When I’m at uni, I’m more or less completely cut off from what’s on television. I occasionally visit iPlayer or 4OD if I’ve got an hour to kill, but I never really keep up to date with anything. It’s because of this that I was totally unaware of Paul Hollywood’s Bread programme. I watched it the other day with my mum and Rachel though, and it just made my mouth water and I instantly wanted to try all the things he’d just made. I satisfied my craving for bread baking the next day and decided that instead of following a strict recipe, I would try and make my own cheese and tomato bread. Kind of like a pizza all in one loaf. I searched through the many, many bread recipe books that my mum owns trying to find a recipe that could be suitably adapted for my loafy needs. I eventually found a cheese and marmite bread recipe by Peter Sidwell and thought that it was close enough. Then I got baking!
I weighed out 500g of strong white bread flour, 1 and a quarter tsp of salt, one 7g sachet of fast-action yeast and 1 and a half tsp of caster sugar (which should actually have been granulated sugar, but oh well) into the KitchenAid mixing bowl.
Next, I measured out about 100g of cheddar cheese and grated about half, then diced the other half and plonked that in the mixing bowl along with about three quarters of a teaspoon of chilli flakes.
After that, I measured out 300ml of water and stirred in a heaped tablespoon of tomato puree. I mixed the dry ingredients with the mixer a bit before adding the very colourful water/tomato puree mix.
Once all the liquid was added and a dough had formed, I bought it all together with my hands just to make sure all the bits at the bottom were combined with the dough.
I put the machine back on and left it to knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes. When I came back, the dough had formed a ball and had turned an amazing pink colour!
I covered the bowl with clingfilm and left it until the dough had doubled in size. This seemed to take an extreeeemely long time, and my hopes of having cheesy tomato bread for lunch plummeted as we reached about 12:30.
EVENtually, after many peeks, the dough had in fact doubled in size
The dough had to be knocked back to take some of the air out of it, and my mum suggested that I use oil instead of flour on the board and on my hands, which was disgusting but I did it. Ew.
I just used my knuckles to press it all down a bit. Weirdly, it felt a lot like nougat but maybe that’s just because it was pink?!
I rolled it all up into a big sausage shape and left it on a lined baking tray to, guess what, double in size. Again, this seemed to take forever and I got a bit overenthusiastic and sprinkled chilli flakes and cheese on top before I remembered that it had to double in size and that I still had to egg wash it. I then spent a good 5 minutes picking all the cheese strands off and putting them in a little pot so I could resprinkle them when the time was right. I decided I’d put a score down the middle, just to make it look a bit more bready and once it had doubled in size, I egg washed it and resprinkled the cheese before popping it in the pre-heated oven (200 degrees C) for about half an hour.
AND THEN IT WAS DONE!!!!!! Of course, to test when bread is done you (carefully) turn it upside down and knock on the underneath of it. When it sounds hollow, it’s ready! This can be a disastrous point in bread baking, as I’ve found it’s very hard to balance extremely hot bread in one oven-gloved hand whilst knocking hard enough with the other hand so you can hear if it sounds hollow, but without knocking it so hard that the bread goes flying across the room. There was a lot of bread juggling when I made this loaf, I tell you!
I set it to rest on a cooling rack for all of about 2 minutes before the smell got to our heads and we just HAD to try it!
It was absolutely delicious! Nice and soft in the middle but with a hard, cheesy crust. The hardest thing was to stop eating it. We went circuit training (lots of running and press ups and sit ups and things) with the canoe club straight after this and I felt so heavy after eating all this yummy bread, but I didn’t regret it one bit. Unsurprisingly, 90% of it was eaten between the five of us that day – we’re all bread fiends! I would definitely recommend this recipe if you’re after a savoury snack – good with butter or cheese or just warm on its own! YUM!
I’m so sorry for the lack of posts recently, I just honestly don’t know where the time’s been going. Actually, it may have something to do with the fact that my body seems to think it’s perfectly acceptable to sleep for at least 11 hours EVERY night when I’m at home. Seriously, every night I go to bed at about 10pm (things run on a totally different time scale here, everyone’s getting ready for bed at 9.30, so I feel I should too!) and then I wake up at 10:30am on the dot. Last night I stayed up a little later and went to bed at 11:30pm AND I JUST WOKE UP AT ELEVEN AM!! I’m enjoying the fact that I am able to do this, that I don’t have to force myself to wake up, but it’s getting a little bit ridiculous now. I wake up and half the day’s gone! This means I’ve been having time to do things to blog about, but not the time to actually write them up. I refuse to set an alarm when I don’t actually have a reason to get up, it just goes against my morals, so I’ll keep sleeping the days away until my body is completely recharged and would like to start waking up at a decent hour. About 9am would be perfect, please.
The other thing that’s happened since I got home, which has happened before when I’ve come home for a weekend or something, is that I have been eating SO much! I don’t think there’s been a time in the day when my mum hasn’t glanced over to see me with a biscuit in my hand! I think it’s because there’s just so much variety here that I want to have some of everything. This is compared to at uni where I might have the choice of dry toast because we ran out of butter or a soft apple. I’m giving myself this week to get over the fact that there’s lots of yummy, free food here and after that I’ll be eating like a normal person again.
I’m aware that over this (5 week!!!) Easter holiday that I need to keep on top of my work. I’ll have exams a while after I get back for the final term of the year and I know that I just need to do a little bit every day to keep my mind involved with all of the different topics. I made the mistake last year of just not revising much at all in the holiday and it meant I was super duper stressed in that last term, doing crazy hours of revision every day. I know I’ll be super duper stressed again this year, because how can you not be?! But hopefully I’ll get a huge chunk of the work done over the holiday so when I come to revise when I go back, it will actually be revision rather than learning it all at the same time as revising. That’s the plan anyway. Just do at least one lecture every day. That’s still only a quarter of what I need to do to get all of my lectures done 2 weeks before my exams, but I figure I’ll step up my game as I get closer and I’m not going to spend all my time working over the holiday. I’m just not! So one lecture a day will do. I’ve got a tick list and everything to make sure I do it!
Anyway, the original reason for this post was to show you all the world’s most amazing cake. This cake was the inspiration for the one I made a little while ago, topped with ganache. This one:
There’s a tiny little cake shop where I live when I’m at uni that specialises in selling big fancy cakes for birthdays and weddings and things. As a smaller part to their business, they sell slices of their cakes and have a tiny seating area with just four chairs where you can eat in and have a drink at the same time. I wanted to take my mum there for Mother’s day, but they were closed so I insisted that we went there when we went back to pick up all of my things to bring home. Because I went straight to the canoe race from uni before I came home, I couldn’t bring my things with me, so we went back on Tuesday to pick everything up. Once we had packed everything and done a bit of a spring clean, we headed over to the cake shop to indulge ourselves.
As well as a selection of the most gorgeous cakes, they also do cheesecakes, brownies, florentines and other yummy snacks. I was bought a chocolate orange cake for my birthday from here and before I tasted it, I would never have chosen it to eat. But then I had some and it was absolute heaven. I’ve been there a few times since with my friends and the time after my birthday, I chose the chocolate cake and it just wasn’t as good as the chocolate orange cake. I wanted my mum to try the chocolate orange cake, and I knew I was going to have a hard time convincing her as she had the same reaction to me before I’d tasted it. It didn’t matter either way in the end, because when we got there they were out of chocolate orange cake. I was slightly disappointed, but used the opportunity to try one of the cheesecakes that always look so good. I had the cookies and cream cheesecake with hot chocolate, and my mum had chocolate cake with coffee.
The cheesecake was delicious, as was the hot chocolate. I’m still more of a cake kind of girl though, and my mum and I both tried each others. It’s not the actual cake that’s so damn good, but the icing! It just can’t be beaten! We’re going to have another go at making a chocolate cake with ganache, but make more ganache so we can put it in the middle and around the sides like the one from here. I’ll let you know when we try it if it’s anywhere near as good as the cakes from this shop!
After celebrating the end of term with my uni friends, I set my alarm for 6:45am yesterday to be picked up and taken to help out at a canoe race. A few people from my canoe club are taking part in the Devizes to Westminster (DW) canoe race this year, (here‘s a post I wrote about it last year, in short it’s a 125 mile non-stop 24 hour canoe race) and my mum and I, along with a few other people, are helping them out by following in a car and meeting them at locks to provide food, water, dry clothes and anything else they might need along the way. As a warm up to the race, there are a series of other races that get longer and longer, starting at 13 miles and building up to 35 miles, finishing two weeks before the actual race which takes place over the Easter weekend. Yesterday was the longest of these races – Waterside D – 35 miles, taking about 6 and a half hours to complete. And of course, the weather chose this day to drop a load of snow everywhere.
It was as we (me, my mum and our family friend from the canoe club) were travelling to the race and the snow was getting worse and worse, that we looked at the ground getting whiter by the second and decided that we would just have to turn around and go home. The people racing had another support crew with them, we were just there to practise our roles before Easter, and my mum gets a little nervous when the snow looks threatening. It was only when we were back at the canoe club nibbling on some cake before heading back home that we remembered we’d been given an entry form for another crew entering the DW, to hand in to the race organisers. It was the last day the entries could be handed in. The crew had been training for this for months. We just had to go back and hand it in. My mum didn’t fancy the ride in the snow again, so she went home while I went off to crew with said family friend. It was freeezing, but I was armed with the rest of the cake, a flask of hot chocolate and my warm hat (which I shall not be taking to another canoe event – I forgot just how muddy everything gets!).
We rang the other support crew while we were on our way, and managed to catch up the crew after we’d handed the entry in. When we arrived at the first lock though, we realised just how muddy the day was going to be. This wasn’t even the worst bit – just past the lock there was a mini flood that the competitors had to wade through whilst carrying their boats round the lock. It was nearly knee deep! Thankfully we could sort of edge round it on the raised bank, but it was very slippery and I nearly ended up submerged several times!
Now, let me explain to you the roles of a support crew. The number one role is probably giving them food. This may sound simple in itself, but it has to be done on the move – the paddlers jump out of the boat at a lock, pick it up, run round the lock and get back in before paddling off again. Somewhere in this time frame, you have to cram as much food into them as possible so they have enough energy to keep going. The food has to be in bite sized pieces and should be high in energy. On the menu today was chopped up mars bars. Well, they started off chopped up and in nicely sized bits, but as the day went on they just merged into one big gooey clump. We ended up breaking bits off with our fingers and then it’s the normal process of aiming vaguely for their mouths while you run along side them. This is no easy task and usually ends up with chocolate smeared across their face and you tripping over a mooring post about to be trampled by another team coming up behind you.
The second role of a support crew is to provide encouragement. This, again, sounds easy enough but when someone’s been paddling for the best part of 5 hours, it’s a fine line between encouraging them to keep going and sounding completely patronising. Shouting, ‘Keep going!!’ might boost their moral at one point, and at another have you dodging a paddle being aimed at your head with the reply of, ‘What do you think I’m going to do?!’. Ok, it’s not usually that bad, but you do have to watch what you say. Our paddlers were in high spirits most of the time though, and seemed to enjoy the race which was good.
The other two jobs of a support crew is to provide vital statistics – ‘HOOOOOW far do we have left now?!’, and if possible, snap a few photos to capture the grimaces on their faces. The whole routine goes something like this:
- Arrive at the lock, find good places for your paddlers to get out and in again.
- Stand for ages looking out for signs that your paddlers are coming.
- Recognise some of the paddlers coming in from the funny slogans on their custom made DW kit.
- Debate between you about whether you can see your paddlers arriving in the distance.
- Realise it is them and jump up and down showing them where to get out.
- Remember you have to take photos, manage a few blurry snaps while you break off a clump of mars bar goop which you proceed to smear all over your camera while you try and get it back in your pocket while you ask how your paddlers are feeling.
- Run alongside your paddlers while they carry the boat. Try and get at least half of the mars bar clump into their mouths as opposed to eyes/ear/hair/nose while avoiding holes/posts/stray water bottles.
- Try and remember how far it is they have left. This is simple if you’ve remembered to check the distance sheet before you left the car. If you forgot, it results in some very dodgy mental maths, trying to think how long ago it was you last saw them, how far they had left to go at that point and what sort of speed you reckon they’re averaging. Always end up overestimating so they have a sense of relief that it felt like a very short 10 miles as opposed to a horrendously long 6 miles.
- Direct them to the best place to get back on the water, wait for them to get in and offer a last piece of mars bar with the risk of having your fingers chomped off if they accept and can’t quite coordinate eating with pushing off the bank to start paddling again.
- Take a few more pictures of them paddling into the distance.
- Go back to the car and try and direct to the next lock.
As you can imagine, this can be quite tiring! But I really enjoy doing it. If I’m not on the water doing the race, this is where I like to be. There’s been a lot of rain recently, which made for a few floody bits. Thankfully the actual canal was ok, but some of the rivers running alongside had burst their banks.
At the end of this particular race, there’s a very whizzy bit where a river joins the canal and quite a few teams had some wobbles. Our team coped perfectly though, and finished the race in just over 6 and a half hours. More importantly, all the support crew finished with fingers intact and no sore heads from being hit with a paddle for accidentally tripping up your paddlers whilst trying to take photos. It was a very nice (if not cold, wet and muddy – but when is a canoe race not any of those things!) day and I really enjoyed getting back into it all. I can’t wait to start my training again over the holidays, and I’m also looking forward to crewing for the big DW race over Easter. Although, if it rains or snows any more it’ll be a close call as to whether they actually run it at all. Fingers crossed!
Oh it’s so nice to be back in the ordinary world of normal things! For the last few weeks, I (along with everyone else on my course) have been working almost solidly on four lab reports that were due in yesterday. The way it works is that we spent every Monday and Tuesday of this half of term in labs carrying out lots of experiments and writing lots of results. Throughout this time, we’ve been doing lots of calculations and research in order to answer a few questions for each report and to say why we got the results we did and what should have happened had everything gone perfectly. Now, lab reports aren’t a foreign thing to us AT ALL. Last year, we had one due in pretty much every week. However, those ones had a limit of four pages, they were generally much simpler and they were spread out over the year. This time, the reports don’t have a limit, they’re on much more complex topics with more room for interpretation and all four were due in at exactly the same time. On top of that, we had to be in labs on Monday and Tuesday over the last two weeks to carry out the last of our lab classes this year. Needless to say, this is why my blog posts have been a bit sparse recently.
I was pretty much on top of my work throughout, but then it got to the going through and checking over everything, noting down little things to change and add in and it just took soooooooo much longer than expected! I was working pretty much solidly from 8:30 till midnight for three days in a row until the Wednesday evening (or Thursday morning…) when I finally finished at quarter past one in the morning. It turned out that everyone on my course had underestimated how much there was to do and nearly everyone had finished in the early hours of that morning or didn’t go to sleep at all to try and get them finished. It was quite fun being up in the dead of night – my friends and I had a group Facebook message going all the time we were working on it so we could help each other out and it felt like a really secret club of sleep deprived people! As it got later and later, the messages became less and less coherent and people started to go a little mad. I was the first to finish and ended up having a shower at about 1:30am before going to bed a 2am. I then set my alarm for 6:30 so I could catch the bus into uni and beat the huge queues I assumed there’d be for printing everything out (even though the deadline was 4pm). There was just one other girl there when I arrived at 8am, and she wasn’t even on my course so I would have been fine to print it all off between lectures, but I was paranoid that there would be too many people there trying to do it at the same time. The reason there weren’t many people printing was because SO many people just didn’t finish them in time. There were some very stressed people working right up until the deadline, and when I went with my friend to hand hers in at 4:15pm (after the deadline) there were still loads of cover sheets on the desk, meaning that loads of people still hadn’t handed them in.
I managed to get mine in for 11am and it felt like such a weight had been lifted! I’d been working on them for about 2 or 3 weeks and they were FINALLY done. All 51 pages of them. That’s 13,726 words. Everyone that I saw from my course that day just looked like zombies and everyone was comparing how much sleep they’d gotten that night. I was one of the ones with the most sleep and I’d only had 4 and a half hours! This is just one of the reports:
And once I’d handed mine in I realised that it was the last day of term! The lab reports had eaten up so much of our time that we hadn’t done anything nice together for ages, so we ended up having a very rushed Wagamama’s before two of us went to watch our other friend perform with his choir. It was very good – they were performing Mozart with an orchestra and we both really enjoyed it. I was quite amazed that all three of us managed to stay awake for the whole evening though. I got home at about midnight after running off of 13 hours sleep in the last 65 hours and just collapsed into bed. I was unfortunately woken up by a stray alarm somewhere in the house at 8:30 this morning, so I think I might have a much needed nap before meeting my friends again tonight. Originally we were going to try and finish the last lab report (that’s due in after the holidays), but we’re all SO DONE with work at the moment that I think we’ll just have a nice day of doing nothing and a night filled with a few drinks and good company.
So, I woke up this morning and flicked about on the internet and read Heather’s mother’s day post. Then I realised that nothing I could write in my post could top that – I mean, I don’t have a cute baby to aid my message! Thankfully I was lucky enough to actually see my mum today. She drove up this morning and I treated us both to hot chocolate and croissants in one of our favourite cafes. I bought some tulips as well – I was going to buy some different flowers instead as I bought tulips for her birthday in January too, but the flower stall didn’t have all that much choice and tulips are always a hit.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned the cafe we went to before… Yes, here we are. It’s seriously the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had and as my mum usually has coffee there, this was her first time trying the hot chocolate. She very much appreciated it too! Just look how good it looks:
We sat and chatted whilst we drank and ate. It was lovely to be all cosied up in a cafe – it was snowing slightly outside and the wind was bitterly cold, which made the hot chocolate seem even nicer.
And because it’s an unwritten rule that when we meet up like this, I have to eat cake (and the cake’s not the best from this cafe for some reason) we went in search of somewhere that could fill my cakey needs. I ended up with this cake that’s more icing than anything else. It was nice, but I feel it looked a lot nicer than it actually was.
(Sorry I can’t work out how to flip the image, but you can see the monstrous amount of icing on it!)
We then had a look around a few shops and did a small Tesco shop (where I might have come away with another bargain Easter egg… Oops!) before heading back to the car. It was lovely to see my mum, especially on mother’s day and although it had to be cut short due to stupid lab reports being due in on Thursday, we had a very nice morning.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MUMMMMMM!!! I love you lots and lots, and one day I will be armed with my first born child to write a very emotional appreciation post. But until then, I figure I don’t stand a chance at winning mother’s day so I’ll just buy you flowers and cake and hot chocolate and hope that starts to show you just how much you mean to me.
Love, daughter #3
Just a warning, this is a very picture-heavy post. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I just thought I’d prepare you!
When I was home, nearly two weeks ago now (I honestly can’t believe how fast time is going! I seem to have so much work and it’s just sucking away all my time!) my mum and I decided to make a chocolate cake in order to attempt a chocolate ganache topping. This is because I was introduced to THE MOST AMAZING CAKE SHOP EVER a little while ago. Actually, my friends bought me a cake from this shop for my birthday back in November, but I didn’t realise they do normal slices of cake that you can buy (really cheaply actually, only about £2.00). I can’t describe to you just how good these cakes are. In fact, I don’t think it’s the cake that makes it as it seems pretty standard, but the icing is incredible. After a lengthy phone call to my mum, with me saying things like, “It’s kind of hard, but still gooey; I think it must set slightly after it’s put on the cake; it’s really chocolatey and tastes amazing!”, my mum decided it was most likely to be chocolate ganache. So, we set about making a chocolate cake, following the same recipe as this one I made last year and at the same time we made the ganache to allow it time to set before applying to the cake.
The first thing we did was to tip the remainder of the double cream we used for the scones into a pan (it should actually be 7 fl.oz) and then added an equal amount of plain chocolate (so it should be 7 oz) and put on a low heat until the chocolate had melted.
Eventually it turns into this glossy, silky brown and then that’s basically it! You can whisk it to make sure the chocolate’s completely melted and then pop it in the fridge for an hour or two until it’s the right consistency to spread on the cake.
Then you assemble the cake and start spreading! We put chocolate butter icing in the middle of out cake as we didn’t have enough cream to make ganache for the middle and top and we also had some leftover from another cake in the fridge.
The addition of some chocolate stars and we were good to go.
It did taste really good, although I don’t think we’ll ever beat the icing from the cake shop. I’m all up for several more tests to see if we can though! Writing this post has made me crave chocolate SO much, I might just have to go and eat a mars bar…
Apologies for the lack of words in this post. Just remember, a picture is worth 1000 words so really I’ve just written a hugely long essay of a post! But I congratulate you if you got through this and have managed not to eat all the chocolate in a 5 mile radius from you – I’m very impressed!
I’ve been meaning to write my blog posts more frequently at the moment, as I actually have things to write about (with pictures and everything!) but I’ve been quite busy, both working and playing and so it just hasn’t happened. I’m still going to write up the recipe for the ganache, but I’ll do that in a separate post. For now though, I wanted to share with you my beautiful daffodils that my mum put in my hand just as I was leaving to come back to uni after last weekend. They gained a place on my crowded desk in a pretty green and white polka dot jug that I stole from home.
It’s such a luxury having flowers, and they feel so fresh and bright in my room. They started off quite a soft shade of yellow, but as they’ve opened up they’ve become a much more bright, primary yellow. They smell absolutely gorgeous too!
When the sun catches them, they completely brighten up my whole room! For some reason they remind me of the ones from Alice in Wonderland. I think it’s their little crinkled middles. They make me happy, at least!
Ah, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of having flowers around. I can bring my irises inside soon – how exciting! There are five rather tall shoots sticking out of the soil and they seem to be growing quite well in the little out-house. It will be interesting to see if they keep growing well when I bring them inside or if my presence will stop their progress. I just need to remember not to care about them, not to water them more than once a week and I should be ok.
I also wanted to show you the pepper that I cut open when I was making the stuffed peppers last weekend. I opened it and discovered a little baby pepper inside! I felt so bad!! I could almost hear the screams coming from both mummy and baby pepper! They still tasted good though… I meant to write about it before, but forgot and still wanted to show you the photo, so thought I’d just put it in here instead.
I also wanted to say that Patch and I went to see Les Miserable on the Saturday of last weekend, and it was reeeeeeaaaaaaally good. I hadn’t seen it before at all, so had no idea what it was about and it was quite nice that way. I thought Anne Hathaway would be in it for most of the film, but she was only in it for about 40 mins and she still won all those awards. You can see why though, she showed so much emotion while she was acting and singing! I thought it was amazing that all the songs were recorded while they were acting, rather than recorded in a studio and added in afterwards. It made it so much more realistic as the emotion on their faces completely matched the emotion in the song. There were even points when a few of them were sobbing while they were singing, it was incredible! I was quite disappointed that I didn’t cry though. It was sad, but I was expecting to ball my eyes out after what everyone had said to me about it. Maybe I’m just heartless?!
On another note, I only have two weeks left of term. TWO WEEKS! That’s crazy! I honestly can’t believe how fast the time is going. I have quite a lot of work to do before the end of term – four lab reports all due in next Thursday! That’s a lot of waffling and calculating, I tell you! Hopefully there will still be time to do lots of nice things like having Take Away at my friends’ house, going on nights out and going to Costa for drinks. It’s good because most of my friends are on the same course as me, so we all have the same lab reports and meet to go through all the calculations and things so we can work and play at the same time! Although somehow within about an hour it switches from working out rate of ATP synthesis to watching goats replacing people singing in songs (the best one is the Taylor Swift one – I recommend watching it on YouTube!). And productivity seem to be negatively associated with the number of people – the more people there, the more video suggestions there are and the less interested in work we all become… Oh well, that’s what the few days before the deadline are for, right?
As promised, here’s the first recipe following my weekend of food – scones. I’m not sure why I was craving scones, as they’re definitely a summer food for me, but I just couldn’t get them out of my head! So I made some, and then ate lots of them!
The first step is to sieve 8 oz of self raising flour into a bowl (if I remember rightly, we also added 2 teaspoons of baking powder at this point too), before adding 2 oz of butter and rubbing them together with your fingers to make a breadcrumb like texture. The step AFTER creating the breadcrumbs is to add 1 oz of caster sugar, but I was a fool and added it before. It didn’t make any difference though, so that’s ok.
Next, add 1/4 of a pint of milk all in one go and mix into a dough with a knife.
After this, the recipe calls for it to be turned out onto a board and lightly kneaded. This is where I went wrong the first time I made scones when I kneaded it like you’d knead bread (don’t do that!). Thankfully my mum was on hand this time and she told me that when she makes them she puts the dough straight onto the baking tray without kneading it at all, and then squished it down slightly so it’s all the same thickness. This is what I did and it worked much better!
I know when my mum makes scones she just chops the dough up into triangles like you would a pizza, but I wanted proper round scones with the fluted edges (is that the right term? Fluted? Hmm…), so I used a cutter and did it like that instead.
The recipe made 6 and a bit well-sized scones, which I then glazed with milk before putting in the top of a preheated oven at 230 degrees for about 10 minutes.
I placed them onto a cooling rack and waited approximately 2.5 seconds before breaking one open and smothering it with jam and cream. Actually, to be fair, we did wait for 5 minutes, but we only managed it because we put the timer on and held each other back!
I was actually really pleased with how they turned out – nice and fluffy and light. YAY! In my mind, the jam always has to go on the scone first, before the cream. It just makes sense that way! Jam is much easier to spread and cream to dollop. Usually, we’d have clotted cream but the co-op didn’t have any so we had thick double cream instead. They were YUM!
Mmmm, now I’m craving scones again! Damn! Oh well, I’ll make them again soon when I come back over Easter. But seriously, make some scones! Be outrageous and make scones when it’s not even really spring yet. (I may be telling you to do this to make me feel better. Not only did I make scones when it’s not summer, but I just went out and bought two Easter eggs!! I’m shocked by my behaviour and am too disgusted with myself to eat them until it’s at least a bit closer to Easter. But hopefully you’ll understand when I explain that it was only £1:50 for both of them, as my friend and I both bought two and they were in a ‘buy two get two free’ offer. They were practically handing them out for free!! I still feel guilty though…).
The weekend just gone, I decided to come home just because. It actually turned out to be quite an extended stay as I didn’t have any lectures on Friday, so caught the train back on Thursday evening and then went back to uni on Monday morning. It’s strange, but I always find when I come home that I do NOT stop eating the entire time. Literally! I was talking to my friend about this and she said that she does the same thing. All of a sudden you’re surrounded by lots of different, interesting, tasty food and you don’t have to pay for ANY of it! It’s amazing! I honestly don’t know how I managed to fit all the food I ate over the weekend inside me – it was quite impressive really. One of my favourite things about going home though, is being able to bake and cook whatever I want. I always come up with loads of things I want to try and make and then just spend the whole time in the kitchen creating more food to try and resist.
The first thing I made was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals – pesto (Quorn) chicken pasta. It was pretty much a case of throwing lots of things together, and other than a little mishap when I forgot I was using dried pasta instead of fresh and that it would take 10 minutes, not 2, it all went ok and tasted delicious! All it took was frying the chicken pieces with spices, boiling a few vegetables along with pasta and then mixing it all up with a lot of pesto. It did take a little longer than 15 minutes, but I think with a bit more practice I would have it down to a fine art.
Next on the cooking list was a batch of scones. I’m not sure why, I’ve just been craving scones for a while and thought I would just do it. I’ve only tried to make scones once before, and got confused when it said to gently knead the dough. I ended up kneading it like you knead bread dough, instead of using the light touch of a professional scone baker and they ended up like rocks. This time though, I was prepared and my mum was on hand to give me a few pointers, and they turned out nicely. Lots of jam and cream and they were ready to be scoffed.
Creation number three of my weekend was a huge chocolate cake. There are two reasons for this chocolate cake being made – firstly, there’s nearly always a chocolate cake when I come home; and secondly, I was telling my mum about this AmAZing cake shop where I live that has the best tasting icing I’ve ever had. We worked out that the icing was ganache , after a lengthy description over the phone to my mum, and thought we really should have a go at making it. Of course, if you’re making ganache, you have to make a chocolate cake for it to go on, and so the chocolate cake just had to be made really! The ganache definitely paid off – it tasted SO good! Not quite as good as the one in the shop though, but I think I can get over that.
Last on the list turned out to be stuffed peppers with sweet potato yummy fried chip things. I wanted to do Jamie’s Awesome Potatoes, but we had a lot of sweet potatoes that needed eating so I tried it with those instead. They’re just as tasty. I wanted to try something new too and thought, why not try stuffed peppers? They were a bit time consuming and probably could have done with a few more minutes in the oven, but they did taste good. They were stuffed with spicy, garlic-y rice with sweetcorn and topped with cheddar and edam. I was thinking about maybe doing a thick cheese sauce to go on top next time instead, as the cheese kept falling off and didn’t melt like I wanted it to. (Apologies for the awful picture!).
So I did manage to try making lots of new things, which I really enjoyed. The thing about going home for short periods of time though, is that I find I want to do everything I would over two weeks. And in trying to do everything, I kind of ended up doing nothing. I did manage to go canoeing, which was really good, and I did do lots of cooking and baking which was also nice, but I just felt completely wiped out the entire time! It did make me look forward to the Easter holidays which is in less than three weeks time now (how has this term gone so quickly?!) when I can do everything at my own pace, albeit whilst cramming in lots of revision. I will hopefully be posting the recipes for a few of the things I made over the next few days – mainly the scones and ganache, I’m not sure that I took pictures for the others. So get your chef hats on and get ready to make some scones that you can spread your amazing ganache onto!
On Wednesday evening after tea, I just had a craving for a proper homemade dessert. Usually I have a chocolate bar or a piece of fruit or something, just because I NEED something sweet after tea, but on Wednesday, neither of them would do. I was on my own in the house and decided that I would try a little experiment. I had apples and I needed to eat the pears that were ripening beside my laptop fan, so I thought I’d attempt to make a crumble.
Stage One – Peel and chop your cooking apples and pears, taking care to make the slices even so it looks pretty when you come to serve it (OR, haphazardly chop your eating apple and pear without bothering to peel to save on washing up and because it’s too much effort).
Step Two – Carefully layer your fruit in an eye-pleasing pattern in your baking dish, before sprinkling a handful of sugar over the top to get that nice caramel taste. Top with your homemade crumble topping and put in the oven for 20 minutes. (OR Throw about half your fruit into the cereal bowl you happen to have beside you after checking and being about 80% sure that it’s clean. Put a layer of Frosted Flakes over them before adding the rest of your fruit and another layer of cereal to complete the crumble. Put in the microwave for five minutes.)
Once cooked, serve your delicious dessert in a beautiful bowl with a dollop of the finest vanilla ice cream to accompany it (OR take out of the microwave, grab a spoon and eat in your room whilst watching Madagascar on iPlayer. No need to serve as it’s already in a bowl!).
It was surprisingly nice, actually. The fruit was all fluffy and although the cereal is no competition for crumble topping, it did give it a nice crunch and the sugar on it made up for the sprinkle of sugar that’s meant to go over the fruit. It turned out to be a much bigger portion than I expected, but it was 80% fruit, so I thought that was ok. I might try it again some time – it’s a good way to use fruit that’s not quite ripe and it gives a little nod to proper home baking!