Himalaya and cake

I have literally been unable to stop baking but, i think i'll take some time out now to write a propper post...

Photobucket

Where to start - India!
Most definitely the best experience of my life. No doubt.
Following the aftermath of missing my new friends and life in a tent i have realised it's really opened my eyes and spoilt me a little. I'm now certain a gap year will follow the impending end of education and that working at the MetOffice is definitely not for me. I'm less sure of what i want to do but totally accepting of the fact that right now, it doesn't even matter! So much world to see, why bother tying myself down with mental lists of the future.
Here are some pictures of what i now consider the most beautiful place on earth (even over Disney!!)

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

There are too many stories to bore people at home with but i'll tell everyone that Leh, is one of the most fantastic towns on earth and the world is a very big place so make sure you enjoy it!

Now, back to baking!!
I was at university on my own for a few days this week to start on my dissertation etc etc so obviously had to fill the hours and here is the latest Oaty Rounds and Lemon Tray Bake . Yum yum yummy yum! Both recipes are from Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book (the lady off the Great British Bake-Off).

Oaty Rounds
So easy to whip together and not really that bad for you! Especially if you use a light butter like i do (clover lighter, remember the lecture!)

Ingredients
50g caster sugar
100 g soft margarine
100g soft rolled oats
50g plain flour
55g sultanas

Preheat the oven to 160 centigrade, line two baking trays with baking paper.
Cream the sugar and marg. and add the remainder of the ingredients. Lightly knead the mixture until as smooth as the oats will allow and roll to a thickness of around 5mm and use a cutter (your preference on size!) or do what i did and break off equal sized pieces (12 for me) and flatten with the palm of your hand to make kindof even rounds. I prefer this way because oats should look a little rustic and oaty! Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy breakfast lunch or dinner (or pudding with some yoghurt).
I like to think of these as a cousin to the digestive biscuit and apparently the non-sultana version are great with cheese!

Photobucket Photobucket

Lemon Tray Bake
Very basic traybake with a little lemon added in. To make it chocolate take out the lemon and add 4 tablespoons of cocoa, 4 tablespoons of hot water and reduce the milk to 1 tablespoon. Top with whatever you like!! I topped mine with a crunchy lemon topping (juice of a lemon and 50g sugar) but you could use buttercream, icing or just eat it plain.
Ingredients
225g soft butter or margarine
225g caster sugar
275g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
4 tbsp milk
grated rinds of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 180 centigradeand line a 30x23 cm roasting tin with tin foil (saves on the washing up!!).
Measure all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until smooth - for about 2 minutes with an electric whisk and about 10 hours with a wooden spoon (no electric whisk in Sheffield so it can be said my arm ached after stirring the mix smooth!). Turn the mixture into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Once out of the oven immediately pout the lemon topping onto the cake (obviously leave to cool if using icing and especially buttercream). Doing it straight away means the lemon all soaks in but the crunchy sugar stays on top! I sliced it up into 24 even chunks once cooled and have been giving it away to anybody who comes to my house, including the Postman!!

Photobucket

I have been so happy to be baking again and today i've made another treat for the family! I bet they'll be happy when i go back to uni so i stop feeding them constantly. Yesterday i bought another new cookbook by my all time favourite chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and it's all vegetable dishes. I'm not vegetarian but LOVE veg to a point where it may be coming an obsession so i look forward to getting back in the kitchen and actually cooking my meals again. Off to Cambridge for a few days tomorrow to end my jet-setting summer with a nice relax at a spa.
A good week to all xx

Photobucket

back for good

Photobucket

Here it is.

It has happened.

I. Have. Baked!

I can’t tell you how lovely it was to whisk and whip, stir and smooth. My entry back into cooking heaven took place with Raspberry Jam buns with Swiss Meringue buttercream.
They were delicious! I only had half of one myself but in an attempt to avoid eating all the cakes I gave them away etc etc and was assured they were lovely!

Ingredients - makes 12 cupcakes

Cakes
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g self-raising flour
2 tbsp milk (I used skimmed even though it said not to!)
4 tbsp raspberry jam
2 tsp vanilla extract
Raspberries to garnish

Swiss Meringue buttercream
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g softened unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 190(centigrade) or 170 if you’re using a fan oven. Cream together the butter and sugar until lovely and fluffy. Sieve the flour and add to the mix with the eggs, milk and vanilla. Spoon half of the mixture into 12 paper cases and spoon a little jam into the centre, cover with the remainder of the mix. The recipe didn’t call for the jam in the buns but I felt it went well with the buttercream and was a little treat for the eater!
Bake for 15 minutes and leave to cool!

Swiss Meringue buttercream
Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and heat over a bowl of simmering water. Stir, stir, stir for five to ten minutes or until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk on high speed like you are making meringue! Continue until thick and glossy and semi-stiff (technical term I know!) Add the butter (cube it or it will be VERY difficult to mix in!) and jam. At this point I thought I was having a small personal nightmare because it turned to the consistency of double cream. 15 minutes in the fridge sorted this a little and the buttercream was more like icing. I preferred this consistency as I wanted a smooth shiny topping, if you wanted to pipe the mix and it is as liquid as mine was leave it in the fridge for an hour or so and pipe away. Decorate with yummy sweet end of summer raspberries.

It must be remembered this can be done with any jam really and I’m sure it will be just as yummy!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


Life as ever has been rather hectic in the run up to uni but of course there is always time to bake. In the past two days I have made 2 other tasty treats but I shall save them for another post as this one is getting rather laborious! An India post is also in need.
For now, this shall be all.
Happy Weekend! xx

Pining for piping

I am currently sat in the hotel lobby, it's almost 40 degrees outside and my new penchant for the shade is not being fulfilled in the midday sun! 
Every day I have to eat (well I'm not exactly forced but you know) bad cakes and mother bought me a book about a girl who is opening a cupcake shop (chic-lit crap but I've read two hard books and my brain needs a rest!!) and this is such a long sentence but I just want to bake! 
 Want to get home, bake, show and tell you all about India and my new life mantras and just get back to living again! 
The next few weeks are going to be tough, what with moving back to uni, starting my dissertation etc etc etc but I promise to you all, baking will always be high high high on my priorities, that and losing weight for the two balls I'm attending this Christmas! 
Tough challenge I know, but someone's got to do it!! 
Xx. 

P.s. Sorry for any spelling mistakes! My brain is still semi-mush