Baking, Something fruity, Something sweet, Uncategorized

Dundee inspired fruit cake

When I was young my Nana always has a fruit cake in a tin which we’d enjoy a slice of when we went to see her. I guess she made one every week. My mum also used to sometimes make fruit cakes at home too. This is my take on Dundee fruit cake with the addition of some spices and some Turrón, which I had left from Christmas, it’s like a marzipan so you could easily substitute it. I guess this makes it a bit of a Dundee / Simnel hybrid. The dried fruit is soaked in scotch so it’s a good option for Burns light.

So what do you need.

  • 300g dried fruit (sultanas & raisins)
  • 50g naked (uncrystallised) ginger
  • 3 or 4 caps of whisky (optional)
  • 150g softened butter
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • Grating of nutmeg (about 1/2 tsp)
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 250g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 100g grated Turrón Yuma tostada (or marzipan)
  • 50g flaked almonds (or whole blanched almonds)

So what do you do?

First weigh out the dried fruit and place in a bowl and pour over the whisky and mix so the fruit absorb the whisky. Pre-heat your oven to 170 F / 325 C. Grease and line a 18-20cm round cake tin. Then cream together the butter and sugar and then add the lemon zest and eggs and mix together. Next add the flour, spices and baking powder and mix into a thick batter. Then add the fruit, ginger and Turrón and mix everything together. Spoon into the prepared baking tin and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

Cook in the centre of the oven and check after an hour and if it’s beginning to brown cover with tin foil to prevent the top burning. Cook for another 30 mins until a skewer comes out clean. The lemon zest and spices give off a delicious aroma as the cake cooks. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins then cool completely on a wire rack. It will keep well in an airtight container. Enjoy with a cup of tea or a dram of whisky!

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Baking, Something sweet

Double choc biscuits 


These are really easy and delicious if you like chocolate. This will make about 15 biscuits or 8 larger cookies.

So what do you need?

  • 100g butter
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 100g plain (all purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. cocao powder
  • 50g chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. plain yoghurt or milk

So what do you do?

Start by pre- heating your oven to 175 degrees C / 350 F. Then cream together the butter and sugar and mix in the vanilla essence. Next add in the the flour, baking powder, cocao powder and choc chips and mix them in. Then add just enough plain yoghurt or milk to bring the mixture together into a dough.

On a lined baking sheet put dessert spoons balls of the mixture leaving some space between them and then press them down with the back of a fork. Put them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the begin to crisper at the edges. Allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Baking, Snacks, The Basics

Oatcakes 

If you live somewhere that they are readily available in the shops then you probably  wouldn’t bother making them but if you don’t and you get a craving for them they’re not ask to make and you can make them smaller than shop bought ones for a more delicate biscuit to go with cheese after dinner. They’re also very economical to make. This recipe makes about 40 biscuits.

So what do you need?

  • 250g porridge oats
  • 50g whole meal flour
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)

So what do you do?

First preheat your oven to about 190 degrees C / 375F. If you have a baking stone then put it in the oven to heat up. Then put the oats in a food processor and grind them until they become like a rough flour still with about a third still in oat pieces. Then heat about 80ml of water and add a tsp. of sea salt and the butter until it melts. Mix the flour in with the oats and then pour in the water and butter. Mix everything together with a spoon until it comes together  in a ball. If necessary add a little more hot water to bring everything together. Put the mixture on a floured work surface and roll it out until it’s as thin as you want the oatcakes I made mine slightly thinner than shop bought ones. The with a cookie cutter of your desired size, I used one 4cms and one 5 cms in diameter. Cut out the oatcakes and the reroll any extra mixture and repeat. Then put the oatcakes on a baking stine or baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes and then turn them over for about 10 minutes on the other side so they dry out completely. Then put them on wire racks to cool. Enjoy with your favourite cheese!

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Baking, Brunch

Classic cheese scones

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I’ve previously posted a recipe for cheese and herb soda bread scones. These are classic cheese scones based on Felicity Cloake’s How to make the perfect cheese scones recipe. They are very moreish served warm split open and buttered. This will make two dozen scones.

So what do you need?

  • 600g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 4tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp. bicarbonate of soda (or 3tsp more baking powder)
  • 120g butter
  • 300g mature cheddar
  • a small bunch of spring onions
  • 2 tbsp. natural yoghurt
  • 2 tsp. wholegrain mustard
  • 140ml milk
  • 140ml water
  • 1 free-range egg

So what do you do?

Start by preheating your oven to 220 degrees C / 425F. I cook my scones on a pizza stone so I put this in the oven to heat up too. Then sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Chop in the cold butter in small bits then rub it into the flour with your fingertips. It will become like breadcrumbs. Add the spring onions finely chopped and most of the cheese, prated. Mix these in. In a measuring jug mix together the yoghurt, milk. mustard and water and then pour it into the mixing bowl. Stir everything together to make a soft ball of dough. Lift it onto a floured work surface and then roll it out to about 3cms thick. Use a 6cm cookie cutter to cut out the scones. Roll together any offcuts of dough to make more scones. Put the scones on a pizza stone / floured baking sheet and glaze the top with some egg wash (egg beaten with a little milk) then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the scones and bake for about 12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to partly cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

 

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Baking, Something sweet

Spiced pumpkin cake


This makes a great cake to have with a cup of tea at Halloween, or at any other time for that matter! It’s a spiced up recipe from the River Cottage.

So what do you need?

  • 150g soft butter (a pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter)
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2tsp. group cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 250g grated raw pumpkin
  • 350g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder

For the icing

  • 1/2cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1tbsp. lemmon juice

So what do you do?

Start by preheating your oven to 175 degrees C / 350 F. Then in a mixer, or mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and then add the eggs one by one and mix them in. Next add all the spices and the pumpkin mix everything together. Then sift in the flour and baking powder and mix them in. Grease a 20 cm cake tin or a 25 cm bunt tin and dust with flour then pour in the cake mixture. Put in the oven and cook for about an hour. A cake cooked in a bunt tin will cook a bit faster so one in a normal tin may take an extra 15 minutes or so. Cook until the cake is firm and a skewer comes out clean. Take the cake out of the oven and allow to stand in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing sift the icing sugar and turmeric into a bowl and add the lemon juice then add enough hot water to make a thick paste and put in an icing bag and pipe it onto the top of the cake like a spider’s web, or just ice the cake normally. Enjoy with a cup of tea!


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Baking, Veggie mains

Stuffed pumpkin

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This makes an impressive dish for a party that can be made and then left to cook in the oven unattended for a couple of hours. A 4 kg. pumpkin will give 8 good portions, or more if served with other dishes.

You’ll need a large, fleshy pumpkin the one I used was about 4kgs a pumpkin that’s heavy for it’s size will have good dense flesh. pre-heating your oven to 200 degrees C / 400F. Then make the stuffing. Chop and fry an onion in some vegetable oil add 2-3 crushed cloves of garlic a tsp. of salt, a tsp. cumin seeds, a tsp. mustard seeds and a tsp. turmeric powder. Gently fry and then add a chopped red pepper and about 200g chopped mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes then add 2 handfuls of cashew nuts, a handful of sultanas, 1 1/2 cups of brown rice and 1/2 cup red lentils. Next I added a small bottle (275 ml.) cider and then cover the mixture by a couple of cm. with boiling water (you can use veggie stock instead of cider and water if you prefer) and put a lid on the pan an simmered for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile wash your pumpkin and cut a lid out of the top of the pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds and the softest layer of flesh inside. In a mortar crush a clove of garlic with a pinch of salt, a few peppercorns, about a 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds. Smear this on the inside flesh of the pumpkin. Check your rice to see how it’s doing you want it to be about 3/4 cooked so still a little hard and to still have a reasonable amount of liquid in it. Once the rice is almost cooked taste it and season with extra salt, if necessary, then scoop it into the pumpkin and put the lid on. Loosely wrap the pumpkin in foil to stop the outside burning and put it in the oven for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours. The cooking time will depend of the size and density of your pumpkin.

To serve I made a simple sauce that Ottolenghi uses with roast pumpkin. Mix 8 tbsp. of plain yoghurt and 2 – 3 tbsp. of Siracha sauce together. It looks good if it’s not completely mixed together. I also finely chopped a couple of spring onions and added them to the sauce. Once the pumpkin is cooked place on a serving dish. To serve take off the lid and cut slices of the pumpkin and filling and serve with the sauce and some fresh coriander leaves.

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Baking, Something fruity, Something sweet

Pears poached in Marsala 

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These make a great autumn dessert if you have the oven on cooking a roast.

Start by peeling your pears (one per person) leaving the stalk and the slice the bottom flat. In a casserole dish place your pears (I made 5) and pour in about 250ml of Marsala wine, a cinnamon stick, a tsp. vanilla essence and a tbsp. honey. Cover the casserole dish and put in the bottom of the oven at about 175 degrees C or 350 degrees F and cook for about 90 mins turning a couple of times. Take them out of the oven an allow to cool down. Serve warm with some thick cream.

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