Scandelicious Baking- An Update on the August Cooking The Books Challenge.

It’s been a few weeks since I updated my blog. There’s been so much going on.  Once the school holidays are over I’m back into work mode and there is barely time to get the jobs around the house done.  Then again, I haven’t managed to get anywhere near my computer.  So I thought I’d better get something writen down.

My August Cooking The Books recipe book challenge from Scandelicious Baking seems like a lifetime ago now.  Although I found it enjoyable and I had plenty of time, I didn’t get round to baking two of the recipes I’d originally planned to bake. These were a Pistachio Pavlova with Boozy Cherries and a Norwegian AlmondTart.  I don’t know what happened at the end of the holidays, guess I just ran out of time.

So, to recap I think I would like to look at what I did get round to making.  On the whole I have really enjoyed testing out some delicious recipes. Different flavours and things I wouldn’t have thought to try.

I love making fish pie for my family so I thought the Scandelicious Fish Gratin would go down well with my family.  Instead of being topped with pastry, mashed potato or breadcrumbs this version of a fish pie was topped with some crushed Swedish Krisprolls.  Well I didn’t crush them enough so the topping looked very rustic and unappealing.  Also my son (who used to love my fish pie) refused to eat it.

339
The Scandelicious Fish Gratin had a topping of crushed Krisprolls.

To make the Fish Gratin filling I poached some cod cut into large chunks in some milk infused with peppercorns and nutmeg.  After this I made a sauce which had leeks, onion, eggs and creme fraiche in to add to the fish.  This was then poured into a baking dish ready to be topped with the crushed krisprolls!

340
The fish gratin filling.
341
The finished fish gratin. Looked a bit unappealing and appealed even less to myself and my family. Not a big success at all.

After eating some savoury cheesecake from a buffet once I was keen to have a go at baking one myself. So I had a go at the Scandelicious Cheese and Onion Cheesecake.  The cheesecake contained an oatcake and porridge oat base which had been combined with melted butter.  To make the filling I whisked egg yolks with a pinch of salt, then added some Quark and some cream cheese along with some flour, chopped spring onions and some cheese.  Now in the recipe Signe Johansen suggests Vasterbotten cheese which I have never even heard of, let alone seen it in my local shops.  In the end I used Jarlsberg cheese and grated it straight into the mixture.  In another bowl I beat some egg whites which were then combined with the cheese mixture.  When this was ready it went straight on top of the base and was baked in the oven for about half an hour.

400
The finished Cheese and Onion Cheesecake.
401
Delicious with a salad.
402
I had a slice on its own for lunch the following day.

I’m not very good at baking bread or using yeast but I wanted to have a go at the Spelt Picnic Buns.  I’m not that used to using spelt flour either but I like eating spelt bread.  These buns were meant to be useful for eating on a picnic but we never got to go on one as it was too cold or wet during the last couple of weeks of the school summer holidays.  I baked the buns in my muffin tin but they were not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting them to turn out a lot a bigger than they were.  They tasted delicious though and I had one spread with butter at breakfast.

014
Scandelicious Spelt Picnic Buns.

So here ends the Cooking The Books Challenge for August and I had more challenges for days in the month than I had time for.  There are lots more recipes I would love to bake from Scandelicious Baking.  I can definitely recommend the book.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Scandelicious Baking- Flappenjacken.

The other day when we were sat round the table eating breakfast on holiday the conversation turned to my obsession with baking.  Well we were eating croissants at the time and I said I would love to have a go at baking my own croissants one day.  My family sometimes appreciate my efforts, sometimes don’t.  What they don’t realise is that baking is therapy to me like some people play music, some paint, some do sewing or play sport.  I like the feeling baking something gives me and when I get it right there is nothing else to match those feelings.  Although baking isn’t very kind to my hips and thighs it has brought back a sense of wellbeing and boosted my self esteem enormously over the past few years.

My husband said to me “Why don’t you bake some more flapjack?” and I agreed with him.  Flapjack always goes down well with my family and I have to hide the tin from them. Sometimes I have to hide the tin from myself as I can never stop at one piece! So when we got back from holiday I knew I’d planned to try a version of flapjack called Flappenjacken from Scandelicious Baking by Signe Johansen as part of my monthly Cooking The Books Challenge.

In the recipe title Flappenjacken are also described as salted caramel granola biscuits but looking at the ingredients mine had to be a complete variation on the recipe.  I also chose to bake them as a complete traybake rather than as individual biscuits. Signe says “I can’t claim that these are authentically Scandinavian in anyway but they are inspired by my love for salted caramel, Norwegian crispy havreflarn oat biscuits and British flapjacks or flappenjacken as the Muppet Show’s Swedish Chef likes to call them!”

In the recipe Signe calls for a mixture of oats to be used comprising of spelt, rye and barley flakes but I had to use plain porridge oats as I couldn’t find any other flakes in my local supermarket.  I noticed also that the recipe used egg, milk, flour and baking powder unlike my traditional flapjack recipe so that meant it was more cakeified!

001
Here’s the flappenjacken mix before being tipped into the cake tin.
002
All ready to go into the oven!
004
Out of the oven and cut up into slices. Looks more cakey than like traditional flapjack but tasted wonderful.
005
The flappenjacken was perfect for me as it wasn’t too overly sweet. My hubby enjoyed it too for the very same reason.

I was pleased with the results and should have waited a little bit longer before cutting it up as the flappenjacken crumbled as I took it out of the tin and tried to put it onto the plate.  I scoffed a piece right away with my soup at lunchtime. It should have been a sandwich but I couldn’t help myself, they smelled so good!

As for my family my hubby has spotted them in the tin and has enjoyed them, the children weren’t impressed as they had almonds, and dessicated coconut  in them.  Never mind, all the more for us as they say!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Cooking The Books February 2014- Cheese, Onion and Potato Pies from How To Be A Domestic Goddess.

At the time of writing it is nearly the end of February and I’m still trying to bake something from each chapter of How To Be A Domestic Goddess  as part of my monthly Cooking The Books challenge. Last Saturday I had to try and bake something from the Pastry chapter.  Pastry is something I either get right or wrong depending on time, mood, the weather, well you name it.  I wanted to bake something savoury for a change and it had to be something my family would eat, yet be quick to bake and not too fiddly.

So, for Saturday lunch I chose to bake the Cheese, Onion and Potato Pies, which Nigella says is “the picnic food of fondness imagination, although we eat them for ordinary tea in the kitchen fairly often,”  I agree they would make great picnic food but in the middle of the cold, wet and rainy February we’re having at the moment I think I’ll stay inside and eat them in the warm, thank you!  My husband and daughter were out, so it was just me, the dog and the cat for company.

Here’s how they were made:

022
I made up a batch of shortcrust pastry by hand in the traditional fashion. Nigella’s recipe uses Trex as an ingredient along with butter.

The pastry came together fine for me, usually I get my food processor out but I couldn’t be bothered to get it out of the cupboard.  I hoped it wouldn’t be too difficult to work with as my hands get quite warm when working in the kitchen.

023
I chopped up 6 spring onions for the filling. Nigella says “the trick is to use spring onions which have all the flavour but none of the BOey breath of the usual onion!”
024
Also for the filling I peeled and diced about 500g potatoes.
025
My two Yorkshire pudding tins.
027
The potatoes were par-boiled in salted water for about 5-10 minutes. They had to be soft but still retain their shape.
028
After the pastry had chilled for about 20 minutes I rolled it out and cut 16 circles (8 tops and 8 bottoms) with a circular cutter. This cutter was slightly bigger than the base of the tins.

It was here where I realised the pastry was a bit thick in places and I should have rolled it even thinner.  No wonder I struggled to get 16 circles out of it.  I also noticed there was loads of filling left over, in fact half of it!  Did I make too much or wasn’t I putting enough inside the pies?  I struggled to seal the pies properly as well.

029
The bases were pushed into the bottom of the Yorkshire pudding tins.
030
To make the filling I mixed together the spring onions, potatoes and some grated cheddar along with some parsley and some creme fraiche.

Nigella suggests using Cheddar, Red Leicester and Parmesan cheese in the filling but I only had cheddar and some grated Mozzarella.  I put the same quantity of cheese in the mixture and the flavours seemed to work.

031
Filling the pies with the onion and cheese mixture.
032
The lids went onto the pies and I made a hole in the top of each one before putting them into the oven.
033
The finished pies- very riustic looking yet very yummy!

We had the pies with a large salad for our Saturday lunch.  One was enough for me and still warm from the oven it tasted absolutely fantastic. Well worth the effort and I will definitely make them again, they’re a lovely treat on a weekend lunchtime if you have the time to make them.  I was expecting to have some leftover to eat the day afterwards but my hubby ended up eating three!

034
My husband worked his way through three of these pies!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Honey and Courgette Loaf- The Great British Bake Off Everyday

As mentioned in my previous post, I had to reluctantly cancel going on a family picnic last Friday due to a stinking cold. I just wanted to stay at home and vegetate!  I had managed to bake the three things I wanted to take as my contribution to the picnic before finally admitting I was just too ill to go.

I wanted to try out the Honey and Courgette Loaf from the new Great British Bake Off Book- The Great British Bake Off Everyday.  I knew my kids wouldn’t eat courgettes if they were served up on a plate sliced up as part of a meal but I was sure they would eat them grated up within a cake made with honey and chocolate chips!

This recipe was very simple to make and ideal for a picnic or an afternoon tea. It’s a wonderfully moist cake and didn’t need any accompaniment to it.

006
Whole, blanched hazelnuts are chopped into small pieces in the food processor.
007
Runny honey, sunflower oil, eggs and light brown muscovado sugar are put into a bowl and mixed together carefully.
008
A medium sized courgette was prepared for the cake by washing it, topping and tailing it and then grating it into a small bowl.
009
In another bowl wholemeal flour, baking powder, and mixed spice were weighed out.
010
All the ingredients were combined gently with the addition of a packet of dark chocolate chips as well as the courgette and the chopped hazelnuts.
011
The chocolate chips get added last of all!
012
When making loaf cakes I always like to use loaf tin liners bought from Lakeland. They save me greasing and lining the tin with parchment.
023
The loaf cake was baked in the oven for about 45 minutes.
027
After about 10 minutes cooling down in the loaf tin, I then removed the cake from the tin and left it in the wrapper until it was completely cool. I warmed through a tablespoon of runny honey to drizzle over the top of the cake.
028
The loaf cake sliced beautifully into several slices. They freeze well, although in my house some cakes don’t even get into a cake tin!

Although I didn’t get to go on the picnic with feeling ill, my mum asked if the cake would freeze as she would like to try some.  I told her it would and that we would save some for her.  Unfortunately for my mum, the cake got scoffed over the weekend.  Once my kids realised there was a cake with chocolate chips and honey in it, it vanished.  I lied about the courgettes though as I’m the only one who eats them in our house. Purely psychological as they happily munched the cake not knowing about the courgettes. I can’t convince them to eat them in savoury meals though!

I’m definitely going to bake the Honey and Courgette Loaf again and again.  It had a delicious taste to it and I have promised some to my mum.  It was a real treat.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx