Friday, 27 June 2014

Raspberry and White Chocolate Ombré cake

This is (indirectly) practically an homage to the two male GBBO winners; Edd Kimber and John Whaite.

But as it's my mum's birthday, it's just another excuse to bake cake. And I've wanted to make this type of cake for months. I've pinned loads on Pinterest.

There's two different ways of making an ombré cake. Most people know of an ombré cake as being different grading colours of sponge. But this one is with different colours of icing instead.

I came across the sponge recipe when I was googling raspberry sponges as my mum adores raspberries. It's basically a simple sponge with white chocolate and raspberries added. Note: to make this an ombré cake as I did, you need 3 sponges so you need to increase the quantities.

Raspberry and white chocolate cake:
200g butter/margarine
100g milk chocolate 
200g caster sugar 
4 eggs
200g self raising flour
175g raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180/160c fan. Line two 8" cake tins.

Place the butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and stir every so often until melted and combined. Leave to cool a few minutes then whisk in the eggs and caster sugar. Mix in the flour (the recipe said the raspberries too but I didn't yet). It's a very loose mixture, so pour carefully into your tins and scatter in the raspberries.(I left them until this stage so I could evenly add them and space them out).

Bake for 25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. 

You can then fill the cake with white chocolate ganache (as per original recipe) but I filled mine with raspberry jam and whipped cream, then set about the next stage.

250g butter
500g icing sugar 
1 tbsp milk 

Cream together the icing sugar and butter then mix in the milk. Using only a little of the buttercream, crumb coat your stacked and filled cakes and place into the fridge to set.

Choose the colour you want your cake to be then add a small amount of food colouring (I use gels) to the rest of the buttercream until you have a light shade of the colour. Remove a third and put into an icing bag. If you have three 10cm tips, then use them. I didn't so just snipped a hole off the end.

Add a bit more food colouring until you have a darker shade. Remove half and put into an icing bag. Then colour the last bit with more colouring until you have a dark shade and put into an icing bag.

Then basically follow this tutorial:

Start by piping a dot of the lightest colour at the bottom, two dots above this of the medium shade, then two dots of the darkest shade then one dot of the light shade. Then take a spatula or small teaspoon and drag across the icing, cleaning after each colour.

Keep going on to the next row and add two light, two medium and two dark. It's best to have a photo of how you want the cake to look as one wrong move and you have to remove the icing very gently indeed!

Once you get all the way round, finish by just piping dots to join up. 

Then you can start on the top. You could always just add one block colour and not ice this way but I decided to do the top as well. Take the darkest colour and pipe a dot, smear then pipe and continue. Then take the medium colour and do the same. Then the light colour and keep going until you've no room left and fill with one dot of colour 

Finished! Ok so it takes more time than slapping on some buttercream or ganache (45 minutes to ice!) but it l think it looks lovely for an occasion. 

You can also use lots of different colours to make a rainbow cake, or just one colour would make a lovely elegant cake.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Roast pepper, chorizo and ricotta lasagne rolls

No not canelloni rolls, lasagne rolls. 

I'd decided to make a roast pepper and ricotta lasagne but as I was nosying through Pinterest earlier, I saw lasagne rolls so decided to redesign my lasagne.

This makes one large portion or can serve two with garlic bread and salad
Half a large onion
One fresh tomato
Two roasted peppers (jarred)
Three jarred red jalapeño slices (optional)
Half a tin of tomatoes
5 lasagne sheets
1 small tub of ricotta (95g)
90g chorizo
Some basil leaves

Start by putting a large pan of water on to boil.

Chop the onion and fry gently until softened. Chop the tomato and add to the onion with the peppers, tinned tomatoes, jalapeños (if adding) and some salt and pepper. Simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes. It's quite a chunky thick sauce.

While it's simmering, slice the chorizo. Put the lasagne sheets into the boiling water and par boil until they're just softening. You don't want them overcooked but they don't need to be so hard that they don't roll up.

Preheat the oven to 200/180c fan.

Once the sheets are cooked, drain and let cool a few minutes. Take one sheet, spread on a 5th of the ricotta, add some chorizo slices and a basil leaf then roll and place in the cooking dish. 

Continue to do this with all the lasagne sheets then I just placed the extra chorizo pieces into the dish.

Cover the lasagne rolls with the tomato and pepper sauce and grate over as much Parmesan as you want. 

Bake for 20 minutes until golden and demolish 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Chorizo and sweet potato quiche

I was supposed to be making a chorizo, sweet potato and egg salad for hubby's tea, but decided to put all the ingredients together to make a quiche instead. 

I figured the spicy chorizo we got from tesco should pair nicely with the sweet potatoes we have in and I also thought it would be nice to put onion in too (as I'm a huge fan of using onions to add and enhance flavours).

You can of course buy the pastry but as it's only two ingredients, it's easy enough to make your own.

190g plain flour
100g butter or margarine 

2 sweet potatoes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion
100g of chorizo (better to buy a sausage but I guess the ready sliced would be fine)
5 eggs
200ml milk
1 tbsp cream cheese

Make the pastry by combining the flour and butter together in a food processor. Add 4 tsps of cold water until a dough is formed. Turn out and roll out so it's big enough to fill the tin, then line the flan/quiche tin with the dough, prick with a fork and put into the fridge to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile chop the sweet potato into small chunks and place in a roasting tin. Drizzle over 1tbsp of the oil and add the paprika then mix and cook at 190/170c fan for 15 minutes. Leave to cool on the side.

Slice the onion and cook on a low heat with the rest of the oil until softened. Leave to cool on the side.

Now line the pastry case with foil or greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (I use dried lentils). Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes (don't let it brown), remove the baking beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Chop up the chorizo (I sliced it). 
Mmmmm chorizo 

Beat together the eggs, milk and cream cheese with salt and pepper. Place the chorizo on the bottom of the pastry case, add the cooked onion followed by the sweet potato. Pour over the egg mixture and bake for approximately 25 minutes until the wobble in the middle has almost gone. Leave to cool a little before serving. Serve warm with salad or cold as a lunchtime treat

Friday, 6 June 2014

Pork pie

Woops. I started to write this then forgot about it, then started again and forgot yet again, so here goes again! Again!

What is wrong with me? I've made gazillions of Pork Pies the last couple of years, yet never written a blog post about it. So here goes

Pork Pies are a big hit in my parents' household. Or should I say my dad and uncle are Pork Pie crazy. Particularly my uncle. I even once created a photo mug with Pork Pies on it for a Christmas present for him.

The recipe I use is the Paul Hollywood one the bakers had to bake in the technical challenge in series 2 but I've adapted it slightly to our tastes and I also don't add the jelly - basically because there is no room!

1 pork loin from the supermarket meat section (approx 350g)
2 rashers of bacon
1 small onion
1 small bunch of parsley
1 tbsp white pepper
2 tsp mustard powder
Pinch of salt

You can use a food processor to chop the pork loin and bacon however recently we prefer a thicker cut so I chop by hand into small chunks. Chop the onion and the parsley and mix in a large bowl with the white pepper and mustard powder. 

Hot water crust pastry:
353g plain flour
73g strong white bread flour
73g butter
87g lard
1 tsp salt
180ml boiling water
1 egg

Excuse the rather odd measurements above but I've increased the quantity to suit our needs as I use an extra deep silicone muffin tray (it makes the pies almost twice the depth of a standard muffin tin size pork pie).

Heat the oven to 190c. Mix the flours together, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips. Melt the lard slowly in a pan, you don't want it really hot as you're adding boiling water so go carefully. Once melted add to the boiling water and now add the salt. Pour into the flours and butter mix and stir with a knife. Bring together with your hands to make a ball, it will be warm. 

So on to tins - my family prefer a much deeper pork pie so I use my mum's deep silicone mould which makes 6 pies. The quantity above makes 6 extra deep pies and 4 standard muffin tin sized pies so would make at least 12 standard muffin tin sized pies.

I prefer not to roll out the dough in one big sheet because as it cools it becomes a lot lot tougher to work with. So I pull off small segments of dough and roll out to make enough for one pie at a time. 

I then either roll out all the pie liners and fill the tin with them before adding the filling and topping with a lid or I make one pie at a time. It depends how I feel. But take some pastry, roll out, cut out a round and pop into the tin making sure it touches the bottom, comes up just over the sides and that there are no holes in it. Then fill with your mixture and cut out a lid attaching it on top, squishing the side and lid together so there's no gaps and make two small holes in the top. I really pack my meat in so there's no room for jelly. I don't like the stuff anyway.

Mix the egg up in a cup or bowl and brush each pie with the egg so it gets a nice glaze and pop into the oven for 50 minutes (60 minutes for the extra deep ones). 

Lovely warm or leave to cool and enjoy on their own or with whatever sauce you fancy.

I've used this recipe to also make egg filled porks and loaf tin sized pork pies.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Oreo cupcakes - oh my!

Oreos are epic

I love love love them. So what better than to incorporate them into a cupcake? I've seen a fair few floating around on Facebook recently and needed to bake something chocolatey for two friends - to say thank you to one friend for going out of her way to get me a sugar thermometer for macaron making (watch this space!) and to congratulate the other rather crazy one for taking part in a 100 mile walk "just because". Both like chocolate = sorted!

Researching recipes, most of them have an Oreo baked into the bottom of the cupcake. Some only use half an Oreo with the cream side facing up and some use a whole one. I plumped for the whole one. There were a few variants on the cupcake batter and I almost made my standard chocolate cake batter but decided to try a different one instead:

2 packets of Oreo biscuits (you'll need 24 biscuits)
160g plain flour 
35g cocoa powder
225g caster sugar 
3 level tsp baking powder
65g margarine
190ml milk
2 eggs
90g butter / margarine
130g cream cheese
350g icing sugar 

Makes 12

12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases
Preheat the oven to 170/160 fan. 

Mix the flour, cocoa powder, caster sugar, baking powder and margarine together until crumbly looking. Mix the eggs and milk together then add little by little making sure the batter is well incorporated.

Put an Oreo in the bottom of each muffin case. How good does that look already!

It's a loose batter so I used a ladle to fill each muffin case about 3/4 full 

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.  Excuse my messy tin, I made a mess with the ladle.

While they're cooling get on with the frosting. I find cream cheese frosting a lot lighter tasting, so you can have more!

Mix together the butter, cream cheese and icing sugar until stiff. Smash up 6 Oreos. You need to bash them to a fine crumb if you want to pipe the frosting or if you just want to splodge on top then a chunkier crumb is fine (plus you get crunchier bits when you eat the cupcake!). Stir into the frosting 

When the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe or splodge on the frosting then chop 6 Oreos in half and place a half on top of each cupcake.

Oh my oh my oh my!!!