Monday, 26 March 2012

Mini Bakewell Tarts

I made these tarts a few weekends ago when I had the day spare and kitchen free. When I initially read the recipe properly, I was worried about the pastry because it contains no sugar. When I ate my first finished tart, that completely made sense. Sweet strawberry jam, fluffy almond sponge, smooth lemon icing and a sticky glace cherry – if the pastry had been sweet as well these could easily go into overload and become sickly. As it is, I was more than happy with them.DSCF8966 I saw these on Jo’s lovely What do you make of my cake? blog, and was severely tempted straight away. I can’t believe I managed to wait so long before making them myself! They look so dainty and cute and very much reminded me of a bake suitable for Red Nose Day or Comic Relief with their bright red cherry. I love bakewell tarts, having made a whole one before, and also tried the Mr Kipling ones but I knew these would be so much better. As I’ve shown previously, shop bought baked goods often contain all sorts of crazy ingredients and the Mr Kipling Mini Bakewell Tarts (which look pretty much identical to mine) are no different, with over 30 ingredients…
Really, these Mini Bakewell Tarts are not that hard to make and you can be safe in the knowledge that all ingredients are pronounceable. Also, seeing as you’ve gone to the trouble of making them yourself you definitely deserve more than one :) You can find Jo’s original post with the recipe here – definitely give them a try. Even though they aren’t tiny and are quite sweet, I still found these quite addictive – enjoy!DSCF8965

Monday, 19 March 2012

After 10 Chocolates

Doesn’t Christmas seem a whole world away now that spring is evidently on its way? Shortly before Christmas, Jamie Oliver had a festive special on television and one of his ideas, After 10 Chocolates, really stuck out to me. So often with cookery books or shows the same recipes keep appearing over and over again. Chocolate cookies, treacle tart, Victoria sponge, lemon cupcakes – there are endless recipes in nearly every recipe book you buy. The After 10 Chocolates were really refreshing because it was an idea I hadn’t seen before and hopefully its new to you to!DSCF8870
Flavoured sugar soaking before being arranged in stripes The idea is you roll out a long piece of parchment paper – over a metre. Then you get five or six (although you could do as many flavours as you wanted) bowls and add a small amount of demerara sugar to each. Then you flavour each sugar bowl differently with a few drops of extract – I used almond extract, orange blossom water, lemon extract, rose essence and vanilla extract. These form pastes, and you spread these in separate vertical strips down sections of the paper. You can add non sugar flavourings as well – I did a strip of coffee and a strip of salt. It helps to label the different strips before the best part: going crazy drizzling a whole lot of melted dark chocolate all over the sugars. Write your name, write a secret, draw a picture with the chocolate – it all merges together into one long, lacy piece of chocolate with all the different flavours hidden inside…DSCF8874You can either go Russian Roulette with your chocolate – break it all into shards and jumble them up so nobody knows what flavour they’ll get, or keep all your flavours separate. It is so much fun to make – especially when you’re mixing up the sugars and your kitchen suddenly feels like a science laboratory. Favourite flavours in my family were the rose (although be careful not to add too much as it can become overpowering and taste like strong Turkish delight) and the surprise hit – coffee granules. I think this would be a fun, different talking point at a dinner party instead of normal shop bought mints especially as its so easy to do. You can find Jamie’s proper recipe here, enjoy!DSCF8877

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Orange and Passion fruit Cake

Today I planned my summer holiday. It made me dream of a beach – scorching sand that gets everywhere, paddling and swimming in the sea. I imagined exploring a new city with my friends – shopping, eating, seeing, sampling. It reminded me of sunny days – when its warm and you wear flip flops instead of boots, T-shirts without coats. This tropical cake properly transported me and made me feel like I was already there. Only three months to wait!DSCF8979This loaf cake is from Edd Kimber’s (Great British Bake Off series 1 winner) new book, The Boy Who Bakes. The sponge is like a pound cake, dense and full of orange citrus flavour. The cake is also soaked with an orange sugar syrup which helps keep it really moist and heightens the flavours. My favourite part of the cake, however, was the passion fruit icing. Ahhh. I’ve spoken before about my love of passion fruit and this icing was just pure passion fruit flavour – bright and tropical and summery and zingy and aromatic: I could go on! For me, it completely made the cake and took it to a whole new level.DSCF8976If you are sick of the grey weather, and are loving the start of March and the gradual arrival of spring then this is the cake for you. Just don’t be like me and be impatient, causing you to put the icing on whilst the cake is still faintly warm – melting the icing a tad and causing a cake-stand covered in icing instead of the actual cake… Cut yourself a generous slice, close your eyes and dream of the Caribbean!DSCF8990