We're having a new kitchen installed starting on the 28th, so today is my last day for using my oven.

Tomorrow, OH and friend are taking out the last part of the old kitchen which I've been hanging on to, the sink unit, dishwasher, cooker and washing machine.

From tomorrow, I'll have a microwave and a slow cooker in the dining room for 2 and a bit weeks.  What fun!

So I decided to have a bit of a Bake In today, last time in my gas cooker, as it will be looking for a new home on Freecyle. I'm having a new electric oven and gas hob. The gas cooker was in the house when we bought it, so we decided not to change it till we changed the kitchen.
The Bake In - I made some chocolate chip muffins, a banana loaf, cheese scones and a very easy Bara Brith - not using Gran's recipe, but one a new friend gave me.

Cheese Scone Recipe  I made the cheese scones from the Good Food site; here's the recipe:


The banana bread recipe is on  here:


The choc. chip muffins recipe is also on here, as a variation of the blueberry muffin one:


I'm not going to post photos of these.

You might like to try the easy Bara Brith loaf. It's an 'all in the pan together' sort of recipe.

300g mixed dry fruit
150g light muscovadi sugar
150g butter
200ml strong cold tea
50ml orange juice
275g sr flour
2 tspns mixed spice

preheat oven 180C/gas 4 and grease a 900g loaf tin.

Put all the ingredients except the flour and mixed spice into a big saucepan and heat gently till the sugar's dissolved and the butter has melted. Mix the flour and spice together and mix this into the saucepan. Make sure you mix it thoroughly.
Spoon into the tin and bake for about an hour till golden. Cool in the tin. This teabread will keep for a week if you wrap it in foil. I think it's best eaten a day after it's made, to give the flavours time to mingle, and it's easier to slice too! Serve it buttered, of course.

Fruited Teabread

 It's so quick and easy to make, and it has a good firm texture and a nice lot of dried fruit. I used a tablespoon of mixed spice as we really like it.

So I won't be posting for a couple of weeks, unless I find a great recipe to make in the microwave or the slow cooker!  Promise I won't post microwave meringues or chocolate cake made in a mug!


Savoury tartlets

Something savoury for a change.

 I recently bought myself a deep fluted tartlet tin from our excellent local family 'everything you'll ever need' store, so for New Year's Eve, I made some tartlets to have as part of the buffet.
I suppose they're like little quiches, as they have an egg filling.

I made 2 types -  bacon and cheese and mushroom and garlic.

I used the HB's recipe from their 'Perfect Pies' book, but used my deep tin instead of making them in mini muffin tins. I made 18 tartlets. I can't find the recipe online so this is what you'll need.

The pastry is a shortcrust one with a little grated cheese added, rolled and and cut out to fit your tin.

The egg custard type filling is enough for the 18, and it's just eggs, creme fraiche, some chopped parsley, s&p.

For the bacon and cheese you need a little onion fried with the bacon, put into the pastry case and top up with some egg custard. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top.

Mushroom and garlic filling is just chopped up mushrooms fried with sliced Spring onions and crushed garlic. Again you put the filling into the pastry case, top up with egg filling.

Bake them at 200C/gas 6 for about 20 mins till nice and brown and the filling is set.

I froze the cooked tartlets and then reheated them from frozen.

These are the bacon ones topped with cheese

The mushroom and garlic ones

I preferred the bacon and cheese ones - good flavours, soft texture, but not too soft.  I also liked the pastry with some added cheese. OH preferred the mushroom ones, as he's not too keen on cooked cheese. He liked the texture of them, especially the little hit of garlic.


Chocolate meringue log

A very Happy New Year! Here's to lots of great baking.

After the success of the meringue on Christmas Day, I thought I'd try a variation as a dessert for New Year's Eve. I hunted through my cookbooks and folders and found a recipe for a meringue log in a Home and Freezer Christmas book. Anyone remember Home and Freezer magazines, littles ones which were always in racks by the checkouts?
Anyway I thought it sounded ideal, although it has a fewextra ingredients in it, like mini marshmallows.
You could use a chocolate sauce as the filling instead of the spread if you wanted, as this what was in the original recipe. I thought the spread would be more substantial when rolling up the log. I had visions of the sauce running out of the sides of the log! I know there's hazelnuts in the spread, but I don't think this will change the taste of the log very much.

5 egg whites, beaten
150g icing sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra
2 tsp cornflour, sieved
 1 tbsp cocoa powder
400ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
chocolate spread such as Nutella - or use chocolate sauce if you prefer
50g raspberries and a few redcurrants of you can find them
100g mini marshmallows

to decorate
extra icing sugar and cocoa powder, to dust
*chocolate sauce and raspberries or any red berries

Preheat oven to 150C/gas 1. In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating till the mixture is creamy and gooey. Then whisk in the cornflour and cocoa.
Spoon the mixture onto a Swiss roll tin lined with baking paper. Bake the meringue for 1 hour then set aside to cool.
In a bowl whisk the double cream with icing sugar and vanilla seeds till it's thickened.
Sieve some icing sugar and cocoa powder onto a large piece of parchment paper then turn the meringue out onto the paper.
Spread the chocolate spread on top , followed by the whipped cream, then dot with raspberries and mini marshmallows.
Carefully roll up the log, using the parchment paper to help you, and dust with more icing sugar and cocoa. Serve with some *chocolate sauce and raspberries. I had some recurrants in the freezer, so added a few of those.

* I made a simple chocolate sauce using double cream and melted chocolate.

It was delicious. A lovely combination of flavours - the only thing I wasn't sure about were the marshmallows -they weren't really necessary to the filling, a bit chewy. The chocolate sauce gave it another kick of chocolate - you can never have too much chocolate imho, but again, it isn't absolutely necessary to the log.
Chococlate and raspberries are always a good combo, and this is a log I'll certainly make again.

Gratin de choux-fleur

 I was given a medium sized cauliflower and as it's not my favourite vegetable, struggled to know what to do with it. Have kept a few Fr...