Monday, 31 March 2014

Monday Bake - Flapjacks

Flapjacks - mmmmm, the smell as the butter, sugar and golden syrup melts is incredible, then the smell wafting though the house as they bake is even better!  There are so many flapjack recipes out there, with added coconut, dried fruit, nuts or even chocolate but this is a great basic recipe by Lorraine Pascale. You can find the recipe here.

So quick and easy to put together and pop in the oven for a delicious after school/work treat.

Thanks for popping by,

Todays top three Spotify songs:

1. Girl Panic! - Duran Duran
2. Shiny Happy People - R.E.M.
3. Come As You Are - Nirvana

Monday, 24 March 2014

Monday Bake - Spiced Tea Loaf

A few weeks ago Hubby and I visited  the Brewery Tea Rooms in Walkern, a village on the edge of Stevenage.  

I had the raspberry roulade, very light, and Hubby had an enormous wedge of millionaire shortbread.  We both had cappuccinos - all were really delicious.  This is a really pretty place for coffee and cake, it's part of the owners home.  There is a lovely gift shop at the back.   There were two ladies having the afternoon tea for a birthday celebration - it looked really good - might have to go there for a special occasion.  

At the other end of the village is Jolie - a pretty little knitting and gift shop - full of pretty things, well worth a visit.

Today I made a Spiced Tea Loaf. 

225g mixed dried fruit
125ml cold tea
225g self raising flour
125g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 egg - beaten

Soak the fruit in the tea overnight, or for a couple of hours, until it has all plumped up and absorbed most of the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 180c/GM4. Line a loaf tin.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar and mixed spice.  Add the soaked fruit, along with any remaining liquid and the beaten egg.  Mix well, it should drop easily off the mixing spoon.  If it is a bit thick, add a tablespoon of milk to loosen, stir again. Keep doing this until it is the correct consistency then pour into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin.

Slice and serve with butter (and jam if you like).

Thanks for visiting,

Today's top three Spotify songs;

1.Addicted To Love - Robert Palmer
2. Wishing, If I Had A Photograph Of You - A Flock of Seagulls
3. Shiny Shiny - Haysi Fantayzee

Monday, 17 March 2014

Monday Bake - Lemon Tart

Over a year ago FriendSS suggested going to see Miranda with FriendJS.  Nearer the time we decided to make a whole day of it and we all booked the day off work. 

We headed into London mid morning and went to Borough Market, the last time I went it was on a Saturday and far too busy. This time on a Wednesday it was much quieter. We had a bit of a mooch around but I didn't want to buy anything as I would have to carry it around with me all day. We wandered to the Shard - Minibakebakegirl and I have tickets to go to the top - hopefully it will be a clear day when we go as the views over London will be incredible!

We had lunch as Bill's.  None of us had been before - I had Bill's hamburger - it was really good.  

Afterwards we went to The Clink Prison Museum.  The Clink was probably the oldest prison in England.  Luckily nobody jumped out at us as we made our way round reading the gruesome stories. There are replicas of prison equipment such as shackles and torture devices!

We visited Southwark Cathedral - such an amazing building.  FriendSS was official photographer (you pay a fee to take pictures inside) and took lots of excellent pictures. (I will upload to here later this week) 

We wandered along the Thames - it was such a beautiful day we sat outside the pub by the river to enjoy a drink before getting the Thames Clipper to the O2.  The sun was setting on our way down the river.

Miranda was brilliant - so funny.  There was audience participation, singing and a lot of laughing - we all really enjoyed it.  I love her sitcom, there was video bit at the end of her doing all the things she has talked about - such fun! 

Yesterday I made "what I would call" a lemon tart for pudding.  I made my pastry (yes it is slightly well done at the edges - my excuse is I baked it in the top oven!) but this can also be made with shop bought shortcrust pastry to roll out and bake - or you can even buy ready made pastry cases.

250g plain flour
150g cold cubed butter
50g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
225ml double cream
225g caster sugar
zest and juice of 3 lemons
zest and juice of 1 orange

Put the flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor, whizz until it looks like breadcrumbs, add the egg yolk and water, whizz again until it forms a dough.  
Cover in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 20 mins.  Dust your worktop with icing sugar and roll out the pastry and line a 23cm loose bottomed tin.  Chill for 30 mins. 
Preheat the oven to 200c/GM6.  Prick the base, line with greaseproof paper and baking beans, bake for 15mins, remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 15 mins. Leave to cool.  

Preheat the oven to 160c/GM3.  Whisk the eggs and egg yolks, stir in the cream, sugar, juice and zest.  Pour the filling into the pastry case and bake for 40 mins until just set. Leave to cool completely, slice and serve. 

Delicious - very lemony!

Thanks for visiting,

Miranda's Top Three PreShow Songs:
1. Reach - S Club 7
2. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham
3. Man! I Feel Like A Woman! - Shania Twain

Monday, 10 March 2014

Monday Bake - Coconut Cookies

CatK is my wee meowing alarm clock, outside my bedroom door about 7am each morning, Last weekend I did go back to bed after feeding him and letting him out but the past couple of days I haven't minded being up early as the sky has been so beautiful. Especially yesterday morning.

Yesterday was so warm, it was almost like spring had been missed out and we were straight into summer.  Hubby and I went for long walk to enjoy the sunshine.  Less than a twenty minute walk and we are on the edge of our town and walking through the bridleways in the countryside.  We saw so many butterflies, ladybirds, smelly cows and pigs!

When the sun did go down it was very chilly - also it seemed strange to have been so warm and be dark so early - I can't wait for those long summer evenings.

On Saturday the Inlaws came round for coffee.  MotherinLaw wanted to meet CatK.  She said he was very handsome - he wasn't for staying inside though and was soon out lording over his manor!  

I made some coconut biscuits.  These are so easy - another good after school snack as so quick to make.  This recipe makes about 16 biscuits.

60g softened butter
120g caster sugar
1 egg
50g desiccated coconut plus extra for sprinkling
150g plain flour
8 glace cherries - cut in half

Preheat the oven to 180c/GM4
Cream the butter and sugar together, beat in the egg, stir in the coconut and flour.

Dollop large teaspoons of the mixture onto two lined baking trays.  Sprinkle with a bit more of the coconut and gently press half a glace cherry onto the top of each one. 

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Leave for 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thanks for visiting,

Today's top three Spotify songs:
1. Love is Everywhere - Cicero
2. Things Can Only Get Better - DReam
3. Children - Robert Miles

Monday, 3 March 2014

Monday Bake - Flourless Lemon and Polenta Drizzle Cake

There has been a definite improvement in the weather - with sunshine (in between the rain showers) and bright blue skies.  Snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils are popping up in the garden - warmer weather is on its way.  My shopping bag today was very spring like - including some lemons for pancake day tomorrow and a bunch of gorgeous daffodils.

This week is my turn for cake club - so going on the lemon theme I made a lemon polenta cake from this month's Good Food magazine.  You can find a similar recipe here. In the main cake I used the juice and zest of two blood oranges and for the drizzle I used lemon juice. 

I like the pink tinge the blood oranges have given the sponge.

Minibakebakegirl was my chief taste tester tonight and has given it the seal of approval to take to work tomorrow!  I didn't have a piece today as I had had apple crumble for pudding :o)

Have a good week,

Today's top three Radio 2 songs:

1. Moonlight Feels Right - Starbuck
2. Dance Your Pain Away - Agnetha
3. Shout To The Top - The Style Council