Monday, 9 February 2009

Currant Buns

Makes 15
4 oz soft margarine
4 oz granulated sugar
8 oz SR flour
2 medium eggs
4oz dried fruit
a little milk
Preheat oven to 190'C (fan) and place paper cases in a bun tin.
1. Cream together margarine and sugar.
2. Beat in eggs, adding a little flour if necessary.
3. Fold in flour and fruit.
4. Add milk, if necessary, to form a soft dropping consistency.
5. Spoon into bun cases, until 3/4 full.
6. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes.

Apple and Mincemeat Crumble with Custard

Fruit crumble and custard is such a traditional English dessert and I often make it with homegrown rhubarb, blackcurrants, gooseberries, foraged blackberries and apples from my parent's garden. This weekend I used bought Bramley apples and homemade mincemeat.

8 oz plain flour, I prefer wholemeal for a nutty taste
4 oz hard margarine
4oz granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 180'C and slice fruit into a serving dish. I like to soften my fruit for 5 minutes in the microwave before it goes into my fan oven, but this isn't strictly necessary. If using mincemeat, place a few spoonfuls on top of the apples.
In a separate bowl rub margarine into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in sugar. Sometimes I add some oats to the mixture at this stage. Spoon mixture onto fruit and cook for approximately 20 minutes.

For the custard

1 rounded dsp of granulated sugar

2 rounded dsps of custard powder

3/4 pint of milk, full fat or semi skimmed.

Traditionally made in a saucepan on the hob, but I make mine in the microwave.

Place sugar and powder in jug and stir in a small amount of milk. When well mixed stir in remainder of milk. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, stirring halfway through. If making in a saucepan stir until it comes to the boil and has thicken.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Saucy Chocolate Puddings

For the puddings:-
125g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
4 tbsps cocoa powder
125g caster sugar
250ml milk
75g unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp rum or other drink
100g walnut pieces
For the Sauce:-
125g soft muscovado sugar
1.5 tbsps cocoa powder
150ml boiling water
Grease 4 to 6 teacups, according to size.
Preheat oven to 180'C/160'C fan.
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and beat in the wet ingredients until you have a smooth batter. Pour into teacups.
In a separate bowl mix together sugar and cocoa powder and sprinkle equally over the puddings. Pour the boiling water equally over the top of each pudding.
Sit on a baking tray and bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then top with lightly whipped double cream, flavoured with rum and sweetened with a sprinkling of caster sugar.
Adapted from "In the Mood for Food" which suggested 4 teacups but there was too much mixture for 4 teacups and the puddings overflowed slightly. Each portion was quite big!

White Chocolate and Bailey's Cheesecake

For the Base:-
250g shortbread biscuits, crushed finely
100g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
75g melted butter
For the Filling:-
675g cream cheese
200g caster sugar
3 tbsp cornflour
2 large eggs, beaten
150ml whipping cream
150ml Baileys
125g white chocolate, chopped

Grease and base line a 22-24cm spring-form cake tin. I encased mine in foil to waterproof it. Preheat oven to 160'c fan.

Mix all base ingredients together, press into tin and refrigerate.
Using a processor, beat together cheese, sugar and cornflour.
Add eggs, cream and Bailey's and beat until smooth.
Stir in chocolate and then pour mixture over the base.
Place tin in a roasting tray, filled with 1-2cm of hot water. I found it easier to pour water in once the tin was placed on the oven shelf.
Bake for 40 minutes until top is lightly golden and filling is just set.
Leave in tin until cool. It firms a little more as it cools.
From "In the Mood for Food"

Lavender Shortbread

160g unsalted butter, softened

80g caster sugar

2 tsp fresh lavender flowers

240 g plain flour

additional caster sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 160'C and base line and grease a rectangular tin 18cm x 28cm.

2. Place all the ingredients into a processor and work to a smooth dough.

3. Press evenly into tin and prick all over with a fork, pushing all the way through.

4. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, until lightly coloured and firm.

5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sugar.

6. Mark lightly into fingers with a knife whilst still soft.

7. Leave to cool and harden, then separate into fingers.

A winter alternative is to replace the lavender with orange zest.

Adapted from "The River Cottage Year".

Lemon Drizzle Cake

For the cake:-
175g/6oz butter, softened
175g/6oz cater sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
175g/6oz Sr flour
50g/2oz ground almonds
1.5 tsps baking powder
For the drizzle topping:-
4 tbsps lemon juice
150g/5oz icing sugar
1. Preheat oven to 160'C and line a 900g loaf tin.
2. Whisk together butter, caster sugar, eggs and lemon rind until creamy.
3. Stir in flour, almonds and baking powder.
4. Spoon into prepared tin and level top. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until risen and firm.
5. Five minutes before cake is ready, in a saucepan mix together lemon juice and icing sugar and dissolve over a gentle heat.
6. When cake is cooked, prick the top and pour over the topping. Leave in tin until cold.