Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Cranbery, Orange, Pecan and White Chocolate Mini Loaves

It's almost Christmas and I have one final Christmas recipe to share with you. I've baked a few other things but I may save them for next year! It's been a really busy month and I've not had a chance to bake as many homemade gifts as I'd like. I wanted something relatively quick and easy yet stunning. I'm not a huge fan of fruit cake so I decided to make this very festive cake using cranberries and orange. I added in some pecan and white chocolate for indulgence and a spoonful of marmalade in the middle. I made an orange glaze to go on top of the cakes and decorated it with a lightly toasted pecan nut. The cake was incredibly moist and orange was the predominant flavour. You can clearly taste the other ingredients when you got a bite of it particularly the marmalade centre. I think I'll have to bake this again after Christmas just because it's so tasty!

I'm sending this to AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and myself on alternate months. The letter this month is 'X' and Caroline is accepting everything Christmas related.

These mini loaves are also perfect for Treat Petite hosted by Kat from the Baking Explorer and Stuart from Cakeyboi. The theme this month is Christmas.

 marmalade, dried cranberries, oranges, pecan nuts, white chocolate chips

 half fill the mini loaf case with batter 

add a spoonful of marmalade

 cover with more batter 

 ready to be decorated 
 I poured orange glaze icing on top and placed a lightly toasted pecan nut in the centre

 Finished with a christmas ribbon for the festive touch 

Happy Christmas Everyone! 

Makes 19 mini loaves

For the cake
225g butter
350g caster sugar
450g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
250mls milk
125mls fresh orange juice
zest of 2 oranges
4 eggs
170g dried cranberries
100g white chocolate chips
100g pecans, roughly chopped  + extra whole pecans to decorate 
Orange marmalade (optional)

For the glaze
juice of 1-2 oranges
150 -200g icing sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy,
  • Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. 
  • In a large bowl, mix the milk and orange juice.
  • Sieve the flour and baking powder into another bowl.
  • Add in the milk mixture alternating with the flour mixture in 3 batches.
  • Add in the orange zest, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips and pecan nuts. 
  • Half fill the mini loaf case with batter.
  • Add a teaspoon of marmalae on top.
  • Cover with more batter until about 3/4 full. 
  • Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • To make the glaze, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the orange juice until you get a spreadable consistency. You may need to add more juice or icing sugar depending on the consistency you want. 
  • Spread a generous layer of glaze on top of the cake and decorate with a whole pecan nut which has been lightly toasted. 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Degustabox Review and a recipe

Christmas has come early this month in the form of my regular Degustabox. I look forward to receiving this surpirse food box every month and have set myself a challenge to bake something using at least one of the ingredients in the box. It is tricky sometimes as there's a mix of sweet and savoury food products, drinks, snacks and confectionery and of course the element of surprise where you just don't know what you are going to get! 

It's a no obligation monthly subscription which costs £12.99 including delivery. You get 9 to 14 surprise products and it's usually a good mixed selection of goodies. I have a special discount code for all my readers if you are interested in signing up a box for yourself or for a family memeber/friend You get a £3.00 discount when registering by using this code LRIQI which makes it just under a tenner for a goodie box including delivery. 

So what was in this month's Degustabox?

 1 packet of Barbeque flavoured pop chips. I've tried these before and I love the flavour and texture of them. They are not fried or baked but "popped" with a little heat and pressure.  

 1 box of Pukka clean green tea which has a hint of lemon. I love Pukka teas and this is no exception. It has a clean taste and feels refreshing with the hint of lemon.

 1 bottle of Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine - made in exactly the same way as regular wine with the alcohol removed. It also has less calories than regular wine. I'm saving this for Christmas day so I will update on the taste later. 

 4 cans of Gloworm which is a premium mixer to compliment selected spirits. It's sugar free and taurine free and is available in 4 flavours - Raspberry & Orris for Vodka, Cucumber & Apple for Gin, Pear, Spice & Lime for Rum, Ginger & Lemongrass for Bourbon. A great idea for a cocktail party! 

 1 pack of Kent's Kitchen meal kit which provides 3 clever pots with natural ingredients which you can store in a cupboard. Just add a few fresh ingredients and you have a ready made authentic meal. 

 1 bottle of Frylight Infuse Chilli - made with natural chilli extract, this spray adds a bit of spice to your cooking! I love the spray formulation as it's no mess and no fuss. You can add more sprays whilst cooking to increase the flavour.  

 1 jar of Bonne Maman Coarse Orange Marmalade - I love Bonne Maman jams and I've used this marmalade a few times. It's really zesty and zingy and I like the thick shred orange peels. This is the ingredient I decided to bake with this month, see below for the recipe.  

 2 packs of Choco Leibniz from Bahlsen. Butter biscuit wrapped in chocolate The caramel flavour has a caramel centre which is really tasty. 

1 pack of The Chia Co Oats + Chia - wholegrain oats and chia blended with fruits and coconut oil. Just add water to make a dairy free breakfast. 

For my recipe this month I decided to use up some leftovers and the Bonne Maman Coarse Orange Marmalade. I had some leftover chocolate chip panettone from making my tiramisu trifle and I thought it would be a good base for bread and butter pudding. I've made this previously with stale croissants and marmalade and it worked beautifully as it did here. In fact I think these are better than the croissant puddings. The chocolate chip panettone works really well with the marmalade and being baked in custard is a bonus. I'm sure Paddington Bear would approve of this recipe! 


 butter the slices of panettone and add a blob of marmalade on top. Pour over the custard mixture and bake. 

 Freshly baked 

 I served mine with custard but it would also work with cream or brandy butter if you're feeling particularly festive! 

A large bowl of leftover chocolate chip panettone (I forgot to weigh them)
Butter  and marmalade for spreading
300mls double cream
150mls milk
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar (i used less as there's sugar in the panettone)

  • Place the cream and milk in a pan and bring to a boil. 
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. 
  • Pour the cooled cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking as you go.
  • Grease a baking dish with butter. 
  • Spread butter and marmalade on pieces of panettone and arrange them with the spread side facing upwards as shown. 
  • Pour the custard mixture over the panettone and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes or until soft. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.  
  • Serve warm with custard or cream. 
Disclaimer: I was sent a Degustabox for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review or to create a recipe. All opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Cranberry and Camembert Quiche

We had a work Christmas lunch last week and everyone was asked to bring something. Initially I planned to bake a cake or a sweet treat but I thought I'd surprise everyone with a savoury treat. Plus I had quite a lot of leftover ingredients from my recent Christmas party so I decided on a cranberry and camembert quiche. I made 2 quiches - 1 vegetarian (cranberry, camembert and rosemary) and a non-vegetarian (cranberry, camembery, bacon and thyme). Most people preferred the vegetarian quiche including self confessed carnivores. I have to admit that my general motto is that everything tastes better with bacon but not on this occasion! Personally I preferred the vegetarian option as well although the cranberries were a little tart for me. Nevertheless everyone enjoyed the quiches and they didn't last long! They are really quick and easy to make and would for a stunning plate at the Christmas table. 

I'm sending this to the Fresh Cranberry Recipe Link Up 2014 hosted by Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes

It's also perfect for the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary as I made use of leftover ingredients.  I had initially planned to bake a Christmas wreath bread with baked camembert in the centre for my party but didn't get round to it. The cranberries were for a sauce and garnish and I had cream leftover from myo other recipes.

 vegetarian version

 place fresh cranberries on pastry that has been blind baked. Scatter the chopped camembert cheese 

 add the cream mixture and some fresh herbs

 fresh from the oven

 I love the colour of the fresh cranberries 

 the non-vegeratian version with bacon and thyme

 add chopped cooked bacon to the quiche 

 You can clearly see the bacon pieces

For the pastry - makes 1 quiche
280g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
140g cold butter, cut into pieces
8 tablespoons cold water

For the vegetarian filling
150g fresh cranberries
1/2 box of camembert cheese,cut into cubes
2 eggs
300mls cream
fresh rosemary 
salt and pepper

For the non vegetarian filling 
150g fresh cranberries 
1/2 box of camembert cheese, cut into cubes
2 eggs
300mls cream
7 strips of streaky bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
fresh thyme
ground pepper 

  • To make the pastry using a food processor - place the flour and butter and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add the water one tablespoon at a time until a dough forms. 
  • Alternatively, rub the butter and flour together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add water one tablespoon at a time until a dough forms. 
  • Roll into a ball, wrap with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before baking. 
  • Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line your tart tin. 
  • Use a small ball of pastry scrap to press the pastry into the corners of the tin. 
  • Chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Line the tart case with kitchen foil or baking paper and fill with baking beans. 
  • Blind bake for 20 minutes, then remove the beans and foil/paper and continue baking for 5 - 10 minutes until the pastry is light brown.
  • For the vegetarian filling, place the cranberries and cheese on top of the pastry.
  • Whisk 2 eggs into 300mls of cream and add a little seasoning.
  • Pour this mixture over the pastry and add some sprigs of fresh rosemary.
  • Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and the quiche is set.
  • For the non-vegetarian filling, cook the bacon under the grill or in an oven. Cut into small pieces.
  • Place the cranberry and cheese on top of the pastry followed by the cooked bacon and fresh thyme.
  • Whisk 2 eggs and 300mls of cream and add some pepper (I didn't add any salt as the bacon is quite salty).
  • Pour this mixture on top of the quiche and bake for approximately 45- 50 minutes or until golden brown and the quiche is set. 


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Tree Brownies

Are you ready for Christmas? If you need a quick and easy dessert to impress both children and adults alike then this is a definite winner. It's really quick to put together, does not require any fancy equipment and they keep well for a few days so you can easily make this ahead of the big feast. I used my favourite chocolate brownie recipe and baked it in a round tin. Slice it into 8 equal pieces so you get a nice triangle wedge. Push a mini candy cane on the rounded edge to create the tree base. You can decorate these trees as you like. I've used glitter writing icing for ease - you can of course use melted white chocolate or make royal icing. Drizzle the icing in a squiggly line to resemble tinsel and add some festive sprinkles. It really is that easy. 

 bake your brownie in a round tin 

 Christmas Tree Brownies

Makes 16 Christmas tree brownies

For the brownies
200g butter,
375g sugar
170g chocolate, roughly chopped
165g flour
80g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs

To decorate
16 mini candy canes
Glitter writing icing 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • In a medium sized pan, melt the butter and chocolate.
  • Then whisk in the sugar, salt and vanilla extract. 
  • Continue mixing until you get a smooth mixture then remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes.
  • Whisk in the eggs one at a time and then the flour and cocoa powder until you get a fudgy mixture as shown. 
  • Pour the mixture into a 2 x 18cm round sandwich tins.
  • Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until the top is crisp and the edges are cooked. 
  • Allow to cool completely before turning out to decorate.
  • Cut the brownie into 8 equal pieces.
  • Push a mini candy cane into the rounded edge of each brownie slice as shown. 
  • Decorate with writing icing and sprinkles as shown. 
  • Enjoy! 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Shabby Chic Hampton 7 piece Cake Set Review and a Giveaway

5 more sleeps to Christmas! I can't believe that it's the last weekend before Christmas, where has the time gone? Luckily there's always time for cake and tea in my house and it's a real welcome for this busy weekend. I've made a classic Victoria sponge as it's J's favourite cake and we do love a good Victoria Sponge. Fortunately I have a beautiful Shabby Chic Hampton 7 Piece Cake Set to help me serve the cake. It's a traditional design cutlery gift set from House of Fraser. It's beautifully packaged in a gift box and the set includes 1 cake slice and 6 cake forks. It's made of stainless steel and it's also dishwasher safe. I really like the presentation of this set and it would make a great engagement or wedding gift. It's also perfect for tea parties at home or just a treat for yourself :) 

If you like the look of this set then here's your chance to win one for yourself. House of Fraser have kindly sponsored 1 Shabby Chic Hampton 7 Piece Cake Set for one of my lucky readers.

Terms and Conditions

Entry is via the rafflecopter widget below.
You have to answer the question which is a mandatory option to unlock further entries to the giveway.
This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a postal address in the UK.
Closing date is 1st January 2015 at 12 midnight GMT.
The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter and will be contacted by email. If no response is received within 48 hours, another winner will be selected at random.
I am running this competition on behalf of House of Fraser who will be sending out the prize directly. By entering you are giving me permission to pass your email address on to them so they can contact you for delivery of the prize.
All entries will be checked and verified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent a Shabby Chic Hampton 7 Piece Cake set by House of Fraser for review purposes. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post. 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Fig, Lardon and Dolcelatte Tart

I watched Eric Lanlard demonstrate this recipe at the BBC Good Food Show and J has been asking me to bake this ever since. My Christmas party seemed like a good time to try it out. I made a vegetarian broccoli and red pepper quiche and I thought that this might appeal to the carnivores. I don't have a rectangular tart tin which is what Eric used so I used my normal round pie dish. I definitely need to buy a rectangular tart tin as it looks more impressive with the figs sticking out. Unfortunately the fresh figs I found were quite small and they got lost in the pie. However, the flavour was absolutely delicious. The combination of the lardon, blue cheese and mascarpone cheese with the figs was heavenly. The thyme complemented the tart and rounded out the flavours nicely and the walnut crust was tasty and smelt amazing whilst baking. It's no surprise then that this is one of Eric's favourite recipes and he describes it as his dream light lunch or starter. 

 making the walnut pastry 

 layer the figs and bake for 10-12 minutes 

 adding the dolcelatte cheese and cooked lardons 


Recipe availabe from the baking mad website

I used 4 figs instead of 8 as that was all I had but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly and it worked perfectly. I can't wait to try it again using a rectangular tart tin.