Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas baking

Merry Christmas all.... it's 10pm and I'd LIKE not to be the sad case that blogs, but check the awesomeness of this - I managed to book my holiday tix to Japan today on sale!! £100 cheaper than when I previously looked so uber happy, ESPECIALLY as I got it done before the VAT increase. Anyhow, see pics attached. Above is a maderia cake covered in marzipan and ready roll fondant. The cake I made in a pan smaller than it should have been because I wanted it to be taller - epic fail because when I tested it, it came out clean, but I knew it felt uncooked, so I prodded a few more holes until I found the damp bit... and naturally the middle collapsed. Never fear!! I halved, then patched the hole with left overs from the crusty top. YUM.
FYI DO NOT BUY SILVERSPOON PRE-ROLL. Comment for myself maybe, but as I unrolled it (it came on a very good plastic roll and sheet which I am reusing) it cracked in several places. Not good for ready roll, plus it didn't patch together too well either. Ouch. Anyway, the crackled cake is above. Decorated with a mini Santa Einstein, wife and oddly a pig too xx

Please see my now almost annual gingerbread. This year I managed to get little men and angel cutters. The angels naturally look more like ghosts. I also found myself taken to humming the StarWars Storm trooper theme when I was lining them up for the shot. Scary. Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Gratuitous food shots from eating out

Time for some eating out pics - the desserts naturally.

From Yautcha - The Mandarin with mandarin sorbet and rice cracker (Yum, but the coconut was better.)

Here is the Coconut Charlotte - coconut mousse, raspberry sorbet, mango jelly, mint and basil sponge (Yum.)

From Michael Caine's Cafe Bar and Grill in Exeter, Dark Chocolate tart with malt ice cream (too rich, too dark, too heavy, too boring - I actually left some) Go for the Ginger pannacotta... when they have it, it's lovely although not heavy enough on the ginger and a little bit white all over the plate. You'll see. FYI if you're there the mains and starters are pretty yummy but they tend not to cut the meat into sizes where you can get away with just using a fork. Try the Boutique for takeaway lunches. The chicken salad was gorgeous, fresh, with tons of chicken, just a shame they can't ripen an avocado to save their lives.

Tea at Kensington hotel That's a sort of softset version of a trifle, carrot cake (frosting a little bland and no tang), fruit tartlet (poor show, premade pastry and a few berries), fruit cake and a multitiered mini victoria sponge. Worth it at the price (2-4-1) and with the rather lovely scones with lemon and passionfruit curd and with the strawberry and rose jam. Sandwiches were also fresher than usual. Hot chocolate (milk or white) also included. Kudos. Ask to sit in the drawing room which is beautiful.

Honey Madelines and some other random bakes

I haven't posted for ages, but then again, I've not really baked for ages. I had a yen earlier in the year to buy a madeline tin - not that I particularly liked the factory monstrosities that my mum occasionally got from Icelands/poundshops, but the shell is pretty so I did it. I waited till work took me to a town with a Lakeland and bought me a tin! You'd be surprised how hard it was to find tbh. John Lewis sells silicon ones, and the rules are that silicon doesn't make the nice colouring in the grooves. Anyway, Lakeland has the cheapest at around £8. In the wretched way of most recipes, the recipe made 14 madelines... when my tin has 12 pockets. So I made an extra mini pan as well. The recipe I use was from Roux brothers for Honey Madelines. Claire Clark repeats it in her book Indulgence. It's easy as and makes a liquid mix so I'm not entirely sure where all the concern for more air to make it light came from, but there you go.

Other little bakes include Pineapple upside down cake:

Blueberry whoopie pies which were heavy - blame the recipe pamphlet that came with the tin (Robert Dyas, £6.99??) and Allisons lumpy flour... but using blueberry rather than plain yoghurt makes them this rather grotesque Halloween blue. Awesome.