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Showing posts from November, 2012

Festive Gingerbread Cupcakes

So, in other news today, Susie has published yet another gingerbread post ... Yes, gingerbread, again. I know. I'm sorry. But it is that time of year. And besides, I think I told you that I love the stuff ... Anyway, you may recall my recent Snowy Gingerbread Cottage post, in which I told you all about the humongous amount of gingerbread dough I made from a BBC Good Food recipe ? I said that I had made an army of gingerbread men, and this is where they turned up. As incredibly cute (even if I say so myself) cupcake toppers dipped in dark chocolate! Sadly, I can't take the credit for this fab idea, as I first noticed it on a Sweetapolita post last year. But it stuck in my head and I thought that when I had an opportune time, I would give it a go. And Oh My, they are delicious! Even on their own. But on top of Gingerbread Cupcakes with Ginger Buttercream? Now you're talking my kind of winter warmer. The cupcakes are easy to make, and I have adapted

Snowy Gingerbread Cottage

The weather these last few days has been truly frightful. As I had some time on my hands - and absolutely no inclination to venture out anywhere - it gave me the chance to do some baking. With Christmas fast approaching ( is it really a month to Christmas Eve?) I also wanted to have another go at making gingerbread. And this time with the objective of trying my hand at a Gingerbread Cottage for the first time. A couple of months ago, I bought a Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter set from Wilkinsons, as I thought it might make it a little easier to manage. The set includes cutters for the walls, ends and roof sides, with some additional ones for angels, stars, trees, gingerbread men etc. I suspect it's like many that you can get on the high street. The cutters are a little flimsy - particularly the larger ones - but while this is definitely not an heirloom set, they did the job for me. The gingerbread recipe I used is in the current edition of the BBC Good Food Magazine,

Pecan, Date and Chocolate Chip Flapjacks

I must admit that I rarely eat flapjacks, and I have never actually made them before. On the rare occurrences that I have indulged, I've thought them OK. Nothing special, and probably deceptive in terms of how healthy they are. With one of the main ingredients being oats, you'd think that they were healthier than other sweet treats. But then you factor in the butter and sugar, along with any other ingredient you want to chuck in, and suddenly they are not so healthy. But still. When I saw some in my local supermarket the other day, I was intrigued. They were 'Date and Chocolate Flavour'. I was taken with the idea of dates and chocolate, but not so much the 'chocolate flavour', from which I inferred  real chocolate was not going to be part of the deal. Bad memories of 'Scotbloc' from my school cookery lessons came to mind. (And yes, I am old enough to remember having proper school cookery lessons). Scotbloc was some kind of cake covering that you

Pecan and Maple Loaves

One of the things I find when I'm baking is that I tend to use something - whether a particular bake, method or ingredient - and develop it as a theme for a while. Both nuts and maple syrup have featured in a few of the things I've baked recently (see Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline Tart , Walnut, Fig and Blue Cheese Tart and Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting ). It helps me focus on developing my knowledge and techniques. This little recipe introduced me to the idea of candied nuts - which are strangely addictive to munch on and yet so easy to make.  The recipe is adapted from the latest in the Great British Bake Off books  'Learn to Bake' . This is in a different format from its predecessors, and is very much aimed at the novice baker. There are lots of recipes though that would appeal to more advanced bakers, too. These little cakes are easy to make, but full of flavour. I've topped them with a simple icing glaze rather than the cream cheese topp

Walnut, Fig and Blue Cheese Tart

This is another autumn pastry experiment that turned out to be a lovely lunchtime treat. The walnuts in this recipe are in the pastry. This gives a lovely nutty flavour, with a crunchy flakiness to the base. The figs are nestled into a savoury mix of eggs, cream, blue cheese, shallots and thyme. Warm from the oven this tasted great; sweet figs offset by the tangy notes of the blue cheese. It kept well and still tasted good the next day. The only thing that I thought was a  little disappointing was the pastry - texturally it was really nice, and while it was noticeably more flavoursome than pastry using all plain white flour, there was not much walnut taste. Plus, the nuts made it a little harder to work with than normal shortcrust. It cracked a bit when I was lining the tin, but it was actually pretty easy to patch it with a little ball of additional dough. I found the base recipe on the BBC  Good Food website, and it's available on line here .    Walnut, Fig and Blu

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

With Halloween just gone, it seems that we are well and truly into the changing of the seasons. Although I didn't get my act together enough to post this in time for yesterday, given its pumpkin theme, I thought you might like to see my interpretation of a great autumn recipe from Ina Garten's new book, Foolproof . I love Barefoot Contessa. I'm sure I've told you that before. Discovering the programme was a complete revelation to me. This was shortly after we got cable tv, around 1998, and I actually discovered that there was a whole network devoted to food and cookery programmes. I was in my element. Unfortunately work used to get in the way a bit, so I used to place a 4 hour tape in the video and set it record. Then, when I got in from work, I'd be able to watch everything. Over time, Barefoot Contessa was one of the programmes I especially looked forward to. So anyway, when Ina comes out with a new book it is always on my must buy list. Her recipes u