Recipe: Blueberry Pancakes

I didn’t even know I liked blueberries until recently. Not for any particular reason other than they are SO expensive. Who has £2 to spend on a teeny tub?! Not me! But when I spied those lovely yellow stickers reducing them to 30p, I threw a few packets in my basket. Turns out that I really like them, and they freeze really well. A winner in my book, and I’ll definitely be hoping for more in the reduced aisle!

 photo 7992cd8f-e260-47ce-832f-6cc9d82301b7_zpsfyidyfnj.jpgPlus it’s PANCAKE DAY next week! I wouldn’t be a good blogger if I didn’t provide you with a good recipe (though see my indulgent nutella version, or my boyfriend’s traditional crepes). This one is the perfect mix between healthy and naughty. It’s not quite as good for you as these…I’m still experimenting with banana pancakes. But they are significantly better for you than my nutella ones! And they don’t require any topping, though I added some sneaky honey.

The best part of all? This amount makes two servings, but they reheat with a blast in the microwave really, really well. This makes Monday Morning pancakes a reality…

Ingredients

  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche (I used fat-free)
  • A splash of milk
  • 3 tablespoons of flour (possibly slightly more or less)
  • 1 flat teaspoon baking powder
  • A small amount of butter, for frying (or use an oil spray, I keep meaning to pick one up!)

I like my blueberries a bit squished, so I microwaved them just to warm through, then mashed a few with my fork. That’s entirely optional!

 photo cec4a6b4-cc53-4e03-82d5-b1f4cbbf7c89_zpssq1yajkw.jpgPut the egg in a bowl or jug, add the creme fraiche and milk, and whisk to combine.

 photo 4ca011c5-62a0-4a9c-956f-d2750977d41d_zps7lcjres1.jpgAdd the flour gradually, stopping when you have a thick batter.

 photo a2621806-b7b3-4816-ab92-d55bc13f2cd1_zps49puqinm.jpgAdd the baking powder and give it a final whisk to combine before stirring the blueberries through.

Fry in a little melted butter until the top is bubbling, then flip and continue to cook the other side. Both sides should be golden and slightly crispy. Keep warm in an oven until all are cooked.

To serve, pile onto a plate. If keeping for the next day, cool quickly. Reheat by microwaving in a single layer until hot – about 1 minute.

 photo b489e937-368c-441e-8251-a1fc0a95ea4f_zpscq1ealol.jpgEnjoy!

What is your favourite pancake topping? Will you be celebrating pancake day?

Baking: Hot Toddy Cupcakes

Yep, I’m on a diet. Nope, I shouldn’t be eating cakes. Especially not moist stick cupcakes, slathered in zingy sweet alcoholic icing, drizzled with tangy, spiced ever more alcoholic syrup.

 photo 2015-01-03 18.14.24_zpsc05yoh56.jpgBut these are SO DAMN TASTY.

Just the right amount of spice to warm, the right amount of lemon to make you feel energised, and enough sugar to add some life back in…these are wonderful winter bakes. With or without the whisky (I love the stuff) these are enough to chase away a cold, brighten up a miserable afternoon, and put a smile on anyone’s face. They’re like a hug in a cupcake.

 photo 2015-01-03 18.14.18_zpsjxfdtogb.jpg photo 2015-01-03 18.13.36_zpstsbxnxwo.jpgI like to avoid cupcake and proper cake mixing, as they are so much better when made with an electric whisk. I refuse to add to my kitchen equipment with one yet – my parents will undoubtedly disown me if anything else gets purchased. These were made using my boyfriend’s electrical items…and now he has a shiny purple KitchenAid (when are we moving in together?!) I’m hinting that he really doesn’t need a hand-held one too…BUT anyway, if you fancy making these by hand, have two as you’ll have burnt off enough calories!

 photo 2015-01-03 16.01.18_zpsf74tpdmm.jpgNow, there’s a lot of ingredients here, but the recipe is simple, many of them are easily found in the average cupboard (I had everything but the cloves). The amounts make 11 generous cupcakes – I reckon they’d be great as mini fairy cakes too!

Ingredients (sponge)

  • 120g self-raising flour (the advantages of a well stocked kitchen, I normally stick to plain!)
  • 115g caster sugar (again, I usually use ordinary granulated)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 big teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 140g very soft unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon, along with two tablespoons of juice
  • Splash of milk, if the mix looks too dry

Ingredients (icing)

  • 150g butter, again very soft
  • 325g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons of whisky

Ingredients (syrup – makes a little more than you need, add some to hot water for a warming drink!)

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons whisky
  • 3 cloves

 photo 2015-01-03 15.33.34_zpsthefjgq2.jpg photo 2015-01-03 16.00.14_zpsofburr7y.jpgStart by making the sponge. Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.

 photo 2015-01-03 16.03.53_zpstjrjfvzx.jpg photo 2015-01-03 16.07.33_zpscribqyil.jpg photo 2015-01-03 16.08.59_zpsnasm0tcd.jpgAdd everything else (not the milk) and beat until combined. Add the milk if needed.

 photo 2015-01-03 16.09.07_zpsjqrikkdq.jpgDivide between cupcake cakes and bake for around 18 minutes at 170C.

 photo 2015-01-03 16.09.15_zpsfaq64jff.jpgWhilst the cakes are baking make the syrup; it needs plenty of time to cool. Put all the ingredients into a good saucepan and heat, slowly and on a low heat, until simmering. Simmer until you have a syrup-y consistency, but you don’t want the mix to darken – it will taste burnt if it does. Try not to stir (or it will crystallise) but instead swirl the pan from time to time. Pass through a sieve into a jug and let cool.

 photo 2015-01-03 17.26.40_zpszsl83aph.jpg photo 2015-01-03 17.26.49_zpssxzsmp80.jpgAnd while the cakes and the syrup cools, make the icing. Beat the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar in stages. Yep, this causes the kitchen to suffer a bit of a ‘snowstorm!’

 photo 2015-01-03 17.29.27_zpsf9kohue6.jpg photo 2015-01-03 17.29.54_zpstpe4h6gh.jpgOnce the icing sugar is all mixed in, beat in the honey, lemon juice and whisky. Taste and adjust if necessary.

 photo 2015-01-03 17.47.07_zpshtorltno.jpgAdd the icing to the cupcakes – I had a lovely boyfriend ready with his piping bag but otherwise I’d have just piled it on with a spoon. Drizzle over the syrup, and there you go.

 photo 2015-01-03 18.15.52_zpsuvxpdbwi.jpgZesty, spicy, warming cupcakes with the most delicious whisky kick. One of my best bakes.

Have you baked anything recently, or are you trying to be ‘good’ too? I promise I’ll be back to more healthy recipes soon! 

Baking: Peanut Butter Cookies

I looovvveeee peanut butter. I’m sure you have noticed by now! Peanut Butter Cups are my idea of perfection, B&J’s were certainly thinking of me when they brought out that flavour! Craving some right now as I type…

 photo e89e1b60-d10e-493d-a321-1471c82a6fc1_zps21f3fc95.jpgThis is such a simple recipe, so quick, and the result is utterly delicious. The quantities made a huge amount, filling my biscuit tin and lasting for a good week. My boyfriend then visited and they disappeared a whole lot quicker, which says a lot about how good this recipe actually is.

 photo dbeaf0a3-a045-435e-8718-a32103a5b245_zps91183892.jpgI’ve adapted it from this year’s GBBO book, a birthday present from the lovely Libby. It’s now completely suitable for when your cupboard is empty of most ingredients. Polenta is a bit of a luxury I admit, but I love it for scattering over chicken wings or, in this case, adding crunch to biscuits. Its not overly expensive, so worth having some tucked away for biscuit cravings!

 photo 821cb269-d292-4cbc-8075-80e98a6b7e41_zps020dc610.jpgIngredients

  • 1 jar peanut butter – around 300g
  • 125g sugar (I used standard granulated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of polenta

 photo a6c3b395-83ef-4602-81f4-5cb44076c864_zps1233f6e3.jpgI told you this recipe was super simple – here we go. Mix your p-butter and sugar together until fully combined, and slightly fluffy. Crunchy peanut butter works really well, but it’s harder to beat properly. I prefer to work hard with the elbow grease, I figure it burns off the calories of at least one extra biscuit…

 photo 23832948-23a2-40f6-80ed-0b27f16f2d97_zps9d9f835b.jpgStir through your egg, followed by your polenta.

 photo 57cc7074-0d08-4ffc-a551-00575a0f5d42_zps1cd6ae63.jpg photo 467fdcaf-8649-47d7-8d8a-5af09e8ccae0_zps2607d37c.jpgRoll into small (large marble sized) balls and spread out on a lined baking tray. Dipping a fork in warm water between each, flatten out. Bake at 180 for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack until cold.

 photo 3214a376-de96-4355-bf36-abbbe1c7765d_zpsde97d3ef.jpgPerfect with a cup of tea, dipped into a hot chocolate, or scoffed out of the tin. The original recipe calls for sandwiching them with jam, but I’m not sure it’s necessary. Delicious just the way they are!

PS – apologies for no Wednesday post this week. My Christmas party kinda took it out of me – it was a conference followed by lunch, but the food wasn’t served until 4:45. Needless to say I was hungry and feeling pretty dreadful by the time I headed out of London! I spent last night napping and trying not to snack as it’s really screwed up my eating pattern. Yep, I had to get up and eat at 3am Wednesday morning as I had had such a late lunch, then not eaten dinner. These biscuits were needed then!

Are you a fan of peanut butter? Will you be trying out this easy recipe?

Baking: Carrot Cupcakes

Happy Saturday everyone! I’m rather happy as I have Monday-Wednesday off work (celebrating my birthday, if you haven’t guess from my previous posts!), it’s my first days off since I started way back in July, so I’m looking forward to quality time with friends and family, and a few good lie-ins. Now, to today’s recipe;I moaned in this post after my influx of carrots. ASDA somehow sent me 5kg of the things, despite me only ordering and paying for 1kg. Hence soup making and cake mixing. It probably wasn’t the greatest idea in the world for me to do those two things simultaneously. Whilst the soup came out unscathed, the first batch of these carrot cupcakes went in the oven lacking eggs and sugar. I thought the mix looked a little oily. Luckily I still had 2.5kg of carrots left at that point, so more grating happened, and these lovely little cakes were bought. Almost a traditional carrot cake in miniature, these are moist and slightly less sweet than the traditional version. The icing is a lot lighter than normal, and almost sharp, whilst the cakes are heavily spiced.

 photo b95e2038-df50-4078-9ff0-538a34de2377_zps2a36ae48.jpgAnd it’s a simple recipe too! When I was researching, so many asked for expensive ingredients. Or ones I just didn’t have. Six eggs in a cake mix is also excessive if you ask me! Tinned pineapple is unnecessary. As is sorting out the spices from whole. This is a dream in comparison to some, yet it is still insanely delicious. I had one with every cup of tea until they were gone (I drink a lot of tea). Even one for breakfast, as I reckon they are healthy enough to justify morning eating.

 photo 002445db-6644-4a65-b666-45da6a486dec_zps101b0f89.jpgThe bad point about this recipe? Grating a load of carrot is really…grating on the nerves sometimes.

Ingredients

  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 150g sugar
  • 150-160ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g carrot, grated – I would take 250g carrots, peel them, top and tail, then that should be enough!
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (double up on the cinnamon if you don’t have any)
  • For the topping: 125ml mascarpone, juice of 1 orange, 1 tablespoon of sugar, pinch of cinnamon (I forgot this and it was still fine)

 photo ba40e98a-958e-43ea-9f58-e0b4cb37796f_zps52af0474.jpg photo 69b49467-01fd-4926-b86a-add80d5c34dc_zps6e066fa0.jpgNow, this is a super easy recipe to mix up. Finely grate your carrots and orange zest into a large bowl. Add the flour, sugar and spices. Mix together.

 photo 2f7c8c72-3794-4b92-a774-af57503e8d0b_zpsd7e8fec2.jpg photo efaa19d0-2764-45a7-8ead-3f235a5d0e67_zps36ee432b.jpg photo aeb61cce-6575-4447-8e48-d25ca461efea_zps04174b8b.jpgAdd the eggs and the oil. Mix until just combined. Spoon into cupcake cases (fill generously – this amount made 11 for me) and bake for 15 minutes.

 photo 7b47ebf9-4f17-42da-acc9-2198445fa832_zps1c4464cd.jpgLet cool completely before making the topping, which is also super simple. Simply beat together all of the ingredients, adding more sugar if necessary. Spoon onto the cupcakes and swirl as attractively as you can. These need refrigerating ideally – and the topping does crack a little unattractively. But they taste great, so I’m more than willing to forgive them.

 photo 03785d27-8357-47ec-8515-5067581cbc1b_zps3dd3ffa8.jpgThese are great for this time of year. The spices add a festive touch, without being so Christmassy that you forget it’s November. I have a rule, and that’s no Christmas until after my birthday. So on Wednesday I’ll be decorating! When’s your tree going up?

Any more ideas about what I can do with carrots? Admittedly the 5kg is now down to two single carrots, and I’m turning orange…carrot cake was definitely the least virtuous option I went with!

Recipe: Mini Victoria Sponges

I love a classic cake. There’s something so comforting about it’s plain flavour, and it’s simplicity to make. No fancy sugarwork, no strenuous beating or mixing. Just a simple mix, a few minutes in the oven, a quick slice and swipe of jam, and it’s ready. These mini Victoria sponges are a cute take on the absolute classic recipe, and they honestly couldn’t be easier. Just be careful to watch the oven like a hawk as they burn slightly easier.

 photo 2014-10-27094604_zps57fe405a.jpgI have a special mini cake tin, but you could easily use a muffin tin. I also skipped away from the traditional jam only, adding whipped cream. I’m the one with a really muscley right arm, and a skinny left one…

 photo 2014-10-27094555_zps303953ce.jpgIngredients

  • 250g very soft butter
  • 250g caster sugar (you shouldn’t use granulated here as it makes the sponge speckly with a funny texture)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons of milk

 photo 2014-10-25164740_zps5525e904.jpgA super simple sponge based on Nigella’s recipe from How to be a Domesticated Goddess; cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, with a spoon of flour in between each. Then fold in the flour, and thin with milk.

Pour into your greased and lined mini cake tins (or cupcake cases) and bake at 170C for 15 minutes. Of course, you could always make a larger cake; just increase the cooking time to around 25 minutes. Cool, then slice in half and fill. Enjoy with a good cup of tea.

 photo 2014-10-27094545_zps2682de4d.jpgTalking of tea. I went to a really stereotypical greasy spoon the other day. You know the type – full English is £4 and comes in two minutes. All lovely, however when I asked for a pot of English Breakfast tea I was taken to a shelf of all very posh herbal teas. When I told the waiter/chef/cleaner man that just standard tea would be great, if they have any, a dusty pot of tetley was produced from a cupboard. Why?! Nothing is wrong with normal tea, it’s not something to hide away!
 photo 2014-10-27094538_zpsb8121398.jpg

Anyway, tea rant over! What’s your favourite classic cake?

Baking: Grandma’s Treacle Tart

Quite a fussy child, when my grandma brought out cakes to go with tea when we visited, I’d only go for two options. If there weren’t there, I’d go hungry. Actually that fussiness hasn’t completely gone away, as the texture of any dried fruit is still a no-go for me – which means no fruit cake, no mince pies, no Christmas pudding, you get the jist. Anyway, I’d either eat jam tarts, or treacle tarts. To this day Grandma’s Treacle tart is one of the best I’ve eaten, and I think I’ve finally managed to replicate it.

 photo 150544d1-991c-40a6-be3c-c0aed1be8d5c_zps2b5ce75d.jpgIt’s quite a bit denser than your traditional Treacle tart, and is best served gently warmed. If you want a gooey, looser filling, simply leave out the oats. I personally prefer it, it’s a bit more substantial, and keeps me from getting a major sugar rush. Perfect with cream, even better with ice cream, this one is a winner for a cold Autumn or Winter night…which is exactly why I’m entering it into Topps Tiles A/W14 National Baking Week Challenge. A few bloggers were hand-picked to enter, and sent some gorgeous baking goodies (currently at my home; I couldn’t quite carry them on the train) and then told to post on this week. Here’s mine, fingers crossed as I know my mum would love to new tiles, and I definitely wouldn’t say no to a Kitchen Aid…

 photo 0e317927-29b0-4ab8-977d-510db4f8226d_zpsb770a9bc.jpgRecipe

  • Pastry case – you could try making my pastry here, replacing any salt/pepper/herbs with a little sugar. Blind bake, cool, then fill. Alternatively buy read rolled and blind bake, or even a ready made pastry case. The steps in this recipe assumes you’ve got a pastry case all ready.
  • 400g golden syrup – I bought a 450g tin and just left a spoonful for porridge the next day
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 80g breadcrumbs, which I found was roughly 1 rolls worth
  • 2 tablespoons of oats

 photo 6c1326b7-22dd-421a-9bda-1749b349d6b0_zps526a45a0.jpgPreheat your oven to 160g. Grate your lemon zest into a bowl, and pour over the golden syrup.

 photo b2b7d888-8500-40ee-a350-621b08c0d2e0_zpsa1d669bb.jpg photo 0b78cf1a-8444-4d29-a854-66f0919cd762_zpsd8e289b3.jpgStir in your lemon juice and your breadcrumbs/oats. Stir well, until it is all combined. The mix should be thick, but still able to ‘move,’ i.e. when you pour it into the pastry it should spread itself to the edges.

 photo 96f0caff-20bf-4932-a46f-982e678641f4_zps1c1b7f9c.jpgAdd to the pastry case, and then bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye to make sure that the top doesn’t catch – you may want to lower the heat.

 photo 6a831efd-b8a2-4816-9b59-ada55a97ce6a_zpsba7cee49.jpgThe mix will be quite wobbly and ‘wet’ when you fetch it out – it will firm up on cooling. Enjoy slightly warm (the microwave does this perfectly) with cream or ice cream.

 photo 7d706961-68c8-4d60-9278-a58b7b2a603d_zpsf42b6d25.jpgI absolutely love this bake, warm and comforting, and ridiculously simple to make. I’ll never buy one in again – even with buying a pastry case the ingredients are far less science-lab, and there’s something so lovely about the smell of it cooking too. One of life’s greatest pleasure, and I’m very thankful for my Grandma for introducing me to her recipe.

What’s your favourite comforting bake for cold weather?

Recipe: American Pancake Stack for One

I loveeeeee pancakes. Seriously, I cannot get enough of them. My mum used to make pancakes most weekends when we were growing up (my favourite topping was lemon and sugar, ate outside for reasons discussed here), and now my boyfriend alternates between cooking me a fry-up and his amazing crepes on visit weekends. I know, I’m such a lucky girl! It does mean though that on weekends where I’m all alone, I miss my pancake fix. Not anymore!

 photo de5357a6-bb3a-48bf-9f69-e207f98b1676_zpsed8bf7e6.jpgI’ve managed to come up with a recipe for fluffy, light, flavoursome American pancakes, in just the right serving for a (greedy) single person. So many of the recipes I found serve two, and I’m not quite that greedy. This recipe makes around 8 small pancakes – trust me they are quite small, this isn’t just a giant plate!

 photo 40f03523-8767-48e8-aa70-41782be62b93_zps88b15dcf.jpgFor the photos here I’ve made a nutella stack – sandwiching each pancake with a splodge of nutella. The effect was chocolatey and stodgy – just what I needed whilst recovering from the flu and moping about after visiting my girls in Canterbury the day before. I’ve had these drizzled with honey too, and they were just as delicious. Keep an eye out for a fruity version soon too!

 photo fd6728a4-43ef-4980-adc9-668c141b6adb_zps9e7d94fb.jpgNow, I make this recipe by eye, straight into the jug (anything to reduce washing up!) so here we go; Grab a 1/2 pint jug, crack and beat an egg. Top up with milk to between 150 and 200ml. Whisk in 2.5 tablespoons of plain flour, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. You want a really thick, but still pourable, batter – add more milk/flour as necessary. Some recipes add a little sugar to the batter, or some melted butter. I’d rather save the calories for the topping.

 photo 131f9657-6c70-4ca3-843c-2e2c68e2bff3_zps14a20859.jpg photo c73ba5b1-77c1-4be8-8e15-844ffe6c89a0_zps6e4aa037.jpgMelt a teeny bit of butter in a frying pan, and pour in a small amount of batter. It spreads surprisingly far for being so thick! Fry over a relaitvely high heat until the upside is lightly bubbling, and no longer gooey looking – but don’t let the underside burn! Flip over and continue cooking for a few seconds, until both sides are golden. Transfer to a plate, and keep warm in a low oven.

 photo d1e02152-c100-4478-8fb1-e5824c326568_zps5a9c6af9.jpgIf you’re making a nutella stack, spread each pancake with a little nutella before popping in the oven.

 photo 40f03523-8767-48e8-aa70-41782be62b93_zps88b15dcf.jpgThere you have it – the perfect American pancakes for one. I’m itching to try these with maple syrup and bacon, but I reckon that will have to wait for a date brunch!

So, do you like pancakes? More importantly, what’s your topping of choice?!

Baking: Citrus Loaf with Mojito Marmalade

Ah September. The month of cosy jumpers (thought not this year!), Great British Bake Off, and horrible house spiders. When I’m not brandishing a hoover, shoe, or heavy object I’ve been baking this month – bake off always puts me in the mood for something yummy, and there’s only so many nights that a jar of nutella can keep me company. Quick bakes are something I’m always looking for due to working full time, and this fits the bill perfectly. Stir up the mix whilst my dinner is cooking, bake whilst I eat, then let the icing set and cake cool whilst I clean up after myself. My kind of cake.

 photo 11a1e97a-4b3b-48ae-b101-7f6f76ec7c17_zpsb9e6897d.jpgI love baking with all things citrusy, since moving away from home the vast majority of my food comes seasoned with zingy lemon as it’s a substance banned from my family household – my sister is seriously allergic. Yep, we’re the weird allergy family. No tomatoes for me, no citrus for her (including cleaning products) and even my mum has joined in, with reactions to dairy, fish and strawberries. Safe to say mealtimes can sometimes be tricky! But no matter, because away from home I indulge my citrus passion.

 photo dad5a366-ad7a-4bb1-aa49-29c1e237d0c8_zps22cbb439.jpgThis weekend I finally had the opportunity to bake with some Mojito Marmalade* I was sent ages ago from Funky Food Gifts (my new favourite site – I’m desperate for these, these and this). I have to say I was a littleeeee disappointed. It actually just tastes like a lemon curd with bits – no lime zing, no minty hit. Certainly no alcoholic punch, so if you’re after a mojito flavoured cake I’d wait til I publish the recipe I’m working on. But its a nice lemony flavour, and I’d definitely buy lemon marmalade to make this cake again.

Now, onto the bake! Grab from your cupboards:

  • A jar of lemon marmalade – about 1/3 to go in the cake, and the rest on top.
  • 175g very soft butter
  • 90g sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon (and you’ll need the juice too)
  • 3 eggs
  • 190g flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • And for the topping – the rest of the marmalade, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, and a knob of butter

 photo c5f67bad-5426-4a84-975f-19d8f0a472ef_zpsafaa4b36.jpg photo 7994fc70-6b4c-4c5d-ab7a-647bcd4e4dd4_zpsca158f04.jpgStart by beating your sugar, butter and zest together until light and fluffy. I go for the wooden spoon – my thinking is the more calories you burn through the baking, the more cake you can eat.

 photo a6a699d2-aea1-4bae-b746-5fc6668018d9_zpsa6f2dde1.jpg photo d1fb67eb-d2b7-46ba-ad31-3614585bbc04_zps8c28122c.jpgBeat through the eggs, then add the marmalade and lemon juice.

 photo b7a8ccb2-2f74-4524-95c4-4108cea41882_zpsc089110a.jpgSift the flour and baking powder together, into the mixing bowl, and stir lightly to combine everything.

 photo a352033c-5a6d-410f-9931-1f7611c23c94_zpsbfa6a444.jpgPour into a greased loaf tin, and bake at 175g for about 30 minutes. Due to the marmalade content, you may want to cover the top as it does catch a little (I also haven’t gotten used to this oven – hence the burnt edge!).

 photo 76fdeadf-3c83-4a80-838e-71b150470530_zpsa115c8f4.jpgOnce its risen and golden, remove from the oven, cool for ten minutes then untin onto a plate. Heat the marmalade, stir through the knob of butter and sugar, and pour over the cake. Leave to cool – the icing is sticky, so it won’t completely set.

Eat and enjoy – it’s a moist and sticky loaf, full of lemon flavour, and it keeps wonderfully well in a tin. Well, it would if your boyfriend wasn’t eating it for breakfast…

Have you been baking along with Bake Off?

 

Baking: Peanut-aires Shortbread

 photo 2014-09-01191654_zpsc5e6aa72.jpgWhy have ordinary Millionaire’s Shortbread when you can add peanut butter? If you haven’t already guessed, I love the nutty, salty, crunchy spread, great on toast but it also makes a fabulous baking ingredient. I often find that traditional Millionaire’s Shortbread is too sweet and sickly for me, so I decided to make it more to my tastes by adding peanut butter. Of course, I then forget to sort out the caramel part, and this recipe was born. In fact I now prefer this one – not to mention it’s easier to make, less messy to eat andddd I can eat multiple pieces without feeling too sick. The perfect bake in my eyes…

 photo 2014-09-01191624_zpsfdd03a55.jpgI planned for this recipe to be mini – only making a few servings, so halved my existing shortbread recipe (it’s one I got in Food Tech when I was about 12) and used my smallest baking dish. Turns out I still got eight decent sized squared out of it so I’m going to give it to you in those quantities…

Ingredients

  • 90g butter
  • 120g plain flour
  • 40g sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 120g chocolate

 photo d89dbf37-2b55-4344-83b6-1064549205e4_zpscf8e6088.jpg photo 2014-08-31155032_zpse23bb7a5.jpgStart by rubbing the flour and butter together, until it looks a bit breadcrumb-y like. It won’t be as breadcrumb-y as pastry as there’s a little more butter, but it should look something like my photos.

 photo 2014-08-31155039_zpsf593ae55.jpg photo 2014-08-31155313_zps46646099.jpg photo 2014-08-31155421_zps707e2fb1.jpgAdd the sugar and rub that in too.

 photo 2014-08-31163450_zpsc9c2a15e.jpgTip into a tin (lined with tin foil if you are lazy about greasing) and use a spoon to press down and into the corners – you want it nice and compacted. Prick lightly with a fork. Bake at 160C for about 25 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden. Let cool.

 photo 2014-09-01191642_zpsa932263c.jpgMelt the peanut butter slightly and spread over the shortbread. This is where using crunchy peanut butter made things slightly tricky, so I’d suggest going with smooth. Then melt the chocolate, drizzle over and smooth out. Sprinkle over some peanuts – make some caramelised ones if you’re feeling fancy!

 photo 2014-09-01191632_zpsc3e82980.jpgThats it – simple, effective, yummy and perfect for sharing. Or eating by yourself whilst Bake Off is on, which wasn’t what I was doing last night…

Do you like peanut butter?

Baking: Autumnal Blackberry Brownies

 photo 3cc0736f-e26a-4a47-a57a-21e10786dc75_zps27620964.jpgI love autumn. I can’t be the only one who’s starting to long for pretty scarves, chunky knits, and lovely boots. Actually, I’m not longing for boots as I can’t find any that fit – if anyone knows of any affordable wide-calf-narrow-foot brands I’ll pay with brownies… On my walk to and from walk I pass by a long hedgerow that’s absolutely brimming with blackberries and plums. Sounds idyllic, although the reality is it’s right next to a trainline, and right under Gatwick’s flight path. But for those few moments I could be on a country walk, and so after a week of waiting for blackberries to ripen (and moaning when others got there first) I came home with a small handful. A good wash and they were as good as any I’ve picked from a field.

 photo 2014-08-21083403_zps5a2e9b2d.jpg photo 2014-08-21083320_zpsd8818175.jpg photo 2014-08-18083254_zpsfe4444fd.jpgI debated making a crumble, but lack of ripe fruit meant that was a no-go, and I wanted something I could share. Half my love of baking is sharing the goods around, so a crumble doesn’t really fit the bill. Then I remember the raspberry cheesecake brownies from Edinburgh, and decided to do something similar. Sans cheesecake.

 photo ed98a75c-345b-40ed-903b-fe6668b4059e_zpsdc01713c.jpgI ended up loving the combination of dark, fudgy chocolate brownie with the burst of sharp blackberry, the crunch of the seeds adding a welcome element too. The brownie mix is adapted from my Mayonnaise Brownies; I’ve made it simpler, easier, less washing up. Whilst here I did add a little nutella, I’m not too sure its necessary, and if I’m honest these were a little too fudgy. Just use your judgement – if its looking dry, add nutella!

I’m now convincing myself that using a low-fat brownie mix, and adding fruit, means it’s acceptable to eat four of these in a day. Agreed? Here’s the recipe to convince you…

Ingredients

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 pinch of baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 220g sugar
  • 1/3 mug of hot water
  • 1 egg
  • 150g mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tsp of nutella, if needed
  • 1 handful of blackberries, though I wish I’d had more!

 photo 2014-08-20182138_zpsdc448439.jpgMelt your chocolate in the microwave, and leave to cool.

 photo 2014-08-20182641_zpsd25ae499.jpgMeanwhile mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and sugar together in a bowl.

 photo a041942d-61ec-41a9-94e0-eac3006540df_zps5ca06735.jpg photo 3274b40a-e9a9-4d6d-92b8-2f3003c99040_zps3071bb9c.jpg photo cfb47624-4c67-4915-91b5-6c9e98e79c28_zps24c6b28a.jpgOnce the chocolate is cool, pour it into the dry mix, along with the mayonnaise and egg. Mix together, don’t overbeat. Add the water gradually until you have a gunge-y mix – add nutella if necessary.

 photo 3cc0736f-e26a-4a47-a57a-21e10786dc75_zps27620964.jpgStir through your blackberries, tip into a prepared tin (lined and greased – or just covered in tin foil if you’re lazy like me) and bake at 180C for 25-ish minutes.

 photo c987daed-3407-4bbc-97ed-1057a80e6e3e_zps3986e105.jpgAs with all brownies, do your best to wait until they are completely cool before cutting, or they will fall apart. Then stuff your face with five of them. After all, they are pretty damn healthy 😉
 photo 2014-08-18083341_zps2deef1f7.jpg

Are you an Autumn lover?