Sunday, 30 June 2013

Savoury bacon scones

I should really call these leftover scones as I am going away for a week and a)wanted to clear the fridge and b) did not really want to buy much.

I made these scones as an accompaniment to go with soup and although they were just made with bits and bobs they were so delicious I will be making them again out of want, not necessity.

I did not want to be misleading and call them cheesy bacon scones even though they do have cheese in them. They contain a little grated parmesan which adds a fantastic depth of flavour and savoury edge. T hough I would not call them cheesy, it is definitely essential for the flavour.

Another added bonus of these is that they can be made and ready to devour in half an hour, perfect!

Savoury bacon scones

80-100g bacon
200g self raising flour
50g butter
25g oats
30-40g finely grated parmesan
150ml milk (I used skimmed)

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C FAN. Cook the bacon (grill, fry whatever your preference) and set aside to cool.

Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the oats and cheese, chop up the cooled bacon and add this too. 

Add the milk gradually, mixing until a dough is formed, you may not need all the milk or may need a splash extra.

On a floured surface pat out the dough to a thickness of 2-3cm. Stamp out the scones with a cutter, trying not to twist. The trimmings can be re-patted into shape and more scones stamped out. 

Place the scones on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until risen and golden.

These were delicious warm from the oven. Mark had the leftovers for lunch the next day and they were still deemed a success.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Healthy (ish) creme brulee

I adore creme brulee, if I see it on a restaurant menu is is always a strong contender for dessert. It is not something I make at home as I do see it as a once in a while indulgent treat.

However this months good food magazine contained a recipe for a healthy creme brulee. I was a little suspicious initially but then I read the ingredients and realised it still contained cream and eggs so was some weird pretend creme brulee.

It uses milk and single cream instead of double, uses cornflour as well as eggs to help thicken it and adds some half fat creme fraiche. The main difference is that this brulee is cooked entirely on the stove top, there is no baking in the oven

My curiosity was aroused and so I decided to try it, nothing ventured nothing gained!

I followed the recipe exactly, I know it will be online in just a couple of days so I will add the link then.

This creme brulee was lovely. The caramelised sugar topping was just like your normal creme brulee and it gave way to a lovely thick vanilla custard. The creme fraiche added a slight sharpness which I actually really liked.

All in this is a lovely creme brulee, and as it is substantially healthier than the regular version it can be worked into my life a lot more which, when it comes to creme brulee, can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


So what are robiols? They are a Mallorcan dessert, traditionally eaten at Christmas and Easter. How do I know about them?  A friend at work, originally from mallorca, baked some and bought them in. They are a filled biscuit that looks a lot like cornish pasty. I immediately asked for the recipe.

I did get a recipe, except it was limited to a list of ingredients. So feeling a little like one of the bake off contestants in their technical challenge. I set about making the biscuits based on a picture and my baking knowledge.

The result is amazing. The biscuit itself is crumbly and short, which surprised me a little considering the dough gets worked much more than a conventional shortbread. Maybe its the oil in it.

For the filling I used nutella. Though in Mallorca the filling varies, fruit paste, sweet cheese etc.


makes 24-26

75g butter
75g caster sugar
egg yolk
25ml olive oil
25ml milk
juice of 1/2 orange
250g plain flour

Cream the butter ad sugar together. Add the egg yolk ,olive oil, milk and orange juice, mix until combined. Add the flour and bring together the ingredients to form a dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 175C/155C FAN and grease a baking sheet with butter. Flour a work surface and roll out the dough, depending on the size of your work surface you may have to do this in two batches. 

Once the dough is very thin cut out circles, using a cookie cutter, I used one 3 inches in diameter. The trimmings can be rerolled and cut out too.

Place a teaspoon of nutella on one half the circle.

Fold in half and crimp the edges with a fork.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

These delicious beauties begin with R so I am going to send them to this months alpha bakes. This month hosted by Ros at the more than occasional baker.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Raspberry ricotta buckle

Does anyone else watch Anna Olsen? I will admit, at first I was not convinced by the show. However her bakes looked delicious and after a while I realised it was nice to have a cooking show with good instructions and all about the food itself. Not me me me.

I needed a cake I could knock up pretty quickly, that did not need frosting etc and I remembered she has had a few recipes on coffee cakes. I quickly found a recipe for her raspberry ricotta buckle. It sounded highly intriguing. The ricotta replaces the majority of the butter in the cake.

It is a sponge cake, topped with raspberries and topped again with a streusel topping.
The exact recipe I used can be found here.

The first day the streusel topping has a fantastic crunch, but I think the cake flavour is more pronounced the second day.

It may have been my first Anna Olsen bake but it will not be my last, her instructions a clear and concise and the result is brilliant. I have my eye on a few recipe, now which shall I bake first?

As both raspberry and ricotta both begin with 'R' I am going to enter this cake into this months alpha bakes.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Malteser cake

Phew, its been a busy week, I have not had time to bake, let alone blog about it. I made up for it yesterday by making a 'big' cake. This was the only stipulation when I had asked Mark what he wanted.

I cannot claim credit for this recipe, I read about this cake on butter hearts sugar, and the recipe comes from here.

I did make a couple of tweaks. I added 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla to the warm wet ingredients. I think coffee and vanilla help bring out the chocolate-yness of chocolate.

I also baked it in my hemisphere cake tin from lakeland, so it came out half a malteser shape.

I also did not bother with chocolate ganache just the AMAZING malted buttercream. I simply cut the cake in half, filled with buttercream, reassembled then smothered the whole thing in more buttercream.
 I then applied maltesers. The cakes I looked at by the other bakers used all normal maltesers. I could not resist picking up white ones as well. I have to say that their cakes look neater and very effective but the taste of the white chocolate maltesers is so good that I do not really care!
The cake is a good flavour and quite moist, like a cakey brownie. Not entirely sure if this is the recipe or due to the cake tin I used. As I have mentioned the buttercream is divine and I need to make cupcakes with it on very soon!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Rapberry frangipane

The sun appeared! Mind you the weather, here in Ediburgh at least, seems to be on the turn. So I am highly glad I had a picnic las weekend, as who know when he may appear again!

As well as beautiful salads, olives, fruit, homemade baguettes (see here) I of course wanted something sweet I decided I wanted that rich, melt in the mouth frangpiane with the tartness of raspberries. Berries seem to scream sunshine.

In this recipe I use shop bought shortcrust pastry. I enjoy making pastry but on this particular morning I was also making bread and assembling the rest of the picnic. Time was not on my side.

I bought pre rolled pastry. I find this pastry is always quite thickly rolled out, which is fine for pies but not my tart, I did not want lots of pastry just a wafer thin case to hold together the raspberries and frangipane. In the end I lined my tin with ~125g of thin rolled short crust.

I have also just realised that the letter for this months alpha bakes (this month hosted by Ros over at the more than occasional baker) is R. So I am going to enter my Raspberry frangipane as an unplanned entry!

Raspberry frangipane tart

Pack of pre rollled short crust pastry (I used ~125g)
50g raspberry jam
140g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
140g ground almonds
50g plain flour
100g raspberries

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C FAN. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the pastry further, until very thin and line a 23cm tart tin. I used my long one from lakeland (36cm in length) which worked very well. Trim the excess pastry, prick the base with a fork, and chill for 30 minutes. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans, or rice. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the baking beans and paper. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden and biscuity.

To make the filling cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy then beat in the eggs. Finally fold in the ground almonds and flour.

Spread the base of the pastry case with the raspberry jam. Spoon the frangipane filling into the pastry case and level the top. Place the raspberries on top, in whatever pattern you desire.
Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until cooked and golden. 

Leave to cool in the tin for ~20 minutes and when the tin is cool enough to handle remove the tart and allow to cool.

I cut these into picnic sized pieces. They are dangerously delicious and extremely moreish. They last well i a tin for at least 3 days. Sadly we ate them all so I am not sure if they last longer!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Best ever spaghetti bolognese

I know this is a baking blog but please bear with me. The book for this months cupcake book club was 'Leftovers' by Stella Newman .

I loved this book and enjoyed the characters and story very much. It features Susie ,a thirty something, unhappy in her job and obsessed with food, in particular pasta. Although sweet things are mentioned, including a heart attack inducing 'death by brownie cheesecake I thought I would stay true to Susie's first love and make a pasta dish that is mentioned.

The best ever bolognese piqued my interest as although I do like bolognese I would probably always chose  something over it. So the promise of it being the best I had ever had was a challenge I had to take.

Best ever Bolognese, serves 3

1 onion
1 large carrot
1 celery stick
2 cloves of garlic
250g beef mince
125g pork mince
400-500g passata 
1/2 bottle red wine
2 decent sprigs of rosemary
seasoning, to taste

parmesan and cooked spaghetti to serve

Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan (I used a big, deep frying pan) then turn the heat down to its lowest setting, add the chopped veg to the pan and very gently cook for 10 minutes.

Turn up the heat and add  both minces, fry until browned. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Turn the heat down super low, as low as it will go, almost off. Add the passata, 1/2 the red wine and the rosemary and allow to slowly slowly cook. You will need to keep an eye on it., Every 40 minutes or so, give it a stir and  top up with some of the remaining wine. Once you have used all the remaining wine up add splashes of water.

Cook for as long as you have 4-6 hours. Serve up with cooked spaghetti and parmesan cheese.

I was pushed for time a bit so cooked mine for 4 hours. And the verdict? It was really really good. The depth of flavour was absolutely fantastic. The only downside is that I will not want to eat regular bolognese again! So all in all a success!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Berry and lime drizzle cake

When asked if he had any burning baking requests last week Mark said 'cake', then he clarified, a 'cake with fruit'. To be clear he did not want a fruit cake, no no, just a fruity sort of cake, i.e orange, lemon, apple, strawberry, that sort of thing.

Clearly the raspberry victoria sponge cake that had just been polished off did not satisfy the cake and fruit craving.

I didn't want anything too complicated and so decide a tray bake would be best, I was not really in a lemon drizzle mood but found a berry lime tray bake on the bbc good food website.

The recipe is here. I made a couple of tweaks. Firstly I substituted half of the butter of an equal amount of apple sauce. Secondly I reduced the sugar in the glaze to 40g and reduced the glaze to more of a syrup. Not only does this make for a slightly healthier cake it also intensifies the lime.

This is a tasty cake, I love the zing the lime syrup gives. It has a soft, moist texture and keeps well for up to 5 days in an airtight tin.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Olive breadsticks

Olives are the most recent transfer from my disliked food list to my liked food list. It has to be said that leaves the hated food list pretty barren. It pretty much reads tripe and wasabi.

To celebrate this move I baked with them. In a very tasty moreish olive breadstick. These would work well alongside salad, as part of a mezze platter or as a snack/appetiser with drinks.

They take a few hours to make but do not require much effort on your part. This recipe is ever so slightly adapted from Mr Paul Hollywood

Olive breadsticks

makes 8

250g white bread flour
5g instant yeast
5g salt
200ml lukewarm water
2 tsps olive oil, plus extra for greasing
125g olives, de-stoned weight

Grease a square 2L container ready for the dough. You could use a tupperware or square cake tin. 

Put the flour in a bowl and add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add ~2/3 of the water and, using a dough hook, start to mix together. When the mixture is starting to come together as a dough add the remaining water to the bowl. Continue mixing with the dough hook for 5-8 minutes until the dough is soft and stretches easily. Add the olive oil and continue to mix for a couple more minutes. Finally add in the olive and mix until evenly dispersed.

Transfer the dough to the oiled container and leave to rise until doubled in size, ~1 1/2 hours.

Line to baking sheets with baking parchment and liberally flour a work surface ad tip the risen doughy out onto it, it will be a loose flowing dough. Gently stretch/pat into an even rectangle.

Cut the dough into 8 even strips. Gently stretch till 20-25cm long and carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Leave to rise for a further 1-1 1/2 hours.  

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C FAN. Bake the breadsticks for 10-15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack. 

These are best eaten the day they are made, they become chewy the next day, though they can be refreshed in the oven for 5 minutes.