Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Orange Spice Cake, Breakfast Smoothie and a Review

If you know me well, you will know that I love kitchen gadgets. I have a lovely new addition to my kitchen and to christen itI started thinking about recipes to showcase my new food processor. I remembered watching Mary Berry making an orange spice cake on the Great British Bake Off which looked really good. She used a food processor to make the recipe so I decided to give it a try. Plus it's a very spring-like cake which is perfectly seasonal.

The cake itself was really easy to make. You have to boil a whole orange until it's soft and then blitz it in the food processor. You add all the cake ingredients into the food processor and that's it. The cake itself was absolutely delicious with a strong orange flavour. The hint of spice added to the flavours and paired well with the mascarpone cheese filling. My colleague made the lemon version of this cake and that was really good too! I will have to try that next time.

I also made a smoothie with the liquidiser and it was so quick and easy. It has now become a breakfast staple which is perfect for the warmer weather. I used up fruits that were past their prime and added some milk, honey and a little scoop of ice cream. You can of course use yoghurt and the fruit variations are endless.

So what I did think of the Kenwood FP190? Well, when it first arrived I thought it was smaller than I imagined but it's really handy to have in a small kitchen. I have a lot of kitchen appliances and a lack of worktop space so this is a good space saver. It's handy having a food processor and liquidiser in one as it's so versatile. You can use both at the same time as the blades operate simultaneously when you turn it on. It's a nice, simple design with added functional details such as the suction cups at the base which keeps the unit steady when you're using it and the bracket at the back to wind up the power cord. It's light yet sturdy enough to blend, chop and blitz food, fruits and nuts. It's dishwasher safe but as I don't have one I'm pleased that it's quite easy to clean as there's no little nooks and crannies where food gets stuck which I have experienced previously. 

This little gadget is perfect for a small family but would not cope with large volumes. For example with this orange cake mix, the processor was at the maximum volume limit and it just about coped with mixing the batter. The cake turned out beautifully so it obviously did a good job but would not have coped with a larger recipe.  I've also made crumble, waffle batter and another cake mix with it and they all turned out beautifully. The whisk attachment is really handy for whipping cream or egg whites - I have to say I wasn't sure it would work looking at the attachment but it does. It whisked up my cream perfectly in less time than it takes with my KitchenAid! It's also perfect for small volumes whereas the KitchenAid or similar is better with larger volumes. 

 The Kenwood FP190 with a liquidiser and food processor and different attachments - knife blade, slicing plate, shredding plate, plate carrier, whisk, maxi-blend canopy. 

 ingredients for orange spice cake 

 boil whole orange until soft 

 blitz the whole orange 

 making the cake batter 

 adding the orange pulp to the batter 

 first layer of cake 

 completed 4 layers 

 cover with mascarpone filling 

 For breakfast smoothie - milk, banana, strawberries, kiwi, honey, ice cream 

 pour in 100mls of milk - the liquidiser jug has measurements in mls and cups on the side 

 add the other ingredients 

 and pulse for 1-2 minutes 

 smoothie to go 

Recipe for Orange Spice Cake available online 

Recipe for Breakfast smoothie
Place 100mls milk, 1 ripe banana, 1 kiwi and a few strawberries with a small scoop of ice cream (optional) and a drizzle of honey (to taste) Whizz in the liquidiser and serve.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Argos for the Kenwood FP190 used in the creation of these recipes. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

This month AlphaBakes has teamed up with Random Recipes. They've decided to start at the beginning of the alphabet with A but here's the twist - you have to select a book at random and then randomly choose a recipe under the 'A' section of the index. My random selection lead me to British Baking by Peyton and Bryne. There are 8 recipes listed under 'A' and my random number generator came up with 4 which was apple and blackberry crumble. I've made a lot of crumble over the years but I've never made one in a pie dish and I'm quite pleased that mine looks quite similar to the picture in the book. Apples and blackberry are a winning combination and it tasted absolutely delicious especially when served with custard and ice cream.

As mentioned, I'm entering this to AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and co hosted by myself. It's also a joint challenge with Random Recipes hosted by Dom from Belleau Kitchen.


 I had some blackberries in the freezer from a colleague's garden so it was a good chance to use them 

 I added more spice than suggested as I love cinnamon in crumble 

 The only change I made was to add some oats as I love an oaty crumble and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon as well for added spice. 

Recipe is from British Baking by Peyton & Bryne page 154

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Homemade Chocolate Easter Eggs

Happy Easter Everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying the long bank holiday weekend. We had a lovely picnic out yesterday and tucked into our Easter eggs today. I decided to make my own Easter eggs this year with a mould that I bought from Lakeland. It's really easy to make and you can customise your own eggs. I made a selection of dark, milk and white mini eggs and a milk chocolate shell. I packed it in a gift bag tied with my special ribbon that says "handmade with love". J had a special egg that was half dark and half milk as requested. It looked good and tasted very chocolatey and he was most impressed with the little eggs inside!

Happy Easter Everyone! 

 there are 4 large moulds and 3 mini moulds in the pack. Melt the chocolate and fill the moulds

 making the mini eggs 

 brush a thin layer or chocolate in the large mould and allow to set in the fridge. Repeat the process at least 4 times otherwise it will be too fragile

 ready to assemble - place the small eggs inside the large one and brush a bit of melted chocolate on the outer edges. Gently place the other large shell on top and allow to set in the fridge

 The finished egg

 with some Easter packaging 

 my favourite ribbon :) 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Chocolate Easter Eggs with a Twist

I'm really excited to share this Easter treat with you. I made it 2 years ago and everyone was so impressed by it I thought it was time to make them again.  It's a really simple idea but it's so effective and it's guaranteed to impress. Last time I made multi coloured pastel eggs but this time I chose to make chocolate eggs (cake) and some lemon ones too. I used my favourite Nigella's old fashioned chocolate cake recipe but substituted the sour cream for yoghurt as that was what I had in the fridge. I also made up a lemon sponge batter and made some lemon cupcakes as well.

The most time consuming part is saving the eggshells. I saved a total of 40 eggshells over the course of a few weeks. I poked a small hole at the top with a sharp knife and gently peeled back the edges to make a hole large enough to pour the egg out. You will need a skewer to help get all the egg out especially the egg yolk. Then rinse the eggshells thoroughly in water and place in a large bowl of salted water. The salt helps the eggshells sink to the bottom and also helps to clean them. Soak for at least 30 minutes.  Then rinse the shells again and dry them upside down (hole side down) on a paper towel until completely dry -this is very important as the shells will go mouldy otherwise. Store in an airtight container until you need them. 

Pipe the cake batter into the eggshells and bake in the oven for about 15-18 minutes until cooked. The cake batter will overflow as there is not much room for the cake to expand. If you underfill the eggshells, you won't get a full egg shaped cake but a half egg. Remove the excess cake gently and wipe the eggshells with a damp towel. I cracked a few eggs doing this so it was a good thing I had extra! I also have a lot of excess cake which is good for making cake pops.

I'm sharing this with a few blog challenges

We Should Cocoa founded by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog and hosted by Rachel from Rachel Cotterill. The theme this month is Easter.

Treat Petite hosted by Stuart from Cakeyboi and Kat from the Baking Explorer. The theme this month is 'Spring into Easter' and these are perfect for Easter.

The Biscuit Barrel Challenge hosted by Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... has the theme of 'fun' this month. These were really fun to make and especially fun to watch people's reactions on receiving the cake and eating them as you crack the eggs open to reveal cake inside.

Calendar Cakes hosted by Rachel from Dolly Bakes. The theme this month is Easter Bakes.

Made with Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior where the idea is to make everything from scratch.

Easter Bake & Make Competition hosted by Ruth from The Pink Whisk and Two Little Fleas 


 Scrunch up a small piece of foil to use as a base to support the egg shells 

 Fill up to about 3/4 full of cake batter 

 Don't worry if they look like this when they come out of the oven! Just peel away the excess cake and wipe the shells with a damp towel 

 How cute are these? 

 Here's what the cake looks like once you've peeled the shell 

 They make great gifts for Easter - I also saved up egg cartons in addition to the eggshells and decorated them with Easter stickers and easter chicks and bunnies. You can also paint the eggshells. 

 I also made some lemon cupcakes with the extra batter. I spread some chocolate cream cheese on top and sprinkled over some green coconut 'grass' (leftover from my minecraft cake) and topped it with mini eggs. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Chocolate Easter Egg Nests

This is a really quick and easy no bake treat for Easter. I love eating these but have never made my own so decided to give it a go this year. It's cornflakes set in melted chocolate, golden syrup and butter and topped with mini eggs. They look really cute especially in colourful cases. I've made 3 batches of these already and may make more for Easter.

I'm sending this to The Biscuit Barrel Challenge hosted by Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... which has the theme of 'fun' this month. These are really fun to make and eat and the kids can join in the fun of making them. 

I'm also sending this to Treat Petite hosted by Stuart from Cakeyboi and Kat from the Baking Explorer.
The theme this month is 'Spring into Easter' and these definitely scream Easter.

And to Calendar Cakes hosted by Rachel from Dolly Bakes. The theme this month is Easter Bakes.

It's also perfect for Dead Easy Desserts created by Sarah from Maison Cupcake and hosted by Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food For Families. These no bake treats are ready in under 30 minutes excluding chilling time. 

 cornflakes, golden syrup, chocolate, mini eggs, butter 

 mix the cornflakes into the melted chocolate mixture 

 Place into fairy cake cases and top with 3 mini eggs 

 Set in the fridge for a few hours or overnight 

Recipe from BBC Food recipes 

200g chocolate
2 tablespoons golden syrup
50g butter
75g cornflakes
36 mini eggs

  • Line a 12-hole fairy cake tin with paper cases.
  • Melt the chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.
  • Allow to cool slightly. 
  • Stir in the cornflakes until it's completely coated in the chocolate mixture.
  • Divide the mixture between the paper cases and press 3 chocolate eggs into the centre of each nest. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight until set.