Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Honey, Vanilla & Pistachio Nougat

I've seen a lot of stunning photos of nougat recently and really fancied making my own. My main sources of inspiration were Cherry Tea Cakes recipe that made Foodbuzz's top 9 Toasted Hazelnut Nougat Recipe and also Rachel Allen's Nougat

However, I had a play around and came up with a unique version of my own. I made it in my 8" square silicone bakeware mould. I'll want you now, this is the stickiest stuff you can ever imagine to work with. It's far stickier than marshmallow.... and THAT'S sticky !

I thought I had bought rice paper sheets. Obviously I hadn't - I'd just thought about it at some stage and not actually bothered. Right when I needed them - they were not there. Rice paper sheets would help a lot, believe me. Do oil or butter your silicone mould well to prepare for pouring in the nougat. We don't want pools of oil in the bottom.... you don't need that much.

You will need liquid glucose. Liquid glucose is very very thick and sticky - not unlike golden syrup I suppose - but totally clear and even stickier still. Most supermarkets stock it in 140g tubes, or you can buy it from Boots The Chemist. Do ask for it at Boots though as it is generally not on display. Alternatively, corn syrup is what is used in most American recipes for nougat. I've just found it on Ebay and Amazon in the UK, so if you are struggling for liquid glucose then you will need some corn syrup

You will also need a sugar thermometer. Don't even think of trying this without one - temperature is absolutely critical. Too high and you'll burn the caramel part and too low it'll just never set....


2 egg whites
1.1/2 cups granulated sugar
160ml / 2/3 cup liquid glucose (or corn syrup)
160ml / 2/3 cup runny honey (pale colour if possible)
1 vanilla pod
60ml water
140g > 240g pistachios (I used 140g and added 100g dried cherries)

Scrape the seeds out the vanilla pod and put aside. Put the pod itself and the sugar, liquid glucose, runny honey and water into a large, heavy based saucepan (preferably non stick - you'll appreciate that later !)

Bring these slowly to a rolling boil and keep on the heat until temperature reaches 248  > 250deg F. This will take about 15 > 20 mins.

Just before the syrup mix is ready, whisk the two egg whites to stiff peaks in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Remove syrup from the heat and pour slowly into the egg whites with the mixer going at a medium / high rate. Try and keep the syrup from directly makeing contact with the whisk otherwise this can affect the texture I believe.

The mix will grow like meringue and look shiny. As soon as the syrup is all in, add the nuts and dried fruit should you have chosen to use it and let the mixer combine. You want it to stick to the beaters like a good meringue, but it will be much stickier. Don't let it cool in there too much. You need to work quite wuick with this one !

Use a silicone spatula to scrape into your mould (or prepared tin) and aggitiate (shoogle) it a bit to level.

Allow to cool. You may wish to refrigerate it for a while. Once it has firmed up, you can remove it from your silicone tray mould. If you've used a tin without wafer sheets.... good luck !!!

You can see this was really no big deal to get out the mould.

I dusted top and bottom with some cornflour on demoulding as the stuff sticks to every darn thing and it made it easy to work with when my hands were not welded to it's surface. Still - it made me laugh. I swear if I stuck a piece to the bottom of each shoe, I could have walked upside down on the ceiling !

Saying that, it's dreamy to eat and doesn't stick to your teeth. It's fluffy and light. It's not chompy and teeth gluing like toffee or fly paper when it's in your mouth. It's highly unlikely to pull fillings.

Don't let the stickiness put you off making it. This is the stuff that will help you make friends and influence people. Now I've made it once, I think I'll end up making it again and again. Definately one for the Christmas hampers !

 The harder it is at point of cutting, the easier it is. Had I used wafer sheets top and bottom, I think this job would have been far easier... but the cornflour on top of greasproof paper did a good job.

DO use a sharp knife. This is important.

I started off with an oiled knife...just as you would for toffee.

DO cut right the way through in one go. That knife isn't coming back out once you start cutting !

Don't bother oiling the knife. Run it under the cold water tap and shake off excess. Make a cut. It's far easier with a wet knife I fould than an oiled one. Each row you cut, wash the sticky bits of the knife. Promise....If you forget, you won't for the row after..

Once cut into nice big chunks, wrap each in baking parchment.

I made 3 great big bags (one for posting to Mum and Dad in Scotland, one for Victoria and one to send to my grandmother.) The remains were scoffed by work colleagues who are still alive and well :-)

Enjoy and have fun !

Sarah-Jane Nash -, March 2011

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Customer Creations - What YOU Have All been Making !

I've been meaning to do a CUSTOMER CREATIONS blog post for months and simply have not got round to it. Hopefully now I finally have, you will also find inspiration as I have done from many many fantastic bakers and crafters. Whether novice or expert - we love to see your creations !

The photos above and below show Plum Financier created by Zurin from Cherry on a Cake. Zurin used our 12 sponge finger / finacier silicone bakeware mould. and her beautiful photos made Foodbuzz Top 9. We both share a new-found love for both financiers and friands. If you have never tried these, do search this blog or Zurin's for recipes !

 Ananda from A Pinch of Love made some festive spiced rum cakes (below) just before Christmas. These were made in our 8 cell oval friand bakeware mould. Ananda also produces lots of stunning photography - do check out her blog !

This XXXXL giant jumbo cupcake below was made by Sarah Hughes. No joke - these giant cupcakes are colossal. They're much bigger than any you can find elsewhere and require a 10" mix. It looks really pretty ! Well done Sarah :-)

Claire of made a really pretty cake spelling her name with our ALPHABET SET of Say it With Cake Letter silicone bakeware moulds. I love the little daisies and butterflies ! Check Claire out on facebook too - she posts some lovely pictures on there and her sugarcraft work is lovely.

Jackie Cranmer had some other ideas of how to use our Say It with Cake Letter moulds and made this stunning and massive cake below. I'd never have thought of using them to top cakes with more cakes ! This photo was posted to our Facebook page

Lucky Mark had the word cake below made for him by Nadine Smith - along with two little helpers ! These moulds really are easy and kids love to help decorating them.

Chloe Constantine has been getting creative with the letter and number silicone baking moulds too. Cooking up quite a storm these are ! I bet both Daisy and Ryan loved the birthday cakes she made them :-)

Sara Bear made some Christmas cakes and used the cake letters as toppers. Pretty, unusual and very festive !

The large teddy bear silicone cake mould is a favourite for 1st birthdays in particular. Rupal Bratavia made this cake below for her little girl's first birthday. I believe it was the first cake Rupal ever made too. Well done  - nice job .... icing isn't easy !

Judy Jenner did an AMAZING job with her Pudsey Bear cake below and raised £100 in auction selling it for Children in Need.

Another one from Ananda at Pinch of Love - a jumbo cupcake made for a baby shower. This cake didn't exactly go as planned and Ananda had a few disasters along the way with this one..... but sometimes these things happen when we bake. Her finished cake however looks super. I'd never have known if she hadn't told me !

One Off Designs of Hereford used our 6 semi sphere cake mould to make the clouds in this lovey fairytale castle cake. May every little girl's dreams come true...

Umeko Chanteloupe has been making loads of soaps including the cupcake soaps below with our silicone bakeware moulds, silicone soap moulds and melt and pour soap base. More recently, Umeko has been having a play at making cold process soap. Something I really do mean to get round to trying myself one day.

Chef Dennis of More Than a Mount Full is the chef at an all girls school in the USA. He has the most wonderful blog (do go and visit him !) and feeds his girls like queens. How I wish I could be a pupil ! His photographs are fantastic and he dishes out loads of hints and tips for not only cooking, but photography and success in the world of blogging.

Chef Dennis made some awesome looking Cranberry Crown Muffins with big mushroom like tops with our American style crown muffin mould . I bet those tasted good. Been a while since I made muffins, and they freeze so well it's a shame not to ....

Another style of Crown muffin (or cuffin as it's a healthy version) from Zurin at Cherry on a Cake. Zurin's yummy recipe is here for cranberry and banana muffins with barely any oil / added fat content.

Nadine Smith made my Apple Crumble and Custard muffins with brown standard cupcake / muffin papers in a black 12 hole silicone muffin tray. Don't they look yummy ? Thanks for having a go Nadine and sharing your photos !

Edhouard is an astounding and creative chef and has been making some really terrific looking canneles

These are some chocolates from Antoaneta Anastova who has a sweets factory in Bulgaria. These pretty chocolates were made using the animals chocolate set 1 silicone mold

Victoria Caldecott sent us a photo of her fab double stacked lemon drizzle CAKE cake using our silicone word mould which has been really popular worldwide. That's a really big cake by the way when you stack the letters two high ! Same as a 6 egg victoria sponge mix...

Hilary Norman also did a great job with the same CAKE word mould. It looks really cute with the pastel icing. This was a present for her daughter's future mother-in-law. It certainly made me smile.

Hilary has also been busy with the 6 cell HEARTS mould making these lovely teatime treat cakes

Martine Hagger says : I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying using your moulds! Particularly the 12 portion sponge finger one! So much so, I have just had to order another one from your E-bay store so I can keep my family happy. They are the absolute best for making individual flapjacks for lunch boxes. They need no greasing and release perfectly every time. I have attached a couple of pics of them. These particular ones were white chocolate, coconut & cranberry. (shown below)

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for bringing the fun back to my kitchen with your wonderful moulds!

Ken Law made a sunflower cake using this large sunflower mould in pink. Thanks for sending us your photo - your cake shows off the detail beautifully

oooh - last but not least, (sorry - nearly forgot this one !) Astral De La Mare did a really sticky gooey test on our 12 standard muffin / cupcake mould in hot pink with her Chocolate and marshmallow muffin test... Good test Astral. Glad to hear we lived up to it !

 So many super photos and creations. Many many thanks to you all for sharing them !

Sarah-Jane Nash -, March 2011

Oliver's Golden Mars Bar Crispy Cakes

One of the staff (Megan) that takes Oliver's nursery class was leaving last week for pastures new. A really lovely young girl moving home and job - so some big life changes. 

I suggested to Oliver that he made a card to give her on her leaving day which was Friday just gone. Oliver wanted to make cake too - but given it was the night before and not much before his bed time.... it had to be something quick and easy !

We made these golden mars bar crispie cakes in just a few minutes. The good thing is that they not only taste good, but are no bake too !


5 standard sizes Mars Bars
4.1/2 cups rice crispies
100g butter
1 heaped tablespoon golden syrup (corn syrup would do)

150g bar milk chocolate
tablespoon butter

metallic gold edible dusting powder / sands

Break up  the mars bars and put them in a bowl with the golden syrup and 100g butter. Even a toddler can do this !

Pop it in a microwave in a non metallic bowl. Zap for about 1 minute. Take out, give a stir and then repeat for another minute. Give a really good stir again and zap for a few seconds more if required.

Use a spatula to scrape this into a bigger bowl with 4.1/2 cups of rice krispies / puffed rice. Stir to combine.

Spoon into a buttered 12 finger bar silicone bakeware mould and press down with a finger spatula. You want to fill to within about 3 > 4mm of the top of each cell.

Break up the bar of milk chocolate and melt in the microwave with the tablespoon of butter. Spoon this on top of the mixture in the cells until level with the top and aggitate the mould from side to side a little which will level the chocolate.

Leave to cool and then refrigerate. Once hardened, brush the tops with edible metallic gold powder for a golden shimmery effect.

Ideal for lunchboxes.... and favourite teachers !

Sarah-Jane Nash, - March 2011

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Spanish Omlet

Spanish omlet is an easy and quick meal made from only 3 main ingredients and yet tastes so good .

Serve it hot or cold - as a main meal, picnic food or lunchtime snack. I've made this a few time recently as now the chickens are in full lay, I've got more fresh eggs than I really know what to do with. It's also ideal for small children to eat too given it's not loaded with spices


2 large white onions
500g new potatoes
6 > 7 fresh eggs
salt and pepper to season
some fresh herbs - sage works well
2 cloves of garlic.

In advance, boil 500g of new potatoes - or waxy salad potatoes such as Charlotte or Anya. I like to leave the skins on for added texture. Once cooked, slice into rounds and toss in enough olive oil to coat. Leave to cool.

Cut the onions in half and then thickly slice. Sweat these off in some olive oil with the garlic and chopped sage in a non stick fry pan until they start to carmelise at the edges.

Add the potatoes and fry for just a few minutes. Meantime, break up the eggs in a bowl with a fork. Pour this over the egg and potato mix. Gently crush / squash down protruding potato slices - but don't worry about them too much if not totally covered.

Once it is about 3/4 cooked, gently slide off on to a large dinner plate. Put the fry pan over the top and whilst holding the plate, invert so the uncooked side is face down in the fry pan.

Cook a few minutes more until just done, then slice into wedges and serve with a crisp, fresh salad

Sarah-Jane Nash - - March 2011

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Warm Rummy Sponge Cakes with Clotted Cream & Honey


At Christmas time, I soaked a load of sultanas in rum and also homemade apple brandy for making into Christmas gifts. The original idea was to coat them in chocolate and include them in fudge.

Three full months later, I still had a small size Kilner jar sitting on my kitchen worktop. It was full of very plump sultanas which had been steeping in rum all this time

Finally - they are no more as I used them in these warm rummy sponge cakes. If you want to make this, I'd soak the sultanas in warmed rum for a few hours - or overnight if possible. Thankfully it is not necesary to plan 3 months in advance !


120g caster sugar
120g softened butter
120g self raising flour
100g (approx) of sultanas
100ml of rum / brandy / whisky
2 large eggs

As far ahead as you can, soak your sultanas in the alcohol. For a non alcoholic version, try using earl grey tea or apple juice instead.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Mix in the flour (sifted), followed by the sultanas with the remaining alcohol that has not been absorbed.

Grease a 6 cell extra deep mini victoria sponge mould (we don't current;y have any left - stock due early May) and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Fill the cells with the batter. Sprinkle over an extra teaspoon of sugar (for a crispy, sugary topping) and bake in the oven at approx 160deg for around 20mins until cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 5 mins or so before turning out. If really rather hot still, you may need to carefully run a table knife around the inside edge of the cell to help the hot cake release.

I've served it above with clotted cream, drizzled with local runny honey.

Oliver and I had a super time today. After work, I took him to the fire station !

I'd noticed this morning that there was a big sign out advertising a charity car wash at the fire station and figured not only was my car in desperate need of a clean, but Oliver might like to go along.

It was a beautiful bright and sunny day. There were no other cars there at the time - and at least 10 firemen jumped up to start work on my car ! A couple of them took care of Oliver and made sure he had the time of his life whilst the other decided to talk to me and supervise the rest..

A very excited Oliver got to hold of one of the smaller fire engine hose and had a bit of help in turning it on (just a little bit !).

Meantime, some of the rest of the firemen got on with washing my car. I think there were 5 of them doing mine at this point - some had started another vehicle. Whilst they drowned my car in vast amounts of water and soap suds, Oliver was driving the fire engine and beeping the horn.

After that, he got a sit on a brand new Emergency Search and Rescue speed boat - so new it's never touched the water yet.... and my car got a polish by yet some mroe firemen.

He sang "The horn on the fire engine goes BEEEEEP, BEEEEEEEEP, BEEEEEEEEP" the whole way home in the car afterwards !

In case you are wondering, Oliver got his first hair cut yesterday:-( It's quite sad really - I took him in looking very much a toddler, and he came out looking so grown up and just like a pre-schooler ! There's nothing baby left now...

Sarah-Jane Nash - - silicone bakeware mould specialist cook shop

Monday, 14 March 2011

Chocolate Mud Cake - Three Ways with Silicone !

Well - it's been a busy weekend.

I started baking on the Friday night with just one batch of Chocolate Mud Cake. Lets jut say, one batch went a long long way - and there was more cake than any of us knew what to do with.....

A very very good friend of mine Victoria - got engaged to her long term partner, Maurice last week. I did not get a chance to see Victoria last week as her little girl Emma (Oliver's best friend) had been rather poorly.

Since I have a short work day on a Saturday, I decided to make Victoria and Maurice a pretty cake to take them on Saturday. I just did not realise what an obscene amount of mix the recipe would produce !
There was enough to make the LOVE cake below, 12 standard sized cupcakes plus 6 of the heart shaped ones you see Oliver holding and another 8 in another shape ! I reckon if you were only making cupcakes, this would produce 28 to 30 !

First up was the LOVE cake. I used tempered Belgian chocolate in the SAY IT WITH CAKE alphabet lettersilicone bakeware moulds and poured it in approx 1cm deep. With our letter moulds, you can literally say anything you like in cake. Use them with soap, chocolate, cake, plaster and many other materials. All of our molds are made from food grade silicone.

You'll find if you use these, that they are thinner and more flexible than many other styles in our bakeware range. As the letters can be intricate, this flexibility is required to make release much easier.

Once the chocolate letters were set, I put them aside to use later as toppers for the cake. You can see from this (out of focus) photo that I can literally turn it inside out if I have to.

Having no experience with writing with icing, I then had a go doodling on greaseproof paper with molten chocolate - as suggested by my neighbour. This proved to be not too hard..... so The chocolate letters got "attacked" with doodles too :-)

On to making the cake. Funny stuff this is. I swear - the batter is the consistency of hot chocolate ! I was convinced I'd done something wrong and really did not believe it was going to make a cake .... The batter was so runny, after a nightmare trying to spoon it - I opted to pour into a measuring jug instead.

HONESTLY - it really was that runny !

Chocolate Mud Cake - adapted from here - by Kel11 - as below.

Chocolate Mud Cake

350g dark chocolate pieces
4  tablespoons of cocoa powder
225g butter
600 ml water
3 eggs
400g sugar
400g self raising flour
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 170deg C (fan)

Melt chocolate, butter and water together in a large pot over a low heat stirring until just melted and combined. Remove from heat

Beat the eggs and whisk into the chocolate mixure (chocolate mixure should be only luke warm and not hot enough to cook eggs !)

Add in cocoa, sugar, flour (sifted) and vanilla and combine with the whisk. It'll look really really runny - almost like hot chocoalte. 

Definately pour into a measuring jug before putting into cake moulds. Seemingly, this fills a 9" tin.

Grease and flour moulds well or line with paper (if possible). When cooked, this makes a really moist cake and it's not easy to get out. NOTE - don't use this mix in silicone moulds if you are a beginner. It's not that easy to work with !

I had to cook the letter moulds and cupcakes for about 20mins in the oven until skewer came out clean.

I left them to cool, but these cakes are fragile. I had to shove them in the fridge overnight to firm up. By that time, they didn't want to release from the letter moulds without some persuasion.... though they were pretty easy in the silicone baking cups I used.

I therefore carefully ran a blunt table knife aount the inside of the mould and carefully released. The broke a little tiny bit on the edges on the top. Very little - but the edges were raggy. This really did not matter though as the plan was to put some chocolate buttercream on top and then solid chocolate toppers.

There was so much mix there, that I made 12 standard sized cupcakes as well as the LOVE cake and still had a load more mix left. These little mini chocolate / tablet bars are a new chocolate mould form. THey make lovely little chocolates and ultra-cute toppers too !

You can see how easy they are to release in the video clip. Excuse the video - I was filming with one hand and releasing chocolates with the other !

The chocolate skulls were made in another new chocolate mould.... and my cupcakes are in a 12 standard muffin / cupcake mould in hot pink. We also do a good selection of cupcake paper liners. My chocolate buttercream did 12 cupcakes with loads of frosting and 6 of Oliver's heart shaped cupcakes which were in silicone baking cups, plus another 10 round ones !

Frosting Recipe

115g soft butter (I use salted)
3.1/2 cups sifted icing / confectioners sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup maltesers hot chocolate type drink
1/4 cup milk

Basically, add the whole lot together, combine and mix with a stand mizer if you have one for 5 > 10 mins at a medium speed.

This made a rich and decadent chocolately frosting....

All the frosted cupcakes went to work on Saturday. Most of the ones in Oliver's cases went to a friend (apart from the purple ones with sprinkles which were ALL for Oliver ! Cake monkey he is....)

Time to do some run around after work on Saturday. We went and saw the ponies. You can see Creme here on the left, followed by Cocoa (Oliver's miniature donkey) and Digger our cob foal who has just turned 2 months old. Digger is the big one at the front - he's growing fast !

I then collected Oliver's best friend Emma and took the two of them for an afternoon out at Bewilderwood. Oliver's favourite place.

Starts with a boat ride across the marshes to get into the tree top climbs and tree houses.

That's one way to use up those calories from eating chocolate cake !
Sorry this is such a long post - I think I got a bit carried away ....

Sarrah-Jane Nash -  - March 2011