Sunday 28 February 2010

Sweet Potato Bundt / Pound Cake with Orange Glaze

Sounds rather odd - doesn't it ?

Well - I wanted to make a bundt cake to take to work on Saturday. Apart from making a banana monkey bread recently - I haven't used my bundt moulds in aaaaages.

I looked on and this one had one of the highest ratings and an astonishing amount of reviews. Over 100 actually...... so I thought I'd give it a go.

It turned out a really really nice cake. I think it would work equally as well substituting the sweet potato with butternut squash, pumpkin or even apple. I've deviated from the recipe a bit and replaced the butter with sunflower oil and doubled the spices.

The glaze really is needed. You put it on when the cake it still warm and it sort of melts and drapes over the top. It also seeps in the bottom. This was eaten the day after the photos. There was easily enough for 14+ servings - it's a massive cake. The remains cut off the top to level before turning out were gobbled up by our turkey and chickens in the garden.

The leftovers have been dropped in to neighbours. I'm rather glad there isn't any sitting around here - it's so nice I'd HAVE to eat it !!!


1 cup sunflower oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups of cooked and mashed sweet potato
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups self raising flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt


1 cup icing sugar
enough orange juice to make a paste
1 > 2 tablespoons organge zest

Preheat oven to 350 deg F / 175 deg C. Grease a 10" silicone tube / bundt pan.

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, put in oil and sugar, sweet potatoes and vanilla. Beat to combine. Add eggs and beat in one at a time.

Add flour to above mixture and beat to combine at low speed. When taking beater out of bowl, make sure it's totally stopped rotating first - otherwise you'll spend the hour that the cake is in the oven cleaning the fridge, walls, washing machine.... you get the idea !!

Pour into the bundt / tube pan and bake in oven for 1hour or until skewer comes out clean. Allow cake to cook in pan for 20 minutes before leveling and turning out.

In photo directly above this text to the left, the cake was red hot - straight out the oven. Far too early to turn out - but you can see how the silicone is just peeling away.

Spoon glaze over the top - it'll melt as the cake is still slightly warm and run down the sides.

There was PLENTY of mix. I think I had about a cupcake's worth that I didn't put in. I could possibly have made 6 cupcakes if I hadn't put all the mix in - as the chickens sure got a lot of cake !

For the best Sausages - Try Pickerings of Norfolk

Pickerings of Norfolk have a shop in Norwich and a stand in the centre of the city at Norwich Market.

They have a huge range of sausages available, made from local meat. Their website is pretty good - but appears to be rather out of date - I don't think it's been updated for a good couple of years.

They also do various meat dishes made to be oven ready.

I was up in Norwich yesterday, and popped in to buy some sausages. If you buy 2lb, the 3rd lb is free. They'll happily mix and match sausage types. We really like their wild duck sausages which are quite strong flavoured and gamey. Unfortunately, those were sold out by the time I go there yesterday - but I did buy some Mexican Chilli Sausages, Barnsley Black Pudding Sausages (pork and black pudding), Pork, Cracked Black Pepper, Chilli and Garlic, and finally some Red Onion and Cheddar Sausages.

Obviously - for two people that's a LOT of sausages - but many will go into the freezer. I'm intending making a casserole with the deep red and spicy mexican sausages - which are thin chipolata style. I've made a stack of homemade sausage rolls today. Steve can have one for his late lunch when he comes back from working on the car - it'll only take 10mins (if that) from raw in the halogen cooker. Most of the sasuage rolls can go in the freezer too.

Honestly - if you've never made sausage rolls before - DO have a go. It's so easy and far far nicer than shop bought. The picture above are those made today - BEFORE cooking !

I had a Barnsley Black Sausage in a sandwich for breakfast - with a fresh egg laid by Tikka this morning :-)

You can't beat really fresh eggs as any Omleteer will tell you !

There is also a general butcher directly oppositve Pickerings in the market. I got a nice bit of belly pork which I intend to roast. Locally reared meat from them too - and a good selection of game at very reasonable prices at this time of year.

Friday 26 February 2010

Raspberry Cheesecakes - no bake

Ok - so ..... the TRUTH.

These turned out a total disaster !

 I've made no bake cheesecake a dozen times before - using various recipes and have never ever had a flop until now.

I really fancied making a batch of mini cheesecakes earlier this week and decided I'd use the left over mix to make some single portion sized heart shaped cheesecakes. They always release so nicely from the silicone moulds.

The recipe I was using is one I've used without problems before - from the Carnation website. However, I didn't have enough cream cheese to do the recipe - so decided to do a bit of re-jigging. It didn't go to plan ....

The mix was far too runny. I'd put in less cream cheese and a bit less condensed milk - but I'd added a stack of raspberries instead of the lemon juice and didn't really know what the volume was.

At this point, I could easily have rescued it had my brain been in the right gear by adding some gelatine. However - I think it was in reverse :-S

Instead, I added some double cream to the mix and whipped it up a bit. It seemed the same - maybe even more loose. Still - a few hours in the fridge might sort it. Nope - 24 hours and almost as runny as it went in :-(

The only solution was to freeze it to get it out of the siliconevmoulds nicely. It looks lovely - but is my biggest disaster to date. We did TRY to eat it - but it didn't work part / totally frozen and really was only fit for the bin.

For this reason - there is no recipe on this post. Stick to the original - that one works. Hahaha !

Good Food magazine have a nice looking no bake chocolate cheesecake recipe this month and there are stacks on the Good Food website and UKTV food. My favourite no-bake cheesecake recipe is a chocolate and Dulche-De-Leche one. I'll need to dig the recipe out for that next time and make sure I've got the ingredients in advance. Duh....

Spiced Pineapple Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting & Toasted Coconut

Make them as muffins - or frost them as cupcakes. However you prefer them, you'll find these lightly spiced pineapple cakes ever so moist and tasty.

I make these in my 12 hole silicone muffin / cupcake tray and the mix generally makes the full 12 muffins / cupcakes. As I normally ice them, I've lined the silicone bakeware mould with paper muffin cases. However, if serving as breakfast muffins or uniced in lunchboxes, there is no requirement for liners. I'd suggest buttering / greasing inside the cells of new moulds for at least the first few times making cakes.


300g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
120g caster sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup / 250 > 280ml crushed pineapple (juice squeezed out)
100ml milk
1 egg
140ml pineapple juice (reserved from tin)
Preheat oven to 180deg C fan

I start with a measuring jug and measure oil and milk and juice together, then add the egg and mix with a fork.

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the pineapple and wet ingredients. Mix with wooden spoon until only just combined.

Put batter into buttered silicone muffin tray - or tray / tin of your choice lined with paper cases.

Bake for 20mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before turning out or frosting

Sarah-Jane, Feb 2010 -

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I can just imagine a gaggle of little girls at a birthday party in the sunshine cooing over ice cream cone cupcakes. The ones in the photo above have strawberry flavour cream cheese frosting - but you could use any type of frosting, ice cream or even whipped fresh cream.

The good thing about ice cream cone cupcakes is that they'll last longer in the sunshine ! Once the frosting has set, they seem remarkable portable to take on a picnic.

I've been playing with an adapted recipe from Katiecakes in several different ways. You'll find the chocolate cake recipe I've been using below.

Poured into the 11 cell mini cheesecake mould, I made some little sponges. The sponges are slightly bigger in diameter and much deeper than they would be if made in mini muffin trays. The edges taper slightly to the 11 cell mini cheesecake / cupcake mould - but much less so ... or at least more graduated than in a mini muffin tray.

The cakes made in this mould were a perfect fit into Askey's Ice Cream Cone Cups. I filled the little space left at the bottom with Nutella chocolate spread - but I reckon Marshmallow Fluff would be as good (if not better) for that purpose. Saying that - I haven't seen Marshmallow Fluff in a LONG time. Asda in Norwich used to stock it many moons ago.

Chocolate Cake Mix

Makes 9 > 10 standard cupcakes or approx 40 mini muffins or 33 little sponges from 11 cell cheesecake / mini cupcake mould

1 cup milk
3/4 cup of caster sugar (tho granulated works ok !)
1/3 cup mild olive oil / sunflower oil
2 x teaspoon cider vinegar
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Add wet to dry ingredients. Mix with electric beaters until no lumps remain. Bake at 180deg until skewer comes ou clean - approx 20mins for cupcakes, 8 mins for mini muffins and mini cakelets, 10 mins for the mini cheesecake mould

Halogen Oven Recipes - Garlic Toasts

I made Lasagne yesterday in my silicone lasagne baking tray, and really wanted something extra to go along with it.

We had some left over French baguette from the day before - and it's never so nice as day it is made fresh.
I decided to slice this up into approx 5mm thick rounds. I already had some garlic infused olive oil in the cupboard, so lightly brushed both sides of each piece with the oil using a pastry brush.

Whilst I was doing that, I preheated the halogen cooker to maximum temperature with the high grill in.These literally went on the top rack for about 3 minutes on each side. Don't forget to take the halogen cooker lid off when you are done to let them cool.
They were subtle and had a lovely crunch. I bet they'd be even better with sprinkle of Maldon sea salt as well as the olive oil before toasting. That's the only thing I feel was missing.

Our Halogen ovens are due to arrive back into stock in early May. This time, they will come complete with a full range of accessories - including high rack, low rack, steamer, baking tray, toast rack (for 10 slices), set of skewers, extension ring and lid stand ! Keep an eye on the new website - we'll update everyone who is waiting on stock arriving by email as soon as they get here :-)

Sarah-Jane - February 2010

Monday 22 February 2010

Sugar Cookies - Blossom Sugar Art

I recently bought a few cookie cutters - an aeroplane, helicopter, space shuttle and a teapot. I've got a toddler that I can use as a good excuse to make cookies. Maybe getting creative with sugar cookies is one way to becoming a Yummy Mummy !

One of Oliver's little friends (Max) was one year old last week.

Happy Birthday Max !

It was Max's birthday tea on Friday, so I thought I'd try out making sugar cookies for the first time. I'm notoriously useless with icing - unless you can slather it on with a spatula. PLEASE don't give me a piping bag unless you want to see a major disaster..

Anyway, I found this super website

They've got a very useful 7 part tutorial email all about making and icing sugar cookies. It's very step by step, along with photos - incredibly useful.

I decided I'd have a go, and made my sugar cookies this morning. Baked them on silicone baking tray liners in my fan oven as per the instructions.  Expecting a sticky disaster, I attempted icing them this evening.

Well - I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I did have to add a little more water to the icing mix than instructed - but other than that.... it really was pretty easy. I managed with a paper icing bag to make a "1" on the space shuttles and helicopters. Much more than that would certainley have been a disaster - as my paper piping bag was disintigrating !

With the extra cookie dough, I cut out and iced a few teapots. I'm intending to box those up in a handmade box and send them in the post as a little present. I'd love to do some fancy icing bits on top - but I did have a go and made a right cod's ear of that. Still - it tasted nice !

Sarah-Jane, - February 2010

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Apple & Pecan Streusel Pie - Mmmmm !

My blog is feeling a little neglected the last few days. I've simply not had time to update.

Oliver has been a rather poorly little tot. We spent Sunday evening waiting in A & E as he'd been very ill all day - that's four hospital trips and one stay-in in the course of 3 weeks.

I made a few things over the course of last week - including this Apple Struesel Pie in our 10" round silicone cake tin mould
I took it with us to my mother-in-laws and cooked it there for tea. It certainley smelt divine and looked gorgeous. I got as far as flinging a bit on a plate for a quick photo shoot before running off to hospital (yet again) with Oliver. Unfortunately, I therefore never got to eat any - though the in-laws assure me it tastes as good as it looks.
I'll need to make it again to find out !
1 pack dessert pastry (premade) - or make a 500g batch of homemade
6 medium / large sized bramley apples
100 grams caster sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
125 grams plain flour
75 grams rolled oats
50 grams roughly chopped pecans
100 grams butter
180g dark brown soft sugar
Roll out the pastry to line the 10" round cake tin - plus come up the sides about 3/4" / 20mm. I didn't grease the mould nor did I paper line it. The pastry is simply put in the mould. If using a traditional tin, you may choose to line it with baking parchment or greasproof paper.
To make the streusel topping, combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, soft brown sugar, pecans and oats. Melt the butter and add it the dry ingredients, mixing with your hands to combine. You want it really quite lumpy - not fine.
Peel the apples and chop into approx 1cm dice. I cooked these with the caster sugar and the rest of the spices on a medium to low heat in a pan (unlidded) for about 7 minutes until slightly softened.
Put these on top of the pastry in the round silicon cake mold in an even layer

Add the streusel topping, then put into a preheated oven at approx 180deg C fan for about 40 minutes.
After removing from the oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Place a plate or tray on top of the mould, and turn the whole lot upside down to release. You'll then need a serving plate / tray to put on top (the bottom) to turn it the right way up as the base should be soft and not crispy - and will therefore be quite fragile.
Serve on it's own - hot or cold - or accompany with ice cream / custard for dessert

Thursday 11 February 2010

Hot Chocolate & Coffee Swizzlers / Dippers

We got a super new fluted silicone bakeware mould in recently which is fantastic for chocolates or tiny canneles. You can see it here - 18 fluted chocolate mould
I've been having a play with setting chocolate and whilst semi set, pushing in a wooden stirrer. After un-moulding - these would be fab then dippped partially into white chocolate and rolled in crystalised sugar. Very pretty - and so tasty swirled into hot chocolate or coffee.
I think I need to get hold of some florists cellophane - a few of these wrapped up in cellophane and ribbon would make a lovely little gift.

It Certainley Isn't Pretty...

BUT - this cupcake was iced by my 15month old in nursery class yesterday !

To be honest, I wouldn't even have considered doing this sort of thing with him at such an early age ..... Never ceases to amaze me some of the things he gets up to in nursery.

Oliver came home wearing more icing on his head and sleeves than was on his cake. That's what I call hair gel with a difference !

Never mind - Oliver certainley enjoyed it for his tea :-)

Monday 8 February 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes - Vegan V Martha Stewart

Katie of Katiecakes has posted a couple of really interesting chocolate cup cake recipes over the last week or two.

I've had no luck until now with chocolate cup cakes - they seem to end up dry and sawdust like....

In the quest for edible chocolate cupcakes, I decided to try both of Katie's recipes on the same day. I'm pleased to report that both were a real success.

A friend and I had a cupcake tasting session over a coffee and the rest went into work on Saturday morning for staff and customers to enjoy.

The vegan recipe produced 9 cakes which were cooked in paper muffin liners and 12 hole silicone muffin trays, the Martha Stewart recipe produced 18 - cooked in the same way. I did substitute the soya milk in the vegan cupcakes for semi-skimmed... so mine weren't actually vegan !

The vegan cupcake was a lighter colour compared to the Martha Stewart one bowl chocolate cake.

Both cupcakes had lovely, smooth and glossy tops. Both were moist and very tasty. It was actually hard to choose the winning favourite between the two.

However, the Martha Stewart one did come out tops - with a much deeper colour and a little more depth in flavour and therefore the winner.

Saying that - if I didn't have any eggs and wanted to make cupcakes, I'd have NO hesitation in baking up a batch of the vegan recipe. The vegan recipe can be found on Katiecakes and the Martha Stewart one via this link.

Halogen Oven Recipe - Baked Apples

Baked Apples - so simple, so easy - and now also very very quick.


1 x medium sized Bramley or large size dessert apple per person.
soft brown or soft ligh brown sugar
raisins or other dried fruit
pecan nuts (optional)
1 x teaspoon butter (or two - per apple)

Leave the apple whole, but cut out the core. This is easier (but not essential) if you have an apple corer. Remove 1/3 of the peel from around the top of the apple. Also, score the skin round the middle of the apple. This helps prevent splitting as the apple cooks.
Next, put some raisins or other dried fruit in the bottom of the cored apple, Sprinkle in some cinnamon. Add a teaspoon of the sugar, some cinnamon, more raisins and nuts if desired.
Top with a teaspoon of butter. These are now ready to go in the halogen oven at 180deg for 10 > 15mins. Preheating is not required.
For conventional ovens, cooking time will be 35 > 45 mins.
Put the low grill in the oven and place the apples in baking tray on top. Add one tablespoon of water for each apple to the tray. This will make a sauce as the butter and juices are released.

Serve hot, drizzled with the baking juices and a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Thursday 4 February 2010

Chocolate Cake Bombes With Toffee and Pecans

Doesn't this look TOTALLY scrumptious ?
It's chocolate cake made in our 6 semi sphere silicone bakeware mould. The cake was then drizzled with toffee sauce and there are pecans halves set together with caramel. I'll put the chocolate cake recipe and photos on tomorrow under the recipe section. However, I was a little disappointed as it was a bit dry.
Does anyone have a really good, really moist chocolate cake recipe.... PLEASE ???? If there is a good one out there and you let me have it on here - I'll happily send a couple of silicone bakeware / soap moulds free of charge :-)

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Banana and Cinnamon Monkey Bread

A moreish sticky treat. I haven't worked out the calories and have no intention of doing so. There's no point - my maths isn't good enough to deal with than many numbers ! I'm sure this is absolutely tops of bad calorie charts.... Well - maybe not... it DOES have banana in it .. !?!
We've got a new, black silicone bundt mould just come in as part of our Daily Use Range. It's actually just the same as the blue one we already do - but a more practical colour to blend in with traditional bakeware. What better excuse to make a new treat. I took it to work yesterday, and it's life was short lived. Staff and customers soon ripped it to shreds, devouring and savouring every gooey cinnamon mouthful.
I'd seen recipes for Monkey Bread before - but never had a go. It seems to be a popular American treat and most make it with a premade dough stuff that you buy from the supermarket chiller cabinet... I don't think you can get that here in the UK, and I can't believe it's anywhere as good as a fresh homemade dough without preservatives.
Weird name - but it seems to be because you pick and pull at the balls of dough just like a monkey would. It's like a kind of tear and share bread
So - I had a go myself and created the recipe below. It's kinda like Cinnabon - but 100x better
INGREDIENTS - for the dough
500g strong bread flour
1.1/2 teaspoons sale
1 sachet of fast (breadmaker) yeast
200g (peeled weight) mashed bananas
2 tablespoons of sugar
50g of melted butter
250ml lukewarm water
For the coating
1 cup soft light brown sugar
1 cup soft brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
125g butter - melted
Basically, put all dough ingredients in a big bowl and bring together with a fork. Turn out and knead until Gluten develops and the dough becomes silky.
As you can see from the photo below, this is a really sticky dough and a bit on the wet side. My pastry cutter from Lakeland is a god-send for sticky doughs like this as it makes it easy to scrape it back up off the work tops and get into a ball. If you really struggle with it, you could add a bit more flour... but it IS a loose dough. Alternatively, make it in a mixer with a dough hook if you have one

Once the dough is well kneaded and very pliable, put it back in the bowl and cover with clingfilm until doubled in size.

When the dough has risen, knock it back and roll it out. I cut mine into strips and then into small cubes - about 3/4" and rolled into balls.
Dunk each ball into the melted butter and then roll in the sugar and spice mix. I found it easy enough to do 6 > 8 balls in the sugar mix at the same time.
Nestle all the balls into the silicone bundt mould. It'll be a little over half full. Cover in plastic and put in a warm place for at least an hour until doubled in size.
I actually had my oven on when I was making this, so I shoved it on a rack in the top oven (switched off). It rose and rose and rose - and then rose more in the oven. About 8 of the dough balles ended up cascading over the mould as it was a little too full - but no harm was done.
Do note that the bundt mould needs to be used on a baking tray. Here is mine ready to go in the oven. My husband think it looks like brains !

Shove it in the oven at 180deg C (fan) for 30 mins. The base should be crispy.
Leave to cool for 10mins after taking out - the syrupy stuff will be ever so hot - so let it cool before turning out or you could burn yourself.
I pulled the edges of the mould away from the monkey bread to check it was free (no problem there)
Put a plate over the top of the mould and turn the whole lot upside down.

This mould was NOT greased or oiled in any way.
I gave it a little wiggle and a push and squeeze from the top. The Monkey Bread released easily

It would have been really nice as it was, but to take it to another level - I smothered in in great dollops of cream cheese icing.
Sorry - I don't have the volumes for the icing. Just 100g cream cheese plus icing sugar until a nice this consistency. I then zapped it in the microwave for 10 seconds to get a dropping consistency. If you do this, don't let it stand about for long afterwards as the icing starts to set fairly rapidly. Finished picture at the top.
Serve when still warm - though was perfectly edible the next morning :-)