Sunday 29 August 2010

Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes

As many of you may know, I often make cupcakes or muffins on a Saturday morning to take to work with me. Saturdays can be busy and hectic. I rather like being able to offer customers looking at stoves a coffee and a cake as they browse - it keeps things a little more relaxed for everyone !

This is an older Good Housekeeping recipe that I decided to make and adapt a little today.

It had interesting and mixed results....

I like the concept - but in my opinion although it's ok, it would benefit from a little more tweaking. In their recipe, there was just sprinkles on the top. A glace cherry would look good.

 However, I had some end of season Sweet Heart cherries in the fridge. American imported. Beautiful big purpley cherries and unfortunately probably the last fresh cherries I'll buy this year. I decided to dip them into some white candy melt.... Had I had more time, I would have rather used white chocolate.... but 1.1/2 hours to prepare, bake and ice before work really isn't that long to turnaround a batch of cupcakes !

Stupidly, I put these directly on to a baking tray to harden. I should have put them on a silicone baking sheet, as they would have lifted straight off. Unfortunately it was a rather mad rush - and my brain was still in bed :embarassed:  I ended up having to knock the cherries off the sheet. Didn't matter so much as the bare bottoms were getting stuck into some icing on top of the cakes anyway !

I decided to use some of our really pretty new muffin / cupcake cases inside a pink silicone bakeware muffin mould. If I'm not icing muffins / cupcakes, I tend just to grease and flour the insides and not bother with paper cases. However for handling and hygiene reasons - I like to use paper baking cake liners when icing.

We've got some really cute paper cake cases in now and loads more designs to come. Current sizes are standard (50mm base diameter) and mini ones to fit our 24 cell mini muffin / cupcake tray molds . We also have a large range of colours in American Jumbo size paper cases in stock - but I've still to get these online.

Recipe - makes 12

6oz self raising flour
6 oz butter
6oz sugar
1tsp baking powder
3 eggs
3 oz ground almonds
3 oz glace cherrries - chopped

Cream butter and sugar until pale. Add eggs one at a time and beat to combine. Sift in flour and almonds and baking powder and fold these in (with chopped cherries) using a metal spoon.

Cook in a fan oven at approx 170deg for around 20 minutes

Allow to cool in the silicone mould for about 5 mins before tranferring to a rack to cool totally.

Whilst cooling, prepare the icing.

Beat 50g of butter until pale. To that, I added 1 small tub ready made Ambrosia Devon Custard and icing sugar. Combined with the mixer and beat until pale and desired thickness is achieved.

After icing, I put the newly iced cakes back into the silicone mould so I could put the whole lot in the car to go to work...

The dipped cherry on the top worked. The icing worked. The cake was passable. Next time, I'd use the same recipe as for the financiers instead of the cake batter above.... No sponge cake compares since making friands and financiers !

The purple spotty cupcake cases worked best with the deep purpley cherries.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - silicone bakeware cook shop August 2010

Thursday 26 August 2010

Oliver & Mummy Make Compost Cookies !

Oliver dragged me into the kitchen on Wednesday and opens the cupboard door. "Mixer goes round and round. Oliver Mummy do baking !" he exclaims. "Please Mummy". Unfortunately, yesterday just wasn't suitable - so I put him off and told him "Tommorow - we've got to go out today".

Well, he didn't forget. From the minute he got up this morning I was reminded "Oliver Mummy do baking !"

Oliver DOES like baking - lots.... whether I make bread or cake, he squeals with delight and loves to get his hands in where ever possible.

At the end of the month, Oliver moves up to the next class at nursery. So, from a Dragonfly, he'll become a Ladybird. I decided to let him make some cookies to take to nursery tomorrow.

I've read about compost cookies before. The name sounds truly revolting - but the concept behind them is super. Basically, you add all your favorite sweet / baking stuff and then all your favourite savoury type stuff.

We added..... 
SWEET  : glace cherries, sultanas, m&m's, butterscotch chips, white and milk chocolate chips.
SAVOURY : pretzels, ready salted crisps, flaming cheeseball tortilla chips

You can find the recipe here - Christina Tosi's Compost Cookie Recipe

Oliver watching the mixer combine butter, sugar and eggs until volume doubles.

Sieving in the flour. You've no idea how HARD it is to take a photo whilst holding a sieve in one hand to make sure it doesn't go all over the floor. Saying that - Oliver does really well given he's only 22months !

Licking the beaters ! Isn't that the best bit ?

Here is what the dough looks like ....

We made this early this morning and put it in the fridge until after work / nursery this evening.

That was messy - but fun ! Time for a bath before nursery....there was cookie mix and flour all over Oliver (and the work tops, floor, cupboard door, washing machine, chair.....) lol.

I cooked the cookies tonight. The mix made 12 large ones (6 per tray) and 16 smaller (1/2 sized) ones. The smaller ones were big enough to be honest. I cooked them on the smooth side of silicone baking tray liners / mats. Leave to totally cool and harden before removing from the mats.

Like most of the people who commented on this recipe on the Amateur Gourmet Blog , I found that my cookies came out really flat. I expected them to be puffier and be of lighter colour. Instead, they were crispy, chewy, DELICIOUS and flat and a kind of caramel colour by the time they were cooked. Oh well - no one else will know except you and Oliver .... At least they taste ok !

Sarah-Jane and Oliver Nash, August 2010 - Momofuku's Compost Cookies.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Piri Piri Lemon Chicken & Halloumi Kebabs with Homemade Flatbread

An easy but tasty dinner tonight.....

I had a pack of Halloumi cheese in the fridge which has been there for ages. Thankfully, halloumi keeps for a very long time. It's quite a salty Greek cheese I belive and lends itself to grilling and barbequing as it does not melt and run - but instead goes crispy.... much like frying tofu I suppose.

I used two chicken thighs per person and cut the meat from the bone into strips. I then threaded cubes of halloumi and the chicken (marinated in a piri piri and lemon marinade) on to wooden skewers. Had I had the ingredients to hand, I would have certainley made my own chilli sauce from either Cherry on a Cake's blog or The Little Teochew's Blog. Both are so much better I'm sure than one could ever get from a supermarket jarred sauce !

Still - the one I used was pretty potent stuff.....

I cooked them on the high rack of my halogen oven cooker on the baking tray (with low grill on top) for approx 10mins at maximum power until cooked through and the halloumi was nicely browned and crispy. No preheating required.

These kebabs would be simply delicious done on the barbeque and are so easy to prepare.

To serve with them, I made some homemade flat breads

Recipe for flat bread

3 cups of plain, all purpose flour
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
heaped teaspoon black onion (migella) seeds
good shake of powdered garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

No need to sieve - bung it all in a bowl and bring it together until a dough is formed.

Split into 6 > 8 pieces and roll them out. I made mine into 8 pieces and rolled them out to approx the diameter of the span of my hand.

Prick all over with a fork and brush tops with a little olive oil

Pre heat a dry frying pan or griddle and cook on each side for approx 3 or 4 mins at a fairly hot heat. You can keep them warm in an oven at low heat under tin foil if cooking a whole batch at once.

How I wish I had a griddle to get those sexy lines on my flat breads... These are very similar to nann bread in look - but more bread like in texture.

I served these simply with some finely sliced cucumber in greek yoghurt with a squeeze of lemon and some cherry tomatoes on the vine.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Squash & Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Chilli Butter

I picked the first of my sunshine squash on Friday - in the pouring rain !

It's been sat in my kitchen waiting on me gathering some inspiration on what to do with it.....

I looked through all my latest food magazines - but nothing was jumping out at me....

So, I decided to make it into gnocchi.

First of all, I halved the squash and removed the seeds. Seasoned and drizzled with a little olive oil. I then popped it face down in my halogen oven cooker and cooked it at approx 180deg until soft.

After that, I removed the flesh and left it in the fridge overnight until I was ready to use it today. It's such a bright, glorious colour don't you think ?

Recipe - enough for 4 > 6 good sized portions

500g of roasted and cooled squash. Should be dry - not wet consistency
125g soft goats cheese (type with no rind - almost like cream cheese)
1 large egg
good pinch of nutmeg
150g plain flour (or as much as you require)

I whizzed the squash up in the food processor until smooth and then added in the pack of goats cheese and egg - blitzing again.

After that, I added the flour by hand until a soft dough was formed.

I divided by four and rolled each piece into a big long sausage, chopping sections off approx 1" long.

Keep aside only what you are about to use. Excess can be open frozen on a silicone bakeware tray liner in the freezer. After 15 > 20 mins then put the frozen gnocchi in a bag. They now will not stick together. These should keep for about a month and can be cooked from frozen.

To cook, drop the gnocchi into a pan of boiling water.

When the gnocchi are done, they float to the surface. I gave these about 30 seconds after they all floated to the top before removing.

I had a frying pan ready with some chopped red chilli and some melted salted butter to toss them in. Given locally grown sweetcorn is also starting it's short season, I had boiled and then tossed some kernels stripped from a cob in the butter too.

Dished up (no photos) it wasn't the prettiest. Without the sweetcorn, it would have looked more like I'd expect a bowl of gnocchi to look - but the lure of the new season sweetcorn was just too great. If you try this - the sweetcorn is totally optional. You could also play with some sage or other herbs in butter rather than chilli - but I like the combination of chilli and squash and goats cheese !

Sarah-Jane - August 2010 - UK based, Shipping worldwide - silicone cake moulds

Another GIANT XXXXL Cupcake !

Yup - it's another GIANT cupcake. The 2 litre milk carton is there to give you an idea of the size of the cake

This is an very popular mould in our collection and I know many out there are looking for volumes, recipes and cooking times for this really really HUGE jumbo sized cupcake mould.

Our mould isn't just big - it's MASSIVE and totally dwarfs both the Big Top Jumbo Muffin Mould and the Wilton Giant Cupcake pan.

I've been having a play over the weekend and have a recipe that has turned out very well which I can share. It WAS my second attempt. The first attempt was thwarted after almost 2 hours cooking time. I HAD to go out and the cake was nearly but not quite cooked. The only option was to turn off the cooker and leave the cake in. Unfortuantely, by the time I got back it was way over done. The recipe volume was spot on and I do believe it would have been really good had I been there to keep an eye on it.

This recipe includes a lot of pureed apple. This is to retain the moisture in the cake during a long baknig time and also to keep fat content as low as I could. I used sunflower oil for speed. You need to make two big batches of cake mix before you can put the mould in the oven, so speed is of the essence. I really didn't want to spend ages creaming butter !


you will need to do this twice. If you do not have american measure cups, use a standard teacup.

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups apple puree
1 cup of vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp of cinnamon - if you really like cinnamon, double it !
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup of sultanas or raisins

Add all wet ingreditents together and beat with electric hand mixer. Sift dry ingredients (apart from raisins) into wet. Combine and beat in until smooth - then stir in raisins.

Lightly butter giant muffin mould and then dust with flour - tipping out any excess. Put mould on a baking tray. It must be supported at all times.

Pour first batch of mix into base side. Make 2nd batch of mix. Add about 2 cups of the mix to the mix in the base side.

CAREFULLY Put into a preheated 180deg C fan oven for 30mins.

Remove from oven and pour rest of batter into top side of mould. Put back into oven for 1 hour. After 30mins, put a piece of greaseproof paper over the base side only and tuck round to stop the top darkening too much.

When cooking time is up, check cake with a tester. Be careful not to puncture your mould or it will rip ! I like to use a cake tester which is not sharp and has a colour changing tip to tell you when the cake is cooked. I think mine needed a further 10 > 15 mins.

Remove from oven and allow to cool until just warm before turning out and cooling fully on a rack. The good thing with this cake is that it did not get a big domed top. This meant the tops of each part did not need cut off . They natuarally say nicely together which was actually a big surprise !

The cooked cake filled 3/4 of each side of the mould. The finished height of my cake was 12.1/2" and it weighed just a snitch under 4kg as you can see further down.

When cooled try the pieces together to make sure they sit straight. The top will need carved off a little to give a point instead of a foot / stump.

For the icing, I used :

 250g of softened, salted butter
1kg of icing sugar
250ml double cream

cream butter and then CAREFULLY add in icing sugar and cream. I say carefully - or you'll end up with a kitchen full of white clouds of sugar. Mine was still too dry, so I also added a good glug of white rum. Rum, sugar, butter and apples was a classic combination.

Instead of piping, I simply applied the frosting to the top of the base and covered the top part using a normal table knife. For decoration, I kept it simple and simply used a scattering of sugar nibs. We now have sugar nibs available. I'll add them to the website shortly.

Finished cake was just shy of 4kg. It COULD have been bigger if I totally filled up the mould using another batch of mix and spliting it between the sides - but cooking time would be increased to over 2.5hrs ! I'd say this is big enough ! If everyone had a 100g portion - which is a reasonable sized bit - you'd have 40 portions.

I then cut mine into slices.... Enough cake to feed and army  ! Slices were the almost the width of a full sized dinner plate.....

One slice is enough to feed several people. I wrapped the slices in greaseproof paper and have shared much of it around the neighbours. If they weren't in , they didn't get any !

The following photos are not mine, but have been sent to me of cakes that customers have made. Thank you to both Louise and Lorraine for allowing me to share your photos.

Sarah-Jane Nash, August 2010 - - THE silicone bakeware moulds cook shop.

Saturday 14 August 2010

Psychedelic Creamed Coconut Cake

Ok - so this is TOTALLY off the wall and rather freaky to say the least.....

However, underneath that brain haemorrage of colour a basic creamed coconut sponge is within.

Oliver (my little 22month old son) has been plonking himself daily in front of the oven in the kitchen. With his big doughy and soulful eyes he'll blurt out "Please Mummy - cake please Mummy !"

It's got to be a couple of weeks since I last made cake. I've got so little time at the moment and my waistline really does NOT want cake. Most of the time, Oliver isn't overly fussed with cake and rarely has more than a few bites. The little mite has been getting more and more demanding for cake this week .... and I could resist no longer.

To make it a little more intersting for Oliver, I had a play with some gel food colouring.

Oliver stood on his soap box bucket next to me in the kitchen. Yes - I still have buckets of melt and pour soap base in the kitchen as I've got soap making to do too and haven't had time for that either. Still - the bucket made a perfect stool !

After making the cake batter, I divided it into 5 different bowls and coloured them shocking colours with the Wilton gel icing colours. Oliver was very amused by this - he knows most of his colours now and there were some serious shreiks and noises as the cake mix turned vivid shades of blue, yellow, red, green and purple.

I poured the mix one bowl at a time into a 2lb silicone loaf pan / tin mould which had been lightly greased and floured. It then baked in the oven for 45 mins.

This is what came out. I'd kept the bright yellow mix until last - hoping that it would make the cake look normal, but as it rose the colours had also expanded and broken through to give it a horrific bleeding skull look :-S

After cooling, I sliced it some time later. The mix turned out thinner than I would have liked. Had it been a stiffer batter I dont think the colours would have swirled into each other so much - but it would still have looked seriously freaky I'm sure !

All I can say is that despite the colour, it didn't put Oliver off ! He happily sat in his high chair munching his cake mumbling "Mmmm cake yummy Mummy" in between mouthfuls !

I put the rest on a large plate to take into work this morning. The wood burning stove side of the business is really busy this time of the year. I tend to take cake in with me (as well as Oliver) on most Saturdays during our busy season and usually people are only too happy to gobble it up. Many often ask for the recipes too.

The only "taker" on this cake today was Oliver. I think most people took one look and it scared them for life ! The rest is now away with my husband on a camping trip tonight where I'm sure he and his friends will gobble it up in the dark with a coffee when they don't need sunglasses to look at it.

Seriously - the cake WAS really tasty - it just looks odd and inedible .... hahaha.


200g caster sugar
180mls sunflower oil
200g plain flour flour
2.1/2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
125g creamed coconut 

Sieve dry ingredients and add wet. Mix with an electric whisk until smooth batter forms.

If you've lost your marbles and want to make a crazy looking cake no one except toddlers will want to eat - you can now split your mix into bowls and colour with gel colouring. I cannot imagine what someone would think finding a surprise piece of this cake in their lunch box. hehehe

Pour into a greased and floured 2lb loaf tin or mould and bake at 180deg C for about 40 > 45 mins until cake tester comes out clean.

Sarah-Jane Nash - silicone bakeware moulds, cook shop August 2010

Take 3 Simple Ingredients - Scotch Eggs

Incase you don't know what a Scotch egg is, it's a boiled egg (normally hard boiled) inside sausagemeat which has been rolled in breadcrumbs and then deep fried.

Yes - that's ALL

Sausagemeat, eggs and bread crumbs. Duh ! However, you can jazz this up as much as you like by adding a load of chopped herbs, spring onions or spices to your sausagemeat. It goes without saying that you want to use good quality butchers sausagemeat. It makes a MASSIVE difference - as does free range eggs.

Those insipid things that you can buy in the supermarket will become a thing of the past. The sausagemeat used is poor and shrinks away from the rubbery egg. These are honestly so easy and work out really cheap to make.

Oliver thinks he has died and gone to heaven if he gets one of these for his dinner !

First of all, I soft boil my eggs. I do cheat a bit as I've got an egg boiler - but they come out perfect every time in there. The egg boiler also does 7 eggs at once and I don't have to worry about watching over them. You can of course hard boil them which is better if you want them for a picnic or use later instead of an innstant dinner.

As soon as the timer goes, plunge the eggs into cold water to stop them cooking. I then like to pop them in the fridge for a few hours to firm up a bit inside before peeling. Soft boiled eggs are really difficult to peel if you don't firm them up a bit in either ice cold water or the fridge before peeling.

Once you've got your egg peeled, it's a case of using the meat from the inside of 1.1/2 sausages (approx) per egg - or equivalent amount of sausage meat. Use this to encase the egg and then roll in breadcrumbs.

Deep fry for about 5 mins until the outside is golden and meat is cooked. The egg should be heated through but still soft / runny in the middle if you originally soft boiled them.

They may be simple and a bit retro - but for a quick and easy meal using minimal ingredients and effort, these are a real treat.

Sarah-Jane Nash - August 2010

Friday 13 August 2010

Spiced Beetroot & Orange Chutney

I found the recipe for this in BBC Good Food Magazine late last year and made a batch then. It was so good that I immediately made another and used up the last of my home grown beetroot.

A batch is fairly large and makes 8 x 8oz jars - plus about 1/2 a jar to spare. This year, I've purposely grown extra beetroot simply to make this. It went down a bomb in hampers last Christmas. It's gorgeous with biscuits and cheese or cold meat and fresh bread - or with salads. I think we went through about 4 jars when visiting my mum's last Christmas holidays in under a week !

I modified the recipe a bit to suit what I had available. It worked so well, I've contined to do so.

1200g raw beetroot, peeled and diced into small pieced
300g raw carrots, peeled and diced
3 onions , chopped
3 medium bramley cooking apples
zest and juice 3 oranges
2 tbsp white or yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
700ml cider apple vinegar
700g granulated sugar

Cook all of the above in a very large pot or maslin pan until juices are reduced and beetroot tender. I think it took about an hour. Bottle into sterilised jars.... I used 8.
I made one batch a day or two before I made the caramels and have never got round to posting the photos or recipe. If you like beetroot, you'll adore this. I think this is my favourite way of eating beetroot ever. My husband isn't a fan of the stuff. He's away camping tomorrow, so dinner for me may just have to be some homemade crackers with cheese and this glorious, heavenly beetroot chutney.

Sarah-Jane Nash - silicone bakeware / wood burning stoves from

Sunday 1 August 2010

Soft and Chewy Caramels

Well - last night was a late one. My dishwasher was away camping (lol). Oliver was asleep ....and I was skiddling around in the kitchen. This was one of two projects - but I've yet to do the photos of the other, so that will need to wait.

I've been meaning to try making caramels for a while and it's one of those things I've just never got round to doing.

The recipe for this came from and was posted by Barbara. There were lots of positive and quite a number of negative views - a good number of people seemed to struggle to get the set they required. I boiled mine to 245 deg - it was perhaps a little too soft. I'll go a couple of deg more next time. I also reduced the butter content - so my tweaked version is below.


2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup golden syrup / corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1 pint double cream
200g butter (salted)
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Add all ingredients to a very large, deep pot and bring to a steady boil. You will need a sugar thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature

Boil for approx 45 mins until the temperature reached 250deg (firm ball). I took mine off at 245 deg. My caramel set to soft and chewy - but was perhaps a smidging too soft.

I stupidly forgot to position the pan clip on my thermometer - so it's in the caramel ! I therefore used a silicone food rope / tie instead to rope it to the pot handle to keep it in place. Such handly little things. I use them for resealing various bags of nuts and dried fruit, bouquet garni as well as to hold together stuffed meat and fish.

Once ready, I poured my caramel into a silicone lasagne tray and a silicone 8" square brownie / fudge pan . Neither were greased. The original recipe calls for a 12 x 15" tray, well greased.

The next morning (or should we say 5 hours later...) I went to take my caramel from the moulds. I needed to run a blunt table knife round the top edge to free the caramel from the mould. I then inverted the mould and literally peeled out the caramel.

WARNING - this recipe makes a serious amount of caramel. If you cut it into large 1" square chunks, you will get approx 150 pieces. A 1" chunk is a substantial sized serving of this stuff.

I had enough to make 3 x gift boxes full, plus 4 gift bags (each bag had approx 15 bits) and more left over. This is ideal to do a good big batch for little home made Christmas gifts or hampers.

I made my gift box and bag above using some Kanban Butterfly card, Papermania Felt butterflies, silver flower brads, stick on jewels and some pink ribbon. I cut the heart out of the front and put some acetate behind

. For the boxes, I have a Crafters Companion Top Score Board which marks the lines and creates the box tops and bases to slot together. It's an invaluable bit of plastic !

Here is another of the gift boxes (click the image to enlarge) with more Kanban card, a stenciled butterfly, some flower embelishments and an enamelled brad.