Archive for September, 2008

Lazy Early Autumn Days

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Green tomato chutney

I have been playing on the Nintendo Wii for the last 8 hours with only the odd brief hiatus for a toilet break or to eat, so my hand has now formed some sort of claw shape making typing some what challenging. I have to admit I have had a pretty unproductive day, although I was up at 8am which is unusual for me at the weekend, so I felt I had to redeem myself and tell you about the chutney I made with my abysmal tomato crop this year.

Green tomatoes from the garden

I harvested them a couple of weeks ago because the weather was so appalling that the plants were starting to die. I looked up a recipe for green tomato chutney and found this one. I pretty much followed it to the letter but, incapable as I am at sticking to a recipe, I substituted some of the caster sugar for dark muscovado. The result was a lovely sweet and spicy chutney that doesn’t need much maturing, so we have been having it spread on some oven warmed ciabatta with delicious pork sausages.  

There is nothing better to ease you into autumn’s colder days than chutney and of course my amazingly cosy new slippers.

Comfy slippers

Cake Wrecks

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Just a quick post to mention Cake Wrecks, a blog dedicated to the disasters of the cake baking and decorating world. I was pointed in this blog’s direction by a comment from Jo and I spotted this post and pretty much laughed myself silly. My cake disasters don’t look too bad now eh? Take a look. 

Gooey Brownies

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Chocolate brownies

There is nothing better than tucking into a really rich, chocolately, gooey brownie and they are so easy to make, so I thought I would satisfy my chocolate urge and make a batch. I tend to follow Rachel Allen’s recipe in her book Rachel’s Favourite Food but sometimes play around with the recipe. I like to put nuts into my brownies as I think they really compliment the chocolate flavour, especially hazelnuts, and help to keep them moist but I’m never sure about putting nuts into them when they are for other people as not everybody likes them (in this instance they should be taken out and shot for the weird anti-nut people they are…. just kidding, don’t write in!)

This time I just went for rich dark chocolate swirled with white chocolate and very nice they were too. 

Makes about 14 large brownies

180g butter

150g good quality dark chocolate

100g good quality white chocolate

3 eggs

175g golden caster sugar

75g dark muscovado sugar

110g plain flour

tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade and line a swiss roll tin (9 x 13 inch) with greaseproof paper. Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a bowl over some barely simmering water being careful not to overheat the chocolate. In another bowl melt the white chocolate then set it aside. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract together in a bowl until light and doubled in volume. Once melted, let the chocolate cool for a minute or two and then stir into the eggs and sugar mixture. Sift the flour and fold into the mixture then tip into the prepared tin, spreading it out to the sides. Take the white chocolate and drizzle spoonfuls over the top of the mixture and then take a skewer and swirl the white chocolate a little to make a nice pattern. Cook the brownies for about 15 to 20 minutes. They will still seem very soft and undercooked when they come out, the mixture will not spring back when you touch, it isn’t like a sponge. Everyones oven is different and it may be a bit of trial and error to begin with but that is no hardship as they will still be good to eat. Cut while still warm and take out of the tin when cool. Enjoy


Pingu cake

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Pingu cake

This is the Pingu cake I’ve been working on for a little boy’s second birthday. I was also given the added task of making it gluten and nut free, arrrgghh. I did, however, find a recipe that was just that. The actual recipe was for a lemon drizzle cake that used ground almonds but it suggested using polenta instead of the ground almonds for a nut free version.

I knew I wanted to make an iceberg and that came out quite nicely but I’m still not altogether happy with my modeling of animals and people. I feel I need lessons as I don’t think I’m getting the consistency right with the paste and I’m not even sure I’m using the right products. Anyway, let’s just say that Pingu is genetically modified or maybe his appearance has something to do with him eating contaminated fish, same goes for Robbie the seal. The next project is my cousin’s three tier wedding cake that I have to transport across the Irish sea in four weeks time, wish me luck.