Author / Karen

Baking Charity Recipe

Kids’ Fairy Cakes

In a few weeks’ time I have volunteered to spend a day working with school children at Miriam Lord Primary School in Bradford. They are having an Aspire, Achieve, Dream day, and I am going to be talking to them about my background, Bake Off, uplifting bits and bobs from my life, and something practical too, but what?

Well if in doubt, all kids love to decorate a bun or a cupcake, so I have made the first batch of kids’ fairy cakes just now, this recipe made 54 small buns using a Victoria sponge ratio.

I will freeze this lot and then make exactly the same quantity nearer the time, then they have the fun part of frostings and sprinkles!

Ingredients:

400g Soft Margarine
400g Caster Sugar
8 Medium Eggs
375g Self Raising Flour
40g Cocoa Powder

Method:

1. Cream the margarine and sugar together
2. Beat in the eggs with a large spoon of flour
3. Fold in the rest of the flour
4. Spoon the mixture into small bun cases
5. Bake in the oven at 190 degrees (or 180 degrees in a fan assisted oven) for about ten minutes
6. Leave to cool on a wire rack

Recipe

Green Tomato Chutney Recipe

I got a call from my Uncle Graham this morning asking me if I could use a few green tomatoes which were left over from his summer tomato crop. Well, in actual fact, I had never done anything with green tomatoes before but not wanting to turn down his offer I said “Of course, that’s fab Uncle” and popped around the corner to collect them. (We live like a dozen houses from each other).

The only recollection I had of green toms was when I was a kid, my dad was always trying to ripen them, either in a drawer in the dresser or on a sunny windowsill, they never turned as far as I can recall.

When in doubt in these situations, I call upon chutney. My family will tell you, should you bother to ask, I am a bit of a condiment queen. When I was a kid the best thing about mam’s salad on Sunday tea was the Heinz Salad Cream.

Chutney is a big fave of mine, so I made some, took about half an hour to cook down and Bob’s your uncle. (I don’t have an uncle called Bob, but my kids do)!

Ingredients:

175g Brown Sugar
150ml White Wine Vinegar
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 Cooking Apple (finely chopped)
125g Sultanas
500g Green Tomatoes
1 tsp Chilli Flakes
1 tsp Ginger Powder
1 tbs Garlic Puree

N.B. I used dried spices and a tube of garlic puree as that’s what I had in the larder, but fresh would be fine of course.

Method:

1. In a frying pan, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar under a low heat
2. Throw all the ingredients in and bubble down until they form a sticky, chutney consistency
3. Bingo! Done. Pop into sterilised jars (2 x 500g)

Great with cold meats and cheeses, bang it on the Buffet Table!

Baking Christmas

Christmas Cake Recipe

It is here once again, we are into November and it is time to get the big mixing bowls out for the Christmas Cake.

I know that not everyone is a fan, but I am! It’s a tradition to make at least one cake. My mam used to make a round one; royal icing peaked to make look like snow, a ruffled frill around it and plastic decorations: Father Christmas, robins, a snowman, and a Merry Xmas greeting.

I don’t bother with fancy pants stuff,  I just go with tradition. Mam also made two Christmas Cake loaves. My fondest memories of Christmas Eve are having a slice with some cheese and a little sip of cream sherry.

When I am doing the final stir up I get my husband and girls to take turns stirring and make a wish. (If they’re away from home they do it telepathically, I text them when to make the wish and I stir for them).

Here we go, this makes a big cake, like ten inches and tall. If you want to adjust to make smaller give me a toot and I will send quantities.

Ingredients: 

450g Sultanas
450g Currants
450g Raisins
150g Chopped Prunes or Dates
100g Glace Cherries
100g Candied Peel
6 Tbs Brandy
450g Plain Flour
A large pinch of Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tsp Mixed Spice
2 Tbs Cocoa Powder
450g Unsalted Butter
450g Dark Brown Sugar
8 Large Eggs
100g Ground Almonds
100g Flake Almonds

Method:

1. Soak all the dried fruit in a bowl with the brandy the night before you bake your cake
2. Grease a 10inch springform tin and line with baking parchment
3. Preheat the oven to 150 or fan 140
4. Sift together the flour, spices cocoa and salt
5. Whisk the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
6. Beat the eggs in a jug and beat in to the sugar and butter gradually
7. With a large spoon, mix in the flour/spice mix and fruit together
8. Make a wish
9. Spoon into the cake tin and level the top
10. Using newspaper or brown paper and string protect the outside of the tin
11. Bake for about 3 and a half hours, or until a skewer come out clean
12. Leave to cool in the tin then wrap in foil and store in a cool place
13. Feed the cake with brandy every week until it is time to decorate (liberally spoon brandy onto the cake)

GBBO

Final of the Bake Off

This week has been a busy one with it being the final of the Bake Off, at last we can talk about the winner, it’s been a long, long time holding that secret. My friend Caroline had a party at her house and we all took bakes, it was a great night, even though I was shattered having been on the 5:25 bus to BBC Radio Leeds. (Glad it was radio and not telly, at that time of morning my make up bag failed to get me camera ready!)

I couldn’t stay out and party too late as it was Extra Slice filming the next day down at television centre and I had to make myself as presentable as possible for that.

I had got myself a new red animal print suit and some shiny boots, so I felt the part. I was chosen to present Kim Joy with her special cake at the end of her slot, the cake was so heavy I was worried I might go flying due to those shiny new boots, I held myself together and did OK.

It was just great all twelve bakers re-united, we had a lovely meal provided somewhere in Notting Hill. I bailed out early and went back to a very fancy pants hotel, the other bakers stayed up late and made the most of it. It was the icing on the cake of an incredible year, I got home mid afternoon the next day, then I got to watch the episode on Friday in the comfort of my living room, what a week it was!

Christmas Recipe

Uncle David’s Favourite Mince Meat Recipe

I was just thinking this morning how it will be Christmas before we know where we are and I just happened to have all the ingredients in my store cupboard to make a huge jar of mincemeat for mince pies. It only takes ten minutes and little effort, with the resulting mincemeat much better than anything you can buy in the shops.

I have an Uncle David who is mince pie crazy. One year as a young man, he scoffed all my gran’s mince pies in one sitting. The following year she played a joke on him, baking him a tray full stuffed with cotton wool; each year he still remains optimistic that he will be plied with the real thing!

Ingredients:

700g Mixed Dried Fruit (any combination you like, cranberries, mango or (like me) just the standard currants, raisins, sultanas and mixed peel)
100g Glacé Cherries (chopped)
1 Cooking Apple (peeled, cored and chopped)
125g Unsalted Butter
50g Chopped Nuts (any will do)
225g Dark Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tbs Mixed Spice
1 tsp Mace or Nutmeg
Grated rind and juice of 1 Lemon
150ml Brandy

Method:

1. Warm the sugar, butter and lemon in a large pan on a low heat
2. Add all the other ingredients (with the exception of the brandy)
3. Cook over a low heat for about ten minutes, stirring regularly
4. Remove from heat and leave to cool
5. Add the brandy and stir thoroughly
6. Place in a large sterilised Kilner jar or four small jam jars

Who still puts mince pies out on Christmas Eve? Not my Uncle that’s for sure!