Saturday, 25 April 2015

That's What I Call New #5


It’s time for another look at a couple more products I have been sent to try out, and a couple of other things I have come across on my travels…

Nature Valley Protein Bars

First up, I was recently sent some new Nature Valley Protein Bars to try out. I have loved Nature Valley bars for a long while now. The healthier snack Nature Valley’s come in lots of varieties  - granola bars, sweet and nutty bars, trail mix and even cereals.


They have now launched new Protein bars with a whopping 15% of your daily protein needs, plus 30% LESS sugar than standard adult cereal bars. They come in two flavours peanut and chocolate, and roasted peanuts with pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

I was sent both of these varieties to try and they are, of course, delicious. And they also fill you up. I had a bar with a cup of tea, and later when I would normally reach for another snack, I was still full. These protein bars pack a punch!

Rhubarb and Custard Homebaking Jam

Next up, I was sent new Rhubarb and Custard flavour baking jam from Duerr’s. This is purportedly the UK’s first jam designed for bakers, with a formula they call bake-stable. The jam, with all the flavour of those rhubarb and custard sweets we used to enjoy as youngsters, holds it’s consistency when baked and remains smooth and glossy.


I have to say, I love the idea of jam designed for bakers, and the flavour is amazing – takes you right back to your childhood. Available in Aldi, stay tuned for my recipe this week, using the jam in a very sticky concoction!

It's A Baking Thing

Next up, not a product, but a website – ‘It’s A Baking Thing’. They launched recently and stem from their parent company who are one of the largest suppliers to the UK food industry, hosting a wide-range of product. They decided to come up with ‘It’s A Baking Thing’ as they wanted to give home bakers like you and me, the access to the experience, resources and customer service they had honed over the years.

courtesy of itsabakingthing.com

 It’s A Baking Thing, is the place for a wide-range of ingredients, cupcake cases and boxes and some baking tools too. They kindly sent me a whisk, which I will put to good use in the Cakeyboi kitchen. They also provide expert advice with some hints and tips you may not know. Pop over to the website and say hi!

Method

Lastly, this is not something I have been sent, but something I came across in the supermarket. It’s washing-up liquid but so much better! (stay with me here...)

Now, I don’t have a dishwasher in my kitchen (and when we buy somewhere new, I am definitely going to rectify that) but for now I wash my dishes in the sink.

courtesy of method.co.uk
 Well, I came across Method dishwashing liquid in Tesco a while back – and can honestly say it is one of the best I have used. It doesn’t foam loads and loads, leaving everything uber-soapy, but it really does seem to cut through the greasiest of dishes with ease. Plus the scents it come in are amazing. I am currently using their limited edition Honeycrisp Apple and if I could waft the scent through the screen to you I would.


I have also bought their foaming hand soap and love that equally as much.

But Method are so much more. Aside from amazing looking bottles, they also are very, very green in everything they do! No toxic chemicals in their product. Aside from dishwashing soap and hand soap, they sell home cleaning products, air fresheners, laundry detergents, there is even a kids range! Check out their website, to find your nearest stockist, and spread the Method love!

Disclosure Statement: I have been sent some of the items free to try. I have not been asked to write a positive review for anything and any opinions expressed are entirely my own.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Chocolate Bread with Lime Curd Swirl

chocolate bread with lime curd swirl

Do you remember recently I tried my new kitchen gadget, the  RMC-M4502E Multicooker from Redmond? It’s a great piece of kit to have in the kitchen as you can bake, fry, steam, cook meats, make soups, porridges – even baby food! There is very little that the Multicooker cannot do.


I decided it was time to use it again. It really is quite an attractive feature on my worktop – looking like a spaceman has lost his way and left his helmet on the kitchen counter whilst looking for directions.



Anyhoo, I decided to bake bread in the multicooker this time. Last time I fried in it – making little mini churros. They were sweet and delicious and great for a wee snack.

This time I decided to use another of the Multicookers 34 functions (see below) and bake bread in it. You bake the bread right in the bowl of the multicooker, so you are left with a loaf in a nice boule shape.


What flavour would I make, I pondered and I looked through my cupboards and found cocoa powder and lime curd. Howzabout a chocolate bread with a lime curd swirl I thought?

I have made a couple of swirl breads in the past before – a banana bread with a strawberry jam swirl and a coconut bread with a marmalade swirl. Both were very delicious and both had great flavour.

I thought the chocolate and lime would be tasty, as I did use to love those little chocolate lime boiled sweets and even made Krispie treats in that flavour last year. So I set about making my dough.

chocolate bread with lime curd swirl

The chocolate dough was kneaded in my food mixer. At first I thought it was going to be a sloppy mess, but the more it kneaded, the more the gluten’s developed and the dough formed right in front of my eyes.

I popped the dough for its first prove straight in the multicooker. After an hour, I took the dough out, gave it another quick knead and rolled and stretched it out to an oblong shape. I then spread a simple egg wash on it, before spreading over some store-bought lime curd. The egg wash ensures the bread sticks together and the ‘swirl’ doesn’t unfurl.

chocolate bread with lime curd swirl

I then rolled the dough into a sausage from the shortest end of the oblong. Then, I twisted the sausage into a circle and carefully placed this back into the multicooker to prove for another 45 minutes.

After that time I set the multicooker to bake for 45 minutes. During the cooking time, the smells of chocolate and lime wafted through the kitchen it was divine.

I opened the multicooker once during the baking process to get rid of any excess moisture, popped it back on and waited until the 45 minutes were up. The multicooker's display shows you how much time is left and beeps to let you know when time is up.


The bread slipped out of the bowl with ease and sounded hollow on the bottom when tapped.

I let it cool completely and then I sliced through the loaf, to find the lightest, airiest bread possible. The chocolate and lime tastes were delicious together and the bread held together perfectly.

chocolate bread with lime curd swirl

I have to say I was surprised at how well the multicooker baked and my next project is to bake a cake in the Redmond multicooker – stay tuned for that! In the meantime, here is my recipe for Chocolate Bread with a Lime Curd Swirl!


Chocolate Bread With a Lime Curd Swirl


Thumbnail Url Chocolate flavoured bread, with a swirl of lime curd built right in!
Cuisine: Baking Category: Bread Yields: 1 Loaf
Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time:
 

Ingredients
  • 45 grams cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 225 ml warm water
  • 7 grams dry active yeast
  • 350 grams white bread flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 250 ml milk
  • 45 grams unsalted butter
  • 100 grams lime curd
  • 1 egg
 
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, sugar, warm water and yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes to get the yeast activated.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour and salt, then add the yeast mix. Combine the ingredients until a dough forms, then begin to knead, for ten minutes. Persevere and the glutens will develop and the dough will ‘come together’.
  3. Place in a bowl and cover to prove for 1 and ½ hours, or until doubled in size.
  4. After the first prove, on a floured work surface, roll the dough out into an oblong shape about 12 inches by 20 inches. Mix the egg with some water and brush all over the dough (you won’t need to use all of the egg). Spread the lime curd evenly over the dough.
  5. From the short end, start rolling the dough up into a sausage. When rolled, curl the sausage into a circle shape and place into a bowl, to let prove again (about 45 minutes).
  6. I set the multicooker to bake 45 minutes and after this time the baked bread slipped straight out of the multicooker bowl.
  7. Allow the bread to cool before slicing into it. The bread is great as it is, or delicious toasted too!


Disclosure Statement: I received the multicooker free to review. I have been paid to develop this recipe using the multicooker.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Raw Mojito Cookies

raw cookies flavoured with lime and mint

I haven’t really used my Froothie much lately. I say Froothie, but it’s the Optimum 9400 blender from Froothie. It is a powerful blender, virtually indestructible and because of it’s dual layers of blades can power through even concrete.

But I’m not blending concrete today, oh no! I’m baking raw again. One of my most popular recipes here on Cakeyboi  is for raw coconut fudge. Although no heating or cooking is required, the raw refers to the unprocessed, natural ingredients in the food. Just a few healthy bits in the Froothie and in no time you have a delicious tasty sweet treat.

raw cookies flavoured with lime and mint

So, I thought I would have another bash at raw baking and came up with the idea of trying to flavour a raw cookie with the flavours of lime and mint – just like a mojito cocktail. I also added a splash of rum extract, but if you want to try making these, that is optional – you could always add a splash of vanilla extract instead.



The cookies themselves are made from oats blended into oat flour and cashews. These two provide a creamy flavour and keep the consistency like a firm cookie dough – which I love!I also added agave nectar for sweetness and coconut oil, which helps the cookies hold together.

On to the real flavour of these little beauties which comes from lime zest, freshly squeezed lime juice and mint leaves. As I mentioned, you could add rum extract if you like, or if not, vanilla extract is perfect too.

The mix in the blender forms into a dough which is really easy to form into balls. You can keep them that shape or flatten into cookies as I did. They then chill in the fridge to enjoy later.

raw cookies flavoured with lime and mint

These cookies contain no refined sugars and no bad fats. A healthy, easy snack - suitable for vegans -  which you can pretend is a cocktail in your hand! Enjoy…




Raw Mojito Cookies


Thumbnail Url Healthy cookies flavoured with mint and lime
Cuisine: Raw Category: Cookies Yields: 12 Cookies
Prep Time: Chill Time: Total Time:
 



Ingredients
  • 140 grams raw cashews
  • 120 grams porridge oats
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Zest of one lime
  • 4 large mint leaves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon rum extract (or vanilla)
 
Instructions
  1. Place the flour into your blender. Blitz until the oats turn into flour.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blitz until a dough forms. You may need to scrape down the sides of the jug a couple times to make sure everything gets incorporated.
  3. Divide the dough into twelve and shape each twelfth into a ball, then flatten into a cookie shape.
  4. Place onto a cookie sheet lined with greaseproof paper and place into the fridge to chill for at least a couple of hours.
  5. They are then ready to enjoy!


I am entering these raw cookies into Cook Blog Share hosted by Lucy over at Supergolden Bakes.



Disclosure Statement: I received the Optimum 9400 free to review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

U will luv Ufuud


My work colleague Jane has a special birthday soon and is going to Sorrento to celebrate next week. We had a discussion about how delicious Italian food is. Jane loves all aspects of Italian food and me too. To me it really seems the one cuisine that everyone seems to love in some shape or form.

I have never been to Italy. I always say that we must go at some point – and we will. But for now I guess it will have to be a dream about all that top-quality Italian produce…

Who doesn’t love pasta or pizza? And there’s Nutella, limoncello,  risotto, espresso. Oh my, I could go on, and on, and on. So much good food and drink. Being part Italian, I was brought up on Italian food and to me it’s a staple. But how often is 'Italian' food actually from Italy? Remember Gino Ginelli ice cream in the 80's - made somewhere near the Gloucester bypass! Keep on dreaming...
  
Well, actually, I don’t need to dream anymore! Nope, I’m not jetting off, but a company called Ufuud contacted me recently to ask if I would like to try some of their produce.


 Let me explain. Ufuud are an on-line shop, who sell top-quality Italian produce.  The founders of Ufuud were becoming exasperated at the amount of Italian food out there that purported to be Italian, but could have been made anywhere. Their mission was to open the people's eyes to real, fresh, Italian produce delivered direct from their base in Milan to anywhere in Europe.

I popped to their website which is an on-line smorgasbord of Italian delicacies. You can browse through their cold cuts, cheeses, pastas, rice, flours, pantry items, sauces and condiments. Not to mention the drinks too. Delicious craft beers, juices and syrups too.

They even have seasonal items ( I ordered an Easter bread, which was on the website for a limited time).


Ufuud’s site is so easy to navigate and setting up my account could not have been simpler. In very little time I had placed my order (above), and I received confirmation that it was being processed. I placed the order on the Monday and it arrived on Friday – very fast service considering it had to get from Italy to Scotland. (Orders over £70 have free delivery by the way).


I opened my box and found it to be crammed with all the goodies I had ordered. I opted for a selection of pastas, chocolates, cookies, condiments, beer – a real mix to sample the food on offer. Everything was well packed in bubble-wrap for protection (removed in the photo above). Plus the box was lined with polystyrene for extra protection.

The Cold Chain

Incidentally, had I ordered meats or cheese for example, Ufuud guarantee that your food will reach you fresh. They call it the ‘Cold Chain’. Here’s what they say on their website;

UFUUD is obsessed with quality! For us quality is not just important after products come out of the laboratories of our Approved Partners, it is vital along the entire chain through to the final customer: you! As one of the very few e-commerce companies offering fresh products this principle is even more fundamental.
That is why we can guarantee the cold chain is maintained (keeping the temperature between 4°C-8°C) for all those products that need it (cured meat, cheeses, fish, fresh sauces, mushrooms and truffles).
Our products are transported inside crates made of EPS (a kind of polystyrene foam) and contain refrigerating gel that is non-toxic for food, which allows the temperature to be kept within the standard range for at least 72 hours.

I haven’t had a chance to everything yet – but I can tell you what I have tried is exceptionally good. The pasta is just so clean tasting and the chocolate is decadent. And those cookies flavoured with caramel and cinnamon – oh my!

That chocolate chip Easter bread was so light and airy. I took some into work with me and my colleagues practically ripped it apart!! All that's left is the box...


Being a home-baker, I decided to make brownies using their white and hazelnut chocolates. They melted beautifully and when swirled gave the brownies a lovely look. The finished result was sheer indulgence.



Thanks to the Ufuud crew for their fast and efficient service. I certainly enjoyed being transported, figuratively speaking, to Italy and look forward to trying the rest of my Italian goodies.

 Disclosure Statement: I received all of the Italian produce from Ufuud free to review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Pineapple and Green Tea Fizz

sparkling pineapple and green tea drink

A quick drink idea for you all to try. I actually made this Pineapple and Green Tea Fizz last week when the weather up here was brilliant – and quite unlike a usual April in Scotland.

I decided to make this for friends coming round, they were all driving and I wanted a soft drink that would be more than just plain old juice from a bottle.

I looked in my cupboards for inspiration and saw a tin of pineapple, in it’s juice, languishing and some green tea bags also. So why not combine the two? The fizz in the title of the recipe comes from the addition of some sparkling water which I added to the drink after.

I just blitzed my pineapple in my Froothie blender – pineapple can be quite a tough fruit, but the Froothie Optimum 9400 pulverised it in no time. You could use a fresh pineapple too, but canned is much easier!


For the green tea, I soaked three tea bags in a cup of hot water and let it cool down, then removed the soaked bags, giving them a good squeeze. This made for a good green tea concentrate.

Pineapple and green tea both are packed with health benefits, so this combination is not half bad. Plus it tasted great too. My friend Lesley said she could taste the pineapple and the green tea gave a wee hint of dryness afterwards.

sparkling pineapple and green tea drink

Now, I just topped mines up with some fizzy water, but the addition of some vodka would make this drink a very nice tipple for someone on a hot summer’s day!

Pineapple and Green Tea Fizz


Sparkling Pineapple and Green Tea Drink


Cuisine: drink Category: fruit Yields: 1 lt. approx.
Prep Time: Chill Time: Total Time:
 


Ingredients
  • 400 grams of pineapple (juices too, if using canned)
  • 3 Green Tea Bags
  • 250 ml of boiling water
  • 1 bottle of sparkling water
  • Ice to serve

 
Instructions
  1. Start by soaking the tea bags in 250 ml of boiling water, then let it cool completely before removing the bags, giving them a good squeeze to get all the moisture out. Discard the tea bags.
  2. Blitz the pineapple in a blender, then add the green tea. Blitz again and then pass the pineapple/green tea combo through a sieve in your serving pitcher. Discard the pulp.
  3. Add sparkling water to the pineapple/green tea mix. Use as little or as much as you like, depending on how strong you like the taste. I used about a half litre.
  4. Serve the pineapple green tea fizz over ice. Enjoy…

Monday, 13 April 2015

Cheese & Spring O Muffins with Sun-Dried Tomato Swirl


Weather has been cracking up here in Scotland this past week and I had the week off. It felt more like summer than spring (just about) but spring was my inspiration for my bake here.

Kat is hosting this month’s Treat Petite challenge (over at her blog ‘The Baking Explorer) and the theme is ‘Hello Spring’. This got me thinking...

Instead of my usual sweet entry for Treat Petite, I took the spring theme literally and decided to bake something using spring onions and these muffins were just the ticket. I also had friends coming around for a get-together and thought that some savoury muffins would be nice on the table for them to nibble on.


The muffins themselves, aside from a ton of spring onions also have red Leicester cheese in them (for the colour) and a swirl of sun-dried tomatoes going on. I bought a pack of dried sun-dried toms, soaked them and then whizzed them into a paste in my Froothie. I popped some on top of the muffins then with the end of teaspoon blended them through muffin batter.



I baked them in the oven, in lovely yellow paper muffin cups, which I thought looked like daffodils – another nod to spring there. The baked muffins looked like weenie pizzas from atop. And when clustered together looked a bit like a sunflower.

However, the most important part – the taste – was sublime. My guests loved the onion flavour with the cheese and then the occasional hit of sun-dried tomato flavour. Bake these for your guests or just for family and they will love them too!


Here’s how I made them…


Spring Onion & Cheese Muffins with a Sun-Dried Tomato Swirl


Thumbnail Url Savoury muffins packed with flavour
Cuisine: Savoury Category: Muffin Yields: 12 muffins
Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time:
 
Ingredients
  • 200 grams plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 250 ml buttermilk
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 60 ml vegetable oil
  • 120 grams chopped spring onions
  • 100 grams red Leicester cheese, grated
  • 60 grams dried sun dried tomatoes
 
Instructions
  1. Pour boiling water over the sun-dried dried tomatoes and allow them to soak for around 30 minutes and then drain. Set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 180c and line a muffin tray with 12 muffin liners.
  2. In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a jug, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and veg oil. Pour this into the dry mix and stir until just combined. Add the spring onions and cheese and stir through. Divide the mix evenly between the 12 cupcake liners.
  3. In a blender, blitz the sun-dried tomatoes into a paste. Spoon about a teaspoon onto each muffin and with the end of a teaspoon, or similar instrument, swirl the tomato paste through the muffin batter.
  4. Place the muffin tray into the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the muffins.
  5. These are best served warm, so let them cool slightly, and then tuck in. If eating later, reheat in the oven for 5 minutes. Enjoy…


As said I am entering these into this month's Treat Petite hosted by Kat, The Baking Explorer, the theme being 'Hello Spring'.


And I am also entering these muffins into this month's Love Cake hosted by Ness at Jibber Jabber UK. The theme is 'Step into Spring'.


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Dirty Chai Pudding

pudding flavoured with chai tea and espresso

I hadn’t heard of dirty chai latte until recently when watching a TV show where it was mentioned. I discovered it is lovely spicy chai tea, mixed with espresso coffee. An interesting combo I’m sure you will agree…

I gave the drink a try and loved it. I did try making it at home first and then ordered one at Starbucks a few days later. It's a difficult taste combination to describe - quite earthy, which is maybe where the dirt part comes in!

pudding flavoured with chai tea and espresso

However, I decided its unusual flavour mix would work well in a dessert – but what could show off the flavour to its fullest potential?


pudding flavoured with chai tea and espresso coffee

I decided a thick, creamy pudding would work the best and set about devising my dirty chai pudding. I looked at some coffee recipes on-line and loosely based my recipe on one of those ( a mousse from Sprinkle Bakes to be exact).

This recipe called for one of my favourite ingredients – condensed milk. A lot of recipes say sweetened condensed milk, but I have yet to see unsweetened condensed milk here in the UK – so assume it’s sweet!! The large amount of milk in the recipe adds to the milkiness of an actual dirty chai latte.


The whole process was a bit like making a custard to which I added my mix of espresso coffee and strong chai tea. To serve I poured the mix into little coffee glasses I have, then let it set up in the fridge. When ready I added frothed milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon, just like an actual dirty chi latte.

pudding flavoured with chai tea and espresso

I really enjoyed the unusual combination of flavours together and thepudding was a perfect ‘host’ for them! Enjoy if you make….


Dirty Chai Pudding


Thumbnail Url A delicious thick pudding flavoured with espresso and chai tea
Cuisine: dessert Category: pudding Yields: 6 small glasses
Prep Time: Chill Time: Total Time:
 


Ingredients
  • 1 espresso shot
  • 2 chai teabags
  • 250 ml almond milk (or whichever milk you prefer)
  • 4 teaspoons cornflour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 can (400 grams approx.) condensed milk
  • 1 medium egg
  • Milk for garnish
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle
 
Instructions
  1. Prepare your shot of espresso and steep the two tea bags in one cup of hot water for at least 30 minutes. Remove the bags and add the espresso shot. Measure out 180 ml of this mix and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix 4 tablespoons of the almond milk with the cornflour until absorbed, then add the chai/espresso mix, rest of the almond milk and the can of condensed milk. Heat this over a medium heat, stirring with a whisk constantly until begins to thicken. Take off the heat.
  3. Crack the egg into a small bowl and slowly add a few teaspoons of the hot milk mix, to increase the temperature of the egg (this prevents in scrambling). Add the egg to the rest of the milk mix and place back on the heat, whisking constantly until the mix comes to a boil. Knock back the heat immediately and simmer for a couple more minutes, then remove from the heat again.
  4. Divide the pudding mix between 6 small glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight.
  5. To serve, I frothed some milk with a little milk frother whisk thing I had, spooned that on top and sprinkled on some cinnamon to complement the flavours.


pudding flavoured with chai tea and espresso

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