Monday, 29 August 2011

The Northern Dough Co - Your own Pizzeria at Home - recipe

Do you and your family love pizza? In this household its a firm favourite, and chief taster would (if allowed to, but he's not allowed!) eat pizza everyday of his life. We've eaten pizza everywhere we have traveled and chief taster will often identify holidays by "do you remember that pizza we had in...etc."

We often make our own 'everything from scratch' pizza at home (this includes making fresh bread dough for the bases too) but I have to admit its time consuming and can be laborious, and is only made more bearable by the help of a bread maker. But we make it (albeit very occasionally) because we love the taste of home made and we can make pizzas with our own toppings. AND its cheaper and much better value than take away or home delivery pizza.

Chief taster and student taster will often order home delivery pizzas from the usual high street chains (this often occurs when I am out, or away, they tend to do it in secret) but when I have seen these I am always amazed because of a) the cost of these things and b) whats actually on the top of them...which is...hardly anything at all IMHO...I have been known to count meager slices of pepperoni/mushrooms/fat ridden ham/pineapple and the like! The quality of whats on the top of these pizzas I think is very questionable too I'm thinking they look like the cheapest meat cuts ever).

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Random bakes of kindness - recipe

Vanessa Kimbell, is at it again, she's a closet crusader is the lovely Vanessa, always motivating her Twitter followers to do something or other, if its not recipe testing for her book, 'Prepped' or taking on a supermarket cafe for its poor meals for children, or dieting, or writing blogs and other articles/publications, (phew!) its feeding folk at random with baked goodies!

Her latest idea is to get us all sharing a bit of kindness with a bit of extra baking, and what better way to share the love...everyone loves home made baked goods. AND we all like to feel special, and we all love to receive a surprise teat don't we?

So here's my random act of baking kindness...I had surgery about 9 or is it 10(?) weeks ago now and when I went for my 6 week post op check up I took some of the people who looked after me so well in hospital a box of homemade (of course!) cookies/biscuits as a thank you. They did such a brilliant job of treating and caring for me and I was grateful for that.

Here they are, a mixture of brown sugar chocolate cookies and coconut, cranberry and walnut cookies...yum!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Canadian tea(pig) loaf - recipe

I think you might call this a cake by proxy, and this is why. We had our first cake club event recently where everyone who wants to come along signs up to bringing a cake that relates to the theme. Unfortunately the lady who was bringing, what she described as a 'Canadian tea loaf' was unable to join us, so on a whim I googled the recipe for 'Canadian tea loaf', as I had never heard of it, and then I had a go at making one myself (well two really as I gave some away to testers). I adapted the recipe I found (with the help of google and originally from Susan McMahon) a little bit to suit what I had in the store cupboard. 

The result has been very popular with everyone who tried it, but I don't know if this is the same recipe that would have been brought to cake club or not and maybe I will never find out?

The other thing is that this recipe calls for brewed tea to soak the fruit in (I can remember my mum making recipes with tea like this when we were children), hence the tea reference in the name and what better tea to use than real tea leaves from tea pigs. I used tea pigs Darjeeling earl grey tea temples for this recipe. This gave the tea loaf a nice, delicate and subtle earl grey flavour and the recipe was all the better for using real tea. 

No-one tasting and testing this loaf cake can work out what was 'Canadian' about this recipe. Maybe the Canadian Mounties carry it as a staple in their saddlebags, who knows? Whatever the history this is very good served sliced with butter; the real tea and boiling of the dried fruit really enhances the flavours.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Victoria Sponge Cake with Cardamom, Rose Cream & Rhubarb - recipe

This is one of the cakes I made for our first South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club  this week.

The recipe comes from Prepped by Vanessa Kimbell and was actually tested earlier this year by Ruth Clemens (of the GBBO and Pink Whisk fame). If you don't know already, Ruth is the face of national baking week (17th to 23rd October), more about that another time! 


I found it impossible to get hold of rose essence for this cake, so I substituted two cap fulls of rose water instead.

Rose water is much easier to get hold of, lots of supermarkets stock it and indian and polish food shops tend to sell it too.

The rhubarb jam for the filling was bought from my local
market in Chorley, and had some lovely chunks of rhubarb in it.

The top of the cake is decorated with icing, white chocolate curls (made easily with a vegetable peeler and bar of white chocolate, and on this occasion a white chocolate fondant icing rose (home made by yours truly). I mention this as everyone at CCC asked me what it was? The white chocolate fondant to make this lovely rose was bought here.

I did have a stab at some home made crystallised rose petals just for the sake of decoration for the cake plate.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Kenzie Cakie

It was the little helpers birthday this week and she is 3 years old now, so I made her a character cake, a first for me and for her as I hadn't made her a birthday cake before. 

It was sandwiched with blackcurrant jam and vanilla butter cream AND decorated with a VERY scarey...eyed...don't look into the eeeeyyyeeeeeeeesss... Upsey Daisey character. See what I mean?

This character cake was just a simple Victoria sponge recipe inside and I always use the same recipe from Nigella Lawson (have tried others but always come back to this one) but I coloured the cake mixture, pink, lemon and grape to make a marble effect inside the cake on this occasion.