Thursday, 26 March 2015

Treat Petite March 2015 Round Up

March has whizzed by and it’s time for our Treat Petite round-up for March. As Mother’s Day falls in March in the UK, we were celebrating all things ‘Mum’, with all links to ‘mum’ tenuous and specific welcomed!

To start things off Dom over at Belleau Kitchen, gave us his Honey, Oat and Cranberry Cookies. These were inspired by his mum’s love of honey and they look like they would go perfect with a cuppa.

Next we had Helen at Family Friends Food bringing us her super-fruity chocolate tiffin. These were made with Kipper in tow and would make a perfect treat for Mother’s Day or anytime.

My co-host Kat made Lindt Lindor Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream. The chocolates on top certainly grab your attention! Kat made these for her mum, whose favourite chocs are – you’ve guessed it – Lindt Lindors!

Sadhna at Herbs, Spices and Traditions made Tandoori Naan stuffed with potatoes and onion. These were inspired by her mother-in-law who made her naans on a Sunday.

Helen at Case Costello made these bright and cheery Sunshine Cookies full of orange and lemons zest. These were gussied up with ribbons and Helen said would make a perfect Mother’s Day gift.

Caroline at Caroline Makes… made homemade marshmallows for the first time at a class in Putney. Caroline didn’t say if she was giving these to her mum, but said they would make an ideal gift for Mother’s Day all parcelled up in a box.

These mini St. Clement’s cakes from Kate, the Gluten-Free Alchemist look like we Victoria sponges. But they are filled with lots of zingy citrus, honey and brown sugar – these really are a perfect cake for Mother’s Day as Kate says.

Emily at Cooking for Kishore made Irish Cream Glazed Vanilla Bean Baked Donuts. She used her mum’s homemade Irish Cream in these to tie in with the mum theme. They look loads of fun and perfect for St. Patrick’s Day too.

Laura at I’d Much Rather Bake Then… paired up mint and cookie dough to give us these Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes. I had never thought of pairing those two together but I think it sounds like a match made in heaven. Laura thought of her mum whilst baking these as she is feeling a bit homesick from uni at the moment.

Next up, and Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker made us some lovely mini chocolate éclairs from an Eric Lanlard recipe. Ros calls her chocolate on top messy as there was no time to let is set. I say it looks even more inviting and decadent! Her mum lives abroad and she couldn’t share these with her, but she knows how much her mum would love them!

My entry was next and I made mango and pineapple galette for my mum. She came around for dinner and we bought her a Chinese takeaway. But I did make dessert using her favourite fruits in this crisp golden pastry shell.

Choclette at her new home ‘Tin and Thyme’ made Marmalade Runeberg Cakes which are made from breadcrumbs and ground almonds instead of flour. With the addition of her mum’s marmalade sauce, these look really tasty.

Katharine at Leeks and Limoni made citrus and honey madeleines. These were inspired by Proust’s novel ‘In Search of Lost Time’. It was the author’s mother who gave him the madeleines inspiring the book, a great tie-in to the theme of Mum.

Caroline at Caroline Makes… also made chunky peanut brittle, who made this for her mum. My mum would definitely love this!

Helen at Family Friends Food also made no-bake almond coconut fudgies. Nice and easy, without having to turn on the oven – Helen interpreted the theme as ‘things you would make for your mum’ and so, I’m guessing her mum would love these!

Thanks to all who entered and keep your eyes peeled for April’s theme over at The Baking Explorer.

Monday, 23 March 2015

'Italian Easter Bread' Cookies

'Italian Easter Bread' Cookies

Have you ever heard of Italian Easter Bread? I hadn’t until last year, when I happened upon it on Pinterest.

courtesy of recipes100
It is visually quite stunning – a plaited wreath of sweetened dough with dyed hard-boiled eggs placed in the wreath, plus some sprinkles.  Very Eastery, not just because of the colours, but of course the eggs – which have all sorts of religious connotations.

I’m not religious, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but I still like the holiday and it's colours and tastes.

I thought I would try making it this year, but then I mentioned Italian Easter Bread to Disneyboi who baulked at the thought! He’s not a lover of real eggs at all. I say real eggs, as he does like chocolate ones, which set me to thinking.

'Italian Easter Bread' Cookies

How about a cookie made to look like Italian Easter Bread and instead of real dyed eggs, I could substitute mini chocolate eggs?

I made a plain cookie dough and chilled it overnight. The next day I twisted lengths of cookie dough together (I cannot plait to save myself, twisting was much easier) and added some micro eggs, before chilling the unbaked cookies for a few minutes (helps them to keep their shape) before baking them.

I tried both mini eggs and micro eggs and I have to say the micro eggs won. They did crack a little when baked, exposing their choccy innards, but I loved the look of them.

When cooled I made a simple glaze from icing sugar and water, brushed it over the cookies and sprinkled some multi-coloured sprinkles – very festive!

'Italian Easter Bread' Cookies

Disneyboi enjoyed these immensely and I think they would cheer up any Easter celebration table!

Italian Easter Bread Cookies

Thumbnail Url Cookies made to look like Italian Easter Bread
Cuisine: snack Category: cookies Yields: 20 cookies
Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time:

  • 200 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 400 grams plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of chocolate micro eggs
  • Icing sugar
  • Water
  • Multi-coloured sprinkles
  1. In a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and mix in followed by the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and mix until a dough forms.
  2. Split the dough in two and wrap each half in clingfilm. Refrigerate for a couple of hours at least or overnight.
  3. When ready to make your cookies, pre-heat the oven 180C. Line two cookie sheets with greaseproof paper.
  4. Split the dough into 40 grams balls and separate each ball in half. Roll each half into 20cm long snakes and place each snake side-by-side. Twist each end until you get a full twisted ‘log’. Wrap it into a circles and then take the micro eggs, dotting 5 or 6 around the folds of the dough.
  5. When all cookies are made, chill them for 15 minutes before baking in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Allow to cool completely before making a glaze from some icing sugar and water, Brush over the cookies and sprinkle with sprinkles.
  7. Allow the glaze to dry before tucking into your Italian Easter Bread Cookies!

I am entering these into this month's Tea Time Treats hosted by (this month) Janie at The Hedgecombers and Karen at Lavender and Lovage. The theme is biscuits and cookies.

I am also entering these cookies into this week's Cook Blog Share hosted by Lucy at Supergolden Bakes

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Cake and Bake Show Edinburgh - Cake Competition

Do you love baking? Are you a professional baker or perhaps just an experimental home baker like me?

Well, now you can show off your skills at this year’s Cake and Bake Show in Edinburgh (30 Oct - 1 Nov), by entering The 'Children’s Stories' Cake Competition.

Cakes, all shapes and sizes are welcomed from cupcakes to multi-tiered monsters! As long as they fit into the theme of Children’s Stories, then anything is fair game.

With all the children’s stories out there, your imagination can run wild. From Harry Potter to The Tiger Who Came to Tea, or a Hungry Caterpillar to the Wombles (showing my age there!).

courtesy of buzzfeed
Speaking of age, there are different classes to enter your cake under depending on your level of expertise (and age). The categories are Professional, Semi-Professional, Amateur and three junior sections. You can also enter your cake for display and taste, or simply just display. Take a look at the website for all the terms and conditions.

courtesy of pinterest
Entry forms for the Edinburgh competition must be submitted by the 18th August and will be shortlisted on 1st September. So get your thinking caps on and start practicing.

The Scottish Baking Awards will be judging the cakes at the very first Scottish Cake and Bake Show (on 30th October) and will be assessing them on creativity, visual appeal, skill and the way you interpret the theme of children’s stories.

If you are thinking of entering there is a list of important rules on the website so do make sure you pop over and take a look.

Good luck to all who enter!

Disclosure Statement: I have not been paid to promote this competition. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Mini Churros with Redmond Multicooker

A while back I received a multicooker from a company called Redmond to review.

I hadn’t heard of a multicooker before and wanted to give one a try. I chose their RMC-M4502E model. It’s quite a snazzy item to have in your kitchen and looks like Daft Punk have left one of their helmets on your countertop!

The multicooker has many functions and can steam, fry, cook pasta, stew, porridge, make soup even bake in the machine. There are 16 automatic functions and 18 manual programs.

You can also prove bread in the machine, make baby food, sterilise items and make yoghurt! What can’t it do?

I decided to try frying in mine as I don’t have a fryer in my kitchen. Now, the instructions say it can fry vegetables, fish and meat but I wanted to try something different – churros!

I’ve always wanted to try making the little fried nuggets dusted in cinnamon sugar and now was my chance.

I set up my multicooker and flicked through the instructions. It is going to take some time to understand everything that the machine can do, but I opted for an automatic fry function for 10 minutes. I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take and I could easily increase the time if I needed.

I prepped by churros dough and placed it in a piping bag fitted with a star tip nozzle.

I then poured some vegetable oil into the removable bowl which has clear markings so you know exactly how much you are using.

I set the multicooker to fry and the oil heated. I tested a little piece of the dough first to see if it was hot enough and it was.

I piped little dollops of the churros dough  (about 1.5" long) into the bowl and watched as they fried away. They first sank and then rose to the top as they were almost ready. This took no time at all, just a few minutes. I only added about 5 at a time as I didn’t want to crowd the bowl and bring the temperature down.

I drained them on some kitchen paper when I took them out of the multicooker and then rolled them in some cinnamon sugar. They were delicious! Here’s how I made them…

Mini Churros

Thumbnail Url Bitesize nuggets of fried dough enrobed in cinnamon sugar
Cuisine: Dessert Category: Fried Yields: 3 dozen
Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time:

  • 300-350 ml recently boiled kettle water
  • 50 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 litre of vegetable oil
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a bowl mix together the boiled water, melted butter and vanilla. Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add the water/oil mix and combine until you get a dough which is thick but of dropping consistency. You may not need all of the water.
  3. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and set aside.
  4. Add the oil to the multicooker (or deep fat fryer) and bring up to heat. When a small pieces of the dough sizzles when placed in the oil it is ready to fry.
  5. Pipe little nuggets of churros dough into the hot oil, snipping with scissors as you go. Don’t make too many at once as the temperature of the oil will decrease.
  6. When slightly browned, flip each churros over and cook until lightly golden. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
  7. Mix the caster sugar and cinnamon together and roll each warm churros in the mix, coating completely, tapping off any excess.
  8. Your churros are ready to enjoy!

For frying I found the multicooker safe to use, the outside didn’t get overly hot and there was no lingering smell of fat which is a huge boon.

Overall, the multicooker from Redmond is an interesting kitchen gadget and one I intend to try using for different uses too, like baking a cake and bread.

Disclosure Statement: I received the multicooker free to review and have been paid for creating this recipe. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Mango & Pineapple Galette with Limed Caramel Sauce

mango & pineapple galette with limed caramel sauce

It was Mothering Sunday here in the UK yesterday. Mum came over for dinner and we treated her to a Chinese takeaway for her main course. I know, I know, don’t have a go! Disneyboi and I are in the middle of selling up and moving home, so time is of an essence!

But I did have time to make dessert (of course) and I whipped up a simple yet impressive mango and pineapple galette. Mum absolutely loves pineapple and mango, so I thought that she would enjoy her favourite fruits wrapped up in crisp shortcrust pastry. Very tropical!

mango & pineapple galette with limed caramel sauce

I loved the colours of the fruit, which I knew Mum would love as well. She isn’t one for pinks and lilacs – her palette is much earthier, autumnal colours – which is a nightmare at this time of year. All you can see in card shops are seas of pinky, purple cards and flowers are the same! But I usually manage to find something more pleasing to Mum.

To drizzle over the top of the galette I made a quick caramel sauce and added lime juice. Lime you say? Why should salt have all the fun?! I added lime to keep in with the tropical theme. It really adds a kick after you first taste the sauce, it cuts through the sweetness and balances it all out.

To make things easy, I used shop bought ready-rolled shortcrust and tins of fruit. Much easiness!! Here’s how I made it….

Mango and Pineapple Galette with Limed Caramel Sauce

Thumbnail Url Mango and pineapple pieces in crisp shortcrust pastry drizzled with a lime flavoured caramel sauce.
Cuisine: Dessert Category: Pastry Yields: 3 galettes
Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time:

  • 1 package of ready-rolled short-crust pastry
  • 1 large can of pineapple chunks
  • 1 can of mango slices
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 200 grams granulated sugar
  • 90 grams unsalted butter, cubed
  • 120 ml double cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cut out three circles from the sheet of pastry, about 7” in diameter.
  3. Open the cans of pineapple and mango and drain all liquid from them. Cut the slices if preferred then mix the mango and pineapple together, then toss in the cornflour.
  4. Heap one third of the mix into the centre of one of the circles and pull up the pastry to form almost an open top pie. Pinch the pastry together so it holds. Repeat with the rest of the fruit mix and pastry circles.
  5. Whisk the egg and brush onto the exposed pastry, as an egg wash and sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the galettes.
  6. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the pastry turns golden brown and the fruit starts to caramelise on top slightly.
  7. Remove from the oven.
  8. To make the caramel sauce, firstly squeeze the juice from a lime and set aside.
  9. In a large saucepan, melt the granulated sugar over medium heat. Stirring occasionally making sure it doesn’t burn. It will turn golden in colour. Keeping it on the heat add the butter and stir this in until it melts fully.
  10. Add the cream. It will splutter and splatter at this stage so be careful. Keep stirring until the sauce stops bubbling. Add 4 teaspoons of the lime juice and stir through.
  11. To serve, spoon the caramel sauce over the galettes and enjoy!

I am entering this bake into this month's Treat Petite which I am hosting (next month it will be my co-host Kat at the Baking Explorer)

I'm also entering this galette into the new monthly Pastry Challenge hosted by Jen from Jen's Food this month, and Lisa at United Cakedom. Anything with pastry is fair game!

mango & pineapple galette with limed caramel sauce

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Irish Stout Mocha Loaf Cake

I don’t know why but I’ve always liked baking/making something for St. Patrick’s Day for my blog. I’m not Irish, have never been there, but I just like the fact that it is seen as a ‘holiday’ in Ireland and the States.

The colour green is usually a predominant factor in a lot of blogger recipes around this time. Or the use of Guinness. And I have gone for the latter, sort of, this year.

My drink of choice for this bake was a porter stout, made by Guinness. It had very chocolaty and coffeeish overtones when I drank it.  I immediately wanted to bake it into a cake and add even more of those flavours. The stout adds a rich depth of flavour to the finished cake. I know that Guinness and chocolate cake is nothing new, but the addition of coffee just gave another element to the bake.

 The cake batter for this was so light and fluffy I could have just eaten that on its own. I used both melted chocolate and cocoa powder plus a sachet of strong instant coffee.  I did restrain myself from eating the batter and baked it in a loaf tin. To decorate I made a simple cream cheese frosting and a slice of the cake looked almost like a pint of the dark stuff with the darkness of the sponge and the white of the frosting.

The taste of the cake itself? So much more than a chocolate cake, with the extra stout and coffee flavours in there. Give it a try for St. Patrick’s Day!

NB: You could use any dark stout in this recipe.

Irish Stout Mocha Loaf Cake

A deep, rich chocolaty cake with irish stout and coffee added
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
Cuisine: dessert Category: cake Yields: 1 large loaf 
Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time:
  • 250 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 grams dark brown sugar
  • 100 grams plain chocolate, at least 60% cocoa solids
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 200 ml of stout
  • 275 grams self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 sachet (7 grams) strong instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 30 grams full fat cream cheese
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 2 tablespoons of icing sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a large loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering, or in the microwave. Allow it too cool slightly.
  3. In a mixer beat together the brown sugar and butter until fluffy, this will take a good few minutes.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and beat this in followed by the eggs, one at a time.
  5. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb. Add the instant coffee and stir this through.
  6. Add the flour mix to the wet mix and beat until combined. Add the stout and mix until the batter is smooth.
  7. Transfer the cake batter to the loaf tin. Fill it about three quarters full, don’t over fill.
  8. Bake in the oven 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.
  9. Allow it to cool fully in the tin before removing it.
  10. Make the frosting by whipping the cream cheese with the double cream and icing sugar until it becomes a spreadable consistency.
  11. Spread on top of the cooled cake and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

I am entering this cake into this month’s Alphabakes hosted by Caroline at Caroline Makes and this month Ros at the More Than Occasional Baker. The letter this month is ‘S’ and stout fits in there well!

 I am also entering this cake into Dom at Belleau Kitchen’s new challenge ‘Simply Eggcellent’ which challenges us to use free-range eggs. I have used two in here, so I think the cake qualifies!
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