Saturday, 30 April 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Scones.....because everyone loves a wedding!

Everyone Loves a Wedding – Sugar Cinnamon Scones

So, yesterday history was made, Prince William married his Princess, it was a fabulous day and a wonderful wedding, the  type of wedding all little girls dream of, I have to admit my favourite part was when he look over at his bride and whispered ‘You look beautiful’.
So celebrate, 3 generations of friends and family gathered around an oversized TV, adorned themselves with hats, fascinators and flags and enjoyed the show!

Of, course it wouldn’t have been complete without an afternoon tea...we all provided a little something, and although, as always, we ended up with sandwich overkill it was a marvellous spread.
I chose to be typically British and indulge my love of Cornwall by providing Cinnamon Sugar scones, strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream.

450g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
100g butter
50g caster sugar
240ml milk
150g currants (optional)
1 egg (beaten) and 2tsp milk for the egg wash
Caster sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Makes 12 large scones or 24 dainty ones!
Prepare 1 or 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to 200c/2180c fan
Firstly,  the flour, salt, baking powder and butter needs to be rubbed in until they resemble fine breadcrumbs, you can so this by hand, or, if you are short of time (and a teeny bit lazy like me) whizz it up in a food processor, it takes about 30 seconds!

Remove from the food processor and tip into a large bowl, add in the sugar and sultanas and mix well.

Add the milk to the bowl and mix together roughly to a dough, I prefer to mix my scones with a metal knife that used to belonged to my Nanny, I have learnt my lesson when it come to over-handling scone dough, the ones that came out of the oven and were like little blocks of concrete still stand out in my mind, even the birds wouldn’t touch them......

Tip the  dough onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together a little more using your (floured) hands, please, please, please do this very lightly and briefly.

Now, I know a lot of folks use a rolling pin but trust me you really don’t need to, pat your dough to about 1inch thick.

Using you cutter of choice, I used a 2.5inch heart cutter for this batch – well, it was a wedding after all! Cut out your scones, flour the cutter each time and press straight  down, don’t twist the cutter as this will seal the sides and they won’t rise (remember the concrete blocks I spoke about earlier.....)

Now, you can either egg wash the tops and transfer these straight to the trays to bake, or you can give them a little something extra by sprinkling some caster sugar on the tops of them.

Bake in the over for 14-15 minutes, they will be golden brown on top and sound hollow when you tap the bottoms.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Serve with clotted cream, strawberry jam and a nice cup of tea!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Mexican Mississippi Mud Pie

Mexican Mississippi Mud Pie
This chocolate based pie dessert hails from America but this version is given a Mexican twist with the edition of chilli and was made for yet another dear friend, Ms H who is upping sticks and leaving Blighty to start a new career in Mexico City.
It is extremely rich, chocolaty and gooey with a hint of coffee and a slight kick of chilli, it is great served with cream or ice cream…Enjoy!
For the base:
100g crushed digestive biscuits
50 melted butter
25g Demerara sugar
For the filling:
400g plain chocolate (or a mix of milk & plain if you prefer)
225g butter
1tbs instant coffee
2 tablespoons boiling water
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes (you can increase or decrease depending on your taste. Or leave it out altogether)
300ml single cream
350g dark muscovado sugar
6 eggs

Grease an 8in/20cm loose-bottomed or spring release cake tin.
Pre-heat the oven to 180° (160° fan oven)
To make the base, mix the crushed biscuits, melted butter and sugar together and spoon into the tin, smooth the mixture out evenly and press it down firmly.
To make the filling, mix the instant coffee with the boiling water and put into a pan with the chocolate, butter and chilli and gently heat until melted.
Take off the heat and beat in the sugar, eggs and cream.
Once combined pour the mixture on to the biscuit base.
Bake for 1¼ - 1½ hrs. or until set.
Allow to cool completely in the tin, remove from tin, decorate with whipped cream if using, and serve!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Cupcake Camp Bournemouth 2011

I thought I’d treat you to some pictures of the amazing cupcakes that were at Cupcake Camp Bournemouth 2011, it was a great day, a little frantic at times but fabulous all the same.
Margaret Hitchman did an amazing job organising the event and besides the cupcakes (which were all sold within an hour and a half) there was something to entertain everyone and lots of money was raised for charity.
Some of the cakes there were AMAZING, particularly the fish & chip cupcakes that not only looked spectacular but tasted fabulous too.
I bought home a box of 6 delightful little treats which were all thoroughly enjoyed.
So, here are a few pics to keep you going……
Sticky Toffee Cupcakes


Royal Wedding Cupcakes

Terry's Chocolate Orange Cakes!

Chocolately Goodness!

How cute are these!

My humble offering

Vodka, lime & raspberry!

My fellow baker Nadia's donation


The most amazing cake of the day (in my opinion)!

Hungry Customers

Next please!

Sold out.....

A selction of goodies bought home by me!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

French Macaroons.....

French Macaroons for an English afternoon tea....
French macaroons are little clouds of delightful crispy, chewy, sweet loveliness but for me, they proved to be finicky, frustrating little puddles of runny goo that ended up in the dustbin, until I found the perfect recipe at The Pink Whisk.

Trust me, this is the only recipe I’ve found that works, Ruth is a genius, although she’s right about the ear defenders, having the food processor and the mixer going at once is a little deafening  but the results are worth it.
So,  here’s are a few pics of the batch I made up at the weekend, light pink macaroons  filled with strawberry butter cream and some dusted with pink sprinkles, the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Earl Grey tea on a Sunday afternoon al fresco, and also a couple of picture of some bright pink ones filled with chocolate ganache which i made a few weeks back...

So, for the Perfect Macaroons check out this recipe at The Pink Whisk 

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Spiced Pecan Praline & Sayulita Sun

Spiced Pecan Praline & Sayulita Sun

This is a truly scrumptious treat, you can use sprinkle it on ice-cream, use it in cookies or as a topping for cakes, or of course, make it into truffles....
I have yet to experiment with the truffles but they are on my list, I’m hoping if successful they will grace the Sayulita Farmer’s Market‘s stand of my dear friend Ms C who upped sticks from Blighty and moved to Sayulita, Mexico a year ago with Mr P and maybe, if I smile sweetly, she might even name them after me!

So, Ms C, this is for you.....
Spiced Pecan Praline
100g caster sugar
60 pecan nuts, roughly chopped
Large pinch of mixed spice
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
Few grains of sea-salt

·         Heat a small, heavy based saucepan and sprinkle in half of the sugar, as the sugar beings to melt into clear syrup gradually add in the remaining sugar.
·         Allow the sugar to cook until it turns to a light caramel colour.
·         Add the salt, nuts & spices, stir well and cook for 1 minute.
·         Tip out onto a sheet of greaseproof/silicone paper and allow to cool.
·         When cold, break into pieces and then blitz in a food processor –it’s up to you how fine to make it, for truffles it need to be pretty fine but if you’re using it for cookies or to top ice cream you can leave it a bit chunkier.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit them in their glorious little oasis, Casa Catalina  , and, after overcoming my fear of almost everything that moved (I can’t help it, I don’t like bugs), I had an amazing time, met some wonderful people, saw the most remarkable sunsets, and was like a child in a candy store in the silver shops!

Since my visit they have extended the house and now rent out the fabulous 1 bed apartment downstairs.....check out their info on Facebook, and if you’re looking for a relaxing break that you’ll never forget.