Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Muesli bars

After making Nigella's breakfast bars and them being delicious I tried a similar recipe, this time from '101 cakes & bakes'. These are called sunshine bars in the book. They contain butter so I wouldn't exactly eat them for breakfast but they are the perfect snack on long country walks or during a busy working afternoon or to take along to a picnic (when the weather gets warmer). They will provide you with lots of energy and are also quite filling and they take no cooking!

All you need is:
100g/4oz mixed dried fruits
100g/4oz porridge oats
50g/3oz Rice Krispies
85g/2oz chopped nuts
50g/2oz sunflower and pumpkin seeds
100g/4oz light muscovado sugar
125ml/4fl oz golden syrup
100g/4oz butter

Using a large mixing bowl mix the oats, cereal, coconut, seeds and dried fruit together until they are well mixed.

In a medium sauce pan gently heat the sugar, syrup and butter using a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until it has melted. Simmer for 2 minutes and then quickly pour it over the other ingrediants and mix it all together making sure everything is covered.

Pour into a square tin and press down then leave it to cool and set. I put mine in the fridge. Chop into sqaures and eat! It should make about 18 squares! Enjoy!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Sunshine fruit cake

My parents came to stay for the weekend so on Friday I was up at 6:30am ready to start baking some treats for them! I made this cake which is called a 'sunshine fruit cake' in the recipe book and is a quick and simple way to make a fruit cake if your pushed for time. I followed the recipe from an Asda cookbook I own. The cake is lovely with or without a smidgen of margerine and accompanies a cup of tea very nicely!

All you need is:
1 earl grey teabag
250g dried chopped luxury fruit
225g/8oz self-raising flour
55g/2oz dark brown sugar
1 tbsp marmalade
1 egg, beaten
30g/1oz chopped nuts
1/2 tsp mixed spice

butter for greasing the tin

30 minutes before you want to start baking, boil the kettle and pour 150ml/5fl oz of boiling water over the earl grey tea bag and leave for 3 minutes. Remove the tea bag and then pour the tea over the dried fruit and leave for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4 and grease your loaf tin.
In a large mixing bowl mix the fruit together with its liquid with all the other ingrediants. Spoon into a the loaf tin and cook in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes. To see if the inside of the cake is done test it with a skewer; if it comes out clean then it's ready.
Leave to cool before slicing.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Cherry Cookies

I made these heart shaped cookies for Valentines day as I thought the red cherries looked lovely for such an occasion! I followed the recipe out of the BBC Good food magazine book called '101 cakes & bakes'. They are very tasty cookies with a lovely buttery taste but be warned these are definitely not for the faint hearted as the recipe includes a whole pack of butter, eek! Still if you can't treat your loved one to a heart shaped cookie on St. Valentines day when can you?

For this recipe you need:
250g / 9oz butter softened
50g / 2oz caster sugar
100g / 3.5 oz light muscovado sugar
150g / 5.5 oz self-raising flour
225g / 8oz porridge oats
200g / 7oz glace cherries
50g/ 2oz rasins
Preheat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4 and line a few baking trays with grease proof paper. In a bowl beat the butter and sugars together unlight the mixture looks light and fluffy. Stir in the flour and oats and mix together. Chop the cherries into small pieces and then stir them in with the rasins. Make sure the mixture is well mixed.
Use a small tablespoon to spoon small balls of mixture onto the tray and flatten them slightly. Make sure you leave plenty of space for spreading. Bake them for 15 minutes until they look lovely and golden but are still soft in the middle. If you want to shape them as hearts like I did then you will need to work quickly. As soon as you remove them from the oven use a heart shaped cutter to shape them. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
The book says the mixture makes about 18; I made mine quite small and the mixture made loads about 30!

Happy Valentines everyone!

Saturday, 9 February 2008


I love pancake day! We celebrate it once a year to signify that lent is about to start and I always over indulge! As a child there was always the competition as to who could eat the most pancakes and as an adult I still do pretty well! (I ate 5 if you'd like to know and they weren't all small!) I love visiting the city of Paris and eating chocolate crepes. We went once just before christmas and as we were walking up the Montmarte it started snowing and we sat in a little cafe drinking real hot chocolate and eating nutella crepes that overflowing with warm chocolate sauce! Yum Yum!

So panackes are extremely easy to make, even easier now that I have an electric whisk! All you need is:
125g/4oz plain flour
pinch of salt
1 egg, lighly beaten
300ml (1/2 pint) of milk (I used semi skimmed)
vegetable oil for greasing the pan

Simply put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a hole in the centre. Pour the egg into the hole and a little milk and whisk, slowly adding more milk. Whisk well until you have a smooth mixture and then pour into a jug and leave to stand for 15 minutes if possible!

I used vegetable oil to grease the pan as butter can burn easily, you don't want to use a lot of oil just a few drops. Pour in some mixture and swirl around until you have covered the pan. Wait until the pancake comes away from the pan before flipping over!

This mixture makes about 4 large pancakes or about 8 medium ones. Our friends came round and we went through 4 batches of mixture, eek! They tasted so great though, we had a mixture of toppings. I love the traditional syrup, sugar and lemon juice on pancakes and even better is nutella! Some other great combinations include nutella, banana and chopped nuts or strawberries and vanilla icecream or honey, blueberries and oats!
As it's nearly Valentines day I made some heart shaped ones with a little dab of nutella in the middle!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Carrot, Apple and Raisin Cake

I made this cake on saturday evening after my trip around Nottinghill markets! Wow, Nottinghill is really amazing and two things made it especially great. One was that I had the chance to see the famous Nottinghill cupcake shop called 'Hummingbird bakery' it's looked so cute but people were queuing out of the door and I couldn't be bothered to wait but the cupcakes looked really pretty and lovely. The second great thing was the cook book shop called 'Books for cooks', it was like heaven! Shelfs and shelfs filled to the top with cooking books, baking books, every kind of cuisine you could think of. My husband had to literally drag me away! I love book shops and even more so when there all about food! It has a great baking section containing lots of lovely cake decorating, baking, desserts; I would recommend it to anyone!
And so, yes, i got home and decided to make this cake from a little book i own from the Good Food magazine! The cake tastes really good and is quite easy to make but be warned it does require quite a bit of grating which can be time consuming! It has a lovely fruity texture though and I'd say it's quite healthy for a cake!

All you need to make it is:
225g/8oz self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp vegetable oil
grated zest of 1 orange
4 tbsp Orange juice
140g/5oz finely grated carrot
1 medium apple, grated
85g/30z of raisins
50g/2oz pumpkin seeds
icing sugar for dusting

Don't say I didn't warn you about the grating! So you will nedd to preheat your oven to 180C/Gas mark 4. Butter a cake tin about 7-8inch round.

Take a large bowl and mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. Take a smaller bowl and mix together the oil, orange juice and sugar. Pour the orange mixture into the bowl containing the flour and add the grated carrot and apple, orange zest, raisins and pumpkin seeds and mix well together. Spoon into the tin and place into the preheated oven for about 50minutes to an hour. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then leave it to fully cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar! Simple!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

It's market day!

I have to say that one of the best things about living in London is the markets at the weekend! I love borough market, it's amazing! And brick lane market on a sunday morning! Well this morning on my way to Waitrose there was a little street market on Whitecross street with about 15 stalls selling everything from fresh meat and olive oils to cakes and cheese! Some of the stalls sell the most beautiful food, i love looking at all the cake stalls and the cupcakes they make are stunning! I really like the way the country is turning back round to home cooked food and fresh and organic produce! One day this summer I might try baking loads and cakes and having my own stall for the day, it would be so much fun! Well, i'm off to Nottinghill, i've never been there before (and yes i have lived in London for 7 months now!) and there is suppose to be this little shop that sells every cookbook available! Wow! Sounds like heaven to me....