I made two kinds of homely fudge today, plain Walnut Fudge and Rum&Raisin Fudge. These were a great, really quick last minute christmas gift. I just popped them in an old fashioned sweetie jar with a big bow on top... Merry Christmas!
11 days, 8 hours and 20 minutes until christmas day! These are the cakes that I made way back in September, feeding them brandy every so often. No-one in my family actually likes the christmas cake, it's now simply down to tradition of actually having one, that's the best part about christmas I think... having family traditions and a routine. It actually made me feel quite sorry for the French when I realised that their tradition is 'Buche de Noel' the chocolate log. Hmm.
I was recently shown a great blog http://iambaker.net that I just can't get enough of! One of my favourites was her layer cake, my version is definitely not as amazing as hers but it's only my first time. I am determined to get it right as when it's done properly it could suit any occasion. This one is a Hummingbird Red Velvet cake and Mary Berrys Victoria Sponge. Check out her blog and let me know what you think.
Originally 'Relgieuses' the french choux pastry were supposed to depict a nun on her knees praying, the bun would be her praying from behind, the icing being her habit, her head hidden between her knees... The story has been lost along the years, hence why bakers have added the 'head' of the nun, the upper bun.
I filled these with Creme Patissiere, a french custard. Yummy! Let me know if you'd like the recipe!
With two whole bookshelves full of baking books and only a couple ever used, I decided to use the Ottolenghi menu, this London based restaurant had a wonderful recipe for white chocolate and raspberry tarts. Having just bough a bag of Valrhona Ivory chocolate I was able to get the best possible quality for these indulgent desserts. Just mix chocolate and cream and fill shortcrust pastry tarts with some jam! So easy.
I apologize, I've had to cut down on my amount of cake baking due to being very busy but also not having any room left in our freezer! This recipe is from the first Hummingbird bakery book and as usual I have nothing bad to say about their recipes which are seemingly faultless apart from the quantity that this one gave me! I ended up with one massive bundt cake and another to go with it. Next time I will definitely be halving the ingredients.
Although the cake is very nice on its own, it does need the yummy espresso frosting which was incredibly easy to make, just butter, icing sugar, milk and coffee all whisked up together.
I've been much too eager to ice my christmas cakes so I decided to cut one of the cakes into four for little individual cakes and pass them off as early christmas presents! The icing and decorating is my absolute favourite part so I really enjoyed finishing these off.
I'd love to know which one you prefer out of the four, personally my favourite is the ruffled one.
This months GoodFood magazine came with a calender, a different recipe for every month but I skipped ahead to the month of May! These Blueberry muffins are 'healthy' and include oats to fill you up for the day.
This weekend was spent celebrating my dads birthday in Brighton with the family -and plus ones!-. Having made this cake the day before in France, we took it over in the car only to have it fall over after ten minutes. Thus it definitely did not say 'Happy Birthday' when he ate it and why I had to pour a last minute icing over the top once we arrived.
Due to having a health aware brother, I had to come up with something that wasn't too bad for us to nibble on. Unfortunately, I was too tempted by a great recipe that mom used to make for us as energy bars for school, needless to say he ignored the high sugar content and didn't need to be too persuaded to take them home!
Lots of baking prepared for this week due to a pending family visit so I needed to make things that would last until this weekend. Starting with cinnamon cookies, like sugar cookies but better and they can last up to 3 weeks in an airtight container. I made the rolling out much easier by doing it between two silicon mats, the only tricky part of this was getting the biscuits hanging in the tree before our cat could attack them!
After having my brother over for the weekend we didn't want him to go home empty handed so, using up the old bananas, I made a banana bread. We found the recipe in Grazia "Hannahs' banana bread" but before popping it in the oven I sprinkled over some chocolate and slices of banana.
Last night on telly Jamie Oliver was touring Yorkshire/Lancashire and made his own version of Eccles Cakes. I couldn't find his recipe on line and everyone had different views on what they should contain so following my parents memories, I guessed. A few currants, spices, sugar and butter and they were ready. I used ready made puff pastry but I'm sure sweet pastry would've done the job. I rubbed brown sugar on top before cooking so they have a gorgeous golden glaze.
Ikea sell adorable packets of gingerbread houses with an instruction manual on how to assemble them so that's how I spent a miserable winter afternoon piping and decorating it. I've kept the manual so as to have a template for next time I want to make a biscuit house!
After watching Lorraine Pascal make an incredibly quick soda bread on her show Baking Made Easy, I took a go at it. It was very fast to make and was being eaten after half an hour after having read the recipe! However I don't think it lived up to my moms expectations after being brought up with her Grannys traditional soda bread. As it can be frozen for a month I'm sure we'll be doing this recipe many more times but squashing it down to a bit further to improve the cooking.
This recipe is off bbcgoodfood and allowed me to fill one big and one individual pie pot, it's a little bit modified because I have a slight problem with not checking I have the right ingredients before I start! I used Bramley apples which ended up being so sweet and tangy at the bottom of a nice chunky crumble topping, using only the best, Lizi's Granola. Even though apple crumble is probably the dessert I dislike the most, I really enjoyed eating this, probably due to the fact is was so easy to make!
I was so infuriated with myself the other day for not being able to succeed with either of the macaroon recipes that when I went into work today I mentioned it to the Chef. Now armed with the Ritz recipe I took another bash at it. Still not perfection! A couple of years ago my mom, sister and I went to a macaroon course at a local bakery and those were simply delicious, I just need to dig through the cellar and find the recipe... I'll be letting you know once I do!
The strawberry macaroons were my first attempt, I got the recipe from Gifts From The kitchen by Annie Rigg. The batter was so liquid that even though I had traced circles onto the greaseproof so as to get them all identical, they ended up running and being much to thin and were therefore brittle. Insistent I could do it, I searched our baking books for another recipe and I found one in Mes Desserts au Chocolat by Pierre Herme. The ingredients and quantities were very similar but the outcome was so different! So although neither ended up looking perfect, they tasted yum, as Dad said after he had eaten the whole bowl. The only tip I can give is to respect the guideline of leaving them to rest for 30minutes before cooking to as to get the 'crust' on the side.
This weekend I went to Salon Du Chocolat with my mom and after an hour of waiting, we were in! It took place at Porte de Versailles and lasted four days involving 200 chocolatiers. After many tasters we ended up buying a selection of 18 chocolates by MOF and Champion of the World in Pastry, Frank Kestener. Needless to say, they were delicious.
Fluffy lemon cupcakes with a rich and zesty frosting. I had tried a couple with lemon curd in by hollowing out the centre and adding a spoonful of the curd but since the frosting is so rich it really wasn't necessary.
Just the thing to brighten up a gloomy winter afternoon.
As it's nearly Halloween, we bought some pumpkins to start the festive baking. These cupcakes are very delicate with such a light and airy sponge, slightly similar to carrot cakes. For the cream cheese icing, I never manage to follow a recipe because I use St Moret, a french cream cheese, so it always ends up like an icing and never a frosting!
This was a last minute recipe to use up some of the chocolate I had melted for the Truffles and a random selection of nuts in the snack drawer! I've used Peanuts and Almonds as that's what we had but any nuts will do.
The icing and filling is a chocolate ganache with some added glucose to make it extra shiny.
I bought a chocolate mould from E.Dehillerin, a specialist cookery shop in Les Halles Paris and it’s taken me two years to finally use it! I tempered some dark chocolate then brushed it into the polished moulds so as to avoid air pockets then I filled the cases with chocolate. At this point it is crucial to flip the mould over and tap firmly and evenly all over so as to obtain a thin shell and leave to set.
This is when I made the caramel from condensed milk. Once filled 1mm from the top, pour on the rest of the chocolate then scrape off straightaway. You want the mould to be as clean as possible so that the chocolates will drop out willingly once ready.
These were my first attempt at pecan pies, using a recipe from BBCgoodfood. They were extremely easy to make, pop all the ingredients in a bowl and mix! The pastry was so crumbly that it wasn't rolled but pressed into the tins and tasted deliciously buttery.
After seeing the team bake a Battenburg cake on the Great British Bake-off I was enticed to make one myself. It was tricky to get the strips equal but tasted worth the effort!
Next time I would make the pink strips more of a deeper pink to have a bigger contrast with the vanilla ones.