I recently enjoyed a morning baking Scones with an American friend, Angela => convincing her that they truly are easy to make (or at least I think so!). The secret is really cold butter, chaffing the dough (fold in half, turn 90 degrees and repeat) and finally – to avoid overworking the dough… the less you touch it, the better!
This is a recipe is from Paul Hollywood’s collection and is a truly tried & tested recipe that never flops!
We adapted the recipe by leaving half the dough as is and adding cheese & chopped fresh chives to the other half – a sweet & savoury collection!
500g strong white bread flour
80g softened butter
80g caster sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
- Place 450g of the flour in a bowl and rub in butter (with your fingers) until you get to a crumb consistency
- Add sugar, eggs and baking powder and mix with a wooden spoon
- Add half the milk and continue to mix
- Add the rest of the milk bit by bit to make a wet dough (and you don’t need to use all the milk if you think you have achieved the correct consistency)
- Use the 50g remaining flour on the table top (half on the table top and leave the rest for the dough)
- Place dough on the floured counter top and cover with remaining flour
- Then chaff the dough (fold dough in half, then turn 90 degree’s and repeat) until the flour is incorporated into dough and consistency is smooth
- roll dough out with a rolling-pin to 2.5cm and using a cookie cutter (or a glass dipped in flour), cut out your pieces
- Bake at 200C (fan or 220C without fan) for 13minutes
A few weeks (if not months ago), I was completely inspired by an instagram post that I saw of Finla Noronha (another Belgian based food blogger with the blog “My Kitchen Treasures” which isn’t active in the blogasphere anymore – but I do recommend following her on instagram for drool-worthy food images)…
I found the recipe via google using *self raising* in my search as I have run out of normal cake flour (seriously???) on a recipe website called Naïve Cook Cooks => recipe here , however I omitted the orange butter!
It was super easy to make but my only negative comment is that by day 3 it was a bit like a stale scone… but nothing that 10 seconds in the microwave couldn’t fix 🙂
Orange Chocolate Chip loaf
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup yoghurt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Tablespoon orange rind
3 cups self raising flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
- Mix together milk, yoghurt, sugar, eggs, orange juice & zest
- Add flour & mix well
- fold in chocolate chips
- Pour into a greased loaf tin
- Bake for 40-45min at 190C
I have never been a huge Christmas cake or pudding fan, until recently. Or should I rather say, until I tasted the Christmas pudding Anne (my friend, Sarah’s mum) made! And now I am a convert!
Every year I think I will finally try my hand at making my own … or even my own fruit mince pies… but I never get around to doing it in time for Christmas.
But when I saw this Easy Fruit Loaf recipe in the Snowflake Book of Baking – I thought I could manage this and it didn’t have to be related to the festive season 🙂
It really is easy to make… and delicious. I would suggest checking it after an hour as I left mine in a little bit too long, making the outside a bit crunchy while the inside still remained deliciously moist and chewy with all that fruit (probably also due to the large amount of butter in it… hee hee). This is a definite make again (even HIM approved)
Easy Fruit Loaf
310g mixed fruit cake mix
1 egg, beaten
350g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place sugar, milk, butter & fruit mix in a saucepan.
- Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2-3minutes
- Remove from heat and leave to cool
- Add beaten egg to mixture
- Sift in dry ingredients
- Mix well
- Pour into greased loaf tin
- Bake at 160C for 60-70min
We hosted some friends for a little brunch in our new place at the beginning of January… when our apartment was still not 100% fully renovated (missing doors on kitchen cabinets & appliances; an empty living area as the couch will only be delivered tomorrow; a toilet in one bathroom and no basin, a basin in one bathroom with no toilet; half painted door frames… etc etc…)
But the oven works … as seen with the banana yoghurt loaf that I baked => so I decided to also try my hand at this herby scone bread recipe from the *Recipes from a Royal Kitchen* – a cookbook gift from my mommabear long time ago!
The secret with any scone mixture is not to work it too much, otherwise you don’t get a good rise. And normally I make mini individual scones, so I was eager to try leaving it as “one whole bread”
The Result? It had a crumbly scone texture but very tasty … and would be taken to the next level with the addition of some strong cheese in the mixture! Would I make it again. Most Probably.
Herby Scone Bread
2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon caster sugar
4 teaspoons dried herbs (or 1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs)
50g butter (melted)
1/2 cup milk
1 beaten egg with 1 Tablespoon milk for glazing
- Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb & salt
- Add caster sugar, herbs & melted butter
- Add milk & mix lightly to form a soft, sticky dough
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
- press into a round shape approx. 3cm thick
- Place on a greased baking tray and brush with egg/milk mixture
- Mark into 8 wedges using a knife to cut lightly into the dough
- Bake at 180C for 20min
2016 was a crazy busy year (you can read our overview here) and 2017 has started off with a whole lot of *new-ness*… New apartment, newly fitted kitchen (still waiting for the scratched counter top to be replaced and the subway tiles to go up between the counters as a backsplash) and a new car!!
But obviously the most important in terms of this blog is the new kitchen… and a new oven (brand spanking new!!) which obviously needed to be tested. So we baked a Banana Yoghurt Loaf out of the *Recipes from the Royal Kitchen* cookbook by Heilie Pienaar (South African food stylist).
Easy to make and probably ranks up there with the best of the banana bread loaves that I have ever made! And still moist and delicious on day 3 if it lasts that long!
Would I make it again? YES
Banana Yoghurt Loaf
2.5 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
80g butter (room temperature)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain yoghurt
3 large bananas, peeled & mashed
- Sift flour, baking powder & salt
- Rub in butter with fingertips to make a fine crumb
- Beat eggs & sugar together
- Add yoghurt to wet mixture
- Add wet mixture to dry ingredients
- Fold in mashed bananas until combined
- Bake in a grease-proof lined loaf tin for 50min at 180C
How is it the middle of December already? Things have been super crazy busy in our household… because we bought an apartment, got the keys mid November and have had builders renovating it from top to bottom since then. They are supposed to finish up today … but I don’t think the kitchen is installed yet (horror of horrors…) and we move in next week Thursday… plus a few blimps on our health levels in the last month, has left this poor blog a bit unloved.
But I am back with a recipe for apricot & coconut squares… using up some of my Dr Oetker goodie box items before we move apartments.
While packing boxes and sorting through old paperwork, I found this recipe handwritten on a small piece of paper within a birthday card from my aunt Jules (something she must have written just before she passed away in 2014) saying that she thought that I would enjoy making it. I had obviously kept the birthday card and recipe with the good intention of making it – but never did and it must have gotten filed away and forgotten until now.
Christmas time has always been a special time to reflect on the year that has passed, remember the good things and try to put all the negative thoughts & memories into the forgiveness box. It is also a time to remember those that have passed away (either in the last year or in the years before), to shed a little tear, say a little prayer and make sure that they are not forgotten.
So Jules… this one is for you… your hospitality and love for the finer things in life will never be forgotten. Your excessive generosity, love and bigger than life personality make us smile and we try to only remember you for the good years and forget the sad memories.
I added a sachet of Dr Oetker Vanilla sugar to the biscuit/cookie mix and it really added a little something extra! I also used up all the homemade apricot jam that I had made a month or so ago. This is a definite try-again & keep kind of recipe… and super easy
Apricot and coconut Squares
180g butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon of Dr Oetker baking powder
1 sachet of Dr Oetker Vanilla sugar
1 jar of apricot jam (I used my own homemade version – as little or as much as you like)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
- Cream together butter & sugar
- Add egg and continue to mix
- Then add flour, vanilla sugar & baking powder & knead together
- Press into a shallow baking tray (1/4 inch thick)
- Cover with the apricot jam
- To make the topping, mix together all the ingredients & sprinkle on top of the jam
- Bake at 190C for 25min
In South Africa – these biscuits are well known as *Crunchies* but in the UK, most people would refer to them as *Oat Flapjacks*.
A crispy biscuit made of rolled oats & syrup… cut into squares and moreishly eaten with cups of tea.
(PS – the reason for the radio silence is because we were in South Africa for 2.5 weeks holiday for a friends wedding and family time, then we finalized the purchase of a new apartment and have just recently started the renovation works… along with our 13 month old monkey starting to walk… so busy busy busy!)
These biscuits are super easy to make and HIM gave them a thumbs up (which in his books is HUGE!)
The recipe comes from the Snowflake Book of Baking which Mommabear gifted to me for Easter in 2001… and I am still slowly working my way through baking every item in it! (Subsequently, I hear that the book has been out of print which is quite sad considering how popular it is!)
Crunchies (Oat Flapjacks)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
15ml golden syrup
160g rolled oats
210g caster sugar
80g desiccated coconut
- melt butter and add bicarb of soda & golden syrup
- Mix dry ingredients together & combine with melted mixture
- press into a 20x24cm greased baking tin
- Bake for 40-45min at 160C
- Removed from oven, cut into squares while still warm and leave to cool
- Store in an airtight container (if they last that long)
I absolutely love weekends… who doesn’t??
And I have found that Monkey (who turns 1 years old on Wednesday) is starting to engage in more and more solo play… which gives me back my hands and a little bit more time to get back into the kitchen to cook up a few things!
This past weekend, I managed to put together a roasted pumpkin soup, a big pot of chilli con carne AND this lovely corn bread (aka *Mealie Bread* as my South African friends would call it)
I had a tin of KOO cream-style sweetcorn in my store cupboard and was eager to find another use for it (rather then my bog-standard sweetcorn fritters go to recipe) and lo-and-behold… I found this recipe on the YOU magazine website
I adapted it by adding a cup of grated cheddar cheese and a full teaspoon of paprika… and next time, I think a few chopped chillies would also give it an extra zing! VERY tasty and still good on day 2 (when there was very little left anyway :))
1 tin cream-style sweetcorn
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
60ml warm milk
30g butter, melted (and another 30g for brushing after baking)
350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup grated cheese
- Mix all wet ingredient together in a large bowl
- Fold in flour, cheese & paprika to form a wet dough
- Place into a greased loaf tin
- Bake for 45min at 170C
- Brush top of bread with 30g melted butter to keep it soft & moist
Our latest fruit and vegetable delivery was a bit disappointing with all the fruit at the peak of ripeness on the day of their arrival. This meant that we had to think (aka eat) quickly before items were beyond saving.
The banana’s however were well-ripe on day 3, and with 4 left on the bunch (after both of us eating one each day prior to that) – I knew that it was time to make this recipe!
The BBC Good Food Magazine (May 2016 issue) had a recipe for “sticky upside-down banana cake”. I made a few changes by omitting the ground ginger and using buttermilk instead of soured cream in the cake mix and all in all, it turned out pretty well. HIM happily devoured a few slices and said it reminded him a Portuguese Honey cake.
This is a DEFINITE make again kind of cake… something that I was able to whip up relatively quickly with a 10month old sitting on the floor next to me playing with plastic containers… and I had it in the oven before boredom rolled in for her!
Banana Upside down cinnamon cake
150g muscovado sugar
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
300g caster sugar
120g butter, softened
3 large eggs
- Place butter (80g) & sugar into a saucepan over a medium heat until melted & combined
- Pour into greased cake tin
- Cut bananas in half and arrange on top of the caramel
- To make batter, beat together sugar and softened butter, adding eggs one at a time
- Then add flour, baking powder, cinnamon & buttermilk and continue to mix/whisk until smooth & evenly combined
- Pour batter over bananas
- Bake for 50-60min at 180C
Just before I was knocked down with a 2nd bout of tonsillitis (don’t even ask – but I was seriously not a happy camper) – I managed to whip up a batch of these delicious white chocolate chip cookies!
Firstly – I found the recipe in the Olive magazine (July issue) – but theirs called for caramelizing the white chocolate. Now, anyone with a mobile 9month old is not going to be working with hot chocolate for an hour while their Monkey is crawling around their feet … right? So I didn’t do this – but followed the rest of the recipe and they turned out great.
My only negative (and my own fault for not caramelizing the white chocolate) is the cookies looked a bit bland and colourless (even if they tasted great!)
Would I make it again? Yes – the recipe is easy and quick – but next time I would use milk chocolate chips OR colourful sprinkles – maybe nuts & cranberries… Hmmm! The opportunities are endless!
White chocolate chip cookies
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
150g butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon milk
220g self-raising flour
- Beat butter & sugar until light & creamy
- Beat in egg
- Add vanilla extract & milk
- Mix the flour in
- Add chocolate chips & mix in
- Line & grease a baking tray (or 3)
- Place a teaspoon ball of dough on the tray (evenly spaced). Don’t worry about flattening out, as they will do this while baking
- Bake for 10min at 190C
- Rest for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool