Saturday, 27 November 2010

Sourdough Starter Death

Although she often smelt like a sour smelling brewery most of the time, I had actually formed a bit of a bond with my sourdough starter.  

My little starter on Day Three

I had finally been lured to the dark side of wild yeast.  Plus, you can even use it to make cakes! I made her on Sunday, following this River Cottage recipe and all was going good until I got home last night. 

I thought it had died.  Quite spectacularly too.  The whole thing had separated and smelt so disgusting that even I wretched.  I must explain here that there are only two things that make me wretch, I have a pretty strong stomach. 

I hoped to myself that maybe that was normal (pah!) so duly stirred it all together, at arm’s length, poured half of it away, fed it and left her somewhere warm. 


It was even worse when I got home this afternoon so I’ve admitted defeat.  Rest in peace, sourdough starter attempt 1. May your predecessor be slightly more fruitful…

Friday, 26 November 2010

Christmas Decorations: Fabric Birds

Pretty little fabric birds I made for the Christmas tree!

Pattern can be found here (along with a proper instructions on how to make 3D ones!) I just used the bird part, and sewed two pieces of fabric together and stuffing before closing completely! 

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Sticky Ginger Rolls

These were supposed to be yeast leavened cinnamon rolls… I forgot we had run out of cinnamon… And yeast… *facepalm*

I’m stubborn though and some form of sweet rolls would be coming out of my kitchen tonight regardless of two missing/vital ingredients…


400gr self raising flour
25gr golden caster sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tbsp ground ginger
2 egg yolks
100gr melted butter
200ml milk

20gr melted butter
60gr golden caster sugar
2tbsp golden syrup
1 knob of stem ginger in syrup (plus 1 tbsp of syrup)

Preheat oven to 180o/c

1, Whisk all the wet dough ingredients together in a jug until smooth.
2, In a separate bowl, sift all the dry dough ingredients together.
3, Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients to form a soft dough
4, Gently roll it out to form a rectangle which is 10inches by 20 inches
5, Make the filling by combining all the filling ingredients together and spreading over the dough rectangle
6, Roll up like a swiss roll and cut into 8 pieces
7, Line a 7inch round cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides with a little butter
8, Gently lift the rolls into the tin so one of the cut sides points upwards.   Brush with a little milk or melted butter
10, Bake for 40 minutes or until the tops are deep golden colour.
11, Leave to cool slightly before removing from tin and peeling away the baking paper

Best bit? The sticky caramelly gingery bit!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Christmas Decorations: Ribbon Wreath

I have metres and metres of ribbon in my house which are mainly used for tying up cake boxes or presentation bags.  Occasionally Eadie will get hold of one piece and run through the house before tying herself up in it in the bedroom...

So I had to relocate all the random spools and tiny bags of the stuff into a box.  And, much like shoes, I didn’t realise I had a problem until they were all in one place.  There was a lot of ribbon there… A lot…

Luckily, I found this really cute idea for using it up.  All I had to buy was a Styrofoam ring and some dress pins which I picked up in Hobbycraft.  I also bought the pretty red heart ribbon too.  I’m my own worse ribbon enemy.  I found that if you have little gaps then cut a shorter piece of ribbon and weave the pin through twice rather than once before stabbing it into the Styrofoam, it fills the gap better.  It’s strangely satisfying!  Also, if you don’t have that much ribbon, cut the loops shorter so it fills out quicker.  

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Caramel Doughnuts with Chocolate and Caramel Icing

This month is hosted by Chele at Chocolate Teapot and the special ingredient is caramel! Again, last month’s entries were amazing and it was so good to see loads of different little things that had me practically drooling over my keyboard!

I have wanted to make proper fried doughnuts for a long time.  I filled that want with mini baked doughnuts in September but the feeling of want has come back with a vengeance and I don’t think baked doughnuts are going to cut it.  So why not just make proper doughnut?  There is one thing that has massively stood in my way.  I hate hot oil.  Fine with other people using it but I’m personally scared of it.  Probably from those terrifying adverts from when I was a kid.  You know the ones with the chip pan fires? Especially when they throw the water over the fire? *shudder*

So, I decided I needed to face my fears and if I could face my fears and have something tasty at the end of it I’d feel a lot better about doing it…


Caramel Filling
175gr butter
110gr golden caster sugar
2tbsp golden syrup
400gr can of condensed milk

Caramel Doughnuts (Adapted from here)
450gr strong white bread flour
50gr butter
25gr golden caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1 x 7gr sachet dried yeast
1 egg
175ml lukewarm milk

100gr milk chocolate

1tbsp caramel filling (see above)
1tbsp icing sugar
1tbsp milk

1, Make the caramel filling by adding the butter and sugar together in a large heavy based pan.  Melt them together over a medium heat stirring gently. 
2, When the sugar has dissolved, add in the rest of the caramel ingredients and slowly bring to the boil.
3, As soon as it hits the boil, reduce the heat down to medium and simmer for three to four minutes.  This is the same recipe I would use for making Millionaire’s Shortbread but I would let it boil for six to seven minutes so it really firmed up when cool.  Three to four is the right amount to make a pipeable filling. 
4, Remove the filling from the heat.  Its best to pour it into a heatproof jug to get it to cool quicker.  It needs to be room temperature before use.  When it is cool enough spoon it into a disposable piping bag and secure the top with an elastic band.  Set to one side while making the doughnuts. 

5, To make the doughnuts, sift the dry ingredients together and stir them well. 
6, Rub in the butter quickly. 
7, Make a well into centre and pour in the egg, warmed milk and the caramel syrup if you are using it and mix together until it forms a dough
6, Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough is very smooth and in no way sticky.
7, Place into a greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to raise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. 
8, Knock back the dough and give it another knead for about 5 minutes.  Form it into 20 even balls for mini doughnuts or 10 big ones.  I opted for little ones.
9, Place on a lined baking tray and cover loosely with clean film and return to the warm place for 45 minutes until they have doubled in size. 
10, Heat some sunflower oil in a large saucepan to 180o/c.  I used around 1litre in a wok and measured the temperature with my sugar thermometer. 
11, Gently place the doughnuts into the oil and fry until golden brown.  Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on plenty of kitchen paper.

12, Leave them until they are cool enough to handle safely. 
13, Insert a sharp knife halfway into the doughnut and give it a little twist to open up the hole. 
14, Snip off the end of the piping bag filled with caramel and insert it into the doughnut hole and give it a firm squeeze.  Place onto a baking sheet covered with clingfilm
15, Leave to one side and make the toppings by melting the milk chocolate and drizzle it over the top and stirring the remaining ingredients together to a smooth icing and drizzling that over too.  
16, Eat semi warm or leave them to cool before packing into an airtight container.  They will only last a day or so.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Winter Spiced Macarons with Mulled Wine Buttercream Filling

Ok, I know I’m late to the macaron party.  Not even fashionable late…  Sorry…

I made some last summer and something terrible happened .  I made them, waited for them to form a skin, baked them, danced around the kitchen in joy as they had worked amazingly well with perfect little feet and then had to nip out to get some bits in town.  When I came back, I nearly cried.  My perfect, in my eyes, macarons were covered in ants!  Pesky arthropods! (one of my favourite words!)

I’ve added some mixed spice and all spice to these ones to give them that autumny wintery taste and smell I appear to be addicted to at the moment!


This is the recipe I used with the simple addition of half a teaspoon of mixed spice and half a teaspoon of all spice. 


I made a simple mulled wine buttercream by reducing 250ml of mulled wine down to around 3tbsp of liquid, this takes around five minutes but keep an eye on it! Then whipped together 35gr of butter, 100gr icing sugar and 1 tbsp of the mulled wine syrup. 

Sorry about the terrible photos! Having real issues with not having time to catch proper daylight! Anyone have any tips? x x 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Christmas Decorations: Salt Dough

It’s my mission this year to make as much as possible this Christmas.  So that’s gifts, food and decorations.  I’m determined not to buy a single bauble this year!  I normally make a door wreath (the one last year had little salt dough gingerbread men on them which had been varnished to withstand the elements) and that is about as far as I got with making the cottage Christmassy! 

We only bought the cottage in April 2009 so we were still settling in and then two weeks before Christmas our oven decided to die!  This year I wanted to go all out and make the cottage into a proper winter wonderland, without a plastic Santa or reindeer in sight!

They're naked at the moment! Eek!

Better make a start with the decorations! 
I’m using salt dough as the basis of a lot of my decorations.  Salt dough is extremely cheap to make and is pretty durable.  Paint with acrylic paint and varnish for nice hardwearing decorations.  Plus they can be personalised.  I made some letters for nametags for presents

I used a simple recipe of two parts flour to one part plain table salt and one part water.  This website gives great tips and ideas along with cooking times for your salt dough

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Toffee Apples

We have some friends over last night for supper.  I made a huge 10 person slow cooked chilli (7 hrs!) which nearly filled my poor little slow cooker to the brim, a little vegan chilli which got polished off by the meat eaters and a ton of rice that I had to cook in a big cast iron casserole dish because even my biggest saucepan wasn’t big enough!

I also made toffee apples from a recipe my mum gave me.  She is the best. 

10 small apples, I used little cox apples
400gr golden caster sugar
1tsp white wine vinegar
4tbsp golden syrup

1, Fill a large bowl with boiling water and carefully place the apples into it.  This will help remove the waxy skins that shop bough apples tend to have and help the toffee coating stick better.  Leave them for five minutes or so before removing them, drying them, twisting off the stalks and leaving them to cool. 
2, Insert a lollipop stick into each one and set aside on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. 
3, In a medium sized saucepan add the sugar and 100 ml of cold water, over a medium heat.  Stir until the sugar has fully dissolved and is no longer grainy.
4, Add in the golden syrup and the vinegar, it might bubble and spit a bit so be careful!
5, Continue to heat the toffee coating, you might have to turn up the heat until it reaches ‘hard crack stage’ or 140o/c on a sugar thermometer. 
6, Remove the pan from the heat, tilt it slightly to one side and dip in one of the apples and twist it round so it is fully coated.  Give it a little shake over the pan to remove the excess and place onto the lined baking sheet. 
7, Repeat with all the apples.  Leave to cool thoroughly before wrapping or eating

(N.B     If the toffee gets a bit thick whilst dipping, pop it back on the heat for until liquidy again.  I had leftover toffee which I reckon could have covered another two apples, but this really depends on the size of your apples!)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Tomato Soup Cake

About a month and a bit ago I was trying to figure out what to do with a huge tomato glut.  Soup seemed like a good idea, I could freeze it and it would be lovely for the impending winter, and so I duly started to type into a search engine.  I love some of the things that google suggestions pings up (see here!) but this suggestion…

… put me off making soup.  I ended up with chutney and passata.  But the tomato soup cake seed had been planted and with the massive amount of rave reviews on recipes from, I knew I had to give it a go…

Adapted from this recipe

165gr butter (melted and cooled)
300gr plain flour
2 ½ tsp of baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp ground cloves
300gr caster sugar
1 x 400gr can of soup
3 eggs
65gr raisins


1, Preheat oven to 190o/c (gas mark 5)

2, Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and spices together in one bowl

3, In another bowl whisk eggs, soup and butter together until smooth

4, Gently combine the two bowls together and stir in the raisins. 

5, Pour into a lined or greased baking tin (I used a 10inch bundt tin, absolutely nothing to do with the fact my Lakeland order got delivered yesterday *cough cough*)

6, Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

7, Leave to cool before icing.  I used a thickened glace icing due to lack of time but the prescribed cream cheese icing would be delicious!

Friday, 5 November 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

I would like to say a massive thank you to Cat at Cats Cupcakes for giving me this little award.  Cat’s blog is wonderful and her cupcakes are incredibly cute!  I have to pass it on to fifteen other blogs that I love reading.  I take time to read the blogs I follow and I know it seems that I may follow a lot of them but they really do interest me. 

Cat’s actually given the award to three of the blogs I would have chosen (namely, Katie of Katiecakes, Chele at Chocolate Teapot and Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog)! I would strongly advise that everyone goes to look at these blogs, they are lovely people with equally lovely blogs!

So my fifteen are:

1, Steel City Flan - Probably the best glazed donuts I have ever seen!
2, In Love With Baking  Really cute cupakes! Check out the little sea creatures ones!
3, Home Baked Food and crafts - a lovely lady after my own heart!
4, Experiments with Sugarmice Again, food and crafts and crafts that look like food! Ok, so she is my oldest sister too... shh!
5, Bake My Day - Love the little chocolate brownie people!
6, Cakes, Crumbs and Cookies - Shortbread! I bloody love shortbread!
7, Baking Monster - Amazing recipes! Adore the halloween goodies!
8, Molly Bakes - Incredible cake pops!
9, Caketopia - Beautiful celebration cakes!
10, Cookie Confessions - Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Bars! YUM!
11, Eating With My Mouth Open - Love this one, really liked the post about the bats! So cute!
12, Eat Little, Eat Big - Love the sweet potato frips! 
13, A La Graham - An asset to the blogging community! Wonderful recipes and helped me out with some technical issues with my blog!
14, Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner - Love Pam's food! I have a massive sweet tooth but her recipes make me crave savoury food like crazy!
15, MY PASSION - it's all about... baking & cooking  - Birthday eggs.  I kid you not, they are amazing!