Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Sticky Ginger & Lemon Drizzle Cake


I featured this BBC Good Food recipe on my last post, Six Things To Do With...Stem Ginger. It really stood out to me and I got a couple of comments about how good it looked. I just couldn't wait to make it, so only a few days later, I did! I also moved house just over a week ago so it was my first time baking in my new kitchen!


I started by lining and greasing a deep lose bottomed 22cm cake tin. I got this one from Wilkinsons a while ago, they have some really good value baking products there.


In my food mixer I whizzed together 300g self raising flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 4 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp cinnamon and 140g Stork until it resembled breadcrumbs. I have started using Stork a lot lately as I find it mixes well and is easier to work with.


In a saucepan I gently heated 140g black treacle, 140g golden syrup, 140g dark soft brown sugar and 300ml whole milk.


The recipe said to use dark muscovado sugar, but I used this Whitworths dark soft brown sugar and it worked really well!


I poured the heated treacle mixture into the flour mixture and combined with a wooden spoon. I also added 1 egg and mixed well before pouring into the cake tin.


I baked for 1 hour and 10 minutes on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3. It cooked beautifully thanks to the wonderful oven I am now able to use!


While the cake cooled in the tin, I made the fillings. First I chopped up 2 balls of stem ginger and mixed with half a jar of lemon curd.


This is the lemon curd I used. The recipe said to use a 'good' jar of lemon curd, I got this in the Co-op and seen as it is called 'Luxury Lemon Curd' I thought it fit the bill. Anything that says luxury on it, I consider to be fancy!


I cut the cake in half using a large bread knife and spread the lemon curd mixture on the bottom half.


I put the top half on a plate and covered it with a mixture of 100g caster sugar, and the zest and juice of one lemon.


I whipped up 200ml double cream, 100g cream cheese, 4 tbsp stem ginger syrup and 3 tbsp sieved icing sugar. I dolloped this on top of the lemon curd, then sandwiched the two cake halves together.


And the cake was done! It looked and smelt glorious!


It had a beautiful shine to it too.


I was ready to get stuck in straight away! I had a slice with a dollop of the leftover cream mixture. It was so rich and moist, the ginger and lemon flavours are such a punchy mixture, they make your taste buds tingle in all the right ways! I highly recommend this cake, it is truly amazing!


I'm entering this post into Feel Good Food August 2013, ran by Victoria at A Kick At The Pantry Door, this month's theme is ginger.

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Versatile Blogger Award


I was so happy when Michelle at The Purple Pumpkin Blog told me she had nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award! My first blogging award! I am really chuffed to have been chosen. Thank you Michelle!

Now it is my turn to pass this award onto 15 other bloggers. There are some other rules I have to follow as well:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award
2. Include a link to their blog
3. Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you've discovered recently or follow regularly
4. Nominate those 15 blogs/bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award (include a link back to your post!)
5. Finally, tell the people you nominated (and your blog readers) 7 things about yourself

Nominees

I had a little look at The Versatile Blogger website as I was a little concerned about nominating people who had already received the award, but there is no clear record and it seems to be perfectly ok to repeat nominate, so off I went! It was fairly easy chosing my nominees, as I do have some favourite blogs that I read a lot and I always enjoy their posts. I also picked bloggers that post good content regularly.

1. Fold In The Flour
2. Slice of Barnes
3. Kerry Cooks
4. Iowa Girl Eats
5. Good Gobble!
6. Laura Loves Cakes
7. MBakes
8. Riverside Baking
9. Cakeyboi
10. A Kick At The Pantry Door
11. Food, Glorious Food
12. The Brunette Baker
13. The More Than Occasional Baker
14. What Kate Baked...
15. Caroline's Cupcakes

7 Things About Me

1. In 2010 I spent 6 months travelling around Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. I lived in Sydney for 3 months and worked at a restaurant, spent weeks travelling the East Coast, Uluru and Melbourne. I spent a month in New Zealand, and finally visited Fiji for a week. Such an amazing experience that I will never forget!



2. I learnt Mandarin Chinese for a few years in high school and university, but unfortunately languages aren't my forte and I had to give up the course as I couldn't keep up with the pace. I still remember a few phrases and have been lucky enough to go to China twice.

3. I volunteer every two years for the Manchester International Festival and have done since 2007. I'm really proud of my city and I love volunteering at the festival. Every year is different, and the festival involves music, art exhibitions, installations and theatre showcasing talents both local and international. Check it out this year's events at www.mif.co.uk.


4. I'm in the Social Committee at work. It's hard work, but also really fun! We organise events every year for the staff such as quizzes, charity days, volunteering, BBQs, and of course the Christmas party. I always make sure we have a few bake sales every year too!

5. This blog isn't my first website. In high school I taught myself html and set up several websites based around my favourite TV shows and celebrities at the time. It was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot, plus I met so many nice people. Including one friend in America who I still email regularly and we finally met for the first time in 2009 (picture below). It's one of the reasons I decided to do a blog, because I knew that there are some great people out there interested in the same things as me!


6. I love films, bit of a film geek and I watch movies all the time and go to the cinema when I can. (The degree I graduated from university with was Film & Media.)

7. My aspirations for the future are to keep on promoting and improving my blog, to write more recipes, and to keep on exploring the world of baking. As much as I enjoy making cakes, I don't want to sell cakes for a living. I recently was commissioned to make my first cake, and I did enjoy doing it, and will do it again if asked! But what I enjoy the most is trying new products and new recipes out. So reviewing products, restaurants and shows/exhibitions is definitely something I want to focus on in the future, although baking will always be my addiction!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Six Things To Do With... Stem Ginger

I bought a jar of stem ginger recently when I was playing around with Rhubarb & Custard Cupcakes. It didn't make it into my final recipe, but now I have an almost full jar of it sat in the fridge, and it wasn't cheap! I'm sure other bakers have had this problem as recipes with stem ginger only usually use a couple of the 'bulbs'. So I've collected some delicious idea and inspirations to use up any stem ginger you may have leftover too...


The famous one:
Ryan Chong's Key Lime Pie
I couldn't possibly do a post about stem ginger without mentioning Ryan's magnificent pie, described by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood as one of the best things they'd tasted throughout all three series of The Great British Bake Off!

The traditional one:
Sticky Stem Ginger Pudding
Who can resist a warm, sweet and sticky ginger pudding? Perfect with custard or ice cream.

The simple one:
Rhubarb & Sticky Stem Ginger Crumble
Crumble is super simple to make and trust me, rhubarb and stem ginger taste damn good together! Great for feeding a family, or hungry friends.

The difficult one:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Pink Grapefruit & Stem Ginger
With four elements to this recipe, it's definitely on the difficult end of the spectrum. However, it sounds so tasty it made my mouth water when reading the recipe! So it's got to be worth a little bit of effort.

The chocolate one:
Chocolate & Ginger Tarts
I think these cute little tarts look delicious and simple to make, plus chocolate and ginger is a great combination!

The my favourite one:
Sticky Ginger Lemon Drizzle Cake
This is on my 'to bake' list! It sounds so good and I love everything about it!
*UPDATE* I made this - Click here to see!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pink Heart Flapjacks


I've finally found some time to do some Valentine's baking this month! This is a gift for my boyfriend as his absolute favourite thing are flapjacks. I hope he doesn't read this post before getting them...look away now if you are!! I've made flapjacks before, so I decided to make these special and Valentine's appropriate by making them pink and heart shaped! These flapjacks are a super simple to make and a sweet and tasty romantic gift for your beloved.


I melted 2 tbsp golden syrup, 225g butter and 225g soft brown sugar on a low heat until smooth.


I then mixed in 350g porridge oats and some dried fruit. I didn't measure the dried fruit, just put in how much I thought looked enough. You could add chocolate chips, but remember they are getting covered in chocolate too!



I didn't know the best way to get the flapjacks heart shaped so I did this method first. I use heart shaped cookie cutters and pressed the flapjack mixture into them on a lined baking tray. I baked for 30 minutes on 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.


I also made a small batch of flapjacks in a seperate dish and baked on the same temparature for the same time, I used the cookie cutter to cut the hearts in it when it was still warm.


Turns out both these methods worked! The ones made in the cookie cutters were more shaped and crispy round the edges, whereas the ones in the dish were a lot more moist. So it depends what you prefer.


I melted some white chocolate and mixed in some red food colouring, I put in quite a lot, but it stayed pink rather than the red I was aiming for, so I went with it.


I dipped the flapjacks in the chocolate and left them to set.



I thought they looked really yummy and cute!


I packed them up and sent them to my Valentine, they look a bit girly I admit, but this is Valentine's Day after all!


I am entering these into February's Calendar Cakes Challenge - My Achy Cakey Heart, hosted by Dollybakes and Laura Loves Cakes.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Pancakes & Family History


I had an early Pancake Day feast (that spilled over into the next day too!) with my boyfriend at the weekend and I decided to use my mum's Be-Ro book to make this year's pancakes. My mum used this book every year to make pancakes for me and my siblings on Shrove Tuesday. I love pancakes, and they are my sister's number one favourite food. So this book and my mum must have been doing something right!


Be-Ro (originally called Bells-Royal) is one of the first popular brands of self-raising flour in the North of England. Plain flour was most commonly used, until the 1920s when Be-Ro used these recipe books to market the product and show how useful self-raising flour was. The recipe books helped the brand to become famous and are still being produced now, with the 41st edition published August 2011. The edition I used is their 19th edition and was published in 1956. The entire book is in black and white, including all the photos. Nothing like the recipe books today!


The book is full of some brilliantly old school tips and phrases, such as "The woman who can cook well and bake well has every reason and every right to be proud of her cooking" - something which is definitely still true today! And for men too! It felt great using such a well worn book to make these pancakes, and I became a part of my family's baking history as I know my grandmother used this book too.


This is such a simple recipe and I cannot imagine anyone not being able to follow it and make a delicious pancake. I doubled the recipe in the book and got 9 pancakes from the mixture. I weighed out 10oz. (about 283g) and made a well in the middle. I put two eggs in the well then started whisking slowly pouring in a pint of milk (570ml approx) as I whisked.


It easily formed a batter very quickly. I heated up a frying pan and before cooking each pancake put a knob of butter in the pan. I measured the batter out using a ladle and cooked for a few minutes on either side. Here are some of the toppings we enjoyed...


Savoury - some people turn there noses up at the idea of savoury pancakes, but they are delicious! Pancake batter is very neutral so your topping really makes it what it is. This was passata, onion and cheese. Very tasty! I've also put ham, mushrooms and spinach on savoury pancakes before. I put the pan under the grill to melt the cheese.


Ice cream and toffee sauce, need I say more?


Chocolate spread - put this on with a spoon while the pancake is still cooking on the second side, it'll melt perfectly all over. Then plate up and add banana slices and ice cream, my favourite!


Finally, the classic lemon and sugar, I always finish a pancake feast with one of these to cleanse my palette as sometimes I over load on the chocolate spread! Such a great pancake feast, I totalled 7 pancakes in one weekend, and I still want more... What is your favourite pancake topping?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The February Lust List

Ah February, the month of love and romance. Champagne, flowers and heart shaped everything's line the shelves. Even when I was single I quite enjoyed celebrating Valentine's Day. Sending a card to a girlfriend, or spending time with a fellow single friend and having a nice meal together. After all, it's a celebration of love, and we all have that in our lives in some way or another, and I think the key to finding love is to feel postive about it! This year I will spending the day itself with a friend and then seeing my boyfriend at the weekend. I am hoping to bake him some romantic treats! Here are some goodies to put some romance into your baking....


Red Heart Cupcake Wrappers
Just Bake £5.95
These wrappers are just gorgeous. So intricate and detailed. They will make your Valentine's cupcakes look extra pretty!



Queen Of Hearts Cake Pan
Cakes, Cookies & Crafts £16.99
Surely the ultimate heart shaped cake pan? I only used my first bundt pan a couple of weeks ago, but I was really pleased with the effect and would like to get a more intricate pan next.




Assorted Heart Cutters - Set of 3
The Craft Company £3.84
A different heart shape for your every romantic whim, and at a bargain price too! Biscuits are a simple and tasty way to treat your loved one, or to make for friends and family. You can personalise them too with messages in icing.



Edible Hot Pink Rose Petals
Planet Bake £5.95
What says romance more than a sprinkling of rose petals? And you can eat these ones too! They would make a fantastic surprise edible garnish for cakes, beds or a glass of champagne. Also available in five other colours.