Friday, 28 August 2015

50 Top UK Food Bloggers - Something for the Weekend

After a tutorial on how to make brown butter for last weeks Something for the Weekend I'm back with an infographic this time around. I confess that I'm showing off just a little bit because... I got placed at number 16!!! It's lovely to know that my little blog has been noticed by someone - and now I'm off to explore the others on the list that I don't recogise!
Top 50 Food Blogs In UK
Credit

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Strawberry and Vanilla Jam

Enjoy the best of summer produce for longer with this four ingredient, no added pectin strawberry jam with a hint of vanilla.
Strawberry & Vanilla Jam - 4 ingredients and no added pectin
I know, I know, British strawberry season has pretty much gone now. The truth is that it has taken me until now to get a few photos of this jam which I made a few weeks ago. But if you are one of those people who likes to drag out strawberry season for as long as possible and snaffle up all those reduced price punnets in the shops then this is definitely the recipe for you. Just so you know, I am exactly that type of person. Have I told you just how much I love strawberries? I love them a LOT. Even more than chocolate. I think the list of addictions goes strawberries first then chocolate, then peanut butter and then ketchup. 
Strawberry & Vanilla Jam - 4 ingredients and no added pectin
Making this jam made me happy in so many ways. The excited anticipation when I first paid for the strawberries. Watching the fruity mixture simmering away like an alchemical process climbing towards its climax. Seeing the ruby red jam glistening from within its home of glass. Tasting the opulence spread on a slice of toast, rich with fruity strawberry flavour, feeling each taste bud buzz with joy as the divine notes swept through the mouth, all rounded off with a gentle hint of vanilla.
Strawberry & Vanilla Jam - 4 ingredients and no added pectin
Four ingredients is all it takes. Note that I do not add pectin to my jam recipes because if you follow the jam making process properly you don't need it. Neither do you need quite so much sugar as most other recipes state. It's all about letting the fruit do the work. By cooking the strawberries until they release their juices the natural pectin dissolves into this fluid so it can set the jam. Then the sugar goes in to rebuild the pectin structure and allow it to form a framework which traps water in between it i.e. form a gel which is water held in a cross-linked structure. The acidic lemon juice is then added to neutralise the negative charges on the pectin which would otherwise repel each other and the whole lot is concentrated until the sugar reaches the right temperature to set. So there you go, the perfect instructions on how to make jars of happiness, perfect for adding to cakes, tarts or whatever else you fancy.


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Strawberry and Vanilla Jam
Enjoy the best of summer produce for longer with this 4 ingredient, no added pectin strawberry jam with a hint of vanilla.
Ingredients
  • 1 kg strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 375g granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Instructions
1. Wash a few small jars with hot soapy water, rinse and set upside down on a baking tray. Heat the jars in an oven set at about 150 C to sterilise while you make the jam. Put a few saucers into the fridge to chill.2. Put the chopped strawberries into a large saucepan (e.g. a pressure cooker base) over a medium-low heat for about 5 mins. Crush them a little to help them release their juices.3. Stir in the sugar and allow to dissolve then increase the heat to high and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 mins, stirring frequently.4. Stir in the lemon juice then boil until the temperature reaches 104-106 C on a sugar thermometer. Stir constantly making sure you don't get splashed. Once the temperature is reached remove from the heat and place 1 tsp of jam on a chilled saucer. Return to the fridge for 30 seconds then push your finger through it. You should see the jam wrinkle. If it doesn't return to the heat and booil until the correct temperature is reached again before repeating the plate test.5. Once the jam is ready, remove the jars from the oven and carefully pour the jam into them right to the top. Cover with discs of waxed paper or baking parchment and lids. Immediately submerge the pan in hot water to make cleaning easier. Allow the jam to cool then enjoy.

I'm sending this jamm of to Credit Crunch Munch because it is the perfect way to preserve reduced price, foraged or home grown fruit. Charlene is hosting this month on behalf of Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla at Fab Food 4 All. Also to Mandy at Sneaky Veg who is hosting the current CookBlogShare.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Churro Cupcakes

When you want the flavour of churros without the effort of frying the dough, whip up these quick cupcakes with a chocolate and cinnammon topping instead.
Churro Cupcakes - cinnamon sponge base with a Nutella chocolate 'dipping sauce'
Have you ever made or eaten churros before? I haven't made them but I have eaten them once. There was this sort of pop up alternative market thing throughout Huddersfield town centre months ago in the spring and one of the stalls was selling churros. As we walked by we watched the vendor handing over cones of these loooong crispy, cinnamon sugary sticks to eagerly awaiting customers.This was after upending an industrial sized jar of Nutella over each one and dousing they in more sugar. Every single customer turned away with their prize wide eyed.
Churro Cupcakes - cinnamon sponge base with a Nutella chocolate 'dipping sauce'
I wasn't all that interested at the time because I was full on an amazing zebra burger but when my friends who were sharing some couldn't finish the massive portion they were sharing I gave one a go, scooping up as much warm Nutella as I could manage as I made my selection. It took one bite and I was hooked. It was all I could do not to grab the remaining churros from my quietly groaning friends and bury my face in them. Of course, I immediately wanted to try making them myself. 
Churro Cupcakes - cinnamon sponge base with a Nutella chocolate 'dipping sauce'
A couple of weeks ago another friend hosted a Mexican night at her house and I cannot go anywhere without taking cakes of some sort. Actual churros were out of the question because they needed to be made and eaten fresh and so these cupcakes were the next best thing. The fried choux pastry became the incredibly soft cupcake base, made in a much shorter time frame than the original by using the all in one mixing method. A heavy dose of cinnamon provided the necessary spiciness while the fluffy interior of a churro was transformed into the light as a feather springy sponge. Neither was the traditional chocolate dipping sauce forgotton. Instead, Nutella was added as a nod to my churro initiation and the delightful mixture allowed to smother each one. 
Churro Cupcakes - cinnamon sponge base with a Nutella chocolate 'dipping sauce'
These cupcakes went down incredibly well. We were all full of chilli, nachos, salsa, guacamole and goodness knows what else but when I asked if anyone still had room for pudding I was met with cries of fury and a wave of disgusted looks. Never underestimate the power of cake. People will always find room for some.


print recipe

Churro Cupcakes
When you want the flavour of churros without the effort of frying the dough, whip up these quick cupcakes with a chocolate and cinnammon topping instead.
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • 115g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g margarine or butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
For the topping:
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 large scoops Nutella
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 180 C/160 C fan and line a 12 cup muffin tray with cupcake cases.2. Place all the cupcake ingredients into a bowl, sifitng the dry ones and mix togeth until just evenly combined. 3. Divide the mixture between the cases and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 mins until a cake tester inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Carefully remove them from the tray to a wire rack and leave to cool.4. Once cool, melt the chocolate and Nutella together in the microwave on a medium power setting. Stir then leave to cool to room temperature. Once cool, swirl the mixture onto the tops of the cupcakes 


I'm sending these cupcakes to Mandy at Sneaky Veg for this weeks CookBlogShare

Friday, 21 August 2015

How to Make Brown Butter - Something for the Weekend

After a string of infographics for Something for the Weekend I thought it would be nice to bring you a post which is a little bit different. I recently discovered just how easy brown butter is to make and how wonderful it tastes, especially when used in chocolate chip cookies. I was eager to make it again to use in something else so while I prepared the butter I took few photos to make a step by step tutorial for you all. Here you go!
How to Make Brown Butter - step by step tutorial with pictures
1. Over a medium heat, melt the desired amount of butter. A silver colour pan is preferable so you can see the colour change.
How to Make Brown Butter - step by step tutorial with pictures

2. Once the butter has completely melted it will look as if it is separated. Don't worry about this - it is completely natural and will soon become right again.
How to Make Brown Butter - step by step tutorial with pictures

3. The melted butter will start to bubble. The bubbles will increase as the butter reaches boiling. It will spit so be careful and don't stand right over the pan as you swirl the pan gently.
How to Make Brown Butter - step by step tutorial with pictures

4. As the temperature of the butter rises it will begin to boil. This is the water component of the butter boiling off. Continue to swirl gently.
How to Make Brown Butter - step by step tutorial with pictures

5. With further heating the butter will begin to foam. At this point whisk the butter thoroughly to prevent the milk solids sticking to the bottom and burning.
How to Make Brown Butter - step by step tutorial with pictures

6. The foaming will begin to subside and you will notice the solids at the bottom of the pan will have browned. The smell will also change to a more nutty aroma. Stop before the solids turn black and immediately pout into a bowl to cool down.
How to Make Brown Butter - step by step tutorial with pictures

7. It is better to err on the side of caution if necessary and take the butter off the heat slightly before you think it is necessary. You can always reheat the butter and brown the solids more but you can't reverse the urning process.
How to Make Brown Butter - step by step tutorial with pictures

 Enjoy!
How to Make Brown Butter - step by step tutorial with pictures

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Chocolate Chip Yoghurt Courgette Bundt Cake

Soft and delicious, studded with sweet milk chocolate in every bite - this bundt cake proves the versatility of summer courgettes. 
Chocolate Chip Yoghurt Courgette Bundt Cake - with chocolate ganache drizzle
Have you ever told a lie to get someone to eat something? I know for a lot of parents there is often a struggle to get children to eat vegetables. It isn't just kids though I think. Some adults can be very reluctant to eat things they don't associate with sweet bakes too. My grandad for instance was enjoying an absolutely gorgeous apple and cardamom cake made by my mum once until somebody let slip there was cheese in the icing. Only cream cheese to make the best icing ever. He refused to eat it after that. 
Chocolate Chip Yoghurt Courgette Bundt Cake - with chocolate ganache drizzle
The weekend I made this my brother and his family were visiting. When he asked what the pretty green flecks were (well he actually said 'what's that green stuff?') I gave him a very pointed look and said very clearly that they were green sprinkles. They were absolutely not any form of fruit of vegetable just in case my nephews were listening. Nope, just bright green sprinkles. Bundt cakes are so big I had been waiting until there were enough people to finish one so I had to get my nephews to eat it somehow. I softened the lie by adding chocolate of course. 
Chocolate Chip Yoghurt Courgette Bundt Cake - with chocolate ganache drizzle
This double chocolate courgette loaf has been one of my most popular recipes to date and works just as well with a peanut butter swirl. I wanted to try another variation of those two recipes but still have something spectacular. My favourite bundt tin did the hard work for me. Thankfully the cake itself did the shape justice. The grated courgette made the crumb lush and moist so with each bite you could really taste the background vanilla notes swirlng amongst the creamy cocoa hit of the perfectly dispersed chocolate chunks. The pretty green flecks really stand out making the cake a treat for the eye as well as the taste buds. And is if anything else were needed to draw you in, there is that carefree generous drizzle of chocolate ganache for a touch of indugence.
Chocolate Chip Yoghurt Courgette Bundt Cake - with chocolate ganache drizzle
My brother certainly enjoyed it. Every time he came into the house he would go straight to the cake tin and surreptitiously take another slice. Sometimes he'd lift the lid, tell himself no then be back there five minutes later unconsciously helping himself anyway. He definitely liked the sprinkles. My nephews? Well the one who did try it liked it but the other two stuck to their chocolate fairy cakes. I didn't mind in the slightest. All the more for us.  


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Chocolate Chip Yoghurt Courgette Bundt Cake
Soft and delicious, studded with sweet milk chocolate in every bite - this bundt cake proves the versatility of summer courgettes.
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80 ml honey
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 120 ml oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g vanilla yoghurt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 260g plain flour
  • 2 small courgettes, ends trimmed and grated
  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped
For the ganache:
  • 50g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 50 ml double cream
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 160 C/140 C fan and thoroughly grease and flour a large bundt tin making sure you get into all the corners.* Set this onto a baking tray.2. Whisk together the eggs, honey, sugar, oil, vanilla and yoghurt. Squeeze the excess water from the grated courgettes and mix in. Sift together the bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and plain flour into a large bowl. 3. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Transfer to the bundt tin and level off then make a shallow dip in the centre all the way around the tin.4. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 50-60 mins until a cake tester inserted into the centre come out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack then carefully turn out.5. When the cake is cool, heat the cream in a saucepan until the first bubble appears. Pour into a bowl containing the chocolate, leave to stand for a minute then whisk until the chocolate is melted and thoroughly combined. Drizzle over the cake to finish.

For instructions on how to bake as a loaf cake have a look at this post here.

I'm sending this bundt off to a few challenges. To Caroline at Caroline Makes for Alphabakes because courgettes are also known as zucchini. Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker co-hosts. To Cake Club run by Kerry Cooks, because you know, cake rules. And to Extra Veg even though courgettes are technically fruit. Jen hosts this month at Jen's Food on behalf of Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families.