Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Treat Petite Round up February 2014



That's February at it's end and that means it's time for another Treat Petite Round Up! Loads of entries for the theme of 'Loved Ones'. There were some very lucky loved ones out there...

Katharine at Leeks and Limioni made beautiful mini vanilla bundt cakes, which she says are perfect for loved ones. She is being coy and not mentioning anyone inparticular! She, like me, shares problems with bursting kitchen cupboards after buying the bundt tray!


Getting in on the mini bundt action too was Caroline at Caroline Makes who gave us her mini rose bundts. Shaped like little roses these are perfect for loved ones. They would make a great gift.



Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen exposed her naughty side and showed us her Strawberry and Champagne Aphrodisiac Cheesecakes. They are made with limited edition aphrodisiac jam which contains horny goat weed. This is a natural Viagra! After these I think anyone will be a loved one!



Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary sent in her chocolate black bean brownies, using a tin of black beans she picked up a while back. Two of her children loved these and her youngest wasn’t too sure. Two out of three isn’t bad! I think I may have to try these too, very soon!


Claire at What Claire Baked made these cute SmartiesCookies. They are big and American style and were devoured by her loved one Mr WhatClaireBaked.


 Siobhan at Tasty Recipes And Other Stuff made these fantastic Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. Red Velvet just screams valentines to me and obviously Siobhan thinks so too. The pies are complimented by a white chocolate rcream inside. Need I say more?!!




Corina at Searching for Spice made these Banana and Chocolate Chip bars based on a recipe by Dame Mary Berry. She made these for her daughter who wasn’t too sure about them. Well, I think I should be sent the leftovers as they look delicious to me.



Laura over at I’d much rather Bake Than made this gluten free shortbread for her flatmate who is gluten-intolerant. She says that although they drive each other mad they are still good mates. I remember flat-sharing and driving each other mad is part of the ‘fun’!



Louise at Crumbs and Corkscrews sent in her uber cute Rosewater Love Hearts. Made like peppermint creams, these taste of roses instead. How much more Valentines can you get?!



Caroline at Caroline Makes also made these delightful mini treacletarts – they look so good with tons of golden syrup in them. Her boyfriend was the lucky recipient of these.



Ros at the More Than Occasional Baker gave us her Raspberry and Basil Financiers – I have had basil with strawberries before but not rasps. I am very intrigued. Ros made these after she was inspired by a Masterclass she was at where she made financiers.


Another heart inspired bake was these lovely looking Strawberry Jelly Hearts from Emily at Cooking for Kishore. These were packed with strawberry jam for her sweetheart!



Kate, The Gluten Free Alchemist gave us (and her husband) her darkly delicious looking chocolate truffles. She made these with pure cacao and they are slightly bitter, slightly sweet and intensely chocolaty! Heaven!!



My good friend Jac at Tinned Tomatoes loves her doughnut pan and made these easy Valentine donuts – easy sounds very appealing! They are made from a Victoria sponge mix, slathered in icing and sprinkled with sprinkles! Delicious!



Angela at Garden Tea Cakes and Me made these delightful chocolate hearts. Made from leftover chocolate and some candy hearts she was sent, these were shared with her lucky family.



Lucy at Supergolden Bakes made these heart shaped churros. I love churros and these look some of the best I have seen – the cinnamon sugar on the outside sounds up my street and the chocolate sauce to dip them in has a hit of chilli powder – very spicy!



Tina at The Worktop entered these double chocolate cookies with sea salt. They have a crispy edge, chewy centre and a sprinkling of sea salt. These were made for her loved one who is one very lucky guy!



Grace at Life Can Be Simple sent in her Sour cream Chocolate loaf complete with a heart in the middle. The loaf contains coffee, as well as chocolate and sour cream. Sounds scrummy to me!



Sarah James at Tales from the Kitchen made dark chocolate, sea salt and caraway seed shortbread hearts. I love the combination of flavours on offer here and must try and incorporate caraway seeds into my baking at some point!



Lisa at United Cakedom presented us with her Oreo Truffles – made from crushed oreos, cream cheese and candy melts, she decorated them with little hearts. Lisa likes Valentines so she can celebrate her love for all her friends and family, which fits right in with the theme of Loved Ones this month.



Choclette at the Chocolate Blog Log sent in her very unchocolaty but amazing looking Mini Blood Orange Sponge Cakes. These were made from a recipe in a book called – wait for it – Treat Petite! I should’ve claimed copyright on that name! The blood orange is in the cakes and the curd filling, so sound lip smackingly delicious!



Kat at the Baking Explorer has had a few problems on the laptop front this month so she sent me a picture of her decadent strawberryfudge. But her link is now live so pop on over to see how she made this gorgeous looking delight..

We had a couple of last minute entries. One from Gayathri at Spices Galore who made these very appetising vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. She shared these with her son on Valentines. Lovely to have new participants in Treat Petite!


Another one snuck in at the 11th hour was from Vohn at Vohn's Vittles. She gave us her strawberry and Chiili Jelly Sweets. They are made from fruit puree and have tabasco in them. Sweet AND spicy - brilliant!



And lastly my own entry. Little cookies that look like keylime pie slices. Disneyboi loves key lime pie, which inspired me to make these. Very cute and easy I’m sure you’ll agree.


Thanks to everyone for entering this month and stay tuned for March’s Treat Petite announcement soon!

Monday, 24 February 2014

White Chocolate Jaffa Cake Truffles

White Chocolate Jaffa Cake Truffles


These White Chocolate Jaffa Cake Truffles came about because I love said Jaffa Cakes and wanted to make them even more special, if at all possible! I may have told you before, but when I was younger I was a member of the McVities Jaffa Cake Club. I received stickers and a little enamel badge (below), but that’s all I really remember. But anyhoo…



These are so easy to make it’s embarrassing. All you need are two ingredients, Jaffa Cakes and melted chocolate, plus some decoration if you want to fancy them up.

I had the idea in my head, but wasn’t sure if it would work. I blitzed the Jaffa cakes in my food processor and they mushed up into a solid dough – perfect!! I thought I may have needed to add marmalade to bind them together but they held well.

I used white chocolate to coat these, but any chocolate would work fine. If you are a total Jaffa Cake purist then you may just want to go for plain chocolate like the cakes themselves, but I liked the colour contrast. I just dropped on some orange sprinkles and popped them in the fridge to set.

What’s really nice is the cold crack of chocolate before that smashing orangey bit in the middle. Sheer indulgence!

Yield: Approx. 30 Truffles

Ingredients:
36 Jaffa Cakes
3 tablespoons Marmalade (if too dry)
225 grams melted chocolate, white, milk or plain
sprinkles for decoration

Method:
In a food processor blitz the Jaffa Cakes until they form a sticky ball. I did mine in three batches and placed them into a separate bowl.

NOTE:  I used supermarket own Jaffa Cakes and these were moist enough to form a ball. If you use McVities you will need a tablespoon of marmalade for each 12 Jaffa Cakes in the processor too.



With wet hands, roll balls – about a tablespoons worth – and place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Transfer them to the fridge to chill for at least two hours, I left mine overnight and they were good and cold.



When chilled, melt the chocolate either with a bain marie method or in the microwave. When melted, drop each ball into the chocolate and roll until covered. Transfer these to a rack with a tray underneath it to catch any excess drips. Sprinkle on sprinkles if decorating and place back into the fridge until the chocolate sets, 30 minutes to an hour.



And it’s as easy as that. Who would imagine that Jaffa Cakes could be turned into something even more decadent and delicious?! Enjoy…


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Oh My - Apple Pie Smoothie

Apple Pie Smoothie

I made this Apple Pie Smoothie, as back in January I made a few cake-based smoothies, you may remember. They were all very healthy as I was having a New Year cut back on too many sweet things. These proved to be very popular, so I thought I would continue to make and share said smoothies with you, as they are so good.

I wondered what other desserts would work well as a smoothie and I figured good old apple pie would be tasty!

I experimented with a few ingredients, but all it really took was a couple of apples and a frozen banana plus some additions to get a drink which tasted like a slice of pie.

When adding bananas to smoothies, I like to keep them in the freezer and then defrost them slightly before adding to the blender. They are super-soft and sweeter after being frozen, so work well in the drink. I used Gala apples for my drink but Macintosh would be good here too.



And to get that dessert like taste, I added good quality vanilla extract, some ground nutmeg and a fair bit of ground cinnamon. Of course you can’t have apple pie without cinnamon. And that hit of vanilla is what I think makes the difference between a regular smoothie and a dessert flavoured one. Here’s how I made mine;

Yield: 2 glasses

Ingredients:
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 frozen banana, defrosted and peeled
1 tablespoon agave syrup
60ml 0% Fat Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Milk, any type, amount required varies

Method:
Place all the ingredients except the milk in a blender or smoothie maker. Blitz until smooth. It will be thick so add enough milk to get a consistency you are happy with.



Pour into chilled glasses and sprinkle on some cinnamon as garnish.




It’s as simple as that. A delicious Apple Pie flavoured smoothie which you can enjoy at anytime.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Zabaglione and a Sport Relief Plea...


Perhaps I should call this Zabaglione fail! I have read it’s good to blog kitchen disasters too…

I love to try and enter a few foodie challenges each month, especially as me and Kat at The Baking Explorer have one (Treat Petite, you may have heard of it). This month has been hectic and sadly I have failed in my mission.

But, I thought I would try and enter at least one, Alphabakes run by Ros at the More Than Occasional Baker and this month Caroline of Caroline Makes. The letter this month is Z, which had me wracking my brain for ideas.



I had some egg yolks in the freezer left over from another recipe and that made my mind up – Zabaglione! An Italian classic, it comprises egg yolks, sugar and alcohol such as marsala wine.

I didn’t have marsala , but did have a Portuguese spirit called Beirao, which  I thought would work well as a substitute. I defrosted my yolks and set to making a recipe from Food Network.



What I didn’t realise was that freezing egg yolks makes them incredibly gelatinous and not very good for any recipe! They were like little rubber pucks! Still, I persevered and yielded a very thick gloopy mass, which I strained through my sieve and ended up with a thick custardy type mix, which actually tasted pretty nice.



So, that is my zabaglione for Alphabakes. Not what it should’ve turned out like, but quite nice nonetheless!!



On a separate note, I am running 10K in aid of Sport Relief next month. Sport and Comic Relief is mine and Disneyboi’s chosen charity. We try to have bake sales on Comic Relief years and run in Sport Relief ones. In 2012 I ran the 5K and was very kindly supported by many people. I can’t remember exactly how much I raised but I think it was over £150.



Sport Relief raises money to change lives, here in the UK and abroad. In Britain they give shelter to the homeless and protect those living with domestic abuse. Abroad they help with education, clean drinking water and many other vital causes.

So if you would like to donate money to Sport Relief, I'd be very grateful if you could sponsor me, any amount you can spare for my 10K run. My giving page is http://my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/stuartvettese1 Thank you in advance!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Parsnip and Pecan Cupcakes

parsnip and pecan cupcakes


These Parsnip and Pecan cupcakes were brought about after our last cake club. Some one brought along a cake containing parsnip and I loved it. You could taste the vegetable and it worked really well with the sweet flavours. Actually, when I was peeling the parsnips for the recipe I realised that these are quite sweet themselves.



I decided to turn my creation into cupcakes and add some nuttiness to the flavourings. These are based on a recipe using walnuts, but I wanted to make a coconut and pecan frosting to go on top of these, so my cakes included pecans.



I had seen coconut and pecan frosting before and thought it looked sticky and delicious, so followed and easy recipe from Just a Pinch. Pop over to that site if you want to make if for these yummy cupcakes.

Here’s my recipe for Parsnip and Pecan Cupcakes:

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Ingredients:
150 grams plain flour
225 grams granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cloves
3 eggs
125 ml vegetable oil
125 ml milk (I used almond)
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
240 grams grated parsnip (about 2 large ones)
100 grams chopped pecans
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Method:
Preheat your oven to 180C and line cupcake trays with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the sugar and mix together. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, milk and vanilla. Add this wet mix to the dry and mix just until it is mixed thoroughly. Lastly add the parsnip and pecans and stir through.



Fill each cupcake case about 2/3 full and place into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool in the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.



Your cupcakes are ready to decorate. The coconut and pecan frosting is nice, but you could use any flavour you like – vanilla, lemon whatever you fancy.

The cupcakes are moist and spicy and the parsnip is there, but not overwhelmingly so. Give these a try and you will love them!

Cupcake Toppers




A while back I was asked if I would like to sample a company’s cake toppers. Birthday Cake Topper provide you with either a topper for one big cake (priced at £2.50 or a sheet of cupcake toppers for £1.50). There are loads of characters and designs to choose from. From One Direction through Family Guy to wresting heroes, there is something for everyone. You can also upload your own pictures too. I decided to upload Cakeyboi and have him on top of these cakes. I also recommended the company to someone who was looking for cupcake toppers for their wedding.



The website is easy to use and the company email you back and provide you with different options for your design. It’s a very good and reasonably priced service. The cupcake toppers arrived as a sheet. The only downside is you have to cut them out yourself, so a steady hand is required.

And Congratulations to Thorntons Chocolates giveaway winner Tamzin from Milton Keynes!


Disclosure Statement: I received the cupcake toppers free to review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
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