Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Etsy List: Get your bake on!

Monday, August 18th, 2014

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'Get your bake on!' Etsy List by H is for HomeAnother year, another series of Great British Bake Off. We never get fed up of following it – we’re hooked! We’ve already got a favourite baker and decided on the one we think will win.

Mel & Sue are a great double act and there’s such a chemistry between Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

We think the people who enter the competition are very brave. The heat, the pressure and the high standards and withering looks of the judges – no thank you!

Get your bake on!
Curated by H is for Home

Canned blackcurrants

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

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Colander of blackcurrants

I’ve preserved all our other allotment and foraged fruit in one way or another – raspberry jelly, redcurrant relish, rose hip syrup. I thought this time I’d give canned blackcurrants a go. Home canning (in glass jars that is!) is much more popular in the US than it is here in the UK, but I’ve always fancied giving it a go.

Canning, according to Wikipedia, “Is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a shelf life typically ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances it can be much longer.”

Some websites I’ve visited say you need special equipment; a big stove-top canner – much like a pressure cooker – for starters. A jar rack, jar lifter, funnel… In practice, the only foodstuffs that need to be canned in a high pressure canner are meat, seafood, dairy and most vegetables (sweet tasting ones such as carrots, beetroot, sweetcorn, peas and beans). Fruit (which is what I’ll mainly be canning) and acidic vegetables can be done using the water bath method in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. It’s not absolutely necessary for them to reach the 116-130ºC temperature necessary for the first group of foods.

I used utensils I already had to hand. Aforementioned heavy bottomed pan. A jam thermometer to be perfectly sure the water bath got to the optimum temperature. A funnel to make sure the little berries didn’t bounce all over the floor and under the kitchen cabinets as I tried to pour them into the jars. A wire cooling rack to keep the jars from rattling against the bottom of the saucepan during boiling. A pair of tongs to lift the jars out of the hot water. Some vintage Mason-type jars with new rubber seals. It is important that jars are in perfect condition with no chips or ill-fitting lids. If they aren’t they won’t be air-tight and contents will spoil and may prove a health risk!

Here’s the method…

Canned blackcurrants

Canned blackcurrants

Ingredients

  • At least 500g freshly picked blackcurrants. Use only perfect fruit - no bruised, over-ripe berries need apply!
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  • For the sugar syrup
  • 1 part sugar to 2.5 parts water (e.g. 200g granulated sugar to 500ml water)

Instructions

  1. Sterilise the jars & lids - you can do this by putting them into a large saucepan and covering them with water and bringing it to the boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat and leave them in the hot water until you're ready to use them
  2. Top & tail and rinse the fruit well in a colander
  3. Decant the fruit into the sterilised jars (using a funnel if you have one). Leave a space of about 2.5cm/1inch from the rim of the jar
  4. Put your sugar and water into a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat
  5. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat
  6. Carefully pour the hot sugar syrup over the fruit - enough to completely cover the fruit but leaving a gap of 1.25cm/½inch to the rim of the jar
  7. Remove any air bubbles using a plastic or wooden knife (like the ones you get from a take-away)
  8. Screw the lids onto the jars firmly, but not too tightly
  9. Put a wire cooling rack into the base of a large heavy-bottomed saucepan (if you don't have one or the one you have doesn't fit - use a folded tea towel)
  10. Put the jars into the saucepan and fill the saucepan with enough hot water to completely cover the jars by at least 2.5cm/1inch. Make sure there's at least 5cm/2inches gap to the top of the saucepan; if there isn't you'll need a larger pan
  11. Put a lid on the saucepan
  12. Bring the water to a low, rolling boil. Once it gets to this point, boil at this level for a further 15 minutes
  13. Turn off the heat and carefully remove the jars using a jar lifter or metal tongs
  14. Put the jars on a thick tea towel or wire rack to cool. The lids on the jars should be concave and should not move when pressed down with your finger. If one of your jars has not formed a vacuum - just refrigerate and use it's contents within a week
  15. Label, date and store the jars in a cool, dry, dark place. The fruit will store for at least next year when you can do it all over again! :-)

Notes

This recipe will work for any kind of similar fruit - redcurrants, white currants, bilberries, blueberries etc.

http://hisforhomeblog.com/food/canned-blackcurrants/

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon refrigerator cookies

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

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stack of lemon refrigerator cookies

We needed a lemon last week for a gnocci dish. We didn’t have any in the house so I popped over to the supermarket quickly to get one. All they had were those string bags containing 4 lemons – they’d run out of the loose ones.

A week later, our fruit bowl still contained 3 lemons – just sitting there – what to do with them? I had a flick through some lemon recipes and saw one for lemon refrigerator cookies. The great thing about refrigerator cookies is that you can bake off just what you need. Say goodbye to stale teatime snacks!

If you fancy them again a few days later, just cut some more slices from the roll – fresh, warm cookies in 15 minutes flat!

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon refrigerator cookies

Yield: Make approximately 72 cookies

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon refrigerator cookies

Ingredients

  • 450g/1lb plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 225g/8oz butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 350g/12oz caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • finely grated rind of 2 lemons
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Instructions

  1. Sift the flour & baking powder into a large bowl
  2. Add the butter and rub it with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
  3. Stir the sugar and lemon zest into the mixture, add the eggs and combine to form a soft dough
  4. Turn the mixture out on to a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough in half
  5. Shape each piece of dough into a log shape about 3cm/1¼inches in diameter
  6. Wrap each log in baking paper and then in foil and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or until required (I put one of the logs in the freezer to use at a later date)
  7. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 5
  8. Grease a large baking sheet (or a few if you're making a big batch)
  9. Slice the dough into as many 8mm/⅜-inch slices as required
  10. Place the slices on the baking sheet, spaced well apart
  11. Return any remaining dough to the fridge for up to a week
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown
  13. Leave on the baking sheet to cool slightly for 2-3 minutes before transferring to cool completely
http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-lemon-refrigerator-cookies/

Cakes & Bakes: Spelt cereal loaf

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

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spelt cereal loaf

I must confess, I have a soft spot for a Warburton’s Toastie. I love that first, fresh crust slice with just a thin scraping of butter (only Lurpak will do!). A couple of soft white slices from a ‘bought that day’ loaf, spread with some crunchy peanut butter and half a sliced banana… divine!

This spelt cereal loaf – I borrowed a recipe from Country Bread by Linda Collister & Anthony Blake – is a much more healthy option than most loaves of bread you’d buy in the supermarket. Spelt flour has more protein and a little less calories than regular wheat flour. The added oats, bran, wheatgerm and sunflower seeds crank the nutritional value up to the max.

Justin enjoyed a few slices today with a bit of pate. I fancy a cheese & Branston pickle doorstop!

Cakes & Bakes: Spelt cereal loaf

Yield: makes 1 medium loaf

Cakes & Bakes: Spelt cereal loaf

Ingredients

  • 250g white bread flour
  • 250g spelt flour
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 75g malt flakes
  • 50g wheatgerm
  • 25g sunflower seeds
  • 15g sea salt
  • 15g fresh or 7g dried yeast
  • 400ml lukewarm water
  • 2tsp olive oil
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Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flours with the cereals, seeds and salt
  2. Make a well in the centre
  3. Put the yeast into a measuring jug and make into a smooth liquid with a little of the water and pour into the well in the flour
  4. Add the olive oil and remainder of the water
  5. Gradually work the dry mixture into the liquid to make a soft, slightly sticky dough - it should not stick to the bowl or your fingers, so add a little more water if necessary
  6. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead well for 10 minutes
  7. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or put the bowl into a large plastic bag and close tightly
  8. Leave to prove at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size - about 2 hours
  9. Knock back the risen dough with your knuckles to deflate it, then turn out onto a work surface
  10. Pat out into a rectangle the length of your banneton or greased tin before putting it into the container
  11. Cover and leave to rise again until almost double in size - 1-1½ hours
  12. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas mark 7
  13. Uncover the dough (if using a banneton, carefully tip the dough out on to a greased baking sheet) and bake for 35 minutes until it turns golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom of the loaf
  14. Cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour before slicing & serving
http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-spelt-cereal-loaf/

Cakes & Bakes: Nutty millionaire’s shortbread

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

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nutty millionaire's shortbread

This nutty millionaire’s shortbread tastes SO much better than any I’ve ever bought from a shop. I happened to have bags of whole almonds and hazelnuts in the larder, but it would be equally as good if you made it using pecans, Brazil nuts or walnuts. Cashew butter instead of peanut in the shortbread could be a good alternative to try too!

Cakes & Bakes: Nutty millionaire’s shortbread

Yield: makes 9 squares

Cakes & Bakes: Nutty millionaire’s shortbread

Ingredients

  • For the shortbread
  • 125g/4oz butter, softened
  • 2tbs peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
  • 75g/3oz caster sugar
  • 75g/3oz cornflour
  • 175g/6oz plain flour
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  • For the topping
  • 397g/14oz tin of sweetened condensed milk
  • 100g/3½oz mixed nuts (I used ½ & ½ hazelnuts and almonds)
  • 125g/4oz plain dark chocolate
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Instructions

  1. To make the caramel topping, put the unopened tin in a heavy-based saucepan and completely cover with water. Cover the saucepan with its lid and boil for about 1½ hours, topping up the water level if needed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350F/Gas mark 4, 10 minutes before baking.
  3. Line a 22cm/8inch square cake tin with parchment/greaseproof paper
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light
  5. Sift in the cornflour and plain flour and mix to form a smooth dough
  6. Using the back of a dessert spoon, press the mixture evenly into the lined cake tin and prick all over with a fork
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until just turning golden brown
  8. Put the nuts on to a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 10-15 minutes
  9. Remove the shortbread from the oven and set aside on a wire rack
  10. Remove the nuts from the oven and wrap them in a clean tea towel. Rub the nuts together to remove most of the skins (especially if you're using hazelnuts or 'red skinned' peanuts)
  11. Reserve 9 of the nuts, roughly chop the remainder and sprinkle them evenly across the shortbread
  12. Open the tin of boiled condensed milk (if the contents are quite rigid you can soften it by warming slightly in a saucepan on the stove or decant into a microwaveable container and heat for 20-30 seconds). Pour the caramel over the nuts and spread evenly. Refrigerate while you prepare the chocolate
  13. Break up the chocolate into pieces and put them into a heat-proof bowl
  14. Using a saucepan small enough not to allow the bowl to touch the bottom, fill the bowl with just enough water so that it doesn't come into contact with the base of the bowl
  15. Simmer the saucepan of water until the chocolate has just melted
  16. Pour the chocolate evenly over the top of the caramel
  17. Place the whole nuts on top of the chocolate, one for each portion
  18. Allow to set before slicing into squares & serving

Notes

You can parboil the tinned condensed milk in advance and the caramel can be stored for months & months before use. I always have a few cans of 'cooked' condensed milk stored in our larder.

http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-nutty-millionaires-shortbread/