Archive | June, 2011

Summer means fruit, and lots of it!

28 Jun

I love this heat, don’t you? You can leave you’re doors or windows open all day, and most of the evening too. The days turn into a blur, full of music and fruity drinks, and the evenings are filled with laughter, grilled food and more drinks (ones with a little more kick though).

In my opinion the summer hasn’t really arrived yet though. We have had a few good days, but we had better in April. Hmphh, well such is the way in the UK hey?!

But we all carry on with our summer ways, refuse to wear anything but shorts and sunglasses, even in the rain. I like that English spirit, we are usually so disheartened by everything else.

But anyways, this months Mac Tweet, Mac Attack Challenge is rather rushed, as I am off to Cornwall tomorrow with the Boy. I cannot wait.

Pussy cats are being tended to by the 17-year-old sister….I am not sure what else to say about a 17-year-old with a free house to herself for 3 days, I shall tell you when I get back. But I know what I would have done. Don’t you?

So, Mac Tweets. This months theme is anything fruity, which is fab. So much is in season right now so there was so much choice.

I was going to try replicate the amazing Cherry macaron I had in Laduree, but I didn’t want to pit a load of cherries. Then I came to me.

When my sisters and I were kids, our Dad loved raspberry ripple ice cream. Every year it was like a occation, you see, my Dad doesn’t really like sweet things (crazy I know) but raspberry ripple ice cream he couldn’t resist. I remember like clock work, as the days grew longer and hotter we would start getting raspberry ripple ice cream with tinned fruit for pudding. Sometimes peaches or clementines, but always raspberry ripple. To me this is the taste of summer.

So here is my macaron creations, especially for my Dad.

Mascarpone Raspberry Ripple Macarons

For the basic macaron shell, follow this recipe.

Just add swirls of red food colouring. Do this once your shells are piped out by dipping a cocktail stick in a little food colouring and swirling it around the top of the macaron.

Bake as normal.

Mascarpone filling

1 small pot of mascarpone

1 cup of raspberries.

Beat together until light and fluffy. Pipe onto one shell and sandwich together with another.

Enjoy.

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Guilt-Free Breakfast. Gluten-free and delicious!

27 Jun

Over the last few months I have been testing new recipes for gluten-free/grain-free baking and cooking.
I wanted breakfast that was satisfying like toast and honey, and filling like a bowl of granola, problem is, I can’t eat any of those things because I’ve recently discovered that grains, of any type, are not my friend. I’m talking wheat, rice, corn, couscous, you name the grain, I can’t eat it. Which means I don’t get any of the ‘good stuff’ so to speak. I can’t even eat the gluten-free alternative as rice flour is used.
To be honest I’ve been pretty bummed out for the last few months over this.
Anyways, The Spunky Coconut pretty much saved my life.

Kelly and her family have been gluten-free/grain-free, sugar-free and the rest for some time now. I would check out her website for the full story, as I wont do it justice, but it’s all pretty inspiring. She reminded me that there were loads of grain alternatives, and with a little, tiny, weenie bit of effort (not much at all) you can have delicious baked and cooked yummies, that A) wont hurt you’re gut or give you crazy blurry vision (yep that’s what happens folks) and B) are really high in protein and all that good stuff.

So I’ve taken inspiration from Kelly and I’ve been making my own grain free pancakes! The recipe is one I’ve made up myself, and has worked well all the times I used it. And you don’t have to feel guilty eating them as they are almost completely carb free, no sugar and high in protein. This version is also dairy free, but not out of intention. It can be altered by replacing the coconut milk with cows or goats milk if you like.

Vanilla Almond Pancakes with Honey and Lemon drizzle

Serves 1

30g blanched almonds

20g tapioca flour

10g quinoa flakes

5g coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

1 egg

A little coconut milk to thin.

Drop of vanilla bean essence

Coconut oil for cooking

1 dessert spoon honey

2 dessert spoons fresh lemon juice

 

Put you’re almonds and quinoa in a grinder, I use a coffee grinder myself, and find it works perfectly. Grind until you have a fine flour.

Put all the dry ingredients to a bowl and add the egg, mix until well incorporated.

Add coconut milk and vanilla to thin down you’re batter, depending on how thick you want you’re pancakes.  Alternatively you can have waffles by adding only a drop of milk. Leave for a few moments while you heat you’re frying pan to a high/medium heat.

While you wait, mix together the honey and lemon in a small bowl or cup. Set aside.

Add a touch of coconut oil (or a little butter) to your hot frying pan, and add a couple of spoons of batter. Cook one side for about a minuet,  flip and cook the other side. Repeat until all your batter has gone. Personally I have mine quite small, more like waffle size, but they work just as well if you want a thin pancake, just add more milk and spread across the pan.

Pour on your honey and lemon drizzle, and ta-dah! You have yourself a healthy stack of Almond Pancakes! Enjoy!

 

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

16 Jun

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”-William Shakespeare.

La Pomme!

This sonnet seems so apt for times of late. I was reading that in Shakespeare’s time, that their summer time was around May. Where those rough winds shake the May time flowers.

We are in the middle of June now, where is the sun? I have a feeling my flip flops won’t be worn this year.

We’ll they say ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ right? So I am baking comfort food. But more of that in a minuet.

I am rather excited by the way…on Wednesday I received my copy of Helene Dujardin’s (aka Tartelette to all you lovely bloggers) Plate to Pixel. For those of you know don’t know, Helene is an amazing food photographer, food stylist, cook, baker, blogger and author, plus a whole heap more. phew.

I started reading her blog, Tartelette about a year ago when I first started thinking about my business. Her food looked amazing, I was totally engrossed from the first click. It was a post about violet macaron’s. I still look at that picture now and crave macaron’s. The light caught beautifully on their little ‘pied’, their slight hue, reflected on the cake stand. And then I scrolled down.

Tartelette's Plate to Pixel

I spent over 2 hours that evening enjoying her blog.My eyes has a feast, and I wanted to gorge. This was the day that I really fell in love with the whole concept of ‘food’. Don’t get me wrong, I loved food before, but somehow it was just so much clearer now.

The next day I picked up my little point and snap camara and took dozens of cupcake photos.

To be honest I was rather frustrated with the results. Grainy, low light, etc etc. I blamed the camara. Poor thing, it wasn’t its fault. I was totally me. I was doing things like using the flash and auto modes. I was a nightmare. Still I went ahead and bought a new camara. In all fairness though, my P&S was a bit out of date.

I didn’t have much money, but I wasn’t going to buy something I didn’t have control over. I really wanted a dSLR, but I knew these babies where out of my price range. I asked around, read review after review online, and finally I popped into a camara shop and had a look. I knew I wanted something that had a decent macro and something with a good optical zoom was also important. The assistant showed me a Fufifilm Finepix S1900, instantly I knew it was the right camara. 18x optical zoom, manual settings, aperture and shutter speed control and 2 macro settings. It’s really just somewhere between and P&S and dSLR. All in all it was the perfect buy for me.

I started taking pictures as soon as I could. The pictures definitely looked better, the feel was there, but I really wanted to learn more. And this is where Plate to Pixel comes in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay I’ll be honest, I’ve never been much of a book reader. There I said it, out loud, kind of. It’s not that I don’t love stories, if someone could read to me I would be pleased. But I find it hard to stay on track. Dyslexic thing.

Once apon a time, my dear Grandpa, who is sadly not in this life anymore, said to me very seriously when I was VERY young “One day a book will change you’re life very fundamentally. It will change the way you think about things. It will answer you’re questions, feed you’re knowlage, and have you coming back with more questions, all at the same time” To be honest I didn’t believe a word he said. He was a publisher, and very passionate about books.

On Wednesday those words he told me all fell into place. I opened the front cover of this beautifully pictured book and read. There are only a few moments in my life that I can relate to the feeling I felt when reading this book. When I danced, and falling in love. It’s exactly the same. My heart was dancing. And all the pieces started to come together, it all made sense now.

So yesterday I decided to put into practice what I had learned briefly. It’s a big book so I didn’t get that far. Just learning the basics like, aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  But I can already see a little difference, and I suddenly started to unleash the art form behind photography, meaning drawing with the light. Isn’t that gorgeous?

I also wanted to try adapting some grain-free recipes, and because it was raining outside (no surprise there). I decided carmelized apples were a must!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see how they started looking more like 'pomme de terre'.

Time to bake. So here it is. It's naturally gluten-free, and almost guilt free. I used ground coconut and almonds as my, but I am finding it very hard to find it ground finer. If you have the answer to this, please help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Cake with Raspberry Streusel Topping

Makes 12 muffin sized cakes.

3 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced

50g dark brown sugar

185g soft butter

100g golden castor sugar

2 eggs

185g ground almonds

100g ground coconut

Streusel Topping

15g ground almonds

60g ground coconut

20g sugar

15g butter

some good quality raspberry jam

Pre-heat oven to 150c (I have a very cheap electric oven) that runs a little higher in heat then the average.

Start by frying the apple in 5g of butter on a medium heat for around 5 minuets. Add the dark sugar and cook for a further 5 minuets. Set aside.

Make you’re streusel topping by combine almonds, coconut, sugar and butter, and work together untill you have a crumb consistency. Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and freeze.

To make you’re cake.

cream the butter and the castor sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.

Combine almonds and coconut and fold into the butter mixture.

Stir in the carmelized apples, and bake at 150c for around 35 minuets.

After 35 minuets, take you’re muffin cakes out, spread a good helping of raspberry jam on top of each one.

Slice thin slices of the streusel topping and crumble over the top. Bake for another 20 minuets at 140c.

Either strate out the oven (be warned they are piping, I burnt my mouth a little) as a cozy pudding with custard, or surprise your loved ones by packing it in their lunch box!

Mini Scone Muffins (Scoffins) Recipe.

5 Jun

 

I have a manic week ahead. Lots of baking for a summer fair on saturday, a 90th birthday cake and oh my, so much to sort out.

I bought myself some new equipment last week, exciting stuff, well to me. When it all arrived I  felt some slight suspense. I tend to buy online and then forget what I’ve bought. Imagine the scene. I was sat in the middle of my living room tearing open packaging at an unbelievable rate of knots. I ended up with a pile of brown paper and bubble wrap around me, and a heap of (presents) baking pans, baking sheets, mixing bowls etc in the middle of the room with me. I was like an over excited kid at Christmas.

I instantly wanted to use my new mini muffin pans. ‘What to bake’ I thought. Hmmm. This thought stayed with me for a little while. We were having a BBQ that night for our good friend who was back from Holland. I was thinking it would be great to bake something traditional. Something I rarely ever do. Scones…

I’m sorry, you’re going to cringe right now.

I HATE SCONES.

There, I said it, I got it off my chest. I know, I am English, I should love them. But I can’t stand them. You can’t eat them without feeling you swallowed a crummy brick. They just sit there in you’re stomach. So rich that you can’t eat nowt more. You see, I am all for eating, but I like the kind of food you can eat, and still have room for more later on.

So I reinvented that baby. The whole reason for me baking was to test out my new tins. So I had to make some sort of muffin. How about mini muffins. Mini Scone Muffins?

The amazing flavour of a scone, but in a light and airy muffin.

Uh, hello, AMAZING.

We ate them last night. My better half loved them. I honestly have no idea how I landed myself with such a supportive human being. He believes in me 100% and for that, well, I have no words.

Anyways, enough mushy stuff. I thought he was the one that named these little delights during our drunken BBQ. But apparently it was actually our good friend, you know, the one who is back from Holland for the weekend. It was quite a boozy evening. And my memory is poky at the best of times…

Him-“You know, you should call them Scoffins”

Me-“Genius”

So there we go. Here I have a recipe for you:

 

 

Mini Scone Muffins (Scoffins).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat you’re oven to around 200c

225g self raising flour

50g wholemeal flour

pinch of salt

55g butter, cut into small cubes

100ml milk

100g castor sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

5 handfuls of currents

1 egg, beaten.

Okay. Start by mixing the flours and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the cubed butter and work together until well incorporated and flaky.

Add the sugar, milk and vanilla , and mix until you have a loose dough, almost like cake mixture. At this point add the currents. But by any means, don’t just restrict yourself to currents, go wild. Add chocolate chips, orange zest or sour cherries? The possibilities are endless.

Fill a greased muffin pan with your Scoffin mixture. I filled mine right to the brim so that I would get that classic ‘muffin top’ look to them, this worked perfectly. Then I brushed a little of the beaten egg on top, and popped them in the oven for around 10-12 minuets, or golden brown.

Remove from tin and enjoy warm with clotted cream, jam and a pot of tea.

Find me on Tumblr

1 Jun

Hey peeps!
You can now find me on Tumblr.
http://www.thelilacbakery.tumblr.com