Sunday, 29 June 2014

Peanut Butter, Chocolate & Apricot Brioche

Last night, my friends Gail, Kitty & I did a seven mile walk, at Midnight to raise money for St Catherine's Hospice. Needless to say afterwards we were very tired and went straight to bed after. This morning, I woke up to a lovely family brunch with coffee and this brioche my Dad made for me. 

Ingredients for the brioche
250g white bread flour
5g salt
30g caster sugar
7g yeast
150g egg (about 3)
20ml milk
125g unsalted butter
For the filling
5 tbsp smooth peanut butter
4 tbsp apricot jam
100g milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
1. Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into the bowl of a freestanding mixer and mix together. Beat the eggs with the milk, add to the bowl. Knead for 15 minutes, until the dough becomes stretchy. 
2. Slowly add the butter piece by piece, mixing still on medium. This should take about 5 minutes. When done, allow the mixer to continue for another 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth, silky and very strechy. Place the dough on a greased baking tray, wrap tightly in cling film and put in the fridge overnight.
3. The next day, flour the worktop and roll out the dough into a rectangle about 30x35cm. Spread with peanut butter then dollop the jam over fairly evenly. Sprinkle over the chopped chocolate and then roll into a tight spiral. Set this, seam side down, onto a baking tray and squeeze the ends off to make a smooth end. Allow to rise for 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 180 fan. Glaze with the egg yolk and bake for 20-25 minutes. If after 15 minutes it looks dark, cover with tin foil for the remaining time. Allow to cool completely before serving.

It was the perfect treat after a late night and a long walk! X Bo

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Squares!

Today I baked my version of The Baker Chick's Raspberry Swirled Lemon Cheesecake bars! You can find her original recipe here: http://www.the-baker-chick.com/2014/02/raspberry-swirled-lemon-cheesecake-bars/ 

Ingredients for the base

165g crushed digestive biscuits
100g very soft butter
For the filling
450g cream cheese
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
zest of a lemon
4 tbsp milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
120g raspberries
30g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 160 fan. Line an 8x8inch tray with baking paper.
2. Mix the digestives and butter together. Pour into the prepared tin and press down. Bake for 10-15 minutes until set around the edge.
3. Meanwhile, beat the sugar and cream cheese together. Add the lemon juice, zest, milk, eggs and vanilla. Spread over the baked base.
4. Blend the raspberries and press through a sieve. Stir in the sugar. 
5. Drizzle the raspberry mix over the filling and use a skewer to swirl or feather. 
6. Bake for 30 minutes until set with a slight jiggle. Cool on a wire rack and chill until cold before serving. 

This is a really sharp, sweet and summery treat! X Bo


As you may have seen, I have been posting smoothie recipes lately. I recently borrowed Dale Pinnock's cook book, 'The Medicinal Chef' from my local library and he has some excellent smoothie recipes. This one has a very special ingredient... CACAO! 

Cacao is the botanical name for the nut from which chocolate is made. It is one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. In it's raw, unprocessed form it has over 1500 beneficial compounds. Once processed into ordinary cocoa powder, only FIVE remain, the main one being caffeine! 

Cacao is very high in mineral magnesium which encourages relaxation. It has two powerful compounds that can effect mind and mood and it is a stimulant but has less of a "burn out" effect than caffeine. 

250ml milk 
1 banana
2 tablespoons cacao (or cocoa powder if you can't find cacao!)
2 teaspoons honey

1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and process to make a thick, chocolaty smoothie and enjoy! 

This recipe is great for your joints and bones, it helps with anxiety and anyone with high blood pressure. It also tastes incredible! X Bo

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Strawberry Shortbread Stacks

I saw a picture of this recipe on John Whaite's Twitter page and couldn't wait to make it! The strawberries I used were hand picked by my family in the local strawberry field!

Ingredients for shortbread

55g caster sugar
125g salted butter
180g plain flour
For the filling
500g tub mascarpone cheese
150g icing sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
50ml cherry brandy
Punnet of strawberries
Icing sugar to dust

1.To make the shortbread place the ingredients into a food processor fitted with blade and blitz together until a smooth dough forms. Flatten into a disc and wrap in cling and refrigerate for a good 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180c fan. When the dough is chilled roll it out on a well floured worktop and cut into disks (about 16) using the circle cookie cutter. Place these on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until gently browned. Allow to cool on the baking sheet to crisp.
3. For the filling, gently beat together the ingredients until smooth but thick.
4. Remove the stalks from the strawberries and slice in half. Pipe a small blob of the filling onto one disk of shortbread and arrange the strawberries next to each other around the edge of the disk so that their cut edges face outwards. Pipe more filling into the middle of the strawberries to hold them in place then top with another disk of shortbread. Repeat until all discs are used.

Ta da! They were surprisingly easy to assemble and totally delicious! X Bo

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Honey and Peach cake

Last night, I had a few old friends over & made them dinner. All recipes were from the Sainsbury's magazine, including this one! 

Ingredients for cake
200g soft unsalted butter
175g light muscavado sugar
150g honey
275g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
4 large eggs
100g creme fraiche 
For the icing
200g full fat cream cheese
100g creme fraiche 
50g soft unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp honey
2 peaches

1. Preheat the oven to 180 fan. Lightly butter and line a 20cmx30cm tin. In a large bowl, mix all the cake ingredients together. 
2. Bake for 25 minutes, cover with foil for the final 15, so 40 minutes total. Cool in the tin and then turn it out on to a wire rack. 
3. For the icing, whisk all the ingredients together until light and fluffy. Spread over the cake. Drizzle with honey and roasted peaches. 

It was the perfect pudding for a summer evening! X Bo

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Celebration Fruit Tart!

To celebrate my blog reaching 6000 views, I decided to create a very special recipe: Celebration Fruit Tart! It's perfect for any special summer event and totally delicious!

Ingredients for pastry
250g plain flour

125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
75g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
a few drops of water
For filling
250g mascarpone 
50g icing sugar
For decoration
23 raspberries
6 strawberries
15 grapes
12 chunks of mango
1 tbsp apricot jam

1. Place the flour and butter in a large bowl. Rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix together. Add the egg yolks and mix again, add a little water if necessary to bring the dough together. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. 
2. Take the pastry out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Roll out between two pieces of greaseproof paper. Transfer to the tart tin. Chill for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 170 (fan.) Line the tin with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for another 10 minutes until crisp and golden. 
4. To make the filling, mix the mascarpone with the icing sugar and chill until you need it.
5. Once the pastry is completely cool, pour the mascarpone filling in. Smooth over with a spatula. 
6. Wash and slice the fruit. Arrange them over the filling in either a random pattern or in concentric cirlces. 
7. Warm the apricot jam with a splash of water in a saucepan. Sieve and use to glaze the fruit. Chill for 15 minutes before serving. 

I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has stumbled upon, purposefully searched for and lovingly favourited my blog! I am very grateful and I can't wait to create more recipes! Here's to the next 6000 views! X Bo 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Summer Smoothie!

This morning, quite by chance, I created a wonderful smoothie! I was really just trying to use up some fruit that was about to over and the combination worked really well. This makes for one generous serving or two small ones.

1 banana
1 ripe peach
a handful of strawberries
1 glass of apple juice

1. Prepare all the fruit, washing, peeling, etc.
2. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz for 30 seconds.
3. Serve chilled!

Didn't think to take a proper photo of this, just this silly one! 
Soon I will do a masterpost of all my smoothie recipes. I made a super yummy, very healthy green smoothie (very trendy!) which I will post the recipe for soon, promise! X Bo

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Mini Vanilla & Strawberry Layer Cakes!

I saw this recipe on Audra Fullerton's blog, here's a link! http://www.the-baker-chick.com/2014/04/mini-vanilla-bean-strawberry-layer-cakes/ 
Audra's recipe gives quantities for 5 cakes and enough frosting for 2, in American measurements. 
Here, I'm listing the quantities for 6 cakes, all frosted, in English measurements!
I made these for a girls night. I made 6, one each for all of us. I made them with a 4inch cutter and they were MASSIVE! A smaller cutter might be better... 
Audra used slices of strawberries in her cakes, but I used jam instead! 

Ingredients for cakes
360g caster sugar

216g soft butter
4 eggs
3 1/2 tsp vanilla paste/extract
345g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
For frosting
500g butter
550g icing sugar
3 tsp vanilla paste/extract
3 splashes of milk
4 strawberries
12 tsp strawberry jam
1. Preheat the oven to 175. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Cream the caster sugar and butter together. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Using an electric mixer, beat on a high speed for 3 minutes until fluffy and pale. Add the vanilla paste and mix in.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add one third of the flour mix to the creamed mix, then half the mix, another third of flour, the rest of the mix and the last third of flour, mixing well with each addition. 
4. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
5. While the cake is baking, make the frosting! Whip the butter on a high speed until fluffy. Add the icing sugar, vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth and the right consistency. 
6. Once the cakes are totally cool, use a cutter to stamp out rounds. Spread each layer with the frosting and jam. Add another layer on top and repeat. Cover with a thin layer of the frosting and freeze for half an hour to set a little. Cover with a thicker layer of frosting. Top with a slice of strawberry. 

I cut my slices of strawberry into the shape of a heart because I love whimsy! Enjoy! X Bo