Bake-off Wednesdays: Pastry/Advanced Dough

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Forgive me for I am cheating a bit this week – I’ve tried to incorporate two episodes into one bake, because I didn’t really have time to bake twice straight after coming back from Spain (and I need to regain some control over how much i’m eating!)

So this week to continue the Spanish theme I made Churros 🙂

Churros are made of a choux pastry dough, which is then piped through a star-shaped nozzle into boiling oil, and fried until puffed up and golden. They are often eaten for breakfast dipped in hot chocolate or with a coffee. They evaded me for a while in Spain recently however, they seemed to prefer pastries with their chocolate for breakfast in Girona – so that’s why i’m not sick of them yet…

I’d never made choux pastry before, so I consider this advanced for me! Although I found it pretty easy, so maybe it’s not that difficult, just something different?

Anyway, I found a few recipes on the internet, including some for baked churros, which I thought worth trying as they would be healthier than their fried cousins.

I originally decided to just make baked, but then thought better of it and decided it would be useful to make both versions and compare…

I adapted a recipe for baked churros by The Little Loaf and used it as the dough for both types of churros, I also used a chocolate sauce recipe by BBC Good Food and adapted that slightly too.

The verdict wasn’t that surprising to me – the fried tasted better (doesn’t it always?!). They puffed up more in the oil than the baked did, which gave them a chewy texture and a crunchy exterior, the baked version was lovely and crisp, but fairly hollow inside.

Here’s a comparison photo for you:

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 My mum, who is on a diet, did appreciate the baked version however, as it meant she could still enjoy dessert and not feel too guilty, so they’re worth making for that reason at least.

I was pretty impressed with how authentic the fried ones tasted, and how easy they were to make! The chocolate sauce was really silky and glossy too…

Recipe for both versions below:

Serves 6-8

Churros

80g plain white flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

100g golden caster sugar, divided

2 tsp cinnamon

50g unsalted butter, cubed

150ml cold water

2 large beaten eggs

750ml sunflower/vegetable oil – if frying

Chocolate Sauce

200g bar 70% chocolate, broken into chunks

100ml double cream

100ml whole milk

3 tbsp golden syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate you can use half dark, half milk…

*If making Baked Churros, preheat oven to 200C and line a few trays with baking paper*

Sift the flour and salt over a piece of baking paper and leave near the hob (this makes it easier to combine ingredients for the dough). Mix 90g of the caster sugar with the cinnamon in a large bowl or tray and set aside.

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In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and water together until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down low and tip in the sifted flour/salt and remaining 10g caster sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon over the heat until a smooth ball of dough forms that leaves the sides of the saucepan – it will look a bit like mashed potato! Remove from the heat and leave for a couple of minutes, then beat in the eggs, a small amount at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Put to one side for a few minutes.

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While the dough is resting, make your sauce. Put all the sauce ingredients into a pan on a low heat, stirring until you have a smooth shiny sauce. Keep warm.

For Fried Churros:

Fill a deep saucepan one-third full of oil. Heat until a cube of bread browns in 45 seconds – 1 min (approx 170C if you have a thermometer). Cover a large plate with kitchen paper.

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Fit your piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle (approx 1.5-2cm wide). Fill with your dough and pipe strips of it straight into the pan, cutting them off with a pair of scissors – you might need someone to help with that bit. I managed to get about 6 or 7 in the pan each time, without them sticking to each other.  Fry until golden brown and crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the kitchen paper.

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As soon as the churros are ready, roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve with the thick hot chocolate sauce – get dunking!

For Baked Churros:

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Fit your piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle (approx 1.5-2cm wide). Fill with your dough and pipe lines onto the prepared baking paper-covered trays. Bake each tray for 12 – 15 minutes or until crisp and golden – you might have to do this in batches.

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As soon as the churros are ready, roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve with the thick hot chocolate sauce – get dunking!

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*You may well eat all of these in one sitting – I wouldn’t blame you, but if there are some left over, or you need to make them in advance, you can re-heat them in the oven on a medium heat for 5 minutes – this will make them nice and crispy again too! The chocolate sauce can be re-heated on the hob or in the microwave, but remember to check every few seconds in the microwave so you don’t burn it.*

Buenas Noches!

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Bake-Off Wednesdays: European Cakes

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I’m back in my comfort zone with this weeks challenge – no scary pastry or bread, just a nice easy cake…

NB: Last week’s tart did go down well at the dinner party in case anyone was wondering!

I originally thought of making an Italian Polenta cake as I like the grainy texture, but when I was given 3 bags of apples at the weekend I knew they had to be incorporated! So German Apple cake it was.

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This cake is light and moist, with a tasty crumble topping, of which there is also a layer inside the cake. I liked the fact that toasted flaked almonds are used in the crumble – they add another nice texture and flavour. The original recipe uses sour cream, but I had a pot of crème fraiche that needed using, so subbed that in instead. If you’d rather use sour cream, just swap it back.

This has had good reviews from my work colleagues, husband, and a fairly prolific apple cake maker – so it’s safe to say it’s a good one! It will probably be made again, when I run out of other things to use the rest of the apples in…

Can be served warm or cold, and with crème fraiche or sour cream on the side too, if you fancy it.

Original recipe found here

German Apple  Cake

175g/6oz unsalted butter
175g/6oz caster sugar
675g/1½ lb Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 large eggs, beaten
200g/7oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g crème fraiche – loosened with a little milk

Topping:
50g/2oz unsalted butter
50g/2oz soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
75g/3oz plain flour
50g/2oz toasted flaked almonds

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1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/ 350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a 20cm (22cm in my case) spring form tin with baking parchment. Melt 25g of the butter and sugar together in a large frying pan. Add the Bramley apple slices and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until the apples are tender. Leave to cool.

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2. Make the crumble topping by melting the butter and stirring in the remaining ingredients.

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3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then gradually add the eggs beating well between additions. Sift over the flour and baking powder then gently fold into the mixture with the creme fraiche.

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4. Spoon two thirds of the cake mixture over the base of the tin, scatter over a third of the crumble mixture and top with the remaining cake mixture.

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Finally, scatter over the Bramley apples and remaining crumble mixture. Bake in the oven for approximately 75 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a plate/rack.

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Enjoy!

P.S. Next weeks Bake-Off post won’t be on time as i’ll be coming back from a min-holiday in Spain. I will endeavour to make it/post it soon after though…

Vegging Out

You might remember a couple of weeks ago I ate too much. This was a good week, but probably not very good for me. It involved a LOT of meat.

To try and counteract that a bit, the OH and I ate (almost) vegetarian food for (almost) a week last week… (It was five days, and there was a tiny bit of belly pork involved).

Anyway, we found some tasty recipes to cook, and i really didn’t miss meat much, so i thought i’d share them with you.

Sunday

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Normally on a weekend we will indulge in an english breakfast or a variation on one at some point. It’s normally grilled, and the eggs are often poached, so not the worst meal you could have – but having just watched a programme about how bad processed meat is for you, we didn’t feel much like indulging in sausages and bacon anyway! Instead we had sweetcorn and spring onion fritters, grilled halloumi, grilled cherry tomatoes, and lambs lettuce. It looks colourful and vibrant and it tasted yum. Fritters were adapted from Lavender and Lovage.

Monday

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Nigel Slater’s Sweet Onions with Lentil Stew

This is the recipe with the teeny bit of meat, but it’s really just to add depth of flavour. This isn’t the healthiest of recipes, as the onions are slowly cooked in butter, but considering the rest of the ingredients are lentils, carrot and some spices, it’s so delicious! We had it with creme fraiche and a seeded roll, it’s a really good autumnal tasty stew, and you could easily forgo the meat if veggie.

Tuesday

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Smoky Sweet Potato & Bean Cakes with Citrus Salad

These vegetables cakes are a BBC Good Food recipe and are four of your five a day! They have a bit of a kick with coriander, spring onions and chipotle paste, and are surprisingly filling. You could always treat them as a burger and have it in a bun if you wanted too…

Wednesday

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Lemon & Aubergine Tagine with Almond Cous Cous

Another BBC Good Food recipe, aubergine is a great meaty vegetable, and this Tagine is only 361cals, but filling. The Harissa makes it pretty spicy so we had some natural yoghurt with it too, and the almonds in the cous cous are a nice extra.

Thursday

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Spicy Buckwheat Noodles with Tamarind Sauce

This is a recipe by Hemsley Hemsley, two sisters who create healthy recipes without gluten, or refined sugar. We substituted the buckwheat noodles for whole wheat ones, as they were easier to find, and we used honey instead of maple syrup because I didn’t want to spend five pounds on maple syrup that we probably wouldn’t use up in time.  This had broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, spring onions and cashews in, and a really flavourful sauce, using tart tamarind (which I love). A dish we will be making again…

If anyone’s got any other tasty vegetarian dishes I should try let me know!

Bake-Off Wednesdays: Tarts

*Warning* This post contains spoilers (if you’re a guest or host of the dinner party I’m going to tomorrow!)*

If I’ve learned anything from last weeks Bake-Off, it’s probably never to attempt a Baked Alaska in the height of summer… or at all! Poor Iain, the stress got to him – and having thrown pastry in the bin last night in frustration, I’m pretty sure I would have done the same in the Bake-Off tent. There was a lot of controversy over how long his baked Alaska was out of the freezer, why Diana had done it, why he hadn’t been told etc – but I’m sure the editors had a hand in making it seem so dramatic – and only those in the tent really know what happened. Fingers crossed this week will be less stressful – Although mine hasn’t been…

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This weeks challenge is Tarts and Pies. I’d decided to make a tart as we’re going to a dinner party, and I thought it would be a good dish to take over for dessert. I thought this would be a nice, easy, week as I’ve made them in the past – but something happened to me last night and I just couldn’t get the pastry right. The first batch ended up over-worked and got chucked in the bin, the second batch either didn’t have enough water in it, had too much butter in it, or was too cold – and just crumbled when I tried to roll it out. I think I’ll stick to cakes in the future 😉

In the end the OH had more patience than me and managed to coax the second batch of dough into behaving by adding a bit more water. It was never going to the best dough ever though as I realised later I’d forgotten to add the caster sugar to it second time round too! It ended up ok in the end though… I tried a little bit this morning just to check, and the flavours of the tart are really nice together, and sweet enough that you don’t notice the unsweetened pastry.

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I’ve got a hankering for cherries at the moment, and found a recipe on Red online by Gregg ‘It’s like a hug in a bowl’ Wallace (Masterchef presenter) which combines the cherries with white chocolate and a hint of cinnamon – a done deal in my eyes! I hope the other guests agree 😉

White Chocolate and Cherry Tart

Serves:  6-8
Preparation Time:15 minutes – plus chilling time
Cooking Time:1 hour

You will need
175g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp ground cinnamon
125g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
25g caster sugar
2–3 tsp iced water

For the filling
2 eggs
40g caster sugar
150g white chocolate, finely chopped
300ml double cream
450g fresh black or red dessert cherries or
2 x 425g cans pitted black or red cherries
Ground cinnamon, for dusting
Extra cherries to decorate (optional)

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NB: I bought two tins of pitted cherries to use as they were cheaper, but they didn’t taste strongly enough of cherry for me, so also bought some fresh ones and did ‘half and half’. There were also some fresh cherries left over for decoration!

Method

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1. To make the pastry, sift the flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and add enough of the water to mix to a firm dough.

(I used my stand mixer but also rubbed some of the butter in)


2. Turn the dough out on to a lightly-floured surface and knead briefly. Wrap in foil and chill for 30 minutes.

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3. Roll the dough out on a lightly-floured surface and use to line a 23 x 2.5 cm deep loose-bottomed flan tin. Trim off the excess pastry around the rim. Prick the tart case with a fork all over, to stop it rising. Line the tart case with foil, fill with baking beans and bake in a preheated oven, 200°C /400°F/gas mark 6, for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.


4. Meanwhile, to make the filling, beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small, heavy-based saucepan, then pour over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. Pour over the egg mixture, stirring constantly.

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5. Pit the cherries, if using fresh, or thoroughly drain the canned cherries. Arrange in the flan case. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cherries.

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6. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until the chocolate cream is set. Dust with cinnamon and serve warm, decorated with extra cherries if you like.

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Recipe by Gregg Wallace, found on Red Online

As you can see it, it turned out pretty ‘rustic’, but it tastes good… Fingers crossed it goes down well tomorrow evening!

Bake-Off Wednesdays: Desserts

On the weekend, the OH and I walked some of the Bath Skyline Walk. This is a 6 mile walk around the outskirts of Bath, featuring hills, fields, woods, a ‘sham castle’ and views of the city. We only had time/energy for about half of it, but managed to fit in all of the above!

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Views of Bath and the ‘Sham Castle’ built in the 18th Century by Ralph Allen, to improve the view from his house!

We took a tub with us in the hope of collecting some blackberries, and we weren’t disappointed.

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Although a lot of the bushes weren’t quite ripe yet, we managed to fill the tub, and eat a couple… In a couple of weeks time I don’t think you’ll be able to move for blackberries on the walk – we may have to go back!

I’d decided to incorporate some blackberries into this week’s bake-off challenge, and because this week we are trying to be healthy-ish (to combat the excesses of the last couple of weeks!), I tried to find a dessert that wasn’t completely naughty.

I remember Crème Caramels were made by the bakers one year, and so decided on one of its distant relatives – the Panna Cotta.

Panna Cotta, the dessert made with mountains of double cream? I hear you. Not what automatically comes to mind when thinking of healthy desserts, but I had a thought it could be made with yoghurt, and a quick search of the internet provided me with a few recipes that seemed to agree with me.

Most seemed to incorporate greek yoghurt with some double cream and milk, so i bought both and had a go….

Now, this didn’t end up as healthy as I’d hoped, because I had to make them twice…  It all tasted lovely the first time round, but didn’t set properly, so was more like a very creamy yoghurt dessert than a set dessert – see photo below!

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I’d followed one recipe in terms of the gelatine to cream/yoghurt ratio, but looking at other recipes they all seem to have more than mine did. So I tried it again, and upped the gelatine content substantially.

This time things looked more promising!

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Flavour-wise, I decided to infuse the cream with some thyme that we had leftover in the fridge, and used honey-flavoured greek yoghurt to add a bit more flavour.The blackberries were great, I just left them fresh, but you could make a coulis with them if you wanted. I also crumbled up a butter galette biscuit to add some texture – a ‘biscuit crumb’, if you will 😉

We ate this for breakfast as it didn’t feel as naughty as a traditional Panna Cotta!

Thyme and Honey ‘Panna Cotta’ with Blackberries

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

3 Gelatine Leaves

175ml Milk

50ml Double Cream

250g Honey-flavoured Greek Yoghurt

20g Caster Sugar

Approx 4 sprigs of Thyme

Blackberries

Put the gelatine leaves into a bowl of iced water and leave to soften for five minutes.

Put the milk, cream, sugar and thyme sprigs into a small pan and bring slowly to the boil.

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Remove the softened gelatine from the iced water, gently squeeze out the excess water and stir into the milk and cream (discarding the thyme sprigs). Remove from the heat and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.

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Pour this mixture through a sieve to get rid of any lumps, and pour into the greek yoghurt slowly, whisking as you go. When thoroughly combined, pour the mixture into your moulds (I used tea cups), cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 5 hours.

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When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the rim of the mould, and briefly dip the mould into hot water to help loosen the panna cotta. Jiggle it around again, repeat if necessary, and gently pull away from the sides with your fingers or a spoon. It will come out eventually! Alternatively, if you can’t or don’t want to get it out you can serve it in the mould/teacup etc – see photo below. It still looks pretty, just slightly less impressive! If turning out, do so onto your serving plate and garnish with blackberries, biscuits, and another small sprig of thyme (if desired).

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This dessert definitely tasted healthier than a normal Panna Cotta, I think the yoghurt gave it a fresher taste, and the thyme made it slightly more savoury. It still tasted good though, and I will definitely be making it again next time I want a ‘lighter’ treat!

Bake-Off Wednesdays: Bread

Panicky feeling, deep breathing, scared-looking…

That was me last week when I realised this week’s Bake Off is Bread week. I knew the day would come, I just hoped I would have a few more weeks to psyche myself up .

I’m scared of bread. Not eating it (maybe of eating too much of it!), but making it. We had a bread machine that never really produced the goods, the OH tried making it ‘free-hand’ and it didn’t come out quite right, I’m just glad Paul Hollywood hasn’t been around to see any of our bakes!

But it was time to try again… I scoured my pinterest boards to see if I’d pinned anything that would ease my way into bread-making, and found a couple of recipes that looked easy – but maybe too easy. No yeast and no kneading sounded good but a bit of a cop-out – if I was gonna make bread it had to involve at least some of the scary bread-making processes! (I will be trying them in the future though…)

So instead I made:

Truffled Potato and Goats Cheese Flatbread

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A recipe that sounded amazing – if carb-heavy! It involved yeast and proving, but not rising, so that was good enough for me. (I find the ‘will it, won’t it rise’ the scariest!)

And it came out pretty well 🙂 Nice crisp base, (no soggy bottoms here), tasty, made enough dough for two nights tea which is always a bonus, and made me interested to try out other bread recipes in the future – win win.

It’s a nice, quite luxurious-sounding vegetarian meal, but of course you can add meat if you want! We added sausage the second night (because it wasn’t unhealthy enough first time round…!) Also, if you don’t really like truffle oil then any flavoured oil would be nice – or just skip the oil and put some garlic or onions on it. It was like a posh pizza really.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

Truffled Potato & Goat Cheese Flatbread

Serves 2 – 3 (using half the dough)

Dough:
1.5 tsp Active Dry Yeast
Just under 300ml Warm Water
475 gms Bread Flour (I used white)
1.5 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Olive Oil

Potato Topping:
200 gms Small Potatoes, sliced as thin as you can make them! (about 6 to 7 potatoes)
2 tbsp Olive Oil, divided
120 gms Soft Goats Cheese
Fresh Thyme
Freshly grated Parmesan
Smoked Paprika
Salt and Black Pepper
White Truffle Oil

To make the dough, put the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes, until dissolved.

Mix the flour and salt in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Add the olive oil and the yeast/water mixture. Mix on a medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, it should take about 3 to 5 minutes. (If  the dough seems very sticky at this point, add a tablespoon or two of flour.)

NB: If you don’t have a stand mixer, this can all be done by hand – just takes longer (and i’m lazy)! Put the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon, then knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until elastic (will roughly take twice as long by hand than mixer).

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Transfer the dough to a large bowl greased with oil. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm dry place to rise until it has doubled in size – this should take around 45 minutes.

DSCN0156I put the dough on top of the pre-heated oven near the back to keep warm when proving.

Get out any pent-up aggression by giving the dough a punch (also lets out some air…) and form it into a ball. Wrap the ball tightly in cling film and pop in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the flatbread, put a baking tray on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 230°C. If using all the dough you’ll need two trays.

If only using half of the dough (which makes enough for 2-3 peoples tea), the other half can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for 3 months.

Put the dough on a sheet of baking paper and roll into a thin, large rectangle (I made mine the same size as my baking tray – approx 30cms x 22cms). Brush the surface with olive oil and prick the dough all over with a fork to stop it from rising.

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Toss the sliced potatoes with a little more olive oil and overlap the potatoes over the dough, before seasoning with salt and pepper.

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Transfer the dough and baking paper to the baking tray, and bake until the flatbread is crisp and the potatoes are golden – this should take around 15 minutes.

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Remove flatbread from the oven. Now it’s time to add all the toppings! Sprinkle over some thyme leaves. Crumble the goats cheese over and add a handful of grated Parmesan. Sprinkle over some smoked paprika and any extra salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with the truffle oil.

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Slice and serve straight away!

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Let me know if you have any fool-proof bread recipes I could try 🙂

A little note on truffle oil: Don’t buy it from Waitrose! I made the mistake of buying their “A Drizzle of Truffle Flavour Olive Oil” and there is definitely no truffle in it or anything resembling ‘truffle flavour’. It is disappointing as Waitrose Chef’s ingredients range is normally fairly good, but i went online the next day and found bad reviews for it on Ocado – I wish i’d seen those before i’d bought it. I instead managed to find some white truffle oil from TruffleHunter which actually tastes and smells of truffle – it can be bought in Jamie’s Italian Deli (Bath) or Arch House Deli (Bristol) and is more expensive but definitely worth it!

Bake-Off Wednesdays: Biscuits

This week on the Great British Bake Off the theme is biscuits – and what a lovely theme it is. Who doesn’t eat biscuits? Not the healthiest of snacks but certainly a tasty one, we always seem to have a packet in the tin at work which is dangerous, but quite helpful when the afternoon 3pm slump looms.

At home, we are fairly good and don’t often buy biscuits – i do make them sometimes though. Last week i made some condensed milk cookies because we had half a can of condensed milk left over (from drinking vietnamese coffee) and didn’t want it to go to waste. The recipe for those is here if you’re interested…

This week, i decided it was savoury biscuit time!

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Blue Cheese and Poppy Seed Biscuits

I LOVE CHEESE

This will not come as a shock to anyone who knows me, if there was a cheese-aholics anonymous i would probably be a member (although i have no intentions of giving up my addiction, maybe just rationing myself a bit more!)

But anyway…

These biscuits are buttery, crumbly, cheesy and delicious. I like the extra texture the polenta gives them too. They are perfect with a glass of red wine, and they would make a cute present for someone who likes cheese!

If you’re not a blue cheese fan, firstly what’s wrong with you? (Joking), secondly, feel free to swap the blue for some cheddar or other semi-firm cheese and i’m sure it will taste (almost) as good 😉

Recipe taken from Delicious Magazine

Makes approx 25 biscuits

Ingredients

150g Blue Cheese (I used Stilton), roughly chopped

100g Unsalted Butter, softened and roughly chopped

1 Medium Egg Yolk

100g Plain Flour (and extra for rolling out)

75g Quick-Cook Polenta

Poppy Seeds for sprinkling

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Preheat the oven to 200C.

In a bowl or mixer, combine and mash together the cheese and butter.

Add the egg yolk, sieved flour and polenta, and mix until it forms a stiff dough.

Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer to firm up for approx 10 mins.

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When ready, roll out onto a floured surface until approx half a centimetre thick.

I did this in stages, as i found the dough wouldn’t stick together if i tried to roll out the whole lot in one go.

Cut with a cookie cutter – i used a 58mm one. Scoop up the offcuts and roll them into a ball, to roll out and use up as much of the dough as possible.

If you don’t have cookie cutters use a cup, or roll the dough into a log shape and cut into slices instead!

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Line a tray with greaseproof paper and put the discs on.

I managed to fit about 16 on one tray…

Sprinkle each disc with poppy seeds and press down lightly so they stick to the dough.

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Put in the oven for 12-15 mins, until golden brown

 they smell so good in the oven, you may try to get them out early!


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When ready they will look a bit like this! Place on a wire rack to cool.

we managed to leave them for about 2 minutes before diving in – they are really nice warm though…

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Enjoy!

N.B. I have kept some of the dough from this in the freezer to make on a different day, as i didn’t have time to do two batches. If you do this, let it defrost and warm up a bit before you try to roll it out!

Bake Off Wednesdays: Cake

Mel & Sue, Queen Bezza, scary Paul, custard disasters, style over substance, ovens not heating up, ridiculously tasty looking cakes, biscuits, bread, tray bakes, tarts, pies…

…It’s back! I am a little over-excited about the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ starting tonight (8pm BBC1).

To commemorate this I thought I would aim to do a post every Wednesday of recipes that fit in with the episodes theme – tonight’s is cakes!

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Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake

I made this cake at the start of the summer – it feels like a really summery cake because the yoghurt and olive oil gives it a light texture, and the limes and sugar make me think of mojitos! It also goes well with a gin & tonic by the way…
I hadn’t made a cake using olive oil and yoghurt instead of butter before, but was really pleased with the outcome. It’s pretty simple to make – no fancy kitchen paraphernalia required – only a wooden spoon, a cake tin, and an oven… This cake will be made again!
It looks really pretty with the extra lime and sugar sprinkled on the top too.
Recipe nabbed from Souvlaki for the Soul – i just changed the measurements from US to UK
 
Ingredients

285g whole full fat Greek yoghurt

79ml of olive oil

225g caster sugar

zest of one lime

4 tablespoons lime juice

2 eggs

220g of sifted plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Extra lime zest and golden granulated sugar for topping

 

 

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C

Grease a 22cm springform baking tin

Mix the yoghurt, olive oil, sugar, lime juice, zest, and eggs in a  bowl until well combined.

In a separate large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix until just combined. Don’t overwork the batter.

Pour into the baking tin and cook for approx 45-50 mins. The cake is ready when it has browned on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave it to cool in the cake tin for five minutes and then invert it onto a cake cooler.

Once cooled, combine one tablespoon of lime zest with two tbsps of the granulated sugar and sprinkle liberally on top.

 

Sit down with a cup of tea (or a mojito) and enjoy the fruits of your labour – it’s worth it.

 

Weekend Bakes: Coconut and Raspberry Cakes

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If you’re at a loose end this weekend and want something to munch on with a cup of tea – why not bake these beauties? The OH had a bake-off at work this week, and these did the job nicely! (NB. He did most of the work, i just helped – and took photo’s.)

Adapted from Miss Friday’s Feasts –  they are more-ish and very moist. As well as the addition of malibu and desiccated coconut, we also made a cream cheese frosting (instead of butter icing), which stopped the cakes from tasting too sweet. The decoration was all His idea – the theme being ‘Green Week’ – a Raspberry and Coconut flower would be a pretty great thing…

Makes 12 Cupcakes

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp baking powder
25g desiccated coconut
A pinch of salt
40ml malibu (or other coconut liqueur)
80ml milk
1 egg
200g of raspberries (you’ll need at least 24, depending on size)

To Decorate

150g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon/lime juice
approx 25g flaked coconut
Leftover raspberries
Freeze-dried raspberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare cupcake tin with paper cases.

Mix all dry ingredients and butter with an electric mixer (or by hand if you’re old school) until light and fluffy.

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Add malibu and milk, beat well and then add the beaten egg. Make sure the mixture is well combined.

Put raspberries into your paper cases – we had pretty large raspberries so just put one in each, but if you have small ones put two in. (If i do this recipe again i might try chopping up the raspberry first so it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the cake – let me know if anyone try’s this).

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Spoon the cupcake mixture over the top until the raspberries are covered , then put in pre-heated oven for 25 mins or until golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

When cakes are cooked, put them onto a wire rack to cool.

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Whilst the cakes are cooling you can make the topping 🙂

Put the cream cheese, icing sugar and citrus juice into a bowl and beat well. Dry fry the coconut flakes until slightly coloured.

Wait until the cakes are fully cool to decorate, otherwise the topping will melt.

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Spread cream cheese frosting onto each cake, then place a raspberry in the centre.

Working from the inside-out, place flakes of coconut around the raspberry to create the look of petals – saving the larger flakes for the outer circle.

Sprinkle freeze-dried raspberries on top (if you have them – ours was from waitrose).

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This would be easier with masterchef-style culinary tweezers and a production line 😉

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But don’t they look pretty?

I shall be checking out Royal Crescent StrEAT this weekend – a street food festival on the Crescent in Bath, if you’re in Bath come along!

Easy to follow recipe below…

Makes 12 Cupcakes

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp baking powder
25g desiccated coconut
A pinch of salt
40ml malibu (or other coconut liqueur)
80ml milk
1 egg
200g of raspberries (you’ll need at least 24, depending on size)

To Decorate

150g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon/lime juice
approx 25g flaked coconut
Leftover raspberries
Freeze-dried raspberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare cupcake tin with paper cases.

Mix all dry ingredients and butter with an electric mixer (or by hand if you’re old school) until light and fluffy.

Add malibu and milk, beat well and then add the beaten egg.Make sure the mixture is well combined.

Put raspberries into your paper cases – we had pretty large raspberries so just put one in each, but if you have small ones put two in.

Spoon the cupcake mixture over the top until the raspberries are covered , then put in pre-heated oven for 25 mins or until golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

When cakes are cooked, put them onto a wire rack to cool.

Whilst the cakes are cooling you can make the topping 🙂

Put the cream cheese, icing sugar and citrus juice into a bowl and beat well. Dry fry the coconut flakes until slightly coloured.

Wait until the cakes are fully cool to decorate, otherwise the topping will melt.

Spread cream cheese frosting onto each cake, then place a raspberry in the centre.  Working from the inside-out, place flakes of coconut around the raspberry to create the look of petals – saving the larger flakes for the outer circle.  Sprinkle freeze-dried raspberries on top.

Rhubarb Syrup for Summer Days

I’m a bit obsessed with Rhubarb at the moment, particularly in drink-form. Cawston Press do a very nice Rhubarb and Apple drink (pictured) and Chase (the vodka people) do a Rhubarb Liqueur which i keep admiring in cocktails but can’t bring myself to spend £20 on a bottle just yet!

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Instead, a couple of weeks ago i decided to make some Rhubarb Syrup to put in drinks, hoping this would satisfy my Rhubarb-y cravings… I’m happy to say it did! The recipe below is from http://www.notwithoutsalt.com (modified slightly) and it makes about 200ml of syrup which doesn’t sound like a lot, but as it’s concentrated rhubarb (and lots of sugar), you don’t need that much to make a glass of soda water taste delicious – and it would liven up a Gin and Tonic or some Prosecco if you just happen to have some lying around too…

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Rhubarb Syrup Recipe

(Makes enough for approx. 8 drinks)

450 g chopped rhubarb (approx. 4 stalks)

230 g sugar

 450 ml water

1 vanilla pod 

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly so the mixture continues to boil gently. Boil for 15 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by nearly half. The rhubarb will break down into a mush, and the liquid will get syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool.

When cool, strain out the rhubarb. Save the rhubarb-y mush to eat with yogurt, on top of ice cream or make a deconstructed rhubarb crumble?!

Rhubarb syrup will keep covered in the fridge for two weeks (but it won’t last that long).

The colour is amazing and the taste reminds me a bit of Raspberry Ripple (maybe because of the vanilla pod?) It’s good in an ice cream float too… Quick make some before the sun comes back out! 😉

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