Sunday, 20 May 2012

Meringue Cups With Lime Cream and Fresh Berries.

These are individual meringue cups with lime cream and fresh berries from the The Cake Book by Tish Boyle and I made them for this month's Cake Slice Bakers Challenge. You can see the blog roll here to see how others did the dessert.  Katie has updated the blog roll very recently so only active members are on there now. 

Basically, you make the meringue nests (a first for me and I felt so proud of myself!), then you make a lime curd (another first and I was utterly amazed at how easy it is to make  lime curd - and so delicious!), mix it through some whipped cream, fill the nests with it then sprinkle on some berries and a dusting of icing sugar.  

I have to say this was a really easy dessert but quite impressive.  Everyone in my family enjoyed one and usually they only eat desserts if they are chocolate so I was a very happy Mummy.

The recipes in this book are so easy.  She outlines every step to make it easy to follow and there are recipes for every occasion.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Spelt and Ale Loaf.

Well I have had a rather busy weekend - swimming with the boys, housework, an 80s girls' night out, a 5K run, more swimming - so was wondering how on earth I was going to get round to baking this bread in time for the Short and Tweet deadline.  Cue a rather splendidly domesticated husband stepping in and making it for me (as well as making THREE batches of peanut butter cookies which I will blog about next!).

This loaf is a variation on the wholemeal loaf I did for Short and Tweet in December. I found this one to be denser and more bitter than the plain wholemeal one which I really loved.  Of course, this one is still miles better than a flaccid sliced loaf from a plastic bag.  It will be rather great with homemade soup.  I couldn't really say I noticed the ale taste apart from the extra bitterness.

I obviously can't really comment on how it was to make this bread but Steve reports that it was straightforward but took a bit longer to rise than his usual breads.

You can get Dan Lepard's recipe in his book, Short and Sweet or on the Guardian website here.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Mum's Birthday Cake.

I did an 'Introduction To Cake Decorating' course with Grace from Cakes By Grace in Montrose. 

I made the cake above for my Mum's birthday and was really pleased with it.  

All the cakes I have decorated so far, I have just tried to copy ideas from google images and have done with trial and error.  

I loved Grace's course.  First of all she is lovely and chatty and very generous with her advice and tips.  She is also very organised - each station had everything we needed, her timings were obviously well thought out and the course ran so smoothly.

I actually learned heaps even though I have been decorating cakes on my own for a few years now.  There are certain techniques I have been doing in my own individual way and, seeing the proper way to do it, has made me say on several occasions, "oh that is so much easier!".

I  got to play around with all the tools available and see Grace's systems for storing and carrying things and it means you really get to see what things would be useful to you without having to spend money on them beforehand. 

It was just a fantastic day and Grace is a very inspiring lady. I'd love to go to one of her cupcake courses but I'll just need to save my pennies first.  Can't wait, though. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Bruschetta - The First Recipe In Real Fast Food.

Plenty of time to join in May's Random Recipe Challenge which can be found at Belleau Kitchen.
This month we have to randomly choose a book and then make either the first or last recipe in that book.

I used to choose my book and landed on one of my favourites.  It is Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater.  One of his early books and chock full of quick, simple recipes.  This book is especially brilliant if I happen to be cooking something quick and easy just for myself.  Some of the recipes are really little more than one or two line ideas but that is what it is so great about the book - it is heaving with inspiration for a quick meal or snack.

One of the first things I ever made from the book was the Hot Chicken with Cream and Garlic Sandwich and it is now something I do fairly regularly.  I will just suddenly have a craving for this recipe and nothing else will do.  It takes less than 10 minutes to make.

Anyway the first recipe in the book is bruschetta and the last recipe is Hot Red Fruits - a syrup of tart fruits and an abundance of ideas for using this for desserts or breakfast. Mmmmm.

I went with the bruschetta, though, and even though Mr Slater gives 5 variations, I chose the simple and basic one as it is the first in the book.

And who doesn't love a simple bruschetta?  I used wholemeal bread as I prefer it and scattered on a few basil leaves to gild the lily.  I'd say this recipe neatly sums up the book - really quick and simple food but it really hits the spot. 

You can't really improve on this recipe, can you?

1. Griddle some slices of a nice crusty loaf to toast them.
2. Arrange some sliced or chopped beautifully ripe and fragrant tomatoes on top.
3. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil.
4. Add some sea salt, black pepper and basil leaves if you wish.
5. Enjoy. 

And, yes, we had this for a family dinner.  No time cooking and a happy and well fed family. Perfect.