Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ice cream cupcakes in association with Baking Mad

Those lovely folks at Baking Mad have sent us a goody parcel and asked us to have a go at one of the recipes off their website. As you know I love experimenting in the kitchen and fancied having a go at making their recipe for ice cream cupcakes. The easy cake recipe is a doddle to follow and the results  speak for themselves, my only comment would be that the buttercream quantity is way to much for the number of cakes you are creating. The recipe is here .

Rather than wrapping the cones in foil as in the recipe I didn't bother and just placed them on a baking sheet, this seem to work fine. I also couldn't locate any ice cream flakes so improvised and used sprinkles I had in the cupboard and had a go at creating a swirl effect in some of the buttercream topping with gel food colours.

What you need 

For the cupcakes
  • 12 flat based ice cream cones - wafer type
  • 170g caster sugar - I used Billingtons Golden Caster Sugar
  • 170g butter - unsalted
  • 3 eggs - free range
  • 170g Self Raising flour - I used Allisons
  • 1tsp vanilla extract - I used Neilsen Massey
For the buttercream icing 
  • 125g butter - softened
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles of your choice, mini flakes, fudge sticks, chocolate sauce, etc
What you do 
  • Preheat the oven to 160c fan / 180c normal oven
  • Place the ice cream cones on baking tray
  • Cream the butter and sugar together, whisk until fluffy and light.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat well, add the vanilla, if the mixture looks like splitting then add a little of the flour. 
  • Fold in the flour until you have a smooth mixture, divide between the 12 cases, do not fill to the top
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins or until tested cooked with a cocktail stick, they will be golden brown and well risen
  • Leave to cool fully before decorating
  • To make the buttercream, whisk the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until you have a smooth fluffy buttercream
  • Place in a piping bag and pipe swirls on top of the cupcakes, decorate with sprinkles or flakes
  • To make ripple buttercream, using food colouring gel, paint the inside of a disposable piping bag with your choosen colour and pipe as before.

The cupcakes proved very popular with some friends little ones who thought they were great fun and thoroughly enjoyed licking the buttercream off the top before devouring the cake and cone. 

                             Baking Mad
Billingtons: Since 1858

Allinson fine flour

                                                            Nielsen Massey fine vanillas and flavours                                                  

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Mediterranean vegetable and herb quiche - gluten free

I have been secretly working in the background perfecting a tasty gluten free pastry that is suitable for using as a quiche base. If you make pastry with just standard gluten free flour its rather tasteless and very crumby and grainy, I have made gluten free pastry using cheese to help bind it and create flour but was looking for something a little less cheesy (pardon the pun) so I thought I would experiment with mixing buckwheat flour with normal GF flour and voila it works, creating a more wholemeal style pastry which is tasty when used as a quiche base.

I decided to make a filling using the ubiquitus courgette, pimped by the addition of a little chopped sun dried tomato and some garden fresh herbs

Excellent hot or cold this quiche it makes a great family meal, also would be ideal in a lunch box with some salad.

What you need
  • 100g plain gluten free flour
  • 100g buckwheat flour (ensure gluten free - not all is)
  • 125g salted butter - cold
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme - chopped finely
  • 4 - 6 tbsp cold water
  • Egg - beaten 
  • A loose bottomed quiche tin - about 24cm across - Lightly brushed with oil
For the filling
  • 3 small courgettes - topped and tailed and chopped into thin slices
  • 2-3 shallots - peeled and finely chopped
  • Chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • Thyme, oregano and rosemary - chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 300ml creme fraiche
  • 3 eggs
  • Freshly ground Pepper
  • 100g cheddar cheese - coarsely grated
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 190c
  • To make the pastry its easiest by food processor, add the flours, thyme and cold butter, blitz until its a rough breadcrumb texture.
  • Add the cold water little by little with the processor running until the pstry just starts to ball
  • Tip onto a lightly floured surface and form a ball
  • Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling to  fit your quiche tin.
  • Chill again for about 10 minutes or so before baking the case blind for about 15 minutes, remove your baking beads (rice works well)
  • Brush with a little beaten egg and then bake again for 10 minutes, remove from oven.
  • Now we will make the filling , fry off the shallots and courgettes until softened, add the chopped sun dried tomatoes and herbs to the pan, allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the vegetables to the quiche base, place on a baking tray ready to fill with the egg mixture
  • Mix the eggs and creme fraiche together and pour over the vegetables, top off the quiche with the grated cheese.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or so until golden and just a little wobbly in the middle.
  • Serve slightly cooled or cold

I'm linking up to Cooking with Herbs - the theme this month being mediterrean food, this post contains thyme, oregano and rosemary. Hosted this month over at Lavender and Lovage.

Cooking with Herbs

And also to Tea Time Treats which is sharing the same theme as Cooking with Herbs, hosted this month by The Hedgecombers.

Tea Time Treats

Lastly to Simple and in Season hosted this month by Franglais Kitchen.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Coffee, cardamon and walnut cake - gluten free

For the latest meeting of South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club I once again was inspired to bake from a Fiona Cairns recipe book, this bake is from her latest "Seasonal Baking" which is a stunning book and contains some wonderful looking cakes and bakes.

Feeling distinctly autumnal I plumped for a Coffee, cardamon and walnut cake which is a beautiful twist on the classic combination of coffee and walnut, as the recipe contains ground almonds and a relatively low amount of flour, it converted beautifully to gluten free using a standard gluten free flour.

Fiona's recipe is available on the Waitrose website here 

What you need
  • 175g softened butter
  • 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 15 cardamon pods
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 1tbsp of instant coffee powder dissolved in 1tbsp of hot water
  • 3 eggs free range - lightly beaten
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 125g self raising flour (gluten free works fine)
For the caramelised walnuts
  • 50g walnut halves
  • 100g caster sugar
For the buttercream
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 150g softened butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tbsp of instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tbsp of hot water
  • 1 tsp milk
You also need 2 sandwich tins - about 22cm diameter oil sprayed and base lined

What you do 

  • Preheat the oven to 160c
  • Firstly we are going to roast the walnut pieces and halves for about 6 minutes until lightly toasted, don't let them burn. Allow to cool
  • Now lets make the caramelised walnut halves, place the walnut halves on a baking tray lined with a silicone sheet or baking parchment.
  • In a saucepan bring 100g of caster sugar and 100ml water to the boil, swirl the pan to ensure all the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a vigour rolling boil. The caramel will eventually turn a lovely golden brown and be reduced. 
  • Remove from the heat and drizzle over the walnut halves to create a sheet of nutty caramel, leave to one side to set. Be careful as the caramel with be very hot.
  • Next we will make the cake
  • De seed the cardamon pods, placing the seeds in a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine ground, sieve into a small bowl, take a 1/4 for the buttercream. The rest is for your cake mixture.
  • In a mixer (I used my trusty kitchenaid) cream the butter,sugar and coffee until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs, almonds and cardamon, fold in the flour and the chopped walnuts
  • Once fully mixed divide the mixture into the prepared sandwich tins.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, tested with a cocktail stick to check baked through.
  • Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  • Whilst the cake is cooling, mix up the buttercream using the remaining cardamon and the above listed ingredients, ensure you beat it for a least 6 or so minutes to ensure a light fluffy buttercream.
  • To assemble the cake - spread the base layer with buttercream and then top with the other cake. Then spread the rest of the buttercream on the top and sides.
  • Crush the walnut caramel and arrange decoratively on top.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Anything Goes at Caffe Manna Eccleston - South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club

For our 24th meeting of South Lancashire Clandestine Cake club, we paid a return visit to Caffe Manna in Eccleston near Chorley. This is our first visit to Caffe Manna but not to the lovely hosts as the same team used to run Coffee at the Carrington, which has since been demolished and a lovely new larger coffee shop built on the same location.

Caffe Manna is a great coffee shop that serves the finest coffee's and other refreshments to locals and visitors to the village (Eccleston is home to Sir Bradley Wiggans no less !), with ample parking outside the door its well worth a visit if you are passing.

On a warm sultry September afternoon members arrived bearing a fabulous selection of cakes for our anything goes theme, including several gluten free cakes. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and it was great to catch up with members old and new and indulge in cakey gossip ranging from GBBO to vegetable growing.

Coffee walnut cake

Gin, tonic and lemon cake

Licorice allsort cake

Courgette and orange cake

Coffee cardamon and walnut cake - gluten free

Coffee Cake - gluten free

Apricot and Almond cake

Victoria Sponge

Zeeuwe Knop caramel Cake

Cappucino Cake - gluten and diary free

Unfortunately not photographed (sorry Kate,Margaret and Harvey) we also had a delicious Strawberry cake, sticky toffee pudding cake and victoria sponge to enjoy.

Thanks to Caffe Manna for hosting our event, you can find the coffee shop at the Carrington Centre, The Green, Eccleston. They are open every day except Sunday.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Kiwi fruit cupcakes

I have never made Kiwi cupcakes before despite this being a fruit I often enjoy eating, I like the combination of juicy fruity almost opal fruit flavour and bright green flesh. They are however not a fruit that immediately springs to mind when you fancy baking.

I think kiwi fruit are cute, like little furry creatures that live in the fruit bowl and there are numerous ways of accessing the bright green flesh, my preferred method being slicing and I have made kiwi fruit jam in the past with great success.

For this recipe you can dress with butter cream and a kiwi slice or just leave plain and sprinkle with demerara sugar for some crunch. Its an easy tasty bake which works with gluten free flour as well as normal wheat flour.

What you need
  • 2 large kiwi fruits or 4 small kiwi fruits, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 cups of plain flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg - free range
  • 1 cup skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil - melted
  • Demerara sugar - for sprinkling
  • Buttercream (optional)
  • Slices of Kiwi for decoration
  • Large muffin cake cases

What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 200c /180c fan
  • Line the cupcake tin with the case cakes
  • Beat the eggs, oil, milk and vanilla together in a large bowl, I used my mixer. 
  • Sieve the flour,baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and salt into the bowl and mix together quickly
  • Fold in the chopped kiwi fruit
  • Spoon the mixture into the cake cases - this mixtures makes approximately 12 large muffins / cupcakes.
  • Sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar if using
  • Pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so until well risen, golden and cooked through when tested with a cocktail stick
  • Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack
  • When fully cool, decorate with buttercream if you wish

I'm entering this post to this months Alphabakes hosted by The More than the occasional baker , the letter this month being K - for Kiwi fruit in this case.


 And to Bake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello

                                                            Casa Costello

And also to Treat petite over at Cakeyboi, the theme this month being "Anything Goes"


Love Cake Jibberjabber - the theme this month is Back to School - Something new. As I said earlier in the post I haven't baked with Kiwi fruit previously.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Beef and Vegetable Cottage Pie topped with Rosemary Crushed Potatoes

A perfect dish for a Sunday tea or a a busy weeknight when you can't be bothered cooking, it has the perfect combination of roast crispy potatoes and cottage pie filling and the good news is that the vegetables are in the pie. 

The topping is inspired by Casa pie from Vanessa Kimbell's "Prepped" book and is something that I use a lot instead of mash to top fish pie and also chilli and bolognaise. Its an easy no fuss dish which freezes beautifully so you can batch make and the pie filling can also be used in pastry pies as well.

Its a pretty frugal dish too as you can use frozen vegetables in the meat filling and the herbs are from the garden plus  its also gluten free as well as I have used cornflour to thicken the gravy. Its a great way of adding more vegetables to your diet without really noticing and also for upping the fibre content of cottage pie as the crushed potatoes are still in their skins.

What you need
  • Small washed new potatoes boiled until just cooked - halved if large
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Fresh rosemary- leaves removed and chopped finely
  • Minced steak
  • White onion - finely chopped into half moons
  • Beef stock ( I use essential cuisine)
  • Cornflour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh thyme - leaves finely chopped
  • Parsley - finely chopped
  • Carrots - peeled and diced, or you could use frozen
  • Peas - I used a good handful of frozen petit pois
  • Tomato ketchup (ensure gluten free if necessary)
What you do
  • Firstly heat a little oil in a large frying pan and saute the sliced onions until translucent 
  • Now add the mince to the pan and fry off golden and well coloured
  • Now add the thyme, parsley and a tbsp of tomato sauce to the pan along with enough beef stock to cover the meat, stir and then add the diced carrot to the pan.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes until the meat is cooked and the carrot tender through, now using a little water to slake the cornflour and use to thicken the gravy. 
  • Add the frozen peas to the meat mixture and place in ovenproof dishes 
  • Top the pie mixture with the small potatoes crushing them slightly using your thumbs , sprinkle with the chopped rosemary and drizzle with a little rapeseed oil
  • Bake in the oven at 180c for 40 minutes until the top is golden and crispy and the filling bubbling.
  • Serve immediately

I'm linking this recipe up to extra veg created by Utterly Scrummy and Fuss Free Flavours and hosted by Elizabeths Kitchen this month.
We are also linking up to Credit Crunch Munch, created by Fab Food for all and Fuss Free Flavours hosted this month over at Maison Cupcake.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Spicy sweet potato, lentil and chipotle soup

Its starting to feel a little autumnal here in Lancashire so my thoughts as usual move from salads to soups, I love homemade soup and often knock up a soup for a weekend lunch using seasonal vegetables or something from the garden, luckily for us we were recently given a number of products from Some Like it Hot to try, so I thought the addition of chipotle sauce to a sweet potato soup would make an interesting addition.

This Chipotle sauce is made from Ancho chili for depth of flavour and Guajilla for the intense red colour they bring to the sauce and of course chipotle for the smoky notes. Its a delicious addition to the store cupboard and can be used in place of normal ketchup or as addition to many dishes, as well as this soup we have also tried it in a slow cooker BBQ ribs recipe, which frankly were amazing. In fact so much so that photography was planned for a post but they disappeared so quickly, we didn't take any of the shots !

What you need
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion - peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 handfuls red lentils
  • Vegetable stock - I always use Essential Cuisine
  • 1 tbsp or more (if you like it more spicy) Some Like it Hot Chipotle Sauce
  • Additional water if required to thin soup to desired consistency
  • A little rapeseed oil or butter
  • Yogurt to serve
What you do
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  • Add the onion and sweet potatoes to the pan and cook over a low heat until the onion is starting to soften slightly.
  • Add the lentils to the pan, along with enough vegetable stock to cover the vegetables and simmer until the vegetable are softened and the lentils cooked.
  • Add the chipotle sauce and blend with a stick blender until smooth, taste and season to taste
  • Serve hot, swirled with yogurt and sprinkled with a little fresh coriander

Some like it hot is a sister brand to Fatjax chutneys, so you can purchase their sauces and rubs range were every you can pick up the Fatjax range, which is many quality outlets across the north west, plus at various farmers markets.

We are linking up to No Croutons required hosted alternatively by Tinned Tomatoes and Herbs and Spice, a vegetaerian blooging challenge for Soups and Salads.

No Croutons Required

And also My Legume Love affair (MLLA) over at Ammaji Kitchen



Friday, 5 September 2014

Blog hop nominated by Vintage Folly

Right everyone, I've been nominated by my fellow blogger Vintage Folly for a blog hop, thanks Rachel for the nomination.

Our hens in the garden
Basically a blog hop is were I answer a few questions and then nominate a couple of other bloggers to do the same, its great fun and a chance for everyone to explore new blogs and gain an insight into bloggers that they may not have come across before.

I love blogging and like Rachel have met (virtually in a lot of cases) people I now consider friends, although Rachel is a bit different in the fact that I have actually met her in the flesh on numerous occasions being a member of my WI (yes I know, but we both love it and its a "young" WI) and she is also a member of the clandestine cake club like me.

The food blogging community is very friendly and supportive and I have learnt loads from others which has enabled the quality of my posts to improve over the years. Blogging has also raised my profile to others and without this blog I would have never had the opportunity to be published in several recipe books, appear on radio and television and also write about food in magazines. I have worked with some amazing people and love the "voice" the blog provides me with,  happily food photography has also become something my husband has excelled at so we now have a great shared hobby.

Mr and Mrs Lancashire Food
Why do I write ?
I write as I love sharing, whether it be recipes or just my thoughts on the latest food fad.The blog started off as a way to share recipes and images of what I was cooking and eating but has grown over the years to become alot more.
The blog is now my hobby and I know this sounds weird but my stress relief from my "day" job and exactly like Rachel over at Vintage Folly a way of keeping in touch with my "virtual" friends and acquaintances, its so much fun linking up and sharing your creative ideas with others and seeing their ideas too.

What am I working on ?
Currently I am researching and writing my next months article for a magazine I write for, along with banking a few blog posts ready for publishing over the next few weeks and planning my posts for the next month or so. I am also planning a WW2 outfit and some suitable food for our next WI event and making jam and practising cake recipes ready for the WI county show.

How does my blog differ from others of its genre ?
It's focused very much on Lancashire Food which is different that other food blogs, we proudly promote and support local Lancashire food products, producers and venues. We also enjoy creating recipes using homegrown or locally foraged food and letting people know where in Lancashire you can buy some great local produce or eat out well. We really get a great fillip when one of the small producers or venues wins an award, its so humbling to see the hardwork and determination that has gone into growing a local food business.

How does my writing process work ?
I write on a laptop normally in the loving room, grabbing spare time whenever I can, often this is inspired by a new recipe I have been planning or seasonal product that I have spotted in the market or growing in the garden. I tend to do some reading around whatever I am planing on writing about and then set about the planning the post and the images that will go with it. Its then that I am off to the kitchen to play and cook up a storm ready for the photography later. Some posts and particularly the photographs takes hours to perfect before its something that I'm happy to let loose on the world.


My nominations are Irwin Kraus author of The Amateur Peasant a great food blog which displays Irwin's Italian food heritage and  the thought provoking Whispers From the Ledge, he's based in New Hampshire in the States.

My other nomination is Janice Pattie who writes Farmers Girl Kitchen blog from the borders area of Scotland.
Over to you two ........... you have until the 15th September to publish your post, go on share some blog love.

Essential Cuisine - the professional choice for stock

As someone who cooks rather a lot, stock is an essential in the store cupboard. When I have the time I make my own and freeze it, but I don't always have the time, that's were a stash of quality stock powder comes in very useful.

I have always been unhappy with the quality of the majority of stock cubes and powders available in supermarket, they are often overly salty and of variable quality. So a couple of years ago I was delighted to be sent a sample of professional quality stock powders from Essential Cuisine, since then this stock range has become a regular feature of my larder.

The stocks are of high quality, light and fresh tasting and a great addition to any dish giving a professional finish, the powders dissolve easily in water or milk or when added straight to the pan. The black pots stack easily and come in vegetable, fish, lamb, beef, chicken and veal varieties and each pot making a minimum of 6 litres of stock so they are also great value.

I can't recommend them highly enough, they can be purchased via a selected range of stockists, mail order via their easy to website or at various food shows across the country.

                                          The Guild of Fine Food

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