Lychee Martini

10 comments
I've always been a little bit obsessed with lychees.  Fresh, canned, juiced, I love them all.  I recently went for a meal with the in-laws to a lovely little Asian restaurant in Newcastle called Fat Buddha.  It was here my lovely sister in law (to be, if I ever stop spending the wedding fund) introduced me to the deliciousness that is a lychee martini.  Since our visit to said restaurant I haven't been able to get that delicious cocktail out of my head so I decided to collect some ingredients and toast in the New Year with a gorgeous fruity lychee martini.



What are you doing for New Years Eve?  Whatever it is you chose to do, be safe and have a fabulous time!  Here's to 2013!



Lychee Martini
(serves one)

Ingredients:
25ml vodka
25ml lychee liqueur
dash sugar syrup
75ml lychee juice

Method:
combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice.  Shake it up, good and proper, and strain into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a canned or fresh lychee if you wish and enjoy.
SHARE:
10 comments

Coconut Cream Pie Cupcakes

9 comments
Life is finally starting to settle into quiet bliss; the shop has calmed down and the last Christmas market has been and gone leaving us exhausted and content.  I was starting to feel like a little bit of a scrooge this year, I haven't had the time nor energy to really think about Christmas and all of the festivities that come with it.  My decorations were still locked away in my loft and my tree stand was gathering dust in the shed, lord knows what my neighbors must have thought looking in at my bare home. Not a fairy light to be seen through my living room window.  Well, all of that changed today.  I had a word with the lovely guy who runs a nursery and sells his bonny wares up from Pet Lamb, and a stunning tree was delivered to my home this morning.  Fairy lights were strung, baubles were wrestled from the greedy paws of the cats, My living room is now suitably festive and beautifully cosy.  


In between untangling strings of glittering lights I found the time to make some delightfully moreish cupcakes.  Decorating a tree is hungry work you know.  


Making your own creme patisserie may sound daunting, but it really couldn't be easier and it's far tastier than shop bought.  Just keep a close eye on your pan and you can't go wrong.

Coconut Cream Pie Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
175g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
75g dessicated coconut
3 large eggs
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp coconut extract
2tbsp milk

Creme Patisserie:
300ml whole milk
1tsp vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
50g caster sugar
20g plain flour
20g cornflour

Frosting:
125g Butter
350g icing sugar
3tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla extract


For the creme patisserie:
In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together.  Sift the flour and cornflour together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.
 
Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla bean just to boiling.  Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg curdling in the mixture, pour through a strainer.) Add your vanilla extract to the egg mixture, then pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Remove from heat.  Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature while you get on with your cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 180C - 160C fan and line a cupcake tray with 12 liners.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, coconut and baking powder. Set aside.   Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and mix until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.  Add the flour mixture in one go ensuring all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Stir through the milk.

Fill the cupcake liners to 2/3 full and bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for five minutes before removing to finish cooling on a rack.  Once cool hollow out the centre of each cake using and apple corer and fill with the cool creme patisserie.

For the frosting place the soft butter and icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low to combine.  Still mixing slowly add the milk until you reach the desired consistency.  Pipe or swirl onto each cake and enjoy.




SHARE:
9 comments

Peppermint Marshmallows

14 comments
The snow has started falling up here in Newcastle and that means one thing, steaming mugs of cocoa topped off with delicious homemade marshmallows.  Homemade marshmallows really are leagues apart from their supermarket counterparts, the texture and delicate flavour are so perfect and fluffy you could be chewing on a peppermint cloud.  The method may seem a little scary, boiling sugar is never something that should be taken lightly, but as long as you're careful it really couldn't be any simpler.  


I've added peppermint extract to these marshmallows but feel free to flavour them however you wish.  Vanilla, rose or even coffee would work wonders, just change the colours to match your tastes.



Peppermint Marshmallows
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
450g cups sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
4 packages gelatin
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons red food coloring

Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, golden syrup, and 175ml water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 175ml cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.

Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

SHARE:
14 comments

Sweet Cherry Pie

5 comments

When asked about my favorite dessert people are always shocked when I express my dislike for cake.  Being the owner of a cake shop I guess its expected that I spend my days chomping on cupcakes while excitedly rubbing my ever growing tummy.  Thankfully, cake just doesn't rock my world in the treat department.  Pies are much more my thing, hence them rarely appearing on the menu at Pet Lamb.  We were recently contacted by a client asking if we could supply sweet cherry pies to his establishment (which just so happens to be my favorite bar in Newcastle, uh oh).  After a bit of soul searching, asking myself if I can handle letting pies leave the shop without me sampling them we decided to give it a go.  


Firstly, cherries are expensive and boy do you need a lot of them, 1kg to be exact.  If, like me, you cant be hassled with stoning 1kg of cherries, buy them ready frozen from your local supermarket.  This will save you a lot of time, a lot of effort and frankly, a lot of mess.  Once you've gotten over the sheer amount of cherries needed you can really appreciate this beautiful pie.  Sweet with just the right amount of tartness, I can only imagine the kind of heaven of this pie served warm with a scoop of amaretto ice cream.

Sweet Cherry Pie
(Makes one 9" pie)

Ingredients:
1 batch of sweet pie crust - I like this one
1kg frozen cherries
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1tsp cinnamon
1tbsp cornflour
1 medium free range egg, lightly whisked
1tbsp granulated sugar

Method:
Roll your pastry to 5mm thick and use to line your pie dish.  Place in the fridge while you make your filling.

Put the cherries into a large saucepan and cook over a medium heat for around 5 minutes until they are starting to break down and become juicy.  Once juicy combine the lemon juice with the cornflour and add to the cherries along with the lemon zest and cinnamon.  Continue to cook for about 1 minute until the mixture has thickened.  Set aside until completely cool.

Once cool pour the cherry filling into the prepared pie crust and decorate the top in your chosen method.  I went with a lattice but just go with your heart.  Brush the top of your pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sugar.   Bake in a preheated oven (175C) for 40 minutes, serve warm.
SHARE:
5 comments

Apricot and Almond Brownies

8 comments

The nights are getting darker, the days are getting shorter and the air isn't half getting colder.  Autumn is the season for comfort food, say no to salads, sushi and diets in favour of mince and dumplings, macaroni cheese and brownies.  Talking of brownies, these are a winner.  They tick all of the deep, dark comforting boxes with the addition of being sweetly studded with beautiful apricots, shining like jewels.  You can almost be forgiven for eating the entire tray and passing it off as one of your five a day... almost.



Apricot and Almond Brownies

Ingredients:
250g good quality dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter
350g light brown sugar
150g plain flour
4 large free range eggs
Tin of apricots in natural juice, each apricot quartered
Handful of slivered almonds

Method:
Preheat the oven to 160C fan and line a 9x13" tin with baking parchment.

Melt the butter and sugar together in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not coming into contact with the water.  In the meantime whisk and eggs and sugar together in a jug and add to the melted butter and chocolate, mixing to combine.  

Add the flour to the brownie batter and fold it in until just combined taking care not to over mix.  Pour the batter into the prepared tin and place the apricot quarters in rows onto the mixture.  Sprinkle over a handful of almonds and bake for 35 - 40 minutes until just set.

Cool completely before slicing. 
SHARE:
8 comments

Gingerbread Pancakes

11 comments

Pancakes really are the breakfast of champions. When it's cold outside and your bed is just too darn cosy to leave sometimes pancakes are the only thing to lure you out and into the world.  This gingerbread variation is just perfect for those crisp autumnal mornings, so brew up a fresh cup of your favorite coffee and enjoy.  Bacon, of course, is optional but highly recommended!



Gingerbread Pancakes
(from Lorraine Pascale - Fresh & Easy Food)

Ingredients:
225g self raising flour
3 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
pinch salt
 ½ tsp vanilla extract
300ml milk
1 medium free-range egg
4 tbsp sunflower oil
8 rashers of bacon

Method:
Preheat the oven to 110C (this will be to keep the pancakes warm as they are cooked in batches).

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt into a large bowl, give them a quick mix and make a well in the centre. Add the vanilla extract to the milk then gradually pour it in bit by bit, stirring all the time to give a smooth mixture. Then beat the egg in well and set aside.

Put a drizzle of oil into a large frying pan on a medium heat and cook the bacon on each side until nice and crisp. Then remove with tongs and drain on kitchen paper. Keep the ham warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Leave the pan on the heat, but reduce the heat to low and add a little bit more oil if need be. Then spoon in four dollops of the pancake mix. Leave to cook for about 1-2 minutes until golden, then flip them over and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Slide them onto a baking tray and put in the oven to keep warm. Then, repeat with the remaining mix to make about 12

Once you have made all of the pancakes, divide them between four plates. Top with crispy bacon and then drizzle with maple syrup
SHARE:
11 comments

Holidays are coming

2 comments
I was recently contacted by Dotcomgiftshop asking to detail the best or worst Christmas gift I've ever received.  Normally I don't bother with posts like this, preferring to focus on food, but I'd like to take this opportunity to shame my naughty mother.

Since moving out of my mothers home seven years ago the thing I miss the most (other than freshly washed and ironed clothes) is Christmas morning.  Every morning I'd get up, pop my special Christmas morning PJs on, grab my stocking and shuffle into my little brothers room.  There I'd plop myself on the floor where myself and the boys would munch our way though our sweetie filled stockings while watching early morning Christmas cartoons until it was appropriate to descend upon the present filled living room.  Since moving out, my lovely family have kept this tradition going. I still drive over at 7am in my PJs, help myself to a stocking hung on my old bedroom door and awaken the boys for Robbie the Reindeer. You'd never believe I'm in my late (cough) twenties, would you..

One year everything happened as usual and we all descended the stairs quickly before launching into our gift wrapped wonderland.  As I was attacking my way through my presents I happened upon a large heavy package, I wonder what this could be I pondered.  I tore away the brightly coloured wrapping revealing the Desperate Housewives board game.  Now, I have never watched this show before in my life and my mother could not be further from a Desperate Housewives fan.  Confused I turned to her and held up the game with a raised eyebrow.  My mothers face went bright red as she tried to stifle her giggles.  After she calmed down and wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes she confessed she received the game from her secret santa at work and thought she could pass it off as an extra gift. 

Desperate Housewives is still a bit of a running joke in our home at Christmas.  I may even wrap up a copy of the DVD for an extra special mammy this year ;)
SHARE:
2 comments

Raspberry & White Chocolate French Toast

12 comments
I was once a weekendless soul.  I'd lie and convince myself that time off through the week was worth much more than a measly weekend but when I thought no one was looking I would gaze at those who sit in their dressing gowns, drinking endless cups of tea and reading the weekend supplements with pure envy, deeply wishing I could be among them.  Now, thanks to the shop, I am!  I am now the person sitting in her dressing gown, cuddling cats and struggling through the times crossword.  Even better, I can now bathe in the sanctity that is the Sunday breakfast.  Something special you couldn't possibly have during the week, something time consuming and ridiculously indulgent.  


This raspberry and white chocolate french toast certainly ticks all of the above boxes.  Delicious, sinful and highly calorific.  Perfect for the first Sunday of Autumn.


Raspberry & White Chocolate French Toast
(adapted from Martha Stewart)

3 large free range eggs
100ml milk
Juice of 1/2 an orange
Zest of 1 small lemon
1tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Butter for frying
100g good quality white chocolate, melted over a pan of simmering water
Handful of raspberries
 
Whisk together eggs, milk, juice, vanilla, zest, syrup and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Melt a knob of butter in a non stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Dip one slice of bread in mixture and allow to soak for 20 seconds, pressing the dry side like a sponge to allow it to suck up the mixture. Place slice dipped side down in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. While frying, spread a layer of melted white chocolate on the top side of the bread and place a small handful of raspberries over the chocolate. Dip another slice of bread in mixture and press the dry side gently to soak up the mixture. Sandwich this slice over the raspberries, dipped side facing up and press down to seal sandwich together slightly. Carefully flip over and fry the other side of the sandwich for the same amount of time, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining slices of bread, adding another tbsp of butter to the pan for each sandwich. Serve immediately, dusted with a light coat of icing sugar.
SHARE:
12 comments

GBBO Showstoppers: Chess Board Cake

10 comments
Oh blog dearest, how I have missed you.  First of all allow me to explain my absence.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you'll understand why I have been so darned quiet. For the last few month I've been the busiest I have ever been in my whole life.  I opened a cake shop named Pet Lamb in the heart of Newcastle with my best friend and partner in crime, this would be enough to keep any normal person occupied but not me.  While pouring all of my heart and soul into my fledgling business I have also been spending every second I had away from the shop writing my book.  To say it's been tough would be a massive understatement but I battled through and I made it through to the other side.  My manuscript is now in the hands of my publishing house and the shop is thriving and growing every day.  I am a very lucky girl indeed!


Now, onto the main event, cake!  You'd think that being a baker by trade I'd be sick of the sight of sponge, I'm not.  Not even slightly, if anything the shop is pushing us harder to keep coming up with new and fresh ideas.  When I was asked if I'd like to receive a copy of the new GBBO Showstoppers book I jumped at the chance.  Show stopping cakes are just what I need for some delicious inspiration.  Upon my first flick through the book this Chess Board Cake caught my eye.  It looked so impressive and so complex but reading through the recipe I was surprised at the simplicity behind it.  


This is the perfect conversation piece that will have people gasping with delight.  Take this darling to a party and you'll have everyone believing your a baking extraordinaire.  Only you will know how simple it really is.


Chess Board Cake
(From GBBO Showstoppers)

Cake:
350g butter, at room temperature
350g caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla
6 eggs
350g self raising flour
pinch of salt
50g cocoa powder
4 tbs milk

Ganache
300g Dark Chocolate
300g Whipping Cream
 
Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C and line 3 eight inch pans with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together for several minutes until creamy.

Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Sift in the flour and salt and fold by hand to combine. Put half the batter in a separate bowl and sift in the cocoa powder and two tablespoons of the milk. Stir in 2 tablespoons of milk in the vanilla batter.

Put the two batters into separate piping bags. Pipe a ring of chocolate around the outside of two of the tins, then pipe a ring of vanilla. Keep alternating until the pans are full. In the third pan start with the vanilla first.

Bake for 22-25 minutes (12-15 minutes for a small cake). Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and invert onto a cooling rack.

To make the ganache heat the cream until near boiling and pour over the chopped chocolate.  Leave for a few minutes then fold the mixture until all of the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy.  Leave to cool until spreadable and use to fill and frost your cake.
SHARE:
10 comments

Pet Lamb Patisserie's Grand Opening!

12 comments
So it's almost here, Pet Lamb is due to open its little doors to the adoring public at 9am Saturday 4th of August and we'd love it if some of my lovely local readers showed their faces!  We'll have fizzy wine and some super special offers for our Facebook fans, so get adding ;)

I hope we see some of your sweet faces on the 4th!  Help us celebrate the culmination of our hard work for the past three years.

Check us out at Unit 165, Grainger Market, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5QW.  Entrance by Grainger Games, opposite Wilkinsons.

SHARE:
12 comments

AWOL

11 comments
I'm sure you've all noticed the distinct lack of posts or comments from myself these past few weeks.  Well, I have a reason, and a dammed good one I think.

I'm opening a shop!!  That's right, myself and my bff Kay are finally realising our dream and opening Pet Lamb in the heart of Newcastle.  There's been a lot of stress, a lot of excitements and a lot of hard work, especially since July is our busiest period for events but we're finally seeing all of our hard work take shape!  I can't wait to share some photos with you guys!

But wait, that's not it!  Not only am I opening Pet Lamb, working myself into the ground with fairs and events but I'm also writing a book!  Me, a proper book that's going to be on sale and everything.  I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to share with you at this point but I can tell you it's going to be a part of the already very popular Bake Me I'm Yours series.  It's all go right now and as hectic and stressful as my life is at the moment, I wouldn't change it for the whole world.

Keep sweet dear readers and I'll be back soon :)
SHARE:
11 comments

Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream

15 comments
I know the weather hardly justifies ice cream at the moment but it's July damnit and I'll make ice cream if I want to!  Since being a little girl my ice cream flavour of choice has always been mint chocolate chip covered in chocolate sauce.  Something about the bright green treat just transports me back to sunny days at the beach, something which never seems to happen these days.


When I decided to have a crack at making my favorite frozen treat I took to the world wide web in search of recipe inspiration.  I settled upon the wise words of David Lebovitz, after all he is an expert in the subject.  I was originally planning on using peppermint extract to flavour my ice cream but after reading Davids article on fresh mint I decided to give it a whirl.  The resulting ice cream is a far cry from the green version I was so used to.  It had a much more sophisticated flavour and was delightfully refreshing.  I don't think this ice cream will ever overtake the synthetic version I love so dearly but it's certainly up there with the best of them.


Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream:

For the mint ice cream:
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150 gr) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups packed (80 gr) fresh mint leaves
5 large egg yolks

For the chocolate chips:
5 ounces (140 gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Method:
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream, salt, and mint.

Once the mixture is hot and steaming, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the mint flavor.

Remove the mint with a strainer, then press down with a spatula firmly to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible. (You can also use well-washed hands to do it as well, making sure the mixture isn’t too hot to safely handle.) Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint.

Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer over the top.

Rewarm the infused milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm mint mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

Cook the custard, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant read thermometer, it should read around 170ºF (77ºC).
 
Immediately strain the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.

Refrigerate the mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
While the mixture is freezing, melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pot of simmering water, or in a microwave oven on low power, stirring until smooth. Place a storage container in the freezer.

When the ice cream in the machine is ready, scribble some of the chocolate into the container, then add a layer of the just-churned ice cream to the container. Scribble melted chocolate over the top of the ice cream, then quickly stir it in, breaking up the chocolate into irregular pieces. Continue layering the ice cream, scribbling more chocolate and stirring as you go.

When finished, cover and freeze until firm.
SHARE:
15 comments

Garden Kitchen

4 comments
I'm sure you all remember my last mouth watering post on the Garden Kitchen featuring their novel take on afternoon tea, the Garden Picnic.  I instantly fell in love with the place, everything about it just spoke to me so when I was asked to return and try out their main menu I accepted with appropriate glee.


Upon arrival Kris and I were shown to our table and offered to try one of their delicious selection of cocktails.  Sadly since Kris had the car he was unable to partake but that certainly wasn't going to stop me.  I ordered a delightful rum and blackberry cocktail served in a wee jam jar while my sober guest settled with his favorite Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock. 


We perused the menu carefully, there was so much I could have devoured with gusto, eventually I settled on the welsh rarebit followed by the garden vegetable risotto while Kris went for chorizo and prawn chowder followed by the garden burger.






Our starters were delicious beyond words but the mains were spectacular.  My risotto was studded with the welcome addition of almonds adding some surprising bite to what would normally be quite a smooth dish while Kris' burger was cooked to a perfect pink in the middle.


Upon finishing our meal we were too stuffed to indulge in desert so the lovely staff escorted us down to their newly opened Garden Shed to choose a cake and coffee to take home.  The Garden Shed is the little sister of the already super popular restaurant offering tea, coffee and delightful sandwiches and cakes to take away. Perfect for city folk always on the move.  I chose a slice of lemon drizzle cake while Kris surprisingly went for the chocolatest thing he could find, a snickers brownie.  Sadly I didn't get a chance to snap any pics of these as they were devoured in the car after an afternoon of looking at bedroom furniture but trust me, they were delightful!






If you ever find yourself in Newcastle, stuck for a good lunch I can wholeheartedly recommend the Garden Kitchen or for a more casual lunch on the go, Garden Shed.   Friendly service, fab food and a fantastic environment. This place really has got it right!
SHARE:
4 comments

Slow Cooked Cola Pork

13 comments

When I uploaded a photo of this delicious cola pork to Instagram yesterday I was inundated with requests for the recipe.  To be totally honest with you, this is probably one of the easiest meals I've ever made but easily one of the most impressive.  God bless whoever invented the slow cooker I say, meltingly tender pork is merely minutes preparation away, and you know, ten hours of cooking.  With this meal, the longer the better in my eyes.  I often pop this in the crock pot before I go to bed and shred it the next afternoon.



Slow Cooked Cola Pork

Ingredients:
1.5kg pork shoulder, skin and fat removed
1 bottle cola
1 bottle barbeque sauce (I use Jack Daniels Smokey sauce)
2tbsp chipotle paste (I use Trees Can't Dance)

Method:
Cut the pork shoulder into two equal sized pieces and place into the slow cooker.  Cover the pork with cola until almost covered, leaving the top part poking out.  Cover the remaining visable pork with the bottle of barbeque sauce and chipotle paste, pop the lid on and set the cooker to high for ten hours.

After ten hours remove the pork from the sauce and leave to rest.  Place the sauce into a large saucepan and reduce by at least half depending on how you like your gravy, this could take up to 45 minutes.  Once reduced shred the pork and add it back to the sauce and stir to coat.  Serve the pork on lightly toasted buns.
SHARE:
13 comments

Orange Blossom & Pistachio Cake

21 comments
My it's been a busy week for us Brits hasn't it?!  At least, it has been for poor little me.  Markets to attend, Birthdays to celebrate, cake clubs to partake in, jubilee street parties to organise and last but not least a fierce cold to fight off.  All this in the space of a week has lead to a very tired Katie, the only thing to perk me up is knowing I discovered this gem of a cake.


I made this cake for the Newcastle branch of the famous Clandestine Cake Club movement currently taking the UK by storm.  The theme was English country garden and despite the fact you'd probably never find pistachios nor oranges in a typical English garden I felt it sounded too delicious to overlook.  To tie it into the garden theme I decided to crystallize some beautiful yellow roses to adorn the top of the delicious cake, but if you can't be bothered to paint flowers don't worry, this cake is just as yummy without them.  



Pistachio & Orange Blossom Cake
(from Bake & Decorate - Fiona Cairns)

Ingredients:
For the cake:
175g unsalted butter, softened
100g unsalted pistachios, toasted
70g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
200g golden caster sugar
zest of 1 large orange
4 large eggs
70g ground almonds
2tsp orange blossom water

For the syrup:
Juice of 1 orange
45g golden caster sugar
1tbsp orange blossom water

For the frosting:
250g mascarpone
zest of 1 large orange
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1tsp orange blossom water
30g golden caster sugar

Method:
Preheat oven to 170C fan.  Lightly butter and line a 20cm springform cake tin.  Grind the toasted pistachios in a food processor till fine.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy and slowly add the eggs, one by one mixing between each addition.  If the mixture begins to curdle add 1tbsp of flour between each egg.  Fold in the almonds, pistachio and remaining flour followed by the orange blossom water.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 40 - 50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the syrup: tip the orange juice, sugar and orange blossom water into a small saucepan and heat till boiling.  Reduce the liquid until thickened and syrupy.

Immediately after the cake comes out of the oven prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle over the reduced syrup.  Leave in the tin till completely cooled.

Turn the cake upside down on a cake stand so the bottom now forms the top.  Beat together all the ingredients for the frosting and spread it on evenly with a palate knife.
SHARE:
21 comments

Lemon Meringue Freezer Cake - Forman & Field Jubilee Bake Off

10 comments
A few weeks ago, along with several other bloggers I was invited to whip up a jubilee inspired treat by the lovely people at Forman & Field.  Of course I accepted, any excuse to bake a delicious cake.  As the weeks flew by and I got sucked into Pet Lambs busiest period of the year the cake off totally slipped my mind.  Oh crumbs, I thought, all of those elaborate bakes I was planning just seemed like too much at the minute, so I started to think simple.  I came up with a variation of the Lemon Ice Box Cake I made way back in 2009, I simplified it to the point it can be whipped up by anyone in ten minutes using ingredients readily available from your local shop.  


Despite the easy of preparation this cake is a real show stopper.  So fresh and light I can just imagine enjoying this cake in the garden, sipping on Pimms with your closest friends.  And if you're planning a jubilee party, like me, your neighbors need never know just how simple this cake is. Just place it upon the table and await your praise!


Lemon Meringue Freezer Cake

Ingredients:
1 home made vanilla loaf cake or a shop bought Madeira slice.
1 jar good quality lemon curd
1tsp vanilla extract
600ml half fat creme fresh
6 shop bought meringue nests

Method:
Line the bottom and sides of a 20cm spring form cake tin with baking paper.  Slice the Madeira cake into slices around 1" thick and use to cover the bottom of the tin, pushing any scraps into the gaps.

In a large bowl mix the creme fresh with the vanilla before crumbling the meringue nests into the bowl, stir to combine.  Spread half of the cream mixture over the cake base and top with spoonfuls of lemon curd, getting the curd right into any nooks and crannies.  Cover with the remaining cream and smooth the top with a spoon.  Cover the time in cling film and freeze overnight,

Remove the frozen cake and quickly dip the cake into a sink half filled with hot water.  Release the tin, place onto a cake stand and decorate with summer berries.  Enjoy in the garden with wine or Pimms.
SHARE:
10 comments

Ma'amite Popcorn

4 comments
I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and with the Queens Diamond Jubilee approaching I seem to be spoilt for choice.  Stunning patriotic style branding is just everywhere at the moment and I'm not sure how much more my kitchen cupboards can take.  My absolute favorites are the gorgeous Hope & Glory Golden Syrup tin (which I already have plans for) and the adorable Ma'amite Marmite jar.  


I do admit, I have a bit of a Marmite addiction.  Nigellas Marmite spaghetti is a staple in our home when the cupboards are bare and Marmite and cheese on toast is a breakfast favorite.  I'm always looking for ways to incorporate the delicious yeast spread into my diet so when someone mentioned they saw Marmite popcorn on sale at a craft fair I couldn't rest until I gave it a go. 

Marmite Popcorn

Ingredients:
50g popping corn
a good glug olive oil
a knob of salted butter
1 - 2 tbsp Marmite, depending on how strong you like it

Method:
Pour a good glug of olive oil into a medium pan and place over a high heat.  Drop a few pop corn kernels into the oil and wait for them to pop.  Once they start to pop pour the remaining kernels into the pan and cover with a lid.  Shaking every few seconds wait for the popping to slow down and remove from the heat.  Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.

Rise and dry your pan (save those dishes) and place a good knob of salted butter and the Marmite in the bottom.  Place over a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until melted.  Pour the Marmite mixture over your popcorn and toss until each kernel is coated with the sticky sauce.  Enjoy immediately.
SHARE:
4 comments

Nutella & Raspberry Fondants for World Baking Day

13 comments
Did you know that this Sunday May 20th is World Baking Day? I sure did, but I just couldn't rest without letting the rest of the world in on the excitement.  If you want to get in on the fun the rules are very simple, all you have to do is bake a cake, take it somewhere silly and snap a photo.  Upload your crazy cakey picture to Twitter and add the tag #caking or simply submit it here and away you go!


Want some inspiration? How about these uh-mazing Nutella and raspberry fondants, they really are something else!  Serve hot for a superb warm and gooey centre or cold the following day, these little cuties will knock your socks clean off!

Nutella & Raspberry Fondants
(Adapted from Eat Little Bird)

Ingredients:
100g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
185g unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs
1 punnet fresh raspberries
1 jar Nutella

Method:
Preheat oven to 180C and liberally butter the cavities of a deep muffin tin.

Mix the sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy before folding through the flour and cocoa powder.  Add the melted butter and mix till combined.  

Pour a tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cavity, just enough to cover the base of the tin.  Place a heaped teaspoon of Nutella into each hole before covering with more batter.  Press three raspberries into the top of each fondant and bake for 10 minutes.  You want the sides of each cake to be cooked but the top and middle to be gooey and liquid.

Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before lifting out with a butter knife.  Enjoy warm with lashings of cream.


SHARE:
13 comments

Chocolate and Salted Peanut Butter Ice Cream

6 comments
Since Christmas I've been leaving a little trail of nudges and hints leading towards my Birthday.  I've been both subtle and even a little obvious in my mission but it worked. When my months of hints were finally recognised I, at long last, found myself the owner of the amazing ice cream attachment for my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.  I was half expecting the weather to be a little more cheerful in this, the month of May but sadly the rain has kept the sunshine away.  Despite it not really being quite the weather for ice cream I just couldn't wait to give my new toy a whirl.


Since Kris is the major sweet tooth in our home I let him pick the the flavour of the maiden batch, surprisingly he chose chocolate and salted peanut butter.  By the size of the bowl he devoured I can hand on heart say this this is a great recipe.  Much more chocolatey than store bought ice creams and when you hit a nugget of peanut butter you're in heaven!

Chocolate and Salted Peanut Butter Ice Cream
(adapted from Joy the Baker)

Ingredients:
300ml whole milk
200g sugar
75g cocoa powder
pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons corn flour
60ml double cream
150g plain chocolate chips
100g smooth salted peanut butter 

Method:
In a sauce pan over medium heat, stir together the whole milk, sugar, cocoa powder, corn flour and salt. Heat until the milk start to steam, but before it starts to boil.  Boil until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat.

In a small sauce pan, heat the double cream until boiling, remove from the heat and stir through the chocolate chips till melted and smooth.  Stir the cream and chocolate mixture into the cooling chocolate ice cream base. Place in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap or a lid, and put in the fridge until cool.

Once cool, follow the manufacturers instructions on the ice cream maker to churn ice cream. Once the mixture has chilled and thickened in the ice cream maker, slowly drizzle in half the peanut butter. Don’t over mix. You want a nice ribbon of peanut butter running through the ice cream.
Transfer the ice cream into a freezer safe container and fold in the remaining peanut butter. Cover and freeze until solid.
SHARE:
6 comments

Afternoon Tea @ Garden Kitchen

6 comments
When Paula posted a review of new Newcastle eatery Garden Kitchen I felt I just had to pop down and try it for myself.  I'd wandered past a few times but never really gave it too much attention, I was too focused on pretty baking tins from Lakeland to slow my pace.  Then, last week, while at work in the studio a customer came down for a photo shoot with his family, that customer just happened to be the head chef at said restaurant.  We got to chatting about afternoon tea and he mentioned that Garden Kitchen do an interesting twist on the concept, an afternoon picnic.  Well, that was the last straw, I had to try it out for myself.



When our food came the delicious treats were presented on the most adorable little picnic table, so damned adorable I may have made a ever so tiny squeak of delight.  Upon our little bench was a selection of delicious sandwiches including egg mayo (which I usually despise but I gobbled the lot) and bacon, cheese and tomato.  As tasty as the sandwiches were it was the sweet treats really stole the show for me. A tiny peppermint crème brûlée served in an espresso cup, a Pimms jelly, salted caramel chocolate pot and a banana and passionfruit eton mess served in a jam jar.  The only downside to this wonderfully presented picnic was the restaurant had run out of sugar syrup for the home made lemonade so Kris and I settled for tea, but that's certainly no hardship for me.

If you ever find yourself in Newcastle and are suffering from what I like to call shopping fatigue I urge you to try out the Garden Kitchen.  Recharge those batteries in style.
SHARE:
6 comments
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home
PREMIUM BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig
.post-body img { max-width: 640px !important; height: auto !important; } .pinit-wrapper img { max-width: 125px !important; height: auto !important; }