Thursday, 31 January 2013

Spiced Apple Buns

These buns are the recipe I mentioned I was forced to put on hold due to the combination of a lack of ingredients + heavy snow = me not going outside. Normally I’d have just forgotten about the recipe and moved on to one of the many other tempting bakes in my cookbooks or recipe files, but something made me keep thinking about these. Then I was looking back through my archives and noticed that in January 2011 I posted these Stollen Swirls and in January 2010 I made Glazed Fruit Rolls – I clearly have a thing for yeasted rolls in January! It must be a combination of wanting to start the new year by challenging myself in baking including doing more work with yeast, and the more simple desire of something warm, doughy and carby to eat in the cold! Either way it was a clear sign and as soon as the pesky snow melted I was out making sure my cupboards were prepared for these.DSCF9305The recipe was an interesting twist from standard Cinnamon Rolls and I thought the combination of tart apple and super sweet marzipan alongside the rich bread dough would go down a treat. I was not proved wrong! When I was layering up the fillings onto my rolled out dough there seemed to be a heck of a lot of apple, marzipan and sultanas if I was planning to roll these up neatly. I decided just to add one large apple instead of two and whilst the buns were definitely quite full I think they would have benefited from the extra apple for more tartness as the apple chunks reduced in the oven quite drastically. Note to self: stick to the recipe! Having said that, I added a simple glace icing which I think added a good extra element.DSCF9308These are nicest warm out the oven, but even after a couple of days a few seconds in the microwave will easily restore them to this goodness. You can find the recipe here – enjoy!

Saturday, 26 January 2013


If you’re still  on a January diet then a) I admire your dedication and b) you may want to look away now. The two main ingredients in today’s post are 1. sugar and 2. condensed milk…which is essentially milk with plenty of added sugar. Yep, tablet is no health food.DSCF9270I’ve wanted to attempt making something in the fudge/caramel/tablet family for a while now but scary stories of scorched sugar and candy thermometers made me hesitate. Along with the fact that I knew I would find it impossible to just. stop. eating. But when my planned baking project was scuppered when the heavy (by London standards at least) snow made me very reluctant to leave the warmth of a house to buy ingredients I had to turn to what was already in the cupboard. I’m glad I finally took the plunge and entered the world of sweet making!DSCF9267After surviving all the heating sugar and endless whisking phases, the step of the recipe I skipped was marking the tablet into squares when it was still only semi-set. Mistake. Whilst the tablet melts on your tongue into crumbly goodness, it sets into one pretty rock solid slab. I only just restrained from breaking out the hammer but eventually perseverance with a big knife meant we ended up with happily oversized shards of tablet, but neat little squares would have been better and easier! I think this is easily one of my favourite things I have made, purely because my suspicions were right and I found it impossible to stop eating! It was sweet, rich, crumbly, melt in the mouth…I could go on! I definitely recommend it if you think you have more willpower than me – you can find the recipe here. Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Pear and Almond Cake

It’s always difficult to start again in the New Year. Not just resuming work, the gym and everything else that's been totally ignored whilst we happily vegetate on sofas for 2 festive weeks - but cooking too (especially when your camera cable goes walkabout). We've grown accustomed to nibbling on cold leftovers and Quality Street or grazing on bits and pieces from the fridge. As a result the idea of whipping up a huge cake or batch of yet more cookies seems bizarre. The food magazines are full of healthy living, salads and superfoods… yet its snowing outside and you’re craving something carby. Especially when in my house there's still an untouched Pannetone, 2 Christmas puddings and a hunk of Christmas cake left to eat. The relaxed seasonal eating style has been reflected in my cooking recently - some irresistible yet super simple cheddar and chorizo straws, dulce de leche shortbread sandwiches for relatives and these ridiculously moreish cheese crackers. All good food that makes for excellent snacking, but a tad out of place on the blog in January.
I think this cake is a happy medium. It’s simple, isn’t too rich and contains fruit to be mildly healthy if you have strict New Year’s resolutions still going strong and is really comforting in snowy weather. This cake slightly unnerved me whilst in the oven as it properly filled the tin right up to the top, but as the pears sunk into the mixture it just about stayed constrained. The recipe can be found here, it comes from the trusty Good Housekeeping magazines – after sorting through 3 years of GH magazines the recipes are now all neatly in one big tempting lever arch file so expect more recipes from there soon! Including my first attempt at candy making with a batch of tablet – pretty much pure sugar and therefore unsurprisingly delicious and addictive…Coming soon!