Tag Archives: baking

Morrisons: a disappointment. And a blackberry cake

We try not to use big supermarkets much. My usual haunt is Aldi, but if I must go elsewhere, we generally do Morrisons. And there are some “treaty” things we get in Morrisons, so when Pete cycled off there on Saturday with trailer in tow (after the car debacle), he was going to get some.

I’m diabetic, so I have to watch what I eat, but I love the Lindt plain chocolate with sea salt, and their Intense Coconut too. And Kallo plain chocolate ricecakes are very low cal/carb, considering. So imagine mine and Pete’s disappointment when none of these three items were to be found on the shelves in the Anlaby Road store. He asked where they were, and the assistant said she assumed they’d been dropped, and was apparently surprised, because the Lindt bars were a good seller. I do wish supermarkets wouldn’t do this – three less reasons to visit Morrisons now.

I was miffed at this, so when he got back, I walked down to the big Great Satan Tesco Extra in Hull. It’s only 2km away. I really do try not to use Tesco, although we had bought diesel there that morning (always happy to knock them for a 5p/gallon discount – and before you ask, we got the voucher from a friend!). I found the chocolate easily enough, although they only had a single, solitary bar of Lindt Intense Coconut, so I wonder if that’s going to be dropped by the manufacturer …

In wandering about, I found some blackberries. *Blackberries*! Three quid a punnet, if you please, which makes me weep; we used to get pounds off the brambles on the drive at our old house [sob].

In the end, I did a sort of experiment – made a basic upside down batter, laid the blackberries on the bottom of the cake tin, and poured the batter over it. It was absolutely lovely, although I should probably have made some sort of coulis or something. We just had it with cream

Blackberry cake

batter:
300g caster sugar
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g marg or butter
about 2 tbsp milk

some blackberries

22cm springform cake tin, greased and the bottom lined with parchment.  Although you could use any tin that size.

Preheat the oven to 180C Gas 4.

Line the bottom of the tin with the blackberries.

Now, you can do this like I do – I just put all the batter ingredients in the Magimix other than the milk and whizz it up. Or you cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and flour and baking powder bit by bit, stir in the vanilla essence, then the milk. Up to you entirely.

The milk I leave to the end because you want a sort of dropping consistency, and it’s better to add it bit by bit.

Pour the mix over the blackberries, bake for 45 minutes-ish. The blackberries all rise through the cake. It’s lovely.

Leave it to cool for about half an hour, then turn onto a plate. It made eight quite generous portions, and I don’t know how well it would keep. So we sent half of it over to some friends that Pete was visiting last night, and they seemed to like it too!

making good use …

Guinness soda bread

We held a small gathering here the other night, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We cooked up a slow cooker’s worth of lemony chicken and coriander, and  a big pot of dhal to accompany it, and also for the vegans/veggies in the throng. We also served (bought) chapatis.

That recipe, incidentally, is a base – we use a lot more garlic, chillis and spices than that, and I’ve discovered that if you just sling the chicken in the slow cooker without browning it, it still works beautifully, and you save a lot of time and effort, and a lot of oil too! Makes it a very low calorie dish. Anyway, I digress.

I also made a chocolate, ginger and guinness bundt cake, which left most of a bottle of stout left over.

So this morning, I tipped the remainder of the coriander chicken sauce into the stock pot, added a few carrots, a courgette and an onion which had been minced in the Magimix, and two mugfuls of red lentils, and a nice pot of spicy soup is now bubbling away for lunch. To go with it, I used (most of) the rest of the stout to make a Guinness soda bread loaf, which is now baking in the Remoska.

Sadly, Pete declined to drink the rest of the stout – it was two days old, I know, but still. I poured it down the sink.

cranberry and lemon cake

Cranberry Sauce 003

Like most people, I tend to overbuy at Christmas, and that’s even with cutting back a *lot*. We had a couple of punnets of fresh cranberries lurking in the back of the fridge; well, when I say “fresh”, $deity alone know what they do to them to make them keep for over two months, but there they were.

Pete picked through them and we had about 1.5 punnets when done. So, I made lemon and cranberry cakes. This cake recipe is a good basic one, and you can add any dried fruit to it, but fresh is even better – give it a try with blueberries!

This is the recipe for one cake, but I always make two, because it freezes well. And I use the zest and juice of the lemon for two cakes.

160g caster sugar
125g butter or marge
175g self raising flour (or be like me – plain with a teaspoon of baking powder)
2 large eggs
zest of one lemon
a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of milk

If you like, you can glaze the top with lemon juice and icing sugar mixed together, but that’s too sweet for us.

Cream sugar and butter/marge, add eggs, fold in flour, add lemon bits, berries and milk. If you’re adding fresh berries, I blitz them in the blender for a few seconds to break them up.

I always bake loaf cakes in a parchment liner – much easier. About 40 minutes at 180C should do it. Recommended.

Also, as a hint, chopped fresh cranberries are just lovely added to sausagemeat for home made sausage rolls.

 

Remoska to the rescue!

I made brownies last week, for a gathering of friends. I always use this Nigella Lawson recipe, which makes a huge heap – I find a huge heap of brownies generally to be the right amount, as people rarely refuse, and they keep well.

I cooked them in the oven, and baked a couple of banana and coconut cakes as well, so as not to waste the electricity. However, like a fool, I forgot to set the timer for the brownies, and so took them out of the oven just a little bit too early. Once I’d scored them into squares, I discovered that the ones round the edges were fine, but the very middle was still far too raw. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – I dumped them in the big Remoska, still on their baking parchment, and gave them about 12 minutes. And they were absolutely fine, which is something I shall remember for the future.

This weekend I plan to make a batches of shepherd’s pie filling, meatballs, and coriander chicken. That’s the plan, anyway.

scones in the Remoska

Sorry about this, but while I’m experimenting with the new Remoska, there’s going to be a few posts about it 🙂  I ordered the shallow pan for it from Lakeland, along with the recipe book, so I plan to get plenty of use from it (they arrived this morning).

We went to Bridlington today – just because we fancied a bit of seaside, and the weather was so gorgeous, and we had lunch out, so didn’t want a lot for supper. So I decided to make some scones. I always use this Nigella Lawson recipe – it’s pretty much foolproof – and I added a handful of sultanas.

My Remoska recipe book said 20-25 minute for scones, but they needed 28 minutes. And they worked really, really well, so that’s another triumph nailed for my little Czech friend.

nearly disastrous mixed berry scones

mixed berry scones

I always use this Nigella Lawson recipe from Nibblous when I make scones. It’s an absolute cracker – they never fail to rise, no matter what you do. You can mix the flour up with wholemeal, add cheese, have them plain or cheesy, whatever.

Last night we fancied fruit ones, so I did about 60/40 wholemeal/white flour and put it in the food processor, weighed out the Trex and marg (it really is worth using Trex for scones and pastry – it gives them a real lightness), then turned the food processor on, and startedd adding the milk, until I got a nice doughy consistency. At which point, I saw the bowl with the fats in, still sitting on the scales …

Nothing for it but to put that in the food processor, and hope for the best. It looked OK, and I kneaded in half a bag of mixed berries by hand (the Magimix tends to pulverise such things). And, curiously, they were the lightest scones I think I’ve ever made. Which should prove something, although I know not what.

 

very nearly a disaster

brownies!

We were invited to a picnic on Sunday afternoon, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I decided to make some brownies, and some focaccia, and we took fruit, cheese, cold meat, beer, as well. The weather was not delightful, but a pleasant time was had.

But oh dear – I came close to disaster with the brownies … I used this Nigella recipe, from her Domestic Goddess book, one of the few which lives in the kitchen, rather than on the dining room bookshelves.

I have these whizzy electronic scales, where you can push a button to switch between oz, ml, g, fl oz, etc. I weighed out the butter, and thought “that looks an awful lot”, then weighed out as much chocolate as I had, which was nowhere near 325g, but no matter – I could and did bung some cocoa powder in with the flour. I put butter and chocolate in a pan, then into a *bigger* pan, started it melting, and returned to the weighing of ingredients. And realised that the scales were on ml instead of g! Nothing to be done but soldier on – when the mix was melted, I just weighed out 750g of it, and decanted the rest into a jug. It’s currently in the fridge, and moar! brownies! will be made later this week.

So no great hassle, really, but it could have gone horribly wrong if I hadn’t noticed. But they were delicious – I sprinkled some flakes almonds on the top before they were cooked, just because really, and dusted them with icing sugar before they went to the party.

lime, ginger and coconut cake

limes up close

We went to Staithes (on the North Yorkshire coast) on Saturday, and had a cup of tea and a slice of this delicious cake (or one very like it). It was so delicious that I came home determined to try and make one, and after a bit of googling and adjustment, here’s what I came up with. I actually made two, because it’s hardly worth putting the oven on for just one cake, and have put one in the freezer. It was gorgeous. These ingredients make one.

100g butter or marge
120g caster sugar
2 large eggs
140g desiccated coconut
100g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder (or use self-raising flour, but I never keep it in)
70ml natural yoghurt
1 lime, juice and zest
2 tsp grated ginger

Put everything in a food mixer and combine. Yes, really. That’s it.

I baked mine in a loaf tin lined with a greaseproof liner. The recipe I cannibalised said 45 mins at gas 3, which it had, then it had another 5 mins at gas 4, then another 5 mins at gas 5, so I reckon 40-45 minutes at gas 4 would do it.

Should you be minded, you could make a syrup of, say, 100g caster sugar and the juice of another lime, but I didn’t bother. If you do this, make some holes in the cake while it is warm, and drizzle the syrup over it.

The cafe served it with cream, which worked rather well. I think I might try some grated lemongrass next time, for that authentic Thai taste.

unexpected crab sandwiches

A few weeks ago, Nigel Slater made a soda bread loaf, which he cooked in a cast iron casserole. We make lots of soda bread here, and it seemed like a good idea, so I gave it a try; but it was hopeless – you couldn’t turn it out to see if it was done, so I decided to just carry on using a baking tray as before.

On Saturday, I decided to bake a couple of Guinness soda breads; I scaled up the recipe carefully, but something went wrong, and even after adding a bit more flour, the mix felt very wet, so I bunged it in my huge and ancient Le Creuset and baked it in that.

Calamity – the inside was raw. Still we carved the ends of for Saturday night supper of bread, cheese and apple, and planned to surgically remove the remaining decent bits for toast for Sunday breakfast. However, the discovery of half a bag of cranberries in the fridge led to an outburst of fresh cranberry muffins instead, meaning the bread was left for Sunday supper.

Just as well, really. I opened a tin of tuna for the Tribe as a treat, only to discover once it was de-lidded that it was in fact crab; no idea what it was doing on the cat fud shelf.  Far too nice to give to the cats, we located the errant tuna and gave them that (it lasted about 3m 20s, I think), and put the crab in the fridge.

Then last evening, I mixed in some mayo, some lemon juice and some paprika with the crab, and we had it on the soda bread. It was really very nice indeed, not least because it was so unexpected.

coconut and banana cake

coconut and banana cakes

We found a kilogram of desiccated coconut in the larder box – no idea why we bought such a huge amount, but it must be used up! There were four small, brown bananas in a box in the fridge  – I read somewhere that they will keep for ages like that, so was experimenting; seems to work!  So I did a bit of  Googling for ideas, and adapted a few recipes, and this is what I did:

4 brown bananas, peeled
2 medium eggs
120g margarine, melted
120g wholemeal flour
75g cane sugar
1.5 tsp. baking powder
125g dessicated coconut

Some dried cranberries as a last minute addition.

(I doubled this lot up to make two cakes. I also added some cream of tartar, but I don’t think it was needed, and it would have benefited from some vanilla extract).

I put the bananas in the food processor and blitzed them up. Then I just bunged in everything else and whizzed that up!

Put the mix in a loaf tin lined with a cake liner (I love these – so easy, no greasing, no sticking!), baked at gas 4 for 1 hour.  They’ve come out lovely – quite a heavy consistency, but none the worse for that. Might try dates in them next time.

And the coconut mountain is very slowly decreasing 🙂

Edited to add: best estimate of carbs per cake is about 250g, so about 20g per slice. I can live with that on an occasional basis!