Saturday, 28 September 2013

Great Blog Bake Off - Tea loaf (banana bread)

My Great Blog Bake Off this week is a tea loaf of banana bread.  I choose banana bread as I had 6 ripe bananas in the fruit bowl.  Also it is a simple loaf to make this appealed to me as my arthritis in my hands is painful today, so no lifting of a heavy mixer was a bonus.

100g raisins
75ml toffee vodka
250g self-raising
Pinch of salt
1 level tsp baking powder
150g golden caster sugar
100g butter – softened
50g chopped pecans
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 small bananas (approx 475g)

1 - Start by pre heating your oven to 1700C/gas mark 3.  Then lightly oil and line a loaf tin with baking parchment paper.

2 – Pour the toffee vodka & raisins into a small saucepan and simmer for 2/3 minutes, then set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour till the raisins are all plump up.

3 – In a large bowl sift the flour, salt and baking powder, also the sugar, butter and nuts.  I used a pastry blender to make the texture to course breadcrumbs or you could use the traditional method of rubbing the mix between your fingers and thumb.


4 – In a small bowl add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk.  Then add the bananas and mash with a potato masher.  Once mashed add your now soak raisins (and any leftover vodka).

5 – Now back to your dry/flour bowl, make a well in the middle, pour in your banana mixture.  Gently stir all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon.  Once combined pour into your prepared loaf tin.  Smooth out the top of the mixture.  Now pop into the oven and bake for an hour to an hour and a quarter.  Check up skewering the centre of the loaf into the middle, if it comes out clean the loaf is cook.

6 – Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then remove from the loaf tin.  Slice to serve with butter or toasted for breakfast or teatime treat.  



Sunday, 22 September 2013

Great Blog Bake Off - Biscuit tower show stopper!

Firstly I let me explain that I am taking part in the Great blog bake off, have been for weeks now but something always got in the way of me posting on my blog before the linky closing at 8pm Sunday night.  Yes I know I have all week and then I realise that I have spent all week planning my bake then leaving it till Sunday to bake.  I will do better next week (by the way this has been my mantra for the last five weeks).

So far I have made a Pimms Cake

Then I made Cinnamon Swirls

I have missed two weeks due to lack of time and other commitments.
This week I have been organised to bake and I attempted a biscuit tower show stopper.
I made two types of biscuits, the first ones where a rocky road biscuit.  The recipe is
125g unsalted butter
100g granulated sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
150g plain flour
50g cherries cut in to pieces
30g small marshmallows cut in two
30g white chocolate
1 table spoon of coco powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
Melt the butter and add to the sugars, combine then add the egg and vanilla extract.  Once all this is mix add the flour, coco powder and baking powder.  Give this a good mix then add the cherries, marshmallows and chocolate. Stir in then leave to rest for five minutes - I find the biscuits bake better if the mixture has been rested.
Oh before you melt the butter pop your oven on to 180 degrees to warm up.
Once the biscuit mix has rested, line some baking sheets with baking parchment and spoon out to what ever size you wish.  A table spoon of mixture makes a giant biscuit, a half table spoon makes a smallish biscuit.  Be warn the mixture spread when baking.
I made a variety of sizes for the biscuit tower.
Pop them in the oven for between 8-10 minutes.  Once they have bake leave them on the baking tray for a minute or two then transfer to a cooling rack.
My second biscuits where triple choc chip, which is the same mixture as the rocky road biscuits I just left out the coco powder, cherries and marshmallows and as I need to make a lot of biscuits for a 30cm tower just like they did on the Great British Bake off on Tuesday, I tripled the amounts so landed up with about 300g of chocolate in white, milk and dark.
Once the biscuits had cooled I started my assembly and this is my biscuit tower
Our two lovely judges on Great Blog Bake Off are -
Do take the time to click and go to their blogs as they are both lovely ladies and baking mad!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

No I did not have a good summer!

 Let me set the scene – imagine a holiday cottage by the sea with one hubby waking up and three tines having breakfast and one stress/tired mummy preparing a picnic whilst supervising said tines breakfast.

Then the mummy gets a phone call on her mobile that makes her heart stop and her soul & brain go “Oh no!” here we go again.  It is the mummy’s younger sister phoning to say their cousin is in a hospice with cancer and is not expected to stay on this mortal coil of ours much longer.  At the same time time stops and flashes back to when the mummy had to tell the younger sister that their father had died because their mother was too distraught to do it.

Yes I am that mummy and that was the first week of our summer holiday and the first week of the school summer break.  All summer whilst trying to make the summer as happy and fun filled as I could for my three tines my heart would stop every time my phone rang or a text came through.  I spent the summer making sure my mobile had a signal and was charged.  Whilst waiting/expecting the news that no one ever wants to get.  My amazing cousin is proving the doctors wrong and is fighting to stay alive, unfortunately it is not a matter of when she will go home more a matter of when we all have to say good bye.  My cousin was a big part of my childhood and she has hung on for seven extra weeks now, though she gets frailer every week.

Now here is the kick in the teeth....... tomorrow is the anniversary of my father’s death.  He passed away from cancer many years before the twin towers where sent crashing down to the ground.  So tomorrow I will wake up check my phone like I do every morning, I will wondering if last night was the night or will today be the day.  I will get up, breakfast three small children and take them to school and I will mourn the loss of my family that is no longer with us.  Just like so many will mourn on September 11th and wish that  September had not turn into a month of mourning and remembering loved ones no longer with us on this mortal coil.