Angel Food Cake in honour of the Great British Bake Off.

Hello everyone,

So as you can see from the title of today’s blog, this week, I made Angel Cake, now this cake is a slightly different cake as it is uses egg whites only and not the yolks. It also has a different texture.  I have also joined together with a whole heap of other bloggers on twitter to each week (when we are able!) to make a blog about one of the recipes or at least our interpretation of one of the recipes that features on the show that week!

For me, when I discovered that one of the challenges was for Angel Food Cake, I just had to make that as Angel Food Cake has a very special place in memory for me, as my mum always makes it at Christmas time as our pudding because it is so light, she got the recipe from my Dad’s mother who always used to make it on special occasions, and it is one of our family’s all time favourites, so I still every year make the Angel Food Cake for Christmas Day desert, and as far as I am aware, so does my mum (in Australia) and my sister when she is able (in South Africa). The funny thing was, is that just as I found out that this was the challenge, I found out that my mum was making the same thing for Christmas in July (or August!) as she is visiting my sister in South Africa, before coming to stay with us (in just under a week! Excitement!). So it was really nice.

I took my cake into work yesterday for an office meeting and they were all very impressed with it and most of the ladies said, “as it’s so light, must mean less calories!”.

So, next week, it is bread week on the Great British Bake off, I will try to do a blog, but I must warn you that as my parents are visiting, it is probably unlikely that I will do anything, however, I have made a really nice bread recently on this blog, so you could try that if you want some inspiration!

I also thought I would share with you all the chickens were my eggs come from – I went to a bbq on a friends allotment on Sunday and they have chickens, so I got a dozen eggs from these very chickens, so they were nice and fresh! 🙂

Happy Chickens

Happy Chickens

Have a wonderful rest of your week and see you soon.

The recipe for my Angel Food Cake is below.

Angel Food Cake:

Cake Mixture:

  • 120g plain flour sifted 3 times.
  • 250g icing sugar sifted 3 times (You can use castor sugar and sift it same quantities)
  • 10 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Zest of one lemon

Icing/Glaze:

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 300g icing sugar sifted

Method:

Preheat your oven to 160 Degrees C – no fan!

1. As stated above, sift the flour and icing sugar (separately – don’t make my mistake and do it together!) and set aside.

2. Separate the eggs and put the egg whites in your mixer bowl (or a large bowl and you can use a hand mixer), add the salt and cream of tartar and mix until stiff peaks are formed – something like this –

 

Stiff peaks

Stiff peaks

3. Next add 2 tablespoons of icing sugar (or caster sugar) to the mixture and continue mixing for 20 seconds, I found that by sprinkling the sugar over the top of the whole surface area helps, you can just as easily put it in one side and then beat. Repeat this process until all the icing sugar is incorporated into the egg whites. You should have a nice glossy meringue finish.

4. Now add the vanilla and lemon zest and then gently fold in to the mixture using figure of 8 movements you need to retain as much air as possible –

Vanilla and lemon zest added

Vanilla and lemon zest added

6. Once fully incorporated gently spoon the mixture into your tin. I bought an angel food cake tin especially for this as I do often make it and wanted one, so this was an excuse to order one off amazon. If you don’t have this type of tin, then you can use a bundt cake tin or you can even use a normal deep cake tin and just place a glass in the middle! You need to ensure that there is a whole in the middle however. So once your cake is in the cake tin, smooth it out slightly so its evenly distributed – something like this – DO NOT GREASE YOUR TIN, as it needs to be able to grip the sides of the tin whilst it is rising in the oven.5. Now add the sifted flour in 3 stages, ensuring it is incorporated fully  (otherwise you will get pockets of flour!) whilst still retaining the air in the mixture.

Ready for the oven!!

Ready for the oven!

7.  Bake in the centre of oven for 40 mins or until a skewer inserted in to the cake comes out clean (top tip – if you insert your skewer diagonally it gives a better indication!).

8. Once ready, remove from oven and immediately turn it upside down on the wire rack or your kitchen counter (do not do anything else to it, just flip it!) and leave to cool, it should hopefully once cool have come out of the tin from its own accord – gravity comes into play! If once it is totally cool and it hasn’t dropped down, then gently use a palette knife around the edges of the cake to release it.

Just out the tin

Just out the tin

Ready for icing/glaze

Ready for icing/glaze

9. Now you are ready to ice the cake. To make the icing, simply sift the icing sugar into a bowl and the add lemon juice (as much or as little as you like to get the right tang to it!) and mix together until you get a nice spreadable paste. Be careful of adding too much icing sugar as it may become watery. Then gently ice the cake with the glaze and voilà you have an Angel Food Cake looking something like this –

The iced cake

The iced cake

Side View

Side View

If you fancy a different type of topping, there are lots of different variations on the internet. And if you fancy making a chocolate version, simply substitute 30g of flour for 30g of a good quality cocoa powder.

Now just tuck in and enjoy – its light and delicious and dare I say it – heavenly! 😉

This is a picture of what I brought home after the meeting as my husband asked me nicely to save him a piece! 😉

Inside of the cake.

Inside of the cake.

 

I do hope you have enjoyed reading this and that next time you are looking for an inspiration for a cake, then you decide to make this as it really is something different!

Until next time, keep baking! 🙂

Cheers

Deon

 

Advertisements

Mushroom and Asparagus Tart with Pancetta Pieces

Hello everyone and welcome to another week.

I had a very good week, didn’t do too much baking this week i.e. cakes etc as I have been looking through all my recipes books and thinking, I really should try and cook something from some of the more neglected ones. One of the neglected ones happened to be the new Nigel Slater book (or old now!) Kitchen Diaries II. I bought this book last year and it has simply been sitting on my shelf, I think I have been a bit daunted by it as it is simply now in a style that I am used to. So one of the blogs that I follow – Farmersgirl (check out her blog!) happened to be do a competition for dish of month and coincidently it was using Kitchen Diaries II. So I picked it up and had a flick through and suddenly wondered why I had actually been so daunted by this book in the first place, as it is simply stunning. Seriously there are so many things that I wanted to cook that I had to narrow it down, and the options were Goats Cheese and Onion Tart or what I made for this blog. Eventually, as I had some asparagus in the bottom of the fridge which needed to be used up, I decided to go for this. Please note that whilst this is based on the recipe from the book, it is not 100% the same, if you are interested in seeing the original recipe then take a look on page 230 and 231 of Kitchen Diaries II.

I hope you enjoy this as much as my husband and myself did, it was simply delicious.

Now for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x ready rolled or square of puff pastry – either use Jus or just the standard supermarket special (each is the same).
  • 200g Crème Fraiche  (English or French!) (Next time I make it, I would use about 150g).
  • 17 Asparagus Spears (or just a bunch)
  • 60g Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 x 77g punnet of Pancetta Pieces (I bought mine in waitrose) (you can also use strips or bacon, just make sure you chop it up)
  • 7 x large mushrooms sliced (about 150g) – I used normal white mushrooms (you can use chesnut)
  • 1tsp of whole milk for brushing.

Tasty ingredients

Tasty ingredients

Method:

1. First thing to do is boil or steam the asparagus spears (depends on your preference) for between 6 – 9 mins – if you put a knife into the stem then it should cgo through easily. (I boiled mine). Whilst that is on, preheat your oven to 200 Degrees or 180 Fan. Set aside once tender.

Asparagus

2. Whilst that is happening, slice your mushrooms and then in a dry frying pan cook the pancetta pieces (no need for oil as the pancetta will release its own oils) once, they are nice and crispy add the mushrooms and continue to cook for a bit until tender. Set aside once complete.

Mushrooms and Pancetta Bits

 

3. Next put the crème fraiche and grated parmesan into a pot and gently warm through until the cheese is melted. Once warmed through set aside.

Crème Fresh & Parmesan Cheese

 

5. Line a baking sheet/tray with greaseproof paper and spray with some cooking spray or simply dust with some flour. If you have a square of puff pastry then you will need to roll it out into a rectangular shape and transfer to the baking sheet on the tray (if it is already rolled, simply transfer to the baking sheet). using a sharp knife make an indentation about 1.5cm around the whole edge of the tart (make sure you don’t cut through the pastry) .

6. Spoon about half of the crème fraiche onto the rolled out puff sheet and try to keep the mixture within your lines that you made in the pastry.

Rolled out puff sheet with base

 

7. Next put the asparagus spears on top of the pastry however you like and then scatter the pancetta and mushrooms all around. Then add the remainder of the crème fraiche to the tart by spooning it over the ingredients so it looks something like this –

Ready for the oven

 

8. Put it into the oven and bake for between 20 – 30 minutes. It will be ready when the sides start to brown and the crème fresh starts to go golden brown in patches. As you will see from my tart below some of the crème fraiche escaped the edges, but it still came out really well.

Tart Fresh out the oven

9. Slice and serve immediately and enjoy.

Tasty

Tasty

I am entering this recipe into the dish of the month competition as it was inspired from my copy of the Kitchen Diaries II.

Which is hosted by Janice from  Farmersgirl kitchen and Sue from  a little bit of heaven on a plate

Until next time.

Cheers

Deon

x

 

Feta Cheese, Sundried Tomato and Oregano Bread.

So this week, I was looking at some of the blogs I follow and I came across a really interesting blog – http://fromagehomage.co.uk/ which is all about cheese. I am not sure about you, but I love cheese and my husband loves it too! So imagine my delight when I stumbled across this blog and I was even more delighted to see that every month they run a Cheese Please blog challenge where each month a different cheese is selected and then you come with a recipe using that cheese. So this month, was Feta, there were numerous things which I thought about for this, but decided to make bead in the end as it is something slightly different.

So that being said, here is my entry for the August’s Cheese Please blog challenge – Feta Cheese, Sundried Tomato and Oregano Bread. Big thank you to my wonderful husband for his assistance throughout, couldn’t have done it without him!

Equipment required:

  • 1 x Large mixing bowl
  • 1 x either proving basket, bread tin or simply a baking tray/stone
  • 1 x shower cap
  • 1 x dough scraper (or just use your hands!)

Recipe:

  • 500g Strong White Bread Flour (I used Stoneground Organic Flour from Stoates Flour – feel free to use whatever you normally use but make sure it is bread flour).
  • 17g Polenta (you can use Semolina)
  • 14g Fresh Yeast
  • 6g Salt
  • 260g Tepid Water
  • 40g Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 70g Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 150g Feta Cheese Crumbled (I used Waitrose essential – you can use whatever you like as long as its feta!)
  • 1g Dried Oregano

Method:

  1. Firstly put the flour and the polenta in a big mixing bowl
    The Beginning

    The Beginning

  2. Then put the yeast in and coat it in the flour by crumbling it in the flour – you just need to coat it, don’t overwork it.
  3. Next add the salt, sundried tomatoes, oregano.
    Next stage

    Next stage

  4. Then add the water and olive oil. Mix together in the bowl until you have a rough dough like consistency in the bowl and then tip onto your work surface using your dough scraper or hands. (Don’t worry if there are bits left in the bowl, either scrape them out or leave them in.
  5. Check the time and knead for about 10 mins until you have an elastic quality and the surface is smooth. The dough should not be wet or sticking to your hands at this stage, it should be easy to work and should ease back when you stretch it out.
  6. Using your hands flatten out the dough into a rectangular shape – something like this –

Dough

6. Then sprinkle the feta cheese over it and start to roll it up from the one side – should look like this –

Feta is being incorporated

7. Once rolled up, flatten it out again and repeat the process until you have incorporated all the feta cheese. Once you are finished, it should look something like this –

Ready for first proving.

8. You can then put it back into the same mixing bowl that you used and then cover it with a shower cap (if you don’t have a shower cap, use cling film!) –

Proving in bowl with shower cap

9. Set your time for 45 mins to 1 hour (depending on the weather – if warmer towards 45 min mark, if cooler, towards the hour mark). After you have let it prove then it should’ve doubled in size and look something like this –

Doubled in size - ready for stage two.

10. You then gently flatten it down with the knuckles of your hand so that you knock the air out. Now you need to pull out a section and fold it back into the middle and you need to do this all the way round the dough on your work surface – the next sequence of photos will give you an idea –

Stretching out 1

Stretching out 2

11. Once this is done and all the sides are folded in, carefully turn it over and shape it into the size of the tin/proving basket or whatever you are using (do this gently and don’t make it the full size, as it will rise again – so at this stage it will look like this –

Shaping for second proving

12. Carefully place it in the bread tin/proving basket and cover with the shower cap (make sure that you make it into a pyramid shape so that it is not flat as the bread will stick to it and you don’t want that! If no shower cap, at this stage use a plastic shopping bag – not cling film!).Shaped and in the tin.

With shower cap.

13. Set your timer for 45 mins, check that it has risen and if so, turn your oven onto 220 Degrees (*Top Tip – if you have a fan, don’t use it as it doesn’t distribute the heat evenly and you don’t get a nice bake, so just a normal none fan assisted oven). Set the timer now for 10 mins (purely to allow the oven to get hot. When the time goes, you should have a loaf that looks like this –

At the end of second proving

14. You then need to carefully using a VERY sharp knife or carefully using a razor blade make between 3 to 6 slices over the top of the bread – like this –

Sliced across the top.

I sliced it 6 times, you can slice it 3 or however many you feel and in any shape/design you like!

14. You then spray it with some olive oil and sprinkle the top with dried oregano – should look something like this –

Sprinkled with Oregano and Sprayed with Olive Oil

15. Pop the bread in the oven and bake it in the oven for 37 mins. You will be able to tell that it is done by when you take it out the oven, tap it lightly on the bottom of the loaf (be careful as it is hot!) and it should sound hollow. Your loaf at this stage should look like this – Looks good hey?! 😉 Your kitchen at this stage should smell awesome! That wonderful Mediterranean herby smell! Mmmmm!

The finished baked Feta, Sundried Tomato and Oregano Loaf

16. Leave to cool on a wire rack (don’t cut into it no matter how good it smells!) and once cool cut into it and enjoy – I made this in the evening and once it was cooled down put a clean dish towel over it to protect it until I came to eat it the next morning – this will help to retain the crust on it.

17. This is what it looks like cut into –

The sliced loaf - gorgeous crumb and texture.

Pop into a toaster or put some butter and your topping of choice on it and enjoy – I used avocado.

I am entering this recipe into the August’s Cheese Please! Recipe Challenge.

Bacon Brownies.

Hello Everyone,

Sorry for the silence this week, I started a different phase of my job and so had less time than previously so just a case of making some time!

Anyway, its August now and in theory summer is now officially here, yesterday in London was just divine – so lovely and hot and even the breeze was hot, made feel like I was on holiday! Sadly though, I was at work.

So this week and last weekend, I have made quite a few things, some successful, some not so much, still, we solider on don’t we?!

I made Bacon Brownies, now, this was an experience, admittedly I was suffering quite a bad hangover at the time (note to self, try to avoid baking when terribly hungover!) I tended to rush a few of the processes where I should have actually been more considered and patient and done the processes in stages. So to that effect, I may make the brownies again this weekend, but this time stick to the recipe properly and not try and do all the steps at once, it didn’t work!

The brownies involved making caramel, which I must confess, I have made once before and it wasn’t particularly successful and a touch burnt, this time as it was a dry caramel, well, needless to say, I managed to rescue some of it, but there was still an overriding taste of burnt which did kind of work in the actual brownie mix, but yes, not my best effort!

So, if you feel like trying out the recipe, here it is with my slight amendments – the original is here.

Top tip for making caramel, I wish I had read this before I actually started, but you live and you learn – read this article here. That article is from the amazing David Lebovitz, go check out his blog, there are some amazing recipes there.

One last top tip – if you burn the caramel and you have some stuck to your pan, then simply cover the caramel mixture which is stuck to the pan/pot with coco cola and leave to sit overnight. The next morning, there will be no trace of the caramel and you can simply just pour the coke in the pan down the sink and voilà you have a clean pan – just give it a rinse and you have a perfectly usable pan again. I must say, I was quite amazed as I really didn’t think it would work!

So now for the recipe.

Bacon Salted Caramel Brownies:

Bacon Brownies Fresh out the oven

 

Ingredients:

Recipe inspired by Annie my aunt, adapted from Rebecca’s recipe (link above) which in turn was adapted from David Lebovitz.

For the salted bacon caramel:

  • 6 slices of streaky bacon (I find this crisps up better)
  • 1/2 cup double cream
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 90g of salted butter

For the Brownies:

  • 115g salted butter cut into pieces
  • 180g of dark chocolate (I just broke it into pieces as I took it out the wrapper – try and use 70% or more coca solids)
  • 1/4 cup coco powder – I used green and blacks but use whatever you have in your store cupboard.
  • 3 larges eggs
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain flour.

Instructions:

  1. 1. In a shallow pan fry the 6 slices of bacon until crisp, I recommend cutting the bacon in pieces or as the other recipe suggests in half but you can do it whole!). Remove bacon once crisp and set aside. Leave bacon fat (grease) in the pan and then add the cream to the hot pan and let it cool. Once the bacon has cooled, crumble or chop finely. I was too impatient at this stage and had already started the caramel, I recommend that you do actually wait for the cream mixture to cool before making the caramel.
  2. In a larger pan (I used a pot – if its your first time making caramel make sure it is a pan you are not worried about possibly ruining!) heat the sugar over a high heat (watch it carefully though!) until the mixture is liquid and a deep amber colour – with this process you can stir the sugar (read above how to make caramel!) so that it doesn’t burn and stick!. Once it is a deep amber colour, add the butter and the cooled bacon cream all at once (now you see why so important to let it cool!) and stir until the butter is melted , you should hopefully get a nice toffee colour happening. At the chopped bacon and let cool thoroughly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, I didn’t use fan, but if you do, then use it at 160 degrees I would imagine.
  4. Line a square baking tin with grease proof paper ensuring that it covers the bottom and side of the tin. Grease with butter or spray with low fat cooking spray which works really well.
  5. In a large microwavable bowl, melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave (start with 30 seconds and stir thoroughly , then microwave for 10 seconds at a time stirring each time  (I found I only need two of these!) until the chocolate and butter is incorporated together. You can of course do this the traditional way by putting the bowl over a simmering pan of hot water on the stove – up to you!). Add the coca and whisk until smooth, then add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each time, then add the sugar, again, whisking it in, then the vanilla and finally the flour. Stir only until combined, so make sure that you use a fairly substantial size bowl.
  6. Pour half the batter into the prepared baking tin. Then dot around about a third of the bacon caramel mixture, evenly spaced over the whole area. it doesn’t need to cover the whole area just make sure there are nice splotches everywhere. Pour over the rest of the brownie mixture the drop spoonfuls over the top of the mixture and using a skewer swirl it all around so it gets slightly incorporated. Yum!
  7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until its slightly gooey in the middle but still firm. Mine looked slightly undercooked this was due to the caramel melting again, it was actually cooked, so make sure you don’t dry it out!
  8. Then cut into pieces once slightly cooled down and eat by itself or serve with bacon ice cream or any other ice-cream!

Bacon Brownie with Bacon Icecream

 

The bacon ice cream was made by my husband and was in my opinion delicious. You can find the recipe for that here.

Thats it from me – I will be back soon with another post, until then have a fabulous weekend.

Cheers

Deon

x