Gastronomically Terrific

January 4, 2015

Star-topped mince pies with cranberry-studded mincemeat

Filed under: Cake, Christmas, pudding, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 8:51 am

10 Mini mince piesI’ve made these before, back in June of this year in fact. They were a trial run to determine whether or not I was happy to make the same mince pies for Christmas. I decided I was, which led to me making them again in November (and then freezing them ready for Christmas).

The one difference this time was that, because it was Christmas, I used cranberries instead of a cooking apple for the mincemeat. I like traditional mince pies, but I’m not really a traditionalist, and the only reason I didn’t use fresh cranberries in June is because I couldn’t find any. They’re easier to come by in November. Besides, I prefer the taste of cranberries to that of apple!

One other note – I actually got less mince pies out of both the pastry and the mincemeat mixture this time. Luckily, it still matched – I managed 24 pies in total. Which worked out well, because I have a 24-piece mini pie tin. So it did make my life quite easy – but it did mean 12 less pies than I had anticipated.

The end result was, again, pretty positive – nice and tasty with a hint of Christmas because of the cranberry filling. The tiny size meant that they were also perfect for a small pudding after our Boxing Day dinner, served with either clotted cream or brandy butter (left-over from the Christmas pudding served on Christmas Day).

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 186-189

December 3, 2014

Chocolate cranberry sponge

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 8:26 pm

Another pudding that I thought I would make for Dan and I, this looked pretty similar to the hot chocolate pudding, but was actually quite a different thing to bake – although still not terribly complex.

You start by placing cranberries and chopped up cooking apple in the base of a pudding bowl. You then mix together butter, dark brown sugar, eggs, flour and cocoa powder and pour this over the fruits. You then steam the whole thing for at least an hour (the recipe claimed an hour – it took closer to two on my hob, which was a little frustrating).

Finally, once the pudding is ready, you make a chocolate sauce to cover it; the sauce is simply double cream and chocolate with vanilla and almond essence mixed it. Overall, a pretty tasty chocolate sponge, and great if you want some added fruit. But still not Nigella’s chocolate pudding for Christmas pudding haters with hot chocolate sauce.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Daily CookBook, 1 December, pg. 294

September 22, 2014

Apple and cinnamon cake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 8:15 pm

Apple and cinnamon cakeI realise it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. This isn’t, for a change, due to lack of baking. It’s simply due to lack of time to write about all the baking I have done! I’ll try to catch up here, but I may miss out some things by accident – my memory for all the baking I’ve done over the last month might not be the best!

I made this apple and cinnamon cake when my in-laws were visiting, so that we had something tasty to feed them. I wanted to do something simple, and had a cooking apple hanging around, so it seemed like a good choice. Whilst I’ve made plenty of apple cakes in the past, this Mary Berry version was a new one for me. The only adaptation I made to the recipe was to miss out the walnuts, as I’ve never really enjoyed nuts in my cakes.

Other than the addition of cinnamon, and the use of light muscovado sugar instead of caster sugar (although I admit that I supplemented my muscovado sugar with golden caster sugar as I ran out of the former), this is a fairly standard, easy-to-make apple cake. The difference between it and many other apple cakes that I’ve made is that you put half the cake mixture in the tin, layer the apple in the middle, and then top the cake with the other half of the cake mixture.

The whole thing works really well, and is incredibly tasty. My 2-year-old can testify to this; he’s not a great fan of most cakes, but wanted seconds of this.

Who made it: Anna
Recipe: Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book, pg. 252

April 27, 2014

Apple streusel cake

Filed under: Cake, pudding — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 9:14 pm
Nice cold, lovely warm, best with custard

Nice cold, lovely warm, best with custard

This was baked as a result of being given apples by family over Easter. They were very cheap when they bought them, and officially past their sell-by date. However, they looked and tasted fine, so I figured that the quickest way to use them up before they went off was by putting them in a cake. So I found this recipe for apple streusel cake in my Cake Days cookbook.

The cake is basically apple crumble with a sponge base. You make it in three parts – firstly you make a flour and sugar topping, then you mix together a sponge cake. You then slice and cut the apples and layer them on top of the sponge cake, before adding the topping.

It’s not a difficult cake to make, and whilst there are a number of layers, none of them take that long to create. The longest aspect of this bake was, for me, waiting for the cake to bake in the oven. The sponge cake took a while to cook, and it’s fairly hard to check because it’s under a layer of apple. But you’ll know when it’s done as your skewer will come out totally clean. if you’re in any doubt, it’s not ready yet. Overall, it’s an enjoyable process with a relatively assured end result.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, pg. 42-43

April 3, 2010

Cider casserole

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:29 pm

This is one of the most successful “subtle” casseroles we’ve made, having a distinctive and pleasant taste without being overbearing.

As usual with casserole, it tastes better than it looks.

The flavours in this dish all come from the cidery, creamy vegetable stock, which is a delicate taste that could easily be ruined by adding a strong-tasting vegetable or spice.  We start by frying onion, then adding leek and celery until they all soften.  Then add carrot, courgette and new potatoes and continue to fry gently until everything softens (10-15 minutes).

Then we add a finely chopped cooking apple, some cider, cream and vegetable stock, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, when the vegetables should be tender and have absorbed many of the sauces flavours.  Finally add parsley and season.

I wouldn’t really know how this could be modified – any spices or even herbs might be too strong – and you have to like the vegetable flavour naturally as it is enhanced rather than masked.  All winter veg could potentially work, although most of my favourites are already here.

A very tasty dish that we will definitely try again.

Who made it: Dan and Anna together.

Recipe: “the complete vegetarian cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 243.

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