Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Rhubarb upside down cake

I made this today for my Mum who had offered to babysit while I went and had my hair done.  Rhubarb and ginger is her favourite combo and so this seemed liked a good thank you gift for her!

You will need...

2lb Loaf tin, lined with baking paper

4 sticks of rhubarb, cut into lengths
2tbsp soft brown sugar
85g soft unsalted butter
85g stork for baking
170g caster sugar
3 eggs
170g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
a splash of milk

Toasted flaked almonds and icing sugar to decorate

Pre heat the oven to 160 ° (fan)

1. Place the rhubarb in the bottom of the tin in a nice pattern, I did a checker board effect, and sprinkle over the soft brown sugar.

2. Beat together the butter, stork and sugar until light and fluffy.

3.In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder and ginger.

4. Add in 1 egg at a time, with 1 tbsp at a time of the dry ingredients.

5. Fold in the remaining flour and add the milk at the end.

6. Spoon the mix over the rhubarb and bake in the pre heated oven for 45 minutes.

7. Turn the cake out onto a plate, sprinkle over the toasted almonds and dust with icing sugar.

A perfect gift for a willing babysitter!


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

chocoholics and cakeoholics look no further...

The last two days I have made cakes using chocolate and here are the recipes...
I made these brownies for my chocolate loving cousin to take to his office for his birthday.  I hope they liked them.
I wanted to make brownies because they are usually popular, very chocolatey, need no decorating and transport well.
I also really like making sweets so if you want to go a bit further you could make the nougat for the recipe too.
Toblerone Brownies
9 inch square tin (lined with baking paper)
250g soft unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate broken into pieces
175 dark chocolate broken into pieces
275g caster sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
1 tablespoon honey
150g plain flour
50g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
100g toasted flaked almonds
100g bar of Toblerone coarsely chopped
75g almond nougat chopped into really small pieces (optional, and can be shop bought or homemade)
1.       Preheat the oven to 180˚C
2.       Melt the butter, chocolate and honey in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat, allow this to cool a little
3.       In a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar and extracts until fluffy and pale
4.       Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture
5.       Mix in the flours, cocoa and salt and mix to combine
6.       Add the Toblerone, nuts and nougat and fold through
7.       Pour into prepared tin and bake for 25mins (until the top is dry and slightly cracking and the middle feels only just set)
8.       Leave the brownie to cool in the tin
9.       Cut when it is completely cool

...enjoy x

I also thought it was about time that I made a cake for my colleagues at work after saying I will lots of times, so since I was on a chocolate roll, and inspired by a tweet, I made a Cadbury twirl cake
Here is the recipe:

Cadbury Twirl Cake
2 lined 8 inch sandwich tins
For the cake
175g soft unsalted butter
175g soft light brown sugar
150g Self raising flour
50g Cadbury Cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 eggs (beaten)
100ml sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the icing
225g Dairy Milk
125g soft unsalted Butter
4 tbsp Milk
200g icing sugar
To decorate
4 (2 finger) twirls

1.       Preheat the oven to 170˚C
2.       Cream together the butter and sugar
3.       Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl
4.       In a separate bowl use a fork to beat together the sour cream and eggs
5.       Very slowly and gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar (you can add a spoonful of the dry ingredients to prevent curdling)
6.       When the egg mixture is all mixed in add the dry ingredients and mix to combine
7.       Pour between the two tins and bake for 25mins
8.       Turn out and allow to cool whilst you make the icing
9.       To make the icing put the chocolate, butter and milk in a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water (don’t allow it to get too hot or the chocolate will split)
10.   Allow this to cool a little
11.   Weigh out the icing sugar into a bowl, pour over the chocolate and beat until cool, and forms soft peaks
12.   Pop one half of the cake on a plate, fill with some icing, crumble over one finger of a twirl
13.   Pop the other half on top, cover  the top and sides with the remaining icing using a small palette knife
14.   Decorate with the twirls however you like
...enjoy x

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Flat breads from Episode 2 GBBO

Spiced Mango and seed Naan bread
150ml milk
2tsp Caster Sugar
7g Allinson Easy Action Yeast
450g Allinson White bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Baking powder
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
150ml natural yog
1 egg
Dried Mango (7or8 strips)
2 tablespoon Cumin seeds
1 ½  Tablespoon Black onion seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ tablespoon groundnut


Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C then pop in  the pizza stone, I used a Pampered Chef one
In a pan gently warm the 150ml milk to body temperature, pour this into a bowl and add1 teaspoon of sugar and the yeast, stir and set aside while you prepare the flavourings
Chop the dried mango and set aside in a bowl
In a dry pan toast the cumin and black onion seeds for a few minutes until they begin to pop, moving them around the pan so that they don’t burn
Pour into the bowl with the mango
Add the groundnut oil to the hot pan and then add the ground spices and fry off then add the mango and seeds back to the pan to coat in the oil and spices then pour all this back into the bowl and set aside
Measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and the 1 remaining tsp of the sugar into a large bowl
In a measuring jug measure out the 150ml of natural yoghurt, add one egg and 2 tablespoons of oil and mix
Add the yoghurt mixture and the yeast mixture to the flour and stir to form a dough
Knead for 10mins, coat in a little oil, pop back in the bowl and set aside for 40mins
Heat a large flat griddle pan on the hop until hot, whilst shaping the first Naan into a teardrop shape
Cook this on the griddle for one minute on each side, while this cooks shape the next Naan
When the Naan has had a minute each side lightly sprinkle with water and put in the hot oven on the pizza stone for2-3 minutes to puff and get a lovely golden colour
Repeat steps  for all 6 Naans, keeping the cooked Naans on foil and covered with a dry tea towel
serve and enjoy!

the picture of Paul Hollywood cutting the naan on Episode 2

So after bread week I thought I'd post my 'get in there' (so sorry to write that, i couldn't help myself, particularly as i had no memory of such an amazing compliment) Naan breads, they are really tasty and even my children really like them.  my family really like chilli and curry like me so these went down really well in my house.  I hope you like them too. 
Bread week was so much fun to film, possibly one of my fav weeks, me and Sarah-jane were on the kitchens at the back side by side and we had such a good laugh, sneaking over to each other for a chat or a joke or to peep into each others ovens!
We really hope you keep watching and enjoying gbbo, all the bakers were so lovely and we formed real friendships, we were like a little family, each person having their own role and character!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A sunny Sunday Teatime treat

Good Sunny Sunday morning all!

Here is a little recipe for you! it's such a hot day but these are super quick to make and bake "12 minutes to make...12minutes to Bake" My Mum always says this when making Scones! they are very yummy and would make a nice teatime treat.
there is also no egg in this recipe which is good for people with intolerance

Banana Buttermilk scones with salted Honey Butter
(the butter by the way is also delish on crumpets and hot toast)

450g Self Raising Flour (plus extra for dusting)
100g salted butter (cold diced)
85g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
250ml Buttermilk
1 large ripe banana (plus extra chopped banana to serve)
splash of milk to brush on before baking

for the salted honey butter
75g good quality salted butter
2 tablespoons of lovely runny honey

2 baking sheets, lightly dusted with flour

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C
  • make the honey butter by simply creaming the two ingredients together, pop in a ramekin and stick it in the fridge will you make the scones
  • rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • add the sugar and Cinnamon and mix through
  • now in a shallow dish mash the banana and then mix with the buttermilk
  • pour this onto the dry ingredients and using a metal table knife cut through the mixture until it just comes together to form a dough
  • finally bring it together gently by hand (DO NOT KNEAD IT)
  • tip out the dough onto lightly dusted work top
  • roll out gently to about 3-4cm thick
  • cut out the scones, as many as possible from the first roll
  • you can gently reform the dough and cut out more until you have used it all N.B. try to handle the dough as little as possible to keep the scones lovely and light
  • pop them on the tray and lightly brush with a little milk
  • bake for around 12mins until risen and golden
  • remove and cool on a rack (but be sure to eat some warm before they cool!
  • these are served best with the honey butter and chopped banana

I hope you try and enjoy these lovely little scones!
Have a lovely day

C & SJ

Saturday, 18 August 2012

White Chocolate and Raspberry ripple Arctic roll

Here's a recipe that has a few elements to it, none of which are particularly hard, but it does take a while.  I started this late on Friday evening and it was done by Saturday lunchtime, just to give you a rough timescale.  Please don't be put off by all the stages, it makes a really impressive and tasty retro treat which is well worth the effort - I promise!

White Chocolate and Raspberry Ripple Arctic Roll

   For the Ice cream
  450 ml whole milk
  1 vanilla pod
  6 large egg yolks
  110g caster sugar
  300g good white chocolate, ideally green and blacks
  300ml whipping cream

For the Raspberry Ripple sauce
250 g Raspberries
25g Icing sugar
a splash of water

For the Sponge
4 large eggs
110g caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
110g Self raising flour

3 Tbsp best quality raspberry jam

To start with, make the ice cream.
Heat the milk and vanilla pod together in a pan until it starts to bubble, meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
Pour the milk on to the egg mix and stir.  Pour the mixture back in to the saucepan and simmer very gently, take care not to over heat or the custard will spilt.  Stir continuously until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon then add the chopped chocolate stirring until the chocolate melts.
Cool the mixture in the fridge for 20min to half an hour. Once chilled, add the cream to the mixture and stir until incorporated.  If you own an ice cream machine, you can pour it in now, unfortunately I don't so at this point I pour my custard mixture into a shallow tub with a lid and pop it in the freezer.  If you're doing it this way it's important to take the ice cream out every 30 mins to scrape all the ice cream from round the edges and whisk it back into the middle, this prevents ice crystals forming and having crunchy ice cream!

While the ice cream is freezing, make the raspberry ripple sauce.  Place the raspberries, the water and the icing sugar in a pan, bring to a simmer and continue to cook until the fruit has broken down, this only takes about 5 mins. When done, pass through a sieve to remove the seeds then chill in the fridge until needed.

When the ice cream is nearly frozen solid, after about 3-4 hours, remove from the freezer and stir about 4 tbsp of the raspberry ripple sauce through, not too much though, you want a nice ripple effect.

Now here comes the tricky (but not too tricky!) part...!  On the worktop, place 2 sheets of cling film next to each other, slightly overlapping in the middle.  Take the ice cream mixture and scoop it all down the side nearest you.  Take the edge of the cling film closest to you and begin to roll the ice cream up, forming a sausage.  Twist the edges round and place back in the freezer until you're ready to make the sponge.  At this point, I went to bed!

The next morning...

To make the sponge, preheat the oven to 180 ° and line a Swiss roll tin with baking paper.  Place the eggs and the sugar together in a bowl and whisk together until very light (in colour and weight) and very fluffy.  This takes a while, even in my KitchenAid it took about 5 mins on high speed.  When they are at the right consistency, add the vanilla and  carefully fold in the flour with a big metal spoon, try not to knock too much air out.  Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 10-12 mins until golden brown.  While the sponge is baking, lay out a sheet of baking paper and dust with caster sugar.

When the sponge is done, tip it out straight away, face down, on to the baking paper, peel off the paper that you used to line the tine and is now on the top of the sponge.

Roll up the sponge in the baking paper like a Swiss roll and leave to cool.

When its completely cool, unroll it from the paper. Spread the jam on and  ake the ice cream from the freezer.  Unwrap it from its cling film. Place along the short edge of the sponge. Using the baking paper to help you roll the sponge around the ice cream. Re wrap in baking paper and freeze until needed.

When ready to serve, trim the ends to make it look tidy and dust with icing sugar. I had some of the raspberry sauce left, so I served this along side.

Like I said, there's a lot of different steps to this recipe, but none of them take a particularly long time and it really is so worth it!


Sj&C x

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

cake picture

Here is a picture of the Topsy-turvy Cake


Here is a GBBO Episode 1 inspired Upside-down Cake recipe for you all.

We hope you enjoyed show 1 as much as we did.  A bloody surreal experience seeing yourself (and your precious bakes) on the telly!

Here is a very easy recipe for our;
Blackberry, Almond and Vanilla Topsy-turvy Crumble Cake

What you need
Electric mixer (free standing or handheld)
8 inch spring form (or loose bottom) round cake tin
greaseproof paper
baking sheet/roasting tray


300g Blackberries (these are in season so can be picked not we did)
1 Tablespoon of honey

for the cake
175g margarine
175g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
3 medium free range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or a few drops of extract)
a few drops almond extract
pinch of baking powder

for the crumble topping
50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
25g rolled oats
50g flaked almonds
50g vanilla sugar
25g demarera sugar

  • preheat the oven to 170 (fan)
  • grease the whole tin and line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment
  • drizzle the honey over the lined base
  • lay the clean fruit to cover the entire base of the tin, packed nice and tightly so no gaps can be seen
  • put all the cake ingredients in a bowl, combine and then beat until pale, light and fluffy
  • pour this over the fruit and smooth flat
  • bake in the middle of the oven for 40mins, until it is risen, golden and lightly springs back to the touch
  • while it bakes, make the crumble
  • rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine crumbs
  • stir in the other crumble ingredients and pour this in a thin layer over the baking sheet
  • remove the cake from the oven when baked (leaving it in the tin for now) and turn the oven up to 200
  • when the oven is hot put the crumble mixture in the oven and bake for 15mins until golden
  • upturn the cake out onto your serving plate
  • sprinkle the crumble liberally over the cake
  • serve with Chantilly Cream or vanilla ice cream

also let us know anything you want to know about this years GBBO and we'll try and write about it (except how well anyone does obviously!)

C and SJ

Monday, 13 August 2012

A supper of Chicken, Chorizo and Potato turnovers

Here's a recipe for using up leftover chicken from your Sunday roast!  The quantities for this are very rough. The beauty of something like this is that you can use up what you've got, so if you've got a few roasties left over, then you can use them instead of boiling more the next day.  I had some homemade puff pastry in the freezer which I defrosted for this recipe, but its fine to use shop brought, especially because this is supposed to be an easy, throw it together meal!

3 medium sized potatoes, or any left over roasties
Half a medium sized red onion
Half a chorizo sausage
About 250g left over chicken - chopped
2 tsp fresh Thyme
400g puff pastry, homemade or a packet of shop brought
1 egg, beaten together with a pinch of salt

Pre heat the oven to 200° (180° fan) and line 1 large or 2 smaller baking sheets with baking paper.

Firstly, if your not using leftovers, peel and chop the potatoes into a rough dice.  Put into a pan, cover with boiling water and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until they are just done, you want them to hold their shape.
While they are cooking, chop the chorizo into pieces roughly the same size as the potatoes.  Put into a frying pan with a splash of oil.  Set over a low heat.  You don't want to cook it, just get the beautiful, orange juices out of it.
When plenty of oil has been released from the chorizo, take it out out of the pan and set aside.  Chop the onion and fry gently in the chorizo oil.  When the potatoes are done, add them to the pan with the onions, chorizo and the chopped chicken.
Add the thyme and season well with salt and pepper.
When the chicken is heated through, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside while you roll out the pastry.  Its important that the filling is not boiling hot when you put it in the pasty or the butter in the pastry will melt and you won't get those flaky layers you're after, so leave it for 5-10 minutes or so.
Divide the pastry into four squares and place on the baking sheet.  Brush around all four edges of each square with the egg wash and put a mound of filling into the middle of the pastry.
Fold the pastry over to cover the filling and seal around the two edges with your finger or a fork.  Brush the top with the egg wash and bake in the pre heated oven for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden.

We had this with a big green salad and some cheesy flat bread on the side - yummy!  Also, this filling works really well made into a frittata, just leave it in the frying pan, add 5 beaten eggs and grill until cooked.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Here's a little Sunday Afternoon recipe for you

Chewy Cherry Bakewell Cookies (wheat Free!)

Makes 8 large or 12 medium sized cookies
275g Ground almonds
100g Golden Syrup
50g soft light brown sugar
50g softened Unsalted Butter
75g chopped glace (or dried sour) cherries, plus extra to decorate
1 large Free Range Egg
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
large pinch of Bicarbonate of Soda
pinch of salt
A few drops of Almond Extract

for the icing
50g icing sugar
1 teaspoon water
grated zest of the other 1/2 of the lemon

  • Preheat the Oven to 180degrees C
  • put all the ingredients for the cookies in a bowl and beat well until combined
  • roll into equal sized balls and put on a large lined baking sheet, spread apart
  • press each biscuit flat
  • bake for 15mins, until golden brown, they will still be very soft to touch
  • leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool
  • mix the ingredients for the icing
  • when cool. drizzle with icing and decorate with the cherries
...Hope you enjoy these easy-peasy Sunday afternoon treats, lovely with a cuppa, or a dollop of vanilla ice cream (as my children like them)!

Oh and by the way.... ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT UNTIL GBBO!!!

C x

Saturday, 11 August 2012

3 Days to go....!

Well, this week the build up to series 3 of the 'Bake Off' has really kicked off!  We're in the Radio Times where there is brilliant picture of all twelve of us bakers, remarkably all looking at the camera and smiling, I have a mention in the Shropshire Star and there is an article in 'The Guardian' in the TV OD section.  Perhaps the most exciting though is that  BBC 2 are now showing the trailer for the first episode which Cathryn and I are in, (looking incredibly serious and worried) and the website has been updated with all of us having our own picture and short intro!

It's all feeling really real now, which is incredibly exciting but also very daunting!  Seeing how excited everyone is about the new series is amazing.  At the time when we were taking part, it didn't really feel like we were doing anything special (mainly because most of the time it was pouring with rain and freezing cold!) but with all this build up and hype I can't help feeling like we were part of something really special and that its going to be an amazing series!  I'm just hoping that I don't make a complete doughnut of myself (not too often anyway!)

I hope that you enjoy the first show, some of the cakes that were made were quite remarkable (and I'm including yours in there Cat) so it should be a good 'un!
We're not having a viewing party for the first show, but I will let my big girl stay up late to watch Mummy on the telly. I'm sure that I will be watching most of it from behind a cushion though!

Sj x

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Hello world of blogging! is our first post!

we hope you will come here and find Bake Off info, recipes and other baking bits and bobs!
This is new to us both so bear with us!
C and S-J