Saturday, 31 January 2015

Treat Petite February


Welcome to Treat Petite February!

Thank you to everyone who took part in last month's theme of 'Healthy Treats'! It definitely cheered up our January to see the tasty yet healthier treats you came up with!

This month's theme is... 'Love Is In The Air'. That means anything made for the one you love, for Valentine's Day, or anything involving hearts, red, pink and typical 'love' themes. Or if you're single and you want to make something you love to eat!


Here are those all important rules:

1. Add your petite treat to the Linky Tool at the bottom of the current month's post by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest

2. Post your bake onto your blog and link back to Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer, stating who is hosting this month

3. Follow Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer blogs on Google+ (see sidebar links), if you haven't already.

4. If you tweet use #treatpetite and mention @MrCakeyboi and @BakingExplorer - we will retweet

5. Add the challenge logo to the post and 'Treat Petite' as a label to the post

6. Use any recipe as long as the source is noted

7. If you like, add your photo to the 'Treat Petite' Pinterest board (request access from Cakeyboi)

Feel free to enter old posts as long as you update the post and meet all the requirements above!



Thursday, 22 January 2015

Spinach & Feta Tart



For Christmas I was very excited to receive a rectangular shaped 'Tarte Maison' tart tin. It's something I've wanted for a while as I love the appearance of tarts in this shape as opposed to circular ones. They look more elegant I think. Mine is from John Lewis. For the tins first outing I decided on a savoury filling and I was inspired by Greek food, such as Spanakopita, which is filled with a spinach and feta mixture. The filling varies with leeks sometimes added and different cheeses, so this is my twist on it.


I made enough filling for two tarts, which is why it looks a lot more in the photos, but I'll just give you the amounts to fill one tart. I started by cooking 1 clove of garlic, half a medium sized onion and 6 spring onions in a pan on a medium heat in 1/2 tbsp oil. Once soft, I set them aside in a bowl.


I added a drizzle more oil to the same pan and wilted 350g fresh spinach, once it began to wilt I added a small knob of butter and a sprinkling of nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp). When it was all wilted I put it in a sieve over a bowl to drain out the excess water. I pressed it down with a spoon to get plenty of water out.


I mixed the spinach with the onions in a bowl.


I chopped up 15g of fresh flat leaf parsley and 15g fresh dill. Fresh herbs are a must for this recipe, the flavour can't be matched by dried herbs!


I added the herb to the spinach mixture and stirred in well.


In a separate bowl I weighed out 50g natural breadcrumbs, 25g parmesan, 140g crumbled feta, and 60g crumbled goats cheese.


I added the cheese mixture to the spinach and stirred in well. Finally I added 1 egg and mixed it in, as well as some salt to taste. I added approx 1/4 tsp, you can add more or less as desired.


To make the pastry I used the same method and amounts from my Pumpkin Pie recipe. I rolled out 2/3 of the pastry onto some cling film (this makes it easy to pick up!)


I greased my tin and lined it with the pastry, cutting off any excess and pricking the bottom with a fork. I then put baking paper in the pastry and poured in some baking beans. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until the pastry started to brown around the edges.


I took the paper and baking beans out and baked it again for 5-10 minutes until the bottom looked fully cooked.


I filled the pastry case with the filling and packed it in quite well, filling the tin right to the top.


I rolled out the final third of the pastry and cut out strips, using 1 beaten egg as 'glue' I brushed the edges of the tart, stuck the strips in a lattice pattern and trimmed the edges. I also brushed the egg white on the bottom layer of pastry where it crossed over. When I was done I brushed the tart all over with the beaten egg.


I baked the tart on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until it was golden brown.


I recommend serving with mash and vegetables! However if you're serving the tart cold it would be really good with salad. Both myself and my boyfriend ate this up quick, it was really tasty. The freshness of the herbs really comes through in the filling and the pastry was perfectly crisp. A delicious week night dinner!


I am entering this into Lavender & Lovage's monthly challenge Cooking With Herbs as this recipe contains some great fresh herbs. This month's challenge is Store Cupboard favourite, I used nutmeg, flour and salt in this recipe from my store cupboard.



print recipe

Spinach & Feta Tart
Ingredients
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • 1/2 an Onion
  • 1/2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 6 Spring onion
  • 350g Fresh spinach
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 15g Fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 15g Fresh dill
  • 50g Natural breadcrumbs
  • 25g Parmesan
  • 140g Feta
  • 60g Goats cheese
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 350g Plain flour
  • 170g + 1 tsp Butter
Instructions
Cook the garlic, onion and spring onions in a pan on a medium heat in the olive oil. Once soft, set aside in a bowlIn the same pan, cook the fresh spinach. Once it begans to wilt add the 1 tsp of butter and the nutmeg. When fully wilted put it in a sieve over a bowl to drain out the excess water. Press down on it with a spoon to get plenty of water outMix the spinach with the onions in a bowlChop up the fresh flat leaf parsley and fresh dill. Add the herbs to the spinach mixture and stir in wellIn a separate bowl mix the natural breadcrumbs, parmesan, crumbled feta, and crumbled goats cheeseAdd the cheese mixture to the spinach and stir in well. Add 1 of the eggs and mix in, then the saltTo make the pastry rub together the plain flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 2 of the eggs until a dough forms. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutesRoll out 2/3 of the pastry onto some cling film. Grease the tin and line it with the pastry, cutting off any excess and pricking the bottom with a fork. Put baking paper in the pastry and pour in some baking beans. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until the pastry starts to brown around the edgesTake the paper and baking beans out and bake it again for 5-10 minutes until the bottom looks fully cookedFill the pastry case with the filling and pack it in quite well, filling right to the topRoll out the final third of the pastry and cut out strips, using 1 of the eggs beaten as 'glue', brush the edges of the tart, stick the strips in a lattice pattern and trim the edges. Also brush the beaten egg on the bottom layer of pastry where it crosses over. When finished, brush the tart all over with the beaten eggBake the tart on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Granola Bars



It's really hard to find snacks that are both healthy and tasty. I struggle with it a lot! Especially this time of year when a lot of people are trying to be healthy, but it's still so dark and horrible outside you need comfort food. Fruit is of course always an ideal option for snacking, but sometimes you need something more filling and preferably containing chocolate! These granola bars obviously aren't as good as fruit and vegetables, but they are much better than a chocolate bar. Plus, they are so easy and quick to make, no oven required!


I started by melting 250g peanut butter (I used a smooth organic kind), 150g agave nectar (you could substitute this for honey), and 90g light brown sugar on a low heat. Once it all came together I took the pan off the heat.


In a bowl I measured out 150g oats and 120g of a seed mix I got from Tesco that contained pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseeds. I added the peanut butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mixed it until everything was fully coated. I then added 100g chopped milk chocolate and stirred in. The heat from the mixture will melt it so you don't need to pre-melt.


I gently spread the mixture in a lined baking tray (9"x12"), making sure it was packed in tight and had a smooth and flat top. I popped it in the fridge for about an hour.


Once it was set I removed it from the tray and cut it into bars. It had set nice and firm.


The bars are best wrapped in parchment paper or foil and stored in the fridge to keep them firm, but they will be fine for a few hours out of the fridge, so perfect for lunchboxes. They taste really good, very moreish! I have been really enjoying them and they give me that chocolate hit I often crave.


I am entering these into myself and Cakeyboi's monthly challenge, Treat Petite. Cakeyboi is hosting this month and the theme is 'Healthy Treats'.


I am also entering these into Tea Time Treats, hosted by The Hedge Combers and Lavender & Lovage on alternate months. This month's theme is Packed Lunches, which these would be perfect for!



print recipe

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Ingredients
  • 250g Peanut butter
  • 150g Agave nectar or Honey
  • 90g Light brown sugar
  • 150g Oats
  • 120g Seed mix
  • 100g Milk chocolate, chopped
Instructions
Melt the peanut butter, agave nectar and light brown sugar in a pan on a low heatIn a bowl measure out the oats and seed mix. Add the peanut butter mixture and mix it until everything is fully coated. Then add the milk chocolate and stir inGently spread the mixture in a lined baking tray (9"x12"), make sure it is packed in tight and has a smooth and flat top. Put it in the fridge for about an hourOnce set, remove from the tray and cut it into bars

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Things To Do With... Zested Lemons, Limes & Oranges


I often find myself with naked lemons, limes and oranges after zesting them for a recipe and I never know what to do with them. I always seems like recipes call for zest only, or more zest than juice, so I imagine this is a common problem for bakers! In order to resolve this problem and avoid food waste guilt I've had a scout around and collected together some recipes that use only the juice of citrus fruits. It took me a while to find recipes that don't need zest at all, but I've found a good selection. Let me know if you make any and how they turn out!

Index

There is approx 30ml juice in a Lemon
There is approx 30ml juice in a Lime
There is approx 80ml juice in an Orange

Lemons


Lemon Meringue Pie - Uses 250ml Lemon Juice
This gorgeous pie has a melt in the mouth tangy lemon filling, a fluffy meringue topping and crisp pastry.

Other idea from around the web:

Lemon Curd - Uses 125ml Lemon Juice
Probably the most obvious use for citrus juice, you could also make Lime or Orange curd from this recipe too.

Freezable Lemon Bars - Uses the Juice of 2 Lemons
Biscuit crust, lemon filling and topped with whipped cream. These look so good! Almost like an easier version of lemon meringue pie that's bitesize too.

Lemon Vinaigrette - Uses 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
A good salad dressing can turn a boring pile of lettuce into a tasty and exciting meal. Lemon juice will add a fantastic zing to your usual lunch fare.

Lemon Sugar Cookies - Uses the Juice of 1 Lemon
A very simple recipe to follow with a delicious result!

Lemon Cream Pie - Uses 210ml Lemon Juice
A perfect summer dessert, you can replace the graham crackers with digestive biscuits for the pie crust.

Limes

Key Lime Cheesecake - Uses 175ml Lime Juice (about 3 Limes)
This is an American recipe so it is in cups. You can use digestive biscuits for the base instead of graham crackers as they are very similar.

Pina Colada Fruit Jellies - Uses 3 tsp Lime Juice
These look so yummy, and would be great for a gift or party treat.

Banana Mango Muffins with Lime Glaze - Uses 1/2 a Lime Juice plus 1 tsp
These sounds really tropical, tasty and full of nutritious fruit!

Chocolate Covered Lime Cheesecake Bites - Uses 60ml Lime Juice
Cheesecake covered in chocolate - such an awesome idea!

Coconut Lime Cheesecake Bars - Uses 4 tbsp Lime Juice
Coconut and lime go so well together in these tasty looking bars.

Oranges

Cinnamon Orange Juice Cake - Uses 250ml Orange Juice
This looks so delicious, cinnamon and orange make a great flavour pairing and this recipe is very easy to follow.

Blueberry Orange Juice Bread - Uses 175ml Orange Juice
I love the sound of blueberries and orange together, this bread looks so fresh and fruity.

Apple Crepes with Orange Sauce - Uses 175ml Orange Juice (plus 2 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice!)
Pancakes are the ultimate breakfast treat, I would be very happy with these for my weekend breakfast and I'd know I was getting some fruit goodness at the same time.

Peach Romanoff - Uses 6 tbsp Orange Juice
A really simple no-bake (you only need to use the stove top) recipe that sounds superb.

Sicilian Orange Almond Cake - Uses 75ml Orange Juice
A very warming tasty cake, I think adding some spices would be a great addition to this recipe. You can replace the curds in this recipe with natural yoghurt.

Other ideas for leftover citrus fruits...

- Squeeze some lemon over chicken before roasting
- Or squeeze lime over fish and prawns
- Pop a wedge or slice into your drink, or get cocktail making!
- Mix any citrus juice with icing sugar and drizzle over a cake
- You can freeze the juice in ice cube trays

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Lime & Ginger Angel Food Cake



Happy New Year everyone! I have had a wonderful Christmas break and I hope you have too. This is my first bit of baking for a couple of weeks now. That may not sound long, but for me it is! I know this time of year is when everyone starts to focus on healthy eating, and Angel Food Cake is a great option as it contains no butter so is low in fat. I also left the cake 'naked'! So no buttery icing to worry about. Although I always try to eat well and have plenty of fruit and vegetables, I do think that indulgences are important. As long as it's one slice of cake once a week, and not an entire cake every day, there's no harm in my opinion!


The base of this recipe is an Ina Garten one that I use for all my Angel Food Cakes (I've made a Lemon one and Chocolate one before). I started by sifting together 170g plain flour and 2 tsp ground ginger (add 3-4 tsp for a stronger flavour), I sifted it 4 times to get plenty of air in it. I then added 100g caster sugar to the bowl and stirred in.


In my food mixer I whisked up 10 egg whites, along with 3/4 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar. Once soft peaks formed, I slowly added 300g caster sugar whilst continuing to mix. If you need some ideas to use up your egg yolks, check out some recipe ideas I've collected.


Once the mixture was glossy I added the zest of 3 limes and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and whisked in.


I gently folded the flour and sugar mixture into the egg whites. Ina's tip for folding works for me every time. Cut the mixture down the middle with a spatula and pull it round the edge of the bowl, keep doing this and turn the bowl as you fold. You need to be very gentle so you don't lose any air.


I poured the mixture into my pan and put it in the oven on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 - 40 minutes. If you are using an Angel Food Cake tin (as pictured above), you do not need to grease the pan. If you are using a non-stick bundt tin, you must grease and flour it.


When the cake came out of the oven, I tipped it upside down to cool. Although the tin has little 'legs' to assist with this, I always put it on a cooling rack as well.


When it was fully cool I ran a palette knife around the edge and middle of the tin and the cake came out easily enough.


I decided to keep the cake 'naked' and dusted it lightly with icing sugar and garnished with some lime zest and chopped crystallised ginger. Angel Food Cake is so light and spongey, I love the texture of it and really enjoy eating it. I was pleased that the lime flavour came through so well, although the ginger wasn't very strong. I think I'll add another teaspoon next time.


It's perfect paired with creme fraiche and some fresh berries!


I'm entering this into The More Than Occassional Baker's monthly challenge, Alpha Bakes (hosted on alternate months by Caroline Makes). This month the letter is 'L'.



print recipe

Lime & Ginger Angel Food Cake
Ingredients
  • 170g Plain flour
  • 3 tsp Ground ginger
  • 400g Caster sugar
  • 10 Egg whites
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cream of tartar
  • 3 Limes
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Crystallised ginger, chopped
Instructions
Sift together the plain flour and ground ginger, sift it 4 times to get plenty of air in it. Then add 100g of the caster sugar and stir inIn a food mixer whisk up the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar. Once soft peaks form, slowly add 300g of the caster sugar whilst continuing to mixOnce the mixture is glossy add the zest of the limes and the vanilla extract and whisk inGently fold the flour and sugar mixture into the egg whitesPour the mixture into an Angel Food Cake tin and put it in the oven on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 - 40 minutesWhen the cake comes out of the oven, tip the tin upside down to coolWhen it is fully cool run a palette knife around the edge and middle of the tin to help the cake come outDust it lightly with icing sugar and garnished with some lime zest and chopped crystallised ginger