Category Archives: baking

The Best and The Laziest Brownies In The World!!

As it is the new year and everyone has lots of resolutions to drink less, eat healthier and get fitter, I decided to do the complete opposite of that and share with you, the best and the laziest brownies in the world recipe. These brownies are so good and so easy to make, I am sure they will counter any back to work/school January blues!!!

I originally discovered this recipe through Twitter/Instagram where a couple of blogging friends were discussing something called 'Slutty Brownies'. Even the name seemed intriguing to me and I knew I had to find out more. I was pointed to the apparent source for the original recipe on The Londoner blog. The recipe only contains three ingredients; chocolate cookie dough mix, chocolate brownie mix and Oreo cookies. Anyone can make them as they are so easy. They are called slutty as they are made with ready mixes/packages but I am sure you could make your own brownie and cookie dough mix if you like. My version of the recipe is below. For other versions, please see my fellow blogging friends:

Mari's World

The Boy And Me

Slutty Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of chocolate brownie mix
  • 1 packet of cookie dough mix
  • 1 pack of Oreos
  • Eggs or water to make up packet mixes as described on the packet
  • A greased foil tray, a normal tray lined with tin foil or a greased silicone tray (The Boy And Me used a loaf tin which I think I will do next time)

Method

  1. Make up the cookie dough mix and chocolate brownie mix as per the package instructions
  2. Put the cookie dough as a thick layer at the bottom of the tin
  3. Top with as many Oreo biscuits as your tin allows
  4. Pour the chocolate brownie mix over the top and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 20-30 minutes
  5. Eat and enjoy!!

I really urge everyone to give this recipe a go. It is so easy and delicious. It really feels like a treat which is perfect to sort out any case of the January blues!!

 

Forman and Field’s Jubilee Bake Off

You may that remember that last year, I took part in the Forman and Field’s Valentines Cook Off, well this year they have invited me to take part in a Jubilee Bake Off with lots of lovely bloggers. The other bloggers taking part are:

 http://athomewithmrsm.blogspot.co.uk

http://iheartkatiecakes.blogspot.co.uk/

www.renbehan.com

http://www.lavenderandlovage.com

http://www.frugaliciousfood.com/

www.Cupcakesbysarah.co.uk

http://www.workinglondonmummy.com

http://whatkatebaked.blogspot.co.uk/

We have all been lucky enough to be sent a fabulous box of inspiring ingredients and told to bake to our heart’s content in honour of the Queen’s jubilee. In the boxes we received:

ORIGINAL BEANS CRU VIRUNGA 70% DARK CHOCOLATE A new chocolate producer that is rapidly becoming the choice of top Chefs, chocolatiers and restaurants including Marcus Wareing, The Fat Duck, Galvin at Windows and Damian Allsop to namedrop but a few.

DOVE’S FARM FLOUR This general purpose white flour is milled from English wheat grown by organic farmers to Ethical Trade standards which involve a fair price for the farmer and fair treatment of workers, as well as involvement with local communities. This is great for baking pastry, cakes and biscuits.

LONGMAN’S UNSALTED FARM BUTTER Proper butter from a family run Dairy farm in Somerset.

FORMAN & FIELD LEMON CURD Our own handmade lemon curd from the Forman & Field kitchens. Tarter than most with a good hit of lemon zest so it’s makes for a mighty fine baking ingredient.

CRÈME ANGLAISE More homemade goodness from our kitchens. We make this daily to order with lots of fresh Bourbon vanilla.

ELDERFLOWER LIQUEUR This heavenly elixir is made in small batches with hand-picked elderflowers by Bramley & Gage down in South Devon. They’re a family business with son Michael recently having taken over from his old man Edward.

MULLED PEARS The final contribution from the F&F kitchens, pears poached in a mulled red wine syrup.

From this selection of ingredients I have somehow managed to make three baked treats. Don’t ask me how I found the time but I did. I will now explain what I made, why I was inspired to make it and give the recipe.

Lemon Curd Butterfly Cakes

What is more British than a butterfly cake? I remember having them a lot as a child but they seem to have disappeared out of fashion now. The lemon curd was so delicious I knew I had to make it the start of the show in one bake. These are traditional butterfly cakes minus the cream. All they have is the lemon curd inside of them which can, depending on the lemon curd make them quite tart and not really suitable for children.

Ingredients (makes 12)

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of an unwaxed lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon (or a whole one if you like it sharp)
  • A generous teaspoon full of lemon curd per cake

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Put cupcake cakes into a cupcake tray (British flag ones if possible!)
  2. In a food processor, add in all the ingredients except the lemon curd and whizz until a smooth batter is formed. Do not over mix as the cakes will not rise
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake cakes and cook in the oven until lightly golden brown and a knife inserted in them comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack until they cool completely.
  4. Once cooled, cut a small disc out of the top of the cupcake and then cut the disc in half. Leave to one side and spoon the lemon curd into the hole you have created in the cake. Put the disc pieces back into hole vertically to create butterfly wings. Decorate the cakes with appropriate jubilee decorations and dive in!

Mulled Pear Crumble with Crème Anglais Ice Cream

I love crumble and am constantly trying to make new variations of them and the mulled pears were calling to me to be put into one. The crème anglais was full of vanilla and as it had a short use by date, I knew I needed to do something to preserve it for longer.  It is the perfect accompaniment to the crumble as the creaminess cuts through the richness of the mulled pears.

Ingredients (makes 1 small ramekin but please adjust recipe to suit whichever bowl you want to use)

For the Crumble

  • 1 and a half mulled pears, chopped into small chunks
  • About 100ml of syrup from the jar of mulled pears
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50-75g caster sugar, depending on how sweet you like your crumble

For the Ice Cream

  • Jar of Crème Anglais ( or homemade custard)

Method

  1. Pour the Crème Anglais into a suitable container with a lid that can go into the freezer. Pop into the freezer and stir every two – four hours with a fork until completely frozen to prevent large ice crystals forming.
  2. Put the mulled pear chunks into your baking dish and put the syrup into a saucepan. Reduce the syrup until slightly thickened. Do not reduce it too much as it will cook more in the crumble. Set aside and leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, make the crumble topping by rubbing the flour and the butter together. Add in the sugar and mix together.
  4. Pour the reduced syrup over the mulled pear chunks and top with the crumble topping. Bake in a 180 degrees C oven until lightly golden brown and bubbling.
  5. Take the ice cream out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before you want to serve it. Serve a generous scoop next to the crumble and tuck in.

GB Dark Chocolate Cake

This is a very quick, made in one bowl simple but amazing chocolate cake. It is moist and very yummy showing the flavour of the dark chocolate to its full potential. I do not usually get this quality chocolate to bake with so I knew I had to show it off in some way. I did add some milk chocolate to mix as I think too much dark chocolate can be overpowering. I decorated the cake with Renshaw’s Great British Icing Pack and followed the instructions on the box to make the Union Jack.  I took this cake to the Merry Hill Centre Mummy Morning  Jubilee Cake Club today and despite the fact it did not win, I still got lots of comments of how moist and delicious the cake was despite the fact I baked it on Sunday night. If you only make one of these baked treats for this coming jubilee weekend, then I urge you to make this one. Everyone will love it!

Ingredients (makes 1 20cm square cake)

  • 100g dark chocolate, buttons or chop a bar into chunks
  • 100g milk chocolate, buttons or chop a bar into chunks
  • 200g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Any decorations or toppings you like

Method

  1. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin and set aside. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
  2. Put the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl over simmering water and melt together, stirring frequently.
  3. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until combined.
  4. Fold in the flour and salt and finally add in the eggs. Stir to combine and pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. The batter will be quite runny but don’t worry as this makes a more moist cake.
  5. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or so until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once cool, remove from the tin and decorate however you see fit.

Many thanks to Forman and Field for inviting me to take part in the bake off. I had a great time thinking about and creating the recipes. If you are on Twitter, you can follow all the bake off action using the hashtag #formansjubileebakeoff :-)

Baking Mad With Eric Lanlard

Unless you have lived under a rock for the last month, you cannot have failed to notice that the second series of Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard is currently in Channel 4 on weekday lunchtimes. Before the series started, I was lucky enough to be given a sneak preview of some of the recipes from this series and have the opportunity to make one myself. I chose the toffee and apple sauce muffins as I do not usually make muffins and these sounded super yummy!

The series is sponsored by BakingMad.com, an online community of over 100,000 members sharing a wealth of information, recipes, hints, tips and advice on baking. They very kindly provided me with some of the ingredients to make the muffins. I only altered from the recipe once as I saved the caramel that the apples were cooked in and poured it over the warm muffins to serve. The ladies at my work loved them when I visited with Thomas a couple of weeks ago! :-)

Toffee and Apple Sauce Muffins

Ingredients (makes 12)

  • 275g plain flour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 100g fudge pieces
  • Approx. 2 tbsp cinnamon sugar (2 tbsp light muscovado sugar mixed with 1 tsp ground cinnamon)

For the apple sauce

  • 300g Bramley apples (approximately 2 medium apples)
  • 150g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp calvados

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/ gas mark 6. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin papers.
  2. To make the apple sauce, peel and core the apples and cut into small cubes. Place the diced apple in a saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon, calvados and 1 teaspoon of water. Cook over a low heat until the apples are tender and of a compote consistency. Drain the apples and leave to cool.
  3. Sieve the flour, sugar and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl beat the butter and eggs together then add the milk. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just incorporated and smooth. Put on a high speed and beat for 2-3 minutes until light. Finally, add the fudge pieces and mix.
  4. Spoon half the mixture into the muffin cases then spoon over the apple sauce. Ensure that the sauce is the same consistency as the batter so that it doesn’t sink into the cakes. Cover with the remaining muffin batter and sprinkle with lots of cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes then cool on a wire rack and serve.

Festive Baking

It is the season for excess especially in terms of eating lots of sweet things and this year for me as been no exception. I have made two Christmas Cakes. One for myself and my family and one for some friends. I made my first Christmas Cake last year but did not blog about it as I used Delia’s kit from Waitrose. This year I have made and decorated both cakes completely all by myself.  I used Delia’s recipe which is here and used the techniques I learnt at the cake course I went to at the start of the year to cover the cake. The decorations for both cakes and some of the icing/marzipan was kindly supplied by Dr Oetker.

This Christmas, I have also been busy making cupcakes. I made some vanilla and mince pie cupcakes for a family gathering we had this week. To make the mince pie cupcakes, I added some mincemeat and extra spices to the usual cupcake mix and added some brandy into the buttercream. The idea was inspired by my friend and Cupcake Queen of the Cotswold’s, Louise of Cirencester Cupcakes. My family loved them and I will be making them again soon.

That’s it for my Christmas baking. Please let me know in the comments what you have been making and add links if you have done a post about it. I am always looking to try something new for next Christmas.

I will be back soon with my New Year resolutions post, a cookbook review of the year and a new monthly blogging challenge for everyone. Hope you have a great party tonight, whatever you are doing.

Happy New Year! :-)

English Mum’s Big Christmas Bakeoff

English Mum is back with another Big Bakeoff and as it is Christmas and I have not taken part in one for ages, I could not give it a miss really, despite having a 7  week old in the house and the time constraints they provide.

This time, I have decided to make a Christmas tree giant cupcake. I love giant cupcakes as they are really easy to make and look really impressive. I made this one for my local National Childbirth Trust’s (NCT) Children’s Christmas party where Thomas got to see Santa for the first time (see below). I made it originally to be sold on the cake stall but it ended up as a raffle prize. I hope the lady who won it enjoyed eating it as much as I enjoyed making it.

I used Dr Oetker’s Cake Release Spray to ensure that I could get it out of the tin and I was really impressed, the cake came out very easily. The cake was a 6 egg Victoria sponge cake mix and the icing on top was simple buttercream.

You have until midnight tomorrow to enter the Big Christmas Bake Off, so won’t don’t you get your mixers out and have some fun. I did. I will be back with more Christmas baking soon :-)

Many thanks to Yasir for the Dr Oetker products :-)

Coffee and Cake: Kenco Millicano Product Review

Hello everyone. I am back. Did you miss me? I missed you all. Thomas is doing fantastically and I am loving motherhood. You can follow my progress as a new mum on my sister blog Jo’s Nursery. I have a backlog of posts to get through so I will do my best to post regularly from now on, however please bear with me if I do not. A 4 week old can be quite demanding!

Today I would like to tell you about an amazing new coffee I have discovered. It is called Kenco Millicano and is the best tasting instant coffee that I have ever found. The reason it is the best tasting instant coffee is because it contains 15% finely milled roast and ground coffee, making it taste like freshly brewed coffee. With a newborn in the house and a distinct lack of sleep happening, a good cup of coffee to get me going in a morning is a must. Since finding Kenco Millicano, I have not looked back and I highly recommend it.

Kenco Millicano have spoken to over a thousand women across the UK to find out what the hottest trends for 2011 were. One of the most interesting trends for foodies is the ‘retro recession’ with people trying to be more cost conscious and frugal with their food purchases.

The report features the biggest upcoming trends for food such as:

  • Scandi-Style: There’s a new interest in the clean, fresh tastes of Nordic cuisine, with herring, lingonberry jam and Västerbottensost cheese enjoying a surge in popularity
  • Olde worlde recipes will continue to inspire nostalgic cuisine. Heston Blumenthal’s new venture, Dinner, interprets dishes from as far back as the 14th century, likewise at Marcus Wareing’s Gilbert Scott the menu features old school offerings like Mrs Beeton’s snow eggs with Everton toffee. 17th century grog cocktail anyone?
  • Inexpensive but tasty food: Jay Rayner’s latest discovery BBQ Shack smokes brisket and pork shoulder over hardwood pits for 18 hours, transforming the taste and texture. While stocks of salmon and cod dwindle, so too does our appetite for them, but coley and pouting will surge in popularity.

As part of the inexpensive but tasty food trend, Kenco sent me a frugal fruit cake recipe to try. I was really impressed with the recipe. It is delicious and you can hardly tell it is frugal at all. It smelled so delicious I would of eaten the cake mix uncooked if I had not of been pregnant when I made it.

Frugal Fruit Cake

Ingredients

  •  150 ml (¼ pt water)
  • 100 g (4 oz) sultanas
  • 125 g (5 oz) caster sugar
  • 113 g (¼ lb) butter
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150 g (6 oz) plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  2. First grease and line a 1 lb loaf tin, then grease the paper.
  3. Take a large, thick based saucepan and put in the water, sugar, sultanas, butter and bicarbonate of soda. Place pan on a medium heat, stir ingredients together and bring to the boil, then boil for 10 minutes exactly, but don’t go away – if the temperature isn’t controlled it may boil over.
  4. When the 10 minutes is up remove pan from the heat and allow mixture to cool. Then add the beaten egg, and the flour and baking powder, sifted together. Mix well then place in prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf for approx 1½ hours.
  5. This dark and sticky cake is a family favourite and gets even better if kept for a few days.

Many thanks to Joanna for sending me the coffee to review and the fruit cake recipe. It is much appreciated :-)

The Pink Whisk October Challenge: Apples

This month, Ruth from The Pink Whisk is challenging us to bake something using one of the ingredients of the moment- apples. I love cooking, baking and drinking apples so I knew I had to take part in this challenge. There are many things you can make with apples including cakes, tarts, crumbles, pies and so forth.

For me, the simplest and the best thing to do with apples is make a crumble. It is one of the first things I was taught to make as a child and was left on my own to make as I got older. I know it is not really original or fancy but my opinion is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! My recipe is very traditional. It does not use oats or anything in the crumble mix. I do not even put any cinnamon in with the apples. If you have good local apples like I did, you should just let them speak for themselves. My recipe below is a bit vague as it depends on how many apples, you have and the size of your baking dish as to how much you need. You just need to use your own judgement and don’t forget you can freeze any left over crumble mix for another time.

Apple Crumble

Ingredients

  • Apples, local if possible, chopped into chunks (1 large or 2 medium sized apples filled up my little Le Creuset dish above)
  • 125g butter, unsalted, cut into small chunks
  • 250g plain flour (always do half fat to flour, however much crumble you make)
  • 125g caster sugar plus a couple of extra tablespoons for the apples
  • Lemon juice

Method

  1. Put the apples in your baking dish and add some lemon juice in with them to prevent them from browning.
  2. Put in a couple of tablespoons of sugar in with the apples and lemon juice and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, make the crumble mix by rubbing in the butter into the flour until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. This may take a few minutes depending on how soft your butter is.
  4. Add in the sugar and mix well.
  5. Top the apples with the crumble mix (don’t do it too neatly- rustic looks better) and bake in a moderate oven until golden brown and bubbling. Eat with custard, cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Happy Cooking! :-)