Sunday, 27 September 2009

Oaty Raspberry Muffins

There are times, rare times, when I want to bake, but also mind about being that li-ittle bit healthier. But just because thinks are healthier, doesn’t mean they are going to be baked any less tasty! One ingredient that could always make me feel healthier, even if surrounded by kilos and kilos of chocolate – would be oats.chloes 163

See, as soon as you throw a handful or two of oats into a muffin (or anything baked!) I can feel just that bit better about having a second helping. And once you’ve added some yummy juicy fruit (in this case raspberries) – why stop at two helpings? After all, muffins are best on the day they are made ;)

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The recipe for these Raspberry and Oat muffins came from the lovely must-read Bibliocook blog, where the muffins are originally made with blueberries. Having none of these available, I substituted for frozen raspberries, and added a few minutes onto the cooking time. Ooh, these were delicious! The raspberry juices stained the muffin a pretty light pink inside – and they smelled divine! Mmm :) If you’re a muffin fan, then these are most definitely for you. You can find the recipe here. Until next time!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Sticky Ginger Cake

One of my teachers, Miss B, knows I love cooking and was proud to tell me that over the summer she had won six prizes for her baking. One of those award winning recipes, was this ginger cake.

mrsbcake 002After tasting a slice of her loaf, I knew I wanted to bake it, so I asked “is this your secret recipe?” Thankfully she replied no, it was from the Tesco website. And so, it was made and enjoyed. Twice :)

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This cake is quite simple to bake, you’d think, all though the first time I made it, it was slightly undercooked. Whilst this didn’t stop us from liking and eating it, it was certainly better the second time! This loaf cake is the sort of bake that gets better (ie stickier!) after a week or so: but in our family this is unlikely to happen! It turned out moist and sticky, with a lovely warmth from the spices (I upped the amount of ginger and added cinnamon for more depth). Its also the sort of cake which you cut, eat and walk away from, just to want to go back for more. Its sturdiness makes it brilliant for picnics too! Now, after that effusive list of positives I’m just left to say: its pretty much an all rounder cake – enjoyed by everyone, its deservedly award winning, and just generally delicious :)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Blackberry & Apple Turnovers

Here in the UK, it’s that time of year where we experience the shift between the sunny days of summer and the rapidly cooling days of autumn. For me, the difference is most noticeable with the gathering of new stationery and uniform: and the inevitable return to school. But food wise, the change is also quietly happening. Instead of feasting on fresh strawberries, I enjoy blackberries. Instead of juicy nectarines and peaches, there are big, crunchy apples. Instead of cooling ice-creams and frozen mousse, I turn on the oven, bake and use pastry...

summerfun 116Blackberry and apple turnovers. Just delicious. They don’t claim to be fancy, they don’t take up your time and patience to make or sit proudly in Michelin-starred restaurants. They’re just there, quietly, humbly, for when you get in from a walk, or as a reward when you’ve finished homework. Going back to school is never going to be a hugely joyful occasion, but the addition of a juicy turnover will be guaranteed to make it that little bit better.

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Other than the simplicity of them, another reason I enjoyed these turnovers so much was because of the ingredients. I made these whilst in our cottage in Suffolk, where the abundance of fresh fruit was great. We have a huge apple tree in the garden there, so the apples were all our own. And the lanes all around us were edged thickly with the thick wild brambles full of big blackberries. Baking is all the more fun when the ingredients are your own and free!

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There is no recipe needed, really, as you just need puff pastry and glorious fresh fruit. Once the pasty is rolled, use an extra large cookie cutter (I just cut round a small bowl) to get large circles of the pastry. Pile your fruit of choice on one half of the pastry, and carefully fold the other half over the top, trying to avoid sharp chopped-apple corners! Crimp the edges together really well – otherwise they’ll all split open, as some of mine did, and you’ll lose all the lovely juices. Then just bake for about 10-15minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed. Its best to eat on the day they are made or the pastry goes a bit soggy – but I doubt this will be much of a hardship!
Till next time, :) XX