Archive for the ‘Flavours’ Category

This years bake off final really was super exciting and I was so happy for Peter to win, he thoroughly deserved it! Emily enjoyed it so much this year too and was quite sad this week when she realised there was no bake off to watch when she got home from school. But we still have one technical to do at some point as we never got round to making the eclairs. But for now I am looking forward to doing some Christmas baking! So here’s the last technical challenge and they certainly saved a good one till last! Click here to see how we got on.

Prue’s recipe for the walnut whirls can be found here. The girls helped make the biscuits and the ganache, then the rest was down to me. Unfortunately my ganache didn’t really firm up, even after several hours in the fridge, so when I piped it I ended up with a puddle on the top of each biscuit. I ended up putting it in the freezer and managed to squish it into roughly the right shape on top of each biscuit. Luckily my marshmallow hadn’t set too much in the piping bag so I was still able to pip around the outside of the ganache.

Covering them with chocolate was pretty messy! The recipe made about 3 times the amount, so I just kept remelting the chocolate to cover the rest and we had plenty of left over marshmallow too. They were super yummy, probably my favourite technical along with the doughnuts! We’ve had so much fun again this year and really enjoyed trying a few things that we wouldn’t normally attempt. Now time for some Christmas baking!

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I can’t believe that the final of the Great British Bake Off is tomorrow, this series has gone super quickly and we’ve really enjoyed trying all the technicals again. When we watched last weeks episode I really wasn’t too sure we would manage to make it, it really did look like a super hard challenge! But I love a challenge, click here to see how I got on.

I made the biscuit dough with Emily and Chloe after school on Friday and left it in the fridge over night till Saturday afternoon when we had some free time. Emily didn’t really want to help, so while she was busy playing with her lego I shaped and rolled all the biscuits and baked them. They all cracked quite a lot but smelt pretty good! The recipe can be found here.

I tempered the chocolate and piped the swirls, I found the chocolate much harder to pipe than royal icing and much messier! I piped loads of extra swirls as i could see it was going to be very fiddly to stick them on without breaking them. Once the biscuits were cooled I piped on the royal icing then left them to dry.

Unfortunately the only time I had left to assemble them was while I was trying to get the girls tea ready and also get a chicken curry prepared and in the oven, so it was a bit messier and more rushed than I would have liked! I also found that where the royal icing was piped on the top of the biscuits the caramel didn’t want to stick making assembly quite tricky. I got there in the end and it held its shape while I carefully stuck the chocolate swirls on, plenty of them broke, but I had just enough. The biscuits tasted really good and were perfect the next day with a coffee! I would definitely make the biscuits again, but not in a horn shape!

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I am sure plenty of people will agree with me that this weeks technical wasn’t really the most appealing, but I wanted to give it at go and I could see that the flavours should be pretty tasty. Luckily I had some suet in the cupboard as I was planning on making my mincemeat for Christmas this weekend. I ran out of time to bake with the girls, so this was my first solo challenge, click here to see how I got on.

I decided that we really didn’t want to make the whole recipe, Rich really wasn’t keen and I also didn’t have the right sized pudding bowls, so I used a small metal one instead and made just under half of the recipe. The full recipe can be found here. The recipe was easy enough to make. But I was not paying enough attention and forgot to line my tin, I had greased it though, so hoped that would be enough.

I didn’t time it very well as the 2 hours was up on the steamer while Rich was on a work phone call and we hadn’t even eaten dinner yet, so I left it another 20 mins before getting it out and having a go and turning it out. Unfortunately it wasn’t very easy to remove from the tin and broke, making a big puddley mess on the plate, just like most of the bakers! I think this is my first proper bake off fail! Amazingly it tasted much better than it looked and the lemon inside was soft and it was a bit like eating a sweet marmalade pudding. Emily and Chloe had a small bit to share and they really enjoyed it. It’s not really something I will be making again though!

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I’m getting a bit behind with blogging about the Bake Off technicals, but we have been giving them a go! I think I have only made doughnuts a couple of times as I don’t have a deep fat fryer, but these looked so good that it seemed worth the effort of filling a large saucepan with oil and using the thermometer to check the temperature, its definitely much harder to regulate it on the hob. We were all very excited to give these a go! Click here to see how we got on.

I didn’t have any strawberries, but had some of my parents homegrown raspberries in the freezer, so used some of these to make the jam instead. Emily and Chloe helped measure things out and helped with kneading the dough a bit too. Chloe loved poking her fingers in the soft dough! Pauls recipe can be found here.

I fried the doughnuts while the girls were having their tea so we could all have them for pudding. I couldn’t believe how big they got when they were put into the hot oil! They had just enough time to cool down so I could pipe in the filling and the jam. We very much enjoyed eating them! Probably one of the best technical challenges ever, they were so good!

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We missed last week’s technical challenge as the recipe wasn’t on the website until after the weekend so we didn’t have time. But we will catch up and make them at some point during lockdown. This weeks recipe looked really interesting, but neither Rich or I are keen on matcha so we decided to make a crepe cake half the size in case we didn’t like it! Click here to see how we got on.

I had some matcha powder left over from a wedding cake I made and hadn’t been brave enough to bake anything else with it, so this was the perfect bake to use it up. Prue’s recipe can be found here. Emily and Chloe helped make the pancake mixture, we had to add a bit of Green food colouring as the matcha I had wasn’t a very vibrant green!

I made the ganache meringue filling, it was super smooth and rich. Emily helped me assemble the crepes and did a good job of spreading out the filling and topping with the sliced strawberries. We popped it in the fridge to chill before decorating it, it looked quite pretty especially when you cut into it. Rich and I enjoyed some for pudding with some extra mango and strawberries on the side, it was actually quite yummy – apart from the dusting of matcha powder on top!

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We were all very excited for chocolate week on the GBBO, its got to be one of our favourite things to bake with in our house. And even better, the babka was a perfect treat for breakfast at the weekend. So on Friday when Emily finished school, we headed home and made the chocolate fill and the dough. Click here to see how we got on.

Once the chocolate filling was made and cooling down in the fridge, we make the dough, it was very sticky, but I kept the mixer running and amazingly it all came together to make a super soft lovely dough. Once done, I rolled it out and Emily helped sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top, before I rolled it up, cut it and plaited it. It was actually relatively easy to do.

I then left it to prove, but even after 3 hours there was barely any change and I was running out of time before going to bed, so I just bake it anyway. Luckily it rose a bit, not as much as I had hoped, but when we cut into it for breakfast on Saturday morning it was beautifully soft and light and the chocolate filling was so super rich and sugary, we all loved it!

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Emily was very excited again this week to watch the bake off when she got back from school on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and couldn’t wait for Saturday morning to make the technical challenge. Coconut macaroons are one of Rich’s favourites, so he was pretty happy too! Click here to see how we got on this week.

Luckily we had all the ingredients and even had some frozen mango which I cooked with some lime juice and zest to make a purée. The recipe for the macaroons can be found here. I used desiccated coconut instead of coconut flakes as that’s all I had, but they seemed to work ok. The mixture was far too hard to pipe for the mango curd filled ones, may be due to the desiccated coconut absorbing some of the moisture, but I shaped them into little nest shapes with a teaspoon and my finger instead. 

We had a few problems with Chloe eating the chunks of chocolate before we managed to put them in the centre of the coconut mixture as captured in the photo and then picking at the coconut mixture too! Cheeky monkey! 
The final macaroons were a decent size and we enjoyed trying them with a cup of tea on Saturday afternoon! 

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It’s been quite a while since either Em or I updated anything on here and the Great British Bake Off being back on has kicked me into action again! It’s not because we haven’t been baking, just that we have both been so busy we have struggled with finding the time. So this week having watched the first episode in this weeks series of GBBO I thought it was about time I wrote something. Emily was super excited to be allowed to watch the bake off when she got back from school last week and even more excited to actually have a go at making the technical challenge. This year Chloe is joining in too as she just wants to do everything her big sister does. It’s going to be a messy few months in our house! Click here to see how we all got on with the first technical.

I think one of the main challenges this year will be making sure we have the right ingredients without having to make loads of extra supermarket trips, something I am keen to avoid. I generally have a well stocked baking cupboard, so hopefully we can get by. The recipe can be found here. The recipe was pretty easy to follow, although I did take my eye off the sugar and burnt the first batch of caramel. Emily loves cracking eggs into the bowl and Chloe is enjoying helping to hold the bags of flour and sugar as we weigh things out and generally causing havoc by pressing the buttons on the scales half way through weighing things out!

Luckily we managed to weigh things out correctly and even made the custard too. Although the timing wasn’t great and I found myself juggling stirring custard, caramel and the girls tea all at the same time! By the time they were cooked and cooled down enough for the girls to try them unfortunately neither of them ate more than a couple of mouthfuls as both were too full up and tired to want any more! Although the following day Emily demolishing a whole one for pudding!

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It wouldn’t be Christmas with out something gingerbread flavoured! It’s one of my favourite Christmas flavours, so I was really keen to try this recipe from Octobers Sainsbury’s Magazine. Click here to try this yummy recipe.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI just love making and decorating Christmas cakes, so as a Christmas pressie this year for our friends Matt and Beckie and their 2 kids I decided to make them a cake again! While we were away with them in the Peak District I was looking at pictures of Christmas cakes on Pinterest and Freddie and Ellie loved all the penguin ones, so I thought that’s what I would do. I found a few designs and picked my favourite bits to design this cake. Click here to see some more photos and info on decorating it.

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