Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Lemon Sour Cream Loaf Cake

This Lemon Sour Cream Loaf Cake recipe produces a really, really moist, scrumptious tangy slice of citrus heaven, drizzled with a lemon glaze. Do not be put off by the mixture of sour cream and mayonnaise, I’ve used mayonnaise in baked goods before and it works, as crazy as it sounds!! This sweet, luscious and tart loaf cake will not disappoint those of us who love citrusy cakes, definitely one of the best lemon cakes I’ve made so far. A perfect cake to have for afternoon tea or as a dessert alongside some raspberries. A must bake cake!

Lemon Sour Cream Loaf Cake

For the cake:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
juice of 1 lemon

For the glaze:
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp milk
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp water

Position rack in centre of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter 9-inch loaf pan. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, eggs, oil, and lemon juice in large bowl; whisk until well blended. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Place cake on baking sheet in oven and bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and tester inserted into centre comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 5 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto rack. Turn cake upright on rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.) Whisk together the glaze ingredients, until smooth. Spoon over the cake, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides. Let glaze cool and set before slicing and serving.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Chicken and White Wine Stew with light and fluffy rice

There is nothing better on a rainy Sunday then sitting next to an open fire watching a movie followed by a heart warming stew. The Kite Runner was the movie of choice and as a tear jerker it comes high in the ranking. Having read the book, a must read, there is more in it then the film can show but definitely a worthwhile watch.

The stew I chose was Chicken and white wine with light and fluffy rice by Jamie Oliver, Ministry of Food. This stew was basic and easy to make yet was so full of flavour and texture. My husband’s only disappointment was there was not enough left for him to take to work tomorrow for lunch.
One of my pet hates is making rice, I have never got on with it and have to put my hands up and say I usually give in and use microwave rice! However the method of cooking Jamie’s “light and fluffy rice”, a method I had never come across before, was so simple and effective it will definitely be the method we cook basic rice in this house from now on. A perfect Sunday dinner to prepare us to a long awaited start of Lost Season 5, I’ve missed the sight and sounds of sexy Sawyer (Josh Holloway)!!

Chicken and White Wine Stew with light and fluffy rice

Serves 4-6

2 sticks of celery
2 medium onions
2 carrots
Olive oil
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
500g diced, boneless, skinless chicken thighs
500ml white wine

If using the oven to cook your stew, preheat it to 200oC/400oF/gas 6. Trim the ends off your celery and roughly chop the sticks. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel the carrots, slice lengthways and roughly chop. Put a casserole pan on a medium heat. Put all the vegetables and your chosen herb into the pan with 2 lugs of olive oil and fry for 10 minutes. Add your meat and flour. Pour in the booze and tinned tomatoes. Give it a good stir, then season with a teaspoon of sea salt (less if using table salt) and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to the boil, put the lid on a either simmer slowly on your hob or cook in an oven for 1 ½ hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering or cooking. When done, your meat should be tender and delicious. Remember to remove any bay leaves or herb stalks before serving, and taste it to see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper.

Light and Fluffy Rice

Serves 4

Sea salt
350g basmati rice

Put a large pan of salted water on high heat and bring to the boil. Rinse the rice in a colander under running water for about 1 minute, or until the water runs clear (this will stop the grains sticking together later). Add your rice to the boiling water and wait for the grains to start around. From that point, boil for 5 minutes. Drain the rice in a colander. Pour 2.5cm of water into the pan, put it back on the heat and bring it to the boil again, then turn down to a simmer. Cover the rice in the colander with foil or a lid. Place the colander on top of the pan of simmering water and let the rice steam over it for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and if you’re ready, serve immediately. If not, leave the foil or lid on and put aside until ready to serve - it should stay warm for about 20 minutes.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Mini Shell Pasta with a Creamy Smoked Bacon and Pea Sauce

If I could only use one word to describe this dish it would be, DELISH! If you love pasta as much as we do in our home then you must try this pasta dish, the combo of flavours are amazing. This recipe comes courtesy of the new Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Cookbook, my favourite of Jamie’s books and one that is designed to teach people to cook good food from scratch. I have lots of recipes book-marked but this was my first recipe and it’s a real winner!! Watch this space for my next recipe from Ministry of Food.

Mini Shell Pasta with a Creamy Smoked Bacon and Pea Sauce

Serves 4-6

10 slices smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
A small bunch of fresh mint
150g Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly grated ground black pepper
400g dried mini shell or other type pasta
Olive oil
A knob of butter
300g frozen peas
2 heaped dessertspoons crème fraiche
1 lemon

To prepare your pasta
Finely slice the bacon. Pick the mint leaves and discard the stalks. Finely grate the Parmesan.

To cook your pasta
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the mini shells and cook according to the packet instructions. Get a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a good lug of olive oil and the butter. Add the bacon to the pan, sprinkle a little pepper over and fry until golden and crisp. Meanwhile, finely chop your mint leaves. As soon as the bacon is golden, add your frozen peas and give the pan a good shake. After a minute or so, add the crème fraiche and chopped mint to the bacon and peas. Drain the pasta in a colander over a large bowl, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the frying pan. Halve your lemon and squeeze the juice over the pasta. When it’s all bubbling away nicely, remove from the heat. It’s really important that the sauce is creamy, silky and delicious but if it’s too thick for you, add a splash of the reserved cooking water to thin it out a bit. Add the grated Parmesan and give the pan a shake to mix it.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Oat and Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

I definitely have my baking mojo back after being unwell and I can promise you I will be making up for lost time. Last night I actually picked up a cookbook for the first time in weeks and it felt good coming across recipes I’ve had book-marked. Of course I always want to bake and cook everything after a spell of absence in my kitchen but I finally decided on these Oat and Vanilla Shortbread Cookies from Rachel Allen’s book Bake. I love baking cookies and I don’t bake them as often as I should, I know my boys would welcome this thought big time. These roll and slice cookies filled my kitchen with that gorgeous buttery aroma while they baked, which had my taste buds and tummy going crazy. I have to warn you though, these soft, buttery, golden melt-in your mouth cookies are additive!! I will definitely be making them again to enjoy with a cup of tea.

Oat and Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Makes about 40

200g (7oz) butter, softened
100g (3 ½ oz) icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
100g (3 ½ oz) porridge oats

Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF), Gas mark 4. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then stir in the oats and bring the mixture together to form a dough. Using a sheet of cling film to cover the dough, roll it into a log about 30cm (12in) long and 6cm (2 ½in) in diameter. Allow to chill in the fridge, covered in the cling film, for about 30 minutes until firm. Remove the cling film; slice the log into rounds about 5mm (¼in) thick and place slightly apart on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until light golden brown and dry to the touch. Carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Gâteau au Yaourt~(Yogurt Cake)

I bought some Greek yogurt last week with the idea of making a dessert at the weekend but I never got round to it. This morning I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with the soon to expire yogurt? And then I remembered a glorious simple recipe for a French-style Yogurt cake I’d seen recently online that had received great reviews. This is a very quick and easy cake to make; it is often the first cake that French kids learn how to bake. I adore how fluffy and moist this cake is, without it being too sweet! Perfect for anytime of the day.

Gâteau au Yaourt

2 eggs
250ml (1 cup) whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt
200g (1 cup) sugar
80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste/extract
1 tablespoon light rum

Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F), line the bottom of a round 25-cm (10-inch) cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. In a large mixing-bowl, gently combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, and rum. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and blend together -- don't overwork the dough. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins

First of all I would like to apologise for my lack of blogging lately but I’ve been unwell with the flu and only now am I starting to feel better, these colds just linger on for weeks! It feels like ages since I did any baking or blogging, so I decided to get my act together and baked these simple blueberry and white chocolate muffins. I know my boys have missed my baking and these muffins will be a welcome treat.

Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Makes 6

150g plain flour mixed with 50g golden caster sugar, ½ tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
50g butter, melted and cooled
100ml milk
75g blueberries
75g white chocolate, chopped into chunks

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and line a 6-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Mix the egg, melted butter and milk quickly into the dry ingredients with the blueberries and chocolate (don't over mix; it should be a bit lumpy). Divide between the cases and bake for 25 minutes until risen and golden and cooked through.

If can’t decide between chocolate chip and fruit-filled muffins? You don't have to - these little beauties are packed with both.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Christmas Morning Muffins ~ Sweet and Simple Bake!

I'm late in posting my entry for Decembers bake over at Sweet and Simple Bakes as I am currently suffering with flu, so I am keeping this post short. I want to thank Rosie for choosing these muffins, they were the perfect start to our Christmas Day. I made these delicious Christmas Morning muffins on Christmas Eve and we enjoyed them with a nice cup of hot tea while opening our Christmas presents in the morning.

You can find the recipe here.