Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Raspberry, Oat and Almond Bake

I’d describe this time of year as ‘muddled’. It’s definitely still winter, but there’s the occasional sign that Spring will soon come. Mock exams are here, whilst the real things are still a few months off yet feel just round the corner. I’ve applied to uni, but have to wait till August for the grades. I’ll finish school forever in June, but it feels scarily close. It's a weird limbo time of year and I think this bake suits that perfectly. It’s got the oats for a flapjack, texture of a crumble and jammy fruit yet somehow manages to be none of these things!DSCF9293I should have predicted this from its vague ‘bake’ title and lack of photo, but the ingredients list sounded to good to miss out on: marzipan, lots of berries, cinnamon, flaked almonds, a dash of honey – all good flavours combined into one tin. The results were hard to explain. Clearly, these flavours combined into something delicious that was impossible to stop eating and vanished in one weekend.The sweet marzipan cutting through the sharp berries, the almonds adding crunch, the oats a bit of sustenance. The problem was that it was impossible to know how to serve it as it was so crumbly! It was hard to cut proper slices of, yet still a bit more solid than granola. It was like a fruit crumble that was super heavy on the topping! I think it would make a delicious luxury brunch item, served unapologetically messily in bowls, perhaps with yoghurt? Don’t let its confusing nature put you off, the results are absolutely gorgeous and make up for whatever it lacks in appearance! You can find the recipe here – enjoy! DSCF9290

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Double Chocolate Muffins

My form at school has decided to have breakfast together every Tuesday, with us taking it in turns to bring the food. It’s been going since about October, meaning we’ve had quite a variety – despite only having a microwave and kettle in our common room kitchen. We’ve had American pancakes and maple syrup, chocolate brioche, iced fingers, croissants, bacon sandwiches and more. When it was our teacher’s turn she brought in a full cream tea – scones, clotted cream, jam, strawberries and hot tea. Slightly strange at 8:30am but delicious all the same! Sometimes the breakfast is homemade, sometimes its shop-bought but either way it’s nice for us all to get together and there’s always a slight twist to the meal, be it Sri Lankan tea bought home from somebody’s holiday or cinnamon rolls made using a family recipe. DSCF9280My friend and I were the first to bring food so we played it safe with something we knew everybody would like – chocolate muffins. They went down so well that when our turn came round again there was no chance we were allowed to try something new: the muffins made a comeback. At the end of the day my History teacher came up to me and said ‘So, I hear you’ve been making muffins…’ – word clearly gets round fast when it comes to chocolate! No doubt I’ll be making more of these soon then!DSCF9279When I made these for the second time, I made a few slight changes to the recipe. The recipe (courtesy of Nigella) has a generous amount of chocolate chunks but I thought the actual sponge could do with an extra boost of flavour so I swapped out 2tbsps or so of flour for some more cocoa. I make these in the morning so they’re still warm and fresh out of the oven at breakfast club and this is definitely a recipe best eaten on the day of baking as they dry out quite quickly. Overall though they are moist, sweet and perfect for an indulgent breakfast! You can find the recipe here or in Nigella’s Feast book. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Orange Highlanders

Recently I’ve got into a baking routine of doing all my baking at the weekend – one bigger, main recipe such as a showy cake or elegant tart, and then one recipe for happy snacking during the week. Muffins, flapjacks, tablet – something to fill the 4pm sugar dip. More often than not, this recipe is some sort of biscuit.DSCF9179A simple recipe I can make when I’m not completely awake on a Saturday morning and that will be out the oven by the time my sister wakes up. Bright citrus flavours are perfect for February and for a trusty cookie recipe I turn to my Granny’s old WI Book of Biscuits, which led me to these Orange Highlanders. I was confused about the name but essentially these biscuits are an orange version of these so the link must be due to shortbreads origins in the Scottish Highlands. I loved the crunchy demerara coating and the crumbly, buttery shortbread centre – they definitely didn’t last the whole week!DSCF9181Orange Highlanders, adapted from WI Book of Biscuits
Makes about 20 small shortbreads
100g butter
50g icing sugar
75g plain flour

75g self raising flour
zest of 2 oranges
25g demerara sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F. Cream the butter, orange zest and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Sift the flours together and fold in to make a dough.
2. Shape the mixture into a sausage. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over a piece of cling-film and roll the dough in the sugar, pressing it to make sure it sticks. Wrap in the cling-film and chill for 1hour.

3. Cut the dough into slices (5mm-1cm thick), place on baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and leave to cool. Enjoy!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Orange Lightning Cake

There seems to be a permanent trend and desire for super fast cooking. Jamie Oliver went from his 30 minute meals to just 15 minutes and magazines sell editions by emphasizing the fast and simple nature of recipes that are perfect for after work. Often, however, these recipes are hardly recipes at all, using pre cooked, chopped and garnished ingredients to get something tasty on the table fast. This cake is the best of both worlds: fits the speedy bill – hence it’s name – yet you end up with something delicious and all natural.DSCF9234I’ve seen lots of recipes for all-in-one whole orange cakes that involve boiling oranges for hours until soft and then whizzing to a smooth cake mixture. Today’s unusual cake goes one step further – simply quartering a whole, raw, unpeeled orange, taking out any pips and whizzing until smooth in a food processor followed by the rest of the ingredients. It feels quite strange, and a little bit wrong, but it works out so well! Whizzing up the fresh orange means the mixture and cooking cake smell amazing and the final cake has a great sunshiney orange colour.DSCF9263The little chunks of orange peel add a nice texture to the cake – just like candied peel but without all the added sugar! All in all I was a real fan of this cake – it’s one of those that you just keep cutting tiny slivers of until you realise rather a large proportion of the cake has now gone… You can find the recipe here (I left out the walnuts, keeping the delightfully soft and squidgy texture of the cake) – enjoy!