Category Archives: cakes & Baking

The Christmas countdown: Pudding series #2..triple chocolate and brandy

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If you are all about the chocolate, but like the idea of Christmas pudding you can always opt for this ‘fake’ version that includes not one, not two, but three different types of chocolate! It has the rich density of a Christmas pud but without the fruit and are like a cross between a cake, a brownie and a muffin.

They are also quick, straight forward, no fuss and very popular. I prefer to make individual puddings that are generous enough for two (or one person with a very sweet tooth and plenty of room!!)

 

On this occasion I made loads as they also make very nice presents!

Double chocolate chip ‘fake’ Christmas pudding (Makes one 17cm cake, or six very generous ‘puddings’)
150g plain chocolate broken into squares
175g muscovado sugar
120ml double cream
75g butter softened
3 eggs beaten
25g cocoa powder
150g plain flour
100g breadcrumbs
150g white chocolate chips
100g milk chocolate chips
100g mixed peel
Brandy
Grease and line a 17cm cake tin with baking parchment, or grease individual large muffin tins.
In a small pan melt the plain chocolate with the cream and half of the sugar. Beat the remaining sugar, eggs, butter, cocoa and flour until smooth. Stir in the breadcrumbs and chocolate mixture then add the chocolate chips and mixed peel. Stir well. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin (or tins) and bake in a medium oven (180 degrees C / gas mark 4) for 45 minutes. Serve hot with cream or brandy butter.

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Filed under baking, cakes & Baking, chocolate, Christmas, home cooking, Recipes

The Christmas countdown: Pudding series #1 Date and pecan with salted caramel sauce

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See! It’s not all bah humbug. And so begins a Christmas countdown of my favourite alternative Christmas puddings, especially for those that loathe the traditional, dense fruity stuff.  According to Unilever and Love Food Hate Waste 5 million Christmas puddings get thrown away every year, I’m not sure if this is through over consumption and over enthusiastic purchasing or just because there are a lot of people who don’t like the stuff. Instead why not try something different?

There are plenty of alternatives to Christmas pud that are cheap, easy to make, have as much wow factors as a blazing steamed pudding and will bring many more gasps of appreciation.

To begin this brief, last-minute series one of my all time favourite desserts. Sticky toffee pudding with a twist, and a handful off chopped pecan nuts, a bit of spice and a salted caramel sauce with vanilla salt and there you have it, perfection in a dish.

Sticky date and pecan pudding with salted caramel sauce (makes 6 to 7 puddings, depending on the size of your dishes)

270g dates
50g pecan nuts (chopped)
half a teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150g unsalted butter
185g self-raising flour
125g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
200g golden granulated sugar
120ml double cream
Vanilla sea salt

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees C. Grease six muffin holes or individual tins.
Place the dates and 250ml water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda. Add 60g of the butter and stir until melted.

When you add the bicarbonate of soda the pan will fizz. The addition helps soften and 'break down' the dates which may remain a litle hard otherwise

When you add the bicarbonate of soda the pan will fizz. The addition helps soften and ‘break down’ the dates which may remain a litle hard otherwise

Sift the flour into a large bowl, then add 125g of the sugar and stir well. Add the date mixture and egg and stir well. In the bottom the dishes add enough pecan nuts to make a pattern then spoon over the batter and bake for 20 minutes.
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For the caramel sauce place the granulated sugar in a heavy based saucepan and cook over a medium heat stirring constantly until it turns into a thick amber coloured liquid. Once you reach this point all the sugar should have melted so you can stir in the remaining 90g of butter, still stirring constantly. Then trickle in the cream whisking as you do. The mixture will spit and bubble rapidly. Boil for 1 minute, it will rise in the pan as it does so make sure it doesn’t boil over. Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla salt and allow to cool slightly.

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Black pudding regrets and other Green Man food stories…

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Early morning haze over Glanusk

Every August I disappear into the hills of Brecon to cook for the crew and production of the Green Man Festival. It’s a fantastic, frantic, hard-working month filled with highs and lows, time spent catching up with friends and making new ones, parties, hangovers, sleepless nights, topped finally by one big festival in the middle. Every year I intend to catch up with writing over the few days I have a break, but always I fail. Tiredness catches up and my brain just can’t compute.

This was my third consecutive year so I’ve pretty much cracked the routine bit and so with Lizzie my assistant from last year we ran like a well oiled machine! We even had an extra pair of hands to help with washing up! This gave me more time to think about being creative with the cooking. Even though we work to a budget I still like to experiment and try new dishes. Old favourites, big one pot meals and hearty pies make up the staple diet but it doesn’t take much to create well-flavoured, tasty grub and as ever our efforts are greatly appreciated. In fact even as we sat down to dinner at The Bear (our traditional first night on site evening out) talk turned to what was on the menu for my first week of cooking and everyone has their special request….fish pie, cottage pie and a good curry, which along with the Welsh cheese board, honey baked gammon and vast array of cakes, have become standard Green Man fare. I try to vary the menu to keep things fresh. This year I cooked my first crew roast dinner, finally getting over my fear of screwing up the timings for so many people so I braved it.

Spiced pulled pork with crispy crackling followed by warm chocolate torte with ganache was the triumph of the week…and the dinner that saw me peak too soon! The torte, as expected, was so good it broke a few grown men. Ben arrived in the morning claiming he would not be eating cakes and puddings this year..before devouring two lots of chocolate torte the same evening. Another was overheard declaring “holy shit!!” as he took a mouthful….I took that as a compliment).

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Spiced roast pork

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The cake that broke a thousand men…warm chocolate torte with ganache and strawberries

By Monday the numbers had increased and I never quite reached the heady heights of that dinner again.  Embarking on a lemon meringue pie for fifty with home-made pastry, nearly gave me a nervous breakdown as I struggled to get it ready on time and my battles with a temperamental Aga raged over the week…its constant use meant it cooled down rapidly refusing to cook the food. Fair enough if you have all the time in the world, not so good if you have half an hour until dinner and the carrots still haven’t come to the boil. We peered despondently into the pot willing them to be ready in time….they weren’t, and dinner was half an hour late.

Still, we hit a few high’s; poached pears with rum and cinnamon caused our dairy free crew member to come over all unnecessary, potato pancakes at breakfast got everyone a bit excited and of course cake formed the basis of everything…even a bit of sculpting to mark out the stage set-up

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Hi-tec design: main stage and speaker lay out in cake

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“How will I live without potato pancakes” (Tash)

and lots of black and white pudding was consumed…over heard from the kitchen…

“I’m having black pudding regrets”

“From eating it?”

No, from not eating it”

Being part of the Green Man experience is unique. It’s hard to explain to others the family feeling this festival evokes. As a group we spend time with people we might only see once a year, live closely together and share the excitement, the highs and the lows of building a festival. We see the love, care and attention that goes in to every bit of the build and the dramas that go with it. We gear ourselves up for the party, almost to the point of elation and then its over in a flash and we find ourselves on the other side tired, broken and bereft as the family goes its separate ways. Its hard and emotional but worth every second.

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The Green Man team (for the build): Claire, me and Lizzie

And as the tiredness creeps in, it gets harder to stay creative and on the ball. One kitchen, an Aga blasting out its heat twenty-four hours a day as the sun beats down outside, it’s easy to end up a bit hot and bothered, distracted and lacking focus…although to be fair on this occasion I can’t just blame that on the heat in the kitchen ….but that’s another story altogether.

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Filed under cakes & Baking, event catering, festival catering, festival food, photography

Wing Asylum…pop-up cafe

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Home Made hot crossed buns and brownies Photo courtesy of Kate W photography

This was the second excursion for Nina Farrell and Asa Medhurst’s Wing Assignment...this time in a very different venue to the Red Bull Studio’s where the exhibition was first shown and now with a new name.

Asylum chapel in Peckham this time played host to Wing Asylum, where work from the first exhibition hung alongside new pieces and installations. Children’s art workshops took place on Good Friday run by artists and directors of Asylum,  Dido Hallett and Jo Dennis of CBBC ‘Deadly Art’ fame.

After helping at the first exhibition Nina approached me with a proposition. Would I run a pop-up cafe for attendees at the workshops? Of course I agreed. Art is almost as big a passion as food and writing and being part of this growing exhibition is very exciting. Had I known just how cold it would be I might have reconsidered, but probably not. On Thursday night (the private view) temperatures plummeted and we almost developed hyperthermia. Only the numbing effect of Courvoiser punch (and an emergency bag of hot chips) kept us warm. For the workshops I stocked up on hot drinks (lots of tea, Providero artisan coffee and Anglesey apple juice…sadly the microwave gave up the ghost so hot chocolate was off the menu), donned the fur coat and thermals and stuck on my gloves to combat the chill of what had turned out as the coldest Easter on record.  Kids queued for fairy cakes while coffee  heated the adults inside and out (and combated the hangovers of those who were there the previous evening).

Instead of going on endlessly about the exhibition and cafe, here are a few pictures…more a of a postcard from Peckham if you like!

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Baba Yaga Hut Maria Strutz

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The food table

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Wing Fairy Cakes Photo courtesy of Kate W photography

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Photo courtesy of Kate W photography

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Bird installation

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Atomique Florence Garrabe

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Wings Christopher Baxter

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Fledgling Shaun McGrath

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Detail of slate wings

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Jo Dennis

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The Rapture Elodie Lefebvre

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Jo Dennis

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On a Cloudy Day Tisna Westerhof (the teens favourite)

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Lift Off 2 Soforbis

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Here, but I cannot stay for long Gillian Swan

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Armour Fiona Michie

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The Wing Assignment will soon be having its last outing entitled FINAL FLIGHT – SELECTED DRAWINGS, PRINTS, PHOTOGRAPHY AND SCULPTURE at the William Road Gallery, 7-9 William Road, London NW1 3ER. from 8-26 April 2013 / 9-6pm Monday – Friday

As this closes work will begin on the new project The Scent Assignment. Having got myself a sneak preview of the scent itself, I eagerly wait to see what will transpire. Sorry, not allowed to give anything away…you either have to take part or wait for the exhibition.

If you wish to hire Moel Faban Suppers to run a pop-up cafe or vintage tea stall at your event just drop me an email

moelfabansuppers@gmail.com or give me a call on 07775828769.

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An Indian supper and recipe for Cardamom, orange and cinnamon custard tart

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Its been a while since we’ve held a supper club. For one reason or another I had to cancel those scheduled for October through to January (some due to low numbers but also due to weddings, festivals and pop-up events going on). I suppose in a way a change is as good as a rest. We needed a little break. It’s hard running a supper club in a family home and when at Christmas we transformed our living room back to normal the kids breathed a sigh of relief at having their ‘home back’.

It also gave us the opportunity to have a look at feedback from earlier guests. We’ve changed and experimented quite a bit since 2009, starting out with single tables, increasing our capacity to accommodate a dozen, moving to a more communal and interactive approach with one large table, increasing prices and taking on extra staff.

Comments such as …“the food is divine” are thankfully unanimous and overall we’ve had few criticisms. One thing people do say is that

“there is just too much food….I would prefer to pay less and have a smaller amount to eat”

or “I would come, but dates don’t coincide and the cost makes it prohibitive”

Clearly prices became an issue as well as unpredictable dates and the amount of food being served. So after our little break we relaunched; with a pared down menu of 3 courses plus coffee, a lower price of £25 a head, a smaller group of people and a regular last Saturday of the month slot. Clearly this has paid off. Our first supper of the year drew a full house, and we came back relaxed, calm and raring to go.

What better way to ward off the February blues than a sumptuous Indian supper. It was a particularly cold day beginning with a fine white covering of snow on the ground. I stoked up the wood burning stove and worried as flakes continued to flutter through the air throughout the day, mostly fine, but turning to swirling flurries as the day wore on and the time grew closer for our guests to arrive.

I heard my ten-year old shout from the lounge upstairs “are you looking for supper club cos it’s here” and six out of breath people (two worryingly clutching asthma inhalers and two in skyscraper heals) stumbled into the house.  Usually on my emails I tell people to beware of the uphill walk to my house…this time I’d forgotten, I presumed everyone knew where I was by now, clearly not!

It turned out that one of the women whose ankles I almost wrecked was Welsh up and coming pop-singer Sarah Wynn who has supported the likes of Emma Bunton, Liberty X, Blazin Squad and Bill Wyman.  The crowd also included street food vendors Providero who brought me a lovely present of some of their coffee (we had it for breakfast the next morning and it was truly delicious!).

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My menu

Spring onion and coriander bhajis

Vegetarian samosas

Yogurt, mint and cucumber raitha, tamarind and mint chutney, sweet and sour tomato relish and onion, coriander and lime salad

Parsi lamb curry

White bean and curry leaf with coconut

Maharashtran rice

Orange and cinnamon tart with a crisp cardamom base

Almond/pistachio ice cream

blackberry and rose coulis

Coffee / chai and cardamom chilli chocolate truffles

With seasonal local produce on the low side I did the best I could. U used parsley and mint from a friends polytunnel, onions from a local farm. Welsh butter (Calon Wen), yogurt (Rachel’s Dairy) and cream in my dessert and of course Welsh lamb for the curry.

I tinkered with a Anjum Anand recipe for Maharashtran rice as it went so well with the Parsi curry. I’m afraid I I’m sworn to secrecy over the Parsi curry recipe. The recipe came from Shazneen a band manager and festival organiser in India, she spent six months in the UK working with the Green Man festival team (which is how we became friends) and before heading back home came to stay in Wales for a week. The curry is a traditional dish made according to her mothers special recipe. She graciously cooked curry for us all then shared the recipe telling me there was NO WAY I was allowed to blog it. Don’t worry Shaz, your secret is safe with me!

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crispy vegetable samosa

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spring onion and herb bhajis with the mint and cucumber raitha

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sweet and sour tomato relish, onion, coriander and lime, yogurt with mint and cucumber and tamarind and mint

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Vegetarian option: Maharashtran rice, white bean and curry leaf with coconut and a red onion, coriander and lime salad

As for dessert, I’d intended to make a rhubarb and rose tart, with a cardamom pastry but clearly February is too early for even forced rhubarb in Wales so I made a last-minute change, which became a fab accidental recipe hit.

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Pastry flecked with cardamom

Orange and cinnamon tart with a crisp cardamom base:

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180 degrees C

To make a 12-inch tart case you will need:-

250g organic plain flour, Shipton Mill is the best

50g icing sugar, sifted

125 g Calon Wen butter

zest of a small lemon

8 cardamom pods crushed and the seeds ground well in a pestle and mortar

1 large free-range egg, beaten

small drop of milk

Sieve the flour into a bowl and cut the cubes of butter into it. Sieve the icing sugar over the top then rub the butter into the flour and sugar until you end up with a fine, crumbly mixture. Add the lemon zest and cardamom seeds.Add the egg and a small splash of milk and gently work it all together until you have a ball of dough. Don’t over handle it, simply flour it lightly and wrap it in clingfilm. Put into the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.Roll out to fit into a loose bottomed tart tin. Cover with a piece of baking paper and fill the tart case with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the case from the oven and take out the baking paper and beans before returning to the oven for another 10 minutes so the base can firm up; it needs to set properly, just beginning to turn light brown so that the filling does not soak in.
For the custard filling:
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 pint single cream
4oz caster sugar
rind and juice of 1 orange
quarter of a teaspoon cinnamonPut the single cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan to heat over a lowish gas. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cornflour and caster sugar. Add the orange rind and juice and cinnamon. as the cream comes up to the boil remove from the heat and pour over the egg mixture whisking continuously. Return the mixture to a clean pan and heat gently stirring all the time until it begins to thicken slightly.

Rest the tart tin on a baking tray (just in case it leaks) and pour the mixture into the case. Return to the oven where it needs to bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is puffy and slightly risen in the centre and beginning to turn a lovely golden brown.

Serve with fresh fruit, a coulis and some ice cream

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Roaring fire in the inglenook, table set for dinner…that’s our supper club 🙂

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Recipe: really easy, multi-purpose, egg free cheesecake

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This easy egg free cheesecake recipe came about while planning a wedding menu. I tend to design my menu’s with the person I’m cooking for, tossing ideas too and fro until we reach a final decision. For one couple cheesecake was their ‘must have’ dessert,  but endlessly worried because a couple of guests couldn’t have eggs and thought that cheesecake automatically included them. They naturally wanted them to enjoy everything on offer and so I assured them it was possible to have egg free cheesecake.

Hmmmm. I’d never actually made an egg-free cheesecake at this point, so having said it would be no problem I set off to do a bit of research and testing.

Mercifully I discovered that there are lots of cheesecake recipes out there, even egg free cheesecakes, so I didn’t see any point in totally reinventing the wheel. I looked at a couple, tweaked and modified them, and finally came up with a winning formula. I tried and tested different combinations of flavours and ingredients until settling on this quick and simple, hugely adaptable recipe that makes the perfect base for a whole host of flavours and toppings, depending on what you fancy and what is in season.

Cooking for large parties and buffets demands a degree of simplicity, especially as the dish has to appeal to up to 150 people!! My tip then is to keep things simple; go with maybe two or three flavourings such as, strawberry and vanilla, apple and blackberry compote, vanilla with blackcurrant and cinnamon compote, rhubarb and ginger. You could also give it a little kick by pairing with booze; a nice complimentary liqueur enhances whichever fruit you have used…raspberry and Framboise, or as with my last variation Morello cherry and Kirsch, finished with stemmed fresh cherries it almost created a sort of ‘black forest’ cheesecake. You can even try adding fragrant petals such as orange blossom or rose as a flavouring or decoration. If a fruit version doesn’t tempt the taste buds how about chocolate and vanilla, with some salted caramel swirled into it and decorated with chocolate dipped strawberries?….Really the list is endless. Once you begin to think about it tis easy to get carried away!!

You could also experiment with the biscuit base. Digestives are the common choice, but how about substituting with ginger biscuits, a rhubarb cheesecake mixture, decorated with a sprinkle of rose petals, or perhaps crunchy butter biscuits, almond ratafias…..as long as they have a good crunch they should work ok.

Egg-free cheesecake recipe (makes one large party size 28cm cheesecake…or two smaller cheesecakes)

300g crunchy biscuits…degestives are the conventional choice…but experiment)

150g very lightly salted butter…I use Calon Wen

700g cream cheese

150g icing sugar

300ml double cream or creme fraiche

1 jar of Morello cherries (drained…reserving a tablespoon of the juice)

1 tablespoon Kirsch

fresh cherries or rose petals to decorate

(NB: In the picture above I used 350g chopped strawberries, 1 generous teaspoon good quality vanilla extract and finished it with strawberries dipped in caster sugar.)

Grease a loose bottomed 28cm cake tin or flan tin (or two 15cm) and line with a circle of non-stick baking parchment.

Put the biscuits into a large clean bag and crush with a rolling pin…try not to trap any air in the bag or it will explode and there will be crumbs everywhere! Make sure there are no large bits, you want fine crumbs but not powder. Tip into a bowl

Melt the butter in a small pan then pour over the crumbs in the bowl. Mix well then press into the cake tin to make a tight even layer. refrigerate for about an hour or so.

In a clean bowl whisk together the cream cheese, cream, sugar and liquids (vanilla, alcohol, cherry juice or whatever liquid you are using).  With a large spoon or plastic spatula fold in the fruit or other ingredients gently swirling into the cheese mixture.  Be careful not to break the fruit up and over mix, you really need a light hand.

Spoon the mixture over the biscuit base and smooth the top. Place in the fridge again for at least a couple of hours.

To serve loosen the cake tin base and gently ease out. Carefully remove the baking parchment and slide out on to a serving plate. Decorate with a sprinkling of petals….or fresh fruit

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Filed under baking, cakes & Baking, family budget cooking, home cooking, Recipes, seasonal food

Easy apple brioche

Yep, here it is, that diet destroying recipe from Alex Gooch that I promised in my last post. What can I say? It is simply addictive. There’s not much else I can add. Just try it for yourself.

500g Shipton Mill strong white flour

6 large eggs

250g butter at room temperature

130g sugar

10g salt

8g dried yeast (Doves Farm is good)

4 large apples chopped into chunks (no need to peel)

20g cinnamon

20g cardamom

icing sugar

For the glaze:

200g runny honey

50ml hot water

juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and yeast and 50g sugar. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. It will be quite sticky.

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Turn onto a table or board. Chop the butter and dot over the dough….yep you use the whole pack!

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Massage the butter into the dough until combined. On another part of the table, or another board sprinkle plenty of flour. Scrape up the sticky brioche dough and place on top of the flour. It doesn’t require kneading just bring it together into a neat ball with a dusting of flour.

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Put into an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with clingfilm. Leave it somewhere warm for about two and a half hours.

When ready turn the dough on to a well floured board and shape into an oblong (as in the picture below)

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sprinkle over the cinnamon, cardamom and remaining sugar then top with chopped apple. Starting from the top roll the dough into a swiss roll shape. With a sharp knife cut into about eight to ten slices putting them top up on baking tray covered with baking paper. You want to fit them close together so that they batch while proving.

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Cover with oiled cling film and leave for another 2 hours.

Bake in a medium oven 180 degrees, gas mark 4 for 20 to 25 minutes.

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Allow to cool on the tray and do not separate the buns. Combine all the ingredients for the glaze and use to coat the buns about 20 minutes after they come out of the oven. After glazing sprinkle well with icing sugar.

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WARNING!! DO NOT MAKE IF ON A DIET!!! Ours lasted 3 days!!

If you live close to Hay on Wye, I’m sure you can pick some up from the man himself or from one of the many local stockists, check here to find out where to buy.

 

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A very happy Christmas to you all

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So here it is at last, Christmas is finally upon us. Having had it thrust in our faces for the past two months it reached its crescendo on Black Friday with a mass of work do’s, parties and gatherings which left me feeling as if I’d peaked too soon. Saturday was a quieter affair while Sunday and Monday became days for recovery and baking.  Glittery bite sized star meringues, orange cranberry and cinnamon muffins (for breakfast in the morning), chocolate salami and small trays of lemon drizzle cake make perfect presents and when wrapped in pretty paper or cellophane there’s nothing shop bought that could beat them.

As there are only four of us at home we went for a turkey crown (from my local butcher)rather than the full blown beast, pigs in blankets, chestnut stuffing, the works! Smoked salmon from Derimon and tiny bantam egg salad with home-made blinis, rocket and a chive and creme fraiche dressing will start proceedings and to finish it had to be a Buche de Noel, or chocolate log if like me you can’t be bothered with all that fancy terminology!). My version is like a cross between a chocolate log and a black forest swiss roll!

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Now it’s Christmas Eve;  I’ve battled and survived the six parties, the Christmas baking, the odd birthday party, the shopping and pressy wrapping and the over excited and annoying child, the sickly teenager and all while nursing a slipped disc in my neck. Cocodamol and a stiff Bailey’s have kept me  going and while I may have seemed like an over medicated Nigella, the fact I am now calmly writing this and wishing you all a Happy Christmas means that it is miraculously calm in the Moel Faban house.

 

 

 

 

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There’s nothing like home made Christmas pudding

The little un and me showing off our puddings

Everyone is talking about stir-up Sunday…that is, the last Sunday before Advent begins and the traditional day for making the families Christmas pud. I know we’ve just missed it but really it’s not too late. If you can manage it this weekend here is my traditional pudding recipe which I have used for years, well ever since I moved to Wales which is twenty odd years ago. It is a recipe I adapted from one found in a really old Sainsburys recipe book. My Mum’s from back in the 80’s I think.

Sift 175g (6oz) plain flour, 2 teaspoons ground mixed spice, 1 generous teaspoon cinnamon and half a teaspoon grated nutmeg into a large bowl. Mix in 175g (6oz) fresh brown breadcrumbs then rub in 175g (6oz) softened butter.

Stir in 175g (6oz) soft brown sugar, 350g (12oz) sultanas, 250g (8oz) raisins, the same amount of currants and 75g (3oz) mixed peel. Add the grated rind and juice of one orange, 2 beaten eggs and 120ml of brown ale (or stout). Give it a good mix, don’t forget to have a wish and then turn it into a greased 1.75litre (3 pint) pudding basin (or two smaller ones like we did). Cover with a pudding cloth or greaseproof paper and a sheet of foil pleated in the middle and tied on with string. Steam for 6 hours topping up the water as necessary.

Allow to cool and then replace the greaseproof paper and foil with fresh and store in a cool dry place. Christmas puddings can be made up to 4 months in advance and they tend to get better with time. Much better than anything from a supermarket I have to say.

When THAT day comes round and you are ready to eat your pudding, steam again for about 2 hours, turn out on to a warm dish, douse well with warm brandy and then ignite.

 

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Filed under baking, British food, cakes & Baking, Christmas, Christmas menu's, home cooking, Recipes, seasonal food

‘Love me truly’ cupcakes (chai, cinnamon and apple infused)

I love receiving goodies through the post, especially when they are so good they act as muse to my naturally creative urges and inspire me to come up with something so delicious it literally makes everyone drool and sigh with ecstasy.

The parcel that arrived at my door was full of Clipper teas. They are my favourite and sometimes I’m lucky enough to receive new products to try. On this occasion it was a box of intriguingly named packages…Zen Again, Rise and Shine, Snore and Peace or Cloud Nine…They form part of the Fruit Infusion range and I liked them all; but the stand out one for me was the Love Me Truly chai infused tea. I’m seriously addicted. I can’t stop drinking the stuff, and if I’m not drinking it I’m dreaming up ways to sneak it into desserts, like these totally heavenly cupcakes. I swear I’ve never seen sixteen cakes disappear so quickly, they were that popular! Light, delicately flavoured, slightly squishy and totally moreish.

Not convinced by chai cupcakes? Here give them a go…I promise, you won’t be sorry.

Love Me Truly cupcakes:

180g butter

180g caster sugar

200ml milk (heated to boiling point with a Clipper Teas, Love Me Truly tea bag and then allowed to stand and cool)

180g self-raising flour

1 medium Bramley apple peeled and finely diced

1 teaspoon Steenbergs cinnamon

2 medium free range eggs

100ml single cream, heated with the same Love Me Truly tea bag (or a fresh one if you prefer)

4 tablespoons icing sugar

Pre-heat the oven gas mark 4 / 180 degree C

Cream the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs alternating each with a spoonful of flour to prevent it curdling. To mix you can use an electric whisk or in a food processor. Add half the milk beating well, then half the flour and the cinnamon. Add the rest of the milk followed by the rest of the flour and this time use the pulse setting (if you have one on your blender) or stir together until just mixed. Mix in the chopped apple by hand. You should have a thick batter and not the usual cupcake mixture.

Put about 16 cup cake or fairy cake cases into a cupcake tray and spoon in the batter. Cook in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, but keep an eye on them after about 15 minutes. They should be golden brown and well risen, although these cakes will be slightly spongier in comparison to the to a usual cupcake recipe.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

While they are cooling warm the single cream gently with the teabag. Leave to cool and infuse. When cold remove the tea bag and sift in the icing sugar stirring well. Drizzle or spoon over the cupcakes.

You can then decorate them or finish them however you wish. I used some chocolate flakes on the top of mine. Sadly my pictures don’t really do the cakes justice, but you will just have to trust me and go for it!

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