Showing posts with label Barefoot baking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barefoot baking. Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

We love Lamingtons

One of my all time favourite treats as a little girl was tea and cake with the grown-ups. And when it came to lamingtons, this was an extra special occasion. A lamington is a sponge cake square first coated in chocolate and then dessicated coconut - hugely popular in South Africa and Australia.

You can either bake your own vanilla cake or buy a ready made one (if you buy a ready made cake, skip to the Dipping Sauce step). I use the cake recipe below which is extremely light and airy.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (a little lower in a fan oven).

Prepare a square cake tin (butter and line the tin with baking paper). Note: The cake can be difficult to remove because it is so soft, so make sure you let it cool completely before removing from the tin!

4 eggs
pinch of slt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 heaped cup sugar
57g butter
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sifted plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

Beat the eggs with the salt, vanilla essence and sugar. Beat extremely well - about twice as long as you think  you need to, until the mixture is practically white.

Melt the butter in the milk. While the butter is melting, add the flour and baking powder to the egg mixture. Fold in very lightly and do not over mix.

Next, pour in the melted butter and milk mixture. Blend only just enough to mix everything together, then pour into tin.

Move quickly at this stage and get the cake into the oven as quickly as possible while the mixture is still warm.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely and do not remove while still hot - the cake will break (I can vouch for this...)!

Once cool, cut cake into squares.

Dipping Sauce:
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon butter

Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Dip cake blocks to coat with sauce and then roll in coconut.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

What to eat tonight - Pasta alla Norma

"Life is too short, and I'm Italian. I'd much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0."
Sophia Bush

And I agree.

Since watching the entire box set of the Sopranos I have been completely obsessed with Italian food. To be honest, I am sure it actually started way before that, but the Sopranos definitely revived it for me. I remember sitting on the kitchen counter as a little girl, with my dad checking whether spaghetti was cooked by throwing it up onto the ceiling - if it was cooked - it would stick. I am not sure if this really worked, but hey, it was fun at the time.

Tonight I am cooking Jamie Oliver's Pasta alla Norma. It easy and SO full of flavour - perfect for a midweek meal. First things first, pour yourself a glass of cold white wine and get cooking Italiano style.

Buon appetito

Pasta alla Norma 

Pasta alla Norma - photo courtesy of Jamie Oliver - Jamie's Italy
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 large aubergines
extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
optional: 1 dried red chilli, crumbled
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
a large bunch of fresh basil stalks finely sliced keep the leaves
1 teaspoon good herb or white wine vinegar
2 x 400g tins of good quality chopped plum tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
455g dried spaghetti
150g salted ricotta, pecorino or parmesan cheese grated
  1. Cut your aubergines in half lengthways and the in half again so they are finger sized pieces. If the aubergines have fluffy centres remove them and chuck away
  2. Get a large non stick pan and fry the aubergine in oil and dried oregano - don't use too much oil - just enough to make sure the aubergine is lightly coated and is able to brown
  3. Once cooked add the chilli and turn it down to medium heat and add a little oil, the garlic and basil stalks 
  4.  Stir so everything gets cooked evenly, then add a swig of herb vinegar and the tins of tomato
  5. Simmer for 10-15 minutes then TASTE and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Tear up half the basil add to the sauce and toss around
  6. Get your spaghetti in a pan of boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. 
  7. When it's al dente, drain it in a colander and reserve a little of the cooking water 
  8. Add it to the Norma sauce with a little of the reserved cooking water, toss together back on the heat
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking 
  10. Sprinkle with remaining basil leaves, grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. 
Let us know how you get on..

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Silent Sunday - Today we are..

Watching Wimbledon (Go Fed)!
Eating strawberries (and cream - tsk tsk but so tasty)
Making (and drinking) Strawberry Champagne cocktails (thanks Jamie Oliver)
Enjoying the smell and look of freshly cut roses (is there anything better)
Cooking a roast chicken (the husband's fave)
Enjoying the intermittent bursts of real sunshine (YAY - no wellies today)
Wearing yellow (see above ;)

What are you doing and who are you supporting? We’re a hung jury here! One Murray and one die-hard Fed.

Happy Sunday, we’ll see you in the week!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Chocolate & Guinness Cake

Ok, I know I should be posting a strawberry something or rather as we're all a flutter with the Wimbledon bug (don't worry that is still to come)... but I just couldn't resist posting this dark Chocolate and Guinness Cake delicious-ness from Nigella Lawson.

In the words of the Domestic Goddess herself, "This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness".

It really is easy as pie, and coming from me, the one side of the PT team who is still a novice in the baking stakes, that's saying something. This cake is a real gem to have up your sleeve and all who taste - will love!

Nigella Lawson's Chocolate and Guinness Cake (Feast 2004)

Makes: around 12 slices - depending on how big you like your slices ;)
Preparation Time: 10-15 mins
Cooking Time: 45 mins to an hour

For the Cake
  • 250ml can of Guinness 
  • 250g unsalted butter 
  • 75g cocoa 
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 x 142 pot sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp real vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour 
  • 2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the Topping
  • 300g Philadelphia cream cheese 
  • 150g icing sugar 
  • 125ml double or whipping cream 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/gas mark 4 and line a 23cm spring foam tin.
  2. Pour the guinness into a saucepan, add the butter and heat, until melted, when you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. 
  3. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then add to the pan, whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake for 45 mins to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack. 
  5. Whip the cream cheese, until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar, then beat together. Add the cream and beat again. Ice the top of the cake so it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint. 
And enjoy! 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Perfect Present - The foodie edition

Some people are just great at sourcing the perfect present - weddings, birthdays and hen parties - they have it in the bag!

For others – not so much. I have been known to get into quite a panic scouring the high street to find something original, different and lovely. We’ve all had that moment of buying something that sits on a shelf, never gets used, worn or loved… so, needless to say, I am always on the search for the perfect present.

Today, I opened the post box to reveal the most divine, unique and PERFECT (for a dedicated foodie like me), wedding present.

To give someone special their own olive tree visit the Nudo website!

We are now the proud adoptive parents (for the next 12 months anyway) of our very own Olive Tree! Our tree, Leccino (after his olive variety), lives in a grove called Il Professore on the Eastern Coast of Central Italy.  Not too shabby! I think a visit is a must – wink wink hubby!

The upside of this pressie is that it benefits us food lovers and supports the smallscale artisanal farmers who produce the olive oil.

The cherry (or should I say olive) on top is that in exchange for being his adoptive parents, we get two deliveries of olive oil from our little Leccino. In spring, we will get extra virgin olive oil and in autumn, we will get three tins in a range of flavours from lemon to chilli.

Bring on the alfresco evenings, crispy ciabatta and Nudo olive oil from our little Leccino! Buon appetite!

Grazie Jess and Ryan for the perfect present! 

Keep an eye out for our top 10 favourite foodie gifts coming soon!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Good treats come to those who wait...

Tonight I bring you another recipe from my lovely mum. 

This is a true labour of love - it took me a good few hours to make these babies on Saturday. The actual recipe is a breeze and you can mix up the dough and make the icing in half an hour - it's the rolling of the dough into 170 (yes, 170!) little balls that is time consuming.

But believe me when I tell you that these melt-in-the-mouth biscuits are worth the effort. If you've got a bit of time on your hands (and have a few episodes of Smash to catch up on), then do yourself a favour and get rolling!

I think these are a great idea for gifts and they would make sweet party favours (if you can possibly allow yourself to share, of course!).

Custard Biscuits

340g (375ml) butter
100g (200ml) icing sugar, sifted
5ml vanilla essence
325g (625 ml) cake flour
175g (350ml) custard powder
20ml baking powder
Pinch salt

Butter icing:
250g icing sugar
125g butter
5ml vanilla essence

Biscuits method:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Cream the butter and icing sugar together.
  2. Add the vanilla essence and mix well. Sieve dry ingredients together.
  3. Mix in with the butter and sugar mixture and knead to a smooth dough. Shape dough into even size round balls (slightly bigger than a big pea). 
  4. Place on a greased baking sheet and press down slightly with a fork. Leave enough space between dough balls for biscuits to spread and rise.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until straw-coloured and crisp. 
  6. Remove from oven and leave to cool on baking sheet.
Butter icing method: 
  1. Beat the icing sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. The longer you beat, the lighter and fluffier the icing will become.
Sandwich biscuits with butter icing and enjoy. 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Scrumptious Sunday

The delicious smell of baking always reminds me of lazy Sunday afternoons at home. My mum is an incredible baker - puddings, cakes, biscuits, tarts - you name it, she can bake it! For as long as I can remember, she has spoilt the family with yummy treats and I loved nothing more than helping her in the kitchen.

When I was 10 years old I entered a baking competition. I made an orange cake with orange icing (original, I know); but more surprisingly, I won! The prize was a bag full of baking goodies and R100 in cash (about £10 in those days) - how cool was I? I was ridiculously pleased with myself and so the baking bug had bitten...

Fast forward a few years and I still get great enjoyment out of baking. Luckily my husband has a sweet tooth and is only too happy to taste-test my efforts!

On Sunday I decided to try the Hummingbird Carrot Cake (with the addition of pineapple) and I think it's possibly one of the tastiest cakes I've eaten!

Cake kisses,
Nicky x

Carrot cake ingredients:

300g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cinnamon (plus extra to decorate)
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
200g carrots (grated)
100g pineapple chunks (crushed) - the recipe doesn't include this but i
100g chopped walnuts (plus extra whole to decorate)

Cream cheese icing ingredients:

400g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter (at room temp)
200g cream cheese, cold

Cake method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (325ºF).
  2. Mix the sugar, eggs and oil together with a hand mixer.
  3. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract.
  4. Stir in the walnuts, pineapple chunks and grated carrots by hand until they are properly mixed.
  5. Pour the mixture into three greased and lined tins and smooth with a spoon (make sure you line the tins as the cake tends to stick). Bake in the pre-heated oven (170ºC) for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave to cool slightly in the tins before turning onto a wire rack. 
* I only have two tins so washed and re-used one of the tins once the first batch was done.

Cream Cheese icing method:
  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter with a hand mixer. Add the cream cheese (in one go) and beat until completely incorporated.
  2. Continue beating on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Take care not to over beat as it can become runny quite quickly.
Assembling the cake:

When the cakes are cool, place one on a cake stand and spread about a quarter of the icing over it. Repeat with the other two layers. Spread the remaining icing over the sides. Decorate with chopped walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.