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.

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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!

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The fish gratin filling.
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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.

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The finished Cheese and Onion Cheesecake.
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Delicious with a salad.
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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.

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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!

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Here’s the flappenjacken mix before being tipped into the cake tin.
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All ready to go into the oven!
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Out of the oven and cut up into slices. Looks more cakey than like traditional flapjack but tasted wonderful.
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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

Banana and Chocolate Chip Bars from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

I’m now well under way with baking from this month’s Cooking The Books Challenge.  This morning was time to get started on the second recipe, which sounded good in theory being the school holidays.  But in practice probably not a good idea to bake when you’re in a hurry, you need to be somewhere else and you need to be on hand somewhere to be a taxi service to your children.  We had been up to Edinburgh the day before on a trip and I had not slept well on Sunday and last night, probably managed 4 hours sleep.  Coupled with an uncomfortable train ride in a “quiet” carriage full of mobiles ringing, iPads playing films out loud and a screaming baby on the way to Edinburgh yesterday I was ready for my bed.  But sleep just wouldn’t come.  Maybe tonight?  Here’s hoping!

Anyway, enough of me prattling on.  Back to the job in hand.  Baking.  I shouldn’t be baking after letting my diet slip over the past few weeks and yesterday I ate loads of rubbish.  At least my family like banana and chocolate so these flapjack type bars should go down a treat.  It was time to bake the Banana and Chocolate Chip Bars from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.  Mary says in the introduction that these are “a really healthy snack.  The banana in the middle could be replaced by ready to eat dried apricots,”  Both my daughter and I like dried apricots so that’s a great variation to try in the future.

As I began to get the ingredients out to start baking, my son came downstairs and asked what I was making.  I told him what they were and he said “Eww, gross!”  Funny how the recipe was in the Baking For Children chapter.  This obviously doesn’t extend to grumpy teens who only eat breakfast when nagged to!

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So first things first, I got a square cake tin greased. Mary says to use a shallow 7″ size one, my smallest one was 8″ square and deep.  Oh dear.  After that I mixed together self raising flour, porridge oats and brown sugar.

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Some butter was then added into the bowl and rubbed into the porridge oats mixture to make it turn out a bit like breadcrumbs.

Some butter was then added into the bowl and rubbed into the porridge oats mixture to make it turn out a bit like breadcrumbs.

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This is what the mixture looked like when the butter had been rubbed in.

Now this is where I was distracted and didn’t read the recipe properly.  This was my fault as the recipe was a simple one and I should have read it carefully.  The porridge mixture was meant to go in the tin like a sandwich with the sliced banana in between.  I made a complete mistake and put all the mixture in at once like you do with a flapjack!

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The porridge mixture in the tin before adding the banana topping.

 

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The sliced banana and chocolate chips sprinkled on the top in the wrong way!

The bars were baked in the oven for about 25 minutes.  I was worried about the banana burning but that wasn’t a problem.  After the right time out came the bars and I let them cool down.

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The chocolate was meant to be drizzled on but it ended up being thrown on instead!
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The bars were cut up once cooled down and turned out of the tin. 

I really enjoyed baking these bars and they would have looked a lot more attractive if I’d read the recipe properly.  I could have got away with the rustic look with the extra chocolate on but because I was rushing (why do I always have to bake when I’m short of time?) I ended up with a very messy finish. I’m sure Mary Berry would have said “Could do better,” if she had seen them.

The appearance didn’t put me off, I ate one with a cup of tea in the afternoon and to be honest it tasted much better being kept in the fridge.  Even my son who had turned his nose up at them enjoyed the bars and they had all disappeared by Wednesday!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Lemon, Ginger and Coconut Flapjacks

A week last Saturday I took my son to take part in a fabulous Make Your Own Chocolate Bar Workshop at the York Cocoa House.  He had a fantastic time.  I treated myself to some flavoured chocolate buttons to use in my baking and came across these pretty pastel green coloured buttons delicately flavoured with lemon oil.  At first I thought they were mint flavoured but they were lemon, in fact.  I thought they would make a lovely topping to a cake and bought some to experiment with.

The day after I was at home and decided to look through my baking stash to see what flavours would go with lemon. After spending a while choosing I decided on coconut and ginger with lemon zest in a flapjack mixture which could then be topped with the chocolate buttons melted down.  My kids laughed at the colour of the chocolate buttons saying they looked like snot!

So, on went the oven at about 160oC, and I set to making the flapjacks. Here’s how they were created:

Delicate lemon flavoured chocolate buttons from York Cocoa House. They came in several other flavours. This was a 200g bag.
Delicate lemon flavoured chocolate buttons from York Cocoa House. They came in several other flavours. This was a 200g bag.
Butter, soft brown sugar and golden syrup were melted together gently in a saucepan.
Butter, soft brown sugar and golden syrup were melted together gently in a saucepan.
Desiccated coconut weighed out in a bowl ready to add to the melted ingredients.
Desiccated coconut  was weighed out in a bowl ready to add to the melted ingredients.
Porridge oats also added to the mixture.
Porridge oats were also added to the mixture.
I chopped up three balls of stem ginger into small chunks. These had been rinsed carefully previously so that all the syrup had come off.
I chopped up three balls of stem ginger into small chunks. These had been rinsed carefully previously so that all the syrup had come off.
I grated the zest of a large lemon to add to the mixture.
I grated the zest of a large lemon to add to the mixture.
The lemon, ginger and coconut was all mixed together in the bowl.
The lemon, ginger and coconut was all mixed together in the bowl.
Once all the wet and dry mixture was combined, it was spooned into a 20cm square, loose bottomed tin which was greased and lined.
Once all the wet and dry mixture was combined, it was spooned into a 20cm square, loose bottomed tin which was greased and lined.

The flapjacks baked well for roughly about 1/2 hour in the oven.  This was time for me to get the chocolate melted carefully.  As this bag of chocolate buttons was about £5 I did not want to waste them!

Once the flapjack was cooled and turned out of the tin I melted the whole bag of chocolate buttons and spread the chocolate mixture on the top of the flapjack.
Once the flapjack was cooled and turned out of the tin I melted the whole bag of chocolate buttons and spread the chocolate mixture on the top of the flapjack.
Ready to serve!
Ready to serve!

When the flapjacks had cooled, my children were asking me what was in them. When I said coconut and ginger, both of them said “Yuck, what did you have to put those in for?”  Well, how come when my back was turned, four of the flapjacks had disappeared off the plate!  I can’t blame the dog, he was asleep the whole time in his dog basket!  Wonder if I can hide broccoli or spinach in a cake?  By the following day all dozen pieces had gone. My hubby and I only had one each!

I’m already looking forward to my next trip to York Cocoa House to buy more of these delicious bags of chocolate buttons.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx