Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing

Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing, ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’, Nigella Lawson

Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing, ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’, Nigella Lawson

Another recipe from Nigella’s ‘How to be A Domestic Goddess’ and another winner! I am a big fan of traditional gingerbread (ie the cake version, not the biscuit version) and this recipe somehow reminded me of the Northern gingerbread I grew up loving! It’s made me think of digging out a recipe for Parkin that I used to eat on Bonfire Night each year! The addition of the lemon icing really works well here by freshening up the cake, which has quite a deep/earthy flavour on its own. This was a simple recipe to follow, and would be really nice for a bake sale or similar!

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing (makes 20 squares)

Ingredients:

For the gingerbread

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 125g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 200g black treacle
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to mix
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 2 tbsp warm water
  • 300g plain flour
  • Roasting tin, approx 30 x 20 x 5cm, greased and lined with Bake-O-Glide, foil or parchment

For the icing

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 175g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 tbsp warm water

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3.

In a saucepan, melt the butter along with the sugar, golden syrup, treacle, ginger and cinnamon. Off the heat, add the milk, eggs and bicarbonate of soda in its water.

Measure the flour out into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed (it will be a very liquid batter). Pour it into the tin and bake for ¾ – 1hr until risen and firm. Be careful not to overcook it, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools.

When it is cool, get on with icing. Whisk the lemon juice into the icing sugar first, then gradually add the water. You want a good, thick icing, so go cautiously and be prepared not to add all the water. Spread over the cooled gingerbread with a palette knife and leave to set before cutting.

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Cherry-Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes, 'How to Be a Domestic Goddess', Nigella Lawson

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes, ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’, Nigella Lawson

Two wonderful things have happened recently (in addition to buying the house!), and I’m a very lucky and happy bunny. I was bought a Kitchen Aid, and I was also bought Nigella’s ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’ book. So I’m re-finding my baking mojo. One of the loveliest things I’ve made recently are out of the Nigella’s book (buy it here – it’s ace) – Cherry-Chocolate Cupcakes. Easy to make, easy to eat! They’re a bit like a reverse cupcake, in that the cake itself is quite sweet, but this is perfectly offset by quite a bitter icing.

You’ll notice a sneaky third score below. Guest judge, Chris, who was given the honour of Paul finally sharing my baking with someone other than himself!

KB 9/10. PR 9/10. CF 8.5/10

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes (makes 12)

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 300g morello cherry jam (get a good quality one, but if it’s a bit of a sweeter, cheaper version, reduce the sugar in the batter mix a little)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 150g self raising flour

12 bun muffin tin and papers

For the icing:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • 12 natural-coloured glace cherries

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4

Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan on the heat to melt. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the cherry jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated stir in the flour.

Scrape and pour into the muffin papers in their tin and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

When the cupcakes are cool, break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and then whisk, by hand or electronically, till thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon, and stand a cherry in the centre of each.


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Salted Caramel Shortbread

Salted Caramel Shortbread, Olive Magazine February 2014

Salted Caramel Shortbread, Olive Magazine February 2014

It’s been a while since my last post, and I actually have a very good reason. Reidbury Kitchen has officially relocated! We have finally bought our first house and have spent the last few months preparing to move, actually moving and then trying to make it a home (this place needs work)! But I know that it’s definitely home now as, yesterday, I decided to bake! I’ve popped the new Reidbury Kitchen’s cherry, so to speak. This kitchen is small (the master plan is to eventually convert the garage into a shiny, new kitchen), so I thought it might be a challenge. However it is soooo much bigger than the kitchen I’ve left, and it even has a door. A DOOR! It’s not part of the lounge! Meaning that I can enjoy listening to my own music, and Paul doesn’t have to turn the TV up every time I boil the kettle or use the food processor. Perfection!

Anyway, onto the recipe. I’ve decided to laugh in the face of the January health kick. Sod detoxing – I’m retoxing. And as soon as I saw this recipe for Salted Caramel Shortbread in the latest edition of Olive Magazine I knew we had a strong contender. I’ve never made shortbread so I was interested to see how it would play out, but I reckon this has to be one of the easiest things I’ve ever made and definitely the tastiest! The salted caramel that runs through the centre of these shortbreads really cuts through the sweetness, so don’t shy away from a good sprinkling of sea salt at the caramel-making stage. It will balance out nicely.

Finally, tracking down rice flour might be a challenge. Having checked all probable aisles in Waitrose (ooh, fancy), I still couldn’t find it. Turned out it is kept in the gluten free section – thought I’d share the knowledge.

You owe it to yourself to give these a try. They really are delightful!

KB rating 10/10. PR rating 9.5/10

Salted Caramel Shortbread (makes 20)

Ingredients:

  • 300g butter
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 100g rice flour
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Salt flakes, for decoration

For the caramel:

  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • Salt flakes

Method:

To make the caramel, heat the sugar in an even layer in a frying pan until it melts and then starts to bubble golden brown. Swirl the pan if you need to keep the melting and browning even (it’s worth taking this off the heat earlier than you think as it can go from golden to dark brown very quickly. And dark brown is pretty much burnt). Add a good sized pinch of salt flakes and tip the caramel onto an oiled baking sheet set on a wooden board. Cool and then break into chips with a rolling pin.

Whizz the butter and sugar in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Add all the flours and a pinch of salt and whizz to form a dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface, pat out gently and sprinkle with the caramel chips. Fold in half and then transfer to a 20cm x 30cm (or similar) tin and push into an even layer. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, mark into fingers with a knife (you should get about 20 decent sized pieces) and then cool completely. Cut along the marked lines into pieces.

Heat the chocolate in a bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of water or microwave until it starts to melt, stir until smooth and take it off the heat. Lay the shortbreads next to each other with a tiny gap between them on a cooling rack and spoon over the chocolate in strips. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with some salt flakes and then leave to set.


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Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart

Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart

Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart

Picture the scene – a cold, rainy, wintery Sunday in the East End of London. A boyfriend sat cold and miserable in the flat. And me, sat on the sofa in my PJs flicking absentmindedly through a magazine. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I spy a Waitrose recipe card that’s been sat on the coffee table for a while. And as soon as I see that, I KNOW I have to make it! Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart – it became an obsession and what a lovely way to finish the weekend! So, having sent the boyfriend out to do the weekly shop (not sure how I managed that!), I plodded over to the kitchen!

This recipe is one of the most simple pastry dishes I’ve ever made, and it is definitely going to become a staple ‘go to’ Autumn/Winter dessert. The end result is definitely Rustic, as mentioned in the title. But all the better for it! An open topped pie with a light, crumbly, hazelnutty pastry, filled with the classic combo of apples, pears, cinnamon, sugar and sultanas. No faff with making pastry lids, just fold up the sides of the pastry to form a buffer against the fruit falling out. Bosh!

KB rating 8.5/10 PR rating 8.5/10

Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart (serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 225g plain flour
  • 140g butter, chilled and diced
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 pears, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • 2 Bramley apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • 50g sultanas (I ended up using more)
  • 60g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or clear honey

Method:

Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add the flour, butter and caster sugar and whizz until all the butter is blended well. Add the egg and whizz again to form a firm dough – if the mixture seems dry add 1 tbsp of chilled water. Shape into a ball and chill for at least 10 mins (I reckon 30 mins minimum otherwise it’s hard to roll out).

Preheat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4). In a large bowl, toss together the pears, apples, sultanas, brown sugar, cinnamon and cornflour.

Line a large baking tray with baking parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry to a circle about 35cm diameter. Transfer to a baking tray (I cheated, and rolled out the dough on the baking parchment as it was very crumbly and I was nervous about the transfer)!

Spoon the fruit mixture onto the centre of the pastry, leaving a 4cm border all the way around. You can pile quite high (though I still had a bit of filling that didn’t fit into the pastry disc). Fold up the edges to form sides, and then brush the pastry with milk.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is tender and very juicy. Drizzle with the maple syrup or honey. Slice and serve warm (or at room temperature) with clotted cream or custard.

Get under a blanket, grab a brew and settle back on the sofa!


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Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Apple and Cinnamon Cake, Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

Apple and Cinnamon Cake, Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

I’ve had a bit of a baking flurry recently – something about the season turning from summer to autumn I think that means it’s time to have a spot of tea and cake! And I’ve been inspired by the Master – Mary Berry. Her book Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes (available here), has so many things I want to try. But one that appealed more than most was her Apple and Cinnamon Cake – I think those flavours are classic, but I was also intrigued as the cake has an apple layer running through the middle.

This cake was pretty easy to do, and the results were good. I think I’d turn the oven a bit lower next time and cook for slightly longer, as the outside was a bit too well done for my liking. But the soft apple inside keeps this cake lovely and moist. And Mary’s suggestion of serving this warm with clotted cream was spot on – God, this was good!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 7/10.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g chopped walnutes
  • 100g sultanas
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 400g cooking apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon

To finish (I didn’t actually bother with this)

  • Light muscovado sugar, for sprinkling
  • Extra chopped walnuts, for sprinkling
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin.

Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, chopped walnuts, sultanas, flour and baking powder into a large bowl and beat for about 2 minutes until thoroughly blended.

Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin then spread the grated apple and ground cinnamon in an even layer on top. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over the top, level the surface and then sprinkle generously with light muscovado sugar and walnuts.

Bake for 1.25 – 1.5 hours or until the cake is well risen and golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve.


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Orange Scotch Pancakes

Orange Scotch Pancakes, Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

Orange Scotch Pancakes, Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

I’m one of those people who loves the idea of a lazy weekend breakfast. The key words in that sentence are ‘the idea of’. When it comes to anything more than putting weetabix in a bowl and making a brew, I tend to make excuses! But the other Sunday morning I really wanted a nice start to the day and found this Mary Berry recipe for Orange Scotch Pancakes in a book called Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes (you can buy this here and it’s a bargain for a fiver). And despite my previous reluctance to really ‘make’ breakfast, it took absolutely no time to make these. Definitely one to do again in the future.

Serve with golden or maple syrup and a nice milky coffee. Start your day with a bit of smugness!

KB rating 8/10.  PR rating 7.5/10

Orange Scotch Pancakes (makes around 24 pancakes allegedly. I highly doubt this – I got about 12 out of the batter!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges
  • A little milk
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • A little oil for greasing
  • Butter and golden or maple syrup to serve

Method:

Grate the zest from the oranges and set aside, and squeeze the juice. Pour the juice into a measuring jug and make up to 200ml with milk.

Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar and orange zest into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and half of the orange juice and milk mixture. Beat well to make a smooth, thick batter and then beat in enough of the remaining orange juice and milk to give the batter the consistency of thick cream.

Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and grease with a little oil. Drop the mixture in dessertspoonfuls onto the hot pan, spacing them well apart to allow the mixture to spread. When bubbles appear on the surface, turn the pancakes over and cook on the other side for 30 – 60 seconds, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cover with a clean tea towel to keep them soft. Cook the remaining mixture in the same way. Serve immediately with butter and golden or maple syrup.


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A Spot of Tea and Cake (or should that be ‘Tea In Cake’?)

Earl Grey Tea Loaf with Orange Frosting, Olive Magazine

Earl Grey Tea Loaf with Orange Frosting, Olive Magazine

I had a bit of a baking urge over the weekend and, after flicking through the latest Olive Magazine (April 2013), I saw the recipe for Earl Grey Tea Loaf with Orange Frosting. There’s nothing nicer than a mug of tea and a slice of cake, but how about tea in a slice of cake? Well it’s rather nice actually! The overall tea flavouring was actually quite subtle as it’s really more of a ‘tea-infused raisin and sultana’ situation, rather than the whole cake itself tasting tea-y. I’d actually describe this more as a wonderfully moist but rich fruit loaf, but the addition of the orange frosting gives it a nice lightness. I’ll definitely make this again. It’s also worth noting that this is not something you can rustle up to eat within an hour. Whilst it’s not at all labour intensive to make, it is time intensive. The dried fruit has to soak for at least an hour. The baking time is an hour. The time to cool the cake is about an hour. And then once you’ve frosted this bad boy, the recipe suggests you wait for…guess what…an hour for it to set. So it’s a half-day project. Defo worth the wait though!

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8.75/10

Earl Grey Tea Loaf with Orange Frosting (serves 8)

Ingredients

  • 4 earl grey teabags
  • 225ml whole milk
  • 150g golden raisins (I couldn’t find just golden raisins, so actually used mixed raisins and it worked fine)
  • 150g sultanas
  • 100g butter
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced

For the frosting

  • 150g butter, softened
  • 275g icing sugar
  • 1 orange, zested (for decoration) and juiced

Method

Put the teabags and milk into a pan and bring to just below boiling point. Take off the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Put the raisins and sultanas into a bowl and pour over the tea mixture, squeezing the liquid from the teabags. Cover and leave to infuse for at least an hour.

Heat the oven to 180C (fan 160C or Gas mark 4). Butter and line the base of a 900g loaf tin. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy, then beat in the egg. Fold in the flour and fruit mixture in alternate batches (I wasn’t clear here whether to add just the fruit, or the fruit AND the tea/milk that hadn’t been absorbed. I lobbed the whole lot in and I definitely think the moisture was needed!). Then add the orange juice and zest. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the surface.

Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then left out.

To make the frosting,  beat the soft butter with the sugar to a crumbly mixture. Then beat in the orange juice until creamy (I added a bit too much orange, so it took a while for the frosting to firm up. Tasted bloody good though!). Frost the top of the cake (and sides if you like) and leave to set for an hour. Decorate with orange zest.

The crumbly interior

The crumbly interior

Put the kettle on, make a brew and enjoy your tea-in-cake treat. And here’s a pic of how it looks inside – it’s very crumbly which is nice, but makes it look crappy in a photo. Oh well, you get the gist…