Wednesday, 25 June 2008

A strange looking Mixed Berry Cobbler - TWD

Sorry everyone, I just could not fit in anything else this week apart from my orders. We are seriously eating microwave meals just to stay alive but hope to be back on form next week (or maybe the week after!)

In the meantime a photo of what has been keeping me so busy...

Next week Tuesday with Dorie recipe - Apple Cheese Scones (Not great for a cheese hater like me!)

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Cream Puff Ring without the Peppermint - TWD

I have been naughty - I have strayed from the rules - Ok, well maybe not that far but I haven't exactly done exactly what I should have this week - This week's Tuesday with Dorie bakeree was chosen by fellow Uk blogger Caroline from Consuming Passion. I have to admit to not being that inspired by the recipe and being very tempted to give it a miss but no...that's not the spirit. I couldn't justify the Peppermint Cream part of the recipe as no-one in this house would eat it but the Puff Ring (Choux pastry) was something I thought I had better try. I have always thought making this would be really difficult BUT IT WAS FAB!!! I now think I will be taking homemade eclairs everywhere I go - I really feel this week that I have learned something that I would not have if it were not for TWD.

I made the ring but had loads left over for mini eclairs, which I served with Raspberry Ripple Ice-cream and Dulce de leche that needed using up - Wow, what a combo.

The verdict?
Dermot (husband) - Absolutely loved it although he thought I was mad for making it when there were nine other cakes in the house waiting to be decorated with more still to bake! I keep finding him nibbling the left-overs so take this as a good sign.

Millie (5 year old) said she liked it and could she have some with butter on in her packed lunch - but it came back home not eaten so who knows? Do kids count as testers when they are so fickle?

Moi? Yum - Will def do again!

Next week - Mixed Berry Cobbler - That sounds like a proper pud!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

What have I been doing?

Well this little gem for a start!!! I realise that for a couple of weeks now I have only posted about Tuesdays with Dorie projects - I would love to say that I've been taking it easy and chilling but that could not be further from the truth. over the next few days I hope to be posting more cakes that I have been working on but this has got to be one of my favourites ever. This was for a couple from Wigan, Colette and Jeff who got married a couple of weeks ago in Cyprus and are having an enormous knees-up tonight in Wigan RLFC Stadium (I won't saything more about that hailing from rival town St Helens) but they are a lovely couple anyway.

The cake consisted of 2 tiers rich fruit cake, one chocolate fudge and one carrot cake. The brown ribbon (edible fondant) matched their delightful little girl's bridesmaid dress and the sparkly bits are edible 'bits' of fondant with added edible glitter. The design was adapted from a photo that the couple had - I'm sorry but I don't know where the original came from - with lots of amendments to make it their own.

Once again, Cara has come to the rescue and done this amazing shot.

I really love this cake and hope Colette and Jeff have an amazing night and many years of married bliss - What a fabulous job I have!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

TWD - Tart with a heart

How gorgeous does this little delight look? - The good news is it tastes even better than it looks! This week's Tuesdays With Dorie (lets ignore that it has just crept into Wednesday here in the Uk - I'm sure its still Tuesday somewhere in the world!)anyway...This weeks TWD pick came from the most lovely lady, Marie from A Year At Oak Cottage - I sincerely hope she is not only spending a year there because I am so addicted to reading her blog. Oak Cottage happily enough is in the Uk (although sadly nowhere near me as I may have been tempted to call on Marie). marie picked a recipe called La Pallette Strawberry Tart which made the most of some wonderful strawberries that we have around at the mo - In this age of thinking of food miles I love to make a recipe that can call on local ingredients (I have a blog entry coming soon that details another addition to the aardvark cakes family - no not another child but someone who lays eggs!)

Anyway, to get on...This tart was amazing - I used the Sweet Tart Dough and went along with Dorie's suggestion of adding ground almonds - I think I used a little too much butter but I love a good crunchy base so am not moaning. I even had some kirsch in the shed (I must have bought it ages ago for a really essential recipe and had never used it)

We are not listing the recipes anymore as a nod to copyrights/publishing rights which I believe to be quite right - I also thought it made my blog look really boring to have a huge long list of instructions - I do believe though that the 'chooser' may get to have the recipe listed - so have a look at Marie's blog - even if it is not there, it is well worth a visit.

Next week - Peppermint Cream Puffs - I am terrified!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Birthday Brownies - TWD

Happy Birthday Violet - My lovely youngest little chicken is 2 years old today and what a proud Mum I am! I have no idea where the last 2 years have gone but we have had lots of fun (and the odd tantrum along the way - not all from Violet!)

To be quite honest Violet didn't seem that impressed by these brownies but as far as brownies go these were good. As I have said in previous posts, I am just not that much of a chocolate cake fan but if I was these would be heavenly. These were really easy to make (although my raisins didn't set alight - The neighbours had a good laugh though watching us try on the BBQ), not too many ingredients and were eaten in super quick time.

The Scores:
Easy to make? - 8 out of 10
Ingredients - 9 out of 10 - I already had the rum in stock from previous TWD recipes
Taste - 8 out of 10

Would I make again - Possibly if someone requested brownies - I do like nuts in mine though!

Photo - Once again I would love to say it is my own work but St Cara came to the rescue (You should have seen my effort!)

Next week = Strawberry tarts chosen by the lovely Marie from A Year From Oak Cottage

French Chocolate Brownies
- makes 16 brownies -
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.
Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.
Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.
Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.
Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they're even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!
Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.