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Thanksgiving cake with a difference.

12 Nov

 

Looking at this cake it is hard to believe that it is turkey but really it is. This creative Thanksgiving dinner cake has been created using layers of turkey, sweet potato, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potato and topped with marshmallows. If you fancy breaking away from the norm and getting creative why not give this a try for yourself. For the full recipe and assembly instructions please check out Thanksgiving Turkey Cake Recipe – CHOW.

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Pumpkin pie with a twist.

9 Nov

Since i have never made a pumpkin pie, i decided it was now or never and i really fancied giving it a whirl. As i am not really pastry confident just yet ( believe me i need practice or a miracle, whichever comes first), i decided to give my pumpkin pie a bit of a twist. Being a huge fan of desserts and also benefiting from having a very sweet tooth (or cursed, i don’t know which it is really), i decided to combine 2 desserts together to make a delicious tasting sweet treat. So i decided to make a pumpkin pie cheesecake, the base of a cheesecake and the filling of a pumpkin pie. To give this pumpkin pie an extra added bonus, i also decided to use ginger biscuits for my base.

For the base.

  • 85g Butter, melted.
  • 170g  Ginger biscuits, crushed.

For the pumpkin filling.

  • 1  pumpkin
  • 8oz light brown soft sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 350ml evaporated milk

To prepare the pumpkin.

  • Preheat the oven to 160C / 325F / Gas Mark 3.
  1. Place some foil onto a baking tray and lightly oil.
  2. Next cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and place skin side up onto the prepared baking tray.
  3. Bake the pumpkin for 40 minutes.
  4. Once the pumpkin has cooled so it is just slightly warm, remove the flesh from out of it and mash it up.

To prepare the base.

  1. Put the butter into a pan and heat gently until melted.
  2. Add the crushed ginger biscuits and stir well until combined.
  3. Place the mixture into an oven proof dish/container and press down firmly using the back of a spoon, until compact and smooth.
  4. Place into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

To prepare the filling.

  1. In a large bowl beat the eggs together.
  2. Then add the flour, sugar, salt, spices, evaporated milk and the pumpkin and mix together until well combined.

Pour the mixture over the prepared biscuit base and bake for 50-60 minutes 180C / 350F /Gas Mark 4.

Once cooked, remove from oven and transfer onto a wire cooling rack. Once the pumpkin pie has cooled, transfer to the refrigerator. For best results refrigerate over night, unless like me you really can’t wait that long.

This pumpkin pie cheesecake is delicious served on its own or for a really special treat why not top with whipped cream, drizzle with double cream or even serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

This is where i found the recipe for the filling.

Bonfire night goodies.

8 Nov

Bonfire night was good this year, we had a few fireworks at home for the kids and made some yummy bonfire night goodies. First of all i made some Bonfire toffee. After 2 failed attempts it was 3rd time lucky for me. I absolutely love how it turned out and will definitely be making some more. The first failed attempt was due to being careless and chatting on the telephone whilst making the toffee, this is not to be recommended, as it is only a matter of time before it burns, i learnt this the hard way. My second attempt was due to the fact that i had burnt the first batch and i didn’t want to make the same mistake again. I was totally over-cautious and the toffee didn’t get up to a hot enough temperature, although it looked fine, once it had set and i tried it, it was like chomping on sugar and was still quite soft. On the plus side though i did learn a valuable lesson……buy a sweet thermometer instead of guessing. My guess-work paid of better on the 3rd attempt and i was really pleased with the results.

Ingredients
12 oz Brown sugar (Demerara or light brown soft)
4 oz  Butter                                                                                                                                           4 tbsp of water
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp of black treacle

Method
(1) Put all the ingredients into a pan.

(2) Heat slowly, stirring until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.

(3) Bring to the boil. Keep stirring so the sugar mixture doesn’t start to burn.

(4) To test if the toffee is ready drop a little into cold water. If it is ready it should separate into brittle threads.

(5) Pour into a container, i used a foil baking tray.

(6) Leave to set and then break into pieces.

I also bought some foil yorkshire pudding sized trays and when i had poured the toffee mixture into it, i then added a lolly stick to each one. Be warned at first the lolly sticks will start to rise back out of the mixture, so just gently keep pushing them back down until they stay put. This took somewhere around 1 or 2 minutes. Leave to set and then enjoy your bonfire toffee lollies.

Keeping with the Bonfire night theme i also made some mini cupcakes. They were all vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Half of the mini cupcakes were topped with tiny little marshmallows and the other half were topped with popping candy. The ones with the popping candy were fine until i turned the oven on to cook something and then the candy started to pop and melt. I guess they need to be kept totally cool and away from any moisture at all. This is something i am going to have to experiment with. Although i will be more than happy to hear from anyone who has any suggestions on how to rectify this problem.

Last but not least i made some cupcakes that were inspired by my favourite pudding. Rhubarb crumble and custard.

Banana and Butterscotch Layer Cake

26 Oct

This moist all in one banana sponge cake is layered with cream, walnuts and sliced banana, and finished with a drizzling of butterscotch sauce. You can make this really quickly in a food processor or just mix it together using a wooden spoon or electric beater in the conventional way. Serve as a delicious dessert cake or as a special tea time treat.

Ingredients

  • 110g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for tins.
  • 250g self-raising flour.
  • 1 level tsp baking powder.
  • 275g caster sugar.
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten.
  • 3 ripe medium-sized bananas, peeled and mashed.
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  • 55g walnut halves, roughly chopped.
  • 5 tbsp natural yogurt.

Butterscotch sauce

  • 55g Demerara sugar
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 100ml fresh double cream.

Filling

  • 200ml fresh double cream, whipped.
  • 1 ripe large banana, peeled and chopped.

Decoration

  • 55g walnut halves, crumbled into chunks.

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4.
  • Lightly grease two 20cm sandwich tins with butter, line the bases with baking parchment.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix the butter and sugar until soft and creamy.
  • Gradually add the eggs and mix until light and fluffy.

  • Add the mashed bananas, lemon juice, chopped walnuts and yogurt and beat for a few seconds.
  • Add the sifted flour and baking powder and mix until well blended.
  • Divide the mixture between the cake tins.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until well risen and firm to the touch.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool a little.
  • Remove them from the tins and cool completely on wire racks.
  • Meanwhile make the butterscotch sauce.
  • In a small saucepan, gently heat together all the ingredients , stirring continually with a wooden spoon, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is bubbling hot (handle this carefully as very hot sugar can cause bad burns). Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

  • To make the filling, gently stir the chopped banana into the whipped cream.
  • Place one of the sponge cakes onto a plate or board and spread over two-thirds of the filling. Then drizzle over half of the butterscotch sauce. Place the second sponge on top of the filling. Then cover the top of the cake with the remaining filling. To finish sprinkle with the crumbled walnuts and drizzle over the remaining butterscotch sauce.

I must admit i am not very fond of bananas at all but i did try a small piece…..ok a medium size piece of this cake and i surprisingly thought it was very tasty. The banana didn’t overpower it like i thought it would and i can honestly say i actually enjoyed it.

Recipe from Magical Christmas market booklet (available via Lidl) Recipe by Lesley Waters

Halloween food and drink ideas.

25 Oct

I have been doing some searching around the internet, trying to find some good ideas for Halloween food and drink. These are my favourite finds so far.

Bloody brain shooter

Cemetery slime punch

This one looks gross, perfect for gruesome kids.

Vampire blood tomato soup

For lots more recipes and great ideas visit Foodnetwork.co.uk

The following were all found at Our Best Bites Take a look at the site, there are lots of great ideas.

Bones and Blood

Monster Jaws

Slimy worms on a bun.

How about these fantastic  Dark Chocolate graveyard pots perfect to finish any Halloween dinner.

I am really looking forward to Halloween, even more so now that i have a few good ideas for the food and drink. I hope this post proves to be useful to you. Have a great Halloween.

Remember to keep checking back as i will be updating this page as i come across any new recipes of interest.

Ginger Cake

19 Oct

After trying a few different recipes for Ginger cake, i think this one has to be my favourite. This recipe is by James Martin, it is easy to follow and produces mouth-watering results every time. This cake has also been named as a Ginger Parkin but unlike a traditional Parkin there is no sign of oats/oatmeal in this recipe. However this recipe does give a very light and moist  ginger cake that does taste like Parkin. Very delicious and definitely worth baking.


Recipe

  • 225g / 8oz self-raising flour
  • 110g / 4oz caster sugar
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg
  • 200ml / 7fl oz milk
  • 55g / 2oz butter
  • 110g / 4oz golden syrup

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C / 300 F / Gas mark 2.
  2. Line a 22cm / 8″ tin.
  3. Sieve the flour, sugar, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.
  4. In a small pan gently heat the butter and syrup until melted.
  5. Beat the egg into the milk.
  6. Gradually pour the butter and syrup into the flour and stir. The mixture will be thick.
  7. Pour in the egg and milk and stir until smooth.
  8. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 1 hour.

Once my Ginger cake had cooled i cut it into squares and enjoyed it with a cup of tea. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that this type of cake will get better after a few days. If wrapped and left for 2-3 days the cake would become more moist. I however do not know if there is any truth in this or not as i have never been any good at resisting anything sweet.

Pumpkin and Ginger cupcakes.

16 Oct

Well this is the first time I have ever baked with a pumpkin, I usually only stretch as far as carving one for Halloween (or 2 or 3). Anyway just like the saying goes, there is a first time for everything. Autumn and Winter are my favourite seasons, with October, November and December been my favourite months. Everything just seems so much more exciting around this time of year, from flavours and textures of the foods that we eat to the uncontrollable urge of being able to throw whatever you want into a cupcake or cake and somehow make it work or should I say and sometimes make it work (there are exceptions here of course). The richer, the spicier, the darker, the better, just about sums it up for me and the dark, cosy nights just add the cherry to the top of my cake aswell. Does anyone else find that they experiment more with flavours in the Autumn/Winter months than in the Spring and Summer?

Well after lots of experimenting, juggling and swapping ingredients and quantities, i have finally come up with a recipe i am more than happy with. Hope you like them as much as i do.

These cupcakes are really delicious and very moist, they have a very light and almost melt in the mouth texture. Once you have baked them you will find it very hard to leave them alone.

Pumpkin and Ginger cupcakes.

3 oz / 85g stem ginger in syrup.

6oz/ 175g muscovado sugar

7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened

9oz/ 250g pumpkin, grated

7oz/ 200g plain flour

2 large eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp allspice

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground clove

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the icing.

8oz/225g icing sugar

4oz/ 125g full fat cream cheese.

4oz/ 125g unsalted butter

Splash of milk

Please note.

If you haven’t got pumpkin, butternut squash may be used instead.

When making the icing use full fat cream cheese, the lighter and half fat alternatives will make the icing runnier and less easy to manage.

1) Pre-heat oven to gas mark 5 / 190C / 375F

2) Line a muffin tin with cupcake/muffin cases.

3) Grate or finely chop the ginger.

4) Cream together the butter and the sugar, until lighter and fluffier in appearance.

5) Beat the eggs in, one at a time.

6) Add the stem ginger and the pumpkin  to the butter/sugar mixture and stir until evenly blended.

7) Sift in the flour, baking powder and all the spices.

8 ) Fill the cupcake/muffin cases with the mixture.

Fill nearly to the top of each case.

9) Bake for 25 minutes.

10) Once cupcakes are baked, remove from the oven and transfer onto a cooling rack. Once the cupcakes are nearly cool start to make the icing.

11) Cream together the butter, splash of milk and the cream cheese, once blended add the icing sugar and whisk together until smooth. Add more icing sugar if a thicker topping is required.

Now your icing is finished, you can either spread some on top of your cupcakes using a spoon or why not fill a piping bag and pipe a pretty swirl on top. You could then top your cupcakes with a little grated stem ginger, crystallized ginger, maybe a sprinkling of chopped walnuts or anything else that takes your fancy. Enjoy x

These look fabulous when placed on a cupcake tree and would also make a lovely autumn gift for any cupcake lover.

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