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Archive for April, 2010

So a couple of weeks ago I made rhubarb muffins á la Rachel Allen and they were all healthy and low fat and reasonably tasty. Nice for brekkie, not really a treat. You can always rely on Nigella to take things up a notch though.  Low fat is not something you will find in her cookbooks. It’s all about decadence and tastiness – which usually involves copious amount of cream and butter! This muffin recipe isn’t all about the butter, but she does add a crunchy cinnamon topping which lifts the muffins up to something a bit more exciting than Rachel’s recipe.  I found this recipe in Nigella’s book Feast, which, I’m slightly ashamed to say, I’ve owned for ages but never baked anything from before. I need to start using this book more!

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The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.  I had two different attempts at this challenge, both sweet. I had planned for a savoury pudding, but the last month just flew by!  I will make a steak and ale pudding with a suet crust at some stage though, just not this month!  My two tries were a steamed rhubarb pudding (made with butter, not suet) and a steamed treacle pudding (pictured above) which was a bit of a disaster! 😀  I really enjoyed this month’s challenge – I just wish I had more time!  Thank you to the challenge host Esther for a challenge that taught me a completely new method of cooking – and it’s not hard at all. I remember my aunt steaming Christmas puddings when I was young, but I had never tried that method myself until now.

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I found this recipe in a recent issue of the BBC Good Food Magazine. I have started buying food magazines lately and Good Food Magazine is the first I’ve actually made something from.  I have been trying to figure out the difference between Good Food and Olive magazine and I think, for me, Good Food is more accessible. I’m always finding great recipes on the Good Food website and, while the recipes in Olive Magazine always look delicious and droolsome, they’re a little too fancy for me. Me and my humble palate!

Anyway, back to the mousse. This recipe is from Angela Nilsen and she took a traditional recipe for Chocolate Mousse (i.e. artery clogging deliciousness) and tried a lighter approach. This is the result of that approach.  This is my first mousse of any kind and it turned out well! I am well pleased. I also learned that it is difficult to take appetising pictures of chocolate mousse (ahem), so pics are kept to a minimum here. But great recipe – give it a try!

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This is a fab recipe from Jamie Oliver, and a favourite of his nan. A great tea cake for an afternoon treat. I need to invest in a smaller springform tin – I think some extra depth would add to this cake. My tin was a little too big. Still, it was a big hit in all its moist lemon-y goodness. The poppy seeds also give it the edge over a plain lemon drizzle cake. I will make this cake again!

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Yay! Rhubarb has arrived.  Rhubarb is possibly my favourite fruit – yum!  I whipped up this batch of muffins in no time at all. Really simple recipe, with very little fat so it’s a healthy snack.  A crumbly muffin with a lovely sweetness coming from the brown sugar topping. They need a little something to lift them a bit, so next time I’ll add a little ground ginger I think. I’ll update if I do.

Recipe from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking.

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I wanted a cake with a fruity hit. Not a muffin, but something you can cut a big slice of and pour custard all over.  I made a rhubarb cake last year with some cornmeal (polenta to us Euro peeps) and it was delightful. The texture was just fab. But I can’t find the recipe. <sob>

Maybe it was only fab because of the rhubarb and not because of the polenta.

Maybe rhubarb just makes everything better.

Maybe we’ll never know.

One thing is for sure, this cake is underwhelming.

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Kickass Apple Cake

I’m excited.  It’s Spring!  Time for lighter, more fruity dessert options.  Apple, rhubarb, summer berries… it’s all ahead of us. 🙂 I spotted the season’s first rhubarb on Saturday. It looked a bit thin (probably as it’s so early in season) but soon the shops will be awash with rhubarb. Yay! But, for now, apples and a kickass apple cake!  This cake manages to take some essence of winter (moist, comforting cake-y goodness) and mix in some fruity, cinnamon-y apple. Yum.

This is one serious apple cake. Firstly, it is huge. Mahoosive, in fact. Originally devised by Smitten Kitchen‘s mom, and baked in a ring tin (or tube pan). But I don’t have one of those, so out with the trusty ‘ol round springform tin. Secondly, it took an age to bake. About 1.5 hours. Not quite your 22 minute Victoria sponge. Thirdly, it’s very heavy, so one to proudly display in the kitchen and slice off a big wedge for delighted visitors, not good for transporting. 😉

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