Coconut and Cherry Sponge Cake- Mercers of Yorkshire Cherry Jam.

Cherry and Coconut Sponge, a twist on an old retro favourite from childhood.

 A couple of years back as family circumstances changed we stopped having our traditional Sunday lunch at lunchtime.  My daughter was out at work and would miss having a Sunday lunch and the chance for us all to sit down over a roast dinner.  So our Sunday meal got moved to the early evening once she was in from work.  Because we were eating late I stopped making a Sunday pudding.  I really miss making a pudding on a Sunday as we don’t usually indulge throughout the week. It just makes it a bit more special.  This last Sunday I really wanted to test out an idea I had for a Cherry and Coconut Sponge cake using some Red Cherry Jam I had picked up at the Good Food Show a couple of weeks back.  It was baked in a bit of a rush though.  I have been running around like a headless chicken this weekend trying to get all my jobs done as it is a busy time for me at work in my day job supply teaching. I don’t want to be ironing or cleaning bathrooms when I’ve got in from work during the week, so I’ve been trying to keep on top of things.

 

Baking this cake gave me a great opportunity to use some special products like my favourite. Sugar and Crumbs icing sugars.
 

It was 2pm and I’d only just got dressed!  That makes me sound like a right lazy slob but if I don’t have to go anywhere I stay and do all my housework in my PJ’s. I ironed, cleaned the bathrooms, hoovered and dusted upstairs and by 2pm I was ready for a cup of tea and a baking session.

To bake the Coconut and Cherry Sponge Cake I adapted Lynn Hill (Founder of The Clandestine Cake Club’s) own recipe from the first Clandestine Cake Club cookbook which was published back in 2013.  This cake was wonderfully retro, the sort you grew up eating or your granny baked.  I don’t remember my Nana Mary (my Mum’s mum) baking it, though I do remember her baking lemon cake and fruit cakes.

I started by greasing and lining two 8″ diameter loose bottomed sandwich tins.  Once this was done I then weighed out some softened butter and caster sugar. This was creamed together with my hand held electric whisk.  To this I added three free range eggs, one at a time and then some self raising flour. Lynn’s original recipe calls for using vanilla extract for flavouring, but instead I used a few drops of some natural coconut extract which comes from Lakeland.  To add to the coconut flavour I also added some dessiccated coconut. The mixture was then divided between the two cake tins and put in the oven, preheated to 160oC.  After about 25 minutes when the cakes were risen and sprung back when touched, out they came to cool on the worktop.

While the cakes had been cooking I thought about how I could decorate the cake. Lynn’s original recipe used a butter and cream cheese icing which sounded delicious along with a filling of jam.  I decided to use some of my Mercers of York Cherry jam which is absolutely delicious.  Instead of the butter and cream cheese icing which I couldn’t do anyway as I didn’t have the cream cheese, I whipped up a carton of cream and to this I added some Sugar and Crumbs Natural Flavour Coconut Icing Sugar.  I got this ready and decided to go out for a run.  I’m doing the Couch To 5K app at the moment as I’m entering the Race For Life in June so I’m trying to train when I can.  An hour later, I’m back home feeling a bit tired but ready to decorate the cake.

One top of one cake I spread about 6 tbsp jam and to the other I spread about half the coconut cream mixture. These were then sandwiched together. The rest of the cream was spread on the top of the cake with a dozen glace cherries spaced around the edge. To finish off, I sprinkled desiccated coconut on top of the cake.

 

A blast from the past.. a sponge topped with dessicated coconut. I chose to use cream instead of buttercream for my icing.
  

A coconut flavour sponge, layered with cherry jam and coconut cream.

Even though the cake was meant to be a Sunday dessert treat we were far too full to eat it.  So at the time of typing it is in a box in my fridge waiting to be eaten throughout the course of the week. 

 

A perfect Sunday afternoon treat.
 

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

Lemon Empire Biscuits- Mercers Of York Lemon Cheese.

 

I had a fantastic time baking while using my favourite Mercers of York cherry jam, lemon cheese and caramel sauce.
 

A couple of weeks ago when I was at the BBC Good Food Show in Harrogate I went up to the Mercers of Yorkshire stand and stocked up.  I’ve been a massive fan of their sauces, jams, marmalades and chutneys over the past couple of years or so.  Their Lemon Cheese (a bit like Lemon Curd) is absolutely divine and is easily the best out there.  To me though, I wouldn’t just put it on toast, it makes a fantastic baking ingredient.  I got my baking thinking cap on and decided to see how I could use the Lemon Cheese in a recipe.  These Lemon Empire biscuits are gorgeous and are perfect for a Springtime treat.

  

To bake the biscuits I used a simple roll out cookie recipe and added the grated zest of a lemon to it.

Makes 16 cookies (32 cookies sandwiched together)

200g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

400g plain flour

1 large free range egg, beaten

Grated zest of one lemon.

  • First, preheat your oven to 160Oc (my oven is electric and fan assisted), then weigh out all your ingredients. Cut the butter up into small cubes and add the sugar and flour to the bowl. Gently rub the mixture together until you get fine breadcrumbs. Add the grated lemon zest.
  • Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the beaten egg to it.  Mix this together to form a ball of dough, first with a round bladed knife and then with your hands. When you have the ball of dough, wrap it up in cling film and chill for about half an hour in the fridge.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut rounds of dough with a 6cm diameter circular cutter.  Gather up the scraps and reroll out the dough until it is used up.
  • Put the biscuit rounds on flat baking trays which have been lined with baking parchment. Make sure they are well spaced apart. I usually put 6 biscuits on a tray at a time.  They might need to be baked in batches.  This usually takes around ten minutes.
  • Once the biscuits have been out of the oven for about 5 minutes, I remove them from the trays and put them on a wire rack to finish cooling off.

To decorate the biscuits I sandwiched them together with the Mercers Lemon Cheese.  Once this was done then I made up a simple lemon glace icing.  This was done with 250g sifted icing sugar and about 3 tbsp water to achieve the right spreading consistency. To continue with the lemon theme I added a couple of drops of yellow food colouring to give it a delicate yellow flavour. Over the years I’ve made many mistakes when colouring icing getting a bit heavy handed with the colouring and ending up with something you would be blinded by! Thankfully by using  SugarFlair pastes and a cocktail stick dabbing the paste in bit by bit, things end up looking a lot better.  Finally, I spread the icing carefully on the top of the biscuits and finished them off with a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands.

 

I love sprinkles and hundreds and thousands but despite cleaning and hoovering up, I’m. still finding them all over the floor!
  

A zesty lemon shortbread recipe sandwiched together with Mercers Lemon Cheese and topped with a lemon glace icing and hundreds and thousands.

I love Empire Biscuits, especially the ones with cherries on top and couldn’t get enough of them on holiday in Scotland a couple of years ago.  They tasted fantastic and I came home wanting to bake some myself.  This lemon version went down very well at home and I must admit I caved in and ate one with a cup of tea after I went out running. Well, I did need the energy I suppose.  I only used half the jar of the Lemon Cheese so the rest went in the cupboard for my family to have on toast.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

Lemonade and Ginger Beer Drizzle Loaf Cakes- Fentiman’s Drinks.

 

Lush! Who can’t resist a slice of lemon drizzle cake? This one is even more special as it contains Fentimans Victorian Lemonade.

  A couple of weeks ago I was so happy to win an Easter Hamper in a competition on Fentiman’s Facebook page.  I couldn’t believe it, I never win anything like that and there were loads of entries.  The hamper was a huge, gorgeous wicker basket filled with a massive selection of Fentiman’s popular Spring favourites.  Not only that, but there was an additional treat for us, Being Easter, the hamper also contained a giant Quality Street egg, a Harry Hopalot rabbit egg from Thorntons and some delicious dark chocolate mini eggs.  I was so excited when the courier delivered it a couple of days afterwards.

 My only grievance about the hamper was that one of the small bottles containing the Seville Orange and Mandarin drink was smashed to smithereens inside the hamper. The drink obviously had leaked out but I was more worried about reaching inside the hamper among the shredded tissue paper to see if I could retrieve the broken glass.  I was so lucky I didn’t cut my hand!

Now as you know, I always like to have any excuse to bake. So having a few bottles of my favourite soft drinks was no exception.  I’ve seen cakes being baked with Coca Cola with it and wondered if I could do the same with a couple of the drinks from the hamper. I love Lemon Drizzle Cake and thought maybe instead of lemon juice I could use the lemonade in it. Last Saturday I was at home for the afternoon, so I had time to play around and experiment.

LEMONADE DRIZZLE LOAF CAKE

Ingredients:

165g unsalted butter, softened

320g caster sugar

3 large eggs, preferably free range

200g plain flour

 Grated zest from 1 lemon

90ml Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade

For the glaze:

160g caster sugar

60ml Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade

There should be about 1/3 of the bottle of Lemonade left over, so pour it into a glass and enjoy drinking it while you’re baking!

How to make the Loaf cake:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170oC/ 325oF or Gas Mark 3.  Line a 900g/ 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment or use a ready made loaf tin liner which can be bought from a good cookware shop.  I use the ones available in Lakeland and swear by them!
  • Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer or whisk until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  If you need to, scrape the mixture down the sides of the bowl.
  • Mix in the flour and lemon zest until thoroughly mixed.  Then fold in the Victorian Lemonade.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level off the surface of the cake.  Bake for about 1 hour in the oven.  To test if the cake is done, insert a skewer into the cake. If the top bounces back when touched and the skewer comes out clean, then the cake is ready.
  • Keep the cake in the tin until it is completely cooled, although transfer the tin over to a wire rack.
  • While the cake is cooling, mix caster sugar and lemonade together in a bowl to make a syrup. When the cake is completely cool, use a skewer to prick holes in the top of the cake.  Pour the syrup over the top of the cake.  Allow it to set on the top before taking the cake out of the tin and the wrapper. This stops all the syrup completely soaking into the cake and gives the cake a contrasting, crunchy topping.
  • Cut into slices to serve. Any uneaten slices need to be kept in an airtight container and should keep for about 3 days.
Once the cake has cooled and the icing has set, then it was ready to come out of the tin and to be served.
Cut into 8-10 generous slices. I can’t cut thin slivers of cake!
My favourite piece is always the one at the end. Looks very rustic but that’s what appeals to me.

Lemon Drizzle cakes always go down well with my family and I cut the cake up to put in a tin for another day.  It was all too tempting for me to nibble some and I did take half of one piece to try out.  It’s quite a sweet cake as lemon drizzle cakes are so you won’t want a massive piece.  Then again, where cake is concerned I don’t do small!

 After the success of the Lemonade Drizzle Loaf Cake I was tempted to have another go but adapt the recipe for an alternative flavour.  My favourite Fentiman’s drink is their Ginger Beer and I always have it if I’m going out for dinner at a local pub when I’m driving.  Luckily for me, my kids don’t like Ginger Beer. so they hadn’t guzzled it all up.  Last Wednesday I found myself with a day off work so I chose to do a spot of baking once I’d done all my jobs.  I thought I’d try out some Ginger Beer Drizzle Loaf Cake and see if that worked.

GINGER BEER DRIZZLE LOAF CAKE

Ingredients are the same as for the Lemonade Drizzle Cake but with a couple of substitutions and additions:

  • Instead of the grated zest of a lemon, use 3 balls of stem ginger which have been rinsed, chopped into tiny pieces, rinsed and tossed in a tablespoonful of flour.
  • Instead of Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade, use their Ginger Beer.
  • Optional: I also added a tsp of stem ginger extract available from Lakeland.
Not only did I have my Easter hamper prize but I ended up buying some more Ginger Beer and Rose Lemonade from the Good Food Show last weekend.
Who fancies a slice of Ginger Beer Drizzle Cake?
A very rustic looking cake. I didn’t let this cake cool down as much as it should have done so the top cracked as it cut!

The only problem I found with the Ginger Beer Drizzle Cake is that it didn’t have that punch of ginger I was expecting.  Next time I bake it, I will add a couple of teaspoonfuls of ground ginger to the mix along with the dry ingredients and see what happens.  Also, I found that despite rinsing and flouring the ginger pieces, they still sank to the bottom of the cake.  I ate a thin sliver off one of the pieces I’d cut and thought maybe the recipe needs tweaking a bit. Then again, if you don’t like a big ginger hit, then you don’t have to change anything.  The other treat was, to sit and drink the remainder of the 275ml bottle with your lunch.

At the time of writing there are two bottles left and my kids have been clamouring to drink them.  I have let them have a treat at the weekend but there’s no way I’m letting them near the large bottle of Rose Lemonade!  Hands off!

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

TasteCollectiv- Fresh Romesco and Pesto Sauces.

Last Tuesday afternoon another lovely treat arrived from the BBC Good Food Show by courier.  I was so excited to get samples of a brand new product that would be launching a few days later at the Good Food Show in Harrogate, which was a Pesto sauce and a Romesco sauce.  Mark and Victoria will be launching these delicious sauces through their company TasteCollectiv.

My lovely samples of fresh Pesto Sauce and Romesco Sauce from Taste Collectiv.

 I couldn’t wait to try them out on my family. It was going to be a real Mediterranean themed week for dinner in our house as that very night I had planned Spaghetti Bolognese. But what could I do with the sauces I was given?

The Romesco sauce was the first we tried last Thursday night.  Containing piquillo peppers, extra virgin olive oil, ground almonds, paprika, sherry vinegar, roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic and sea salt it was a perfect kick to add to any pasta or even to a chicken dish.  I had not come across Romesco sauce before and found out that it originates from Catalonia.  In my ignorance I thought it was Italian.  I loved the sauce and will definitely be buying more of it.

I chose to make some Romesco and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken breasts. This is a recipe I make at home a lot but with pesto sauce as once you’ve stuffed the chicken it just cooks itself.  Apart from the sauce getting a bit runny when mixed in with the meat juices and the cheese it tasted fantastic and went down well with Rosemary roasted new potatoes and salad.

A teaspoonful of Romeso sauce and a slice of  mozzarella went inside the chicken breast and then the rest went on top of it. It then went in the oven for about 30 minutes.


The finished Mozarella and Romesco Chicken. The sauce went a bit runny but it tasted fantastic.

 I used the Pesto Sauce last Saturday night in a recipe which is in Mary Berry’s latest book Foolproof Cooking.  It’s called Express Bacon and Pesto Pasta, only I didn’t use bacon. I used chopped ham and instead of tomatoes, I chopped up two peppers.  This was a fantastic way of using up storecupboard ingredients and tasted delicious. 

An adaptation of Mary Berry’s Bacon and Pesto Pasta, only mine had ham in it instead!

 The pesto was the best I had ever tasted and was packed full of Pecorino Sardo cheese, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, pine nuts, roasted garlic and sea salt.

I’m looking forward to seeing more of TasteCollectiv in the future.

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TasteCollectiv’s bold and impressive packaging for their Romesco and Pesto sauces which were launched at the Good Food Show in Harrogate.

 I was given the samples to try for free. All opinions are my own.

The Bursary Award Winners at The Good Food Show Harrogate.

Last Friday as part of my role as a Community Blogger at the Good Food Show in Harrogate, we were given a tour of the show.  This gave us a brilliant chance to see local, Yorkshire producers as well as some new faces at the show.  I have been to the Good Food Show every year since it started in Harrogate but this year it has been wonderful to see some new producers who have a great chance to showcase their wares.

The Good Food Show Bursary Award Scheme is managed by Katy Truss and aims to reward small, independent producers with a free opportunity to attend the BBC Good Food Show.  Any producers that were interested had to make a special application and there were a limited number of places for each Good Food Show event around the UK throughout Autumn 2015 to Summer 2016.  Four winners were picked for the Harrogate Good Food Show.

Sweetieatie Artisan Caramels and Confections

Sweetieatie make delicious handcrafted caramels and caramel sauces and are based in Standish, near Wigan. My personal favourites were the Sea Salted Caramels and the Mint Caramels.  My family and I couldn’t get enough of them. The two beautifully packaged bags I bought back from the show got eaten very quickly.  I also got to sample some of the Cracked Black Pepper Caramel Sauce on the stand and was very impressed with the flavour.

  

Sweetieatie’s scrummy Mint Chocolate and Sea Salted Caramels. They didn’t last very long in our house, I can tell you!

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Sweetieatie’s stand at the Good Food Show which shows all their caramels and their caramel sauces all beautifully packaged.

 For moree information go to :www.sweetieatie.com

Twitter:@realsweetieatie

Facebook:/sweetieatie

Patrick Macarons and Patisserie

Patrick Macarons showcases beautiful French macarons in a display of colours and tantalising flavours.  All of the Community Bloggers were very impressed with the Macaron Man’s (as he is affectionately known) stand and products.  As I personally find macarons tricky to make I was bowled over by the beautiful displays and the mouthwatering flavours.  I’m looking forward to trying some of these macarons in the future. Patrick Macarons are based in Hull.

The Macaron Man himself very kindly posed for a photo behind his delectable macarons.

Just gorgeous and photogenic. Patrick’s Macaron’s were displayed beautifully in these gorgeous containers.

  

Awards and certificates on display. It was great to see that the Macaron Man has also recently been featured in the Yorkshire Post.

  To find out more about the Macaron Man, please see: www.macaronman.com

Twitter:@MacaronmanHull

Facebook:/macaronman

Amos and Tom’s Gourmet Popcorn

All my family love popcorn, especially when we have a cinema night and this would be a perfect, alternative treat for us.  I loved the Salted Caramel flavour, a wonderful blend of sweet and savoury in the same bite! Amos and Tom’s Gourmet Popcorn is handcrafted in the Yorkshire Wolds and they pride themselves on being the first gourmet popcorn producers in Yorkshire. They also use the finest mushroom corn to pop with along with another local product, Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil.  I am looking to try more flavours in the future as what I tasted was just gorgeous. 

Amos and Tom’s Gourmet Popcorn. A far cry from the tasteless popcorn you get at the cinema!

  For more information see: amosandtoms.co.uk

Twitter: @amosandtoms

Facebook: /amosandtoms

WooHa Brewing Company

The WooHa Brewing Company is a micro brewing company based in Nairn near Inverness. They brew four different drinks: Porter, Lager, IPA and a Wheat based beer. I had just downed some gin at another stand at the show and was worried about mixing my drinks, so unfortunately didn’t get to taste any of WooHa’s products.  I liked the look of the packaging and would like to try their products in the future.  I can imagine the lager or the wheat based beer would go down very well with both my husband and I after a busy day in the garden and if we’re having a summer BBQ. 

WooHa’s ale stand had a big crowd around it when I saw it.  I’m hoping to try out their ale in the future when I haven’t already drunk a glass of gin!

  For more details and to learn about WooHa’s brewing process see: woohabrewing.com

Twitter: @woohabrewing

Facebook: /woohabrewingcompany

All opinions are my own based on my experience at the Good Food Show last Friday.

My Day At The BBC Good Food Show Harrogate 2016.

A few weeks back I was asked if I would like to join the Community Blogger team for this year’s Good Food Show in Harrogate. I jumped at the chance. It is the show’s third year running in Harrogate and to me, virtually on my doorstep living in North Yorkshire.  I have been posting about some of the wonderful local producers that were going to be exhibiting this year and was also looking forward to discovering new things.

The show this year ran from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th April but I chose to go along on the Friday and took my husband along as my guest.  He’s never been to the Good Food Show before, I’ve usually gone with friends.  I was in a hurry to get to Harrogate for 9am as I wanted to be there to see Tom Kerridge opening the show. Luckily as it was the school holidays traffic into town and along Wetherby Road was fine. Normally it’s a nightmare but parking for us in the Victoria multistorey and a walk down the road to the HIC was fine for us and we got there just in time.  Unfortunately I missed taking a photo of Tom Kerridge cutting the ribbon as I was waiting to pick up my pass. Still I managed to sneak a couple of photos of him throughout the day.

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Wandering around at 9am was much more pleasurable than fighting off the crowds later. It meant you could go up to stall holders and chat with them. I had a lovely chat with Phil and Helena who run York and Dulgent Fudge who I had discovered through my friend Sharon on her blog Humbug’s House.  I was very impressed with the fudge and bought two flavours to try out. Do look out for their Blue Cheese, Apple and Walnut Fudge, which the first time ever that I have come across a savoury fudge and it sounds funny but believe me it works!

I treated myself to two gorgeous bags of fudge and deliberately chose flavours my kids wouldn’t like so they wouldn’t be tempted to nick them! Aren’t I a mean Mum?

 By this time hubby had sloped off!  He was just answering a phone call so I told him I was going to the fudge stall.  When I went to find him, he had gone off. Typical, it’s like when my kids used to wander off in Toys R Us! I phoned him, phone went straight to voicemail saying he was on holiday. No use texting him “Where are you?”, he’d never reply. I left him a message. Then I get a phone call from one of the supply teaching agencies I work for with some work lined up. He phones back while I’m on the phone!  I thought well knowing my car mad petrol head husband he will be looking at the Lexus stand as they are the sponsors of the Good Food Show. He was, no surprise there then!

I couldn’t get my husband away from the Lexus stand.  Any show we go to and its always the cars he gravitates towards, bless him!

 I then went to stock up with my favourites in the Deliciously Yorkshire section: Gordon Rhodes and Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil.  It was lovely to chat with everyone on their stands and I came away with products I can’t always find locally.  We love the Gordon Rhodes spice rubs and I had run out. They are launching some new ones for the summer so I got some samples to try. More of that to come so watch this space.

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The lovely ladies from Gordon Rhodes.
Had a lovely chat with the guys on the Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil stand.  I loved cooking from their recipe book which was sent to me by the Good Food Show team.

 

I went a bit overboard on the Gordon Rhodes stand but I use their products all the time!

 

 We also stocked up on the flavoured Yorkshire Rapeseed Oils we love like chilli and ginger. We also got a garlic one  to try as well as another plain oil so I can use it in my baking.

Yorkshire Rapeseed Oils- both my husband and I love cooking with them.

 A new company caught my eye at the show. They are called Stoats, who are based in Edinburgh and make porridge oat products.  I will be writing a separate post later on but I was very impressed with what I saw.  I hadn’t realised that they had in fact been going for over ten years but it was the first time I had seen them.

As part of a Community Blogger perk we got a complimentary seat in the Supertheatre to watch Tom Kerridge’s demo.  I’ve seen Tom Kerridge on TV before and enjoy watching him though I’ve never made any of his recipes and I don’t have any of his books.  He was very entertaining and demonstrated how to make three dishes Turbot With Toasted Cucumber, Mushrooms and Radishes, Spiced Roast Rump Of Lamb With Celery and Feta, and also how to make Asparagus with a sauce which I cant remember the name of now but it looked delicious.  The dishes aren’t really what I’d cook at home, even for a special occasion.  I’ve never tried turbot though it was fascinating to see what happened to the cucumber when it cooked. I didn’t think you could cook cucumber.  I don’t really like lamb either and never cook it at home as the smell of it cooking makes me feel sick.  I did like the sound of the asparagus though, I love asparagus with hollandaise sauce so to have it with the sauce Tom Kerridge used would be a delcious alternative.

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A very blurred image of Tom Kerridge taken on my phone which is rubbish at taking pictures at events like this!
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Tom Kerridge in action at the BBC Good Food Show Supertheatre.

We were then met by the sales and press team and given a tour of the show showing selected stands including four very special producers who had been granted a Bursary Award, as well as various producers who were known as Good Food Champions.  I’m going to be writing a separate blog post about the Bursary Award winners but here are some highlights of what we saw as we walked around the show.

Tempting mini cakes and meringues on Flower and White’s stand.

The meringues from Flower and White just called for a close up shot of their very own.

Although it’s now a well established brand and you can buy Fentiman’s drinks everywhere I had to buy some of my favourites to take home.

My whole family love Heck sausages so I always stock up at the Good Food Show. I got our favourite four flavours which came in a freezer carry bag.

One of the Good Food Champions was Simple Simon’s Perfect PIes.  Many different flavours and all appeared to be made with a hot water crust pastry.

Again you can buy Mercers jam and conserves in many retail outlets in Yorkshire but I couldn’t resist stocking up on my favourite lemon curd, salted caramel and some onion marmalade.

I was very excited to see TasteCollectiv’s stand at the Good Food Show as I was lucky to get some free samples of their scrumptious Romesco and Pesto sauces a few days before the show.

Little Doone’s Award Winning range of flavoured Balsamic Vinegars.  I was taken with the garlic flavoured one.

I adored the Slingsby Rhubarb Gin.  Being a gin lover I will definitely be getting some of this in the future.

Aye Love Real Food which sold delicious handmade Scotch eggs as well as sausage rolls.

 All too soon it was time to head back home with my purse considerably lighter than it was when I got to the show that morning.  I had bought and seen some fantastic things.

I had a lovely day and really enjoyed taking part in the show as a Community Blogger.  All opinions and photos are my own.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Traybake 

 

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Salted Caramel Traybake- a recipe adapted from a Mary Berry recipe in her new book “Foolproof Cooking,”

 Last week I was getting over a nasty chest infection and didn’t have much energy. I spent about 9 consecutive nights sleeping on the sofa as it was the only place where I could sleep propped up on the sofa. I still didn’t sleep very well though and my back was in agony. I had to take time off work which I don’t like doing.  So the last two weeks I just wasn’t myself!

Thankfully I’ve been able to recover with it being the Easter holidays and have been back in the kitchen.  My son is currently working on a media studies film project and has had friends over to help him with filming. My daughter has been on hand to help out with the make up and special effects and good old mum here has been the transport and the catering manager!

Last Friday it had been a horrible day for filming. So when they finished after filming in the mud and the rain,  I thought they deserved a chocolatey treat.  But what could I give them?
In the end I found the perfect recipe to adapt in Mary Berry’s latest book “Foolproof Cooking”. I’ve had the book since it first came out but not made anything from it. The recipe is called “Bonfire Chocolate Traybake” and it looked perfect for feeding a crowd. Although being April it’s the wrong time of year for Bonfire Night but as Mary says in the recipe introduction: “Being a traybake it cuts into squares and is so perfect for packing into a box and sharing with family and friends at an event such as Bonfire Night,” Mary’s recipe was also  plain and didn’t need any decorating or icing. I chose to add icing on mine, though.

I love baking traybakes as they are easy to bake and always feed a crowd.

The finished traybake cut up into large squares.

The  traybake was very simple to put together.  I used my trusty Alan Silverwood traybake tin which was simply greased with Cake Release. I didn’t need any baking parchment to line the tin.

Mary’s original recipe uses dark chocolate but I used two 100g bars of Lindt Salted Caramel chocolate which I melted along with some butter.  When this was done, I weighed out some caster sugar and mixed this in with the melted chocolate mixture. This was then left to cool down then I added three eggs one at a time into the bowl.  Afterwards it was time to add the dry ingredients.  To keep the cake moist the cake is flavoured with ground almonds which are added at the same time as self raising flour and baking powder.  I could imagine the addition of ground almonds would also give a lovely flavour, as well as helping the cake to keep longer.

I added my own icing to the top of the traybake to finish it off.

  A very quick mixture to make up and one which didn’t have a list as long as your arm of ingredients.  Before long it was ready to be spooned into the tin and baked.  It didn’t take long to bake at all, only about 25-30 minutes.

The traybake smelled heavenly when it came out of the oven.  I know Mary Berry said the recipe didn’t need icing but I wanted to give it a finishing touch.  So as the cake was cooling I made up a chocolate icing using a bar of melted plain chocolate and melted butter.  This was quite runny on its own so I chose to add some icing sugar to thicken it up a bit.  I had stocked up on some of my favourite Sugar and Crumbs Salted Caramel Icing Sugar so I added 60g or 4 tbsp of it to the mix.  It thickened up beautifully and spread well onto the top of the traybake.  I cut the traybake up into portions and then to finish, sprinkled it with some gold sugar crystals I had in my baking cupboard.

When my son and his friends finished their filming, they were tired and hungry so a chocolate traybake square hit the spot for them.  As the traybake kept well it got eaten over the next few days bit by bit.

A wonderful recipe that could be adapted and not just for any time of the year.  I would love to try this with different chocolate flavours. I bet a mint or a chocolate orange one would be delicious.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx