcel in the mail every month. This is Rock Salt has brought it to the UK and Europe. Here’s the rough outline of how it works:

  • All interested parties in the UK and Europe – bloggers and blog readers alike – sign up by the form available at the bottom of the Terms and Conditions post
  • Participants are matched on the 5th of the month
  • Penpals send thoughtful, food related parcels, on or before the 20th of the month. The parcels can include home baked treats, shop bought treats (especially local or unusual things), cake cases or decorations – use your imagination. The parcel must include something hand written – a note explaining the box’s contents, a recipe card, whatever you like. The price limit for the boxes is £10 – this is a limit, the point is not the cost, but the thought (no, really!)
  • Penpals open their boxes and rejoice!
  • At the end of the month, everyone blogs about their box, or writes a guest blog post if they are usually a blog reader and not writer. Everyone reads one another’s posts and rejoices some more. Posts are made available on Lindsay’s blog so we can all find each other easily

Find out more here: How it Works // Terms and Conditions.

Maple Corn Choc-Chip Cookies

April 1, 2014

The theme for my March Rangemaster blog was “March Madness”, but it could equally be an April fool. The idea was to look at odd food combinations or unusual uses for ingredients. My initial plan was to make a mashed potato cake or cookie. It looked enticing, it smelt slightly less encouraging and it tasted….like mashed potato and cocoa mixed together. Not convinced.

So, back to the drawing board.

But what is the secret ingredient?

I remembered seeing sweetcorn icecream once when on holiday in Borneo (we’re not normally globe trotters – it was our honeymoon) so I wondered if I could replace the banana in a cookie recipe with pureed sweetcorn. Then I thought that maple syrup would work well with it, then I thought I’d play it safe and add chocolate chunks, because they make everything great. The result was a soft, tasty cookie. They are actually quite sweet so I think I might try putting less sugar in next time.

Corn Cookie

You can find the full recipe here. Makes 30.

200g sweetcorn (drained tinned or frozen, cooked and cooled)

115g butter
130g light brown sugar
130g maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
150g plain flour
75g wholemeal flour
75g self raising flour
1tsp cinnamon (optional)
15g dark chocolate chopped into chunks (optional)

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