Saturday, 28 May 2011

Jam Roly Poly to the end.

Well, this is it, the final recipe. There is a part of me that can't quite believe it's all over. A friend described it like a wedding, you spend so long planning it, carrying out jobs, getting married and then poof it's all finished and you don't quite know what to do with yourself. There is also a part of me which is completely relieved it's all done. My body has rejected all sweets since I made this on Thursday. As a pud it's pretty simple, although I used lard instead of suet which made a really soft dough, and the jam wasn't very good. Lorraine suggests serving it with shop bought custard, but I didn't quite get to one, so home made it is, and it was a thick as it looks, need to practise that one.

I am planning at some point to go through the book and find some stats, I'd be really interested myself too, the basics like flour, butter, sugar and eggs. Overall I'm really proud of myself. Mark didn't really understand why I wanted to do this or why I felt I had to do it within a certain timeframe. But I'm the type of person who needs a deadline, and then I will do anything I can to beat it to get things done early. Mark is the opposite of that, a deadline to him means he has until that point to work, where as I'm one of those annoying people that would rather do it today than leave it until tomorrow.

So, the actual recipes, my favourites. I was asked today my top three so I'll go with those. At the top of the list has to be the chocolate cookies. I have spent so long trying to find that perfect cookie recipe which is chewy and gooey, mmmmmm. My second is the sausage rolls, mainly because they are so easy and they taste really nice, as well as getting Zoe interested in cooking. The third is a difficult one, there are so many to choose from but probably the white chocolate cheesecake, but also the chocolate melting puds. Basically anything which involved chocolate.

Mark's biggest highlight of this was the Asian Ham, he loved this so much he actually made it himself again a week later. He also loved the macaroni cheese and the fruit cake or tea loaf. Looking through my notebook there are just so many fantastic things; breadsticks, mojito cake, ricotta cake, churros. There are so many that I can;t wait to make again.
This is just one page of the plan, it's taken quite a beating over the last couple of months. My copy of Lorraines book is in a terrible state with pages sticking together. I like to keep my cookbooks pretty tidy, but I like to think it's been well loved. So that's it, all done. I'd like to think that a few people have been inspired to try a few things and I would urge any chocolate fan to try the cookies. I think I'll be taking a bit of time off the baking, both I and Mark are hitting a strict diet when we get back from France. I'm definitely going to enjoy someone elses baking for the next week and where better to go to do it?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Parmesan Lollipops

I thought I'd made some really simple stuff from Lorraine's book, but these are definitely the easiest ever. Simply grate parmesan, add poppy and sesame seeds, place a lollipop stick and bake for about 5 minutes. If you want to make a nice circle shape then use a cookie cutter. These are really tasty, although the flavour is very strong. I took them along to crafty tots and I was really surprised that the children liked them and some of the other mums came up with other ideas for them, using different cheeses and herbs and different seeds. The best thing about these is the speed you can make them. We were running really late and wacked them in the oven for 5 minutes and they had cooled enough to handle within another 5, and in the box and off we went. You don't even need the lollipop sticks for these and they make a nice little snack.

Baked Alaska

This has to be the most ridiculous pudding ever invented. It has a madeira cake base, with strawberry puree and a dollop of ice cream. This is finished off with a meringue coating which crisps up in the oven. My biggest tip for this is use decent ice cream. The ice cream was so horrendous, it was seeping through the meringue and we basically ended up with vanilla milkshake. It tasted really nice, despite the leaking ice cream but I have to say I'm not in a rush to make it again. I thought I would be super prepared and make it and give it plenty of time for the ice ream to harden before baking it. Don't do this, because the ice cream melted I took it out of the oven, but very soon realised that I had completely frozen the cake and strawberries! So all in all a bit of a disaster!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Mojito Genoise

I had been wanting to make this cake for ages once I saw the picture in the book. I am so proud of the way in turned out, sadly I didn't take a picture of the inside but it looked amazing, both sponges rose really well and evenly. This cake is made in a different way to a usual sponge, you have to whisk the eggs and sugar together over hot water for about 15 minutes before adding the butter and flour so you need patience, and a strong arm! For the first time there wasn't enough buttercream, I would double the amounts in the recipe, there was just enough to fill and put a bit on the top never mind the sides. For the nutty coating around the sides you can safely halve the quantities I had so much left over. I love the fact that this cake looks stunning but is really simple. I had a slice with the lime piece and I squeezed it over the cake, yummy. I was a bit confused the with sugar syrup, I think you're meant to pour it onto the cake while its still hot and then again when you put the buttercream on, it isn't clear in the book. But that doesn't really matter because this cake tastes as good as it looks and I will definitely make it again, but will put the rum in it next time.

Pumpkin and Rosemary Muffins

It's taken a while to get round to these, not because I wasn't looking forward to them but the sweet stuff always seem to get there first. I made these for an alternative lunch for myself and the children. I'm always looking for something that is relatively easy to make and doesn't involve bread, and can be made in about ten minutes. Well these are definitely not quick but they did taste pretty nice. Well I thought so, sadly Zoe didn't agree, she had one mouthful and started crying, an unusual reaction but at least she gave them a try. The method is pretty straight forward except when you add the dry to the wet ingredients you're only meant to give them around 8 stirs of the spoon. I don't know how you're meant to get it all mixed in just 8 stirs, I had no chance, there was still loads of clumps of flour so I had to sacrifice the texture for a few more stirs, oh well. I don't think I'll make them again, maybe try a different flavour like cheese but I'm not in a rush, I'll just have to think of something else for lunch next time.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Jam Doughnuts

Here's where the deep fat fryer has it's second outing and is put away for the next ten years! These are quite a lot of faff to make. You make a sweet dough using yeast and then you let it rise. These are meant to be minature ones, but I didn't really have the patience to make that many. Once they had risen and you lift them to get them in the fryer and they sort of collapse in your hands but puff up a little in the oil. I cannot honestly say that any of them look like a doughnut, they are all really strange shapes. But, despite all that, they are doughnuts and they taste pretty good, especially warm and with jam squirted into the middle.

Charlotte Russe

I am really pleased with this one, and it isn't anywhere near as much work as I thought it would be. Lorraine does give you permission to use shop bought sponge fingers, but I thought to be true to the book I better make them myself with her recipe. They tastes the same but I didn't get the batter quite right so when I piped them out they spread so they are massive, as you can see, more like sponge thumbs. Inside is a mango and passion fruit jelly mousse thing, it's made with cream but you add gelatine to it. If you made this with shop bought fingers then it would probably be the easiest and most dramatic pudding in the book. We had loads of sponge fingers left over, Zoe was secretly hoping that Nuzzle and Scratch would appear to eat them up! 

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Banana Souffle

I was ready for these to be an absolute disaster but I'm really pleased with the way they turned out. I had an evening by myself and Mark isn't a huge fans of bananas so I made these. Now the recipe serves four so I quartered everything, which is the main reason why I thought it wouldn't work. There should only have been one but there was plenty for two. I didn't go as far as eating both though. This is seriously sweet and a bit sickly. It's suggested that you serve it with a warm chocolate sauce and I think it definitely would have helped because I really struggled to get through one. The method for this souffle is completely different to the savoury one, it only uses egg whites, a bit like making a mousse. I think I will give these another go because they are so quick, beat egg white and fold in your flavour so I'm keen to have a go at making chocolate ones. Everything always seems to come back to chocolate!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Sausage Rolls

We have made these little sausage rolls so many times now that they have become ingrained as a family meal. The best bit about them is Zoe can help, she rolls up the sausages and 'paints' them with milk. We've discovered that the best sausages to use are skinless ones. These were the first thing we made when I got the book and I think we've made them at least every other week since then. They also freeze really well, so if you make a huge batch you don't need to worry about eating them all in one go. We tend to use half a packet of sausages and puff pastry each time and freeze the rest raw. A definite must make. Roll them up and bake for 20 minutes, lovely.

Creme Brulee

Well, this is the final stretch, the end is near so the blogs will start to come thick and fast now so I can catch up with the baking. Officially I've got 5 left to bake and I aim to make the last thing on wednesday, but that might be a bit ambitious, I've also got a birthday cake to make this weekend so I definitely need to finish before that one. But back to Creme Brulee, or Baked Custard, the custard itself was quite easy to make but I think I may have overwhipped the eggs because they rose and then collapsed after baking so when I cooked the sugar there was still a little pool of raw sugar in the centre. I bought myself a lovely blowtorch, thinking that every kitchen should have one, having never needed one. So I proudly opened the packaging and spent the next 5 minutes trying to get it started without lighting myself up, until Mark pointed out that it probably didn't have any gas in it, disappointment just doesn't cover how I felt, but I won't go into details. So we heated up the grill and above is the result, some quite severe caramelisation I agree but they did have a little snap in places. I love custard so I was quite happy with this pud, but I will try it again once I've got my gas!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

'I don't give a damn' chocolate cake

The selling point for me with this cake is the method. Stick everything in a bowl and mix. That really has to be the best way to make cakes. I don't really understand the science behind why you sometimes have to cream the sugar and butter, or add the wet to dry and visa versa, but there is and I wish I knew why. But this cake just works. The other bonus to stick it all in one place is also, less washing up! This cake has quite a fudgey texture, but isn't heavy. The recipe for the buttercream is also good for this one, it isn't over generous and there is just enough for the cake, so you don't waste any. So a pretty good chocolate cake and with as little washing up as possible.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Lemon and Blueberry Millefuille

This has to be one of the most comedic of all the makes so far, only because of the ridiculous heights these can get to if you stack the three pieces of puff pastry without splitting them. The one in the picture has the two lower pieces with the puff pastry split up. I did make one with the three levels without splitting and it fell over. I don't know how Lorraine makes them stay flat when they are being baked, because these rose in the middle which added extra height. But apart from all that, these are really simple and the lemon cream tastes really nice with the blueberries. I think I will try this again using the chocolate pattisiere, of even make myself a lovely custard slice!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Rum babas

I think this is the first recipe that hasn't really worked for me, but I don't think I can blame the recipe itself. They didn't rise, this could be for any reason but I don't think I put them in a warm enough place or beat them for long enough. They rose a little bit in the oven, but not hugely. But who cares!!! They tasted nice enough, probably a bit stodgier than they should have been, but with a bit of sauce and star anise cream they made a nice enough pud. They have yeast in them so they need a little bit of prep time, not a quick pudding, and of course a nice warm place to put them! This is another pud that I've never tried so I can't compare but I would be really interested to give them a go in a restaurant, but I don't think I've ever seen them, too seventies maybe? So from now on I'm on the look out.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


This is another one of the recipes that I've been looking forward to making for ages, I'd seen Nigella cook them too but there was a problem, oil. The stuff terrifies me, I always have to have Mark helping me when we deep fry anything, I'm always on pins thinking it's about to burst into flames. So I had a look in Tesco and found a deep fat fryer for £14, couldn't believe it, what a bargain. So with the oil heating away, to a set temperature I set to making churros. I've never eaten them so I was assuming they would have a similar texture to doughnuts, but they aren't at all. They are really light, and dangerously moreish, and easy to use. It was quite difficult to make sure there was enough in the bowl to take a photo as I was cooking them because when they are warm they are just amazing. But you have to eat them straight away, they don't last, they get slowly soggier after a couple of hours. A must make, if your brave enough with the oil.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Sticky Toffee Pudding

It's Sunday night and we need a quick pudding, so sticky toffee pudding it is. There is something missing from this one though, dates. Now I like dates, just not creeping up on me in an otherwise quite tasty pudding. I might have mentioned before that I'm halving a lot of the recipes to try and cut down on the amount of pudding that were eating and get through more, rather than having puds in the fridge for a couple of days (ha!), but there always seems to be something I'll forget about and this time it was the baking powder. Well it's quite powerful stuff and these puds basically exploded in the oven, thankfully I keep a baking tray in the bottom so the cleaning wasn't too bad. They tasted good and the sauce on top was amazing, but I could taste the extra baking powder, it was almost a metallic taste. It's awful to say but this was one of the puds that was just a tick on the list, nice but not incredible.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Pear Tart Tatin

This is one of those puds which I've seen being made on television so many times but never attempted before. Anything which involves caramel is always going to be popular with me so I was quite looking forward to this. It is really a lot easier than I thought, basically create a syrup with butter and brown sugar and then add fruit and darken the caramel as much as you dare. The fruit juices will stop the caramel from burning. Then stick some puff pastry on the top and bake.  Now anyone with the book will notice that the picture isn't quite the same. I didn't take as much trouble over peeling the pears and they were really ripe so kept getting squashed in my hand. The other thing you might notice is that you can see the centre of the pears and not the outside. I thought I had been really careful to turn them all over before putting the pastry on top, but as you can see I got it completely wrong, oh well, thankfully it all tastes the same!

Peach Clafoutis

Just found this one in drafts from the first book and it's never been posted!!

This is a strange one to me, from the way it's made it's a sweet yorkshire pudding batter, can seems to cook in the same way. I've never eaten one before so I don't really know if I got it right, but it did turn out like the picture. I used nice small peaches as I halved the quantities again to make enough for just me and Mark. If I make it again I think I'll skin the peaches because when you eat they come off in just one big piece. I've seen clafoutis before made with blueberries, which are probably better. I'm not in a rush to make it again, it was tasty and proper winter comfort food and the great advantage is that if you suddenly decide you need a nice warming pud then it's really quick to make and the ingredients are all basics, apart from whatever fruit you decide to use. I imagine it would be nice with apple and currants with some cinnamon in the batter or for a summer version raspberries. Maybe I will make it again.

Monday, 16 May 2011


This is meant to be free form pie, which is meant to be easier than using a pastry case. I found this really hard, but then again the pastry wasn't great to start with. The filling is meant to be apple but we had some rhubarb in our veg box and it needed eating. Neither of us are great fans, so I used the crumble recipe and added tons of ginger to cover the taste of rhubarb. But we were both quite pleased, I wouldn't say I'm a complete convert but I don't despise it as much as I used to. Think I'll stick to a pastry case too, this pie definitely wouldn't win any pretty prizes!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Financier Cakes

For a while I've looked at the recipe for these little cakes and not really understood what made them any different to cupcakes. But with a playgroup coffee morning coming up my cake options a quite reduced in the book now that these little treats had their first outing. As usual I didn't have quite the right ingredients for them, they are meant to be tangerine flavoured but all I had was a lime so thats the way they went. The other sneaky ingredient was ground almonds. Now these little things might not look like much but boy they are moreish. I used a mini muffin mould, so they are about 3cm in diameter across the top which makes them very dangerous. Because they are so small you don't feel so bad eating more than one at a time, but then realise you've eaten about four or five and they are delicious. I imagine they work with any type citrus fruit because the lime worked really well. I should also point out that these are meant to be rectangular in shape to be official financier cakes but just couldn't justify buying one. Overall a good make. I judge a lot of things on how much washing up they produce, I love things that use just one bowl or one pan. This was a big one with a couple of bowls and a pan but they were well worth it.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Not so skinny tart

I had great plans for making these a couple of weeks ago, bought my filo pastry and greek yogurt, and well, it just didn't happen. The greek yogurt became a vanilla posset and the pastry became baklava. But the end of the pastry needed using and I fancied trying out the creme patisiere. If I had known the custard would be so easy to make I would have been making custard slices every week for the last few weeks instead of this book. I love custard slices, they are a real treat to me and something I don't give in to very often. They will definitely be on my make list once I finished this book. I used the skinny tart as a base. I think I over did it on the number of filo layers as the pastry was quite hard work to get through. I used four in each as it recommends in the book but I would reduce that, and maybe use a bit less butter. And you can never go wrong with a couple of strawberries on the top.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

'I can't believe you made that' cake

For ages I'd been wondering what occasion I would be able to take this cake along to, and at the weekend we went to a first birthday party, with a bring a dish! So perfect timing. As you can see I didn't use the cigarellos that Lorraine used on hers, couldn't quite justify the £27 it would have cost me to buy them, so I went for chocolate finger, which are usefully on buy one get one free at the moment. If you're going to make it using fingers you will need three boxes, of one colour or two of each if your doing two colours. (Top Tip!)

The other top tip is filling it with fruit, you will need two punnets at least, it takes quite a lot to make it look full. Anyway, the cake, it's a really fudgy chocolate cake, which it quite dense but delicious. The fruit is really nice with the cake, it cuts the fudgyness of it. I used half the amount of buttercream than the recipe states, mainly because I ran out of icing sugar and there was more than enough, I could have been a lot more generous with the filling. Best of all we now have loads of chocolate fingers to finish off!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Chocolate Fudge and cream oreo brownies.

What do you do when you have a good friend coming over for a catch up and nothing to eat, make brownies!!! This is the second time I've made these and they were so much better the second time around. I used the right sized tin and although they were a little runny in the middle I didn't cook them quite as long. Also second time around I didn't bother grating the chocolate. I've decided its just a waste of time and good chocolate, most of it ends up all over your hands and it takes forever, so don't bother, especially if it's going to be melted anyway!

The only problem with these brownies was Zoe, not only did she pinch half my piece while I was out of the room but then she tried to take some more after asking me! She'd already had her own little slice, cheeky monkey! But it was a very welcome smell on a dark afternoon after all the sunshine. Of course with toddlers around you don't really get the chance to savour your food as they are either eating yours or distracting you but we finally managed to wolf them down and hide the rest from the sticky fingers!

Monday, 9 May 2011

White chocolate Pannacotta

What do you do when you have bought single cream, when you needed double and not sure what to do? Well make pannacotta! I had 300ml of single cream in the fridge and some white chocolate in the draw and a few gelatine leaves so I could make this. I cut down the amounts in the recipe to suit and it turned out well because I had just enough for two people. I definitely couldn't have eaten anymore. I think all these puds are starting to have an effect, I don't crave them as much, in fact it's becoming really hard work to get through them. This pudding was one of them, by the time I'd eaten three quarters and I really struggled to eat it all, it was so sickly and rich and you definitely needed the fruit to cut through the cream.

I've got about 17 dishes to go and 90% are sweets. I've also given myself a deadline of 28th May, the day before we go on holiday. I'd like to go knowing its all finished and I can switch off. It's amazing how much cooking can take over every waking thought, planning what I'm going to make, where can I fit things in, who can I give things to. So in these three weeks I've should have finished, but there may still be more to come. I was given a newspaper article about Lorraine with a few other recipes which I think I will include, eventually!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Cheese Souffle

I have never attempted to make a souffle before, as we are constantly reminded on any tv foodie programme they are a nightmare to make and only good cooks should even bother. So it's quite interesting that Lorraines book has two souffle recipes, a sweet and savoury. Well I was in on my own for dinner and Mark had already said that a souffle, that might not even work, wouldn't be enough for him so I had to go it alone. It's very similar to making a white sauce, adding a flavour and egg yolks. Then separately whip the egg whites and fold them into your original mixture and bake. As you can see they aren't a complete nightmare to make. I was really relieved when they came out of the oven, just waiting for them to collapse or explode at some point. They didn't collapse, but I think it's because they were a little over cooked because they didn't have a wobbly centre (which is what you should have according to Greg Wallace). The flavour was very similar to a cheese omelette, no surprise there. We'll have to see how the sweet one turns out!

Saturday, 7 May 2011


For anyone who doesn't know, these are a traditional french petit four or little cake. I remember having these on holidays in France when I was younger. Sadly mine don't quite match up to the memory. In the recipe you whip the eggs and sugar but I'm afraid I ran out of patience and probably didn't whip them enough, I also had Zoe 'helping' and her patience is even shorter. So as a result they collapsed once they came out of the oven. They look very yellow because we were given some fresh free range eggs by a friend and the yolks are such a strong yellow colour that everything we make with them has this almost flourescent colour! These madelaines were flavoured with lemon zest. Going through the recent Good Food magazine there is another madelaine recipe which has a completely different method, so once I've finished the book I will try them. I had to buy a madelaine tin in the end so I've got to make the most of it!

Friday, 6 May 2011

White chocolate cheesecake

If you want a really simple dessert which will also pack a punch on flavour then this is the one for you. The base is made with digestive and amaretti biscuits (although you can use half the quantities, the base was really thick) and the top is mascarpone, double cream and white chocolate with a tablespoon of madeira (meant to be amaretti). This dessert is so rich that it kept us going for a few days and I just couldn't eat anymore so the final wedge went to the parents. But it was oh soo good.

Thursday, 5 May 2011


If you're going to make these, then give yourself plenty of time and a couple of days!! Also, be prepared for the huge amount of butter involved. For anyone who's seen Lorraines programme, you probably watched as she expertly folded the butter into puff pastry, which is the same technique used to make these. Well, lets just say, its amazing what you can with television. These were so messy to make, I rolled out the pastry, added the butter and then tried to fold it in, it went everywhere!! Very similar to the Harry Hill sketch from TV Burp. But once it had all settled in the fridge the dough did look good. Although I had to flatten them a bit before I could roll them up, they are quite small triangles and the dough puffs up so there is no way you could roll them. As you can see from the picture even after I'd flattened them a bit they'd still unravelled.  If you make them then I suggest making chocolate ones, just roll up a couple of blocks of plain chocolate with the pastry, yummy!!!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Steak Pie

This is quite a momentous dish, in that it is the final family meal from my lists. When I first started this project (a couple of months ago!!) I split everything into lists and family meals was one of the longest. It seems very strange to think I've come to the end of it. But it was a great one to finish on, this steak pie is full of flavour, with porcini mushrooms, which I quite liked even though I don't usually eat mushrooms, it's a texture thing. It also had madeira wine which made it a little sweet. The best thing about this was the smell when it was cooking just couldn't wait to get stuck in but it does take a while to cook. You cook the puff pastry lid separately so it isn't really a pie but it is lovely and crispy! So just puds and treats to get finished now...our poor waist lines.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Treacle Tart

This tart is proof that practise really does make a huge difference. I am so proud of the pastry on this one, I took my time, and rolled it really thin and when it baked it just crumbled, lovely! The filling is pretty standard, Golden syrup, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and ginger. I didn't have as many breadcrumbs as the recipe asks for but I had enough to fill the pastry case, so no disaster! If you can do the pastry case, give it a go, it isn't so bad! then this is a pretty simple tart to make, the filling is just heated all together and then baked, after you've blind baked the pastry case. If you're a bit of a non-pastry person then I would encourage you to keep trying. Just take your time, keep your cool and always follow the advice in the book!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Mini Tiramisu

I've never eaten tiramisu before so I didn't have anything to compare these to but these were delis! The sugar syrup makes the cakes really moist. We had these quite a while after they were made and I'm sure they would be even better warm, which is what Lorraine recommends anyway. Really simple to cook, but if you make them I'd only use half the amount of mascarpone in the recipe, there was just the right amount using only one pot. Don't worry about the pieces of biscuit being to big either, they do soften when baked. Highly recommend this one

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Vanilla Posset with Brandy Snaps

This is quite a sneaky little possett, don't let the vanilla fool you. It also has rosewater and lime which gives it an amazing kick, and they are two flavours which I would never have put together but it was delicious. Even better I made it with greek yogurt so it was almost healthy. For a bit of texture I made the brandy snaps to go with it. The smell of these remind me of my childhood, we seemed to make them quite often, I think because they are so simple, 50g each of golden syrup, sugar, flour and butter along with a pinch of ginger and lemon zest.

I was a bit to eager though to curl them along the handle of a rolling pin and as you can see from the picture below, I really need to develop a bit of patience. It fell apart, but have faith if you make these, do wait a couple of minutes and they will curl really nicely, just don't forget to oil the spoon first!!