GBBO Technical Challenge. Week 1: Angel Food Cake.

I imagine that just about every baking blogger who watches the Great British Bake Off will be trying out a few, if not all, of the technical bakes as the series progresses. This is going to be my new challenge!

This morning I set to work making Mary Berry’s Angel Food Cake to take to a family bbq. I found the recipe on the BBC Food website and followed it to the letter as I was a little scared by it! Any recipe with way more eggs than flour always seems like it could go wrong in so many ways.

Mary Berry’s Angel Food Cake recipe

Here are a few photos from this morning’s baking. Yes I did take a small slice. I needed to check for quality obviously!
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My new cake tin especially for this occasion. Not an angel food cake tin but it worked!
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This recipe is ace as it uses both parts of the egg so there is no waste.
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Folding in the flour and sugar.
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The mixture about to go into the oven.
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Cooling upside down.
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Out of the tin!
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Ok, so I had a small slice! It’s really light in texture and colour. It might be a little to dark on the outside but it doesn’t affect the taste. Perfect!
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Making the lemon curd using up the egg yolks and lemons.
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Almost finished!
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Over a litre of lemon curd!
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The entire tub of whipped cream!
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Home-made lemon curd drizzle.
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The finished product with passion fruit drizzle.

I really enjoyed making this and although it doesn’t 100% match the GBBO cake it’s pretty close! I also managed to tidy while it was cooling!
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Happy weekend!

Sunday brunch

It wasn’t a particularly heavy night of drinking but I woke up craving a fry up.

Recently we stayed at Simon’s house and he’d found a baked bean cook book. I have to admit some of the recipes looked less than enticing, especially the sweet recipes! The one recipe we did find that was tempting was the eggy bean bread and this is what I served up this morning.

Ingredients
8 slices of french bread
3 eggs
1/2 tin of baked beans
Cheese

How to
1) Beat the egg in a bowl.
2) Immerse the bread into the egg and ensure both sides are coated. Set aside.
3) Warm the beans in a saucepan but do not allow to boil.
4) Begin to fry the eggy bread in a frying pan and cook on both sides until the egg turns golden on the bread.
5) Add a spoonful of beans to the bread and place 2 slices of cheese over the beans.
6) Carefully flip the bread over and cook for about 30 seconds until the cheese has melted. Don’t leave it too long or it will burn.
7) Serve and enjoy!

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I’m hoping this gives me enough energy for a working elevenses and a walk with Molly the collie later. Happy Sunday!

Movie night number two – Alfred Hitchcock

This has been in the diary for months and it finally arrived! Hitchcock night!!

Below are a few photos from tonight.

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My Hitchcock themed cake.

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A few props from the evening.

Everyone brought a prop and Tom and Jo were the ‘lucky’ winners of the ‘Birds’ mug and Bate’s Motel toiletries. I particulary loved the step ladder which was either Vertigo or 39 steps (minus 37).

For dinner we served ‘Birds’ or sticky chicken drumsticks cooked in the slow cooker following this recipe.

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We served these alongside ‘Psycho’ knife blade potato wedges and salad.

For the potato wedges I cut 1 potato per person (+1) into eight and drizzled in oil, salt and pepper before cooking at 180°c for around 45 minutes or until crispy on the outside but soft inside.

We watched Frenzy, Rope and Strangers on a Train and were all astounded by Hitchcock as usual. One of the main things I took away from my film degree was that Hitchcock was and always will be a British legend.

The next night will be a John Hughes movie night so I guess that will be breakfast goodies followed by a pink cake with 16 candles. Let’s hope we’re not home alone!

Some much needed ‘me’ time.

I know this is my second post of the day but I had some ‘me time’ today. It was time to catch up with myself and do the things that I love as well as the boring household chores.

After popping into town for part retail therapy and part buying supplies for dinner tonight and our Hitchcock night, I made scones for afternoon tea with my oldest friend Helen. I usually leave scone making to Chris but I was feeling brave, and do you know what? They’re pretty tasty even if I say so myself.

I followed the recipe from the BBC Food website but halved the recipe which produced 5 perfectly sized beauties.

The mixture was very moist, so as I combined the ingredients I kept sprinkling flour over the dough ball I until it was less sticky and didn’t leave all the dough on my hands! I also didn’t roll out the dough and cut out shapes, instead I just made 5 lumps of dough and put these on magic liner on a baking tray.

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Served with jam, cream and tea I hope it was a treat for Helen who’s been working at summer school all day.

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As a treat for my husband I created Tandoori chicken in the slow cooker. The recipe I followed wasn’t for a slow cooker but I did it anyway!

Tandoori chicken recipe

I just added all the ingredients together and mixed before adding to the slow cooker with 250g of diced chicken and left it to cook on low for 7 hours, checking and stirring it every hour or so.

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I also added rice to the slow cooker 2 hours before serving. This is something I haven’t tried before so I was a little anxious it wouldn’t cook so I kept an eye on it and only had to add about 200ml of cold water which thickened the sauce up beautifully. I added the 200ml in 2 parts, leaving a gap between adding the water until the sauce had thickened again.

A lovely treat for a Thursday night and very easy to do. It went really well with a mojito too!

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A whole load of birthday meals.

Tuesday was my mum’s birthday and we spent the day out and about. First we visited the Lilypie Café. Lilypie was introduced to me by my best friend Queenie. It’s a gorgeous place which does lush paninis for lunch. We then went on to Leeds Castle for a walk.

We’d already cooked a big meal for my mum at the weekend (recipes coming soon) so the remit for Tuesday dinner was something much simpler.

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This is my chicken and sweetcorn pasta bake.

Ingredients for 4
400g of diced chicken
1tbsp olive oil
1 leek
4 chestnut mushrooms diced
1 small tin of sweetcorn
400g of pasta
For the cheese sauce
1tbsp butter
1tbsp plain flour
Milk (add until it reaches the correct consistency)
Cheese (add to taste)

The how to
1) Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and cook the pasta in a saucepan for however long it says on the packet.
2) Heat the oil in a frying pan and when it is hot add the leek until softened. I’m so used to cooking on a gas hob that using an electric one seemed to take ages to heat up!

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3) Add the chicken and fry until it is cooked all the way through.

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4) I then added some mixed herbs but this is entirely up to you. Then put the mushrooms and sweetcorn in and leave to simmer.

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5) When the pasta is cooked and the mushrooms are cooked enough for you (This was about 10 minutes for me but Queenie doesn’t like soggy mushrooms so vary it for your tastes.) place everything into an oven proof bowl which has a lid.
6) Make the sauce by melting the butter and then adding the flour to form a paste. Add the milk slowly and keep whisking before pouring in the grated cheese and milk until quite a thick consistency is achieved.
7) Pour the sauce over the pasta and chicken mixture and stir in.

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8) Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on as you don’t want it to crisp up on top.

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9) Serve with fresh bread and salad.

More recipes to follow as well as our Hitchcock themed evening!

My first commission!

It’s finally happened! I’m being paid to make a cake!! I got up at 7:45 this morning to make a cake for my friend Zoe’s partner to take to a first birthday party. I was given a lot of design freedom too, with Stan stipulating it was a Minnie Mouse theme and for it to cost between £6 – £10.

I set to work designing it, costing it up & then redesigning it on the spot!

Ingredients
10 eggs (mine were medium free range and weighed 575g in total)
575g butter
575g caster sugar
575g self raising flour
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
A pinch of baking powder

For the decoration
1 pack of white 1kg regal ice ready to roll icing
2 packs of red icing (250g a pack)
2 packs of normal Cadbury’s Dairy milk buttons
1 pack of giant Dairy milk buttons
Jam
Writing icing
Icing sugar to dust

How to
Regular readers of my blog will know the foolproof method for my cakes but I’ll recap briefly before focusing on the decoration.

1) Weigh the eggs, with shells, to calculate the weight of the butter sugar and flour.
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2) Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them gently with a fork before adding the vanilla extract and stirring in.
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3) Cream the butter and sugar together.
4) Add the flour, baking powder and egg mixture slowly ensuring that the ingredients are all combining.
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5) I poured some into an 8″ circular cake tin and baked this first for around 20 minutes. I then used a 6″ by 8″ roasting tin covered in magic baking parchment and baked this at 160°c to get a more even bake and this took around 30 minutes, but I checked on it by inserting a clean knife until the blade came out without cake mix.
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6) When the circular cake was cooled I brushed it with raspberry jam and then laid the rolled, white icing over the top.
I cut a number one from the red icing and using small balls of white icing put these on the one.
Then I used writing icing for the words and used giant chocolate buttons for the faces and small ones for the ears. Going one step further I made a red ribbon and spotted it with white writing icing.
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7) For the bigger cake I rolled out red icing (I dusted my pastry mat with icing sugar to stop it sticking and then simply used a moist pastry brush to get back the red colour) and placed it over the cake which I had again covered in jam.
I cut out circles of white icing for the spots, cutting some in half for the edges and placed these on using a tiny amount of water.
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8) I placed the circular cake on top and then rolled balls of red and white icing for a Minnie Mouse necklace effect and then stuck in a cupcake flag.
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9) I then decorated the board with more Mickeys and voila! Cake made!
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It’s not perfect but it feels close enough for me!

Guest blog post number one.

So, yesterday was spent with my gorgeous friend Queenie & today I bring you her recipes for our bake off! Enjoy.

Blondies (from Bea’s bakery recipe book, with amendments)
Ingredients
480g good quality white chocolate chopped into pea-sized pieces
(we actually used cheap white chocolate which worked almost as well and just broke it into its little square segments)
320g unsalted butter
(we only used about 200g of butter I think and this was probably still a little too much)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g plain flour
A pinch of salt
Brownie pan

How to
• Preheat the oven to 170 degrees
• Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Put the butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the butter immediately over the chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
• Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
• Pour the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined.
• For magical looking ‘golden’ blondies I randomly added some edible gold dusting and this actually worked rather well.
• Transfer the mixture into the brownie pan (we used Annie’s magic baking sheets for this and it worked amazingly well, though it did end up dripping in butter after the brownie was tossed out!)
• Bake for about half an hour – should be golden brown on top AND STILL GOOEY IN THE CENTRE. I highlight this last bit because failure to notice this final piece of guidance meant that we ended up with blondies that looked more like black brownies. It’s a learning curve and we were all to blame on so many levels).

They are extremely rich so it makes at least 12, but I would cut the pieces small. You MUST wait until the blondie has cooled, preferably in the fridge for an hour or so, or it won’t survive the carving process.

Nutella cupcakes (so good but massively sticky)
Ingredients
I used my standard plain sponge recipe:
100g stork
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
A very generous few sprinklings of baking powder
2 eggs

How to
All the ingredients are mixed together in an electric mixer and baked at 180 degrees for 15 minutes. This made about ten largish cupcakes.
When the cakes where cooled, I scooped out some of the centre, taking care not to cut to deep and filled the hole with nutella. It had grown nice and warm in the cupboard so this was easy. I then replaced the chunk of cake which had been extracted and liberally spread (and tried to swirl as best I could) nutella all over the top. To finish, I sprinkled mini-smarties across the top. Not too shabby.

I loved the Nutella cupcakes! The sponge was so light & moist & the amount of Nutella was perfect.

Enjoy!