Not in the slightest bit baking related, but we came across this shop in New York - we think it was a shop for doggy fashion accessories !!
Monday, 17 June 2013
We are back from New York and I am still exhausted! I have no idea why jet lag affects me so badly.
But we had a fantastic few days in the Big Apple. The reason for our trip was a joint celebration, the fact Disneyboi and I have been together 10 years and I have a certain birthday coming up very soon. Sadly the weather wasn’t the best whilst we were there, but Tropical storm Andrea didn’t spoil our time.
We arrived in a dry Times Square and headed straight for Starbucks as our plan was to keep our caffeine levels topped up throughout our trip, so we could keep going! The rain started not long after and kept going until Saturday and Sunday, which were dry, then the heaven’s opened again on the Monday.
|We always get told off for not smiling much in photos!|
I had been once before in the 1990’s, but we did all the main sights, as this was Disneyboi ‘s first time. So we saw the Statue of Liberty, went up the Empire State Building, went to the Top of the Rock, saw Times Square, Macy’s, Central Park, walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, you name it.
Our feet by the end of the trip were in agony, as we did walk for miles. We also spent loads of dollars, on useless nick-nacks, and of course food! I plan to write about the places we went for food over the next couple of weeks and even make a couple of sweet treats which were inspired by food I ate on our time away.
We had delicious cupcakes, gooey French toast, soft-serve ice cream, ‘candy’ and the obligatory hot dog and slice of pizza on the savoury side of things.
I plan to hit the gym again this week as my trousers are getting a bit ‘nippit’! But New York was great and sadly seems like a distant memory already. But I shall keep the memory alive here on Cakeyboi at least for a couple of weeks!
Saturday, 15 June 2013
Don't worry, we are nearly at the end of the alphabet!!
I have really struggled with U, but I thought ugh! The noise you make when you eat something you don't like!
Something I have realised since baking so much more, is the old saying, 'you can please some of the people some of the time...'. Not everything I make appeals to everyone, but that doesn't mean it's not good, just that everyone has different tastes. So I don't get disheartened when some of my tasters don't like something, and nor should when baking.
Thursday, 13 June 2013
Just back from holibobs, but here is a little something I prepared before I went...
I’ve wanted to try making choux pastry for yonks now. My mind is ingrained with an image of Fanny Cradock beating a pan of choux pastry, in full evening gown on her Christmas special. I didn’t want to don the evening gown mind, just give the pastry a whirl as it is very different to other forms. In fact choux pastry is very wet, made from water, butter, flour and eggs. It’s piped or spooned into shapes then baked, ‘til it has puffed and (hopefully) become hollow. You want it hollow so you can fill it with delicious ingredients such as crème patissiere, or in my case whipped cream swirled with cherry pie filling. I liked the look of swirling the pale cream and bright red fruit, and it tasted delicious too. Lastly I gave the buns a good dusting of icing sugar. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy these were to make…
100 grams plain flour, sifted
150 ml water
75 grams butter
4 eggs, beaten
Pinch of salt
adapted from Rachel Allen: Bake!
300ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bag of cherry pie filling
Icing Sugar to dust.
Preheat the oven to 170oC. Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Have another on stand-by as you may need two.
In a large saucepan, add the water and butter. Over low heat, melt the butter, then increase the heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour and salt. Stir, with a wooden spoon, until fully combined with the liquid ingredients then return to a medium heat. Stir the mixture until it starts to stick slightly to the base of the pan. Remove from the heat once again and allow to cool for a minute or two.
Add the eggs, a little bit at a time. Stir completely between each addition. The mixture does break up, but keep stirring and it soon comes together again. Add enough eggs until you get a smooth and shiny ‘dropping’ consistency. You might not need all the egg, but discard what you don’t need, once the pastry gets to the right stage. Next place the mixture in a piping bag, with a plain tip, about ½” wide.
Pipe bun shapes, like frosting the top of a cupcake, or pipe 5” long fingers, whatever you prefer. I did a mix of the two (but forgot to take a photo). Remember to keep a bit of space between the shapes as they do expand. Pop into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. They will have become golden and puffed.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before carefully peeling then from the greaseproof paper. Let them cool thoroughly on a wire rack. You should end up with a crisp shell, which when opened is hollow.
To make the filling, I whipped the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff. I then took the pie filling and smeared this up the sides of a clean piping bag, before add the whipped cream. Pipe a little on paper as a trial, until the ripple effect appears. Then pipe into your split shells. Lastly, dust with icing sugar and enjoy.
This recipe can be used to make little buns for profiteroles too, just make them a bit smaller and adjust the cooking time accordingly. But it is a surprisingly easy recipe to get to grips with, so give it a whirl!
Wednesday, 5 June 2013
Monday, 3 June 2013
This may not seem like much to you my dear readers, but to me it is phenomenal! I have at long last, at LONG last, succeeded in making tablet!
One of the first posts on Cakeyboi was my failure at making tablet. And to be honest, I have tried before then and a few times since. With no luck. Armed with yet another recipe I found online and with a couple of tweaks, tablet was finally made.
For those not in the know, tablet is a treat, Scottish in origin, which lies somewhere near fudge and toffee on the confectioner line up. Yet, it’s not chewy or brittle like some toffees, nor is it as soft as fudge. It’s sort of crumbly with a vanilla, sweet, buttery taste. Having said this, the recipe I followed did not use butter, so maybe it’s not real tablet, but it certainly tasted like it and has the same texture.
This is definitely for the sweet of tooth. Once tried, you will be a convert. The recipe involves boiling sugar to very high temperatures, so if you are scared by the thought of molten lava, maybe get someone else to make it for you…
453 grams of sugar (or 1lb)
120 ml milk
397 grams (small tin) sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
(adapted from All Recipes)
Line an 8”x8” baking tin with foil and grease very lightly. Set aside.
In a large pan place the sugar and 120ml of milk, heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved. Add the tin of condensed milk and bring this to the boil, keep it boiling for 15 to 20 minutes. The mixture will start off a very pale golden colour and turn amber during the process. Don’t stir either when boiling, just keep an eye on it. A good tip I have learned, if you are concerned about something boiling over in the pan, place a wooden spoon, or other utensil across the top of the pan. For some reason, this prevents whatever is cooking from boiling over. Works for me anyway!
The mixture will have become darker as I said and will appear thicker. Add the vanilla (careful as it will bubble severely).
Remove from the heat and with a balloon whisk, beat the mixture (carefully, molten lava everywhere = not good). Beat it hard and fast for at least 5 minutes. I broke my whisk doing this FYI. The mixture will become even thicker and lighten slightly in colour again. I knew it was ready when I saw wisps of the mixture on the side of the pan crystallise. Pour into the prepared pan and allow this to cool for 10 minutes before scoring the mixture into pieces, with a knife. Actually, I didn’t do this, so when it came to breaking it up, my pieces were sort of haphazardly shaped! Allow this to cool completely, at least 4 hours. The bottom of the pan should not be remotely warm, and then you will know it is ready. Remove from the pan with the help of the foil and cut into the pre-scored pieces.
There you have Scottish Tablet. It’s a sweet and comforting treat, which is a nice alternative to toffee or fudge. And goes great with a cup of coffee. To be honest, I have found tablet making a very perplexing process, and have luckily hit on a recipe (with my own tweaks) which works for me. I hope it works for you too!
Saturday, 1 June 2013
Firstly, I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who entered the birthday giveaways on Cakeyboi during May. The winners have been selected and contacted (Congrats to Stephanie from London and Olivia from Oakham). Sorry if you didn't win this time, but stick around for more giveaways in the future. You, my visitors, are important to me and I appreciate all of your comments and feedback!
...T in the Cakeyboi alphabet is for Temper.
...T in the Cakeyboi alphabet is for Temper.
Temper in the kitchen, aside from cranky cooks, often refers to a process of heating and cooling chocolate to form stable crystals to prevent bloom and make it firm at room temperature.