Archive of ‘Inspiration’ category

Cauliflower Cheese & Onion Pie

It is summer and although this is a real winter warmer, it has been cold of late and really this dish is good all year round and is easy to make. I have used cauliflower and onion in this recipe, but I have also made it with leeks & fennel which works just as well. It’s a plate pie with the pastry bottom but there is no waste as the overlapping pastry is just folded on top!

Cauliflower Cheese & Onion Pie

Cauliflower Cheese & Onion Pie

You will need:
300g shortcrust pastry – homemade or shop bought
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion, sliced into cubes
30g butter
25g flour or cornflour
½ pint milk
2 tsp grain mustard (or any other mustard)
100g hard cheese such as a strong cheddar, grated – add more for extra cheesiness
1 egg
Salt & pepper to taste
Splash of oil for frying
 
Method:

You will need 1 oven proof dinner plate or dish. Pre-heat the oven to 180C or gas mark 4. Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water until just cooked, but still firm rather than falling apart. Drain well and let them steam dry without a lid. (TIP – if you put them back into the dry pan and place the pan over the heat for a few seconds, it will evaporate any excess water). To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan with a splash of oil and over a medium heat fry the onions for 5 minutes until softened. Add the flour or cornflour and stir until it is all mixed in and the onions are coated, cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring all the time to avoid any lumps. If there are some lumps of flour, whisk it until the lumps have gone (remember the onions will still be lumpy!) Once all the milk is added, gently simmer the sauce for 4 or 5 minutes to ensure the flour is cooked through and you have a thick sauce. Stir in the mustard then salt and pepper to taste. Take the sauce off the heat and stir in most of the grated cheese – keep a handful back to add on top. Mix the sauce in with the cauliflower and set aside to cool. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a round shape that is approximately 1/8 inch in thickness and hangs over the plate by a couple of inches or so all the way round – no need to trim it. Place the pastry over the plate. Pour the cauliflower mix onto the middle of the pastry. Lift the overhanging edges of the pastry and fold them over on top of the cauliflower. You should now have a half open pie, showing the cauliflower mix in the middle. Whisk the egg and brush it all over the pastry. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the cauliflower middle and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until it is nice and golden brown. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Cheese & Onion Pie

Cauliflower Cheese & Onion Pie

Rhubarb Sweet Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding with your Sunday roast is a great thing, but there’s probably more BBQ’s and alfresco dining rather than roast dinners through the summer months. So, how about a sweet Yorkshire pudding served with cream or ice cream?  This recipe is using seasonal rhubarb but it can be substituted for other fruits such as apples, blackberries or blueberries.

Sweet Yorkshire Pudding

Sweet Yorkshire Pudding

You will need:
2 eggs
200ml milk
Few drops of vanilla extract
140g plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
120g Rhubarb – cut into small chunks
Sunflower oil for cooking

This will make 6 puddings or one large one.

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 220C or gas mark 9 and put a teaspoon of oil into 6 holes of a deep Yorkshire pudding tin. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, milk & vanilla until well whisked up. Add the flour and the sugar and whisk until it is all mixed in and lump free. Stir in the rhubarb. Heat the pudding tin in the oven until the oil is very hot (as you would do with normal Yorkshires!)  Working quickly, so the oil doesn’t lose too much heat, ladle the mix into each of the greased holes and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until they have risen and are golden brown. Remove them from the tin and serve them warm with cream or ice cream!  

Emoji pile of poop cake!

I was asked if I could make and emoji poop cake for a 12 year old birthday who was into this particular emoji. Only too pleased to oblige, then got to thinking of the best way to do it to make it look “real”! This is a 3 tier chocolate cake with an off cut on top, covered in chocolate buttercream and chocolate fondant icing.

Emoji Pile of Poo Cake

Emoji Pile of Poo Cake

New Year – New Cake Flavours

Cake in January after all that Festive food? Not for everybody, but there will always be people who want to eat cake! These are a few of the new cake flavours I have baked for Tasty Bite in Thrapston.

Cream liqueur with white chocolate buttercream centre & topping. A seasonal blood orange cake with blood orange buttercream centre with blood orange juice icing on top. The juice makes a lovely pink colour icing.

Cream liqueur cake

Cream Liqueur Cake

Blood Orange Cake

Blood Orange Cake

Banoffee, a banana cake with caramel & banana buttercream centre and caramel topping. Finally for now…a bergamot lemon cake with homemade bergamot lemon curd and buttercream centre.

Banoffee cake

Banoffee cake

Bergamot lemon cake

Bergamot lemon cake

Christmas Chocolate Log Cake

A delicious traditional Christmas recipe that looks impressive and is not that difficult to make. The hardest part is rolling it up while the sponge is still hot. Time to taste test before Christmas!

Christmas Chocolate Log Cake

Christmas Chocolate Log Cake

For the cake;

4 medium eggs
100g caster sugar
Few drops of vanilla extract
60g self-raising flour
40g good quality cocoa powder
For the cream middle;

200ml double cream
50ml ready-made vanilla custard
Glug of brandy (optional)
For the chocolate ganache;
270g good quality dark chocolate
50g butter
250ml double cream
Glug of brandy (optional)

Pre heat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5. Line a 33×23 swill roll tin with baking parchment. Cut an extra length of baking parchment of the same size and sprinkle with some caster sugar (this is used when the cake comes out of the oven). Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until pale and forms soft peaks. Add the vanilla extract, sift the flour and cocoa powder over the mixture. Gently fold it all together – being careful not to knock the air out. Tip into the prepared tin and gently smooth it out until even. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, it should be springy to the touch when cooked. When it’s still hot, quickly turn it out onto the sugared baking parchment and peel off the parchment from the bottom. Along one of the long edges, score a line with a knife about a centimetre in. From that mark roll it up – with the paper too. Leave to cool. While it’s cooling, whip the cream until stiff and spreadable then stir in the custard and the brandy if using. Gently un-roll the cooled cake and discard the paper. Spread the cream mixture in the middle of the cake – leaving about a centimetre around the edges, for the cream to spread when you roll it. Tightly roll it back up. You can leave it whole or cut a third off and arrange it against the other piece to form a log shape. For the ganache, break the chocolate into a heat proof bowl. Over a low heat, gently heat the cream and butter in a pan until just below boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted, stir in the brandy if using. Put it in the fridge to cool until it is thick enough to spread on the cake but not set. Spread or pipe the ganache all over the cake. Make the marks like a log with a fork and leave to set before enjoying!

Chocolate Chilli Strawberry Vanilla Cakes

How about these cakes for a difference, using some home grown produce. Our first pick of strawberries and using some of our endless chilli supplies! The bottom layer of the cake is chocolate and chilli, with a vanilla & fresh strawberry sponge on top and decorated with fresh strawberry butter cream on top.

I hadn’t used fresh strawberries in a cake before, but it does work. I have used uncooked ones and also cooked ones (boiled with some sugar and pureed) to see if there is a difference. To be honest I don’t think there is much of a difference, the one thing I make sure of is to use fresh strawberries at room temperature rather than straight out the fridge, as if they are too cold it curdles the cake mixture. I just crush them with a masher or puree them with a hand blender. I also put aside some of the juice if I am just drizzling some icing to go on top, so it gives it a nice pink strawberry flavour finish.

Chocolate chilli strawberry vanilla cakes

Chocolate chilli strawberry vanilla cakes

 

Easy Spicy Tomato Salsa

A quick and easy salsa which also uses any spare tomatoes. You will need a few small tomatoes, around 25-30 (or large ones cut in half), 1 red onion skinned and cut into 8, 2 cloves of garlic – leave the skins on and one whole chilli. Put it all in a roasting tin with a glug of oil, salt & pepper and cook in a hot oven at 190 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until blackened. Take the skin off the garlic and the stem off the chilli. Put it all in a food processor or use a hand blender to blend until it’s quite smooth. Add some chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime juice. It can be adapted to taste, so if you like it hotter add another chilli… This salsa can be used with Mexican wraps, as a base to a chilli, on a pizza base, as a dip, a pasta sauce, as a spicy ketchup and much more!

 

 

 

Using up spare egg whites for easy meringues

If you find yourself with any spare egg whites and don’t know what to do with them, pop them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. These meringues are really easy. Defrost your egg whites (or use fresh ones), whisk until firm add 50g caster sugar to each egg white and whisk until shiny, thick and creamy and if you turn the bowl upside down it shouldn’t fall out. Spoon large peaks onto a lined baking tray and bake in a cool oven – 110C or gas mark 1/4 for an hour. Once cooled drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Marshmallowy in the middle they are delicious with fresh fruit and maybe a dollop of cream or yoghurt.

Chocolate Meringues

Chocolate Meringues

 

Guinness Chocolate Fudge Cake

This has been a popular cake on the last couple of markets and is just in time for St. Patricks Day!

Guinness Chocolate Fudge Cake

Guinness Chocolate Fudge Cake

Guinness Chocolate Fudge Cake

You will need:
250g butter
200g dark brown sugar
70g good quality cocoa powder
250ml Guinness
2 eggs
140g Greek yoghurt
200g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
70g fudge pieces
75g White chocolate to decorate

 

Method:
This recipe will make 12 muffin sized cakes or one 23 inch cake. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 or 160C for fan oven. Lightly grease and line a 23 inch cake tin, or a 12 slot muffin tin.
Place the butter, sugar and cocoa powder in a large pan and heat on a low heat until all the butter and sugar has melted, stirring to make sure it all mixes in. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the Guinness. Whisk or stir in the Greek yoghurt to the Guinness mix and then stir the eggs until it is all mixed together. Gently stir in the flour, baking powder and fudge pieces. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin or cake cases and bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes for small cakes or 25 – 40 minutes for a large cake. Leave to cool and remove from the tin. To decorate melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cake or cakes. Leave to set before enjoying. Alternatively the cake is delicious served warmed with cream or some Greek yoghurt.

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