Posts tagged ‘sweet treats’

perfect pancakes

My favourite memories of Pancake Day as a child are dotted with raisins and drizzled with golden syrup.  Pancakes for pudding were such a treat I imagined all sorts of reasons for making them more than once a year when I was older.  The annual heart-in-the-throat moment between the pancake leaving the pan, flipping over and landing right side up in the pan would certainly be tamed (I certainly wouldn’t be able to get a photo as amazing as Nic’s if I was the flipster).   So, my first Shrove Tuesday minus mum-made pancakes came as a student in 1994 and as I prepared the batter for enough pancakes to fill both dinner and pudding space in my tummy I was horrified by how my Yorkshire house mate was preparing hers:  filling them them with baked beans and cheese violated all my conditioning about what a pancake should or shouldn’t be perfected with!

I still can’t get my head round savoury pancakes but I’ve not really experimented with sweet fillings beyond the traditional lemon and sugar, golden syrup or raisin speckled either.  If you’re looking for sweet inspiration take a mouthwatering look at Cherrapeno’s seasonal pancake ideas.  Something as simple as folding your pancake a different way may be all it takes to jazz up an old favourite filling.

Have a flippin’ great evening whatever you end up tucking into.

© Cherrapeno’s images not mine (thanks Nic)

February 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm 15 comments

the way to a man’s heart

is through his stomach so they say.  Love inspired baked goods might work for some men but for my beloved a bottle of his favourite Badger Beer always goes down well in all senses of the word. 

Wishing you all a loved filled day

x x x

©  edible valentines from blog friends @  Allotment2Kitchen lavender heart scones, Cherrapeno’s chocolate ginger biscuits, Bittersweet’s frozen pomegranate lollipops, Green Gourmet Giraffe’s rose petal biscuits

February 14, 2010 at 10:00 am 9 comments

autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile

I called time on digging at the end of November when the ground became too treacly from all the rain and the autumn sunshine had finally been chased away by the clouds.  December visits to the allotment have been short and sharp: progressing from nose drippingly chilly compost drop-offs to finger numbingly speedy pickings of greens (kale, sprouts, cabbage and cavalo nero from Pat).  This is the first year I’ve done any autumn preparations so it’s with a happy heart that I’m hanging my spade to gather cobwebs until the spring.

I’d planned to share so much in this post but we’re going away for Christmas this evening.  So more as a reminder to myself for when I get back this is what I was going to show you …

Sowing and planting – onion sets, broad beans, field beans, spring bulbs, wallflowers, globe artichokes

an early christmas day with my family last week – making stained glass window biscuits, making Nic’s Christmas Pudding truffles, making salt dough tree decorations, making Ann’s cat, making pavlova for the first time

So you can see why there’s been no time for blogging!
I’ll be offline until after Christmas so all that remains is to send you
warm wishes and festive cheer for a very happy  Christmas and a merry New Year. Can’t wait until the real Christmas day to try out  my pudding :o)

© post title is a quote by William Cullen Bryant

December 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm 11 comments

making beetroot and chocolate muffins

These beetroot and chocolate muffins went down a storm at a bring-and-share lunch on Saturday.  I found the recipe on the Ooffoo website after posting up my spinach and aubergine lasagne last month.  The funny thing is that the muffin recipe was posted by Mrs Green, a name you may recognise from comments on my blog, whose My Zero Waste blog chronicles her families commitment to recycling and reducing their household waste.  Discovering one of Mrs Green’s recipes was like bumping into an old friend and since the last of my allotment beets were also looking ‘sad‘ in the bottom of the fridge I decided to give the muffins a try.  My beets had been destined for soup but to be honest I was quite relieved to find an alternative –  I can’t can’t quite get my head, or stomach, round the idea of hot purple slurp.  They certainly won’t be left languishing so long next time and this recipe would be ideal for using up those larger, tougher beetroots that often end up on the compost heap.

The original recipe is here but I adjusted the quantities around the amount of beetroot I had and got 12 muffins and a 9” cake out of this much mixture.  I used a melted a bar of dark chocolate instead of cocoa and reduced the quantity of sugar a little.  You’ll not be disappointed with these muffins; they’re beautifully moist and light and a rich chocolatey brown colour which retains the purple hue of the beetroot.  And Mrs Green adds ‘here is a great snack for kids.  Full of the chocolatey sweet taste they want, but with some cunning raisins and beetroot added so that you can help them achieve their 5-a-day quota!’ 

To make beetroot and chocolate muffins
300g self raising flour
100g bar of dark chocolate or cocoa powder
280g caster sugar
110g raisins
3 eggs
300ml oil
375g blended cooked beetroot (about 6-10 beets depending on size)

  • Pre heat oven to 190°c
  • Cook the beetroot until soft and then blend with a hand mixer
  • Sift the flour (and cocoa powder if using) into a bowl and add the sugar and raisins. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs into the oil.  Add the cooked beetroot and mix well.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix everything together lightly.
  • Spoon the mix into muffin cases or cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until brown and risen.
  • ps. …about that 9” cake.  I was going to embark on my maiden freezing of baked goods but having given all the muffins away it was the least I could do to let George have the cake! 

December 10, 2009 at 8:17 pm 25 comments

It’s stir-up Sunday

I came across a great website today called Make it, Mend it and while browsing the food section spotted an article about making Christmas puddings and a fabulous sounding no sugar, no flour Christmas pudding recipe.  A lot of other food bloggers made their puds weeks ago so I thought I’d missed the boat to get one made and marinated in time for Christmas (especially when I’ve not made one before).  Not so according to an ancient tradition that names today, the third Sunday in November, as Stir-up Sunday: the day on which the whole family take a turn at stirring good luck into the Christmas pudding and making a wish.Googling ‘Stir-up Sunday’ to find out a bit more about this custom I came across a website for a primary school in Kent.  Woodlands Junior School pages are loaded with all sorts of Christmas related information and recipes, interactive games and activities and student pages including book reviews and a joke zone.  It’s brilliant that the importance of developing the whole child, the school’s heartbeat, is so tangibly reflected through their website.  Here’s what I learnt about Christmas while browsing their site this morning:

Christmas puddings are made with 13 ingredients to represent the Christ and his disciplines and it is  stirred from East to West to honour the 3 wise men who visited the baby Jesus.   A coin was traditionally added to bring wealth to whoever found it, a ring would foretell a marriage and a thimble a lucky life.

Mince pies were traditionally coffin or cradle shaped and spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to represent the gifts given to baby Jesus by the three wise men.  It was thought lucky to eat one mince pie of each of the 12 days of Christmas – to refuse one could bring bad luck.

Christmas trees became popular in Britain after Queen Victoria’s husband Albert brought one over from Germany in 1841.  The most famous Christmas tree in Britain is in London, near the statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square.  Since 1947 a Norwegian spruce tree has been sent over as a thank you to the British people from the people of Oslo (during the second world war King Hakkon of Norway was forced into exile in England when the Germans occupied Norway).  Christmas jokes (handy if you’re making your own crackers! answers at the end)
•  what’s brown and sneaks around the kitchen?  (from Michael Edwards, age 9)
•  what is a mum’s favourite Christmas carol (from Georgina Flynn)
•  what do you get if you eat Christmas decorations (from Adam Courtley)

As our planned walk with a friend has been postponed today I’m off to buy my missing pudding ingredients instead… once I can decide for definite which recipe to go with.  Here are other pudding recipes from some of my favourite food bloggers:
Jules’ Guinness Christmas pudding
Johanna’s beginners Christmas pudding
BBC Good Food 7 Cup Christmas pudding

And since I don’t want to spend a fiver on a lidded pudding basin I thought I’d buy a shop bought pudding to munch on while making my own.  Or perhaps I’ll copy Nic’s genius idea for making Chocolate Christmas pudding truffles

Images licensed under Creative Commons
With thanks to Jules at Domestic Goddess in Training – Christmas pudding mix, David Iluff at Wikipedia – Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, Nic at Cherrapeno – Christmas pudding truffles.

Joke answers:
Mince spies
Silent Night
Tinselitus

November 22, 2009 at 11:12 am 7 comments

brie baked apples

brie baked applesOctober has been a month of food related celebrations: National Apple Day, National Baking Week and the RSPB’s Feed the Birds Day activities took place all over the UK at the weekend.  Mulling over how I could combine two celebrations in one and use some of Derek’s golden delicious apples I recalled a promotional advert for French cheeses I’d once seen in a magazine:  apples stuffed with camembert, rolled in chopped nuts and baked in the oven.   mmmmm brie baked apples - peeled

to make brie baked apples
4 golden delicious apples
1 camembert/brie
250g castor sugar
500ml water
200g chopped hazlenuts
1tsp ground pepper
20g butter

  • Place the sugar, water and pepper in a large saucepan and bring to the boil to make a syrup
  • Peel the apples leaving the stalk intact.  Carefully remove the core from the bottom of each apple so the stalk is not lost.
  • Poach the apples in the syrup for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan and stuff each apple with a piece of camembert/brie
  • Place the chopped hazlenuts in a wide bowl and roll each apple in nuts until lightly covered
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200c/400F/gas mark 6.  Place the apples in a lightly buttered metal tray, scatter any remaining nuts over the apples and roast for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with creme fraiche, cream or ice-cream as a pudding for 4 people or a light lunch for 2

brie baked apples_before bakingThe finished result looks quite rustic and homely but if you prefer a cleaner, neater finish I’d recommend buying pre-chopped nuts.  I used whole hazlenuts (hence the dark brown speckles from the skin) and chopped them myself using my coffee grinder but as you can see they’re not chopped they’re… hmm, ground!

I wanted to do my bit for Feed the Birds week as well and decided the wild birds at the allotment needed my sunflower seeds more than I did.  They’ve made light work of nibbling on my giant russians.sunflower for birds_close upSunflower for birdsIf you want to turn your garden into a buffet table for wild birds the RSPB’s five top tips for helping wildlife survive the winter are:

  • Plant native plants such as hawthorn, ivy and honeysuckle that will provide berries in the winter for adult birds, and insects for young birds in spring
  • Make a log pile – it will be the ideal place for insects, fungi, mosses and lichens
  • Provide an insect home – insects will spend the winter in these
  • Install nesting boxes for birds such as house sparrows, winter hibernation places for hedgehogs, and roosting boxes for bats
  • Create a water feature such as a pond or bog garden – much wildlife relies on a regular supply of freshwater

October 28, 2009 at 5:56 pm 13 comments

making damson muffins

catherine muffin eyes *Meet my lovely sister-in-law Catherine and my secret muffin maker.  Catherine came to stay for the weekend and we spent a fab Sunday afternoon cooking up the fruits of our morning allotment pickings.  We picked the last of the damsons and made muffins and more dambeena cordial and froze what is probably the last of the autumn raspberries.  The recipe we used for the damson muffins was from a 2007 copy of The Waitrose Good Food magazine.damson muffins cut up *

320g damsons
275g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
100ml sunflower oil
250ml natural yoghurt

MOSAIC - damsons, egg and oil

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  • Thoroughly wash the damsons and cut them in half to remove the stones, being sure to cut out any bad bits.  Roughly chop into quarters and set aside.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar.
  • Whisk together the eggs, oil and yoghurt in a separate jug.  Stir this mixture into the flour until just combined.  Add the damsons and stir again.
  • When mixed, divide between a greased 12 hole muffin tin.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until the muffins spring back when pressed.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.  Serve while still warm.

damson muffins in cake tin close up

I always use cake cases inside cake tins.  Partly because I don’t like making washing up harder than it needs to be but also because it’s a waste of good cake crumbs scraping muffins off metal.  We experimented with a couple and spooned the mixture directly into the tin.  They broke up a bit when lifted out because the cake mix is quite light and fluffly.  I don’t think they would have stored as well as they did without the silicone case holding them together.  It does mean your muffins will be more like cakes but on the plus side you’ll get 18 cakes instead of the suggested 12 muffins. damson muffins

Did I mention that we shared our morning at the allotment with a constant stream of drizzle?  No wonder we wanted to do some warming baking when we got back.  It was brilliant having an extra pair of hands and as Piglet would say ‘it’s so much friendlier with two‘.  So thanks for all your help in the kitchen Catherine and for picking these catherine's raspberries

so that I could do this MOSAIC - Nic digging

ps. a little nutritional info from The Waitrose magazine.
per muffin – 276 kcals, 10.9g fat, 18g sat fat, 0.4g salt, 23.2g sugars

October 17, 2009 at 8:08 am 17 comments

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