“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead.”
~AA Milne, when we were very young
NOTE: I am away at the moment helping my mother with her treatment for lung cancer. I have set up a few posts to post whilst I am away as a special surprise. Some are new and some are reposts of old favourites that you may have forgotten, or if you are a new reader may not even have seen. I'll be back at the end of May, but in the meantime . . . Enjoy!
PS - I will only have sporadic internet use, so if you ask a question and I don't get back to you . . . it's not that I don't want to. It just may take me a while.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
(Another repost from an earlier time. A delicious blueberry cake. We love blueberries, and I try to incorporate them into our diet as regularly as I can. We have about six of our own high bush berry bushes now, and they really produce a lot during picking season. Yum! Yum!)
I wanted to use up some of the blueberries that I have stored in my freezer. I always have some there. Whenever the store puts them on special I buy up extra punnets of them and stick them straight into the freezer.
That makes them ever so handy to use in cakes and puddings, crumbles and pies.
You can use them straight from the freezer without thawing them out. They work like a charm as long as you are using them to cook with.
I have never tried eating frozen blueberries, except in smoothies, and they work pretty well in those as well. A little frozen fruit makes a smoothie a beautiful thing in my opinion.
I remembered this fabulous recipe I have for a blueberry crumb cake, that has a wonderfully moist texture and is topped by a delicious crumble crunch.
You will love this. Your family will love this. Your guests will love this.
EVERYONE will love this!!
It's a KEEPER. Need I say anymore???
I think not! Let the pictures speak for themselves.
*Blueberry Crunch Cake*
A delicously moist cake, stogged to overflowing with blueberries and topped with a lovely sweet crunch! This is fabulous.
280G (2 cups) flour
300g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
5 1/2 (2/3 cup) ounces butter
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
250ml (1 cup) milk
2 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 X 200g (approx. 2 cups) blueberries
pouring cream or custard
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter a 9 X 13 inch nonstick baking pan. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour and sugar. Rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine dry bread crumbs. Remove 3/4 of a cup of this to use for the topping, and set it aside. To the remainder add the salt and baking powder. Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla and milk. Blend together well.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over top of all. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over top of the blueberries.
Bake in the heated oven for 40 top 50 minutes, until the cake is well risen and golden brown along the edges and is completely set in the middle and tests done. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool and serve warm from the pan with some pouring cream or custard.
Note - the leftovers are delicious!
(Another repost for you this morning. I'll be home in just a little bit more than a weeks time, but in the meantime I want to share with you another tasty recipe from my delicious archives. This one is a really tasty one. It's also really nice in Strawberry season along with a few sliced fresh berries on the side. Enjoy!)
I want to tempt you just a little bit this morning with a tasty recipe from my Big Blue Binder. This is a big blue plastic covered binder that I have been carrying around with me since I was a little girl. (I was 9 or 10 when I started it.) It is old and tatty now, and bulging at the seams . . . but it is also filled with beautiful gems . . .
A beautiful collection of fantastic recipes that I have prised and garnered from family and friends through the years . . . and tried and loved so much that they have become my tried and true's and solid go to's . . . time tested and tested over time, they are my old faithfuls. So much so that I wrote a cookery book which contains some of the very best ones of all. You can read more about that here. But we are not talking about my cookery book today . . .
Today we are talking about Lemon Cake Pie. Or as it is affectionately known as over here . . . Lemon Delicious Pie. Different name . . . same thing.
You know that lemon pudding which, when baked, magically separates into a delicious cake on top and a lovely custard on the bottom . . . this is the same thing . . . except it is in a pie people.
A PIE! Yes . . . a pie. And we all know how much I love pie!!! There is no such thing as a bad pie . . . (Don't burst my bubble!)
This is gorgeous. I have been dragging this recipe around with me for yonks. It never fails to please anyone who I bake it for.
I wanted to take a picture of it whilst the light was good today and so the pie hadn't actually set up completely and was still a bit warm when I cut a piece to photograph . . . but I promise you a couple of hours in the fridge and it sets up perfectly.
Unfortunately it is sooooooooo delicious that the missionaries I baked it for ate it all up before I could get a picture of it set up. You'll just have to make do with these photos . . .
and trust me when I say . . . as delicious as it may look . . . it tastes even better. Seriously.
Try it today. You won't be sorry. I promise!
*Lemon Cake Pie*
Makes one 9 inch pie
One of our favourites. Lemon Cake and Pie together. How much better can life get?
7 ounces granulated sugar
1 TBS butter
3 TBS plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
the finely grated zest and juice of two unwaxed lemons
2 large free range eggs, separated
375ml of milk (1 1/2 cups)
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
Whipped Cream for serving
Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3. Roll out your pastry, fit it into a 9 inch pie dish, trim and flute. Set aside.
Measure the sugar, flour, salt and lemon zest into a bowl. Rub in the butter until all are completely rubbed together and the mixture resembles sand. Beat in the two egg yolks and the lemon juice. Whisk in the milk. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold these carefully into the mixture. Pour this into the pie dish. Carefully move the pie dish to the heated oven.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until lightly browned, set with just a little jiggle in the centre and a knife inserted close to the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Cut into slices to serve and top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream if desired.
In The Cottage today a delicious Bacon, Egg and Cheese Toastie.
Monday, 20 May 2013
( Another repost from an earlier time, but hey . . . Some things really ARE worth repeating!)
I was really craving something different this morning for breakfast. I wanted something like pancakes, but not like pancakes, if you know what I mean. I decided to make these little Breakfast Batter Puddings. (I cut the recipe in half, which was plenty for Todd and myself.)
These things are amazing! I think they are known by all sorts of other names, such as Dutch Babies, German Pancakes, etc. . . . but they're batter puddings to me.
They always puff up so huge!! You will think that they are going to almost explode they puff up so much! But don't worry they won't. They always deflate when you take them out of the oven after a few minutes too, but that's ok, because when they deflate . . . it leaves a nice little dip in the centre for some fruit filling.
Today I just used some pie filling that I needed to use up before it's sell by date. (I don't know why I buy the stuff! I never use it!) But you can use jam if you want, (Blueberry is a favourite of mine.) or even lemon curd.
Lemon curd is really nice with fresh berries sprinkled on top. Strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. They all work well.
You can dump them out of the ramekins if you like . . . but I like to keep them in. It makes for a nicer presentation I think. Just pop them onto a plate and dust them with a bit of icing sugar, and then . . . pass the fruit, or jam or whatever!
Your family will want to kiss your ring. Seriously. You'll be like royalty to them, all day long.
*Breakfast Batter Puddings*
Puffy little batter puddings, filled with your favourite fruit filling! (I like cherry!)
250ml of milk (1 cup)
6 large free range eggs
100g of plain flour (1 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 ounces of butter, melted (1/4 cup)
your favourite fruit filling
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Butter 6 to 8 glass ramekins very well and place them on a baking tray.
Put the milk, eggs, flour, salt, vanilla, lemon and melted butter into a tall container (or your blender container) and blitz until smooth. (I use my stick blender. It's quick and it's easy and I can pour the batter right into the prepared pans from the blender container.) Divide the batter equally amongst the prepared ramekins. They should be at least three quarters full.
Bake for 15 minutes, until puffy and golden brown on top.
Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and your favourite fruit filling.
Saturday, 18 May 2013
(The 19th May is International Baking Day! What will you be baking? I am still in Canada, and taking care do my mum who is now home from the hospital . . . Yippee !!!. . . And so I'm not really baking much at the moment, but if I was, these would go down a real treat! I do so love Ginger bread . . . And fairy cakes. A repost from a few years ago. Enjoy!)
Over here in England they call cupcakes Fairy Cakes. How can you not just love something which is called a Fairy Cake!!! A name like that gives something that is already scrumptious, an even more mythical mystical scrumdiddlyumptious quality!!!
I mean . . . if the fairies are feasting on these kinds of cakes, then they must be very good indeed!
I love to visit the Tate & Lyle site and am a fan of their We Love Baking page on Facebook. Every so often they post a link on their back to their baking site and the recipe of the month, which this month, happened to be these Sticky Ginger Fairy Cakes.
As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to bake it. We both are big fans of gingerbread in this house! This recipe was right up my alley.
I wanted to kick up the spice a notch though and so I added some additional warmth by adding some ground cardamom and cloves . . . and some vanilla.
Oh my but they are moreishly tasty. Of course you can get the recipe in it's original form on their baking page. Or you can just print out my variation. Their page is definitely worth a peek though, as there are other yummy recipes there as well.
*Sticky Ginger Fairy Cakes*
Adapted from the Taste and Smile page on Tate and Lyle.
5 ounces Dark Brown Soft sugar
(3/4 of a cup)
4 ounces Golden Syrup**
3 ounces Black Treacle**
(slightly less than 1/2 cup, halfway between
the half and the 1/4 mark on your measure)
6 ounces unsalted butter
(3/4 of a cup)
8 ounces plain flour
(1 1/2 cups plus 2 TBS)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 TBS ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
(5 fluid ounces on the measuring cup)
For the Icing:
the juice of one lemon
175g of icing sugar, sifted
(about 1 1/4 cups)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/Gas mark 4. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
Place the butter, golden syrup, dark treacle and sugar into a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted. Allow to cool somewhat. Whisk in the milk, vanilla and the eggs.
Sift the flour into a bowl along with the soda and the spices. Pour the wet ingredients over top and quickly stir together. Pour this mixture into a large measuring jug and them divide the mixture equally amongst the lined muffin cases, filling them about 3/4 full.
Bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes, until well risen and the tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and allow to sit in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Once they have cooled completely whisk together the icing sugar and the lemon juice, adding only as much of the lemon juice as you need to make a thick drizzable consistency. Drizzle over top of the cakes with a spoon and allow to set before serving. Delicious!
**Note - you can substitute an equal amount of mild molasses for the syrup and the treacle.
I was going to wait until the weekend to show you these . . . but I can't. These biscuits (cookies) are so stupendous that you deserve to hear all about them right NOW!
They're not much to look at I admit . . . In fact, they look just like any other cookie on this planet . . . but that is where the similarity to any other cookie on earth ends . . . don't let their simple homey appearance fool you. Beneath the surface this cookie is like the Brad Pitt and George Clooney of all cookies! Be still my heart!
Imagine a biscuit so buttery and moreish that you have a hard time eating just one . . . you have a hard time eating just two . . . you have a hard time eating just THREE!
In fact . . . you just want to sit down and eat them all in one sitting . . . before the hubster gets home from work . . . before the kidlets get home from school . . . before the dog wakes up from his afternoon snooze . . .
They'll return home to find you in a Heavenly stupor . . . with buttery cookie crumbs clinging to your indulgently satisfied smile . . .
Chock full of lovely chopped dates, all sticky and sweet . . .
Studded with creamily delicious white chocolate chunks . . .
Buttery, soft and chewy in the middle, and yet . . . crisp and crunchy on the edges . . .
in short . . . the most perfect cookie ever baked.
Super indulgent . . . scrummy . . . *oh my word . . . lock these away, they're so darn tasty I can't trust myself with them* good . . .
Yes, I kid you not. If you don't bake these today and declare them the best cookies you have ever EVER baked, then there's no hope for you . . .
There really isn't. Don't say I didn't warn you . . .
Now stand back . . . I'm goin in for more!
*White Chocolate and Date Biscuits*
Makes about 15
Superdy duperdy delicious! You will want to double this recipe, or even triple it. These are fantastically heavenly.
50g (about 3 1/2 TBS) unsalted butter, at room temperature
80g golden caster sugar (1/3 cup, plus 1 tsp)
few drops of vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
70g whole, pitted dates, cut into chunks
(about 1 cup)
50g of good quality white chocolate, cut into chunks
(about 1 cup)
130g plain flour (a scant 1 cup)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ Gas mark3. Line two baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.
Beat together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until light and creamy. Add the vanilla and egg, mixing it in well. Sift together the flour and baking powder and stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate and the dates.
Drop walnut sized drops onto the prepared baking tins, making sure that you leave a lot of space between them as they spread. I do 7 or 8 per baking sheet at most.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until they are pale golden brown, and a bit crispy on the edges. (I move the trays around halfway through the baking time so that they bake evenly.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
Friday, 17 May 2013
Something sweet and simple for the weekend. A repost from May 2011. Good food doesn't have to be complicated to be tasty! Enjoy!
We spent all afternoon today wandering around Tatton Park. What a gorgeous place that is! The gardens were so beautiful and we walked our not so little butts off! (ok . . . hmm . . . MY not so little butt.)
When we got home we were starving and so I threw together a quick Chicken Biryani. (Nothing special, just using a jarred sauce I got at the store, a couple of diced chicken breasts and some basamati rice. Quick and easy.)
While the chicken was in the oven I threw together a delicious dessert for us that turned out fabulous. AND . . . there's no fat in the apples at all . . . truly!
It's just apples, sugar and water . . . oh and a few spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Very healthy, very quick and oh sooooooo scrummy!!
Of course the Vanilla Mascarpone had lots of fat in it . . . but if you're feeling indulgent what the hey!! Quite, quite rich and delicious!
I had some non fat Greek yogurt with mine and it was quite yummy as well! Just look at those golden apples and that deliciously rich topping. Go on . . . just try to resist! I love it when something that is sooooo moreishly wanton . . . is actually not all that bad . . . don't you??
*Toffee Apples with Vanilla Mascarpone*
Simple, delicious and quite low in fat . . . ok well, the mascarpone is not low in fat, but you could substitute some fat free yoghurt instead if you wanted to.
6 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
4 TBS golden caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 TBS water
For the mascarpone:
250g of mascarpone cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
Place the apple pieces into a bowl along with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and water. Give them a good toss together.
Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add the apples mixture, spreading it out into one layer as much as you can. Let them start to caramelize and turn golden on one side, before you flip them over and do the same on the other side, removing them as they become caramelized on both sides.
Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise. Put the mascarpone into a bowl. Using the tip of a knife, scoop up all the black seeds from the vanilla pod and drop them into the mascarpone. Mix them in well. (Use the split vanilla pod in your sugar jar to infuse your sugar with the scent and flavour. Just plunge it in and let it sit forever. Well, it will last for a very long time at any rate.)
Spoon the hot apples into individual bowls. Top each with a dollop of the Vanilla mascarpone and serve immediately.
Thursday, 16 May 2013
There's a possibility that my mother might come home from the hospital on Friday, after having been in there for almost four weeks (Monday). That's a long time in hospital, and its been very much touch and go at points, so I am really grateful that she is still with us, and even more grateful that she's coming home. She's been looking forward to me baking her a chocolate cake ever since I arrived, and so today I did. I have frozen it so that I can just take it out on the morning of her release and ice it then. I don't often get to bake Chocolate cakes as the Toddster isn't fond of them as you know . . . but when I think of celebration cakes, I always think of chocolate cakes, and I can't think of a nicer occasion to be celebrating. This is a reposting of an earlier post, but some things are just worth looking at more than once!
There's something here today that you will seldom see in my kitchen. Yes, that's right, that is a chocolate cake.
And not just any chocolate cake either . . . but a scrummily delicious chocolate cake made with milky way chocolate bars.
Oh my but this is wonderful. We had company last night for dinner and this is what I made for dessert. I know . . . Todd hates chocolate cake . . .
Never fear, I made something else for him. (To be revealed soon)
This cake uses a cake mix, but there is no shame in that, seriously. The end result is so darned delicious that nobody will care that you cheated a little bit.
The satisfied looks on their faces once they put that first forkful into their mouths will say it all.
Moreish. Scrumptious. Heavenly Bliss.
You will want to make this again, although I do have to warn you now . . . one slice will not be enough. Seriously.
*Milky Way Cake*
Serves12 to 16 (depending on how big you cut the slices!)
A deliciously moist cake that uses delicious milky way chocolate bars in the batter and in the frosting! Scrummy!
for the cake:
6 (21.9g) milky way bars
2 TBS plus 8 ounces of water
1 package of chocolate fudge cake mix (Betty crocker)
4 ounces butter, melted
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 TBS flour
100g of chocolate chunks
For the Frosting:
6 (21.9g) milky way bars
2 TBS butter
4 ounces double cream
40g bar of dark chocolate, chopped
sprinkles, chocolate curls etc. to decorate. (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F. Grease a 12 cup bundt pan and flour it, tapping out any excess. Set aside.
Place the milky way bars for the cake into a saucepan along with the 2 TBS water. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium low heat until the bars are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool
Combine the cake mix, 1 cup of water, butter and eggs in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until the batter is well mixed and creamy smooth. Measure out about 2/3 of a cup into a bowl and stir the melted candy mixture into it. Stir in the 1 TBS of flour, mixing it in well. Mix the chocolate chunks into the remaining batter.
Place about half of the regular batter into the prepared pan. Make a bit of a well in it all the way around the pan. Spoon the chocolate bar mixture into this, taking care not to let it touch the sides of the pan at all. Spread the remaining regular batter over top. Smooth it over.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly touched, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes or so, before removing from the pan. Finish cooling on a wire rack before transferring to a plate to proceed.
Place the milky way bars for the frosting, aloong with the chopped dark chocolate, butter and cream into a sauce pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth. It may look lumpy, but persevere, it will smooth out. Allow to cool slightly before spooning over the cake. Sprinkle with any decorations you may want to use immediately. Allow to set before cutting into slices to serve.