This summers brilliant sunny weather has made the blackberry season a bumper crop, so i picked more then my fair share of the berries and got stuck straight in with the baking! I have made 2 blackberry upside down cakes and more blackberry muffins then you can shake a stick at! my family love the muffins, it was probably just my baking, but the batter made a good, stodgy muffin, and in my family, a stodgy cake, is the BEST cake! they were made with fairtrade sugar and eggs from our ducks :)
for my final assessment on cooking, i decided to make something fair trade. i decided on making an energy bar, inspired by the health bars called "nakd". All my family love them and always have them after something tiring or when they need an energy boost, my mum has them with a nice cuppa tea! i thought i'd share the recipe and wondered if you could all try making them and give me feedback on how i could improve! its uses lots of fairtrade ingredients, if you are all for that!!
500g of dried fruit- (i have made several combinations but the best so far has been dried apple, mango, figs and dates!)
1 big banana or 2 small ones
1) Preheat the oven at 170 fan oven.
2) Blitz all the dried fruit and oats together until smooth.
3) Add the banana and mix in with oat and fruit mixture.
4) Now, you may want to bake for 10-15 mins and then cut into slices. but i like to mould the mixture with fun shapes in cookie cutters and then bake until firm but not to crunchy, a bit like a frusili, if you have ever heard or had them!
These bars are brilliant because they are easy, fun, energising, tasty and great for the chance to use local fruits, nuts and seeds! ENNNJOOOYY!
please try them and leave comments! what flavours did you try?! :)
my other flavours have been currants, sultanas, cranberries, almonds, walnuts and whole pumpkin seeds.
I did do another, but i have forgotten! very sorry!
I'm thinking of doing a bakewell style bar with cherries, ground almonds and almond essence and fresh, pressed raspberries, instead of banana!
i haven't made a blog for a while so thought i would post this as a little update on what sort of cakes i like to make and have been cooking! this is a birthday cake i made for a friends son. i like to make a cake that will wow everybody rather then just...a Victoria sponge! which i am not saying it isn't nice but i find it too easy to bake, i like a good challenge! I made a chocolate mud cake with chocolate ganache and for the sand was chocolate chip cookies, the pigs had a little surprise inside them, a chocolate ball of lovleyness! instead of a big ball of icing, the pigs are actually lindor chocolate balls wrapped in pink fondant icing! i really loved making this cake, the pigs i especially enjoyed as it was my first time at modelling figures for cakes!
Our household was deprived of cake and we all needed some quick! so i had a flick through the recipe book of great british bake off winner; Jo Wheatley and found a wonderful recipe of lime and coconut cake. its is squidgy, squadgy, stodgy and full of rich yummy goodness of fresh lime lime juice and zest and made from duck eggs from my ducks! you may nor be able to see in the photo, but the duck eggs make our cakes a very bright, rich yellow and make the cake go more delicious and stodgy. Some people prefer a light and fluffy cake, but i think that a bit of stodge brings out the flavour, and adds texture. It might just be the influence from my family, but we all do like a squidgy cake!!!
the fruit trees and plants in my back garden are starting to blossom. i have strawberries, apples, cherries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, red currants, rhubarb, even blackberries in the field behind us which looks beautiful in the afternoon sun! i am hoping to buy some raspberry canes to add to our collection of berries and fruits! i always think that a good crumble or pie tastes better with lovely home grown fruit and veg!
i made some vanilla cupcakes, and with a cupcake corer, took out the centre of each cupcake and filled it with jam, then piped icing in decorative patterns. it was a lot of fun!! ( cakes made with our duck eggs...of course!!!)
okay, i haven't blogged for a couple of days as the website wasn't working, but i thought i would blog a picky of my ducks. i have 3 females and one male. we get three eggs a day and make wonderful cooking, very rich!! they make brilliant cakes! the white ducks are called Englebert and Apple Dappy and the brown ones are called Twiggy and Hazel! (Twiggy is mine, the loudest of them all!) the colour of the eggs are white/brown and the others are green/blue!
I went to the Bristol food connections festival where they had lots of different famous chefs cooking various foods, I went to Donnal skeehan (don't know how to spell his name!!!) who hosts and judges junior Masterchef, he showed us a few easy recipes to try out at home and on of them was milk chocolate chip cookies and i decided to make them. (Completely from scratch of course!) Usually I like to put my own twist on a recipe and change the key flavour to something different like pistachio or cranberries and white chocolate or coconut and dark chocolate, I love interpreting my own flavours and ideas, anyway, because this is a first bake on this particular recipe, I thought I would see how it goes first...they went pretty well...and huge! (Feel a bit terrible, as chocolate was not fair-trade!)
Currently I am practicing macaron recipes in preparation for a friends wedding at the end of May. For a day of celebration that is every bit in their character we are going to be partying in a Yurt somewhere south of the city with no wedding cake, but a tower of biscuits and cookies supplied by the guests! I once made macarons for a friend several years ago with a perfect turn out (if I say so myself) on my very first try. Now, two attempts in, and I've still got cracked domes, hollow shells, and too much buttercream filling (quelle horreur!)...
BUT, this makes for an interesting conversation about food efficiency. Macaron shells are essentially meringues that require only egg whites, almonds, and sugar, leaving behind a good deal of unused egg yolk. Stuck with what to do about this I researched the fillings for macarons. A traditional buttercream filling is just that, creamed butter with powdered sugar; however, if I had taken this route I would have been left with a bowl full of egg yolks that I would inevitably put in the fridge and forget about. Instead, I found a recipe for French buttercream filling (apparently a variation on Italian buttercream filling, who knew?) that involves warming egg yolks with sugar over a bowl of simmering water and then whipping with soft butter. The result is a glorious (and, of course, dangerously calorific) bowl of thick, shining buttercream - the perfect filling for macarons.
Having said this it transpires that if you use 6 egg whites to create your macarons, 6 egg yolks will make roughly two times as much buttercream as you need to fill them (hence my over-filling issues).On my second attempt this left me with 3 egg yolks doomed to a short life on the top shelf of the fridge before a swift slide into the trashcan afterlife. But all is not lost, since if you happen to be making these close to, or on, the weekend as I do, you can turn those egg yolks into a homemade Hollandaise sauce by similarly whisking over a bowl of hot water until they thicken before taking off the heat and whisking in some melted butter. Pour over poached eggs and bacon for a Benedictine breakfast! And remember to put your egg shells into food waste recycling, whether that's your own or the council collection service (you can request one for free here http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/bins-recycling-and-street-cleaning/order-new-bins-boxes-and-nets).