Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Strawberry Jelly Bowls

Jelly and ice cream.

You hurtle me back to floral dresses, plastic barrette hair clips, lace ankle socks with sandals, pass the parcel, and plastic party bags filled with flat lollies and squashed slices of cake wrapped in napkins. Multicoloured fondant monoliths to match the multicoloured balloons pinned on the door. Plastic bowls filled with crisps. Top lip staining cherryade. Cotton Eyed Joe and the Macarena.

Jelly and ice cream; the staple of any party of my childhood.

It had to be strawberry jelly. Occasionally, tinned fruit salad imprisoned in its wobbly, glossy walls. It had to be vanilla ice cream. Further toppings are eyed with suspicion although sprinkles were just about permitted.

I'm entering these into Kavey Eats Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream Edible Containers challenge. You can read all about BSFIC and how to enter here.

Makes six jelly bowls

500gr hulled strawberries plus six slices of strawberry (cut horizontally through the fruit, approximately half a centimetre thick. Place these onto some kitchen towel to absorb some of their juice.)
300ml cold prepared fruit cordial or flat fruit cider (possibly plus extra, see below)
Caster sugar
2 sachets Dr Oetker powdered gelatine (around 23gr)

Vanilla ice cream to serve.

You will also need
A six hole muffin tin
Six small silicone dariole moulds

1, Place the hulled strawberries and a little splash of water in a medium saucepan and set over a medium heat. You need to gently simmer them until they breakdown completely. They will release a lot of liquid.
2, Push the cooked strawberries through a sieve into a large measuring jug. You need to top this up to full pint with the fruit cordial or cider. Taste and add sugar if necessary.
3, Measure out 240ml and put back into the saucepan. Bring up to a gentle simmer and remove from the heat. Whisking constantly, sprinkle the gelatine over this warmed liquid.
4, Carry on whisking until the gelatine has dissolved completely. Mix this with the rest of the fruity liquid.

5, Place a slice of strawberry into each hole of a six hole muffin tin. Divide the liquid jelly between each of the holes.
6, Take six silicone dariole moulds and fill half way with water. You need to place one of the filled dariole moulds into the centre of the muffin tin. It needs to rest on the slice of strawberry so it doesn't touch the bottom. Try and get it as dead centre as possible. If they slope off to the side, when you unmould them, they won't hold their shape and will split apart.
7, Place in the fridge until set.
8, When the jelly has set completely, empty the water out of each of the dariole moulds and one by one fill with a little hot water and gently twist and remove the mould.
9, Next, sprinkle a little water onto a large flat tray or pastry board and invert the muffin tin onto it. Using a mini blowtorch, gently heat the muffin holes one by one, until you can work the jelly out. By dampening the board, it makes them easier to manoeuvre around.
10, Handling them carefully, turn them up the right way. Fill with ice cream and serve immediately.

Friday, 24 May 2013

We Should Cocoa: Mango Rice Crispy Cakes

This month's We Should Cocoa mango challenge is hosted by Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen. Last month's honey round up can be found here. Don't forget to check out Choclette and Chele's blogs.
I bought the most photogenic mango in the world. It was perfect. Green skin, flushed with pink, red and amber hues.

It was the ridiculously photogenic guy of the mango world.

It was also perfectly ripe, sweet, juicy, and had that floral perfume reserved purely for mangoes.

I dreamed of chocolate whoopie pies with sweet, tangy mango curd. I made curd. It was awful. Truly terrible. Genuine bleurgh. Shudder.

It was kind of a kick. A trusted website, the perfect mango, icky curd.

So, like the adult I am, I sulked. Pulled marshmallows, rice crisps, dried mango and chocolate out the cupboard and made the ultimate no bake comfort food.

Basic recipe adapted from here

40gr unsalted butter
325gr white marshmallows
Small pinch of salt
180gr rice crispies
75gr dried mango, chopped into small pieces or strips
30gr dark chocolate

1, In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat and add in the marshmallows.
2, Continue to stir over the low heat until marshmallows have fully melted.
3, Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the dark chocolate.
4, When everything is fully combined press firmly into a 30cm by 19cm tin that has been lined with cling film and greased with a flavourless oil.
5, Leave to cool and set.
6, Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the top. Chill until the chocolate has set and cut into squares.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Cajun Spiced Popcorn

But sugared almonds are tradition"
"Little chocolates are all the rage now!"
"We went to a wedding where they all had little cupcakes as favours"
"You can get pick'n'mix stands now"
"Have you thought about having...."

I faded out at this point. Eyes glazed over. Dreamy harp music played softly in my ears. I went to my happy place. In the course of planning "The happiest day of our lives", I faded out. A lot.

I'll be the first to admit that almonds/chocolates/cupcakes/pick'n'mix/etc would have been easier than sitting on my kitchen floor at 1am Friday morning, popping, flavouring, and bagging up 70 bags of popcorn for our wedding the next day. Especially after deep clean scrubbing the kitchen for a good two hours before I'd even popped a single kernel.

Sorry. Popping , flavouring, bagging, presentation bagging, and tagging up 70 bags of popcorn which happen to be made up of five different flavours.

Sugar & Spice - icing sugar and cinnamon
Cocoa Mama - Cocoa powder, icing sugar, chocolate chips
Don't Harsh my Mallow - icing sugar and mini marshmallows
Fire in the Disco- Cajun Spicy (Hot!)
Ciao Bella - Italian herb blend

Did the effort pay off?

Heck yes - is the short answer.

Today is our first wedding anniversary and I've made a big bowl of popcorn.

The Cajun spicy popcorn was the favourite. Simply toss Cajun seasoning over freshly popped and still warm plain popcorn and enjoy. Especially the super fiery bits at the bottom. I make my seasoning in bulk from this recipe.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Homemade Ricotta

My best friend and I have a competition we play each other when we go on holiday. It's really simple and if you can find someone to play it with you, then I would strongly recommend it.

The game is to bring each other back the most horrifically tacky present you can find. There are obviously unspoken rules:-

It can't be too big. Where the shiz would we put/get home a four foot straw donkey wearing a sombrero?

It must be so ugly, words cannot describe its ugliness. I'm talking foul-bad-nasty ugly. Not cute ugly.

It must be relevant from the place it was purchased. I'm talking snow globes from the Alps, sangria jugs from Spain, plastic bratwurst from Germany, Eiffel Tower key rings.

Bonus points if it has the name of the destination on it.

Past gifts have involved sparkly dolphin bottle openers from the Maldives, a pink fluffy camel bag from Gran Canaria, Roman penis fridge magnets, sangria shot glass sets from Spain and a Hershey's kiss cuddly toy dressed up like the Statue of Liberty. We mean business over here. I doubt either of us will be declared the winner; we're that good.

I like to see our game as an added bonus memory that we bring back from our holidays. You can store them alongside your memories of sand between your toes, sweet gelato, nearly being killed by an Italian taxi driver, watching a waiter flambé your dinner by your table, being harassed to buy citrus fruit on a Moroccan beach, and eating honey drenched ricotta as you watch the sun set.

558ml/1pint whole milk
300ml cream
1/2tsp salt
2tbsp fresh lemon juice
1tbsp white wine vinegar

1, Stir the milk and cream together in a medium sized saucepan and place over a medium/high heat.
2, Bring it up to a rolling boil and then remove from the heat.
3, Stir in the salt, lemon juice and vinegar and leave to stand for 15minutes.
4, After 15 minutes you should have lumpy white soft solids floating around in pale slightly translucent whey. If it hasn't separated, add a bit more lemon juice, stir and leave for another 10 minutes.
5, Place a sieve over a bowl and line the sieve with a cheesecloth or a clean jay cloth. Gently transfer the lumpy mixture into the sieve with a large spoon. They whey will drain out of the bottom.
6, Tie the edges of the cheesecloth together and suspend over the bowl. If you want smooth creamy ricotta hang for around 20minutes. If you want your ricotta a bit firmer, hang for longer. I left mine for around 25 minutes so it was soft and spreadable.
7, This will keep in the fridge for around 3 days in an airtight container.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Spelt & Pumpkin Seed Crackers

I'm pretty sure my 16 year old self would sneer at me if she managed to travel to the present day.

She would probably have a heart attack over my work clothes and my skinny jeans. She survived solely on a clothing diet of baggy jeans, bikini tops, converse, and hoodies. Pencil skirts, stillettos, and leather handbags were not in her vocabulary. ("I can't believe you work in an OFFICE.")

She would shake her head at my taste in music. ("Who are Alabama Shakes? Why aren't you playing Rage Against the Machine and System of a Down?")

My dressing table would flummox her. Moisturiser with a £50+ price tag. Potions and lotions for refining pores and creams for nights and days. Puffy eye rollerball serums and BB cream. ("HEAT DEFENSE SPRAY!?!?!?")

She would be a barrage of tanned limbs and accusatory questions and comments. Why are you crocheting on a Friday night? You own a slow cooker? Your fringe is ridiculous.

But her seeing more than six different types of flour in my kitchen cupboards would tip her over the edge. The lean little thing with the thick, untamed wavy brown hair who didn't have to wear concealer wouldn't know what to do. Sugar and full fat cola. Cigarettes and the skate park. Green Day concerts and house parties. She would implode.

I made spelt crackers with ground pumpkin seeds and the whey from some homemade cheese. Yep. She'd really hate me.

Recipe based on this one

70g pumpkin seeds
100g spelt flour
50g butter
1tbsp olive oil
2-4 tbsp water (or whey)

1, Preheat oven to 180o/c and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Put the pumpkin seeds in an oven dish and roast for around 8-10 minutes until golden brown, hissing and starting to split.
2, Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
3, Blitz half the seeds in a food processor until fine and roughly crush the rest of the seeds briefly in a mortar and pestle. Mix these with the flour and rub in the butter. Mix in the oil.
4, Add in the water (or whey), a tablespoon at a time until it forms a soft but not sticky ball.
5, Turn out onto a lightly floured worktop and roll out to about half a cm. cut out rounds and bake for 8-10minutes or until just golden brown.
6, They will be a little fragile when removing them from the oven so leave them to cool on the tray.
7, Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

{Closed} Giveaway: Corner Cottage Bakery is 3!

Happy birthday, tiny blog.

And as you can't have a birthday without presents, one lucky person can win all of these:-

A china cup, bowl and plate set.

A set of measuring spoons.

A set of bright paper straws.

A bag of roasted cocoa beans. I use these in my Thyme, Honey and Cocoa Bean Scones but they are hugely versatile.

A copy of one of my favourite recipe books.

To enter, all you have to do is simply leave a comment.

I've also launched the brand new Pinterest board for Corner Cottage Bakery's posts which you can see here. You can earn an extra entry by following me on Pinterest. If you already do or have done so, please leave a separate comment.

Small Print
This giveaway will close on the 14th May 2013 at 11.59pm GMT.
Any entries after that will be considered void.
Valid entries will be numbered and then picked through a random number generator.
Any accidental duplicated entries will be deleted and not entered.
A maximum of two entries per person is permitted.
Due to having edibles included and postage costs, this giveaway is only open to UK residents. You must be able to provide me with a valid UK postal address if you are the winner.
The decision on the winner is final and no further correspondence on the matter will be entered into.
The winner will be published on this blog on the 15th May 2013 - I will endeavour to contact the winner but the onus remains on the winner to get in touch.
If the winner fails to claim their prize after two weeks from publication on the 15th May 2013, the prize will be redrawn in the same fashion.
There is no cash alternative for the prize.
My email address is on the About Me section of this blog if you have any further queries.


The winner is...


(I've sent you a quick email, but if you haven't received it, please send me your postal address on cornercottage(at)hotmail(dot)com )