Monday, 30 March 2015

Tea Bread

This cake keeps for days and if you ask me is actually improved by giving it a couple of days (in an airtight container) to mature after baking.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tea bags, I used English Breakfast
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 500g mixed dried fruit, choose your favourite, but I had 200g currants, 100g dried pineapple 100g dried papaya and 100g dried cranberries
  • 125g unrefined caster sugar
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 egg

Method:

  • Pour the boiling water onto the tea bags and leave to brew for 15 minutes before removing the tea bags.
  • Put the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour the tea over it.
  • Leave the fruit overnight to soak up the tea.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees.
  • Mix the sugar, flour, spice and egg into the fruit and stir until it's well mixed.
  • Put a loaf tin liner into a 2lb loaf tin and then pour the mixture into that.
  • Bake for 70 minutes in the oven.
  • Remove and leave to cool in the tin.

  • Makes a 1kg loaf.

    Thursday, 19 March 2015

    Caraway Seed Loaf Cake

    The taste of caraway has a slightly anise-like taste, but is also unique on it's own. As a flavour for a cake which it is a little unusual to see these days, but it's worth tracking down some caraway seeds.

    Ingredients:

    • 175g spreadable butter (vegetable fat blended with buttermilk or butter)
    • 175g caster sugar
    • 175g self-raising flour
    • 50g ground almonds
    • 3 tsp caraway seeds
    • 60ml milk
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tbsp of unrefined granulated sugar
    • 10g (about 1 tbsp) flaked almonds

    Method:

    1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    2. Put the butter and caster sugar in a bowl and cream together.
    3. Add the flour, ground almonds, caraway seeds, milk and eggs and mix together until a smooth batter is formed.
    4. Pour the batter into a lined 2lb loaf tin. It's easiest to get some of the pre-made liners rather than trying to cut greaseproof paper to fit.
    5. Use the back of a spoon to level off the batter. Sprinkle the granulated sugar followed by the flaked almonds over the top of the mixture.
    6. Place in the oven for an hour.
    7. Use a skewer to test that the cake is cooked in the centre (it should come out clean). You might need an extra 10 minutes, depending on how powerful your oven is.
    8. Remove from the oven and leave for 20 minutes in the tin.
    9. Lift the cake out of the tin and leave to cool on a rack.
    10. Once fully cool, store the cake in an airtight container and enjoy.

    Makes a 2lb loaf shaped cake.

    Monday, 9 March 2015

    Bacon Cauliflower

    This is so very simple but leads to a great tasting vegetable.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 medium sized cauliflower, all leaves removed
    • 16 slices of streaky bacon

    Method:

    1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
    2. Carefully wrap the bacon around the cauliflower, starting at the top and tucking the edges in under it.
    3. Place into a large roasting tin.
    4. Bake in the oven for an hour and a half.
    5. Remove from the roasting tin and serve whole, slicing it at the table.

    Serves 6.

    Friday, 6 March 2015

    Slow Roasted Pork Belly

    The meat in this goes wonderfully soft and is self-basted by the fat of the belly. Serve it with some moist vegetables and an apple sauce, I prefer the softness of mashed potato to roast potatoes for this.

    Ingredients:

    • 5 large garlic bulbs, the tops sliced off
    • approx 1kg pork belly
    • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    Method:

    1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius.
    2. If using a butcher to buy the pork belly, ask them to score the skin on the top. If not then get your sharpest knife and score parallel lines in it, under 1cm apart.
    3. Place the garlic bulbs in a large roasting tin and then prop the pork belly, skin side up, on top of them.
    4. Rub the thyme over the top of the pork and then sprinkle the salt over it.
    5. Leave to rest for 15 minutes so that the salt can draw out some of the moisture.
    6. Put in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
    7. Reduce the temperature to 160 and continue to cook for an hour.
    8. Finally reduce the temperature to 120 and cook for another four hours.
    9. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

    Serves 4.

    Wednesday, 4 March 2015

    Eggy Bread

    Also called French toast, this is a quick snack which only takes minutes to make. Personally I love to spread a thin layer of Marmite on it before biting into it, but each to their own.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 4 slices of bread

    Method:

    1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat.
    2. Put the eggs into a wide bowl and season to taste.
    3. Coat a couple of slices of the bread in the beaten egg and then into the hot frying pan.
    4. Cook for a couple of minutes and then turn over.
    5. Once the second side is done, remove from the pan and repeat for the remaining slices.
    6. Serve immediately, possibly with a little butter or a dusting of icing sugar.

    Makes 4 slices.