An Angelic Host

O.K, I know it’s only the 3rd Sunday of Advent, but at our church, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” indeed, our Moderator, (who was visiting this week), said so.  In honour of her visit, both churches got together to worship and at the end shared tea and mince pies.  Some of them looked like this:

Mince Pies 1and, a close up:

Mince pies close upThanks for stopping by.

Posted in Advent, Baking, Christmas, Home Made, Mince Pies, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dreamy Recipe…… (or not)

So,  a strange thing happened to me today….  I dreamt a recipe!  This has not happened to me before, and I decided to have a go and see what my sub-conscious was trying to tell me.

It’s good timing as I’ve got a lunch guest tomorrow and, (providing it works), this will do nicely for an ‘afters.’

I’m guessing it came about because I have been thinking about ways to indulge my liking for chai tea, wondering how I might use it in baking. This then is the result:

cake in tin

and

2014-12-13 16.21.34

 

Recipe for Flavoured Pear and Chocolate Loaf

400grms firm conference pears, (finely chopped, or a bit chunkier to taste);

Pot of tea, (I used Tesco Vanilla Chai, but you could use Earl Gray or any other flavour you particularly like).

200grms  Caster Sugar

200grms  Softened Butter, (or Pure – dairy free)

4 eggs

200grms Self-raising flour, (I used gluten free)

I tsp Vanilla paste, (or good extract or seeds of vanilla pod).

3 tbs Cocoa Powder

1 tsp baking powder.

1. Make a pot of your chosen tea; once made, allow to stand for approx 3 mins before pouring contents of pot into saucepan, (if you’re using tea leaves, strain into saucepan).

2. Add chopped pears to saucepan and heat gently, poaching pears until soft; remove from heat, strain, (saving some of the liquid), and leave to cool.

3.  Heat oven to 170c and grease and flour a 2lb loaf tin

4. Cream together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.

5. Gradually beat eggs into the mix, (you can also add a tiny amount of the flour mix with each egg to prevent curdling), add vanilla.

6.  Sift together the flour, cocoa-powder and baking powder and fold into batter mix.  If the mixture is too stiff, use a little of the reserved liquid to loosen it.  The mixture needs to be what my teacher called, “a dropping consistency,” this means that when you load a spoon with mixture, it holds firmly, but drops easily with a slight shake.

7.  Stir in the cooled and dry pears and transfer mixture to loaf tin.

8. Put into oven, on middle shelf for 35-40 mins, (until skewer comes out clean).

When baked, leave to cool in tin for about 5 mins and then turn onto cooling rack.  Once cake is completely cool, decorate as preferred.

I used melted white chocolate and just dribbled over the top.  I went a bit over the top – but hey, it’s chocolate, right?

If you do have a go, please will you let me know how it worked, (or didn’t), and what you thought of it?  Just leave me a note in the comments, thanks!

 

Posted in Baking, Cake, Chai, Chocolate, Home Made, Pear, Tea | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Christmas Cards

Hello!

Amidst all the baking that’s been going on around here I have also been making this year’s Christmas cards for friends and family.  If you’re not on my list, please accept the following picture as a card, for you, Dear Reader.  You can chose either the silver or gold version, whichever you prefer.

Christmas cards 2014bye for now!

Posted in Card, Christmas | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Santa’s Little Helper

Here we are again then, with an update to yesterday’s post.  In the photo of the brownies, you can see something gingerbready in the background.  These are gingerbread men and tree cookies, baked to go with the brownies as a Christmas treat for some lovely people I know.

Now they’re all finished:Gingerbread men and cookies

and ready to go:

Gifts to go

Hope they like them.

I found the recipe here.

See you next time!

Posted in candles,decorations,Christmas, Christmas, Cookies, Crafts, Gifts, Gingerbread, Home Made, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Choc Orange Brownies

Hello!

The baking faerie has been busy in the house again.  I decided that, instead of a cake I’d make the choc-orange version of brownies.  I got the recipe on line but adapted it slightly to increase the orangey taste.  I used this recipe.

They turned out like this:

Choc Orange Brownies

Excuse the messy tin – they’re resting on baking paper.  I briefly dotted each piece with some of a melted chocolate orange and dotted a Smartie on top.  I wouldn’t normally use Smarties as they’re produced by Nestle, whose ethics are suspect in my opinion, but I was given a pack, so waste not, want not, and they do look cute, (at least I think so).

You may notice some other bakes lurking in the background…. more on those later.

Thanks for dropping by!

Posted in Brownies, Home Made, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Choc Orange Cake Test 1

Greetings All!

Another day off and another day of baking in the kitchen.  Today I decided to test run a cake I want to make for a friend, and what a good job I did!  The idea was to make a cake that tasted like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, (a Christmas favourite in our house). The cake was to be a marbled sponge cake made up of chocolate and orange flavours and colours, covered with a meringue butter cream, also flavoured with chocolate.  Here’s the finished cake:

Test Cake 1

it blends a bit into the table and the photo’s not great because today is very dark and dreary and not too helpful for photos.  Having said that though, the buttercream is way too pale, so next time I shall use dark chocolate to colour the meringue.

Fancy a slice and a cup of tea?  Here you go:

Test Cake 2

Hmmn, the marbling didn’t work too well either.  Where’s the orange colour? I used an orange gel, which called itself neon orange and I was too cautious with it, fearing it would exude an unearthly glow. Apparently, this was a completely ungrounded fear as the orange colour is invisible.  The chocolate is very pale too – like the buttercream I shall adjust next time.

What does it taste like though?  Success!  It is very yummy and does indeed taste like a chocolate orange.

So, for next time, a few lessons learned.  I shall also decorate it a bit more and will probably use chocolate buttons and/or strands.

This one was made with gluten free self raising and I would be willing to bet that no one could tell the difference from usual flour, I was very pleased with it.

So practice is a great teacher and I shall enjoy making it for real in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in Cake, colour, Home Made, Practice | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thumbprint Cookies

Hello Everyone!

I have just got back from a few days in the Lake District, (where I was part of a training team delivering training on Assessment*), and have arrived back to find that I have no hot water or heating, brrr!  So, attempting to rise above it, I’ve been in the kitchen making cookies to say a big, ‘thank you,’ to my lovely neighbour who has been looking after my post whilst I’ve been away.

2014-11-14 08.29.01The recipe comes from the Food Network and if you want to make your own you can find it HERE.

I am off now to deal with my ‘first world problem’ thanks for dropping by!

* Assessment is part of the process by which our church strives to discern, with candidates, their sense of call to mininstry.

Posted in Coconut, Cookies, Home Made, Recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dressing for the Bazaar

Hi There!

Just popping in with a quick update on the smaller Christmas Cakes, (from a couple of posts ago).  The Church Bazaar is swiftly approaching – it’s this Saturday, gulp!  So I realised I had to get on and finish the cakes so’s they can dry in time.  I must admit that they didn’t turn out as well as I hoped they would, but here they are:

Bazaar Cakes 1

and here’s another view showing slightly more top:

Bazaar Cakes 2and yet another now they’re all dressed up and ready to go…packaged cakes

Post script:  the Bazaar went really well, despite the rain.  We had a large turn out and the above cakes sold pretty quickly.

Posted in Cake, Christmas, fondant | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Coconut Cake

Hello Again!

If you’ve seen the previous post, you will know that I have been busy baking Christmas Cakes.  Today though, I thought I’d make a cake for my lovely Father-in-Law.  Now, he’s quite particular when it comes to cake and as he doesn’t like coffee cake, he didn’t get a slice of the last one I made for their household, however he does like coconut, so here’s hoping.

coconut cake 1

 

 

 

The recipe comes from the BBC Good Food website and you can find the recipe here.

My version doesn’t have lime, I used oranges instead, (as that’s what I already had in the house), but I’ve tasted the frosting and I think it works well.

Thanks for stopping by!

Posted in Cake, Coconut, Family | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

And so it begins…..

Hello All!

We’re at the end of October and today I have seen several small people dressed up in all their finery, charging about as Batman, various Princessess, a skeleton and a witch. Halloween is here and I dare say I will be called to the door for Trick or Treaters several times this evening.  I am not going to lament the commercialisation of yet another holiday, let’s just say it’s not my kind of thing.  So, instead, I’ve been trying to get ahead with plans for Christmas – yes, I said it, Christmas!

My favourite part of Christmas is actually the time I spend working.  For me, church is my favourite place to be and to celebrate.  This means, of course that Christmas is a busy time so I am trying to prepare stuff in advance.  Today I are been mostly putting the marzipan on some of the Christmas Cakes I’ve made.  The three bigger ones are earmarked for family members and the small ones are to sell at the Church Bazaar next week.  I’ll let you know what the finished cakes look like, but here’s the story so far:

christmas cake 1Naked cakes waiting for their underwear and….

Marzipanned CakesThe cakes in their undies.  I bought the marzipan from different shops, hence the different colours.  Sorry the photos aren’t better, but my kitchen, lovely as it is, doesn’t have much light in the afternoon, but you get the picture.

Blessings all!  And go easy on the sweet stuff if you’re out and about tonight.

Posted in Cake, Christmas | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment