Tag: homemade

It’s only Dorset Apple Cake but I like it…

That season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is here! It’s my favourite time of year, made quite bittersweet this time around by my return to work after maternity leave. I’m enjoying being back, but it’s been difficult leaving baby with others and finding my feet again after a hiatus at work is a challenge too. 

One of of the best things about autumn is the harvest and the bountiful produce this brings. I’ve a new source of apples this year in a kind work colleague who even delivered them to my door! It’s been a nice distraction this weekend, baking something tasty for teatime.

Although I’m a big fan of the apple crumble, there’s only so much crumble a family can eat, and each year I try to extend my recipe book to include another apple recipe. Last year Eve’s Pudding was the order of the day, this year a Dorset Apple Cake. I used this recipe from BBC Good Food. It was a nice simple recipe to whip up on a Sunday afternoon while Baby was napping. Once the apples were sliced I only had to mix up the cake mix ingredients in one go. Then I spread half of the mixture in a tin, layered with apples, repeated and sprinkled some sugar on top. I let it bake a little longer than the 50 minutes to ensure the centre was cooked and this seems to have been about right.

I ate mine warm with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream, but the Dr had his just as it was. The golden crunch of the outside was a nice contrast with the soft sweetness of the appley sponge. I think next time I’ll add some cinnamon – mostly because it’s such a good pairing and my favourite Autumnal flavour.

What are your favourite autumn apple recipes?

It is with a fondness for therapeutic baking I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only Bread and Butter pudding but I like it…

Ok, so it’s not a luxury pudding, it’s not stylish, it doesn’t even have a fancy name, but I think it does have merits. It makes good use of a staple most of us have languishing in our cupboards, it is warm, stodgy and filling and it quivers and squeaks gently on removal from the oven. It’s been a sturdy, thrifty classic bake for many a year now.

The recipe I’m sharing today is the slightly sophisticated relative to the basic bread and butter pud. We always just made it with milk and eggs when I was a child, but this one contains a whole carton of cream. We just had sugar and raisins for flavour whereas this recipe adds the zest of an orange to cut through the richness of all that cream. This is how it looked pre-oven:

It is Mary Berry’s Mother’s recipe ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mary_berrys_mothers_97161 ) and who am I to argue with such a lady? It was a lovely rich alternative to my usual recipe and the addition of orange zest was delicious. I sprinkled light brown sugar on top, which formed a nice crust.

The Dr and I disagreed on whether it needed to be served with custard. I said no, because it had all that cream and those eggs in it, surely forming something akin to custard? I always feel it’s a pudding that can stand on it’s own two feet without accompaniment. What do you serve yours with?

It is with a dessert debate still raging I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Eve’s Pudding but I like it…

I don’t have any fruit trees in my garden, which is something I plan to remedy in the new year, until then I rely on the kindness of others for my Autumn fruit. I’ve been lucky enough this year to be given some by a student at school and by a work colleague. My challenge now is using them up!

As much as I love crumble, I like to vary my apple recipes. This is one I found on BBCGoodFood and one I have tried to make previously without success! http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/252606/eves-pudding

Eve’s Pudding is an apple based dish with a sponge topping, named after the Biblical Eve who tempted Adam with an apple! The first time I made it (years ago) my batter was quite thin, it just spread out and seeped into the apples. Not so with this recipe! I like the fact it’s made with soft brown sugar – it adds some depth and richness. It smelled fab as it came out of the oven and the apples hadn’t gone completely mushy which I quite liked! It made a nice big dish of pudding which we shared with my sister and there’s still some left for tomorrow. Or at least it’s in the fridge calling to me… It might still be there tomorrow!

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It is with some temptation I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Crumble but I like it…

My sister doesn’t like crumble. She refers to it alternately as ‘poor man’s pie’ or ‘sugary grit’. I for one think she’s missing a trick. I also think she doesn’t do a lot of baking – how can you not love a desert that takes minutes to prepare? No making of pastry, then letting it cool, then rolling it out, trimming it and hoping it’ll bake through when it makes it to the oven. Crumble is fail safe, quick and I always forget how tasty it is.

I’m lucky to have been offered cooking apples from one of my pupil’s gardens for the second year in a row. We enjoyed our first apple crumble of the season this weekend and we’ll polish off a few more before we head into the festive period I’m sure.

If you’ve never made a crumble then shame on you. Here are the ingredients and the method courtesy of Be-Ro – have a go. I guarantee ‘sugary grit’ will be the last words on your lips…

Ingredients

fruit
50 g (2 oz) margarine
100 g (4 oz) Be-Ro Self Raising Flour
50 g (2 oz) sugar

Method

1. Heat oven to 190ºC, 375ºF, Gas Mark 5.
2 Place sweetened fresh fruit or canned fruit in ovenproof dish.
3 Rub fat into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
4. Add sugar, mix thoroughly and spread evenly over the fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes until fruit is cooked and top is golden.

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It is with Autumn deja vu I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Fruit Cake but I like it…

This isn’t a #neverbakeditbefore challenge because it’s something I’ve baked many times, just not for many years.

I asked my Mum to send me the recipe for boiled fruit cake from her Be-Ro book. I have a Be-Ro book but the recipes change over the years and this one has been omitted for some reason.

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If if you can’t quite make that out here it is:

12oz dried fruit

4oz butter or margarine

4oz sugar

1/4 pint of water

8 oz self raising flour

1 egg

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From then on its pretty easy, just boil up everything apart from the egg and flour for about 20 minutes.

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You end up with a nice glossy looking, rich buttery pan of dried fruit. You can use any dried fruit you want, and throw in a handful of nuts too if you like. I also add a teaspoon of mixed spice. It’s a nice recipe to tailor to suit your tastes. Let it cool, mix in the egg and flour and then pop into a 6 or 7 inch round tin.

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My oven is a little on the fierce side, plus I put it in the round tin the recipe recommends, whereas Mum always did it in a loaf tin and it was a little more moist that way I think. Either way, I made a batch of scones and it all combined to make a very nice Sunday tea with a round of egg sandwiches. Low on effort but high on taste!

It is with the sound of bubbling fruit still in my ears I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Seed Cake but I like it…

The funny thing is, I think I first heard of Seed Cake when I was reading The Hobbit many years ago. When Bilbo Baggins’ house is invaded by lots of visitors at the beginning of the story one of them asks if he has any Seed Cake. It’s a very old British recipe, can be traced back at least as far as the 15th century and was very popular in Victorian times.imageThe idea intrigued me and I looked up some recipes. When I found out that the seed involved was caraway seed I wasn’t sure – I couldn’t envisage it working as a flavour in a cake. Caraway seeds have a slightly minty smell, neither sweet nor savoury and quite musky, with a strong aroma.
imageI used a Nigel Slater recipe (http://theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/may/02/nigel-slater-classic-recipe-seed-cake) he says just to use a teaspoon of seeds, enough to gently perfume the cake – other recipes I looked at suggested more and I think I’m going with Nigel on this one.

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The cake reminds me a lot of Madeira cake – both recipes have ground almonds in them, although seed cake lacks the lemon you get with a Madeira and it doesn’t rise as much. The seeds do give the cake a gentle perfumed flavour which is actually very appealing. It has a nice texture due to the ground almonds, a golden crust and the smatter of caraway seeds add a tiny crunch. I’m not sure it’ll replace Madeira cake, which has become a favourite of ours, but the Seed cake is a quirky addition to my repertoire – nice for a vintage picnic maybe? I can see why Bilbo and his mates packed it for their long quest…

It is with a plan for a picnic I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Madeleine but I like it…

My never-baked-it-before challenge this week was French Madeleines. I’d treated myself to the special Madeleine pan with my Christmas money.image

I chose the recipe, after much deliberation, from this Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/03/how-to-make-the-perfect-madeleines . I must admit this is not a last minute treat – it does require effort over a number of hours. I think you’d need to put aside a morning to make them due to the fact you have to chill the batter overnight, chill the tray, then add the batter and chill for an hour before cooking, then repeat part of the process if, like me, you only have one Madeleine tin.

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You have to be quite specific with your oven timings too – another few seconds and they begin to burn. I was amazed to collect them after exactly 9 minutes and find they each had that perfect little bump in the centre. I think they were perhaps a little too golden, but for a first attempt I think that’s pretty good!

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A little dust dust of icing sugar and I carefully arranged them on my Beryl plate. I’ve always loved the look of these – perfect little scallop shells. And although they were pretty high intensity to make, I definitely think they were worth it. A lovely buttery flavour, very light and so pretty! They went down well with my Sunday visitors and with my work colleagues on Monday.

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I also have have a new charity shop mission – a vintage Madeleine pan, so I don’t have to wait an hour between batches!

It is with a keen eye in the bric-a-brac section I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Trifle but I like it…

I’m blogging about this because it is the perfect vintage dessert. It’s been around for centuries now and the version most often found on the British table is not a delicate or sensual thing – it is a bolshy technicolor Pat Butcher of a pudding. French trifles are delicate, vanilla scented custardy delights, I bet the Italians do something subtle with feather light sponge, but no. Not for us. imageFor the base of a classic British trifle you need a block of rubbery jelly, some trifle sponges and a tin of fruit cocktail. You know, the tin full of beige lumps that may have once been fruit? If you’re lucky you’ll find two half cherries in there.
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Get a nice glass dish, layer your trifle sponges in the bottom, ladle on your fruit and cover with jelly.

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Let this set in the fridge, then make up some Bird’s custard. Radioactive yellow custard, from a cardboard tub. I find that if you use nice fresh custard from the supermarket, a skin doesn’t form and therefore it’s hard to spread the double cream on top.image

This is the final step, use a flat knife to spread double cream over your custard layer, and then decorate the top as you wish. When I was a kid hundreds and thousands were the only option. Now I like to grate some chocolate on.

The thing is, even though I’ve been so disparaging about this dessert, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the colours, the layers, the big squelching spoonfuls and the general tackiness of it. I think it’s one of the first desserts I learned to make and I’ve made very few changes over the years to how I make it. It’s always an event too. Oooh, a trifle. Nothing more exciting to have proudly sitting in the back of your fridge. Go on, have a go! I dare you…

It is with the gauntlet thrown down I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Sausage Roll but I like it…

It’s that time of year when serious snacking is going on everywhere. I am not one to be outdone and nor should you be. No Christmas buffet is complete without a sausage roll or two. I’m aware these can be bought for pence but those beige, flabby offerings won’t be gracing my table. I’m harking back to the days when a buffet would have been home baked. Follow my simple steps for a superior sausage roll.

Take one sheet of ruff puff pastry from the chilled section of the supermarket. Smother it in some coarse grain mustard. Or some marmite. Or some pesto. Anything you think will enhance your sausage roll. The Dr (my fella) is a mustard fiend so we’re going coarse grain here…

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Next choose some good quality sausages, I’m lucky to have an award winning butcher just a minute up the road and their sausages really are fab – well, so the Dr tells me, as a vegetarian I can’t eat them but I do like supporting small businesses. So, cut your bangers in half and roll them in a strip of mustard encrusted pastry. Seal with a little cold water and place on a baking tray.

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Brush the tops with egg wash (a beaten egg) to make them nice and golden and pop in the oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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When they look golden brown and rather like something you’d like to mash into your mouth take them out and let them cool.

Don’t thank me. It’s a just a little treat your friends and family will love you for. Enjoy!

It is with buffet plans formulating I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Mince Pie but I like it…

The mince pie is one of my favourite festive treats and it’s so easy to make.

You can really cheat and buy your pastry and mincemeat. Or, like me, you can semi-cheat and make your pastry but buy your mincemeat! My pastry recipe comes from the trusty Be-Ro book ( www.be-ro.co.uk/recipe/showrec34.html ) and I speed up the process by using my food processor. Just make sure your pastry rests in the fridge before using and handle it as little as possible when you’re cooking.

I buy my mincemeat in the supermarket and don’t know anyone who makes their own. I have seen TV chefs adding to the shop bought stuff in recent years. Quiet a nice idea and a good way of improving it and making it suit your tastes.

I use a mini muffin pan from Pampered Chef ( www.pamperedchef.co.uk ) for mine, I have a little tart shaper from them too which works a treat after a little practice.

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 A little snowy dusting of icing sugar and you’re good to go. The house always smells amazing during and after mince pie baking. I would definitely recommend it. Plus there’s that smug feeling when you offer someone the plate and they say “Did you make these?”.

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It is with a rich fruit and spice scented house I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!