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Clandestine Cake Club…
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Back at the end of last year I heard about the Chichester Clandestine Cake Club via Twitter and went along to their November meeting. Somehow nine months has gone by and despite the best of intentions I never made it back to a second meeting… until last night!

The group meet at a location in Chichester (not disclosed till the day before) and share cake creations on a set theme. Last time the theme was winter warmers and I took a ginger cake. This time the theme was a bit trickier, we were asked to provide a cake which was a supersize version of a picnic food. After lots of fruitless Pinterest browsing I decided I was going to have to make something up from scratch and so the Scotch Egg cake was born!

As luck would have it, an old (and very creative) friend came to see us for lunch yesterday and together we managed to make something half decent…

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Should you ever want to make a Scotch Egg cake this is how we did it…

In addition to your usual cake ingredients, you will need rich tea biscuits, Betty Crocker cream cheese icing and yellow and red food colouring

(1) We made two chocolate cake mixtures (my cake mix is here, just leave out the Philadelphia) and cooked each one in a well greased six inch pyrex glass bowl.

(2) After they had cooled, we hollowed out a hole in the middle for the egg part. For the egg white, we made a third sponge cake mixture (basically my chocolate mixture with vanilla rather than cocoa) crumbled that and mixed it with Betty Crocker cream cheese icing. We then packed the walls of the hollow out with the cake mixture.

(3) Next we put the cakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes to harden them up and coated the outside with the Betty Crocker icing and crumbled rich tea biscuits. The most effective way to do this is either to put the biscuits in a slightly larger bowl than the one you used as a mould. Or to turn the cake upside down (narrowest part upwards) and pour the biscuits over it.

(4) Next we added the yolk which was Betty Crocker icing coloured with yellow colouring (the whole tube!) and a bit of red.

(5) Finally having decided the egg “white” was not white enough, we topped it with icing powder, in retrospect it would have been far more sensible (and neater) to mix the icing sugar with a little boiled water to create a paste… maybe next time!

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PS – Thank you to all the lovely folks at Chichester Clandestine Cake Club and especially to Helen & Laura who organised the event and to Jan who took the top photo!

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Butternut Squash Brownie

Do you ever get the feeling that there are no original ideas left in the world?! Even the really crazy ones?

The other night we were eating butternut squash pasta and I thought “I wonder what this would be like in brownie? Wouldn’t that be crazy!”

So I googled it just to check… and someone’s already done it. In fact loads of people have already done it. Butternut squash brownie is not crazy or original, in fact half the world probably bakes it at this time of year. Maybe I am the last one to discover it?

Anyway, as baking is always a pretty successful way of passing an afternoon with Theo we thought we’d give it a go.

The butternut squash is cooked in the microwave for 8-10 minutes before combining it with dark chocolate to form a smooth batter (at which point it ceases to look anything like vegetables.) Then you whip eggs and sugar, before folding in dry ingredients and the squash batter.

The recipe I used is from Delicious magazine and can be found along with the ingredient list on their website. My brother-in-law is actually the publisher of Delicious, but sadly for me he has never attempted to bribe me to feature his content. In fact after six changes of address in as many years, he’s even given up sending me a free copy of the magazine – Ha!

The resulting brownie had a lovely indulgent dark chocolate flavour which would go brilliantly with ice-cream and it’s low fat, because the butternut squash replaces the fat content!

I’m linking up with Tasty Tuesdays for the first time…

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com 
 

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Three speciality savoury breads

I recently received a box of goodies from Fragata, the speciality Spanish food brand. When I was younger, my parents had a holiday home in Spain and at quite a young age I developed a love for strong Mediterranean flavours. Incorporating some Fragata products into my menu was not going to be difficult, although stopping myself from eating them right out of the tins while I planned it, was a lot harder!

I started with 1kg of white bread dough which I proved in the fridge overnight and then after letting it come to room temperature, I kneaded it again and divided it in three.

For my first bread I used a third of the dough, along with a jar of Fragata Pimiento Piquilo and a block of parmesan. I rolled the dough out into a rectangle and then covered it in chopped red pepper and grated parmesan.  Then I rolled it like a swiss roll and cut slices about an inch wide. I left these to prove for 45 minutes before cooking then at 230c for 15 minutes…

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With the second batch of dough, I made garlic and herb and breadsticks with a whole jar of Fragata garlic and a very healthy sprinkling of dried mixed herbs. I rolled out the dough into a rectangle again and covered it in crushed garlic and herbs. I then folded the right third on to the middle third, added more garlic and herbs to this two layer thick section and then folded the left third on top, before rolling it out again and dividing it into 4 inch x 1 inch strips, which I twisted before proving on a baking tray for 45 minutes and then baking at 230c for 15 minutes.
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And finally with the remaining third I made olive and parmesan shorts. Exactly the same process as the garlic breadsticks except I used a tin of garlic olives and parmesan as my filling and I left out the final step of twisting.
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All three batches of bread turned out brilliantly and thankfully I can also report they froze fantastically. All that delicious bread kicking round the kitchen while I had an afternoon to myself, was definitely not a good thing and as soon as it had cooled the majority of it was tucked away in the freezer.
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Yummy summer pud recipe…
Evaporated milk jelly

My parents went to a birthday party recently (for people their age, not children!) and when they returned my mum remarked on how out of all the puddings on the buffet table, it was the jelly that went first. This lead to a bit of a discussion about all the variations of jelly you can make and how nice jelly is with evaporated milk (a family favourite!) so on my mum’s suggestion, earlier today I tried combining evaporated milk with jelly… and he results are delicious!

Ingredients : 

1/2 a block of shop bought fruit jelly
140ml Water
145ml (just less than a small tin) of evaporated milk

Method :

* Refrigerate the tin of evap overnight before using.
* Prepare jelly mix by breaking half the block in to chunks and putting it in a microwavable jug with 50ml of water
* Microwave for 40 seconds then set aside to cool slightly
* Measure the evap out and whisk it to a thick aerated consistency with an electric whisk.
* Take the cooled hot water/jelly mixture and combine it with the remaining (90ml) of cold water
* Fold the combined jelly mixture into the whisked evap.

Refrigerate for several hours – Delicious!

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Chocolate Philadelphia cupcakes
Philadelphia cupcakes (take 2)

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to review some of the newly launched Philadelphia with Cadburys chocolate. As well as being great on bagels, I have discovered that chocolate philly is great both in and on cakes. If you fancy trying it, feel free to use my recipe, and I’ll let you into a little secret, this recipe is just my normal cupcake mix (handed down from my mum) with approximately the same quantity of Philadelphia added to the mix as you use of flour/sugar/butter and the addition of a tablespoon of milk to loosen the mix.

Philadelphia cupcakes (take 2)

Of course arguably as this recipe works perfectly well without the Philadelphia added there is an argument that says we don’t really need the Philadelphia in it, so those of you watching your waistline may just want to try it as a topping!

Chocolate Philly cupcakes (makes 12)

5.5oz plain flour
0.5oz cocoa
6oz margarine or spreadable butter
6oz brown sugar
3 eggs
4 teaspoons of baking powder
2 tubs of chocolate philly (one for in the cake, one for on the cake!)
1 tablespoon of milk

Method : Combine all the ingredients (reserving one tub of chocolate philly for the topping) and mix well with a hand whisk. Divide between 12 cupcake cases (or more if you don’t want the muffin top mine have!) and cook in the oven at 170c for 30 minutes.

One note, I am cooking in a dubious military oven with questionable temperatures! You may find your cupcakes cook quicker, if in doubt, after 15 minutes use a finger to check the top is firm and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean. If you timings vary please post a comment for others!

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