The Bakinglady 

Welcome to the wonderful world of baking, cakes, cookies and traybakes,
everything you could ever dream of and more..
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Recipes...Yum!

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Pignoli - makes approximately 25 cookies

Posted by me on December 20, 2020 at 3:55 AM Comments comments (172)


These decadent  little pine nut studded crisp/chewy cookies with a hint of citrus and heady almonds, hail from the south of Italy and the island of Sicily. They are a staple  in every bakery and are the absolutely perfect mid morning sweet treat with a strong cup of espresso or to enhance your festive sweets and treats at Christmas time...They make lovely little gifts, just pop into an airtight box and tie with a pretty ribbon x Quick and simple to bake, if you love marzipan these are right up your street... bellisimo ❤️

454g natural marzipan ( not the bright yellow stuff), broken into little pieces

200g caster sugar

2 medium egg whites

Zest 2 large clementines or small oranges

Zest 1 lime

200g pine nuts

Icing sugar to dust

 

Preheat the oven to 150c for a fan assisted oven, 170c for a regular oven. Line three - four large baking sheets with baking paper.

Place the marzipan, caster sugar, egg whites and zests into a large bowl and beat together for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Tip the pine nuts into a bowl.

Use a teaspoon and scoop heaped teaspoons the size of a walnut, roll into a ball with your hands then tumble in the pine nuts.

Place well apart on the sheets and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a light golden brown, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Dust with a little icing sugar

enjoy ❤️❤️❤️


 

Chuckychops old fashioned bread puddin�??

Posted by me on December 13, 2020 at 2:30 AM Comments comments (1)


My Dad used to make a mean old fashioned bread puddin’, my mum only ever ate it hot and the rest of the family only ever ate it cold... either way it’s a perfect way to utilise stale bread. Dads secret was to use leftover brewed tea from the pot, and a good sprinkle of crunchy white sugar on the top after baking.... it's the little things ❤️❤️❤️  This recipe makes a BIG family sized one, just divide the recipe in half if required x

800g bread, at least 2 days old - I used an uncut loaf

1 litre boiled water

3 tea bags

300g dried fruit of your choice (I used dried mixed fruit but you can use any dried fruit you have in the cupboard)

4 eggs

125g butter or margarine , melted

200g Demerara sugar

1 tablespoon mixed spice

Granulated sugar to decorate

Start by popping the tea bags into the boiling water and leaving to brew for 15 minutes, then remove and discard.

Tear the bread into small chunks, into a large mixing bowl and drizzle the brewed tea over the top, leave to soften and soak for an hour, before mixing well with your hand, squidging the mixture in your fist to help break it up.

Add the dried fruit, sugar, melted butter, eggs and spice and mix really well with a wooden spoon, don’t worry if there are still clumps of bread that haven’t soaked.

Line a roasting tin with a sheet of baking paper and tip the mixture in, levelling with the back of the spoon ( it needs to be about 1” deep)

Bake in a preheated oven 160c for a fan oven, 180c for a regular oven for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours until the pudding has risen slightly and is golden brown. It should be fairly firm on the top too... remove from the oven and sprinkle with a good dusting of granulated sugar.

Serve hot with creamy custard or cold in slabs.

Funky monkey tray bake

Posted by me on October 27, 2020 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (181)


Over the last few nights I have been fantasising about a frosting containing toasted coconut and oven roasted squidgy marshmallows, I could almost taste it, the thoughts were that vivid!!! But what to put it on? What cake would be worthy of it’s awesomeness??? Friends, romans, countrymen.... I give you

2 large very, very ripe, brown and squidgy bananas

100g butter at room temperature

175g soft light brown sugar

225g self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg, beaten

100g plain chocolate chips

Zest of one large orange

1 good pinch salt

2 tablespoons orange juice

Frosting

125g butter

150g icing sugar

75g mini white mallows

50g desiccated coconut, lightly toasted ( reserve a heaped tablespoon for decoration)

Preheat an oven to 180c, 160c for a fan assisted oven or gas 4-5

Peel the bananas and squish with a fork in a small mixing bowl.

Place the butter, self raising flour, baking powder and salt, in a large mixing bowl and rub between your fingers to create fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, followed by the mushed up banana, eggs , orange zest and juice

Beat for minute or until everything is well mixed - add the chocolate chips.

Scrape into a lined 9” square tin

Pop into the preheated oven for approximately 30- 40 minutes or until the cake is well risen, golden brown and a thin knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Leave to cool.

Place the butter, icing sugar and salt into a small mixing bowl and beat until fluffy.

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and put the mini mallows on, place in a hot oven until they are golden brown and puffed up. Tip into the buttercream along with the toasted coconut (don’t forget to keep a heaped tablespoon)


Beat until well mixed then smooth all over the cooled banana cake

❤️

 

Chocolate dipped, salted Cashew and peanut toffee shards

Posted by me on October 27, 2020 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Hard, sucking toffee, rather than the chewy or liquid caramel varieties have always had a soft (if not crunchy) spot in my heart. It evokes memories of my childhood when my Soldier father would go into the kitchen and boil up a big saucepan of brittle, golden, glass like caramel toffee made with nothing more than a ton of sugar and a splash of vinegar.... it was divine - if not tooth rotting!!!! Us kids would huddle around the bowl, in front of the tv, with rivulets of sticky sugar running down our chins and fingers �� , occasionally Dad went even further and would tip in a bag of salted peanuts to the bubbling golden lava to make peanut brittle, those days were pretty damn special!

This is my grown up version, buttery/crunchy with a wee bit of a chew and yes, still terrible for your teeth but absolutely divine and worth a trip to the dentist for, especially when given as a gift in a pretty jar or box, tied with a ribbon ��.

 

What you need....

125g butter

125g double cream

125g golden syrup - or glucose syrup

125g white sugar

125g roasted, unsalted cashews - if you can’t find them roasted and unsalted, just buy the raw ones and toast in a hot oven for a few minutes until light golden brown

125g roasted, unsalted peanuts

1 generous pinch of sea salt flakes

200g chocolate of your choice, I chose milk because I prefer it but you could use plain or white chocolate, or even a combination of all three.

 

Line a large baking sheet with silicone or non stick baking paper, or oil the sheet well.

Place the butter, cream, syrup (or glucose) and sugar into a large, heavy, thick bottomed pan and stir gently over a medium heat until the butter and sugar have melted then remove the spoon and bring the mixture to the boil. DO NOT STIR from now on.

Boil the mixture until it turns a rich golden brown colour, if you take if off too early the shards will be very chewy.... DONT let it burn tho, it should be golden and caramelised not dark brown and smelling burnt ��

Add the cashews and peanuts, stir gently then immediately spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, smooth and level, then sprinkle evenly with the sea salt and allow to cool completely.

Break the nutty toffee into shards.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl over very hot but not boiling water and dip in the ends of the nutty shards , leave to set on the tray.

 

Fab-u-loso Florentines (makes 16)

Posted by me on October 18, 2020 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (191)


There is something utterly decadent about a Florentine, buttery/crisp yet chewy and full to the brim with nuts and juicy fruit. If a cookie could be described as sexy it would surely be this French frivolity with its little chocolate bottom ❤️ Just remember to put them in a safe place ( preferably hard to get to) because once you start munching you just won't stop...

25g butter - don’t skimp on this, use proper butter not margarine, it’s so worth it!!!

75g soft light brown sugar

10g plain flour

65ml double cream

Pinch salt

Grated zest, 1 large orange

75g flaked almonds

25g walnut halves, broken into 4’s

25g pumpkin seeds

50g dried cranberries

25g dried apricots chopped into small pieces

50g plain chocolate

50g milk chocolate

Place the butter into a small saucepan and melt over a low heat, add the sugar and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the flour. Add the double cream, a little at a time to make a smooth paste.

Add in the remaining ingredients, stir well to coat then leave to cool.

Preheat an oven to 190c, 170c for a fan assisted oven, gas 5 then Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper and spoon 16, equal sized blobs onto the paper, shaping and flattening them with a spoon.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until the florentines are golden brown on the edges, leave to cool on the trays.

Break the milk and plain chocolates into a small plastic bowl and melt in short bursts in the microwave or over a pan of almost boiling water.

Use a teaspoon to slather the melted chocolate over the back of each of the florentine’s, leave in a cool place to set ( not the fridge)

Hide the florentines in the best hiding spot you can think of, don’t tell anyone that you have made them and snuggle down on the sofa with a sneaky couple, a cuppa and a good book... heavenly!

Old fashioned apple crumble

Posted by me on October 18, 2020 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (101)


I don't think there is a nicer pudding than a rich, crisp, buttery crumble resplendent on a layer of luscious , sweet but sharp fresh fruit. This simple dessert is perfect with a jug of neon yellow custard or a good scoop of vanilla infused ice cream... delicious!

1000g bramley cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2cm chunks

3-4 heaped tablespoons sugar

1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

200g plain flour

115g butter

50g sugar

Preheat an oven to 180c, 160c for a fan assisted oven or gas mark 5.

Place half of the apples into a small saucepan with 3-4 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water, cook gently for 5 minutes until the apples are soft and squidgy and the water has evaporated. Add the remaining apples and tip into an ovenproof dish.

Put the flour and butter into a medium mixing bowl and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles chunky breadcrumbs. Add the sugar then scatter over the top of the apples, bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with gallons of creamy custard, ice cream or fresh cream.

 

Sticky Ginger and orange Parkin

Posted by me on October 4, 2020 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (100)


Having two recipes for the same cake, isn't a hardship as far as I'm concerned, the more yummy cake love in the world the better!!! I have added this second Parkin recipe with a zesty orange twist because it's just sooooooo good and absolutely perfect for cold, frosty days when your tummy needs an edible hug ❤️

170g self raising flour

3 heaped teaspoons ground ginger

2 level teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

Zest of 2 large oranges

120g porridge oats

250g golden syrup

75g black treacle

150g salted butter

150g soft dark brown sugar

2 medium eggs, beaten

25ml milk

3 pieces of stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped

Icing

50g icing sugar, sieved

1 tablespoon syrup from the stem ginger

a little orange juice 

3 pieces of stem ginger, finely diced

What to do....

Preheat the oven to 140c.

Sieve the flour and all the spices and zest into a large mixing bowl then add the porridge oats.

Place the butter, sugar, golden syrup and black treacle into a small saucepan and melt gently until you have a smooth liquid.

Pour into the flour mixture along with the chopped ginger, beaten eggs and milk.

Stir well until you have a smooth batter then pour into a lined 8" (20cm) square tin.

Bake in a preheated oven for 1-1 1/4 hours (a cocktail stick will come out clean). Leave in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Icing- place the sieved icing sugar and ginger syrup into a small bowl and mix well, add a little orange juice a teaspoon at a time to make a thick icing and drizzle or pipe over the still warm cake, then sprinkle with the finely diced ginger... 

I find this cake even more delicious if you can bare to leave it for 24 hours in an airtight tin, it gets lovely and sticky....

Chocolate caramel, crispy slice

Posted by me on October 4, 2020 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (100)


This yummy slice is one of the easiest and quickest sweet treats to knock up... perfect for children's birthday party's too, just sprinkle with some bright and colourful sugar sprinkles and cut into small squares ❤️❤️❤️

350g mars bars or any other caramel/nougat/chocolate bar - chopped into small pieces

40g butter or margarine

150g rice crispies or any other popped rice cereal

200g milk chocolate

50g white chocolate

 

Place the chopped up Mars Bars and butter/margarine in a heat proof bowl, set over a saucepan full of almost boiling water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted ( it will be very thick) add the rice crispies and stir well to cover them all.

Tip the mixture into an 8” square tin ( line with baking parchment) and flatten with the back of the spoon.

Melt the milk and white chocolate in small bowls then pour the milk chocolate over the top of the caramel -crispy -chocolatey goodness. Drizzle the white chocolate over, using a small spoon, then gently ripple them together. Bang the tin on the work surface a couple of times to settle the chocolate then leave to cool and harden.

Cut into 10 even sized slices

Aromatic carrot chutney

Posted by me on September 10, 2020 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (100)


This aromatic chutney is my absolute favourite, slathered over a good strong cheddar cheese or dolloped onto Scotch eggs, it's absolutely gorgeous and well worth taking an hour out of your day to knock up a jar or two.... 

What you need...

1 kilo carrots, washed, peeled and grated (I used my food processor for this)

2 onions peeled and finely chopped

 300 ml boiling water

 1 kg soft light brown sugar

 350ml Apple cider or white wine  vinegar

2 tablespoons  lemon juice

 1 tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

4 star anise

1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 heaped tablespoon ginger purée or 2" of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated

1 -2 teaspoons salt

What to do....

Pour the oil into a large  saucepan and turn the heat to medium high, add the grated carrot , onion, chopped garlic , star anise, cinnamon, ginger, and coriander seeds , stir to coat in the oil.

Cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally- it will make a gentle  sizzling sound

Meanwhile,  place your washed clean jars in a hot oven (70 C) to sterilise them.

Add the  water to the vegetables along with the vinegar and lemon juice , bring back to the boil then simmer gently for a further 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft and break easily when pressed with a spoon against the side of the pan.

Add  the  sugar and stir  until it is thoroughly dissolved

Bring to a hard boil for 6 minutes (stirring occasionally - be really careful, it's like molten lava at times whilst cooking) until the liquid is almost all gone and the chutney is thick and unctuous . Add a teaspoon of salt then check the seasoning - Adding a little more if necessary

Carefully spoon or ladle  the chutney into the hot jars

Place the lids on immediately and leave to cool. 

 

 

Peanut butter mallow cornflake cake

Posted by me on September 9, 2020 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (103)


This simple recipe is great fun to get the children involved with ( adult supervision required when melting the mallows) and they can be squished into one big cake or bar, or spooned into individual paper cases, perfect for party's and picnics...

80g  butter 

125g crunchy or smooth peanut butter 

280g marshmallows divided  ( 220 melted /60 once melted)

100g  corn flakes cereal 

 50g white chocolate

25g chocolate chips ( I used Reece’s peanut butter chips but if you can’t get them, milk or plain chocolate chips or even mini fudge pieces work beautifully )

What to do...

Line an 8 inch pan with parchment paper Or line a muffin tin with paper cup cakes

 Place the butter, peanut butter and 220g of the marshmallows in a large glass bowl. Microwave for 60- 90 seconds at full power. Remove from the microwave and stir until the marshmallows begin to melt and stick together, microwaving for a few seconds longer if needed.

Add the cornflakes to the bowl and mix well until combined. 

Stir in the additional marshmallows. Scoop the sticky cereal mixture into your prepared  pan or paper cases, using a lightly oiled spoon/spatula or your hands to gently squish the mixture in an even layer.

Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let cool for a few minutes before melting the white chocolate, leave to set in the fridge for 30 minutes before slicing. Store in an airtight container for up 5 days. Enjoy!


 

Viennese mince pies

Posted by me on September 9, 2020 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (94)


I worked for many years as a lecturer at Blackpool and the Fylde college in Lancashire, from the beginning of November, right through to the middle of December the students would bake literally thousands of these delicious mince pies with a buttery, melt in the mouth Viennese topping. The last year I was there, I think we ended up baking over 22 thousand pies....  that's how good they are! 

This recipe makes about 20-25 depending on how thinly you roll your pastry and make lovely gifts, wrapped up in a decorative tin or box 

500g pack ready to roll shortcrust pastry ( or homemade if you have the time)

Filling

850g mincemeat

2 large eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2 dice

Grated zest of 1 large orange or 1/2 teaspoon orange essence

Grated zest of 1 large lemon or 1/2 teaspoon lemon essence

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 heaped tablespoon flaked almonds ( optional)

1 - 2 tablespoons of Rum, brandy or whisky (optional)

 

Viennese topping

300g salted butter , softened

75g icing sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla essence

300g plain flour

1 level teaspoon baking powder

a little milk if required 

 

Preheat the oven to 180c for a regular oven or 160c for a fan assisted

Roll the pastry out and cut 22 circles using a 8cm cutter, line the holes of 2 muffin trays, rerolling the offcuts as many times as you need to.

Mix the mincemeat, diced apple, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests ( or essences) and flaked almonds/alcohol - if using , in a mixing bowl.

Use to fill the pastry cases.

Cream the softened butter, vanilla essence and icing sugar together  for at least 5 minutes, using a handheld or stand mixer, until very soft and fluffy then sieve the flour and baking powder on top. Mix until well combined , adding a little milk if necessary to form a stiff but pipeable dough, then fill a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe a swirl on the top edge of each filled pastry case .

Bake in the preheated oven for 20- 25 minutes until the tops are a lovely golden brown and the pastry bottom is fully cooked. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before gently removing. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Dust with a little extra icing sugar

Super Simple Super duper Sausage rolls

Posted by me on August 31, 2020 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (103)


One of the first things you learnt how to make in school cookery lessons were good, old fashioned, sausage rolls, super easy to make and carried with pride all the way home in a plastic Tupperware box or an empty sweet tin left over from Christmas. Aaahhh sweet memories.... These sausage rolls are even easier to make ( if that's at all possible) but taste and look like you have spent hours in the kitchen. Enjoy the adulation my friends and bask in your well deserved glory x

1 pack ready rolled puff pastry

14 - 16 sausages of your choice , if you use chipolata sized sausages you will need to double the amount

1 egg, beaten in a small bowl with a pinch of salt

Tablespoon of dried oregano or sage

Tablespoon black or white sesame seeds

40g mature cheddar cheese, finely grated

 

Preheat an oven to 200c for a regular oven, 180c for a fan assisted oven.

Unroll the puff pastry (leave it on the paper) and cut it in half lengthwise to make 2 long strips.

Cut each sausage lengthwise down it’s back and remove the skin, lay 2 sausages, side by side down the middle of each pastry strip, squishing them slightly together.

Dampen one long pastry edge with a little water then roll each edge over and push gently to seal.

Roll them over so the seal is on the bottom then cut each long roll into 6 equal pieces. Place on the prepared baking tray and egg wash with the beaten egg.

Sprinkle the top of each roll with a little cheese, a sprinkling of oregano or sage and some of the sesame seeds.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until the rolls are well risen and golden brown. Eat  hot or cold with a nice bit O' chutney and some pickled onions...nomm !

Wham-Bam Lam-ingtons

Posted by me on August 18, 2020 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (90)


Wham -Bam - Laming-tons are the Ozzie version of a traditional English Madeleine cake, the good thing about them is you don’t need any fancy schmancy baking tins, just a square baking tin and so are much easier to make. I love them served for afternoon tea, and sometimes in the summer, I decorate them with fresh edible flowers, violas or even rose petals that have been brushed with a little egg white then dipped in caster sugar and allowed to dry ��

 

200g butter or baking margarine

200g caster sugar

200g eggs, weighed in their shells ( approximately 4 medium)

200g self raising flour

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond essence

3 tablespoons milk

 

Glaze

150g apricot jam

3 tablespoons orange juice or water

100g desiccated coconut

Optional - 1 tablespoon cocoa powder if you want to do chocolate flavoured

 

Butter icing

50g butter

100g icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

 

To decorate

Glacé or maraschino cherries

 

Chocolate flake or other chocolate, cut into small chunks -optional

 

Line the bottom of a 9” square baking or brownie pan and preheat the oven to 180c 160c for a fan assisted oven.

Cream the butter or margarine and sugar in a large mixing bowl until very light, soft and fluffy. Break the eggs into a small jug, whisk, then add them to the butter mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sieve the flour directly on top of the mixture and stir in gently using a figure of 8 cutting movement. Add the vanilla and milk and gently stir again to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top, bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until well risen, golden brown and a skewer comes out cleanly when inserted into the centre of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

You now need to turn the cooled cake over, so the bottom becomes the top of the cake. Use a large sharp knife to carefully trim the 4 sides, to just expose the white cake and to remove as little of the brown crust as possible.


Now do the same for the top of the cake, you only want to remove the brown layer, try not to cut into the white sponge ( try gently scraping the brown crust too, it’s sometimes easier to scrape it off rather than cut it off....)

Now cut the cake into 16 equal squares ( 4 one way then 4 the other)

Place the jam and orange juice/water into a small saucepan and melt over a low heat, sieve or remove any fruity lumps so you have a smooth, fairly thin golden glaze ( now is the time to add the cocoa powder if you want chocolate ones or I did half of mine plain then added the cocoa to the remaining jam mixture and made half chocolate ones)

Tip the coconut into a shallow bowl.

Brush the top and sides of each square with the sieved jam then roll in the desiccated coconut.

Cream together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence until soft ( you can add a teaspoon or two of boiling water if the buttercream is too thick)

Pipe a small swirl of buttercream on top of each cake and decorate with a cherry or piece of chocolate

Raspberry Bakewell sharing bread

Posted by me on August 16, 2020 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (94)


As a young teenager in the late 1970’s I lived in New Addington , a large council estate on the Surrey/Kent border. Every Saturday we would buy our bread from a small, family run bakery at the parade of shops, and if Mum could be persuaded, a cake or two.... my favourite was a ring of soft, fluffy buns - filled with billowing, synthetic cream and topped with white fondant icing and a sweet glacé cherry! I loved them and would happily have eaten the whole thing, reluctant to share with the rest of the family.... I was a greedy bugger lol. This is my grown up version, topped with a raspberry coloured icing and filled with decadent almond infused cream. I have swapped the glacé cherry for toasted and flaked almonds and jewels of freeze dried raspberries, decadence personified and not a pair of 70’s inspired flared trousers in sight....

 

Tangzhong (starter)

Part 1

43g water

43g whole milk

14g white bread Flour

Part 2

57g butter

113g whole milk

1 medium egg

2 x 7g fast acting yeast

 

Dough

298g white Bread Flour

14g dried milk powder

50g sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

 

Egg wash

1 medium egg

Pinch salt

 

Icing

1 heaped tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

100g icing sugar

 

Filing

300ml double cream

1 tablespoon icing sugar

1 teaspoon almond essence

 

To decorate

1 - 2 tablespoons freeze dried raspberries

2 tablespoons flaked almonds, lightly toasted

You will need a 9” shallow round baking pan, lightly oiled

 

To make the tangzhong: Part 1 - Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain, Place the saucepan over a low heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick about 1 - 2 minutes.

Part 2 - add the butter to the saucepan , whisking well, followed by the whole milk and then the egg. Sprinkle over the yeast and give a final whisk ( don’t worry if there are some lumps, they will disappear in the kneading process.

 

To make the dough: Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead —

by hand - this method is not recommended as it’s a very wet dough

Stand mixer - 2 minutes on the lowest speed, scrape the bowl down, then 6 minutes on medium speed

or bread machine — follow manufacturers instructions

until a smooth, elastic dough forms ( don’t worry it is a very wet dough, this is what makes it so soft and utterly delicious)

***Top Baking tip*** Now place a shallow metal bowl of boiling water into the bottom of your oven and preheat on the lowest setting for 5 minutes - now TURN the OVEN OFF!!! (But dont open the door until your dough is ready for proving) - you want to create a lovely warm but not hot steamy environment to help your bread rise quicker and better ❤️

Scrape the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl then place into the preheated oven and shut the door, keeping all the lovely warmth and steam in, leave for 30 minutes with the door closed, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in size

Divide it into 8 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball.


Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9” round shallow cake tin then pop the tin back into the warm steamy oven for a further 30 minutes, until puffy.  

Preheat the oven to 350°F, 180c regular oven, 160c for a fan assisted oven, Brush the rolls with milk or egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water), and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the middle roll should read at least 190°F. Leave to cool.


Icing - mix the jam and icing sugar in a small bowl until smooth.

Filling- Whip the double cream, almond essence and icing sugar together until it holds stiff peaks.

Split the cool bun horizontally and fill with the whipped cream, place the lid back on top then spoon and spread a little icing on each single bun, sprinkle with a few flaked almonds and some freeze dried raspberries.


 

Japanese milk bread

Posted by me on August 16, 2020 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (200)

Japanese milk bread


I cannot begin to tell you how damn good this utterly delicious, soft and fluffy bread is - similar in taste and texture to a brioche loaf, It’s incredibly simple and easy to make but I would definitely recommend only making it if you have a stand mixer with a dough attachment or a bread maker as the dough is extremely wet and quite difficult to knead by hand. It’s started with a simple roux sauce but then quickly becomes a standard bread making recipe, so roll your sleeves up and tantalise your tastebuds, because it's well worth the effort x

 

You will need 2 x 2lb loaf tins, lightly oiled

 

Tangzhong (starter)

Part 1

43g water

43g whole milk

14g white bread Flour

Part 2

57g butter

113g whole milk

1 medium egg

2 x 7g fast acting yeast

 

Dough

298g white Bread Flour

14g dried milk powder

50g sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

 

Egg wash

1 medium egg

Pinch salt

 

To make the tangzhong: Part 1 - Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain, Place the saucepan over a low heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick about 1 - 2 minutes.

Part 2 - add the butter to the saucepan , whisking well, followed by the whole milk and then the egg. Sprinkle over the yeast and give a final whisk ( don’t worry if there are some lumps, they will disappear in the kneading process.

 

To make the dough: Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead —

by hand - this method is not recommended as it’s a very wet dough

Stand mixer - 2 minutes on the lowest speed, scrape the bowl down, then 6 minutes on medium speed

or bread machine — follow manufacturers instructions

until a smooth, elastic dough forms ( don’t worry it is a very wet dough, this is what makes it so soft and utterly delicious)�***Top Baking tip*** Now place a shallow metal bowl of boiling water into the bottom of your oven and preheat on the lowest setting for 5 minutes - now TURN the OVEN OFF!!! (But dont open the door until your dough is ready for proving) - you want to create a lovely warm but not hot steamy environment to help your bread rise quicker and better ❤️�Scrape the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl then place into the preheated oven and shut the door, keeping all the lovely warmth and steam in, leave for 30 minutes with the door closed, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in size



divide it into 8 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a rectangle the width of the tin, then starting with a short end, roll them each into a log. Place the logs in a row of four — seam side down and side by side — in 2 lightly greased 2lb loaf pans, pop the tins back into the steamy warm oven and rest/rise for a further 30 minutes, until puffy.

Brush the loaf with the prepared egg wash and bake at 180c for a regular oven, 160c for a fan assisted 350°F for about 25 minutes, until golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190°F. Remove the loaf from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack.

 

 

Japanese cream cheese Soufflé cake

Posted by me on July 28, 2020 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (95)


I have wanted to bake one of these jiggly-wobbly-utterly delicious cream cheese cheesecakes for absolutely ages, and today is the day I finally put whisk to bowl and satisfied my hungry belly.... let me tell you... it was Soooooo worth it....

60g full afternoon cream cheese

20g butter at room temperature

50ml milk

30g plain flour

10g cornflour

4 medium eggs

80g caster sugar

Start by Lining the base and sides of a deep 6" /15cm cake tin ( make sure the paper collar is at least 5" deep) and preheat the oven to 160c (fan oven) or 180c for a regular oven. , gas mark 4

Place The cream cheese into a medium sized heatproof bowl over a pan of nearly boiling water and smooth with a wire whisk into a lump free paste, add the butter and mix till smooth and the butter has melted.

Add the milk and whisk again

Sift in the plain flour and cornflour and mix gently with the wire whisk making sure the mixture is smooth and lump free

 Break the eggs, separating the whites from the yolks ( make sure there is absolutely no yolk in the whites then stir  the yolks into the cream cheese mixture.

Using a hand held electric Whisk , whisk the egg whites in a large spotlessly clean bowl until fluffy and just starting to hold their shape

Whisk in the caster sugar, in 3 lots until the mixture is at the soft peak stage (don’t take it past the soft peak stage, you are not making a meringue)

Mix 1/3rd of the egg whites mix into the cream cheese batter, using the wire whisk to gently stir. Gently tip the mixture into the egg whites and stir again with the wire whisk to incorporate everything.

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin then place the tin into a roasting dish and pour boiling water half way up the sides of the soufflé ( this is a Bain Marie and will stop the outside of the tin from over browning and the eggs from curdling....)

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes then open the oven door for 10 seconds, reduce the heat to 110c for a fan oven) 130 for a regular oven (gas 1/2-1) and continue baking for a further 60 minutes.

Don’t worry , it’s normal for the finished cake to gently deflate a little when it comes out of the oven, leave it for 2 minutes then carefully remove from the tin and leave to cool completely. Dredge with icing sugar and serve cut into slices.

Moroccan chickpea and lentil stew, honeyed haloumi and fragrant cous cous - serves 4

Posted by me on June 14, 2020 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (98)


The flavours of Moroccan cooking are as warm and fragrant as the country itself. Cinnamon, garlic, juicy apricots, lemon and fresh herbs bring a touch of the exotic to a simple, economical but oh-so-tasty plant based dish.

 

1 long red pepper, thinly sliced ( save 1/4 for the couscous)

1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons oil

10 dried apricots, cut into 1/4s

400g can chopped tomatoes

150g dried red lentils

2 heaped tablespoons Tomato purée

400g can butter beans

400g can chickpeas

1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1-3 small Fresh chillies - depending on how hot you like it

1 heaped teaspoon ground Cumin

1 heaped teaspoon ground Coriander

Finely grated Zest of 1 large lemon

2 x Vegetable stock cubes

 

Honeyed Halloumi

1 block haloumi, soaked in cold water for at least 30 minutes to remove excess salt

2 tablespoons runny hunny

Little oil to fry

 

Fragrant Couscous

200g Couscous, cooked as per manufacturers instructions

1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced

5 dried apricots, finely chopped

Small handful raisins

2 heaped Teaspoons mint sauce

2 tablespoons something crunchy - flaked almonds/sunflower or pumpkin seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

 

1 small handful fresh coriander, finely chopped to garnish

 

 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion, pepper ( save 1/4 for the couscous) garlic and fresh chillies for 10 minutes until they just start to caramelise and soften... be aware it may clear your sinuses!!!!

Sprinkle over the cinnamon, cumin and coriander and cook for a further 30 seconds to one minute , stirring constantly to stop it burning. Now add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, the liquid from the chickpeas and butter beans ( you will add them in towards the end of cooking) crumbled stock cube and a can of water ( use the chopped tomato can). Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the lentils and veggies are tender ( keep an eye on it, stirring frequently adding a little extra water if it’s getting too thick or starting to burn. Add the tomato purée, lemon zest, drained butter beans and chickpeas and bring back to the boil. Check the seasoning.

Make the couscous as per the manufacturers instructions then add the remainder of the red pepper that’s been finely diced, finely diced onion, chopped apricots, mint sauce, salt and pepper to taste, raisins and your chosen nuts or seeds.

Slice the halloumi into thin slices Then fry in a little oil until golden brown on both sides.

Serve the fragrant couscous with some of the chickpea and lentil stew, topped with a slice or two of the halloumi, a drizzle of honey and a little chopped coriander

 

Luscious lemon meringue pie

Posted by me on June 14, 2020 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (95)


When I was young, we used to make the filling for lemon meringue from a little box , I think it was made by a company called Greens but I couldn't swear on it. You added the water to a sachet in a small saucepan and cooked over a low heat until a little gelatine capsule burst , filling the kitchen with mouth watering aromas of zesty lemon. This yummy pud was a real weekend treat and remains one of my all time favourites, although now I wouldn't dream of using  packet mix when freshly made is far superior.... 

What you need

225g plain flour

175g butter

45g  icing sugar

pinch salt

1 egg, beaten

For the lemon filling

6 lemons, zest and juice

65g  cornflour

250g caster sugar

6  egg yolks

30g butter

For the meringue topping

4  egg whites

225g caster sugar

2 tsp cornflour

Pre-heat the oven to  160c for a fan assist oven 180C/350F/Gas 4.

First make the pastry. Put the flour , salt and butter into a large bowl  and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg and one tablespoon of water and using a fork, mix until combined to a ball.

Tip the pastry onto a work surface and roll out to a 3mm thickness. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry up and transfer it to line a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed flan tin. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the side then cover in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Take the pastry-lined tin out of the fridge and line with parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for about 15 minutes , trim the excess pastry off then remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 140c  for a fan assisted 170C/340F/Gas 3½.

For the filling, mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste. Measure 450ml/16fl oz of water into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat. Add the butter

In a bowl mix together the sugar and egg yolks and carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Set aside for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case.

For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl over a pan of hot water until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again.

Spoon or pipe on top of the filled pastry case and spread the meringue to completely cover the lemon filling. 

Bake in the oven for approximately  20 minutes until the meringue is lightly golden and crisp. 

Serve hot or cold 

The best ever scones

Posted by me on June 14, 2020 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (98)


I had to get up at 7am this morning to bake a batch of scones for the afternoon tea orders I sell through my little cake company. These are guaranteed to be the best ever... soft and fluffy and the grated apple gives them a very subtle flavour whilst keeping them incredibly moist , they are without doubt...

The best scones everrrrrrrr!!!!!

440g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting

30g baking powder

80g caster sugar

80g butter, diced

pinch of salt

1 medium Granny Smith/pink lady or Jazz apple, peeled, cored and finely grated at the time you need it or it will turn brown

200ml natural Greek yogurt

25ml-75ml milk

2 tablespoons milk with a teaspoon of icing or caster sugar added

 

Makes roughly 20

Mix the yogurt and 25ml milk together in a small jug.

Sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Rub in the butter using your fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Add the grated apple, mix in well with a fork, then add the yogurt milk mix. Stir everything together with the fork, bringing it together with your hand to form a soft but not sticky dough ( add some more milk now if you need to)

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat out to a thickness of approx 2cm-2.5cm (no need for a rolling pin) and cut out into rounds with a 5cm cutter.

Transfer the scones to a baking paper lined baking sheet leaving enough space around them for them to grow baby, grow! and leave to rest and relax in a warm place for about 30 minutes until they look a little puffed up.

Preheat your oven to 180°C fan, 200c for a regular oven

Brush the top of each scone with the milk and sugar mixture and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

*** I sometimes grate lemon or orange zest into these too for even more of a flavour kick and for a really luxurious scone, soak some dried fruit in some strongly brewed earl grey tea until they are plump and totally gorgeous, drain and add with the grated apple x

Sausage meatballs in a creamy tomato and red pepper sauce with fresh tagliatelle

Posted by me on June 11, 2020 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (100)


We spent a very lovely two weeks, travelling around Italy, enjoying sun, sea and an abundance of fresh pasta dishes. This simple recipe is based on one of my favourite meals we ate in a small restaurant in Napoli. It had tiny little meatballs in a rich and creamy tomato based sauce but for speed and convenience I have used sausages (vegetarian ones in this case) but literally any flavour will do nicely, whatever bangers tickle your fancy 

500g pack fresh tagliatelle

1 x pack of 8 sausages - skins removed, cut in half and formed into balls

1 teaspoon oil

1 large red pepper, sliced thinly

400g can chopped tomatoes

1 heaped teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon garlic purée or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 beef stock cube

200ml single cream

Salt and black pepper

Small bunch of fresh basil, torn

 

Over a medium heat, Fry the sausage balls and red peppers in 1 teaspoon oil for 5 minutes, until the meatballs have a little colour all over . Add the can of chopped tomatoes, 1/2 a can of water, the garlic, oregano, sugar and crumbled stock cube and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Add the cream and check the seasoning .

Meanwhile bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the manufacturers instructions. Drain

Toss the tagliatelle and meatball sauce together and serve with a good sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese


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