Sunday, 26 October 2014

Banana Bread Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Every week despite our small household of two we go through a lot of eggs - from simple omelettes for supper to baking all sorts of lovely cakes or just a simple egg wash on something naughty but nice like a homemade sausage roll, and buying free range is the bare minimum of quality for us. Also with thanks to the Lion Quality Mark on the eggs we buy, it guarantees that they have been laid by hens within the UK, and are produced to the highest standards of food safety. Eggs are full of nutrition too so you can pretend that cake is healthy too! The white part in particular is protein rich, carb free and low in fat. Okay so yeah the rest of the cake is a maybe a bit more carby but its winter afterall and we need more insulation!

This gorgeous Banana Bread Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze makes no exception and naturally contained free range eggs, all date stamped with the Lion quality mark on them. It also means the eggs were stamped with a date, so I can tell how fresh they are, plus the laying hen has been vaccinated against salmonella. Something I really don't want to give to my loved ones along with a nice piece of cake! I was an 80's baby and only vaguely remember the news back then but what I do remember was Salmonella being all over the news, how fortunate we are now!


Moving on to the cake  the lovely Betty Ann from the Asian in America website gave me permission to post this recipe, after I had spotted it in her archives, that she had borrowed from a book – a fabulous sounding one called "Breakfast for Dinner" by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth. I really love how recipes that work get passed between people – as you know they are loved and by baking them for new people to love, you therefore spread the love around! Cake also equals happiness so not only are you spreading love you create happiness! Something this world is in short supply at times with so much sadness amongst us, we have to also remember there are good people too and that love will always win.

Also as its from an American website its in cups so apologies as I know for some this can be off-putting but I have translated the butter for you as I already own measuring cups and used them for the dry ingredients and converted the temperature. (I adore my Russian Doll ones and can highly recommend them!) I made a different icing compared to the original version, mainly as I forgot to buy cream during a bit of a daft moment in the the supermarket and I didn’t think the crème fraiche I had instead bought would be quite the same in the icing…also I used sultanas as the raisins have gone missing! I swear there was a bag in the pantry…think I need to have a good tidy up in there!

Anyway I digress – this cake was delicious! I adore the regular banana bread I have made a zillion times from the Avoca cookbook but after falling in love with my bundt tin all over again thanks to cake release spray from Dr Oetker, when this popped onto my laptop screen I knew it had to be my next bake! Miraculously for once my oven didn't ruin it too! (lots of issues!) Its bananary without being in ya face nananana and the little drizzle of chocolate icing completes it! I also got to sneak over some Christmas tree sprinkles too despite it only being October! It is of course also a fabulous way to use up neglected bananas!

*You will need a large bundt tin - mine has a 24cm base and is quite deep*

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup Butter (171g)
2 large eggs
3 large bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup milk
½ cup sultanas (or raisins)

Glaze:
4 heaped tbsp icing sugar
1 heaped tbsp dark cocoa powder (I always use a dark one from the local Polish shop)
Sprinkles of choice

Pre-heat oven to about 180o

Sift together the flour, salt, bicarb and baking powder.

In a mixer, unless you are feeling particularly strong cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, until well mixed. Mash the banana and add along with vanilla, mix again to just combine.

Add a third of the dry mix along with a third of the milk, and repeat until all mixed well. Stir through the sultanas and pour into the prepared bundt pan, smooth over.

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes away clean and its lightly golden on top. Your kitchen will smell rather lovely at this moment and you might want to dive in. But resist the urge, let it cool a little - say 10-15 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan/ turning onto a wire rack (will depend on your pan!). Allow to cool as long as you can endure before making the icing.

Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa, add a teaspoon of water a time until you have a desirable consistency and spoon over the cake. Add a nice scattering of sprinkles over the top of your choosing.

Ours lasted 24 hours. Probably would keep for a few days.


With heartfelt thanks to Betty Ann for sharing this wonderful bake, and in turn the original recipe keepers Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth for creating such a lovely treat!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to mention British Lion Eggs but its something I do really believe in and I received an electric egg boiler as a gift which I am slowly mastering!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Nectarine and Almond Yoghurt Cake slices

My dad turned up the other week with a silicon cake pan, my heart sunk a little admittedly as I already have way too many pans vs available space, plus it was silicon, which is not my most favourite bakeware item… however maybe, just maybe I am being swayed by the lure of silicon as I have to admit the cake slices came out perfectly from the pan, and it cleaned so easily for once! Something which had deterred me from others that would not clean for all the tea in China... Though I did admittedly give the pan a quick spray of Dr Oetker's cake release spray just to be safe!

Anyway, Sunday night came around and I was getting a little fidgety in the kitchen, impatiently waiting for something else in the oven to eventually decide to bake (it does help if you properly convert the cooking temperature from overseas recipes!) and my mind started wandering.. bad timing as I actually had a job interview the next morning and instead of reading up and rehearsing things to say other than 'hire me' in a squeaky voice, I was erm sorting through the baking cupboard and peeling manky leathery skinned nectarines – I think procrastibaking is the best term here!! I must of got some rehearsing done as I actually did get hired! Somewhat of a relief after having to change career due to my wonky knees and a few months of worry!

Now referring back to the manky leathery skinned nectarines, I really hate wastage but all four of them had ripened at the same time and I just didn’t manage to eat them when they were just right, you know that special time between 02.30 and 02.31 on alternate Tuesdays! I half heartedly peeled them and whilst they were a little mushy they were not fortunately mouldy and I decided to bake something with them instead… the cake pan happened to also still be in the kitchen and I thought well sod it, lets have a go…what's the worst that can happen...


And I am glad I did, as in the process of rooting through the cupboards I discovered a forgotten bottle of some rather lovely bitter almond essence and they worked a dream together! It has a lovely, almondy amaretto like taste and a little goes a long way! 

Ingredients:

125g caster sugar
80g soft butter/ margarine
140g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp flaked almonds
2 eggs weighing 120g
50g greek yoghurt
½ tsp Bitter almond essence
2 ripe nectarianes, skinned, de-stoned and chopped into small  pieces

Cream butter and sugar in a mixer. Beat in eggs and essence, then the yoghurt, flour and baking powder. Stir through the nectarine chunks.

Spoon into your prepared mold or cake tin, sprinkle the almonds over and bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned and a skewer comes away clean.


Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tin/ mold and gently transfer the slices onto a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container when fully cooled down.

The resulting slices were light and airy, the gorgeous aroma of almonds hits your nose as soon as you open the tin and they roughly lasted about 24 hours! I am sure you could substitute the nectarines for any other stone fruit successfully too.


As my cake slices used up the last two, slightly leathery but not quite mouldy nectarines up and the last few spoonfuls of some yoghurt, its my second entry into Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary's 'No Waste Food challenge' which is being hosted by the lovely Vohn's Vittles for October! You can see my other entry - a fruit gratin here.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

The End of Chocolate Week..

Chocolate Week started several weeks back for me - well to be honest its all year around with me as I am a bit of a chocaholic and despite all my best intentions its bought on a regular basis - I am a dark fan usually but if it involves nuts (or bits of crunchie!) then sign me up to pretty much any chocolate! 

This current run started with a wonderful evening at a glitzy event with Ferrero Rocher - they have an amazing range of different Ferrero treats this year for Christmas, from tree decorations to towers of treats and I have been busy tasting for you and in a few weeks time I have an amazing competition to win some so please do come back soon for a chance to win some!



On Monday this week I had a few brown bananas that needed urgent CPR and I spotted on a Filipino based cookery blog this awesome Banana Bundt cake which I glazed with a bitter Polish cocoa glaze and of course sprinkles - my Christmas ones! I will post the recipe very soon as it was so delicious it would unfair to keep it to myself!


Moving on to Wednesday I tweaked another banana based sort of oaty cookie recipe - this still needs a little work, including not using cheap baking paper to line the tin but they are vanishing fairly fast from the tupperware container so there is hope yet!

..and because, well we obviously didn't have enough chocolate during the week we braved London on a Saturday to visit The Chocolate Show, held at Olympia West to get a little more cocoa-fied (yes I know its a made up word but I rather like it...) On arrival it was heaving and packed full of some amazing chocolates from all over the world, plus cookery demonstrations and activities for all ages!

On the theatre stage we caught the end of chocolatier Paul A Young's demo, then managed to find a seat and we watched one of the first Great British Bake Off contestants make some rather lush looking chocolate and salted caramel tarts and managed to fight over share the last cookie they handed out at the end! 


Now where to begin! Naturally after plenty of tastings I bought several bars of various chocolates - including a tongue teasing Roasted Sesame Dark chocolate bar from Lindt (and a rather lovely Caramel with sea salt and a bar of dark mint too!) My dearest is not normally a dark chocolate fan but he surprisingly enjoyed these - maybe I will have to start hiding my dark chocolate treats!


Next up was some German bitesize chocolates what I called bundt shaped but the chap on the stall looked in slight disdain and said they were based on Kugelhopfs (sp?! ) but are known as Goufrais - these were unusual in being served slightly chilled - they almost melt on your tongue with surprisingly dark yet creamy! I had to buy a big bag to keep us well stocked!


Now writing captions is hard when you have not taken many notes and your head is full of cocoa but this is a round-up of the highlights that we 'tested' out! The things I do for you my dear readers!

Clockwise: Mini jars of popping candy- would make great wedding favours! Brownies - we tried the white chocolate and pistachio one - could do with being a tiny bit sweeter but overall still lovely, a sign that made me giggle a little, last up a range of rather lovely bars - I particularly liked the 70% cocoa one- was still quite creamy and not bitter:


Clockwise: Beautiful chocolate teacups! And then its nice to know good old Smarties are translated as well, er Smarties! Then some Vietnamese bars -the packaging in particular I loved but they tasted pretty good too! Then a glimpse of a box of mixed brownies -they were all various delicious flavours including salted caramel - think I need to do some more baking!


I really cannot squeeze too many more pictures into this post but here a few more to tempt you with that I really can't leave out! They include some amazing outfits made of chocolate, pumpkins for Halloween and some divine Patisserie wines I picked up for Christmas!


There really was something for everyone at the show - as an avid dark chocolate fan it highly appealed but my milky loving boyfriend also enjoyed the show too! It was great to discover chocolate that little bit more and I am full of chocolate dreams now!


Disclaimer: I received tickets for entry into the Chocolate Show but all opinions are my own and all products were purchased by myself. Pictures remain the property of Anne's Kitchen

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Honeyed Chorizo, Chia and Baby Potato Salad

The previous day to making this rather delightful salad, whilst out shopping in Oxford, I had eaten a less than delightful salad in a cafe, described simply as 'Chicken and Chorizo salad'. It 'simply' consisted of 4 thin slices of out of the packet ready sliced chorizo, some sliced green lettuce, some under ripe tomato slices, a few token strips of cold, bland chicken and er oh a couple of slices of cucumber on a cheap brown plate. No dressing, no seasoning, no nothing. It was a sad sight. After a little hunting I clutched the found bottle of salad cream in its slightly sticky bottle like a prize. Oh and don’t forget the amount of ready ground pepper I had to adorn it with in order to force it down with.

Needless to say I decided to try and make myself a decent chorizo based salad and I was rather delighted with this. Crispy greenery, spicy delicious slices of chorizo tousled with a slightly sweet tangy glaze over wholesome potato chunks. This is a real salad and one which will be a keeper! Serve warm if you can but cold is just fine too.

By adding the cucumber to the pan, it wilted slightly in a good way and actually got fully eaten by my boyfriend who normally hates the stuff! Its a good job he doesn't read my blog!


Easy - Serves Four

Ingredients:

100g spicy chorizo cooking sausage (mine was labelled Picante)
1 small orange pepper, de-seeded and sliced thinly
100g crispy salad mix
500g baby new potatoes, halved
1 heaped tsp Clear honey
2 tbsp good Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 inches cucumber, halved lengthways, de-seeded and cut into thin half moons
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp olive oil

Method:

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender and drain well.


Meanwhile heat the oil in a saute pan, and fry the peppers for 2 minutes and stir through the chorizo, fry until golden and releasing its lovely orange hued oil. Stir through with the potatoes, cucumber and tomatoes for a further minute. 

Make a well in the middle of the pan, pour in the balsamic vinegar followed by the honey and toss together with the ingredients, to thoroughly coat everything. Remove from the heat and cool for a couple of minutes before assembling.


In a large bowl scatter out the salad leaves and spoon over the pan contents. Sprinkle with the chia seeds and serve.



Also keeps well for the following days lunch! 



Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Fruit Bowl Gratin

Now its starting to get a bit chillier and the nights are drawing in pudding starts becoming a warm or hot pudding and in typical style all the fruit in the bowl was super ripe and ready at the same time - and there is really only so much fruit we can eat in one sitting! I have in the past made jams or the odd upside down cake but apples are not something I bake often with, especially the weeny size gala's we had lately! Also really not enough fruit to justify a jamming sessions!

Whilst trying to decide what to make with it all I spotted this Apple and Pear Gratin recipe on the Baking Mad website, who had also got in touch with me recently about recreating one of their recipes and this fruity gratin dish popped up. It sounded intriguing, we had everything in or near enough and decided to make it together for pudding! 

It was really good to add something easy to the pudding repertoire and it will be a keeper recipe for next time everything ripens at once! I think it could easily be scaled up or down to feed how many need pudding! It might just well feature next time my dad's over for dinner as those nights have to involve pudding and it can be a bit of a challenge getting everything ready after work but this gratin was so easy to make and can fairly easily fit around whatever you are making, adapted to what needs using up in the fruit bowl!

When it comes to buying eggs I will only ever buy free range at a minimum - I usually pick up the mixed weight trays in Sainsbury's which are a bit cheaper compared to pre-sized trays and guess by eye their size! When baking sponge cakes I always start by weighing the eggs anyway, so it doesn't make any difference to the recipe anyway! Buying cage free is important to me, I can't bear the thought of chickens kept in cages, with nowhere to move and certainly no life for the poor birds kept in those conditions. I am sure you have seen the videos and as I mentioned before, buying eggs in larger and mixed quantities helps keep the price down - I paid £2.40 for 15 free ranger's in Sainsbury's which is more than affordable. We go through a lot of eggs here and can go through a tray a week easily!


As my fruit was odd shapes and sizes, I made up the difference by adding plums to the apple and pear mixture, which went deliciously well together! I do love discovering a recipe that I can play around with and it also stops any waste! All of the above fruit was so ripe it was about to leave home by itself so its great to have a good use to it!

Recipe adapted from Baking Mad

Serves 4

You will need a large baking dish or 4 individual ones

Ingredients:

250ml milk
1 dsp butter
1 cinnamon stick
4 free range eggs
3-4 apples
2-3 pears, conference
2 plums
16 tsp golden caster sugar

Topping:
4 tsp Light muscovado sugar

Method:

Melt the butter in a large saute pan, pre-heat the oven apx 200o/ Gas mark 6

Peel the fruit, remove cores and cut into large chunks, add to the pan along with the cinnamon stick and 8 tsp of the caster sugar, gently cook for about ten minutes or until the fruit is starting to soften

Beat the eggs, add the milk and remaining sugar.

Remove the cinnamon stick and place the fruit along with any juices into a suitable baking dish (note it will need grilling, best to read this bit first!) and make into a even layer

Pour over the eggy mixture, bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden and set.


Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle over the muscovado sugar. Place under the grill on high heat, and caramelise the sugar - about 2-3 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and serve. A nice scoop of ice cream would be welcome but we sadly have none in but a splash of Devon dream was lovely, though in all honestly its rather delicious by itself!




Despite some reservations over what the finished result would be like, afterall we don't often combine egg and fruit together in the same dish, we actually loved this pudding so much! Its sweet, fruity and really very tasty! The egg sets to form a souffle type texture and the caramelised sugar on top makes it that bit more special! I had to wait for my portion as I had dashed out to my pilates class but I came to back to 3/4 empty dish so my boyfriend clearly approves of this recipe! 

As I saved the fruit from being wasted, I am sending this over to Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary's 'No Waste Food challenge' which is being hosted by Vohn's Vittles for October. 



Disclaimer - I received a  package of sugar and flour from Baking Mad and personally chose this recipe to make and received no payment, images remain the property of Annes Kitchen. 

With thanks to Sainsbury's who provided vouchers to cover my ingredients and time making a Free range Egg recipe.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Monday Meal Plan w/c: 06/10/14 and a little Round-Up

Its been a busy few weeks since my last meal plan post apologies – I have been doing them on the pc but not actually had time to blog them! This is also because Monday now involves going to a Pilates class and so pretty much by the time I finish work, make dinner and relax for two minutes its time to get the sexy leggings on and leave!

Not much baking recently - I feel all baked out after we ran the Macmillan Coffee Morning bake sale at work recently, we raised a fantastic £111.92 for the charity! I made a Speculaas Bundt, some Jam and Coconut buns, lots of rice crispy cakes and colleagues kindly made brownies and banana bread! I wheeled the trolley around the departments selling our wares and sweet talking nearly everyone into making a purchase! Think I did well!



We had a disappointing visit to a small food & music show last weekend – two of the food stalls had not turned up and we waited nearly an hour at the wood fired pizza stall, which to be honest by the time it came I had finished my pint of bitter and was slightly tipsy from standing in the sun so long and I really didn't fancy it anyway! They had of course run out of the advertised Ham Hock & Edam one so we opted for the remaining Pepperoni which didn’t at all taste like pepperoni. Was meat anyway in some form! 


On a plus note I had a very glitzy evening out with Ferrero Rocher – we learned how they were made along with taste testing - such hard work! I will be doing a later post with some of their exciting new ranges, especially for Christmas!

So its finally onto this weeks Meal Plan! Monday night I will be trying out some special veggie sausages I was sent recently to review.. we have some lush garlic BBQ sauce in the fridge that needs eating and will adorn them well! Thursday I am out to an old friend for dinner, which is hopefully involving Paella! I will leave something for my boyfriend to eat, it will likely involve chorizo...!

Veggie Sausage Kebabs with Salad 
Aubergine Jambalaya 
Lemon sole with crushed potatoes and leels 
Out  - B will be fridge chorizo suprise!
Toad in the hole 

As always - I've added my linky to Mrs M's Meal planning blog!


Next weekend we are off to The Chocolate Show in London which should be exciting! I do plan to eat my body weight in chocolate!

What are your plans this week? Anything exciting happening?

Anne
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