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fruity-brunch-muffins

 

What you need:

275g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g caster sugar

75g porridge oats

1 large  free range egg

150ml sunflower oil

150g fat-free Greek-style yogurt

35g dried mango, cut into chunks

Zest of 1 orange

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F/Gas mark 6

Line a 12-hole muffin tray with 12 muffin cases

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl, then gently fold in the sugar and oats

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sunflower oil and yogurt, until you have a smooth batter. Pour into the dry ingredients, and gently mix until just combined

Stir in the mango and orange zest. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 15-20 mins, or until the tops are golden.

Leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 mins

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feta-mint-pastry-bites

 

What you need:

25g  ready to eat spinach

4 tbsp  crème fraiche

1 large clove garlic, crushed

Zest of 1 lemon

Small handful of mint, or ½ tsp dried mint

1  egg, lightly beaten

200g  feta cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp  pine nuts, toasted

500g ready rolled puff pastry

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F /Gas mark 6

Place the spinach in a colander, pour over boiling water to wilt, then run under the cold tap to cool. Squeeze out the excess water, roughly chop and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the crème fraiche, garlic, lemon zest, mint, and half of the beaten egg. Then fold through the feta, pine nuts and spinach.

On a lightly plain floured surface, roll out the ready rolled puff pastry to the thickness of a pound coin. Using a bowl as a template, cut out 12 x 10.5cm circles.

Then divide the filling between them.

Brush the edges with the leftover beaten egg, then fold over and seal. Chill in the fridge for 15 mins.

Place the parcels on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and cook for 20-22 mins, or until golden, crisp and piping hot throughout.

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Pimm's cake

 

What you need:

For the 3 sponge layers:

350g self-raising flour

350g caster sugar

350g butter

6 med eggs

2tsp baking powder

3-4tbsp Pimm’s

For the Pimm’s buttercream:

450g icing sugar

150g butter

4tbsp Pimms

For decoration:

5 strawberries, chopped into small pieces

Half a small cucumber, chopped into small pieces

1 med orange, chopped into small pieces

Sprigs of mint leaves

What you do:

Preheat oven 180 C /350 F/ Gas mark 4

Line 3 x 20 cm round cake tins with grease proof paper or spray with cake release spray.

In a large mixing bowl whisk with an electric hand whisk all the cake ingredients together using an all in on method.

Once completely mixed , spoon the mixture into the 3 tins making sure you get an even amount in each tin. Bake the cakes for 15-20 mins until golden and springy to touch.

Leave to cool for about 5 mins and then pop out onto a wire rack to cool further.

Make the buttercream by whisking all the ingredients together with an electric hand whisk.

Assemble your cake on a cake board or plate that you’d like to display it on.

Put a bit of the buttercream on the board or plate before stacking your cakes to keep the base in place. Pop your base cake onto the board or plate and cover in the light layer of buttercream.

Stack the second layer and cover this layer with buttercream too. Pop the top layer of cake onto the stack and cover in buttercream making sure it’s as smooth as possible. You can use a palette knife or spatula for this.

Leave to set a little and prepare your fresh fruit – dab with kitchen roll to take off any excess moisture. Sprinkle your chopped fruit in the centre of the cake. Garnish with mint and serve.

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Cloudy Lemonade Cake

 

What you need:

225g  unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

225g sugar

4 eggs

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

50ml  cloudy lemonade

For the drizzle:

100ml  cloudy lemonade

100g icing sugar

For the icing:

50g unsalted butter, softened

100g icing sugar

1 tbsp lemon curd

6 lemon sherbets, crushed, to top

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas mark  4.

Butter and line a 2lb loaf tin with Grease proof paper.

Mix the cake ingredients in a bowl.

Spoon the cake mix into the loaf tin and bake for 30 mins. Cover the top with greaseproof paper, and bake for 15-20 mins more.

Leave to cool.

In a small pan, heat the cloudy lemonade and icing sugar for about 5 mins until reduced. Leave to cool, then prick the cake all over with a skewer and pour the drizzle over.

Beat the icing ingredients together, spoon onto the cake and top with the crushed sweets.

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mincepies1

 

What you need:

280g plain flour

125g icing sugar, sifted

pinch of salt

200g butter, diced

2 egg yolks

500g mincemeat

300g plain chocolate

2 clementines, zest and juice

2 tbsp milk

1 egg, beaten

Fresh double cream to serve

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F / gas mark 6

Mix the flour, icing sugar and salt together in a bowl. Mix in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the eggs until the mixture comes together in clumps. Knead the pastry briefly until smooth, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for one hour

Remove the pastry from the fridge, and roll out to a thickness of 6mm, the thickness of two stacked pound coins. Using a 7.5cm fluted cutter, stamp out 12 discs from the pastry and use them to line a 12-hole bun tin.

Break your chocolate into a small bowl and put this over a pan of boiling water (be careful not to burn yourself). Allow the chocolate to melt slowly, stirring very occasionally to ensure that it melts evenly. Mix in the mincemeat and the clementine zest & juice, then fill each pastry hole with two tsp of your choco/mincemeat mix.

Brush the edges of your pies with a little milk. Using a 6cm/2n fluted cutter, cut out 12 circles and use them to top the mince pies, pressing the edges together with your fingertips. Brush the top of each one with beaten egg.

Re-roll any remaining pastry and cut out star or snowflake shapes to decorate the top of each pie. Gently place the decorations on top, then brush again with egg.

Bake your mince pies in the oven for  around 25 minutes until the pastry is cooked through.

Allow to cool,.

Serve with fresh double cream.

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Raspberry White Chocolate Scones

What you need:

3 cups flour

½ cup sugar

6 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¾ cup very cold butter, cubed

6 oz  good quality chopped white chocolate

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

1½ cups frozen raspberries

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 190 C  / 375 F / gas mark 5

I start these in my food processor because it is so fast but they can be made just as easily in a large bowl by cutting the butter in with a pastry blender or even 2 knifes held between the fingers.

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Pulse in the cold butter until this mixture resembles a coarse meal. It is very important that pea sized pieces of butter remain in this mixture.

Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the white chocolate.

Mix together the lemon juice, vanilla extract ans milk.

Pour this over the surface of the dry mixture. Toss all together gently with a fork only enough to form a dough ball.

When the flour is almost incorporated, add the frozen raspberries.

Frozen berries work best because they are less delicate and easier to incorporate into the scone dough.

It is important that you work this dough as little as possible or the finished scones will be too dense and heavy.

Roll to 1 inch thickness and cut out scones with biscuit cutter or in triangles with a sharp knife and place on parchment lined baking sheet.

If desired you can brush the tops of the scones with an egg wash of 1 egg beaten together with 1 tbsp water.

Bake  for 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your biscuit cutter.

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Snickerdoodle Muffins

 

What you need:

2 cups flour

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 stick butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1½ tsp. vanilla

1 Tbs. sugar + 1 tsp. cinnamon for topping

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 200 C /400 F / gas mark 6

In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda.

In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar.

Add the eggs and mix.

Add the milk and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until moistened.

Fill muffin cups ⅔ of the way full of batter.

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar

Bake  for  the oven 15-20 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Gluten-free

 

What you need:

225 g (8oz) plain chocolate

140 g (5oz) butter, cut into pieces

4 large eggs

225 g (8oz) golden caster sugar

100 g (4oz) Gluten Free white self-raising flour

1 tbsp cocoa powder

What  you do:

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / gas mark 4

Line a rectangular tin (27cm x 17.5cm x 3.5cm) with nonstick baking paper. Break 175g (6oz) of the chocolate into pieces and put into a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water along with the butter. When melted, take the bowl off the pan and put aside.

Chop the rest of the chocolate into small chunks and set aside.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, until thick, pale, fluffy and almost doubled in volume. Pour in the cooled melted chocolate, and gently fold, before sifting in the flour and cocoa and gently folding again. Lastly stir in the chopped chocolate.

Pour the mixture into the lined tin and lightly spread it into all the corners. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the middle is just set and the top is crusty. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray. Finish off by sprinkling over some cocoa powder.

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What you need:

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 tsp  vanilla essencee
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup water
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans

What you do:

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg white and vanilla. Combine molasses and water. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with molasses mixture, beating well after each addition. Fold in pecans.

Pour into a greased 3-qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Mix together  hot water and butter; pour over batter (do not stir).

Cover and cook on high for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted near centre of cake comes out clean. Turn off heat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

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What you need:

425 g currants
250 g each sultanas and raisins
300 g glacé cherries, quartered, rinsed and drained
150 g ready-to-eat dried apricots, snipped into small pieces
75 g mixed candied peel, roughly chopped
4 tbsp brandy, plus extra for pouring
300 g plain flour
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
300 g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
300 g dark muscovado sugar
5 medium free-range eggs
1 tbsp black treacle
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
60 g whole unblanched almonds, roughly chopped.

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 140 C/ 275 F/gas mark 1.

Mix together the dried fruit and candied peel in a large bowl. Add the 4 tbsp brandy and stir in to mix well. Cover and leave overnight.

Put the remaining ingredients except the almonds in a large bowl. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer until well combined. Stir in the nuts and the soaked fruit with any soaking liquid.

Grease a deep 23 cm round tin or 20 cm square cake tin with butter, line with a double layer of baking paper and grease the paper (see Golden Rules). Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Level the top and cover with a disc of baking paper.

Bake for 4-5 hours until firm to the touch and a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

When the cake has cooled, remove the baking paper disc, pierce the top in several places with a skewer, then pour over a little brandy. Remove the cake from the tin but keep it in the baking paper. Wrap with more baking paper, then wrap with foil. Store in a cool place for up to 3 months to mature, occasionally unwrapping and spooning over 1-2 tbsp brandy.

Decorate the cake with glacé fruit, marzipan or ready-to-use icing. Tie a ribbon around the cake if you like.

 

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