Sunday, 18 May 2014

Cherry and almond tray bake

It's national baking day, so I had to bake, and looking at my books it was clear which one I had to choose a recipe from, after all Mary Berry is the queen of baking!

I decided on a traybake, simple, uncomplicated, quick and delicious. The traybake I decided on was cherry and almond, a classic flavour combination.

 Now I did make a few tweaks, normally I would not tweak Mary's recipes but I am on a budget at the moment (3 weddings to go to in 1 month is expensive!) so I used what I had in the cupboards and did not buy extras apart from the cherries. I think Mary would approve of my thrifty-ness. 

Cherry and almond traybake

225g glacé cherries, my pack was 200g, I used 200g.
225g soft butter
225g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
Tsp almond extract
4 eggs
50g ground almonds
250g self raising flour
Tablespoon of milk
Flaked almonds for topping, I had none but chopped up a few whole almonds

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN, and grease and line a traybake tin.

Chop the cherries into quarters, rinse well with cold water before draining and drying on kitchen paper (or clean tea towel), set aside.

Add all the other ingredients to a bowl except the almonds and mix for a minute until well combined, fold through the cherries.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level the top. Scatter over the almonds. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes until golden and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.

Yum, a classic flavour combination and a delicious cake, happy world baking day!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Pumpkin, sage and cheese muffins

I am not a fan of the traditional sweet muffin, I will also chose cake, brownies, cookies, cupcakes and biscuits over them. I tend to find them a bit dry or at the other end of the spectrum claggy, I also find them a bit bland the majority of the time. The savoury muffin however is something a enjoy. I like them with soups. It seems much easier to pack savoury muffins with flavour and they are lovely with cheese all oozy and warm from the oven.

This particular recipe is from Scandilicious baking by Signe Johansen, with a few tiny tweaks 

Pumpkin, sage and cheese muffins

Makes 6

125g plain flour
20g spelt flakes (you can use oats)
2 tsp sugar (golden caster or brown)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 large sage leaves, finely chopped
140g pumpkin puree
50g plain yoghurt (soya in my case)
25g butter, melted
1 egg
1 heaped tsp English mustard
50g cheese (jarlsberg, Gouda, cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere, mozzarella, or in my case vegan cheese), grated.

Preheat the oven to 190C/170C FAN and line a muffin pan with liners. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl, including the sage and stir to combine.

Mix the pumpkin puree, yoghurt, and butter in a separate bowl, add the egg and the mustard, stir to combine then add in the cheese.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir, in a figure of 8 motion until all the ingredients are combined but not over mixed.

Divide the mix between the muffin cases and sprinkle with a few more spelt flakes (or oats). Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and devour warm.

Once cold wrap any leftover muffins in foil and freeze. To reheat the muffins heat the oven to 150C/130C FAN and bake them, in for foil for 10 minutes. Remove the foil, turn up the oven to 190C/ 170C FAN and bake the muffins for a further 5 minutes.

We had these muffins with a roasted squash and pumpkin seeds salad. The sage, cayenne and mustard really work to lift the pumpkin and cheese flavours. I cannot wait to eat the leftovers soon! 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Earl grey and lemon scones

Picture the scene, perfectly brewed earl grey, a slice of lemon and a freshly baked scone. Hmmmm, a perfect match. So perfect in fact, how about if we merged them? This idea came about as 1) I wanted fresh scones for breakfast and 2) the letter for this months alpha bake is 'E'.

I decided to soak raisins overnight in earl grey tea, before incorporating them into my scone along with plenty of lemon zest.

Earl grey and lemon scones

Earl grey tea bag
60g raisins
120ml almond or soya milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
185g plain flour
120g oats
50g golden caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
110g dairy free spread (I use pure)
Zest of a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla paste/ extract

The night before you make the scones, make a strongish small cup of earl grey tea, and soak the raisins in it overnight. Come morning they will be plump and infused with earl grey.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN and dust a baking sheet with flour. Mix the milk and vinegar together and set aside to curdle.

Mix the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Rub the dairy free spread in with your fingertips until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through the zest of a lemon. 

Add the vanilla to the milk and stir the milk mix into the dry ingredients until just combined, do not overmix. Dollop 8 equal blobs onto the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden. 

Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little before enjoying warm with butter, lemon curd, marmalade or jam.

Enjoy any leftovers the next day refreshed in a warm oven for five minutes.

The lemon and earl grey complement each other beautifully, the earl grey adds a fragrance and takes away a little of the sweetness of the raisins. For an experiment I was very pleased and would definitely make them again.