Category / Baking

Baking Caravan Blog September 2020

Blog Day 15, Unicorns

Day 15, getting there readers, this blog is drawing towards its end, we have only a few more days then we head home once again. The weather did exactly what had been forecast and it hammered it down. There is something rather nice about being tucked up under a tin roof with the sound of wind and rain gusting about outside, I am not even kidding, it is cosy! I talked about September birthdays yesterday and how there seems to be an abundance of them. Our granddaughter Silke is four on September 25th. Each year I try to make her a decent cake, having been on The Great British Bake Off it is to be expected of me. Every year I fail. Its always because I am away from home, in the caravan. This year I forgot all my tools bar some nozzles. Due to the rule of 6 she cant have a party so we only needed a little something. Challenge was on to make something out of shop bought cake and icing using whatever I could fashion as tools!

Kit piping

Birthday girls mum is my eldest daughter Katharine aka Kit. Here you see we have bought a red velvet and vegan lemon cakes from the supermarket. Paul Hollywood detests even a shop bought sprinkle lol! We split the cakes and stacked them and then we start to cover them in buttercream from a tub.

Skewer as a paintbrush

We needed to smooth the buttercream around and an top of the cake. To do this I found a bit of laminated cardboard with enough flexibility to cope. Normally I would use a turntable but not one to be had or a lazy Susan so we just had to cope. If I had longer to chill the layers in a fridge it would have been better but birthday girls was only out of the house a short time and the cake is a surprise (surprise to me too as to how it will look in the end). For the eyes and mouth I just dragged a skewer with edible colour on the tip and hoped for the best. Lopsided if you look closely!

Beautiful happy Nicu performing on cue

With the help of my nozzles that I had packed we frosted up a mane and tail. Trusty glitter sprays are always with me so they glam things up a bit. I had made the horn, ears, rainbow and letters at home using edible modelling paste and had sprayed and hand painted those so they make it look a bit better.

2 of my beauties!
Its OK

So that done we hid the cake in a cool place ready for the next day. We wrapped up some presents and John and I made our way back to the campsite. Fortunately in Brighton there is no shortage of buses and we only had to wait a couple of minutes with the rain thrashing down everywhere.

A quick gallop over the field in the park once off the bus and I was warm and dry with a glass of plonk once again.

Cheers

Remember the Elkie Brookes song, Sunshine After the Rain? well within ten minutes of the last photo we had a double rainbow!! Quite apt since we are in rainbow Brighton and I had just done the rainbow unicorn cake, all well with the world!

Here endeth day 15, thanks for reading and same time same place tomorrow!

Baking Caravan Blog September 2020 GBBO Visits

Caravan Blog: Day 6

Eggs Benedict

How do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine with a smile! That’s how the song goes. Well to start our day off with an energy boost I made eggs benedict, first time ever. Terry showed me the ropes as it is his regular brekkie. Very delish. it is a toasted muffin, or in our case sliced bread with grilled bacon, poached eggs and a dollop of hollondaise sauce. terry likes to add a bit of parmesan and a trimming of green herbs, we used parsley and that is it. Apparently it was invented by a chef in the 1860’s for a Mrs Benedict who was fed up of bacon and eggs. We cheated (camping allowed) and used a packet of hollondaise but I did learn a crafty trick with the poached eggs. Terry cracked each one into cling film draped over a cup and made a little bag containing each egg, twisted secure at the top. All the eggs went in the pan at the same time for three minutes, and hey presto, perfect poached eggs!

The reason we wanted a hefty breakfast was we were going to walk along the Malverns. We set off in the car and found a place to park up and began the climb along the tops. very hot and very beautiful. I decided to take Terrys little dog Meg and wait it out in the shade while John and Terry went up to the beacon. It was really grand!

Malvern Selfie

We headed back to the caravan and camping club site at Malvern where we were pitched, had a shower and cuppa and then headed off to a farm shop that had been recommended to us. Clive fruit farm – it was on the edge of Upton on Severn. We had decided on a BBQ for tea so we bought what we fancied from the butchers department. I spied a big barrel of what was called Wobble Juice so decided it was too interesting a name to ignore. Scrumpy pressed on the farm! I bought some to take back to the caravan, well it had to be done! We had an ice cream and headed back to site.

John fired up the charcoal BBQ and I assembled the Safari Chef 2 Cadac. We had lamb burgers, sausages (of course) and I skewered up some pork for kebabs, which were doused in the wobble juice! It was a real feast and the evening was still warm and sunny.

I used up some left over mash and transformed them into potato cakes, I just added plain flour, goat cheese and spices. I used the cadac to heat them up and they got a fab crusty bottom on them!

We also had afters! remember all those Elgar’s apples? Terry used some up and made apple cream horns with from scratch puff pastry, hey how about that then!!

What a great finale to our few days at Malvern. We really have had the best time. To top it off the new bakers for The Great British Bake Off 2020 were announced so BBC Hereford and Worcester called us up during our BBQ to chat on air about the bake off, icing on the cake

Baking Caravan Blog September 2020 Visits

Caravan Blog: Day 5

Day five of my travel blog already. As I mentioned yesterday Terry from my Bake Off year joined us on the campsite here at Malvern Hills. We had a great site based first day with him but I had a visit lined up for us today. I had started to follow a patisserie wholesaler on Instagram, just because their beautiful wares had taken my eye. I have always been in awe of anyone that can make the patisserie that the french are renowned for. I discovered that the company is in Cheltenham just a half hours drive from the campsite. They agreed to show us their work and premises so off we went to find them.

When we arrived we were welcomed by Bee and she gowned us up to make us Covid safe and we went in and were introduced to her husband Xavier the Patissier. Born near Geneva he moved to the UK aged twenty and worked in the likes of the Ivy and Harrods, where he met Bee. Ten years ago they set up The Patisserie Box and supply to the wholesale market. Like everyone they have been hit hard by the pandemic but are up and running now and trying to adapt the the changing world.

Here we are with Xavier who shows us how to make the most delicious chocolate mousse with a hard to spell almondy biscuit base. I was mesmerised by the beauty of everything they made and was really delighted when we were gifted a few items to take away with us to sample back at the site.

Team of Four

Here is the link to their website https://www.thepatisseriebox.com/ I suggested they apply for Bake Off The Professionals and they told us they have been approached a few times but can’t afford to close down their unit for the length of time filming would take, shame as they are great!

Once back on site we settled down to relax and just enjoy the sunshine. It was so hot, everyone was out doing their own thing which mostly seemed to involve a BBQ and cold drinks. Our little trio plus Meg the dog had other plans for supper on a really hot day you have got to have some steak pie and mash, of course you do!! It was Terry’s turn to do the hospitality and he made a de constructed steak pie, the pastry was made from scratch, puff too! It was exceptional, as you can see I almost forgot to take a photo as we tucked right in, so excuse the half eaten potato tower!

Our plans for tomorrow include a walk up and along the Malverns and a trip into Upton on Severn. It will be our last night at the Malvern site and we are going to have a BBQ. Terry will be leaving to return home and we will head south but that’s all another day and another blog. So for today readers, cheers for staying with me and there is two more weeks of blog to come so stay tuned!

Baking Caravan Blog September 2020 GBBO Visits

Caravan Blog: Day 4

Here we are on day four already. Still the sun shines, it is so fantastic and makes a big difference to a trip. Terry – my friend that I met while we were both competitors on The Great British Bake Off – arrived onsite. He drove down from his home in his motorhome. It was so brilliant to see him again, we keep on touch by zoom but its always better in real life. We decided that we would do a local bake on site and video it. We came up with a Malvern Pudding. It is normally steamed but we decided to bake it in the oven to save the gas, steaming takes so long. The bake itself is like an apple cake (remember all those apples from Elgar’s orchard!) We made a caramel sauce to pour over the top. Everything worked out fine and the elderly gentleman next to us was intrigued with our antics. He said ‘please get an article in the Caravan and Motorhome magazine’ as he thought it would prove to be of interest to members, perhaps we will 🙂

See on this photo, Terry’s little dog Meg got a piece of the action. She is such a little princess and just as fluffy and even tempered as a teddy bear. gorgeous!

Remember the pizza dough I made yesterday? Well here is the result. We enjoyed it sat in the sun and we also had something very special to wash it down with. Terry has his own craft brewery and as a surprise brought us a big crate of three of his finest. I am not a beer connoisseur but these were really fine and a little history with each bottle. Also he brought cheese from his own cheese place and some honey from his bees.

We had a meal in our caravan. I made something from Rick Stein, not fish though, it was a Croatian pot roast, slow cooked in balsamic vinegar and red wine with dates and apples in the mix! Beautiful!!

So that was day four. A steady day all on the campsite. Next up is a trip to a patisserie in Cheltenham, see how the professionals do it, very excited to see. Watch this space, will report asap!

Baking Recipe

Stilton, Pear,Walnut Tart

Its that time of year when Summer is drifting away and Autumn comes calling. Orchard fruits are everywhere and here I use pears as a crown on a bed of stilton custard and walnut pastry. its another alternative to a cheese board or a great starter to a fancy meal. It is a quiche but dressed up to impress!

Walnut Pastry

175g plain flour. 90g butter. 2 Tbs cold water. 50g walnuts (blitz in food processor) Pinch salt.

Using fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add salt and walnuts. Add the water a little at a time and mix until it makes a firm dough. Wrap in film and chill in the fridge for half an hour. Heat the oven to 190 degrees. Grease a 20cm loose bottomed tin. remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Lift the pastry and line the tin with it, easing in with thumbs and fingers. Run the rolling pin over the top to trim the excess. Put the tin into the freezer for ten minutes to chill down. Place a sheet of greaeproof paper over the chilled pastry and fill with baking beans (or dried pasta/rice) this is to partially blind bake the pastry to prevent a soggy bottom. Pop this in the oven and bake for ten minutes, then remove paper and beans and bake for a further five minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 160 degrees. remove the pastry from the oven.

Savoury custard

Beat 2 eggs and add 150ml double cream, mix well. Add 100g crumbled stilton cheese and a handfull of crushed walnuts.

Poached Pears

Peel four small pears and place in a pan containing 100g sugar,100ml white wine and 100ml red wine and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring to boil and then simmer until the pears are tender. Remove from syrup and cool. Slice the bottoms off to so they will stand upright.

Place the custard into the pastry shell and then stand the pears in the custard. Bake in the oven until the custard is just set. Serve hot or Cold. The image shows apricots set into the custard too, which is another option!

Baking Recipe

Chocolate, Praline, Hazelnut and Sea Salt Caramel Tart

This is a deliciously rich and decadent tart I created for The Taste of Kent Food Festival

Ingredients

Pastry

50g Crushed hazelnuts

115 g butter

50g caster sugar

2 egg yolks

200 g plain flour

2 Tbs cold water

Caramel

120g condensed milk

60g golden syrup

150g butter

150g light brown sugar

Large pinch smoked sea salt flakes

Ganache

 225g 70% chocolate

175ml Double Cream

30g butter

Praline

100g caster sugar

50 g hazelnuts

Decorations

100 g dark chocolate

Rub all the dry ingredients together and the add egg yolk and water and form a ball. Chill in the fridge for half an hour. Roll out the pastry and place in a 20cm loose bottomed flan tin. Blind bake the pastry in a pre heated 180 degree oven for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and lining paper and continue to cook for about another 10 minutes .

Make the caramel by heating all the ingredients together in a saucepan until it reaches a temperature of 110 degrees. Pour into the pastry case.

Make the ganache by very gently warming the ingredients together until melted and glossy. Pour onto the caramel.

To make the praline gently heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed fry pan, swirling as it melts not stirring. When it has become a golden colour pour over the hazelnuts. Once cooled grind together in a food processor until it is like coarse sand.

Sprinkle the praline around the circumference of the ganache.

Using melted chocolate in a small piping bag makes triangles to resemble sails. Cool in the fridge and the stand upright in the ganache.

sprinkle ground sea salt over the top of the ganache.

Baking Recipe

I Had a Little Nut Tree with a Golden Pear.

Blue Cheesecake

Voila

I was trying to develop a recipe for a savoury cheesecake using Stilton in particular, I love blue cheese with walnut or pecan and pears go so well with both that this evolved. In my mind this will be great on a buffet table with the cheeseboard or instead of. A hint of sweetness in the base with ginger biscuits in there too. My thesaurus of food pairings told me that a sweet praline might give some texture and a touch more sweetness, so the shards and then the dried pear flames were born. A juicy spicy poached pear on top of a sweet/sour relish is the King of Spain’s Daughters Golden pear as i liberally polished it up with gold spray, and a scattering of crushed pecan praline looks like sparkling jewels. Showstopper!

Base

120g Savoury Crackers and Ginger Biscuits

80g Melted Butter

60g Pecans

Cake

250g Full Fat Cream Cheese with Chives/Herbs/Garlic

250g Ricotta

100g Creme Fraiche

100g Crumbled Stilton

1 Peeled and Diced Pear or Dried Pear

Tsp Mustard / Tsp Dried garlic powder/chilli flakes/smoked paprika/ anything goes

4 Beaten Eggs

Pear Relish Topping

3 Pears peeled cored and diced

1 Red Onion diced

160ml White Wine Vinegar

60g Brown Sugar

50g Mixed dried Berries

Pecan Brittle

100g Castor Sugar

50g Pecans

2 Tbs water

Poached Pear

1 peeled pear, leave stalk and bottom on

100g Castor sugar

100ml water

1 Tbs cinnamon

Dried Pears

1 Pear thinly sliced with skin on

Crush the biscuits and stir in the melted butter. In a greased and lined loose bottomed 20cm tin, press the biscuit mixture firmly down and chill in the fridge for an hour or more.

Mix all the cake ingredients together and pour on top of the base. Bake in the bottom of a 160 degree oven for about fifty minutes or until the cake is set with a slight wobble in the middle.

Put all the relish ingredients into a heavy based fry pan and bubble up until it is a jam like consistency.

Poach the pear in the sugar cinnamon water for about twenty minutes until tender

Heat the sugar and water gently in a separate pan for the brittle, do not stir, melteing the sugar and heating until it becomes caramel colored, stir in the pecans then pour it out on to grease proof sheet.

To dry the pears, slice as thinly as possible and dry in an oven on the lowest possible setting for several hours to dry out the moisture. If not using immediately store in an airtight jar.

To assemble, spoon the relish on top of the cheesecake. Place the poached pear centrally on top. Break the brittle into shards and push into the cheesecake also crushing some into smaller bits and scattering on the top. Using a small knife make slits around the cheesecake and push the dried pears into them.

I then spray some gold glitter all around for a shimmering golden pear effect.

Baking Recipe

Veggie Sausage Roll

Yesterday we were on the last day of our holiday in our caravan and I was keen to use up odds and ends in the fridge and cupboards. I found four Quorn Sausages in the freezer so this was my inspiration. I let them defrost and the sliced them into tiny bits. I found an onion a pack of mushrooms and a small pot of cottage cheese and a cube of cheddar. With the addition of some garlic, tomato pure, herbs and spices I made a massive sausage roll. I had a pack of supermarket puff pastry in the fridge too, always a standby you can make a lunch or a pud with ease.

This recipe is easy to adapt whatever you happen to have handy and is super tasty and gives you a meat free option which we are all being encouraged to do more often.

Ingredients

4 vegetarian sausages chopped into bits

1 Onion

Pack mushrooms

small tub Cottage cheese

Matchbox sized cube of Cheddar Cheese (any cheese)

Tablespoon tomato Puree

Crushed Garlic cloves to taste

Smoked paprika and Oregano (any in cupboard)

Pack Puff Pastry

Beaten Egg

Method

Using low cal spray mist a large frying pan and gently soften sausages, onion and mushrooms, add spices and herbs, garlic and tomato puree and cook for a few minutes.

Take off the heat and mix through the cottage and cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Open the Puff Pastry and lay mixture down the middle vertically. Using a sharp knife make slits on the diagonal in the four o clock direction down the right hand side and the same on the left but towards the eight o clock direction. Plait from each side overlapping in the middle and brushing with beaten egg to help stick the pastry together. Brush the finished roll all over with beaten egg and bake at 200 degrees until puffed up and golden.

Delicious Veggie Sausage Roll

Baking Recipe Yorkshire

Rhubarb and Custard Crumble Cake

This is a recipe given to me by Terry Harthill my Bake Off friend. I tweaked it here and there. It is delicious. I demonstrated this recipe at the Wakefield Rhubarb Festival Yesterday.

Roast Rhubarb

600 gram pink rhubarb

2 Tbs caster sugar

Custard

4 Egg Yolks

30g caster sugar

25g cornflour

350ml milk

1 Tsp vanilla paste

Sponge

250g butter

250 caster sugar

4 eggs

200g SR Flour

50g custard powder

1 Tsp Baking powder

Streusel Crumble

50g butter

85g soft brown sugar

85g plain flour

2 Tsp ginger powder

This recipe is made in four stages.

Heat the oven to 180 degrees

Chop the rhubarb into chunks and sprinkle with the sugar. Roast for ten minutes and remove from the oven.

Make the custard by heating the milk in a pan until almost boiling. In a bowl whisk the egg yolk, sugar, cornflour and vanilla. Pour the hot milk over it whisking all the time. Return the custard to the pan and heat on full until the custard is very thick.

Make the sponge by whisking the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add all of the other ingredients and mix together.

Stir the rhubarb gently through the sponge mixture and place the mixture into a greased and lined rectangular tin.

Using a spoon make small spaces in the sponge and drop in dollops of custard

Place in the oven for ten minutes while you make the crumble.

Make the crumble by combing all the ingredients and rubbing it all together with finger tips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Open the oven door and very quickly scatter the crumbs over the cake. Continue to bake set, approx 45 minutes.

Leave to cool. Place a wire rack over the cake invert it. remove lining paper. Invert it again. This cake is better eaten after it has been cooled and then chilled in the fridge to keep to custard cold and fresh.

Baking Recipe Uncategorized Yorkshire

Rhubarb Relish

Yesterday I was making a very quick rhubarb relish in the Demo tent at Wakefield’s annual Rhubarb Festival. I made a quick Soda Bread and a mackerel pate to make a full lunch or supper dish.

Ingredients

1 Cup runny honey

Half cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 thumb sized piece of grated ginger

Half a red chilli chopped

2 Tsp Chinese five spice

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped red onion

4 cups chopped rhubarb

In a large frying pan heat the honey and vinegar until boiling, add all the ingredients except the rhubarb and bubble on a low heat until the mixture starts to thicken into a jam like consistency. add the rhubarb and continue to cook until it is starting to soften. Turn off the heat and stir to combine the rhubarb and relish, try to keep some chunks of rhubarb for texture.