Foodie Penpals: July 2014

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Sadly I’m rather (very) late in posting about my foodie penpal package for July – oops! Primarily this was due to Royal Mail holding things up *grumbles*. But it was well worth the wait!

  • Bieber bread/cake: Funny name aside, it is a spiced cake with marzipan in the middle – very tasty!
  • Eimalzin: Sort of malt cubes wrapped in chocolate – think of a cross between Malteasers and halva in texture. Love them but can’t seem to find anywhere that sells them over here 😦 If you know of anywhere in the UK that sells it…!
  • Kaserosti: Potato and cheese – a lovely savoury pancake!
  • Maple and walnut chocolate: Yum!
  • Swiss toffee: Basicly the bit on the middle of diam bars 😀
  • Milk Chocolate moose bar: Also very tasty
  • Snack up – fruit, chocolate and nuts mix
  • Chinese cooking sauce – looking forward to trying this soon!

If you fancy joining in the foodie penpal scheme in Europe then look at Carol Anne Grady at This is Rocksalt.

Beyond hot chocolate: Chocolate and Cherry Marshmallows

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In Edinburgh a wonderful thing has happened: a shop dedicated entirely to artisan marshmallows has opened. That’s right – marshmallows. Not the nasty little pink and white blobs of who-knows-what only fit to be melted in a fire, oh no! These are what marshmallows should be: springy, like the inside of a good meringue, and melt-in-the-mouth. The Key Lime Pie marshmallows are a particular favourite of mine 🙂

So, I got to thinking: just how difficult is it to make a marshmallow? Honestly, I had absolutely no idea how you would even start! Fortunately Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall came to the rescue with this recipe in The Guardian. And you know what, it really was very simple! I varied the recipe by adding cherry concentrate to the gelatin mixture, and adding some cocoa to the sugar/corn flour rolling mixture. Simple!

In the words of one on my friends: “It tastes like an angel just pooped in mouth”. I’ll just leave you with that mental image, shall I…?

THE Summer cake: Nectarine and Coconut Yogurt Cake

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Last night was the first time in an absolute age where I’ve simultaneously felt like baking and have had the time to do so – so, of course, I made the most of it! It’s recess time at work, and so there are only a few of us brave souls in the office, and very very little work to keep us going. So since today is ‘hump day’, I thought a cake would be a nice way to ward off the recess blues 🙂

Since my last actual baking installment (as opposed to the regular Foodie Penpals posts) I’ve been to South America, and my partner and I have bought a house – and started redecorating the kitchen! I’m so excited about the kitchen re-do as it is tiny and unattractive, but hopefully with the addition of shelves and fresh paint it will look a lot better on a reasonably small budget. I may do an off-topic kitchen-refurb related post soon.

Nectarines are in season here (looooovee nectarines) but so often they go very soft far too quickly, and I ended up with a few sad looking specimens in the fruit bowl. These were co-opted for the baking effort, as was a load of dried coconut lingering at the back of the cupboard.

I was delighted with the results – it was light, tasty and pretty, and my colleagues loved it. I’ll be making another one for the pending flat-warming party at the weekend 🙂

Nectarine and Coconut Yogurt Cake

  • 180g butter, at room temperature
  • 215g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 55g (3/4 cup) shredded coconut
  • 175g ctn vanilla yoghurt
  • 4 nectarines, halved, stone removed, thinly sliced
  • 25g (1/3 cup) shredded coconut, extra
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Release the base of a 24cm (base measurement) springform pan. Invert. Secure back into the pan. Line the base and side with non-stick baking paper. Process the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, coconut and yoghurt in a food processor until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan.

  2. Arrange the nectarine on top of the cake. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes. Top with the extra coconut. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until the coconut is light golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Foodie Penpals: February and March 2014

 

 

 

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Hello all! Sorry I’m so damn late with both these posts, but between work, buying a house, being ill and training I honestly have no idea where the past couple of months have gone. Apologies to my lovely penpals who sent me these delicious selections – I’m not usually this haphazard in posting FPP stuff.

So, February’s package came from the lovely Drea Lee, who sent me a lovely Udon Noodle kit, along with some interesting chillies (which I’ve yet to try) and 3 fruit and nut ‘snack shots’ – all of which were great. I haven’t been able to find the snack-shots up here yet, but may have a crack at making my own 🙂

And the most recent package came from the lovely Steph H at Tubontherun for my March package of sweet goodies! Funnily enough all of it (except some of the spread) is now gone… The spread is great stuff and I’ve used it in baking too as a refined sugar substitute, and it’s worked really well.

If you fancy joining in the UK Foodie Penpals scheme hop on over to  http://thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals and the lovely Carol Anne will hook you up 🙂

 

It’s been a while…

It's been a while...

It’s been ages since I’ve posted, or really baked all that much! I’m planning my big come back as I type, but in the meantime, here’s a picture of the Lemon and Ginger Layer Cake I made for my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary 🙂

To GBBO or not to GBBO, that is the question…

Applications for the Great British Bake Off season 5 are now being taken – do I, or don’t I…?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/beonashow/great_british_bake_off5

Foodie Penpals October 2013

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It’s great to be back to foodie penpalling after a month off – I did miss the mystery package coming through the door last month!

So, this month’s package comes from the lovely Fay at Food Fables, who has sent me a wonderfully decadent selection, including:

  • Feta and Red Pepper Meze – looking forward to this with some toasted pitta!
  • Stilton and Walnut biscuits – These sound wonderful 🙂
  • Butter and Seasalt Fudge – I may have started this already *om nom nom nom*
  • Caramel coffee – I usually find flavoured coffee a bit hit-or-miss, but this was very nice (I also added a bit of the coconut essence, and that worked really well)
  • Coconut essence – I sense that this weekend may include coconut and mango porridge… 🙂

If you’re interested in joining in, pop over to The Lean Green Bean (US/CAnada) or Rocksalt (UK) and they’ll give you the details. It’s great fun – you totally should!

Tres Leche Redux: The Rum Edition

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So by popular request I had a second go at this cake, which I made in my last post butthis time I added a bit of rum to the milk syrup mix and added sliced mango as decoration – and it was even better than the last one I made!

Tres Leche Cake (or the most calorific thing I have ever made…)

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I kid you not, I think this is the possibly the most calorific cake I have ever made. And I regret not one bite of it! It is moist, with a springy but substantial mouth-feel, and rich without being heavy. I’d serve this as a pudding rather than an afternoon tea treat, with a little bit of additional cream. Not the traditional version, but utterly gorgeous 🙂

 

Three Milk (Tres Leches) Cake
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs – yolks and white separated
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup (or one small can) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup evaporated milk 
A sprinkling of desicated coconut

Mixed berries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch baking dish.

Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of sugar until light in colour and double in volume. Mix in milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In a small bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining ¼ cup sugar. Beat until firm but not dry. Folk egg whites gently into egg yolk batter mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Cook cake completely; place on a serving plate. Use a 2 prong meat fork or skewer to puncture entire surface of cake. 

Mix together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and ¼ cup of the whipping cream. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the cake until absorbed. Take your time and wait between applications so the milk doesn’t run over the sides. The cake really will absorb all the milk.

When all the milk has been absorbed, and the cake is fully cooled, store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve sprinkle with coconut and cover in sliced and whole berries and serve chilled. 

Foodie Penpals: August 2013

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I’m slightly delayed in posting my Foodie Penpal blog post for this month – it has been quite a busy few days, one way or another.

This month’s package comes from the lovely Agne, and all the way from Lithuania! Agne very kindly sent me an interesting range of specifically Lithuanian foods, and they’re great!

Buckwheat Honey: This is a type of honey I have never encountered before, but Agne’s Mum says it is the best kind of honey in the world 🙂 I’m keeping this in store for honey breads, as I think the nutty flavour of the honey will work well in that type of baking.

Smoked cheese: I haven’t tried this yet, but it looks great 🙂

Chocolate: a 70% chocolate map of Lithuania! 😀

Pastiles: I’ve never come across anything quite like these before! It seems to be a soft sweet made of whipped fruit juice/pulp and sugar. Agnes sent me three flavours: rhubarb, blueberry and blackcurrent, and they’re all lovely. The rhubarb one in particular is a bit like a cross between a biscuit texture and sherbert!

If you fancy joining our wandering band of gastronauts, meander on over to:  http://thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals if you’re in the UK/Europe, or http://www.theleangreenbean.com if you’re in the States.

Next month I will be taking a short break from FPP as I’ll be away on holidays, but I’ll be back in October 🙂

 

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