Friday, 30 November 2012

Panettone and Butter Pudding.

I think I've told you before, that, I'm afraid, I would never ever choose bread and butter pudding. It's just too....bready. I like my puds to be filling yes, but crunchy and creamy with different textures and tastes....definitley not bready. 

But hey, turns out, either I only think I don't like bread and butter pudding and in reality I find it yummy, ooooor panettone and butter pudding is a different beast all together and the extra butteryness, the extra softness and the extra citrussyness make for a really rather scrumptious offering that I really want more of...NOW.

I am not suggesting that you go to the effort of making your own panettone especially for the purpose of repurposing it (though if you had a lovely lazy day at home it would be the perfect kitchen pottering process) but if you make it yourself you will realise that it does not keep magnificently well and you might have a few leftover after a few days that have staled a bit, orrrrr you might be given one of those giant beasts of panettone, you know, the ones bigger than your whole head, and enjoy having it for breakfast for a few days in a row but then start to dispare about sinking under a sea of the stuff....either way, make this, even if you wouldn't ever choose to make bread and butter pudding or choose it from a menu.

 Make it, and you will eat it and question your whole being....ok maybe not your whole being but the puddingliking part of your being and that is a fairly significant part of mine, and yours, I would suppose, too. With Love and Cake.

Panettone and Butter Pudding

A few notes:
  • This is a nice simple recipe that doesn't require any fiddle or don't fret majorly over quantities; use enough panettone to fit your dish and add a bit more cream or milk to your custard if you want more
  • This reheats well; use the oven to keep the crispy top or the microwave for emergensies.
Serves 4
You will need

a small baking dish, well buttered

around 300g panettone, which works out as 2-3 individual ones, thickly sliced
2 eggs
150ml milk
2 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
1-2 tbsp demerara sugar
freshly grated nutmeg

  • Arrange your panettone in your baking dish in a few layers and press it down slightly.
  • Whisk togther the eggs, milk, cream and caster sugar and pour the mixture over the bread.
  • Set aside for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the custard.
  • Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180°c.
  • Sprinkle the pudding liberally with demerara sugar and freshly grated nutmeg before baking for 20-25 minutes, at which point it should be crisp and golden on top but still soft underneath.
  • Serve with cream or custard or ice cream....or all three.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Individual Panettone....IN TIN CANS!!!

Don’t fret don’t fret...this is not me ‘getting my Christmas on’, not yet anyway (you should SEE what’s going on in my head though....look at my pinterest Christmas board to see all the excitement that I’m dying to let out). Nono, I’m holding it in (deep breaths) and am nowhere NEAR pressing play on Band Aid or turning the mulled wine on to heat (deeper breaths).

I aaaam aware, however, that December is imminent, that the planning/panicking thing has begun for many and that Stir-Up Sunday has been and gone now so having the odd idea floating around is no bad thing. It’s no use me giving you a load of Christmassy ideas just a few days before the big need to write shopping lists, plan menus, make place cards....No? You’re not a mental control freak? You just intend to see how it goes and enjoy it? Okkkkkkkkkaaaay, whatever suits you best (*weeeirdooo*).

So I have for you ....panettone. I LOVE it, but had never made it before. It seemed specialist and a little bit alien from by kitchen....I mean who owns a Panettone tin? Not me, and if not me then definitely not you. But then I saw a recipe for individual panettones made in tins...TINS...I have looooads of tins. Baked beans come in tins.....I ALWAYS eat baked beans.

I was a bit worried about how they would turn many times I would cut my hands on the much  dough would stick inside the tin and how sad that would make me. But it all turned out brilliantly and they look just like panettone, and taste like panettone and are super cute and EASY. Waahooo. I’m pretty sure I will make these again as the festivities get closer but I am SO glad I tried early so I could tell you about them. Go on...go eat beans. With Love and Cake. 

Individual Panettone.

A few notes:
  • If you are a kitchen swot and dooo have a panettone tin, this recipe will happily make one larger one...just cook for a bit longer, more like 40 minutes.
  • If you want to make a large one but don't have a panettone tin, you could definitely use a 20cm high sided cake tin and again, cook for around 40 minutes. The loaf will just be a little squatter than a traditional panettone, I'm sure it would still taste divine though. 
  • If you are indeed using cans, it's best to use ones that you have opened with a can opened rather than them already having a ring pull, which leaves a lip and will make it hard to get the panettone out.
Makes 6 individual panettone
You will need

6 empty tins, cleaned and label removed
greaseproof paper
a good hunk of butter, melted

1 tsp caster sugar
3 tsp dried yeast
4 tbsp warm water
100g butter, at room temp
50g caster sugar
3 eggs
zest 1/2 lemon
400g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
100g currants or raisins
75g mixed peel

  • First we make the dough. In a small bowl, stir together the tsp of caster sugar, yeast and milk and set aside.
  • In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together until pale in colour and light and fluffy in texture.
  • Add the eggs and beat in one at a time followed by the lemon zest.
  • Gently stir in the flour and salt and finally add the yeast mixture which, by now, should be very frothy and foamy.
  • Mix with your hands to form a smooth dough and then turn out onto a clean surface to knead for about 5 minutes, at which point the dough should be shiny and stretchy.
  • Pop the dough back into its bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere fairly warm and cosy for around an hour.
  • Meanwhile, line the tins. Cut out a circle of greaseproof paper to fit the base of each tin and a rectangle to line the sides. 
  • Brush the inside of each tin with plenty of melted butter, and then, using the buttery pastry brush to help you, poke your circles of paper to the bottom and roll the rectangles up and pop inside each tin to line the sides.
  • When the dough has about doubled in size, tip it out of the bowl and knead in the dried fruit by flattening the dough, sprinkling a handful of fruit over it and folding and kneading the dough around it, repeating the process until all the fruit is incorporated.
  • Split the dough into 6 and drop each piece into a tin. 
  • Sit the tins on a baking sheet and keep the baking sheet cosy and warm until the dough has risen almost as far as the top of the tins; this should take 1-2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c and bake the panettone for 20-25 minutes, at which point they should be bronzed on top and poking out the top of the tins.
  • Leave them to cool in the tins until you can easily handle them. They should then just fall out of the tins with very little bother....are you proud yet??

Friday, 23 November 2012

A Successful Apple Birthday Cake.

Do you remember the epic cake fails I told you about a week or so ago? Well...strange as it may seem, this rather autumnal looking, and tasting, offering is in fact one of those. You might think it a little odd that I should show it to you and give you the recipe and urge you to bake it, but, you see, I fixed it and turns out, it's rather good.

It's veryvery apply and oaty and spicy and not even remotely froufrou-ey...perfect for a Somerset boy's birthday cake you might say. Aaaaand it's one of those cakes that means you can definitely justify it's belonging to the breakfast food category...oats and apples and spices are heeeealthyyyy. 

The major error was icing-based...and I should have known better. Nigella aaaalways goes on about letting cream cheese get to room temperature before you do anything with gets graaaaainy, she nags. OK Nige...just because you are God of my kitchen, whatevs. Turns out...she most definitley IS God of my kitchen and knows EVERYTHING. She is does go grainy if you are silly/lazy/forgetful and don't do the room temp thing and poopoo Nige and her laws.

I repent...and I will NEVER disobey again...EVER. My 'fix' was to ingeniously scrape the grainy icing off the perfectly good cake once it had indeed reached room temperature and give it a good beating. It happily complied to smoothness and my fail was no longer a fail. ALWAYS LISTEN TO NIGE. With Love and Cake.

Very Appley-Apple Cake.
original recipe by Tea and Cookies

A few notes:
  • The icing is not mandatory, it would be a very lovely tea-time cake without it...but birthday cakes need icing don't they.
  • If you do make the icing though, I will reiterate what I said above....make sure that you get the butter and mascarpone out of the fridge plenty of time before you make it, allowing them to come completely to room temperature. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP....I am not just telling you to do this for fun, your icing will be grainy if you use fridge cold ingredients.
  • You could substitute regular cream cheese for the mascarpone if you might be a bit less rich, which would not be a bad thing.
Makes 1 big cake
You will need

1x23cm cake tine, greased and base lined

For the cake
190g plain flour
50g oats
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
175g caster sugar
pinch salt
175ml vegetable oil, or other flavourless oil
2 eggs
splash of vanilla extract
2 bramley apples, peeled and finely chopped

For the icing
125g butter, at room temperature
250g mascarpone, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g icing sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180c.
  • Mix the flour, oats, bicarb, spices, sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  • In another bowl or measuring jug, whisk together the oil, eggs and vanilla.
  • Pour the wet ingredients steadily into the dry, while whisking together.
  • Gently fold the chopped apple into the mixture and pour it into your prepared cake tin.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, at which point the cake should be dark bronze and firm in the centre.
  • Leave to cool completely in the cake tin before turning out and icing.
  • To make the icing, whisk or beat the butter into a smooth paste.
  • Add the mascarpone and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Add the icing sugar a few spoonfuls at a time, beating to a light paste.
  • Spoon and spread the icing over the cold cake, and top with dried apple if you feel so inclined.
  • YeY...success.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My First Pumpkin Pie.

I’ve neverever done the Thanksgiving thing before; the most involved I’ve ever felt is watching that geeeenius episode of Friends with Brad Pitt and the yams and the story Ross kissing the lady with the stick. But St Andrews (my nearby little town) is rather full of Americans (mostly girls, on the hunt for princes) and you sort of pick up on wafts of excitement...which is why I am aware that it is Thanksgiving this very Thursday.

As well as never having done Thanksgiving, I have also never tried pumpkin pie...I KNOW, craaazyness. I love pumpkin. I love pie. How could it have remained absent from my repertoire for so long. Well I guess the truth is that I kiiiiiind of assumed it wouldn’t actually be very nice. You see I tend to not love things with not much more to offer than a silky texture, like trifle or custard tart, and I guess I thought pumpkin pie fell into that category.

But hurrah...I am pleased to say that while the pie is pretty silky smooth, the spicyness and crumbly pastry mean that I was wrong and that pumpkin pie is tasty indeed....and soso silky that it is actually one of my favourite things about it. Furthermore it’s very easy to pull together, especially if you use shop-bought pastry and canned pumpkin puree (if you can get it).

I do apologise for the slightly wonky look of the pie however...rather shamefully, the reason for the imperfection in the looks departments is that I was going to buy a pie dish, but then I bought shoes, so could no longer justify the purchase...woops....and had to make do with a cake tin. I will, however, verify that I made the correct decision...the pie worked great and I LOVE my shoes. Winwin. With Love and Cake.

Pumpkin Pie.
Recipe from

A few notes:
  • I had to adjust the recipe slightly due to my new shoes and subsequent lack of pie tin but I will write it as it appears originally because, well, it's Martha Stewart, you can't go wrong.
  • If you have to adjust too though....left over pastry freezes fine. As for left over filling...mmmm leave it with me, I'm still working on a solution. Updated 23/11/12: I mixed mine with self-raising flour; enough to make a very stiff dough, a fried into thick pancakes...delish.
  • Find my 'recipe' for pumpkin puree here.
  • As usual I made the pastry in a food processor, it just seems so much more accessible to me that way, but if the opposite is the case for you just use your finger tips to rub in the butter and to bring the dough together.
Serves at least 8
You will need

a 23cm pie tin or dish, greased

For the pastry
320g plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
225g butter, fridge cold
3-4 tbsp water

For the filling
420g pumpkin puree
165g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
pinch salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
335g evaporated milk

  • First lets make the pastry. Pulse together the flour and sugar in a food processor (or sift into a bowl).
  • Then add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add 3 tbsp of cold water and pulse until a soft dough forms, adding 1 more spoonful of water if necessary.
  • Remove the dough from the processor and form gently into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
  • Next, roll the pastry out thinly onto a floured surface. I used the cling film it was wrapped in to cover the pastry as I rolled, to stop the rolling pin sticking which worked well.
  • Line your prepared tin with the pastry, and gently prick the base with a fork. Cut off the excess and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190°c.
  • Blind bake the pastry case; line it with a scrunched up piece of baking paper and fill with baking beads, or uncooked rice or dried beans (save them to continue to use for the same purpose, just don't cook them to eat).
  • Place the pie tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the edges have started to colour.
  • Remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pastry from the oven, set aside to cool and turn the oven down to 160°c.
  • Now we make the's easy. Simply whisk all the ingredients together so you have a smooth paste.
  • Pour the filling into the cooled pastry case and bake for 50-55 minutes, at which point the filling should barely wobble.
  • Leave the pie to cool completely and then chill for a good few hours before tucking in (don't you just hate recipes that say that).

Sunday, 18 November 2012

St Catherine Cakes for Non-Smug Snacks.

I'm going through a bit of a biscuit thang at the mo. I could be aaaawfully smug and tell you that it's because I'm adding more and more miles to my running scedge at the mo which makes snacking kind of mandatory and, well duuuh, biscuits are the perfect snack...but I'm afraid I'd be lying.


Not about the adding of miles, but about the running more thing leading to the more biscuits thing. Nono, if I were being proper-runner-smug about it I would tell you about all the biscuits I'm NOT eating and all the raw almonds and dates I'm getting through (lies). Sooo yes, it's not the runnyrun thing at all, but the coldycold thing, and the darkydark. Some days it feels like it's getting dark AT LUNCH TIME up here...get me out

And all this coldyness and darkyness means hot drinkyness....soso much tea. And what goes better with so much tea than so many biscuits. You see. Afternoon time, about 3 o clock, when it feels like PJ time is just around the corner...uh, what am I saying?...when PJ time is just around the corner, it's time for tea (or sweetsweet frothy coffee) and a treat or two to see you through those dark hours ahead.

Not something overly ingulgent with goo or squidge, but a nice sturdy bite that can be dunked, or not, and if it's cinnamony, all the better. So following on from my new friend the Snickerdoodle, which fulfilled the same requirement, I give you St Catherine Cakes. Not cakes so much though, as shortbready spirals with a crunchy sugar coating....mymy it is a good job I'm doing all those miles. With Love and Cake.

St Catherine's Cakes.
From Hamlyn Teatime Favourites

A few notes:
  • I made this in my food processor, up until the point at which you add the currants...if you don't have one, just sift the flour etc into a big bowl and rub the butter in with you finger tips.
  • The dough is fairly crumbly and dry, that's ok, it shouldn't need too much rolling out anyway, so don't be tempted to add any more liquid to make it come together better, the dry crumbly dough means a lovely short biscuit.
  • These spread out a lot in the oven, so you might find it best to bake in 2 batches, as I did.

Makes about 24
You will need

A lined baking sheet

350g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
25g ground almonds
225g caster sugar
225g butter
50g currants
1 egg, lightly beaten
25g granulated or demerara sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 200°c.
  • Pulse the flour, bicarb, cinnamon, ground almonds and caster sugar in a food processor.
  • Add the butter and whizz until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  • Tip this mixture into a large bowl and stir through the currants.
  • Add the egg and bring everything together to form a dough.
  • Transfer to a floured surface and roll out to a rectangle; about 30cm x 20cm.
  • Brush the rectangle all over with water and sprinkle over the remaining sugar.
  • Cut the rectangle into strips of about 1cm x 20cm.
  • Coil up each strip so you have a spiral and place each spiral onto your baking sheet leaving plenty of space between each one.
  • Bake for around 15 minutes until golden, and then leave on the baking tray for a few minutes to firm up.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely or pop straight next to your cup of tea.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Profiteroles and Birthday Fireworks.

What is one to’s the boys birthday tomorrow, you have last year’s EPIC offering to live up to and you have THREE CAKE FAILS all in one day. Quelle Desastre. I shall tell you what you make profiteroles and pray (there is a special cake God just for cake praying yeah?).

I don’t, however, want you to think that I’m a crazy clever housewife lady whose answer to all culinary trouble is to rustle up something elllllse fancy on a whim. Oh no....if it hadn’t been a mighty important baking day, I probably would have cried, thrown something and gone to bed in a answer to most struggles I encounter.

I had in fact plllaaaanned to make profiteroles all along, they were to be the yummy pudding, no fuss or fireworks, just a casual, ‘time for profiteroles?’ at the end of dinner. But given that the cakey part, where the fireworks were meant to be directed, had let me down, I just sort of redirected the emphasis. And made it seeeeeem like I am a crazy clever housewife lady with the answer to everything, even birthday cake fails.

The motto? Mmm not sure really, maybe to always plan to make profiteroles, I mean, it doesn’t do any harm. Or maybe to not follow stupid cake recipes that look suspicious from the eggs? What? Or maybe it’s just that you shouldn’t cry over uncookable cake...because really, people don’t care, as long as you give hugs and kisses and gnocchi, all will be well. With Love and Cake.

Original recipe from Delia's Complete Cookery Course.

A few notes:
  • Try to make these as close to the time of serving as poss, they need about half an hour to cool before filling but after that it's sogs-ville...and no one likes a soggy profiterole.
  • This is just a basic choux pastry recipe, so you basically do exactly the same to make eclairs but shape the pastry into sausages before baking.
  • If you don't have a piping bag etc, simply, split the choux buns in half, fill with whipped cream with a spoon, and join the halves together again.
Makes 12-15
You will need

a greased baking sheet

For the pastry 
60g plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
150ml water
50g butter, cubed

For the filling
275ml double cream, softly whipped

For the chocolate sauce
225g dark chocolate
3 tbsp cream
  • Preheat the oven to 200°c.
  • First we need to get everything ready to make the pastry, because when it gets going, it's a speedy process. So weigh the flour into a bowl and add the sugar, then beat the eggs in a separate little bowl.
  • Pop the water and butter in a saucepan and heat over a medium heat until the butter has melted and the water just starts to boil.
  • As soon as this happens, take the pan off the heat, pour the flour and sugar into the pan and beatbeatbeat with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth paste that sticks together and leaves the sides of the pan clean.
  • Continuing to beat, add the eggs, a bit at a time, until you have a smooth, glossy paste.
  • Now, run the greased baking sheet under some cold water and shake most of it off...this means a little bit of steam is created in the oven, helping the pastry to rise.
  • Arrange teaspoon-fulls of the pastry on the baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for rising between each one.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven up to 220°c and bake for another 15 minutes, until golden and puffy.
  • Remove the choux buns to a wire rack and pierce each one with a knife or skewer to allow any soggy-making steam to escape.
  • While they cool, make the chocolate sauce by melting the chocolate and cream together, either in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave.
  • Whisk so you have a lovely silky sauce.
  • Now to fill your profiteroles...pop the whipped cream in a piping bag, poke the nozzle into each choux bun and squeeze out a healthy dose of cream.
  • You could pour over the chocolate sauce now or serve it alongside, either way...well done, fail averted. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Friday, 9 November 2012

Mont Blanc.

Ohgollygosh...I’m going to say the C-word, I just can’t help it, it’s been welling up for a while....CHRISTMAS. Oops sorry. I know I know, you’re running, I can hear your wails. But. I do promise that after today I will file it away at least until the actual month is upon us.

I’m just so easily excited about these things. All I need is the mere hintiest-hint of glitter and I’m all of a flutter. When I heard through the twitter-vine that my fav farm shop had got it’s glitter on, I ran there right away...okok not riiight away, I was in my PJs and it was night time, but the very next day I ran there...can you imagine Phoebe’s running in Friends, limbs flailing and lots of wooping...don't worrrrrry I drove really.

I didn’t buy anything Christmassy; I bought mince and milk, but I soaked it all up and fed it to the ‘internally jumping for joy’ section of my brain. I also took away with me the notion of this easy-peasy pud, which, without being overtly glittery, gives the C-word a rather blatant nod.

In my head it’s a rather fancy thing, but I’m not sure why...maybe it’s the meringue; meringues are rather glam. And chestnuts always seem quite grown up to me. And there, right there, are the merits of this Mont Blanc...festively fancy feeling, while only requiring the merest slap-dash of an effort. Ok I’ll put the glitter away....for noooooow. With Love and Cake.

Mont Blanc

A few notes:
  • I, rather smugly, made my own chestnut jam last year. I will NOT bore you with the recipe because it involves shelling a KILO of chestnuts and that HURTS your thumbs, so just buy some sweetened chestnut puree or ‘chestnut spread’ like this one which I’ve seen around and might even be in supermarkets if you live in one of those exotic city places I've heard so much about.
  • This would still very much be a Mont Blanc if you left off the chocolate sauce, and it would require even less effort to put together if you omitted it....I just felt like including it, for colour more than anything.
  • Recipe for meringues....HERE. Or you could use bought ones.
  • You could use whipped cream in the place of mascarpone of you fancied.
Serves 4
You will need

4 meringues

4 tbsp sweetened chestnut puree

For the cream
250g mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate sauce
80g dark chocolate
a healthy knob of butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
100ml milk

  • This is pretty much an assembly job, so first let's get all the components ready.
  • For the cream, just whisk the vanilla and icing sugar into the mascarpone until smooth.
  • To make the chocolate sauce, melt the chocolate and butter together either in a bowl over a pan of boiling water or in the microwave.
  • Whisk in the sugar, syrup and milk, heat and stir a bit more so that you have a silky smooth sauce.
  • Now for assembly...pop each meringue on it's serving plate and top with a tablespoon of the chestnut puree.
  • Top that with a tablespoon of the mascarpone mixture and then pour over the chocolate sauce.
  • If your feeling festive, sift over a sprinkling of icing sugar and pretend it's snow.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Snickerdoodles...with plenty of very informative pictures.

I dislike very much, recipes that are not accompanied by’s NOT that I’m not very clever and can’t imagine what the wordy instructions of recipes are supposed to culminate really it isn’t, I really am clever, at least when cake is involved, maybe not physics so much. But firstly, a recipe without a picture is much less likely to be attempted in the first place, and this surely can’t just be the case in my kitchen. A picture gives you an immediate, accurate and objective view of the recipe as a whole and an strong indication as to whether it’s something you might fancy trying and could enjoy.

Secondly, a picture gives you a detailed insight into what the recipe author is intending you to produce, meaning that all the little discrepancies that occur between different ovens and all the other little bits and bobs that are involved in the translation from highly tuned test kitchens to real person cooking; cooking at home, at the hands of the people that cook to eat, are more easily bypassed.

This is what happened....I made Snickerdoodles under Nigella’s guidance, but sans pictorial aid, and well, they are mighty lovely and kind of shortbready and the perfect spice combination for this time of year. Buuuuut they turned out to be round ball shapes, and when I Googled for further reference...I found *gasp* flat Snickerdoodles....eeeeverywhere. So here I am, mid biscuit fail, when I read that perhaps maybe possibly their name originates from the German word Schnecke, which describes a snail shape...and mine are indeed snail shaped AND posses the crackly surface which apparently is another important attribute.

So without Nigella making any wordy or picture reference to her intended Snicke shape, I am confused. Confused yet delighted I must clarify, because whatever shape these treats are suppoooosed to be, they really are delicious and sit perfectly next to a hothot coffee on a dark afternoon. So recipe writer people...pleaseplease can we always have photos, but Nige, on this occasion I am willing to forgive, firstly because, well, you’re Nige, and secondly, because these are damn fine biscuits and most things that are not quite what they are supposed to be are, in fact, all the better for it. With Love and Cake.

From How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson.

A few notes:
  • Nigella says this recipe makes 32 biscuits....she is a big fat liar-pants because I only got near to 20. 
  • I've seen lots of different variations on this theme across the if you fancy being adventurous, have a Google. 
  • Freshly grate your nutmeg...always. 
  • If you have any cinnamon sugar left, it is wonderful sprinkled on top of frothy coffee.
Makes 18-20

You will need 

A baking sheet, greased or lined

2 tbsp and 100g caster sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
250g plain flour 
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg 
¾ tsp baking powder
pinch salt
125g butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat your oven to 180°c.
  • First, stir together the 2 tbsp of caster sugar and the cinnamon. Pour out onto a plate or saucer and set aside for now.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt and set that aside too.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  • Stir in the flour mixture a bit at a time until everything is incorporated and you have a smooth paste...this takes a bit of effort and patience and you will probably be left with a few rubbley bits but that's ok.
  • Now, to shape the biscuits pull off a walnut sized piece of the dough with your fingers and roll it into a ball.
  • Roll the ball in the cinnamon sugar until well coated and pop onto your prepared baking sheet.
  • Do the same with the rest of the dough and bake for around 15 minutes, when the biscuits should be deep bronze and crackly.
  • Let sit on the baking sheet for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool. 

Friday, 2 November 2012

Pumpkin and Cheddar Cheese Scone Bread.

I am quite see being the organised fiend that I am, I in fact made that delicious cheesy bread you see before you some time ago. I made it and photographed it and uploaded the photies all in advance of what I knew would be a very busy week with little cooking time, so I would have something to talk to you about.

The organised thing isn't the sad, that would be my grazed knee. I was running you see, and some fooool told us to turn all our clocks back an hour which meant that was was darkydarkdark because I live in the countryside and I didn't have a candle on me and I’m not sure whether I can justify buying a head-torch when there a trillion other things I need to buy to get me winter ready including shoes that don’t leak...and the long and short of it is that I took a tumble.

So here I am, missing a sizable chunk of my knee and I reeeeeeally would love some of this bread and the pumpkin and sweetcorn soup that goes with it so well (the recipe for which you can find here), to cheer me up and warm my cockles (winter running tights is also on my list).

My suggestion to you is make this now, and make lots, so that when you get home on those days that leave you needing steaming bowl food and a carbohydrate hug, this tasty, spongy bread will be on hand. Oh...and don’t run in the dark, it hurts. With Love and Cake.

Pumpkin and Cheddar Cheese Scone Bread.
Adapted from Delia Smith's Vegetarian Collection

A few notes:
  • To all intents and purposes, this is really a giant scone; it's made with raising agent rather than yeast. That, in my book, is a very good thing.
  • If you have pumpkin puree, or fancy making your own (find my recipe here) feel free to replace the weight of fresh pumpkin in the recipe with will need to adjust the amount of flour you use to 250g though, to stop the dough being too wet to handle.
  • You could replace the pumpkin with butternut squash, or indeed any other type of edible squash.
Makes 1 loaf
You will need 

a greased baking sheet

225g self raising flour
large pinch salt
175g pumpkin
25g pumpkin seeds
50g cheddar cheese, cubed
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk

for the topping
extra pumpkin seeds
extra cheese, cubed

  • Preheat the oven to 190°c.
  • Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl.
  • Coarsely grate the pumpkin into the bowl and mix it all around so each strand it covered in flour.
  • Add the pumpkin seeds and cheese and toss around again.
  • Lightly beat the eggs with the milk and add to the flour mixture a little at a time while mixing with your fingertips.
  • You will end up with a fairly sticky dough, but don't worry, all you need to do is form into a round, transfer to your baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden and firm.
  • Serve warm, with butter and a hug.