05-12-11 Baking

Lavender and Lovage

Traditional Victorian Christmas Pudding

Lavender and LovageThis recipe is based on a 100-year-old recipe I found written on a scrap of paper in an old cookery book, a real Dickensian style steamed pud. I changed some of the ingredients, to suit our personal taste, and cut the quantities back considerably – the original recipe made about 8 puddings!. It’s a wonderful rich and fruity pud, and is still light enough for those who dislike the heavy “canon ball” style puddings. The lack of flour in this makes a lighter crumb, and there is no bitter after taste that you get in some commercially prepared Christmas puddings. Makes two 2 pint puddings, each serving 6 to 8 people.

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Cheetahs In My Shoes

Easy Christmas Cake

Cheetahs In My ShoesI’ve been baking my Christmas cakes this week. Some will say I’ve left it late – I say, I’ve got time to do it now so let the mixing commence.

I make a really easy cake and I’ve tweaked the recipe as time goes on. So here we go – you’ll need:
250g of butter (softened)

250g of sugar (caster, light muscavado, dark muscavado if you like a treacley cake)

250g plain flour

4 eggs

heaped teaspoon mixed spice

500g dried mixed fruit (we use the luxury mixed fruit bags from Tesco)

100g glace cherries (but this house loves cherries, so I put 200g in)

You can also add some chopped dried apricots (probably about a dozen of them) or other dried fruit if that takes your fancy. I also add some grated root ginger.

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Iced Buns: Technical Challenge One

lauralovescakesWell, as promised here is my first attempt at a technical challenge from the Great British Bake Off. I followed the exact recipe from the accompanying series cookbook and was rather pleased that they actually turned out quite well…which I was not expecting…obviously I should have more faith!!

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A Mummy Too

Easy-cheaty five minute mince pies

A Mummy TooHere’s a super easy, quite cheaty recipe that makes 12-18 mince pies in about five minutes, plus cooking time. It’s also easy enough to let the little ones loose on if you’ve got a bit more time. Proper baking fans look away now…

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Logically Crazy


Logically CrazyTwo weeks ago, I was driving down to see my friend M when I pull my car over for a pit stop. When trying to leave, I discover that I can’t shift out of neutral.

After liberal amounts of pleading with my car to reconsider being completely undriveable, I give up and call M.

“Sooo, I’m in a tiny town off 99 that smells like manure, and my car doesn’t seem to work.”

“You need me to come get you?”

“Yeah, kind of looking in that direction.”

When I finally get towed to the only mechanic in town that works on transmissions, I find they don’t have a night key drop. I’m forced to leave to leave the car and take the keys. M ends up picking me up and driving me the hour to the house, then back again in the morning to bring back my keys.

Then, I find out that my transmission is shot and needs to be completely worked over. The car won’t be ready until Wednesday: I need to be home Sunday. M drives me the three hours home.

After all that, the very least I could do for him was bake cookies.

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Satisfy My Sweet Tooth

Vegan Gluten-free Brownies

Satisfy My Sweet Tooth

I was skeptical. I mean I am a person who buys sugars, flour and butter at Costco so that I don’t run out so frequently. And I am fortunate enough not to have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. So why am I baking vegan gluten-free anything? Well, even though I don’t need to pay attention to it for health reasons I can’t help but notice the increase in the amount of products that are labeled “vegan” or “gluten-free”. I think it is great that people who do suffer from digestive problems or prefer not to eat animal products have so many more options to choose from these days. I have been curious about the ingredients and results of vegan and/or gluten-free baking and so when I inherited all of the special ingredients necessary for this type of baking, I was very anxious to give it a whirl.
These were possibly the most light and moist brownies I have ever made! They did not taste over-chocolatey, but were just sweet enough to satisfy me.

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