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Thursday 24 March 2011

Interruption of Service

Thinks are going to be quite quiet around here for a week or so. Delicious Delicious Delicious is going to Mauritius Mauritius Mauritius for a wedding. So you'll be without me for some time.

But remember: Mauritius is where sugar comes from. How can my going there be a bad thing?

I'll be back soon people. And surely with a cake recipe!


Mr. P

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Chilli Pepper Relish

And so, dear reader, as I sit here, glass of whisky and soda very much in hand, I feel like a very bad man indeed. I seem to remember promising more baking in a recent post. I am going to have to break that promise. But look, I'll give it to you straight - you look like the kind of person who can handle the truth - it isn't that I haven't been thinking about it; there just hasn't been time for any.

OK, OK, that is also a little lie. There has been a coffee cake, which is part of a (hopefully) quite lengthy post that I am mid-way through preparing, but I just haven't had a chance to do anything else. Another lie. I actually made something like twenty cakes over the last week, but none of them were eaten by, or for, me, and they all went elsewhere. I have a 'If-I-don't-eat-at-least-a-little-bit-of-it-then-it-doesn't-go-on-the-blog' policy that I try very hard to adhere to.

And yes. It is absolutely devastating knowing that you have made twenty cakes and not eaten even a crumb of any of them.

The whisky has given me the munchies and now I want this!

I did consider baking something small to post before I go off on my next jaunt (which is for pleasure this time, not work), but I got carried away cleaning the kitchen and didn't have time. You know, I pride myself on keeping a fairly clean house, and whenever I suggest a tidy up, Him Indoors always groans and says we have a cleaner place than most people (Whatever, Mr. Other P - get that Hoover out). But you would not believe how filthy my kitchen was. How does dirt hide itself so well?

A brief aside: we had a new kitchen fitted about a year ago, and I really want to tell anyone who is reading and considering a re-fit not to choose high-gloss cabinets. Keeping them streak free will give you gray hairs.

Anyhow, you don't get cake today. You get my chilli pepper jam that was supposed to be posted in December. It is adapted from a recipe in Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2, which as regular readers will know is one of my favourites.

I made loads of this to give as gifts. It was one of my preserving successes. There's no reason to make it only in Winter time though, since it takes any cheese board to another, better, and infinitely more pleasurable realm. And it's not as if cheese is a seasonal indulgence. Is it?

Chilli Pepper Relish

You will need:

750g red peppers
100g red chillies
50g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
350ml cider vinegar
1kg pectin added jam sugar
50ml lime juice
1tsp salt

  1. De-seed and finely chop the peppers and chillies.
  2. Put the chillies, ginger and vinegar into a large pan and bring to the boil. Add everything else, stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes back to the boil.
  3. Boil for 4 minutes exactly, and remove from the heat. Cool for 5 minutes and then pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Saturday 19 March 2011

This Is The Manifesto of Mother Monster

So, here's the thing...

My friend Lynda's sister has a blog (not about food, it's about Lady Gaga). She's called Tina, she made a hilarious video about why she should be Lady Gaga's blogger and I think it's really good.

She needs support. Your support.

Anybody who has ever had a blog knows how much time and effort they consume. A click will make all the difference. Besides that, I want her to win. Go Tina!

Vote here.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Banana, Date, Apricot and Walnut Tea Bread

I have got something ground breakingly amazing to say about this cake, and that is that it tastes ground breakingly amazing. It doesn't exactly re-invent the cake wheel (if you will), but hopefully it is going to introduce all my international readers (hey y'all!) to the kind of British cake that never gets much attention: the tea bread. Basically, fruity loaf cakes that turn your hot drink into something magical, comforting and fabulous. I got the idea from my friend Row, when she was telling me about a cake her mum used to make, adapted from a Mary Berry recipe for something rather different.

You should make it because it has dates in it. Do you know how underrated dates are in cake? Hideously. And do you know something else? I am not alone in my adoration of the fruit of the phoenix dactylifera. According to a study by Al-Shahib and Marshall,

"dates may be considered as an almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits."

(Don't you just love Wikipedia?)

The fact of the matter is, dates are great. Mine even came in a box that read 'DATE ME', so you get camp kitsch as well as delicious stickiness. There aren't many things in life that you can say the same about.

I only have one photo of the cake (and none of the dates in their cute box), because I didn't plan on posting this recipe. However, upon tasting it, I realised that it needed to be shared. Make it, my people. Taste it. Believe.

I have marked the egg in the ingredients as optional, because such squidgy, fruity, banana filled loaf cakes simply do not need eggs in them. This is a fact. You may also use margarine in place of the butter, and, should you wish, call me a veganizer, and sing to me in the style of Britney Spears:

'You you you are...
You you you are...
A veganizer veganizer veganizer VEGANIZER!'

No kidding, I would actually like that very much. I wonder what other songs you could sing for me in the kitchen?

There's lots more coming on Delicious Delicious Delicious shortly. I have just been busy, which is why there have been so few posts. Next up is some more charity baking, so see you back here for that.

Banana, Date, Apricot and Walnut Tea Bread

You will need:

90g butter
200g dates, stoned and chopped
50g dried apricots, chopped
150ml boiling water
90g caster sugar
1 egg (optional - there's enough fruit and banana not to need it)
250g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g walnuts, chopped
2 mashed bananas

  1. Grease and line a standard loaf tin. Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Soak the dates and apricots in the hot water for 15 minutes.
  3. Combine the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and egg in a bowl until well blended. This is difficult - I would add the flour gradually once everything else has mixed, and use soft butter.
  4. Add the bananas, dates, apricots and nuts and fold in well.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until the loaf cake tests done. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and peel off the lining paper. Cool completely.

Monday 7 March 2011

Cake A Difference: Cardamom, Orange and Pistachio Cupcakes

The sexiest charity work I'll ever do.

I never break rules. Hearts, yes. Dishes, sometimes. But rules are there to be respected. Obeyed.

And yet... I feel like charity deserves a special rule breaking allowance. So for this year's 'Cake A Difference' for Bliss, the charity for premature babies that I support, I decided to bake my cupcakes in the wrong week. I figured that money's money at the end of the day and if I want to make a cupcake for charity outside of the week beginning 14 Feb, well that's my prerogative.

Besides, I almost didn't get involved this year, because - blech! - Harry Eastwood got in on the act and I just really can't bear her 'healthy cake' crap and that damned ridiculous book of hers. But, it's for the babies after all, so I put aside my disdain for an afternoon, and got out my hand mixer.

You may or may not remember that last year I made Red Velvet Cupcakes (REAL ones, Harry, real ones!) for Bliss and sold them at Mr. Other P's office (on account of my 'office' not really being suitable for cake sales). Well I did the same this year, only instead of those crimson beauties, I made up my own recipe for gluten free cupcakes, having learned that there was an anti-wheat contingent present in Rhondda-Cynon-Taff. What can I say? Everybody deserves a cupcake. Provided they pay for it.

I have banged on long and hard enough about how fabulous Rose Levy Beranbaum's book is on this blog before, so I'll spare you the details. But what I will say is that I have poached her mixing technique to make these cupcakes. It is worth it: they rise perfectly level on baking, and have a tenderly delicious crumb.

In fact, I want one now.

I used an ingredient - Dove's Farm Organic Gluten and Wheat Free Self Raising Flour - that I know US readers probably won't be able to get, and I feel bad about it. But let's remind ourselves that they get cake flour, Pam and Rose herself. It's all fair in the cake world.

I made another £50 for Bliss with these. Why not have a cupcake sale yourself? It's such a great cause to support.

Gluten Free Cardamom, Orange and Pistachio Cupcakes

You will need:

250g Dove's Farm Organic Gluten and Wheat Free Self Raising Flour
200g butter
250g caster sugar
250ml low fat yogurt
3 eggs
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp vanilla

100g butter
200g cream cheese
500g icing sugar
1 tsp orange extract

chopped pistachios to decorate
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line two 12 bun muffin trays with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and sugar. In another bowl, mix 3 tbsb of the yogurt with the eggs, cardamom and vanilla.
  3. Add the butter and remaining yogurt to the flour mixture, and beat with a handheld mixer on low speed until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue beating on high speed for 1 minute.
  4. Add the egg mixture in two batches, beating on high speed for thirty seconds after each addition.
  5. Divide the mixture between the liners and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and well risen.
  6. Cool on a wrack and make the frosting: beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then add the icing sugar and beat until creamy. Add the extract, and use the icing to frost the cupcakes. Top with pistachios.

Friday 4 March 2011

Winter Strawberry Macarons

The humble egg box. Finally. Useful!

These macarons were supposed to be the Orange and Pistachio Cupcakes that I made for Bliss' 'Cake A Difference' campaign a few weeks ago, but I was STUPID and forgot to upload the photographs. I can only apologise.

You shouldn't feel hard done to though! Everybody likes a macaron, especially a Winter Strawberry Macaron. You might be wondering what a Winter strawberry is exactly, and you'd be right to. So I'll come clean up front and let you know that I just made them up. They are 'Winter' as in 'out of season' as in 'jam'. But I did make the jam myself, so don't be hating when you should be celebrating. I would dislike it immesely if you were to associate the wrong sort of emotions with these little pinkies.

They are the first macarons I have ever made that do not contain food colouring. You're looking at the colour of real, baked egg albumen. Lovely! I'll be honest: I just couldn't hack it when I piped them out, so sprinkled them with gold lustre before baking, and I think they look better this way. Cocoa or cinnamon would also be a good choice if you don't have gold lustre, but that would beg a particularly pressing question:

'Why don't you have any gold lustre?'

I'll be expecting an answer. You won't get away with this.

Winter Strawberry Macarons

If you read this blog at all often, you'll know already that I run a loose ship when it comes to macarons. I don't bother with the food processor and all that almond grinding. I pre-buy. Relax. These will work.

You will need:

110g icing sugar
50g ground almonds
2 egg whites (60g), aged for 24 hours (just leave them on the kitchen counter, uncovered)
40g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

50g mascarpone cheese

3 tbsp strawberry jam

  1. Sift the 110g icing sugar into a large bowl, and mix in the almonds.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy, then slowly whisk in the caster sugar until you have soft peaking meringue. If you want to add a little gel colouring, then add it now, along with the vanilla extract, and carry on whisking until stiff peaks form.
  3. Add the almond and sugar mixture, and fold in. You are supposed to do this in exactly 50 strokes, and turn the bowl 45° after every tenth stroke. I don't think it's of paramount importance - you should just have a smooth mixture.
  4. Put this mix into a piping bag with the end snipped off, and pipe circles about 2 inches in diameter and well spaced apart on a lined baking sheet. You should have between 28 and 30 blobs of mixture. Let's call it 29.
  5. Let them sit for 30 minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 150°C.
  6. Sprinkle the tops of the macaron shells with gold lustre. Bake for 12 minutes on the bottom shelf. Cool completely on the sheet, and then remove using a pallet knife.
  7. Mix the jam and mascarpone together until smooth and pink, then sandwich the macarons with the resulting cream. Store in the fridge until about 30 minutes before eating. Which you should do within a week.
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