Monday, 28 January 2013

Ginger Doughnuts

When you've had a rubbish couple of weeks, when your fringe is too long to do anything with, when the car won't start (because she is a diva in cold weather), when you just can't do any more studying, when you havent managed to go for a run for a good week and one of your cats has taken to waiting until 2am to sing the "song of her people" at the bottom of the stairs...

... Just throw in the towel for a while, and come and deep fry some things with me.

I'll always be here for you with a deep frying pan of hot oil at the ready.

It's ok to feel a bit blue. You can eat doughnuts and hang out with your cat. More whiskers the better.

Makes around 12 with doughnut holes



1tbsp fast action yeast (around 1 x 7gr sachet)
25gr soft brown sugar
1tsp ginger powder
25gr butter
250ml milk
1 egg
300gr plain flour (plus extra for dusting)


75gr icing sugar
1inch lump of stem ginger in syrup, grated finely
2tsp of stem ginger syrup from the jar


1, In a large bowl, add the yeast, sugar and ginger powder.
2, In a small saucepan, gently melt the butter and add in the milk. Bring this to a lukewarm temperature.
3, Stir the melted butter and milk into the yeast, sugar and ginger.
4, Beat in the egg.
5, Sift in the flour. Stir this until the batter is thick and has a soft elasticity to it.
6, Cover with clingfilm and pop in a warm place for between an hour and two or until doubled in size.
7, Scoop out your dough onto a floured surface and fold it over a couple of times using a dough scraper (or your hands - prepare to get sticky) and dust with a little more flour to stop it sticking. The dough is quite soft but it should hold. If your dough is unmanagably soft, chuck a bit more flour on it and gently knead in.
8, Roll out the dough, or pat it out with your hands until it is about 2.5cm thick. Cut out your doughnuts in whatever size or shape you want. Use a smaller cutter to stamp out the centre.
9, You can reroll the dough to make more doughnuts - space them out on a lined baking sheet, cover with clingfilm and then put them back in the warm place for 30mins to an hour until they have risen up again.

10, In a deep frying pan, heat about 4-5cm of hot oil to 180o/c. Do a test doughnut (or doughnut hole). It should bubble, float and go golden within 30-45 seconds. Carefully flip it over to brown on the other side, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
11, Cook all the doughnuts and leave to cool slightly before dipping them in the glaze.

12, To make the glaze, add the icing sugar, syrup and grated stem ginger into a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of water and mix. Keep adding water until you reach your desired consistecy - I like my glaze quite thin but it's purely on your preference.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

We Should Cocoa: Cocoa Dukkah

This month, We Should Cocoa is ringing in the new year with a sugar free challenge hosted by Choclette. You can read all about We Should Cocoa and the rules on Choclette and Chele's blogs. Last month's Christmassy cinnamon challenge, can be found here.

I have a spice rack. Like a normal person.

Then I have a whole bunch of other herbs and spices that don't fit on the spice rack and just sort of hang around in a basket. Now the point of a spice rack is to store and display your spices so you know what you have, what you need and what you don't.

The problem with a spice "basket" is that you duplicate. Or triplicate. Or have half open packets of paprika which explode like a spore flinging funghi. I also tend to bulk buy my spices from a local Indian cash and carry so as well as the spice rack and the spice "basket" there are bags of whole spices lurking in the back of our cupboards.

It has to stop.

So as part of my to-do list blitz, I did a spice audit. Threw out that jar of marjoram that I swear has moved house with us. Moved house with us twice. Coughed and choked in a paprika cloud. Refilled the jars from the cupboard bags of spices. I had a small crowd of duplicate spices so set about using them up.

Dukkah is an Egyptian dry spice and nut mixture that is served as a side dish with bread and oil for dipping. It is heady with spices and I first had it sprinkled on soup. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and used on roasted vegetables, meats and baked into bread. This is not an authentic recipe (mainly because I stuck cocoa in it...) You can read more about dukkah here.


40gr whole almonds
35gr pumpkin seeds
5gr coriander seeds
5gr cumin seeds
3gr fennel seeds
1/2tsp rock salt
1/2tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1tbsp dried mint
2tbsp cocoa powder

1, In a dry frying pan, toast the almonds and pumpkin seeds until the pumpkin seeds start to split and pop and the almonds start to darken. Tip them into a large mortar and pestle.
2, Repeat the process with the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds until they start to brown gently and smell aromatic. Add these into your mortar and pestle.
3, Add in the salt and pepper and gently start to pound it all together. You want a kind of gravelly texture. Aim for some largish chunks of almonds. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse all the toasted ingredients in a blender.
4, Stir through the mint and cocoa powder and serve with plenty of bread and dipping oil.

(I also made flatbread, but I'm not 100% happy with the recipe. If anyone has a good one, a link popped in the comment box would be most appreciated!)

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snowflake Swiss Roll

This should be called Snowflake Swiss Roll 4.0. I've had a few issues making the detailing on it...

First, my silicone sheet didn't fit in my Swiss tin roll and slowly flattened spilling cake batter on the floor of my oven. Secondly, the detailing stuck to the paper when I peeled it back. Third time round, the stencil slipped and I had an unappealing blue smear down my tin. It made it more frustrating, that my Tiger Swiss Roll came out brilliantly first time.

Fourth time is definitely a charm for this one!


Swiss Roll
3 eggs
80gr caster sugar
80gr self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 drops of blue food gel colouring

150ml double cream, whipped to medium stuff peaks
Jam (optional)


1, Preheat your oven to 200o/c and line your Swiss roll tin with grease proof paper.
2, Beat your eggs and sugar together until very pale and fluffy, this should take a good three to five minutes in a stand mixer.
3, Gently fold through the flour until well combined.
4, Remove about three tablespoons of the batter and in a separate bowl, colour it blue.
5, Place your stencil on the lined baking sheet and quickly spread a thin layer over it using a pastry brush. I used the snowflake stencil from the pack of these cake stencils. Try not to go over the same part twice or the batter will seep under the stencil. Peel off the stencil. Alternatively you could pipe/paint the snowflake on if you don't have a stencil.

6, Place the lined, snowflake adorned Swiss roll tin in the freezer for five minutes.
7, When the batter has set on the paper, give the rest of the batter a quick fold over and pour directly into the tin, take care smoothing it out over the detailing.
8, Bake for 7 minutes or until lightly golden brown and springy to the touch.
9, You need to work quickly on this part. Before you remove it from the oven had a glass of warm water and pastry brush to hand. Tear off two more sheets of grease proof and place one on your counter top. Take the Swiss roll out of the oven and invert onto the countertop.
10, Brush the water generously all over the top of the great proof paper. This creates a little steam that will help you lift off the paper with the detailing attached to the cake rather than the paper.
11, Slowly peel the paper back. It will still be quite warm. You might lose a little detailing, don't worry.

12, Place the second sheet of paper on top and turn it back over so the detailing is on the bottom. Roll up the Swiss roll from the long side and leave to cool completely.
13, When you're ready to fill the roll, gently unroll, remove the middle piece did grease proof paper and spread the cream (and jam) inside. Re-roll and serve.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

White Stilton & Apricot Scones

On Sunday, I tackled my dreaded to-do list of things around the cottage that needed to be done. Although the things lacked in importance, they made up in sheer volume.

I fixed a broken photo frame, washed the net curtains, sorted out some clothes for fabric scrapping or the charity shop, put all the books away, laid out a template for a crochet hook holder, sent some emails, sorted out and filed my study materials got my boots fixed, transferred photos to storage, updated and synced various electronics, came up with an idea to use a huge lump of white Stilton with apricots that had been lurking in the fridge...

Adapted from here


250gr self raising flour
Small pinch of salt and ground black pepper
1/2 tsp mustard powder
50gr cold butter
100gr white Stilton with apricots
150ml milk

1, Preheat your oven to 200o/c and line a baking sheet with grease proof paper.
2, In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, pepper and mustard powder.
3, Rub in the butter with your fingertips until its no longer lumpy.
4, Crumble in the Stilton, try to keep some largish chunks as it will break down a bit further.

5, Stir in the milk slowly until it forms a smooth ball. Shape into a round flat disc about six inches in diameter, place on the baking sheet and cut into eight segments. Put them slightly apart so they bake a bit quicker.
6, Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Brunch: Waffle Sticks

Butcher, Baker, Waffle Stick Maker.

My sister bought me a waffle stick maker for Christmas and these may be my new favourite thing.

You could have them with coffee and maple syrup. Like an adult.

But let's face it. If I can get away with eating chocolate for breakfast, I'm going to do it.

A little fresh clementine zest is good too.

Recipe adapted from here. The below recipe yields a huge amount.



Makes 30 (ish) waffle sticks

250g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tbsp caster sugar
Small pinch of salt
400ml milk (semi-skimmed - I haven't tried with almond/hazelnut/soy/rice milks yet)
2 Eggs
20ml rapeseed oil

Chocolate Sauce

250ml double cream
200gr milk chocolate, chopped


1, Preheat your waffle stick maker as per the manufacturers instructions. I brushed mine lightly with a little rapeseed oil on a pastry brush first.
2, Make the waffle batter first by whisking the dry ingredients together so they are through mixed.
3, In a separate bowl, beat the milk, eggs and oil together.
4, Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly beat in the wet. Whisk together until you have a smooth batter.
5, Fill the waffle maker with batter and clamp down the lid. Each batch takes around 3-5 minutes. I flipped over some of the ones at either end of the waffle maker as they didn't seem to cook as well as the ones in the centre.
6, Keep them warm in a low oven until you're ready to serve.
7, Whilst the last couple of batches of waffles are cooking, make the sauce by bringing the cream to a light boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted. You can add in flavourings like lemon/orange zest at this point.
8, Serve waffles with the warm sauce.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Champagne Cakes

Happy New Year!

Adapted from


Champagne Cakes
75gr butter
160gr caster sugar
2 drops vanilla extract
170gr self raising flour
1/2tsp baking powder
100ml champagne (or sparkling wine)
3 large egg whites

Champagne Syrup
100ml champagne (or sparkling wine)
35gr caster sugar
1/2tsp lemon juice


1, Preheat the oven to 160o/c and grease and flour 6 small ramekins, or a six hole muffin tin.
2, Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.
3, Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix in with the champagne. It'll be quite stiff.
4, In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs whites to a stiff peak. Add in about a third to the champagne batter to loosen it.
5, Fold through the rest of egg whites gently to keep as much air in as possible.
6, Divine between the ramekins and bake for 20-25minutes until just lightly browned and risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
7, Unmould as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
8, Make the champagne syrup while the cakes are in the last 10-15minutes of cooking by combining everything a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and reduce until you have around 50ml of syrup.
9, Poke a few holes in the tops with a skewer and pour on the syrup.

I used pink champagne in my cakes, so added a little pink glacé icing on top too.