Apple Cake

So I went apple picking at a friends house last week. She has a huge apple tree, which always produces several million apples, and she doesn’t mind me helping myself to 4 bags of them. Yippee!

My main mission with these apples is to make apple chilli jelly. I made this last year and it was a big hit, so am making more this year. However, that still leaves me about 3 bags of apples.

I found a great apple cake recipe on the bbc good food website (here) and thought i’d try it.

It was very easy to make, cooked well, and most importantly, after the first tasting, the husband and myself gave it the thumbs up!

I’ve had a fab couple of days at home, baking (buns, cakes, pies) and really would rather not be going back to work tomorrow!!

apple cake

cake slice

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm  Comments (1)  

Leek and Potatoes

But with a twist. And not one for those on a diet!

The leeks are cooked in white wine, then mixed with cream cheese, and enclosed into filo pastry parcels.

The potatoes are sliced, part boiled, then layered with fried onions, and gruyere. The finishing touch is cream poured over the top.

Both the leeks and the potatoes are popped into the oven to cook


Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 7:55 pm  Comments (3)  

Cakey bakey goodness

I love baking, and regularly make cakes to take into work or give to my neighbour. Of course, the husband and myself get plenty too, although if you listen to him, the last time he got home made cake was somewhere round about the same time as the civil war!

So here are a couple of cakes I have made which have gone down really well.

Firstly a cake I adapted from a Nigella recipe for chocolate cherry cupcakes.  I wanted a full sized cake, and wanted it to be gloriously moist, chocolatey, easy and visually stunning.  This cake is really dark, and topped with a white chocolate frosting is really striking when it’s cut.

chocolate-cherry cake

Here’s my amended recipe:

125g butter

100g dark chocolate

1 jar cherry jam – I use the Hartleys

150g sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

150g self raising flour

Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. Add in the chocolate and give it a stir. Take it off the heat and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add in the jam, sugar and eggs. When it’s well mixed, stir in the flour.

Pour it into a prepared cake tin – 23cm diameter. And pop into a preheated oven at 180 for about 40 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Keep an eye on it, as i can’t remember exaclty how long it was in the oven for. Let it cool for 10 mins in the tin before turning it out to cool completely.

For the frosting, mix 200g melted white chocolte with 250g mascarpone and spread it over the entire cake

Following my Christmas cake success I made my neice a cake for her 16th birthday too, and decorated it properly. She’s not got a sweet tooth, so the appearance was really more important than the taste, although, I did make a very tasty cake!

Birthday Cake

slice of cake

This was a cake made from the BBC Good Food recipe site – the middle layer fo their 3 tier wedding cake. I decorated with with ready to roll icing –  and some flowers cut from the same icing – some coloured lilac. Finished off with silver balls and edible glitter.

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 6:13 pm  Comments (3)  

Taking a leek

Yeah I know my post titles are getting worse!

Having discovered that I love leeks, I went on a journey of discovery to see what went well with leeks. White wine and butter are leeks’ best friends, and goats cheese can cope really well with the flavours, so I decided to make a leek and goats cheese galette.Hot out of the oven it was lovely, cold the next day for my lunch it was equally lovely, but completely different. Cold the flavours of the wine come through more.

I can’t believe how long I’ve been missing out on the fantasticness of leeks! I buy them most weeks now from the farmers market – sometimes just to make glamorgan sausages (a firm favourite in this house!), but every so often I try something brand new with them. leek and goats cheese galette

For the pastry:

4oz plain flour

2oz butter

a little cold water.

Put the flour and the butter into your food processor and blitz till it resembles breadcrumbs. Add cold water until it just starts to come together. Pop it in the fridge while you make the filling.

pre-heat the oven to 180c

For the filling:

1 leek, sliced

large knob of butter

1/2 cup white wine

fresh thyme to taste

1 egg, beaten.

120g soft goats cheese (the goats cheese ‘log’ is good for this)

heat the wine and butter in a small pan till the butter melts, add the leeks, cover and cook for about 5 mins. Take the pan off the heat, and stir in the thyme and the beaten egg.

Roll the pastry out into a circle about the size of a dinner plate, and pop it on a baking sheet

Spread the leek mixture over the pastry, leaving a 1.5inch gap round the edge.

Sprinkle the cheese over the mixture.

Fold the border over the fillingan inch at a time, pinching the overlapping bits together as in the pic.

Brush the pastry with milk, and pop in the oven for about 20 mins or until golden brown

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 10:42 pm  Comments (1)  

Christmas cakes

One of the best things about working at an FE college has to be the opportunity to learn new stuff.  At the beginning of November I started a short (6 week) course on cake decorating for Christmas. I had a few reasons for doing this – I had decided months ago to make hampers for the majority of my Christmas gifts, and I thought that a cake would be a lovely addition to the hampers. Also, I had never done anything more than slap some butter icing on a cake, and thought that this could be both good fun, and quite useful.

stars cake

It was a fabulous course. In week one we lined our cake tins, and made truffles, week two was mixing the cake, and the rest of the course was mazipanning and icing it.   In addition to the 3 cakes i made at this class, I’d made a large square cake at home in October, that I had cut into 4, and  fed with brandy every week. When we started the cake decorating, I replicated at home, what we’d done in the class, thus creating 7 Christmas cakes.

snowmen cake

This is the recipe I used for my cakes at home. I liked it because it scaled things up for different size tins. It doesn’t recommend the brandy, but I think it’s common knowledge to feed the cake!  The other change I made was to soak my fruit in plenty of rum for a week before baking.

choirboy cake

I was amazed at how easy it was to create the figures and the decoration. We had a fabulous teacher who explained things incredibly well. The choirboy and angel are my favouite creations from the class…

angel and choirboy

For my home cakes I kept the decoration simple, not having access to the many colourings. I simply used sugarpaste stars, silver sugar balls, and edible glitter, with a white ribbon round the outside.

The cakes got a great reception. THe only problem was that I hadn’t kept one back for myself and the husband. See I don’t like Christmas cake, and i’d completely forgotton that the husband does. He’s been hassling his family for cake every visit!

Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 11:06 pm  Comments (1)  

Afternoon tea

My eldest nice was recently in hospital, following a bad traffic accident.  When she was feeling a bit better, and more herself, I wanted to take her somethign in she’d enjoy. I know she’s not got a very sweet tooth, but she said she fancied a fruit scone. I never make scones. I don’t like dried fruit, so the only scones I ever make are cheese scones, and I’ve not made those for months. I must remember to make cheese scones one day soon.

Anyway, I made fruit scones, not my best, but good enough, and I took in a tiny pot of homemade strawberry jam and 2 scones, and they went down very well indeed.

Fruit scone with jam

Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mushroom and Ale Pie

Saturday evenings are special in my house. On a Saturday, my husband cooks dinner for me, forcing me to sit in the living room and ‘relax would you woman, for god’s sake’ This evening he made a mushrooms and ale pie, which was deeply delicious, and perfect for the weather (dark, cold windy, rainy). The recipe came from the  new ‘Cook Vegetarian’ magazine (with some modifications) and we’ll definitely be doing it again.

We’re not vegetarian, the husband describes us as vegecurious,  which I think is a good summary. I tend to not buy meat, as I’m fussy about it’s origins, and simply can’t afford to buy the meat I would be happy eating on a daily basis. I choose, therefore to eat vegetables instead. I refuse to eat quorn, or any of the ‘fake meat’ products that are around, cos I figure I can have an interesting, tasty diet without it, and I feel lazy using meat substitutes rather than exploring what I can do with veg. Anyway, enough of that for now, here’s the mushroom and ale pie

mushroom and ale pie

Mushroom and Ale Pie

1 block frozen puff pastry – defrosted

1 onion finely chopped

500g mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 tblsp flour

1/2 teaspoon marmite

300ml ale (we used Hobgoblin)

  1. heat the oven to 200c
  2. saute the onions in butter, until soft
  3. add the mushroom, and cook for 5 mins, until they’re starting to colour
  4. take off the heat, and sprinkle in the flour, and stir it in
  5. back on the heat, and add in the marmite and the ale.
  6. cook for another 5-10 mins until the mushrooms are softening, and the gravy is thick.
  7. Line 2 individual pie dishes with pastry, divide the mushrooms between the too. Don’t overfill them.
  8. Brush round the edge with milk, top with a pastry lid, and pinch right the way round to get a good seal.
  9. glaze the top, and make a small hole to let the steam escape.
  10. bake for 20 mins until golden

We had this with mash and sweetcorn, and it was gorgeous!

Published in: on November 15, 2008 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Apple pie

I’ve been uploading pictures of food i make onto my facebook page for a while now, and i’ts occurred to me that a better place for it would be an actual proper blog! I suppose also I might be the only eLearning administrator who has never written a blog of their own, but teaches other people how to, it’s time to rectify that.

I love baking, and sometimes get quite jittery if I’ve not been baking for a while. My neighbours and work colleagues are the happy recipients of much of what come out of the oven, much to my husbands disgust. I do point out we would both be the size of a house if it didn’t but he doesn’t buy it. At the moment i’m on a bit of an apple pie kick, las week made a fabulous apple pie using a bag of Thorntons treacle toffee. It was the best apple pie I’ve ever had.

apple pie

The recipe:

For the pastry –

120g butter
80g caster sugar
2 small eggs, beaten, plus 1 beaten egg for glazing
240g plain flour

Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl

and, using an electric mixer on high, cream together until the mixture is pale and fluffy.

Add beaten eggs and flour and mix until blended, being careful not to over-mix.

Cover the pastry and leave it to chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

For the filling –

100g butter
100g granulated sugar
500g cooking apples – peeled, cored and sliced
175g Thorntons Treacle Toffee

1. Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan. Add the sliced apples to the saucepan, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes or until they are starting to soften. Occasionally stir, being careful not to break the apple slices. Transfer to a plastic bowl and cool for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180OC/350OF.
3. Roll out the pastry to a 5mm thickness, line a 7-8inch pie dish and trim off the excess. Roll out a lid for the pie the same size as the dish with the remaining pastry.
4. Once apples are cool, place into the pastry case. Using a rolling pin or hammer, break the toffee (using the step outside the back door, to hammer onto) and scatter the toffee over the apples.
5. Glaze the edges of the pastry case with beaten egg and place the pastry lid on top. Press the edges down firmly and trim the excess. Glaze the top of the pie.
6. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with caster sugar.
7. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream or custard.

Published in: on November 15, 2008 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,