Class 31, Lemon Drizzle Loaf

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Refreshing lemon drizzle loaf basking in the sun!

Euro 2016 has started, although not in our household as we are a football free zone. We aren’t big football fans ( you probably know from past posts that we are all about the rugby) and Scotland failed to make the cut anyway, so no footie is being watched by us.

Instead preparation is under way for the local agricultural show which takes place in a few weeks. No, we are not entering any sheep, cattle or horses into any of the livestock/ showing classes but I am entering some preserves and baked goods into the Produce classes. Some of the recipes I’ve not made before, so I need to practice to ensure I can actually make them and also to get the timings of each recipe right. I want to be super organised the day before the show down to even having a timetable written out to keep me on track!  Hopefully I will catch any issues during the practices rather than be faced with a horror the day before the show.

I will be also be making Strawberry Jam, but I’ve made this a few times before so I can make a batch a week before the show. In addition to the lemon drizzle loaf and jam, I will be making  brownies ( still have not decided out of the 101 recipes I have for brownies which one to go for!), Nanaimo bars and Lemonade.

I entered 3 classes last year, but I’m entering 5 different classes this year, which I think is all I can handle at this stage!

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Awards from last years show.

 

 

Class 31, Lemon Drizzle loaf ( 1lb tin) 

Surprisingly I have never made Lemon Drizzle loaf before unless a madeira cake with extra lemon in it counts?! I know there are countless recipes for this, and you probably don’t need me adding to them therefore I decided to use Mary Berry’s recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake.  Her Banana loaf recipe won me first prize at last years show so hoping this recipe will be equally as successful. Thank you, Queen of Baking!

This lemon drizzle cake recipe is really simple to make, however I felt there was not enough cake batter, even for a 1lb loaf, as the cake batter barely came up to the half way point of the tin and the cake only rose about an inch. I would prefer to double the quantities in order to pour enough of the batter into the tin to fill until about 1 inch/ 1.5 inches from the top. Obviously this will affect the baking time, so I will try this recipe out one more time before the show to gauge this.

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Ingredients

1 and 1/2 large eggs or in my case I used two medium eggs, 87.5 grams of self raising flour, 87.5 grams of Caster sugar, 87.5 grams of softened butter, 3/4 level teaspoon of baking powder, finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of half a lemon. The original recipe only used zest from 1/2 lemon and no lemon juice at all however I felt that this would not give the cake enough of a zesty lemon flavour. I like to be able to taste the lemon in Lemon flavoured cakes!

Topping– juice of 1/2 lemon and 50 grams of sugar.

Preheat oven to 180° C. Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin.

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Simply beat the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, lemon zest and juice in a mixer until well combined and smooth. When the lemon juice comes into contact with the baking powder it starts to fizz and bubble, which delighted me very much! Science in action.

Pour the cake batter to the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and springy when touched.

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Mix the juice of 1/2 lemon and the sugar to make the topping and pour over the top of the still warm cake. Once cooled remove from the tin.

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Chocolate Orange Cake and Sunday Shenanigans

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How gorgeous is this location !

I dragged my hubbie to watch the horse trials at Floors Castle on Sunday, and according to him ” they were all guilty”. Groan……. him and his naff jokes. He says this one every time about horse trials.

 

He isn’t overly enamoured with horses ( to be honest most farmers/ agric’s I’ve met aren’t and he often refers to them as hay burners! ) so to appease him whilst there I treated him to a hog roast, which he said wasn’t as good as mine! Awww hubbie is a sweetie. I was very pleased with that compliment. He also got ice cream, which keep him quiet for all of 10 seconds.

Once home, I also decided to make him a cake to thank him for spending the whole day surrounded by horses. Cake is definitely the way we show love in our house! He loves chocolate oranges and chocolate orange flavoured desserts so I decided to make Chocolate Orange Cake. It is also a cake that I always have the ingredients for and its so simple to whip up that I don’t actually need to look at a written recipe,however due to this I’m not entirely sure were it originally came from. I have a feeling it could be a Nigella recipe but from which book or show I’m not sure! Also apart from the 50 mins cooking time, it really takes no time at all to make.

Now if you don’t like orange or marmalade then this is not the cake for you unless you substitute the marmalade for another kind of preserve or jam. Although I haven’t yet done this so not sure which flavours would work best,maybe raspberry or strawberry would work well with the dark chocolate or even substituting the dark choc for white choc along with the raspberry jam would add a whole new dynamic. Plenty ways to jazz this one up to suit individual tastes.

Ingredients

150 grams of butter, 100 grams of dark chocolate, 2 beaten eggs, 150 grams of caster sugar, pinch of salt, 300 grams of thick cut marmalade ( I prefer thick cut so you get lovely bits of yummy marmalade dotted throughout the cake) , 150 grams of self raising flour, tablespoon of icing sugar- see, very easy to remember!

Pre-heat  oven to 180°C and grease a 8 inch cake tin.

In a saucepan start to melt the butter, then once nearly melted add the chocolate. Take off the heat and stir until the chocolate is melted. Then add the beaten eggs, sugar, salt and marmalade and mix until well combined. The mixture does appear quite lumpy at this point but that’s just the marmalade, no need to worry. Then add the flour in small amounts to the mixture and whisk until combined. See, very simple recipe!

Once combined add the mixture to your cake tin and bake for between 40-50 mins.

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Remove from oven, leave to cool and remove from cake tin. Using a sieve give the top of the cake a dusting with icing sugar. Then serve with a cuppa and enjoy.

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Snickerdoodles

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Well, its been a busy week, with riding lessons, nurse and hospital appointments,meeting up with friends, parents visiting, friends visiting and watching rugger ( what else!) oh and the dreaded thesis work continues albeit at a very slow pace.

A very close old school friend was visiting relatives nearby, so we took the opportunity of only being 40 minutes away from each other, as opposed to 3 1/2 hours away, to meet up for a gossip, lunch and a wee spot of shopping. We had agreed I would pick her up and have a coffee  ( or a fly cup) with her lovely Granddad, who I haven’t seen for about 18 years, his partner and my friends daughter, before heading out for the day.

Oh, how times have changed, as our get togethers used to consist of copious amounts of alcohol ( some unidentifiable), singing loudly and out of tune , losing a purse or contents of a bag, then heading to the latest opening local pub for the most awesome cheese toasties in the world!

Anyhoo, given that I was invited for a cuppa I thought it would be nice to bring along some home baking, and I thought Snickerdoodles would be a good choice.

Snickerdoodles are not a common biscuit ( or cookie or whatever you call them) in Scotland, with most people I have made these for having never even heard of them, let alone tasted them. Despite this, everyone I have made them for, has loved them, both adults and children.

The good thing about Snickerdoodles is that they are so simple to make and the ingredients are ones that you will have on hand in your store cupboard already.  The dough does need to chill for an hour, so overall they do take about 1 hour and 40 mins to make, but its not an excessive amount of time by any stretch of the imagination.

Also the name Snickerdoodle… is it just the child in me that thinks this name is funny? What does this name even mean?

This is my go to snickerdoodle recipe . I’m not sure where it came from, it simply appeared in my recipe book scribbled in pink ink and covered with the remnants of snickerdoodle ingredients.

Ingredients- (makes about 12 Snickerdoodles).

Cookie: 113 grams of butter ( only Scottish Organic butter will do for me!), 112 grams of granulated sugar, 55 grams of brown sugar, 1 egg ( organic or when I can’t get this I use local), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 210 grams of plain flour ( Scottish farm milled), 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Topping: 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Cream the butter and both the brown and granulated sugars together ( but not the 2 tablespoons of sugar indicated in the topping section of the ingredients). Then add the egg and the vanilla and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar and mix. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Gather the dough into a ball, cover in cellophane or wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

At this point for me it was 7:30am, and I was still in my jammies, so my hour was spent showering, drying and straightening hair, applying make up, eventually deciding what to wear and dressing…. funny how an hour goes by so quickly! Maybe you can spend your hour doing something more exciting.

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Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.

Combine the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a separate bowl.

Pinch about 2 tablespoons of dough from the ball of dough and roll into a small ball. Then roll the ball into the sugar/ cinnamon mix to cover and place on a lined baking tray.

Bake for between 14- 18 minutes or until golden brown. In my oven it takes the whole 18 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes and then move to a cooling rack.

 

 

 

Simply Pear-fect!

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” O flower of Scotland…….”

 

This weekend was all about rugby rugby rugby in our household, well to be honest most weekends during rugger season our household is all about the rugby however this weekend was worse than usual as 1) Hubby attended rugby games on Friday 2) Hubby played rugger with his team on the Sat and won some shield or cup or something which means they are going into the semi final for something else [ whoop whoop, victory dance] 3) Six Nations matches watched on TV England vs Wales and Ireland Vs Italy and finally  (saving the best for last) 4) a trip to Murrayfield on Sunday to watch Scotland win against France [Whoop Whoop, victory dance] ……………………think I’m all whooped out!

As a result, there was little time to make meals this weekend so Saturday nights supper consisted of fresh pasta bought from the supermarket. The Shock, the Horror, I should be banned from all food blogs!!  Well, wait until you hear about what I made for dessert.

I always keep tinned cans of fruit in the cupboard as these can easily be turned into a yummy dessert, very quickly.  No, not just dumping them in a bowl and serving with ice cream cira 1970’s, think more Steel Magnolias and Cuppa Cuppa Cake.

Tin of Fruit cocktail with juice, a cup flour and a cup of sugar mixed together in a bowl, dumped into a greased oven proof dish and cooked until golden brown and bubbling! Aces!

Not the most sophisticated dessert, definitely not for those that don’t like super sweet desserts and I know many will wonder, why not just use fresh fruit. What’s the point of this dessert? Well, the point is that I can keep a couple of tins on hand to make a quick dessert, no need to go out to the shop to buy fresh fruit, and no need to then prepare fruit and I always have something on hand to be able to whip up a simple, hassle free dessert. This is a “not planned and I don’t have time” dessert.

Nigella even uses tinned pears and if it’s good enough for Nigella, then its good enough for me. Pioneer Woman also makes a Dump cake  using tinned fruit and again, good enough for Ree, good enough for me ( Wow poetry!) and of course, Dolly Parton’s character,Truvy in Steel Magnolias gives the original seal of approval. If you haven’t watched this movie, you gotta, go do it now!

Since I had tinned pears I made Nigella’s Chocolate Pear Pudding, which has slightly more ingredients than Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa cake, but still ones I keep on hand in the store cupboard and still a very easy recipe.  Although with this recipe you can use any tinned fruit you have, peaches, pineapple, rhubarb, apples, even black cherry fruit filling would work well with the chocolate.

Ingredients

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Butter is missing as its softening on top of the radiator.

 

2 x 415 gram tins of pears in juice, 125 grams of plain flour, 25 grams cocoa powder, 125 grams caster sugar, 150 grams soft butter, 1 teaspoon baking power, 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate soda., 2 large eggs and 2 tablespoons of vanilla.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Drain the tins of pears. You can keep the juice or syrup if you want to but it’s not necessary. My hubbie likes to pour the drained juice over the cooked pudding.

In an 8×8 inch greased oven proof dish, arrange the pears along the bottom in rows.

Then I dump all the other ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix. I just used my hand mixer and mixed until all ingredients were combined and the mix had a dropping consistency ( or until I wanted to eat the mix straight from the bowl!!)

Then spread the mix over the pears, sprinkle over some sugar and place in oven for 25-30 minutes.

Serve with cream or ice cream or chocolate sauce or the remaining pear syrup/ juice.

After an exciting game on the Sunday, singing the National Anthem, lots of shouting “SCOTLAND”, clapping, whistling , watching men in rugby shorts running around, dancing after each try and when Scotland won against France, then the tram queues, cramped trams and a car park blockage resulting in being thankful for having a SUV, I was very very very glad to go out to the Pub for supper and not have to cook.

However, dessert wasn’t on the menu at the pub as nothing took our fancy, thankfully we still had Chocolate Pear Pudding leftovers at home!! Pear-fect ending to a fab day!

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Carrot Cake and Friends

 

During rugby season, from August through to April (or this year it feels like it will take an actual year due to sooooooo many matches being re-scheduled!!) my hubbie is busy on Saturdays playing rugger. Due to this we can’t go for long weekends away. My hubbie is pretty dedicated to his team and to rugby (so much so that we had to schedule our wedding outwith the rugby season!!!). Anyway as you can probably tell I’m a bit of a rugby widow during this period as well as being a taxi service to pick up my sometimes intoxicated hubbie from the club.  However, this Saturdays match was cancelled and hubbie arranged, literally at the last minute a weekend visit to our good friends in Tain in the Scottish Highlands. This was serendipitous as I had been speaking to another blogger about enjoying visiting the Highlands and Islands just a few days before…….. spooky.

Given that we were leaving about 4:30pm on Friday and I was told Thursday Evening (I also had a 2 hour hair appointment scheduled) I didn’t have a huge amount of time to bake a “thank you for having us Prezzie”.  So, I turned to an old, simple classic that I could make in my sleep,  Carrot Cake. Its a favourite of my hubbies (he asked for a double carrot cake as his birthday cake) and I also had all the ingredients, apart from the cream cheese, available so no need to have to do a shop before baking.

The original recipe came from the Women’s Institute, in a book called “The Womans Institute Vintage Teatime” by Jessica Simmons, however I made some simple alterations to suit. Can’t beat a vintage recipe!

So very early on the Friday morning ( well not really it was probably about 8am) I gathered the ingredients:

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180 grams softened butter, 110 grams brown sugar, 2 eggs, 250 grams Self Raising flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 25 grams mixed peel or you could use marmalade or even apricot jam should work, Zest of one orange, 230 grams of grated carrots ( more than 3 shown in the photo were needed in fact it was about 6 of small-medium sized carrots), juice of one orange that equates to 5 tablespoons or you can use milk instead, 60 grams raisins. Ignore the vanilla in the photo I was going to use it then didn’t, well not until the frosting.

Now as far as possible I use local produce or Scottish, so I used locally milled flour, local organic eggs, Scottish Milk and butter and also organic carrots from the farm hubby works on, but you can use whatever you prefer.

Preheat the oven to 180°c/ 350°F and grease an 8 inch round cake tin. Cream the butter and brown sugar together, then whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and add to the sugar/butter mixture.

In a separate bowl sieve the flour and the cinnamon together then add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix.  Then add the peel, orange zest and raisins and mix well.

At this point I take the bowl off my stand mixture and fold in the grated carrots by hand, which is hard work for a weakling like me! Definitely works the guns!

At this point add either the orange juice or milk ( which ever you prefer) about 5 tablespoons so that the mixture is slightly wetter and more of a dropping consistency. Looks a bit like coleslaw, but believe me it tastes delicious- feel free to lick the bowl at this point to convince yourself it is not coleslaw!

Then pour mixture into your tin and bake for about 40 minutes. It may take 5 or so minutes longer, but it ready as long as a cake tester or knife comes out clean.

 

After taking the cake out the oven, I left it until it was cool enough to remove from the tin and then placed on a wire rack to continue to cool. I then went away for my hair appointment and to pick up some cream cheese and flowers.

3 1/2 hours later………………..back home with my new hair do perfectly straightened and all grey hairs and brown roots now blonde.

I start on the frosting for which I use a basic cream cheese recipe………..

170 grams of margarine. I have found that I simply cannot get a hold of using butter for frosting. Every time I use butter and try to cream it with the cheese, it never creams properly and leaves bits of butter in the mixture. I think that my kitchen is so cold at this time of the year ( the heating is on, but the kitchen is an extension that in winter retains the cold) that whilst leaving the butter out will soften it, it doesn’t soften it enough to make a smooth frosting. As a result , I always use margarine for my own sanity, but please use what you prefer.

Then cream the margarine with about 180 grams of cream cheese until smooth. I start off adding 110 grams of icing sugar, but then add about 5 tablespoons more of icing sugar and beat to get the right consistency. I know I know, I should just work out the total amount of grams and weigh out the correct amount of icing sugar from the start, but hey I have a system and I’ve already been traumatised by the butter incident!

Also at the same time as adding the icing sugar, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. The mixture should not be runny, more like whipped cream. You want to be able to spread it on the cake, without it running all over the sides!

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You can add more decoration in the form of fondant carrots, but I don’t normally bother.

The cake went down very well after a lovely walk and after watching Scotland beat Italy in the Six Nations!