Thursday 29 March 2012

A day's work...or two!

On Tuesday, I had my stall on the monthly Farmer's Market here in town...and for a change it was a wonderful day! We worked out that the last 6 have all been wet...which makes a huge difference both to trade and to a stallholder's morale!
I am incredibly busy at the moment all around...Charlie the Coffeeman's wonderful 'real' coffee trailer is now being seen at all the top horse eventing trials...Gatcombe last weekend, Somerley Park at the beginning of this week...and where Charlie & his coffee go, my brownies & other delights go along too! Trays & trays of them...
Although I make so many, I still enjoy the process...perhaps because I make them entirely by hand, so I feel very connected to them - does that make sense?
I make several different kinds...the ones above are my Walnut Fudge...

Double Chocolate - my bestseller. They should really be called Triple Chocolate, as they contain dark, milk & white...but they've been known as 'Double Chocs' for so long that I think it would confuse everyone!
Caramel Chocolate are fairly new...they have a rich caramel sauce swirled through them...
And for the Farmer's Market, I always have a 'Brownie of the Month' to tempt regular customers...
March's offering was...
Easter Egg! I know it's a little early (& the wrong month) but this was the nearest market to the holiday. There was a thick, shiny layer of chocolate ganache on top of these and they contained milk chocolate 'mini eggs' as well as the one on top!
I wanted to carry the Easter theme through the market offerings, so I tried a new recipe (to me) for Colomba Pasquale. For those not familiar with it, it's a rich,sweet & citrussy yeasted cake that's traditional in Italy...formed in the shape of a dove (la colomba!) Very like Panettone, but with no raisins/sultanas and with a crisp, almondy sugary crusted glaze. Delicious!
It took all day to make. Not because it's particularly difficult...but there are 3 stages to the dough...and lots of rising time needed (10 hours in total!) It was worth it though...
Lovely smooth buttery dough...

The finished article - it was baked in a traditional italian 'colomba' paper mould. I have to say that the 'dove' shape has become a little simplified through the ages...but that's the idea anyway!
The middle (I made several including one to test!) was soft, beautifully textured and studded with candied peel...
The outside was crusty & with a lovely crunch from the almonds & nibbed sugar...

The recipe is too long to reproduce...but if you are interested, I found it on the blog of the wonderful company that produces the paper moulds (and many other wonderful hard to find baking products) Bakery Bits
Also for the market, I baked some Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cakes (always a big seller)

and some trays of fresh Plum & Almond Shortbread
So, when I had set up and arranged the stall on Tuesday morning, it all looked beautiful I think...

I 'dressed up' the Colombas in cellophane & ribbons in case they were bought as a gift...
and the selling began. The day went very 2 o'clock, the tables looked quite sad & almost bare...
Still brownies left...but I always make plenty and these platters had been replenished about 5 times!
Let's hope the great weather continues (but some night rain would be good...we are going into drought conditions, with a hosepipe ban coming into force on April 5th)

I wanted to show you  the little Mother's Day cake I made for my darling Mum was a zingy lemon & lime with homemade lemon curd in the middle. Not a huge spectacular one, because we are a small family and no one likes rich, creamy cakes...

but it was perfect for Mum - and that's what counts after all!
I hope your week is busy and filled with sunshine, I'd better get back to the kitchen!


  1. Goodness, goodness it does look beautiful. I'm astonished at just how much you manage to produce. So many tempting brownies, I think I'd find it very hard to make a choice. So glad you got a good weather for a change.

  2. I wish so much I lived nearer and could come and try your brownies, they look incredible!

  3. Oh, Rachel, everything looks so gorgeous! I barely know where to begin! I loved seeing all the different types of brownies you made and I'm happy to know they are selling well at the market and at Charlie the Coffeeman's coffee trailer! How cool is that!
    I also love the Colomba Pasquale. It looks absolutely delicious - on the outside and the inside! And of course, your Mum's birthday cake - how pretty and perfectly fitting - sweet and simple, just like she, I'm sure! It was wonderful seeing all that you've been up to lately. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy the rest of the week! xoxo

  4. Oh all so beautiful. Those dove cakes look wonderful all wrapped like that. Always amazing to me you can set out brownies in open air. Here they'd turn to jerky. Oh wow brownie jerky--doesn't sound half bad. Love the lazy daisy cake for your mom. Have you made passion fruit curd? A cupcake store here has some with it inside and a frosting that's some kind of berry, sort of lavender. Really yum! Hope you have fun this weekend.

  5. Glad to see you blogging again! And everything looks so delicious!

  6. What a wonderful selection---I have never heard of the colombas bread but it sounds so wonderful. I love the combination of the crunchy sweet crust and the soft inside of wrapped it so beautifully, too. I'm sure it was very difficult to resist!!

    I shall take a look at the baking supply website you provided. I always love such things!! Have a wonderful weekend and get some much-deserved rest!

  7. lush! I'll have one of everything please xxxx

  8. Rachel your desserts are beautiful and makes the mouth drool. Your happy passion comes through wonderfully. Have been enjoying reading both of your blogs and will continue to do so. I was introduced to you by Susan B. (the guest room looks fabulous and Alice is the cherry on top:)


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