Monday 24 August 2015

And the winner is...

....after a later surge of entries (thanks to all of you, I truly wish you could all have won!) I have just pulled a name from all the comments...not very scientific, I put them all into a bowl and picked one with my eyes shut! The winner of the fabulous Honey & Co - The Baking Book is:

GEORGIE!!!! Many congratulations, Georgie. I must admit that my heart did a little loop of joy when I opened the scrap of paper to find your name, as I know after recent events and traumas you are definitely due a piece of good luck! I will get it sent off to you and I really hope you enjoy it. Let us all know when it arrives!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Georgie, along with everyone else who owns this beautiful book, will now be able to recreate the cake above...which is a larger version (I doubled the quantities) of the Peach, Fennel Seed & Vanilla Mini Loaf Cakes in the book. This, along with many other delights, will be on the stall tomorrow at Aylesbury Farmer's Market. The forecast isn't great from lunchtime on, but the morning looks if you are in the vicinity, do pop down to see me and my fellow stallholders! We really love to see you! 9am - 2pm in the lower Market Square.

Hoping you have a wonderful week....x

Monday 10 August 2015

Recipe for an August afternoon...& a giveaway!

 My newest acquisition in the vast library of cookbooks that threaten to take over our home is 'The Baking Book' from the fabulous Honey & Co . You may remember that I wrote about their first book 'Food from the Middle East'...and gave a copy away here too! Well, this one is just as contains some wonderful recipes - not all sweet - and I've been having such fun with it in my (not too copious) free time! I wanted to share the cake I made yesterday with you. As usual, I tweaked the original recipe. NOT because there was anything at all wrong with it - but just because I was giving it away to my family, and I know what they like! The 'real' recipe for Coffee, Cardamom & Walnut Cake has a rich coffee cream icing as a filling and on top. Delightful as that sounds, I knew that this wouldn't go down too well with 'my lot' as they prefer things less creamy and more fruity. So I followed the recipe for the cake, but added fresh apricots and finished it simply with the syrup from the original and a sprinkle of toasted walnuts after baking. The perfect marriage of flavours for a sultry August afternoon.

The cake itself is not difficult to make and has no weird ingredients...the only technique that may be new to you is making the 'burnt butter' that adds a deep, nutty note to the batter. This isn't difficult simply melt the butter over a low heat and then increase it slightly, 'cooking' the butter until it turns a rich brown. It will smell delicious...sort of caramelly & hazelnutty...and you'll notice little brown specks at the bottom of the pan. These are good! Don't leave it, though...or it WILL burn, and black is not the colour you need....
                              should look like the photo above, in fact! It will be really hot to start with, so it may help to make it first and then set it aside while you get the rest of the ingredients together.

Coffee, Cardamom & Walnut Cake with Fresh Apricots
Inspired by an original recipe from Itamar Srulovich & Sarit Packer from their book Honey & Co - The Baking Book 

For the cake batter:

330g icing sugar
120g ground almonds
130g self-raising flour
80g roasted walnuts (plus a few extra to garnish)
1 tsp ground coffee (I used ground espresso beans)
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
3 whole eggs
150g egg whites (from about 4 eggs)
140g burnt butter (see above!)
Approx 4-5 ripe apricots 

For the syrup:
2 tbsp honey (I used runny orange flower honey)
60g/ml water
50g caster sugar
a double espresso (or 60g/ml strong black coffee)

Preheat oven to 190c/170cfan/gas mark 5
Line a 9"/23cm square pan with baking parchment (or circular if you prefer!)

Stir the dry ingredients and nuts together in a large bowl, 

then add the eggs and egg whites and mix really well until smooth (I used my Kitchenaid for this) Pour in the warm melted butter (scrape in all the nutty brown bits too!) and stir carefully, then transfer to the prepared tin...

...break the apricots apart gently using your fingers, remove the stones and arrange in rough pieces lightly over the surface of the cake batter. Don't push them down, just lay them on top...

 Let the batter rest in the tin for about 10 minutes, then bake for about 35 minutes until set and golden brown...this may take a little longer depending on your oven. Meanwhile, bring the syrup ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan and remove from the heat. Once the cake comes out of the oven, brush the top generously with the syrup while still hot and let it absorb...
 ...sprinkle with the remaining toasted walnuts and allow to cool in the tin...
...before you dive in...(although it's lovely slightly warm, too...I'd eat it like that, with a big spoonful of labneh or creme fraiche...)
 Totally divine!
To celebrate this beautiful book, I'm giving away a copy to one of you loyal readers of this blog! 

All you need to do is leave me a comment on this post to qualify. I'll send it anywhere in the world, so don't worry that you'll miss out if you don't live in the UK. I'll make the draw two weeks from today, on Monday 24th August...good luck...and thanks for reading! Have a great week x