It’s Mothers’ Day, and despite the fact that I’m not seeing my mum today, I thought I’d do a spot of baking and make something I know she’d like – I think if she reads this post I’ll have to make some to take home with me the next time I visit!
Today has been a lazy one, a day when I hadn’t prepared to do any baking but as it’s worn on and I’ve run out of recorded tv to watch, the itch to bake has started up again. I scoured my baking drawer, the fridge and the cupboards and gathered together a lemon, a slab of butter, plain flour and some caster sugar – lemon biscuits it is I thought, though I didn’t have a clear recipe in mind!
So I googled various biscuit recipes and chose this one by Rachel Allen from the Good Food Channel – it seemed easy, used all the ingredients I happened to have in the kitchen and would make tasty biscuits – just what I was craving this afternoon!
This recipe does what it says on the tin – my biscuits, while they don’t look quite as professional as the ones on the website, are delicious, melt in the mouth and were really easy to make – I would definitely recommend trying this one! They have a slightly shortbready texture and they crumble deliciously when you eat them! The only addition I made was to use the juice from a lemon and blend it into the sugar and butter mix. This gives the biscuits a fresh citrusy taste which I really like. To make them a bit more decadent I might use some of the lemon curd I have leftover from my cupcakes and spread on the biscuits – yum!
P.S. I just tried one with some lemon curd . . . oh my goodness you have to try it too – so tasty!
Tonight Tom made his world-famous . . .ok . . . family-famous chili for dinner – it’s delicious and he is becoming a true pro at making it! We usually have a few dishes of extra toppings to go with the chili; cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and bread for dunking; you’ve got to mop up the scrummy chili sauce, it can’t be left to go to waste! Unfortunately, we’d run out of bread but everything was ok, I had some of my amazing mixed grain wholemeal flour left – luckily the perfect amount required to make a plaited loaf from the Great British Bake Off cookbook.
I’ve been excited by the prospect of making this recipe as it looks so rustic and delicious – the recipe uses wholemeal bread flour mixed with hazelnuts, apricots and honey, however, my luck with ingredients didn’t go that far, so I just used the flour and honey. The loaf still tasted amazing but I will try the full recipe next time as I think it will be even better!
The honey in the recipe adds a delicious sweetness to the loaf which I can imagine is complimented really well by the hazelnuts, but it isn’t too overpoweringly sweet so would go well with cheeses and chutneys or, as we used it, chunky bread for dunking! Other flavours that would work well in this loaf recipe are a good strong cheddar with roasted red onion, cashew nuts instead of hazel and olive and sundried tomatoes.
For the full recipe see The Great British Bake Off How to Bake cookbook – it’s worth investing in, it has so many easy to follow, delicious recipes and it just looks gorgeous!
Today I made lemon curd filled, lemon icing covered, lemon sponge cupcakes – and they’re so yummy!
I followed the sponge part of one of the cupcake recipes from my favourite baking book of the moment – The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, and edited it slightly by adding lemon juice. I also used a simple buttercream icing recipe which I added more lemon juice to. And, as if that wasn’t enough lemon, I also added Sicilian lemon curd to the middle of the cupcakes. This was really easy to do – just cook the cupcakes as usual and then once they’re cool, cut a circle in the top of the cake and pull out the round of sponge. Spoon in whatever filling you fancy; I used lemon curd for this recipe, but you could also use strawberry jam for a victoria sponge-esque cupcake, custard or chocolate cream to go with a chocolate sponge; and then replace the circle of cake.
I am really pleased with how these turned out – I definitely feel I am mastering the art of baking cupcakes – and I was definitely better at adding the icing this time – there was a lot less icing on me and more on the cakes!
This weekend has turned in to a bit of a bake-a-thon all in all!
As well as making mini quiches yesterday, I also made some wholemeal seeded bread rolls for Tom who wanted to try this recipe I found on Pinterest – the Noble Pig’s Baked Eggs in Bread Bowls. Tom brought me home some wholemeal seeded flour which I got probably far too excited about using but it was such nice flour and made a nice change to the usual plain white bread flour I use! The rolls turned out really well and I’ll definitely be making them again – they’d be perfect for soup or with some cheese or pate.
I also decided to try making eclairs this weekend as I was craving chocolate and so I thought I’d give choux pastry a go – it sounded very easy from the recipes I read beforehand.
The recipe I used can be found here and was very easy to follow. The only step I would change would be instead of slicing down the length of the eclairs, make a hole in the end instead. Then pipe the cream filling in the hole in the end rather than trying to scoop the filling down the middle – I think it might work out a bit easier and less messy!
Here are my first attempt at eclairs, they taste great but look a little on the rustic side – with practice I should get them looking neater!
An aside about baking in film:
When Tom gave me the wholemeal flour he’d bought me this weekend, I was reminded of one of my favourite scenes from the film Stranger than Fiction, when Will Ferrell’s character presents a box of different flours to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character who he really likes. I think this is the cutest take on the usual presenting of flowers to someone you like and I may have to rewatch this film soon just for how lovely this scene is!
Earlier this week I made a pie to use up some leftover chicken and ended up with leftover pastry – we never seem to avoid having something leftover in our flat!
Anyway, this was the result – some mini leek, red pepper and onion quiches – so tasty!
I used mini tart cases for this recipe but you could also make one large quiche.
half an onion finely sliced
half a sweet red pepper finely sliced
half a leek finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic
grated cheese – a good handful should do but if you love a cheesey flavour then feel free to add more!
I lined the tart cases with the pastry, added some baking paper with coins (I am yet to buy some baking beans but they’re on my list) to keep the pastry from rising and popped in the oven at 180 degrees for my fan oven (200 degrees non-fan) for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. I removed the mini quiches from the oven and turned the temperature down to about 140 degrees.
For the filling I added the finely chopped pepper, onion, garlic and leek to a pan with some oil and gently fried until golden and soft. In a bowl I cracked the three eggs and gently whisked, to which I then added the cheese. Once the leek, pepper, onion and garlic was ready I mixed this with the egg and cheese until combined.
I divided the egg mixture between tart cases and popped back in the oven for half an hour or so until they were golden and the filling had cooked.
The result? Delicious, full-of-flavour mini quiches!
P.S. this was the chicken pie!