9/25/2017

Walnut and Date Cake

Another case of using up something at its ' Use By' date; this time some chopped dates. Wanted to make an easy cake, so made my Mum's Date cake with walnuts.
It's a cake that keeps very well.

Oven 180C/gas4                            Grease and base line a 20cm square cake tin.

In a bowl put 210ml boiling water, 175g chopped dates and 3/4 level tspn bicarbonate of soda. Leave it for 5 mins.
Cream together 175g soft brown sugar and 50g soft margarine, then beat in 1 beaten egg and the water and dates.
Sieve 225g plain flour with 3/4 tspn baking powder and pinch salt, then fold into the date mixture. Add 40g of chopped walnuts and mix together.
Spoon into the tin and bake for about 45-50 mins.
Cool on a wire rack then remove the paper.


This is just part of the cake, as I gave the rest to my lovely Polish neighbour! I sprinkled some sugar on the top  - not really sure why!
It has a lovely flavour, almost caramel taste from the dates and a nice crunch from the walnuts. It has a nice moist texture, and is excellent with a cup of tea or coffee. A nice old fashioned tea treat.

9/16/2017

Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscuits

When 2 of my grandsons, aged 13 and 16 came to visit, to keep them off their x-boxes, I baked with them! We made these chocolate biscuits, and they were a great hit. Sadly there weren't any left to take home to their brother, so next time we'll have to make double the amount!

Preheat oven 190C/gas5                Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

you need: 125g butter, 125g caster sugar, 50g dark brown sugar, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 tspn vanilla extract, 100g plain flour, 25g cocoa powder, 75g oats, 1/2tspn baking powder, 1/2 tspn bicarb, 125g chopped hazelnuts and 25g demerara sugar

Beat the butter and caster and dark brown sugars together till nice and smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again.
Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb. and add to the batter. Stir in the nuts.
Take tspns of the mixture and roll into about 30 balls. Put the demerara sugar on a plate and roll the balls in it. Put the biscuits about 5cm apart on the baking trays. Press them down gently then bake for about 10 mins. Cool on the trays for 5 mins, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.



You could use other nuts instead of hazelnuts. They're nice and nutty and crunchy. Very moreish.

9/11/2017

White Chocolate Crunchies

My daughter's favourite chocolate is white, so having recently made my son's favourite dessert, and as she was coming to stay for a week - a very rare occurrence - I decided to make her something using her favourite ingredient.

I tried one of these crunchies at a coffee morning, and asked for the recipe.

The only cooking involved is melting the chocolate, butter and crème fraîche.

You need an 18cm square tin which you line with baking parchment.

Break up 300g white chocolate and put in a bowl. Add 150g butter and 1 tbspn crème fraîche and melt together gently over a simmering pan of water.

Crumble 100g Amaretti biscuits and chop up 100g candied fruit [I got mine in Waitrose].

When the mixture is melted, take the bowl and add the biscuits, fruit 25g dessicated coconut and 50g toasted flaked almonds. Mix it all together carefully. Spoon into the tin and leave to set in the fridge for 4 hours.

Cut into 20 squares when set, using a knife dipped in hot water.


It's very fruity and nutty. As expected with white chocolate, it's quite sweet. I like the combination of textures - the candied fruit, the biscuits and the smooth chocolate. Not something to have regularly, but a nice occasional treat.

9/01/2017

Norfolk Tart

I don't make many sweet tarts these days, but my son loves treacle tart and especially this version, which is a Norfolk Tart. As he was coming for the weekend, I decided to indulge him with his favourite pudd!

Preheat oven 200C/gas6

Roll out 225g shortcrust pastry [bought or home made] and line a 7" or 17.5 cm round tin.
Fill with baking beans and bake for 15 mins. Take out the beans and reduce the oven to 180C/gas4.
Warm 100g syrup in a pan till runny, then take off the heat and stir in 25g unsalted butter and the grated zest of a lemon.
Beat 1 egg and 3 tbspn double cream together gently then stir into the syrup mixture.
Pour this into the pastry case and bake for 30 mins.
Serve this warm with some cream or ice cream.


This is very rich and moreish. It has a lovely creamy filling with a good lemony hint.