Friday, 30 April 2010

Carrot Cake

Everybody’s tastes are slightly different. When you Google “chocolate chip cookie” you will get hundreds of thousands of results. Everyone has their own recipe for what they call the best chocolate chip cookie or ultimate brownie, and spend a life time tweaking it to perfection.DSCF6779 But its not only chocolate cookies and brownies – the perfect carrot cake is a recipe I’ve been searching for for a long time. I’ve previously tried ‘perfect’ recipes which turned out too eggy, too oily, cakes where the sultanas/ cinnamon/ pineapple overpower the decent carrot flavour. But now, I feel I’m maybe getting closer.DSCF6772 The recipe came from Nigel Slater’s new vegetable book, Tender and is apparently a recipe he is constantly asked for. Even in a book based purely around vegetables I will find a sweet recipe! The layers of cake baked up quite small and crunchy round the edges, so the icing complemented it perfectly. Although Nigel Slaters’ recipe was a mix of mascarpone and cream cheese I went full cream cheese and pumped it full of orange flavour.  I’m not going to say that this is the best carrot cake you will ever find because I’m sure it can be improved. But it is soft and decadent, it is full of different flavours that benefit each other and it is a good all-round treat. Give it a go! DSCF6781

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Pitta Crisps

My Mum made these for a party the other day, and let us try them straight out of the oven beforehand. Bad idea. Very quickly, a large proportion had disappeared and more had to be rustled up – with the order to Eat. No. More. Tricky stuff. There’s just something about the sharp crunch and the salty olive oil coating that makes these irresistible. Plus, they are a snap to make so perfect for a last-minute canapĂ© or pre-dinner nibble. Personally, we enjoyed these in front of the Friday night television – they make a great change from Kettle Chips!

First, take one pitta bread. DSCF6782Then, cut all the way around the edge of the pitta, leaving you with two halves – one thicker and doughy and the other thinner.DSCF6784

Take one pitta half and cut in half again.DSCF6785 Using two cuts, take one of these halves to form three triangles of pitta bread.DSCF6788 Repeat this with all the pitta breads, preferably keeping the thinner pitta crisps separate from the doughy ones (they cook at different rates). Spread a bunch of either thick or thin triangles on a baking tray sprinkled with olive oil and toss them to be covered on both sides. Sprinkle with a zatar seasoning, and place high in a hot oven for 4-6 minutes.DSCF6794Remove from the oven, pile high on a plate and enjoy!

Monday, 19 April 2010

White Chocolate Cookies

Sometimes in life, it is the simple things which are the best. A decent book, a sunny day, a single flower, a cosy hoodie. Its the same with food: a perfectly boiled egg, crunchy toast, a simple bowl of yoghurt and honey, a warm cookie. A warm white chocolate cookie, to be specific.DSCF6737And often, what seems so simple turns out so much more. I figured these would be a decent white chocolate cookie – sweet, satisfying and moreish. My friend P and I gave up chocolate for Lent, and decided to bake these after Lent as a celebration of the chocolate return. Along with Chocolate Honeycomb cupcakes, we had a marvellous day baking.DSCF6735The golden syrup in these cookies gives them a caramel flavour, as well as making these fudgy and chewy inside – when warm the larger ones verge into blondie territory! I was worried that once cool they would harden up and become all crunch no fudge, but happily the fudginess was there to stay :) The perfect sweet treat, much more than just a plain cookie and yet have that vital cookie characteristic – dangerously addictive. Enjoy!

White Chocolate Cookies
4oz (120g)  Butter
4oz (120g) Sugar
2oz (60g) Golden Syrup
8oz(240g) Self Raising Flour
4oz (120g) White Chocolate Chips
A few drops of Vanilla Essence
1 egg, lightly beaten 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/Gas Mark 4/180’C  and butter baking sheets - or line with baking parchment.
2. Cream together the butter, sugar and golden syrup.
3. Add the vanilla essence, chocolate chips and the beaten egg.
4. Mix in the flour until all the ingredients are combined to form a firm dough.
5. Form small balls of mixture (about a rounded teaspoonful) onto the prepared baking sheets, allowing a little room for the biscuit to spread out, and press it down.
6. Bake in or near the centre of your pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
7. Leave to cool on the trays. 

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Jam Doughnut Muffins

Its been a while! 2 weeks, the Easter period. I have been spending it in sunny(-ish) Cornwall, enjoying the seaside and cream teas. It was a very nice holiday and after giving up chocolate for Lent it was gorgeous to enjoy my eggs :) I hope everyone else had a lovely Easter too and it is good to be back blogging once more.
Whilst enjoying the Cornish cream teas, I was re-introduced to jam. This sounds weird, I realise, but true. For a long time I didn’t like jam of any sort and refused to enjoy it. Then I became the sort of person who only likes jam in certain situations – in jam tarts yes, spread on toast no. Now, I am a full jam fan and these muffins are the perfect way to show this new found love.
DSCF6721I still don’t touch blackcurrant jam. But these were made with delicious raspberry – by far my favourite flavour. From the outside, these muffins look sort of plain, not very exciting. But open it up… DSCF6729and you are met by a juicy raspberry swirl. Plus from the top… DSCF6719 the sweet sugar-dipped crown of each muffin is revealed. Suddenly these are a whole lot more delish. Gorgeous! Made especially for my sister’s 18th as she loves doughnuts and every birthday girl deserves a little bit of what they love. You can find the recipe here and then quickly get baking!