Sunday, 15 May 2011

Banoffee Pie

It’s time for me to share with you the absolute joy that was Lorraine Pascale’s Banoffee Pie recipe. I made this on a whim for my boyfriend when he was busy revising; for main course I made chicken teriyaki pasta (we forgot to buy noodles). This was the first recipe I tried from Baking Made Easy, and I wanted it to be something he would love and also something that wouldn’t take long so we could pig out as soon as possible.

I can’t find the recipe online and I don’t have the book with me at the moment, so I’m just going to recreate it as it was a pretty simple recipe and I remember each stage quite clearly. I don’t remember the exact amounts for ingredients so I’m going to have to guess, but as soon as I go home I’ll update this to the correct amounts.

250g digestive biscuits
100g butter
400g premade caramel (I used Carnation Caramel)
4 bananas
A good measure of rum, (I used baileys, you don’t have to use any alcohol if you don’t want to!)
1 pot of whipping cream or premade whipped cream
Step 1
2 tbsp icing sugar

1)      First melt the butter in a small saucepan. While you are doing so crush the digestive biscuits by placing them in a food bag and smashing to crumbs with a rolling pin. When the butter is melted combine the biscuit crumbs with the butter and press into the base of a round cake tin (I’m sorry I don’t know the exact measurements, I just hoped for the best and used the only one in the cupboard!).
2)      Leave the base in the fridge to set for 30 minutes. In the meantime whip up the cream with the icing sugar until firm, I’m sure you know what whipped cream is meant to be like! Then leave in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
3)      Remove the base from the fridge and spread with the premade caramel.
Step 4
   4)      Chop the bananas into slices and put them in a medium sized saucepan with the baileys. Leave on a medium heat and stir until slightly mushy and combined with the liquid.
   5)      Spread the banana mixture over the caramel, and then cover with the whipped cream.
   6)      Leave to set for a few hours in the fridge.

Step 5

I had a minor disaster with the whipping cream whereby I left it to whip up 
in the Kenwood mixer, and when I came back it had curdled. I’m not very experienced with these things! So my boyfriend had to break from revision 
to come and save the day by whipping up some double cream. It was really really good.

The end result was delicious, I should have perhaps given it a bit more time to set but no complaints about the gorgeous flavour.

An incredibly simple recipe to follow, yielding a lovely, indulgent dessert.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Date, Prune and Walnut Loaf

This is a Delia Smith recipe, and was my first ever loaf. It turned out really well, it was deliciously tasty and had a really nice texture. Here's the recipe.

3oz (75g) pitted, ready-to-eat prunes
4oz (110g) butter, at room temperature (plus extra for greasing)
6oz (175g) soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4oz (110g) wholewheat flour
4oz (110g) plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3oz (75g) pitted dates
4oz (110g) walnuts, roughly chopped
3 or 4 tablespoons milk

Butter a 9x12 inch loaf tin
  1. Butter a 9x12 inch loaf tin.  
  2. Chop the prunes and dates into chunks.
  3. In a large mixing bowl cream 4oz (110g) butter and the sugar together till     pale and fluffy. Delia says until pale white, but using dark brown sugar there was no way mine was going to go pale white, so I settled for ‘a bit paler’.
  4. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Sift the flours, salt and baking powder, and, using a metal spoon, fold them  carefully into the creamed mixture.
  6. Loaf mix
  7. Add the prunes, dates and walnuts, followed by the milk, and mix them in before transferring the mixture to the tin. Spread the mixture out evenly and bake for one hour, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Banana Nutella Cupcakes

These are the cupcakes that I made over Easter and wrote an article about for my university's online magazine. It hasn't been published yet, so you get to see it here first!

It was basically a hybrid of 3 different recipes; the banana part came from a WeightWatchers recipe for breakfast muffins, the bones of the recipe came from Baked and Delicious magazine, and the nutella frosting can be found here, at My Kitchen Notes.

The end result was the most moist, perfect, delicious cupcake. It was honestly one of the best i've had, and i'm not big-headed about my cooking at all. So if there's one cupcake recipe you have to try, it's this one. It's so easy even I could do it, and do it well at that.

So here's the recipe, with pictures.
Ingredients - for the cupcakes

125g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs
125g self raising flour
2 bananas
1tsp vanilla extrac
1 tbsp honey
for the nutella frosting

175g cream cheese
175g icing sugar
125g nutella

 Method – for the cupcakes

1)    Line a cupcake tray with 12 cases.

2)    Beat together the butter and sugar in a large glass bowl until they are light and fluffy. You need to ensure the butter is softened before you do this, so best to get it out of the fridge the night before.

3)    Beat the eggs in a measuring jug and add into the sugar and butter mixture. At this stage add a spoonful of the measured flour to stop the mixture curdling.

4)    In a small bowl, mash the bananas and honey with a fork, and then fold this into the sugar, eggs and butter mixture.

5)    Gently fold in the rest of the flour and the nutmeg, making sure it’s folded in so that there are no floury patches.

6)    Add the vanilla extract. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases. If you’re like me, you won’t avoid the temptation to lick the spoon (and mixing bowl) after. You will ignore potential admonitions and warnings about raw eggs, and go for it anyway.

7)    Bake in an oven preheated to 190°C/375°F/gas 5 for 20 minutes, until well risen and golden. Check if they’re cooked through by inserting a skewer into the centre of the largest cupcake. If it comes out clean, they’re ready, if not, they need a bit longer in the oven. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire tray.

For the frosting

8)    In a large bowl cream together the cream cheese and nutella until nicely blended. Try not to eat it all.

9)    Gradually add icing sugar and continue to mix until creamy and divine.

10)                       Take a palette knife and plop a large blob of the nutella mixture onto a cupcake. Smooth it down to one side of the cake, then repeat to the other side until the cake is layered as high as you desire. Remember; don’t use it all on one cupcake. You still have 11 to go.

11)                       This is where it gets tricky. From the centre outwards, move the palette knife anti-clockwise to make that swirly effect you see on all the great cupcakes. Or, just lob it on and hope no-one cares. For this part I used my new icing set from HobbyCraft with a star nozzle attachment to get the swirled effect.

12) Decorate with whatever you see fit. I used Dr. Oetker's wafer daisies and silver balls, as we had some lying around. 

Here's the finished product!!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

My Meatballs

I just made this up on the spot, kind of incorporated Jamie Oliver's sausage pasta recipe into it.

Ingredients (makes 4 large or 6 small meatballs):
  • 4 sausages
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 tsp garlic, or 1 small clove
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence (or any mixed herbs)
  • 1 slice of bread, toasted
  1. Roughly chop the onions and sausages.
  2. Blend together all the ingredients in an electric food blender, adding 1-2 tbsp water to bind the ingredients.
  3. Separate the mixture into balls and put onto a plate. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.
  4. Cover the base of a non-stick frying pan with olive oil. Place the meatballs carefully into the frying pan and brown them on each side until thoroughly cooked.

Home Cooking

I've only been here 2 days and we've cooked an awful lot already!

Yesterday we made Sachertorte, which is a kind of chocolate cake. In the evening we made our own tapas, my contribution was preparing a salad and making my own meatballs!

 Our tapas! Including (from left):
  • Feta salad
  • Garlic Mayo
  • Fried Battered Calamari (shop bought)
  • Fried battered king prawns and squid (home made)
  • Meatballs (homemade - recipe to follow)
  • Chorizo in a red wine sauce
  • Mixed seafood in a garlic and white wine sauce
  • Patatas Bravas! Only thing I know the proper name for, basically potatoes in a tomato sauce. We added some left over chorizo to ours.
 Details of my meatballs and Sachertorte to follow!