So I decided to try a few new things for my January baking, including some tasty treats that I have cooked before but not for a long time. Rather than blog / tweet every single thing as I went, I decided to consolidate in to a single post. Where I can, I have included the recipe, a link or a book reference!
Chocolate Chip Muffins
This is a recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. I didn’t have enough eggs to do the full recipe so I just did half. I think I also I also couldn’t find my deep muffin tin so had to use a cake tin and bun cases – that’s why they look a little deformed! Aside from the fact that the bun cases were a challenge to get off (I think proper muffin cases are made of sterner stuff!) they tasted pretty good.
I knocked these up on the same day as the muffins so we also had some savoury nibbles. This bake was adapted from a recipe in another book I have, Baking (100 recipes), which I have used in the past to make the Tomato Tart and Toffee Apple Tart mentioned in a blog post from last January. I can’t remember what cheese it recommended but I used the quantity recommended but 50% cheddar and 50% parmesan. I also used mustard powder rather than curry powder and sprinkled parmesan on top rather than poppy seeds. Really easy recipe and tasty result. We kept them in an air tight box and they provided snacks for about a week.
Based on the Blueberry Bakewell recipe in The Great British Bake-off – How to Bake, I followed the recipe for the frangipan but used pre-bought shortcrust pastry (it is a lot easier) and pre-bought raspberry jam. Really easy to make and always delicious.
Vegetable Stew with Herby Dumplings
I more-or-less used this recipe from the BBC Good Food website (I changed the vegetables a little bit and added in some potato). It was really tasty and filling. Normally big bread eaters, this stew was enjoyed on it’s own and filled us up.
I love Melanzane alla Parmagiana – the traditional Italian aubergine dish. I have made my own version of it several times at home and have a slight variation which also includes peppers and courgettes. All I do is slice 2 – 3 peppers in to quarters (removing innards etc), slice the aubergine about 0.5cm thick and a courgette the same. I lightly brush all pieces with oil and spread over several baking sheets. I then slow roast them in the oven until about cooked (about 150c in a fan oven works fine). For the sauce I fry a chopped onion with some garlic, add a tin of chopped tomatoes (and some oregano or basil depending on my mood), add about 30 – 50 ml of water a simmer until it reaches a smoother texture. To make in to a dish I put a bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of an oven proof dish then layer half the vegetables on top; Then I add another layer of tomato sauce followed by the remaining vegetables and then the rest of the tomato sauce. Finally, I top with a generous amount of parmesan (you could put some in the middle layer if you wanted). I bake at about 170c (fan oven) for about 30 mins or until top is golden and the sauce bubbling. Goes well as a side or a main, with bread, potatoes or rice!
I forgot to get a photo of this once it had cooled, but this is another Mary Berry’s Baking Bible recipe. I was less happy with this one. The resulting flapjacks were stickier than I would like and far too sweet. This recipe uses a lot of sugar and a lot of golden syrup. I want to try again but when I do I will use: more oats and raisins, less sugar, no golden syrup, honey if I need a bit of ‘sticky’ to bind the mixture.
A friend at work made this cake for a work picnic a few years ago and it was amazing! When I made it shortly after, I just couldn’t make it as good as his but I tried again recently for my Mother-in-Law’s birthday cake. It came out quite well and everyone said it was really tasty. The recipe is below – I suspect it is based on an internet recipe out there but I only have what my friend sent me. My only tip beyond what he said is to wrap some baking parchment around the outside of the tin to stop the fruit from burning – I didn’t on this occasion and the rhubarb over caramelised a little bit.
(Ingredients: cake mixture – 3oz butter, 3oz caster sugar, 2 eggs, 3oz self raising flour, 1lb rhubarb, pinch of salt; topping – 1tbsp demerara sugar, 2 1/2 oz butter, 3oz plain flour, 1oz caster sugar
Method: – Preheat oven to 170 c (fan), grease & line a 8in round cake tin, – to make cake mixture, cream the butter and sugar, – beat in the eggs, – fold in the flour and a pinch of salt, – slice the rhubarb into 1in pieces and toss in the demerara sugar, – to make the topping, rub the butter into the flour and stir in the sugar (you can add some ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon if you want), – pour the cake mix into the tin and arrange the rhubarb on top, – sprinkle the topping over and bake for 40-45 mins or slightly longer until golden brown on top (will vary depending on oven and exact quantity of rhubarb because it’s quite a damp cake) )
Technically this is a February bake because my friend Carol and I made them yesterday, but since they were part of a January trip to Paris to visit her, I’m going to sneak it in! However, this was not made from scratch, we bought a ‘Make Macarons‘ set from Monoprix! They weren’t that easy though – we had to heat milk, split eggs to make beaten egg whites and then make the uniform shapes. The picture shows the only one which actually looked macaron shaped! They tasted delicious though.