Friday, 25 February 2011

We Should Cocoa: Chai Chocolate Fondants

I still have another post to get up from the travels of last week but I have to squeeze this one in before the deadline!

This month’s We Should Cocoa is held by the lovely Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog and the ingredient for February to include is tea!  I’m going to admit this now.  I felt all smug when this was announced.  I had just ordered some matcha powder and picked up some (cheats) chai on my weekly shop!  Ideas have literally flooded my head and I really struggled to pick one. 

However, that smug feeling was knocked out of me pretty quickly.  I’m suffering from a touch of, what Jim has coined, Han-Flu, a less deadly strain of Man-Flu.  I don’t have a voice, my nose is streaming, I’m deaf in one ear and have a smacking headache.  I don’t do being ill.  I’ll insist I’m fine until I collapse.  Still, I want you to picture this scene:-  Thursday  night, donut batter made, oven on, cake release primed for coating the inside of the donut tin and then me, standing in the middle of my kitchen, thermometer in my mouth and massaging my temples.  Can I find my donut tin? No.  No is the short answer.  The long answer involved expletives.  I had the bloody thing yesterday…  So I gave up.  Put the batter in the fridge (knowing it’ll be rubbish to use tomorrow), grabbed a cold flannel, pain killers, a litre of water, a very sleepy Luci cat and took to my death sick bed.  I had to get up at the crack of sparrows fart to get to London for a meeting this morning as well. 

Donut tin is still in absence.  I’ve thrown away the donut batter.  I am not happy. 

But after spreading my Han-FluTM across the city I decided to give it another bash and sneak in my entry three hours before deadline! So I present, with a drum roll, Chocolate Chai Fondants!

I have just halved this recipe and added in two tablespoons of chai latte powder with the flour.  I used my Wilton muffin tin as a mould and made five in total.  I baked them for 11 minutes.  They were gorgeous!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

A White Wedding

This is my beautiful big sister and my new brother in law!  This is where they got married, it was amazing!  We flew to Helsinki, had a three hour wait and then took a plane to Kemi.  The scenery from the plane alone was breathtaking!

We ate reindeer, walked on the sea (it was frozen!) and stared in awe at the snowflakes.  They fell individually from cloudless skies and were so perfect they looked like they were machine cut glass.  None of the photos I took do them any justice. 

The frozen sea!

The snow castle is rebuilt every year (as it melts) and they theme it every year too.  This year it was comic themed!  Whilst it was a frosty -26 degrees C outside, the inside of the snow castle was a balmy -5 degrees C!  It’s made up of the snow restaurant, snow hotel and snow chapel.  There was a separate snow café for defrosting toes and nephews if it all go a bit too much!

This is my tasty reindeer!

The snow restaurant was amazing.  The table were Perspex blocks sunk into ice so the plates didn’t melt the tables! Along with stools made entirely of ice and covered with reindeer pelts.  Frosty bums? Nope!

It was impossible to get really cold in all of these layers!

Beautiful snow/ice crystals!

 They had snow slides too!

Congratulations guys! You’re the best!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Red Velvet Valentines: LOVE Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How unbelievably cute are these moulds? You can buy them here and also a huge thank you to Sarah-Jane for hosting the giveaway on her lovely blog

The cake is again red velvet but this time it’s the recipe from the Magnolia Bakery.  It is delicious!

I’m going to be away from the blog for a bit.  My sister is getting married on Wednesday and it’s a two flights there, two flights back job! Plus another four flights between Friday and Sunday but if I start typing about impending adventures now, I just won’t stop! Hope everyone has a lovely week =)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Red Velvet Valentines: Buttermilk Pancakes

Ok, avert your eyes if you think Valentines is a faux holiday... 
 I'm not against it, mainly because I get to buy inappropriate cards for Jim. 
Like this:-
Anyway, big fluffy American pancakes are a staple breakfast in the cottage. 
Mainly because they remind us of New York and one of the most 
amazing breakfasts wehave ever consumed... (It was called The 
Lumberjack, three huge pancakes, 
two eggs, sausage, bacon, a lake of maple syrup and butter... 
My arteries still ache from the memory!) I thought I would "jazz" 
them up with smooshy love hearts! 
 1 cup of plain flour
1tsp baking powder
½ tsp cocoa powder
1 cup of buttermilk
2tsbp golden caster sugar
2tbsp olive oil (plus extra for frying)
Red food colouring
1, Sift all the dry ingredients together in one bowl.
2, Mix all the wet ingredients together in a jug 
(apart from the food colouring)
3, Take out a couple of tablespoons of the batter and mix that with some 
red food colouring so it is nice a bright
4, Heat up a non-stick saucepan with a little drizzle of oil for frying 
over a medium heat
5, Add ¼ cup of the batter into the pan and spread out to form a circle, 
then quickly dollop ½ tsp of the red batter on the surface in a small circle shape. 
Taking a skewer or the tip of a sharp knife, drag it across the circle 
to form a heart shape.  
6, Leave the pancake to cook until little bubbles start to form on the 
uncooked side then flip it and cook until golden brown.
7, These are best served immediately but I tend to keep the warm 
in the top oven until they are all cooked.  

The red batter can be used to make any patterns.  
I made Jim a ‘Jimcake’.  Because he is special.

Red Velvet Valentines: Red Velvet Mini Cakes

I never really understood red velvet cake. I just wasn't sure why you'd put food colouring in cake. 

I have seriously been missing out... 

Cue me baking some little red velvet mini cakes and then falling in love for the second time this week with an inanimate object.

(This is my first love of the week. My first, brand spanking new SLR. I've called her Drusilla <3)

This recipe is from here but I have halved it. I didn't want an army of mini cakes! (It made around 12 mini cakes)

125gr butter
150gr golden caster sugar
1 egg
120gr buttermilk
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
150gr plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
10gr cocoa powder
Red food colouring (liquid 1tsp)

Preheat oven to 180o/c
1, Cream the butter and sugar together.
2, Beat in the egg
3, Beat in the butter, vinegar and vanilla extract.   
4, Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt and gently fold it in
5, Mix in the food colouring until the batter is a dusky red colour.  I used a teaspoon of red food colouring in liquid form.
6, Spoon the batter into greased moulds so they are half full.    
7, Bake for 15 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
8, Cool thoroughly on a wire rack.  Slice them in a half and add a dollop of cream cheese icing.  Sandwich them back together and top with more icing.  

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Blush Pear Tart

How pretty are blush pears? I’ve never been a huge pear fan and the photo doesn’t really do them justice but I love the contrast between the deep red flesh and the pale flesh! I wanted to showcase this and tart seemed the right way to go!

Patê Sucrée (Sugar Pastry)
100gr plain flour
25gr golden caster sugar
Pinch of salt
50gr butter
1 egg yolk

Tart Filling
2 or 4 blush pears, thinly sliced
4tbsp golden caster sugar
1 tsp good vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180o/c

1, Make the pastry by rubbing the cold butter into the flour, sugar and salt.  When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs add in the egg yolk with a fork and bring the pastry together to form a ball. 
2, Roll out the pastry to 5mm thick and add it into a 7inch loose bottomed tart tin
3, Brush the base of the pastry with the vanilla extract and arrange the pears.  Two pears should cover the base but if you like your filling a bit thicker do two layers. 
4, Sprinkle the golden caster sugar over the top.
5, Bake for 25 minutes.
6, Eat hot or cold!

And The Winner Is...

How do you pick between two votes? I don’t have any adorable children, or in fact any children, and the cats are pretty useless.  Eadie just throws herself on the floor when she is confused and Lu is too stoic to play games.  Simply answer, coin toss!

50p piece, two bits of post-it note and a pen later and we have a vote caster! B for Brownieville Girl and F for Freerangegirl.  Excuse my lovely green office carpet!


Congratulations, Brownieville Girl.  Please send me a quick email at cornercottage(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk with the address you want it sent to!