21 August 2014

Millionaires' Shortbread - Bake Off Challenge Week 2



Week 2 of the Bake Off challenge was biscuits. I've always wanted to make Millionaires shortbread so this was the week to give it a go! 


It's not the most straight forward of recipes to make with lots of steps and lots of waiting, but it's  oh so worth it when you take that first bite. The crunch of the buttery shortbread with the creamy chew fudge and the hint of chocolate make for a perfect combination.

From BBC Good Food
You will need:     
For the shortbread:                             
250g plain flour
75g caster sugar
175g butter, softened


For the caramel:          
100g butter or margarine
100g light muscavado sugar            
2 x 397g cans condensed milk 


For the topping:
200g milk chocolate, broken into pieces


Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 13 x 9inch (33x23cm) Swiss roll tin.

To make the shortbread, mix the flour and caster sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs then knead until it forms a dough. Press into the base of the prepared tin and prick the shortbread lightly with a fork. Bake for about 20 minutes until very lightly browned. Cool in the tin.

To make the caramel, measure the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently. Stir continuously for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly and has developed a deeper colour. Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool.

For the topping, melt the chocolate. Pour over the caramel and leave to set. Cut into squares and enjoy!



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This is definitely something I would make again. It was great to make the caramel from scratch, the key is to stir it at all times and keep an eye on the heat.

How are you enjoying the bake off so far? I absolutely love Norman (loved the exotic pesto remark!) and I have really liked Kate's bakes so far. Next week is bread week which I am fairly nervous about. It's safe to say I am not the best at baking bread! Watch this space...


Gemma xXx

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19 August 2014

Simple Summer Couscous

Over the weekend we made the most the last few weeks of Summer. It isn't necessarily my favourite season but we try and make the most of sitting outdoors in the sunshine whilst eating some good food...now that is something I do love!


Saturdays lunch was absolutely delicious and fairly healthy if I do say so myself. Couscous is one of my favourites for lunch so the Giant Couscous that Sainsbury's are selling was a must try for me! 





Simply cook the Couscous as per instructions. Once it has cooled mix in a 2 Tbsp of Pesto along with a chopped pepper, halved cherry tomatoes, spring onions and crumbled feta. Let the flavours mingle in the fridge for a few hours before serving.


Along with this scrummy lunch we also had a glass of Summer fruit punch. It was fresh & extra fruity as we added lots of mixes berries : )




How are you making the most of the last weeks of summer? I can definitely feel a slight chill in the air now, Autumn will be here in no time!

Gemma xXx

Disclosure: Sainsbury's kindly sent me the couscous and drink to try along with a voucher to get some extra ingredients. As always all opinions are my own.

11 August 2014

Bake Off Challenge - Week 1


So what did you think of the Bake off? I absolutely loved it! It really is my 'happy' show, as long as I have a big mug of tea and a cosy seat to watch it in I am one happy girl. So far I really like Martha, Nancy, Kate and Norman. Their bakes looked amazing!

As I mentioned last week I am planning on having my own little Bake Off challenge each week. I'm hoping it will expand my baking skills and it is always fun tasting new bakes! This week I decided to make Mary Berry's Cherry Cake which was the technical challenge. 




Adapted from BBC Food

For the cake:
  • 200g  glacĂ© cherries
  • 275g  self-raising flour
  • 175g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g  caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 23cm/9in bundt tin (alternatively use a 20cm/8in round cake tin)

For the icing:
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 5 glacĂ© cherries, quartered

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. and lightly grease your tin.

  • Cut the cherries into quarters (Set aside five of the quartered cherries for the decoration later), and put the rest of the quartered cherries in a sieve and rinse under running water. Dry with kitchen towel and toss in two tablespoons of the flour. Set aside.
  • Mix the remaining cake ingredients together, ensuring it is well incorporated. Lightly fold in the cherries. Turn into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes before turning it out.
  • Once the cake has cooled, make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice together until you have a thick paste. Drizzle over the cake and top with the reserved cherries. Serve with a mug of tea and coffee. 
  • Perfection!
  • -----------------------
  • I really had loved making this cake, using a bundt tin definitely adds a little more interest to the style of cake compared to a normal tin. This week on the Great British Bake Off is biscuit week, so check back soon to see what I baked!

Gemma x

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5 August 2014

Bake!


This week is going to be very busy for me but the thought of The Great British Bake off starting again is going to get me through it. I don't know about you but it is one of my favourite shows. I love it for the baking *of course* but it's just so relaxing and funny to watch...even Ian loves it!


Image Via BBC


This year I'm going to challenge myself by baking something from the show each week. So if the theme is bread i'll be baking bread, if it's biscuits i'll be baking biscuits and so on. I'm really excited to try new recipes, expand my baking knowledge and best of all taste all the yummy bakes (I must remember to share!). I'll be blogging all about this yummy challenge each week so watch this space : )


Image Via Google


If you love the Bake Off then something you should definitely look into is The Cake And Bake Show! I went last year and it was so much fun. From exhibitions, demonstrations and classes to market stalls and food galore there is something for everyone. There is even a chance of spotting contestants from the Bake Off (past and present!). Last year I was lucky enough to bump into some of the contestants and embarassed myself by asking for a photo (You can read all about that here). If you love to be in the Kitchen then I highly recommend that you go. Tickets are on sale now.

Do you love #GBBO? Have you been to the Cake And Bake Show before? Let me know!

Gemma xXx

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