Eton Mess Cake

This recipe is courtesy of the BBC Good Food website which I picked as I had some end of life strawberries to use up and was perfect for afternoon tea with the family when they recently visited.

What you need:

225g plain flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
200g golden caster sugar
175g unsalted butter
5 tbsp double cream
1 tsp vanilla
5 large eggs
400g strawberries – ½ roughly chopped, ½ finely sliced
4 meringues nests (roughly broken up)
Sprinkle of icing sugar, to serve

What you do:

  1. Grease and line a deep traybake tin (ideally 20x30cm, although mine isn’t quite that).  Heat your oven to 160°c.
  2. Melt the butter then take off the heat and stir in the cream and the vanilla.
  3. Mix the flour, almonds, baking powder and ¼ tsp fine salt and set aside.
  4. Put the caster sugar and eggs into a large bowl, and whisk with electric whisk until very thick and foamy, this takes about 5-6 mins.
  5. Pour in the butter mix, whisk, then add the flour mix and whisk briefly again until mixed.
  6. Stir in the chopped strawberries, then pour the batter into the tin and level the top.
  7. Sprinkle the sliced strawberries and meringue over the cake.
  8. Bake for 40-45 mins until risen and a skewer comes out clean.  I did end up increasing my oven’s heat to 180°c for the final 15 mins as it wasn’t baking or rising.
  9. Cool for 20 mins in the tin, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. Serve with a sprinkle of icing sugar if required.

There’s nothing particularly healthy or reduced anything about this recipe so I had a day off from the dieting plan!

Until next time….happy baking!

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Baked Waffles #Recipe

Last weekend I stayed with a friend who is following the Slimming World weight loss plan (wow… the other side) and she introduced me to baked waffles…yum yum yummity yum!  So I got myself a waffle mould from Ebay for the bargain price of £1.69 and here’s what you do!

What you need:

40g porridge oats
1 egg
2 tsp Canderel sweetener
3 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt or Quark
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
Fresh fruit to accompany
Syrup of your choice

What you do:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°c
  • Blend the oats using a food processor until fine
  • Add the sugar, egg, vanilla and yoghurt/Quark (if using Quark, add a little water to make a more runny consistency).  I mixed using an electric whisk but you can just use a spoon
  • Mix together and spoon into waffle mould that has been sprayed with a little Fry-Light
  • Bake for approx. 15-20 minutes
  • Serve with yoghurt, syrup and fruit as desired

These made a really lovely treat for a weekend breakfast, ideal for when you have the extra time for the prep and baking.  They reminded me of French Toast and are very filling.

As I’m still following the Weight Watchers plan I calculated these to be 7 Smart Points per serving, not including any syrup or yoghurt topping.  I tend to play the system and use just under any amount that will mean I need to count it 😉 I believe these are Syn free on the Slimming World plan excluding any additional syrup you add…enjoy!

Until next time Happy Baking!

#Recipe – Apple & Cranberry Traybake

So, who’s watching the new series of the Great British Bake Off then? Me, me, me! I admit, I miss Mary in particular but I’m not bothered who’s presenting it as long as it’s on the tele, ok the adverts are a pain but does anyone watch live tv anymore? That’s why we have recorders (or whatever they’re called).  Anyway, this week was fruity cake week and they were warned that they’re hard to get right.  And oh weren’t they right.

I was given a windfall of fruit this week, mostly apples and rhubarb so then went scouring the Weight Watchers site for a suitable recipe (because I’m still on that diet..sorry lifestyle change) or something that I could adapt and therein lay the problem – I thought I could adapt an established recipe and get away with it and so , I could have named this post several titles: Recipe for Disaster, When Things Don’t Go To Plan, How to Waste Time and Food or Disaster Baking to name but a few.

If you’re interested this is the recipe:

You need:
50g caster sugar
100g low fat spread (I used Flora light)
1 medium egg
250g apple sauce (chunky, from a jar)
150g white self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp level ground cinnamon
40g dried cranberries
2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to gas 4 or fan 160°c.  Line a rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Keep back 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar for topping the cake later, beat the remainder with the low fat spread until creamy.
  • Add the egg and the apple sauce and beat again.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Stir in the cranberries, then turn into the prepared tin.
  • Arrange the apples on top in four rows.  Sprinkle on the reserved sugar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes .
  • Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack and cut into 16 squares.

Now, I had so many apples and was looking for a way to reduce the calories so I thought hey I’ll make my own apple sauce! Good hey! I used about 8 apples of varying sizes and types, peeled, cored and sliced into chunks, put them in a saucepan with about 1/4 pint water and 50g caster sugar, boiled, then simmered until the apples were mushy.  This was a success! Yummy apple sauce.

The cake was a disaster!

I substituted the jarred apple sauce for my own, ensuring all excess water was drained off and swapped the cranberries for a bit of rhubarb.  Sounds ok doesn’t it? Nothing too dramatic going on here!

What I wanted

What I Got

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cake didn’t rise, it took over an hour to ‘bake’ (after I’d taken it out and then put it back in) and it looked vile.  I did try a bit and whilst it was edible I wasn’t prepared to serve it up to my work colleagues.

So what went wrong?

The oven probably needed to be at a higher temperature other than that I don’t know.

So let’s hope for something better next time….

Fatless Victoria Sponge #Recipe

Continuing my baking theme of trying to find healthier baking alternatives, here’s a fatless Victoria sponge recipe that I’ve tried and tested recently and served up for my book club.  It was touch and go whether or not the middle of the cake would be edible and I did make a quick trip to the shop for emergency cake just in case!

What you need:

150g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract*
No added sugar strawberry jam
Strawberries*
1 tsp icing sugar to decorate
Frylight (or alternative low calorie cooking spray) for greasing

*optional extras

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 170°c.  Using Frylight grease and line 2 x 7″ baking tins with greaseproof paper.
  • Using the whisk attachment on a free-standing mixer whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture has tripled in size.  This does take a good 7-10 minutes – keep going, it does happen!
  • Carefully fold in the flour with a metal spoon – try to knock out as little air as possible to ensure a good rise.  However, be aware that although you think you’re mixing the flour in, it will also sink to the bottom so be sure to mix to the bottom of the bowl!  This happened to me and I had to mix in the flour in the baking tin – oops!
  • Divide the mixture between the 2 prepared tins.
  • Bake for approximately 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack.
  • Spread one sponge with the jam, add the strawberries if required.
  • Put the other sponge on top and sprinkle with icing sugar to decorate.

Results

Fortunately there was only one pocket of flour discovered in the cake so that was better than I expected and I didn’t need the emergency cake supplies after all.  As the cake is so light it will take on the shape of whatever you put in so mine wasn’t a perfect circular shape due to the greaseproof paper folding in slightly.

If you’re following the Weight Watchers plan, as am I, then I managed to get 9 pieces from this cake and pointed it at 8 points per slice.  A shop bought slice of Victoria Sponge ranges between 6 and 30 SmartPoints depending on shop and portion size so I’m quite happy with this at 8 points as it was a good sized piece and no sacrifice made in terms of taste.

I’m struggling to find a fat and sugar free sponge recipe so if anyone has one please do let me know.

Until next time…Happy Baking!

The Bluebell Informant – Guest #Recipe Post by Nick Tingley

Today I’m mixing 2 of my favourite things; books and baking and I’m delighted to welcome Nick Tingley to Bookboodle to share with us his recipe for Maple and Almond Cookies  which features in his novel The Bluebell Informant.  Without further ado, onto Nick to give us a little insight into his character Evelyn’s hobby!  Do read on for cookie recipes, info on the book and where to download for free!

NICK SAYS..

The tiniest details are what makes a truly engaging character. This is particularly true of the main character of my debut crime novel, The Bluebell Informant – Detective Sergeant Evelyn Giles.

It took me a while to realise that Giles was a baker, but when I did it, everything else made total sense. This is a detective who is brilliant and intelligent, moral and incorruptible, and willing to go the extra mile to solve whatever case is put in front of her. So it made sense to me that she would have a hobby that she pursued with the same unshakeable determination – that hobby is baking.

Although we only see Giles baking for a few moments in the opening chapter of The Bluebell Informant (after all, she can’t take a break from fleeing across the countryside with an important witness to stop and whip up a couple of flapjacks, can she?), it is one of the few moments that I feel we see Giles at her happiest.

And it was during my research for Giles that I accidentally created a recipe for some great, chewy, maple and almond cookies (that’s right, I used book research as an excuse to make cookies)! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did “researching” them…

What you will need:

These amounts will make somewhere around three-dozen cookies, depending on how much almond you’d like in the mixture, although they are perfectly good without.

190g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 medium egg
100g margarine
220g dark soft sugar
125ml maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
35g chopped or flaked almonds
50g desiccated coconut

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/ Gas Mark 5 and prepare your baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Grab a mixing bowl and cream the margarine and sugar together until it looks airy.
  3. Then beat in the egg, syrup and vanilla extract until it’s all mixed nicely together.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together and then add it little-by-little to the creamed mixture, giving it a good stir after each addition.
  5. Once all the flour has been added, add the desiccated coconut and almonds. At this point, you can alter the recipe to suit your taste. If you want your cookies to be less chewy, replace the coconut with another 40g of almonds instead – likewise if you don’t want almonds, replace that with an additional 25g of desiccated coconut.
  6. Spoon the mixture on to the baking tray with a tablespoon so that each cookie is roughly 5cm apart.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes and leave on a wire rack to cool.

And that’s it. The whole batch should take about half an hour to make. Have a try yourself and let me know what you think.

Maybe you could bake a batch and enjoy them whilst reading The Bluebell Informant – it’s free to download, so you really have nothing to lose.

You can connect with Nick via his website, Twitter or Facebook

Download The Bluebell Informant for FREE at » Amazon «

About the book

How do you catch a killer who is already dead?

One year ago, the Bluebell Killer killed his last victim. He was shot and killed, leaving behind a legacy of twenty corpses and a name that people will fear for years to come…

A year later, a man is shot in the back of the head and left in a field of bluebells.
Is it a mugging gone wrong? A copycat killer? Or is the Bluebell Killer still out there, waiting to pounce on his next victim?

For DS Evelyn Giles the solution is simple – it’s just another dirty politician caught committing an unforgiveable crime. But with the evidence stacking up against him, Giles’ suspect has one more surprise in store for her…
And his words will throw everything she knows into question…

‘It’s not over yet.’

The past is coming back to haunt DS Giles. She’s already sacrificed much for the lie. The only question is how much more will she suffer for the truth?

Thanks again to Nick for sharing his baking expertise and insight into his character Evelyn Giles.  I’ve downloaded my copy of The Bluebell Informant and look forward to trying the biscuit recipe also!