Friday, 30 November 2012

Cake roundup!

I posted a recipe roundup a week or so back, of all the things I've made over the past 6 months and forgotten the recipes of, thus will never make blog posts of their own, but I have to confess I kept a few back... some cakes which are a little bit more special.

Hence this post to show them off on their own!

Starting off with one of my most recent decorating exploits - a cute little fairy for a little fairy's 5th birthday

An LP cake for a DJ...

A spiced chocolate and raspberry bundt cake to congratulate on an engagement

Some brush embroidery close ups

Some swirly butter icing roses with edible star sprinkles for a kitsch finish

Super bright multi-coloured cake crumbs...

6 layers of rainbow brightness hidden under the white icing :o)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Another Seasonal Surprise Ingredient Guest Post

Only two more days to go before I post the Surprise Ingredient Swap roundup - it's sure to be mouthwatering.

But before that, another guest post - well, not quite so much a guest post this time, as a post-on-behalf-of!

Not to be outdone on the swapping and baking front, my Dad wanted to get in on the action as well as my Mum!

In actual fact, he probably bakes more frequently that my Mum, as he's a regular bread maker, so I have to confess I fully expected his seasonal surprise ingredient swap creation to be bread. However he pushed the boat out and went for cake! A slightly adventurous one at that - a Lemon, Creme Fraiche and Chestnut Cake which you can find the recipe of on the BBC Goodfood website here.

And his surprise ingredient? Well, he was sent some very exciting chestnut flour from Cooking Manu.

Here's the finished cake

And a few words from the baker...

"Here is my creation at last. Trying something new is always interesting and the chestnut flour gives the overall cake a lovely nutty taste. I also learned the hard way that whisking up egg whites until stiff is a waste of time if there is even a trace of yolk........and I had exactly that. The overall texture is very moist so the cake might do better as a sweet, with sticky sauce poured over it. Finally a very big thanks to Manu for the challenging ingredient."

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A Random Recipes Horror - Banana Surprise Soup!

If nothing else, this post should be a salutary lesson to everyone as to which books should be allowed to live on the cook book shelf, and which should be relegated to the regular book shelf.

The theme for November's Random Recipe challenge was 'random birthday number'.

Our host, Dom at Belleau Kitchen, asked us to count along our cook book shelf and stop at the number for the date of our birthday - 23 in my case - to take that book, and open it at a random place, then make that recipe.

So right back at the start of November I duly counted along my cook book shelf, stopped and number 23, pulled it out, opened it, and then closed it quickly again in horror, put it back on the shelf and made myself a cuppa to recover.

The finished article, and the responsible cookbook!
Book number 23 was "Nanny Ogg's Cookbook: A useful and improving Almanack of Information including Astonishing Recipes from Terry Pratchett's Discworld". The recipe on the page I opened it at... "Bananana Soup Surprise" (p29 in case anyone is rushing to grab a copy and make it straight away... thought not!).

Recipe shot for proof that I've not taken leave of my senses
On the plus side, the recipe was dairy free, so required no weird substitutions. That was pretty much the only positive.

I quartered the recipe from serves 4, to serves 1, and even with our best 'we must not waste food' hats on, Mr E and I only just managed to finish it. It is that bad. There was a contentious moment, when I declared that it tasted better (to me) than tinned Heinz Cream of Tomato soup, and Mr E almost fell of his chair. Turns out that is one of his favourite foods ever, whereas I literally can't swallow it without gagging (aside from the fact that it has dairy in it, which is actually a bit of a blessing and gets me neatly out of ever having to eat it again). I was able to eat said Banana Soup Surprise without the urge to throw up, therefore in my soup ranking scale, it sits above both Heinz Cream of Tomato and Baxters French Onion (but that's another story!). For Mr E, it is at the very bottom of his soup ranking scale.

Banana soup. With a banana stuck in it.
I followed the recipe to the letter (apart from substituting parsley for chervil, since our local supermarket is culinarily unenlightened, and parsley is about as herby as it gets) including the serving suggestion, which I'm quoting here in case anyone thinks I've gone nuts (or should that be bananas):

"Take the remaining two banananas and chop them in half width-ways. Place each half in a bowl, pointing upwards. Pour in some soup and serve. Surprisin', eh?"

Bananana Soup Surprise (Serves 1 or 2 depending on how odd your tastebuds are)

  • 2 small bananas
  • 125ml veg stock
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chopped dried parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Peel and chop one banana and put into a small saucepan with the stock. Blitz with a hand blender until the bananas are smooth. Gently bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the other ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to simmer gently for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. It will thicken up a little bit. Then follow serving suggestion quoted above...!

Eat with a sense of trepidation...

So back to the moral of the story. Some books deserve a place on the cook book shelf. Others don't. Which isn't too big a risk, until you join in Random Recipes.

PS - yes, I'm a big Terry Pratchett geek!! I know :o)

What do you mean it doesn't look appetising...?!?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Daring Bakers November Challenge: Twelve Days of Cookies

Tis the season to bake biscuits! And it's Daring Bakers' Challenge posting time again.
Combine the two, and you end up with the 12 days of cookies - or 50% of it, since I managed 6 of the 12 days in the song.

Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

If I'd had unlimited time, and people to pass the finished biscuits on to, I'd have made 12 batches of biscuits and treats, one for each of the 12 days in 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. I'm sure I could have managed the latter requirement amongst family and friends, but the first was never going to happen. But with a spot of 11th hour baking this evening, I've managed 6 rather laterally themed cookies.

Recipes to follow in some future posts, as it's getting late, and if I don't finish this up soon, I'll miss the posting deadline again!

A Partridge In A Pear Tree - Spiced pear and oatmeal cookies

Five Gold Rings - Saffron shortbread rings with vanilla icing and gold and silver nonpareils

Eight Maids A Milking - Condensed milk snowballs made with homemade dairy free condensed almond milk

Ten Lords A Leaping - Peanut butter and popping candy fudge

Eleven Pipers Piping - Strawberry piped sandwich swirl biscuits

Twelve Drummers Drumming - Fridge biscuits with 'Drumstick' chew bar chunks

As an aside, according to Wikipedia, there was an alternative version of this song in 19th century Scotland. I stumbled across it whilst looking for other options for some of the 'trickier' days that even with some creative thinking I was a little stumped with. However... they didn't exactly help:

"The king sent his lady of the first Yule day,
A popingo-aye [parrot];
Wha learns my carol and carried it away?"

The subsequent gifts are listed as follows:
Two partridges
Three plovers
A goose that was grey
Three starlings
Three goldspinks
A bull that was brown
Three ducks a-merry laying
Three swans a-merry swimming
An Arabian baboon
Three hinds a-merry hunting
Three maids a-merry dancing
Three stalks o' merry corn

I've no idea what a goldspink even is, and baboon biscuits, whilst amusing, didn't seem any easier than leaping lords or piping pipers!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

2012 Q 2&3 - Things I've cooked and forgotten the recipes of

I'm really bad for
a) forgetting to jot down or bookmark the recipes I've used to make things
b) ONLY writing down the modifications I've made, so you get recipes that go like... "substitute 1/2 cup soya milk, 2 tbsp olive oil, add 3 tbsp oats and miss out cinnamon" - unhelpful!
c) writing things down, but with no indication of what the recipe for so that I have to first decipher my scrawling, then try to second guess what might have been the result of combining those ingredients (assuming I've not forgotten any vital ones, which often I do)

So as a result if I don't blog about things fairly soon after making them, they sort of get lost in the mists of time.

And periodically I clear out the photos in my 'unblogged food' folder, post a roundup such as this, and delete them!

So here's my 2012 Q2 -3 roundup!

Hummus muffins 
Soup - of some sort! Guessing curried celery and tomato, with a celery leaf on top...
Apple and Beetroot Crumble
Bread - looks grainy - not sure what type
Chicken & Lemongrass meatballs = lego man dumbells! (They were really tasty too!)
Beetroot bread
Chocolate tofu "cheesecake" 
Griddled lamb pitas with potato salad
Macaroni-miso with ham and sweetcorn
Sunshine quiche with carrot, corn, kidney beans, tahini and paprika 
Gin and tonic with fresh brambles
Caramelised onion scones made with Mini-M hence the Winnie the Pooh shapes
Soya 'sausage' and tomato rolls
Split pea and ham soup
Chocolate marmalade cupcakes 
Coconut milk tablet
Pear and oatmeal jammy pudding
Coconut and Lemon Balm and Honey Macaroons
Hoops with hot smoked salmon and mushroom
Aubergine and hummus pie
Carrot and honey pie - (surprise spoon by Mini-M)
Well, 3 posts in one day is plenty catching up! So without further ado, I shall bit you all goodnight, and dismiss myself with a 'must to better next time' at recipe recording!!!


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