Monday, 13 July 2015

Rosemary Sea Salt Caramels from Homemade Memories

This week I've been making cute homemade caramels to celebrate the launch of Kate Doran's new book Homemade Memories. It's a beautiful book with a gorgeous photography and a hint of nostalgia. I had forgotten how much I used to love fig rolls and can't wait to make them next! The book has been on a blog tour over the last week and today it's my turn. Here's the caramel recipe. Try packaging them with a sprig of rosemary for a pretty gift (the rosemary is infused with the cream for an aromatic twist).

200ml double cream
5 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and coarsely chopped
65g butter, cubed
50g light brown sugar
175g caster sugar
125g golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
large pinch of sea salt

Lightly oil an 18cm baking tin and line with baking paper. Heat the cream and rosemary in a pan until just boiling and leave to infuse for 2 hours. Strain and return the cream to the pan with the light brown sugar and warm to dissolve. 

In a large, heavy bottomed pan, gently heat the caster sugar, golden syrup and 3 tablespoons of water until dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring until a sugar thermometer reaches 149C. Whisk in the warm cream mixture and salt and remove from the heat. Pour into the lined tin, cool to room temperature and chill in the fridge for an hour. 

Cut into rectangles with a sharp knife and wrap in squares of baking paper. The caramels will keep for 2 weeks (in the fridge in an airtight container is best). Makes about 40.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Cardamom Date & Orange Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns mark the start of Spring for me and and are one of my all time favourite baked treats. They are as satisfying to make at home as they are to eat and they're not as tricky as you might think either. If you can bake a simple loaf of bread, you can get creative with flavour and make your own batch of hot cross buns.

This recipe is inspired by Swedish style cardamon buns after a recent trip to Fabrique bakery and is slightly adapted from a recipe that I wrote for Design Sponge last Easter. In this version, I've upped the intensity of the cardamon by grinding the seeds and adding them to the flour mix instead of infusing the milk with whole pods. Read more of my hot cross bun tips over at Tesco Real Food. Happy Easter baking!

For the buns:
150ml whole milk
5 tablespoons clear honey
55g unsalted butter, cubed
350g strong white flour plus extra for kneading
7g fast action dried yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
10 cardamom pods, seeds ground
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
100g dates, roughly chopped
zest of one orange

For the crosses:
55g plain flour
1 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons oil

For the egg wash:
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk

For the glaze:
2 tablespoons clear honey

Heat the milk until just simmering. Stir in the honey and the butter and set aside to cool until tepid. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the egg followed by the milk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes by hand (or using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment) until smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky to knead, sprinkle some flour onto your work surface.  Cover the dough with some lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for two hours or until doubled in size.

Lightly oil a baking sheet and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
Kneed the dates and the orange zest into the dough.

Divide the dough into twelve buns (about 60g each). Shape each bun by kneading the dough in on itself to create a smooth taught surface and place seam side down onto the baking sheet about 3cm apart. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

To make the crosses, mix together the flour, honey and enough water form a thick paste (2-2 ½ tablespoons) that is runny enough to pipe but still holds its shape. To make the egg wash, beat the egg with the milk and pass it through a sieve.
Once the buns have doubled in size, heat the oven to 200C and brush over the egg wash. Fill a piping bag with the paste for the crosses and snip off the end to make a small hole. Pipe each bun with a cross.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until risen and golden. Brush with the honey and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Serve split and toasted with lots of butter.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Clementine Buttermilk Bundt Cake

This winter citrus cake is adapted from the Citrus Confetti Cake my book, Decorated, and makes the most of delicately flavoured clementines. Serve it plain as a breakfast treat with the clementine juice on the side or use the juice to make a drizzle icing. 

Excitingly, this recipe can also be found on Red Magazine's website along with a 'My Week on a Plate' feature that I wrote for them back in January. 

For the cake:
170g unsalted butter
240g caster sugar
Grated zest of 3 medium clementines (about 1 tablespoon)
3 medium eggs
90g buttermilk or Greek style yoghurt
240g plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt

For the drizzle icing (optional):
250g icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons clementine juice

Preheat the oven to 170C (Gas 3). Butter a 20cm (8 inch) bundt tin or butter and line a round 20cm (8 inch) deep cake tin. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and zest for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until they’re well incorporated. In a clean bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg mixture, then add the yoghurt, continue to beat and add the remaining flour beating until just combined. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes until turning out on a wire rack to cool completely if icing or serve slightly warm if not.

To make the icing, beat the icing sugar and citrus juice in a bowl until smooth. The icing should be opaque but thin enough to run down the sides of the cake.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Pecan & blueberry granola

This adaptable granola recipe is making my January resolution of making time for breakfast much easier to keep. I've called this pecan and blueberry granola but really you can adapt it to whatever you have in your cupboard (just swap the nuts and fruit for whatever you fancy). I always seem to have odd amounts of flaked almonds, hazelnuts, dried fruits and other bits and bobs left over from baking sessions and this is a great way to use them up. 

Pecan & blueberry granola

70g (1/4 cup) agave syrup
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
250g (2 1/2 cups) rolled oats
30g (1/4/ cup) sesame seeds
125g (1 cup) pecans (or any nuts)
30g (1/4 cup) flaked almonds (or any nuts)
100g dried blueberries (or any dried fruit)
50g raisins (or any dried fruit)

Heat the oven to 150C (300F or gas mark 2) and line a large baking tray or two small trays with baking paper. 

Measure the agave syrup, honey, oil, water, sugar, salt and spices into a large saucepan and heat until the sugar has disolved and the mixture is well combined. Turn off the heat and add the oats, seeds and nuts (set the dried fruit aside for later) mixing until well combined.

Bake for around 30 minutes or until golden brown stiring with a wooden spoon half way through the cooking time. 

Set aside to cool before mixing in the dried fruit and storing in a sealed jar. 

Makes about 1.5 litres. 


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