Archive | May, 2014

Jazzing up vanilla

29 May

So for this week’s bake I was short of time and therefore settled on a boring vanilla sponge.

Not content with ‘boring’, however, I decided to try and jazz it up with sprinkles…and popping candy!

I’ve seen popping candy in cakes before and really wanted to give it a try. I think they looked pretty nice too…

20140529-195428-71668276.jpg

And they were nice. But the icing was wet and the candy was all popped out by the time we ate them 😦

Have you ever tried baking with popping candy? Would love any tips/recipes!

Advertisements

Time for lime

18 May

The sun is finally shining and so, for this week’s bake, what better choice than lime. Mary Berry’s lime tray bake to be precise.

I almost had a similar mishap to last week after realising mid-bake I didn’t have self-raising flour (flash back to last week’s flour bugs!) and had to nip back to the local shop. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, how am I sooo unorganised?! I know, in rubbish! But at least I’m keeping my local shop in trade!

This recipe couldn’t be easier: simply throw self-raising flour, butter, caster sugar, baking powder and the zest of two limes into the bowl and mix, then bake for 35 mins. Then it’s just icing sugar and the juice of the limes to top it. A really good cake for someone like me with little time to bake.

20140518-223428.jpg

And I found a good use for the lime leftovers too…

20140518-204702.jpg

From berries to cherries

11 May

So I definitely got cocky after my successes last week, and tonight fell back into my kitchen with an almighty bang.

Having spent the weekend away, but being anxious to make sure I baked for Monday, I chose what I thought would be a quick and simple recipe – cherry muffins.

I couldn’t have been more wrong, my fault not the recipe’s.

First of all, I didn’t have enough flour – I was 35g short as a matter of fact. In my ‘I can’t be bothered to go to the shop’ wisdom I thought I’d replace plain flour for self raising. Only to find my self raising had gone off, complete with those nasty flour bugs you get.

I conceded defeat and popped myself down to the shops, which are luckily around the corner. I came back with the flour (and a few other bits for myself).

I finished mixing the ingredients and couldn’t understand why it looked funny, but luckily realised I’d forgotten to add the caster sugar! So went to weigh the sugar only to be told by my scales they had run out of batteries (cue me pulling my hair out!). So back to the shop I went.

I returned to the kitchen, now a little angry, made worse by the rain I got soaked in on the journey, and finished my mixing. I always thought the yellowy colour in the mixture came from the eggs, but no it’s the sugar apparently (interesting geek lesson for me!)

Then came the next – and luckily the final – obstacle. I was running out of muffin cases. Of course I was!

By this point I gave up. I already looked a plonker visiting the shop twice, I wasn’t making a third visit. But luckily I still had some rubbish bun cases from years ago. Phew! And, on the bright side, they’re much smaller so I got more bun for my mixture, meaning extra money for the fund-raising efforts 🙂

Thankfully these cakes taste lovely. Quite frankly I’m glad to see the back of them.

20140511-231349.jpg

Proud little cook

7 May

I know what you’re thinking…twice in one day?!

Yes I know, I’m rubbish at blogging. But I was so proud of my dinner tonight I just had to turn to WordPress!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a terrible cook (about on par with my blogging skills) but I keep trying, and tonight Amy did good 🙂

For a bad cook, I have more recipes than I could ever hope to make but I’m forever buying Sainsbury’s magazines just for the recipes. I don’t always try them but boy am I glad I tried the chicken with melon, spinach and cous cous recipe in the May magazine.

20140507-210027.jpg

I definitely wouldn’t say it’s a quick tea, it took me over an hour from start to finish, but the sense of achievement at the end made it all worth it!

Why am I so proud, you ask? Two reasons:

1. It involved picking chicken off bones, something I’m terrible at. As a child I was one of those ridiculously annoying picky eaters. Actually, who am I kidding, that lasted until about five years ago! But pick away at the bones I did, and I did so happily.

2. Did I not mention that I’m a terrible cook?! And it was lovely!

If you’ve got the magazine, I’d urge you to give it a go. If you haven’t I’m sorry I think the June one is out now 😦
But you never know, maybe something even better is in that one…

Bake for Life

7 May

Every year for the last six years my friend Caroline and I have taken part in the Race for Life, raising money for Cancer Research UK.

But, as the years have gone on, I’ve found it harder and harder to ask for sponsorship money. At a time when everyone is always asking for sponsorship for something, what makes my annual 5k walk/ run any different?!

So this year I decided to take a different tact – bake for life! Instead of asking for money, I’ll just bake and ask for donations. (It’s also a great way to use up stuff in my cupboards and work my way through my baking books!)

This week is week five. Week one started with caramel cupcakes, then we had marshmallow cupcakes, then Easter chocolate brownies. Week four was banana loaf (the first week I remembered to take a picture)!

20140427-211827.jpg

This week was fruit muffins, made with (defrosted) frozen berries. Not the best muffins I’ve ever made but went down quite well…

I bought a metal tin from Poundland (the kind you can only open with a tin opener) and plan to hand that in with my donation bag on the day of my race. It’s already filling up, making the long baking days more than worth it 🙂

Will keep you posted with how I get on (when I actually remember to blog)!