Friday, 28 November 2014

Christmas Baking across the miles

This past Saturday my mam and I tried something a little different. We had a Skype baking session!!
Yes you heard me right.....
 With myself and J heading back to Ireland in 22 whole days {not that I'm counting} I will be doing very little on the baking front but I still wanted to make a Christmas Cake. So my Mam and I set about making a plan. Basically she got the ingredients, did all the hard work and I got to give directions from the sofa 3000 miles away.
Short straw there Mam :-) I will be icing it when we get home though.
The recipe is a combination of the Stork Christmas Cake's we have alternated between over the years but we set about making it Gluten Free. I made this glutenful version a few years ago before my entry into blogland so I apologise for the picture. I will try get better ones this time around

1.5 cups/12 oz/350g Stork Margarine (at room temperature)
 1.5 cups/12 oz/350g Dark Brown Sugar
 1 3/4 cups/15 oz/425g Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour
3/4 tbsp Guar Gum
1 ½ tbsp mixed spice
½ tbsp ground nutmeg
6 tbsp/3 oz/75g ground almonds
 7 eggs

2/1lb./450g Currants
1.5cups/12 oz/350g Sultanas
 1.5cups/12 oz/350g Raisins
5 oz./150g Cherries washed, dried and halved
3/4 cup/5 oz/170g Mixed Peel
 3/4 cup/5 oz/170g Almonds, blanched and chopped
Grated rind of 2 Lemons
Grated rind of 1 Orange
The recipe calls for an all in one method where everything gets thrown into a bowl, mixed well, put in prepared tin, then baked. Feel free to go at it this way if you wish we however rightly or wrongly did ours a bit differently.

Firstly a few months back my mam mixed the fruits, mixed peel, chopped almonds and rinds together and added a couple shots of whiskey. This gets stored in an air tight container and placed in a dark cupboard. Every few weeks add another couple tablespoons of whiskey, shake it up and return to the dark place until your ready to bake the cake.

So on bake day pre-heat your oven to 275 F/140 C. Grease and line a 10 inch round tin with double greaseproof paper. As well as the grease proof paper we like to place our prepared cake tin in one of the silicone cake tin's as an extra protection from burning as the cake will be baked for long time.
Sieve the flour, guar gum, mixed spice, nutmeg and ground almonds together. Cream butter and sugar together in a separate bowl. Alternating each time between flour and eggs mix them into the butter/sugar mixture until all incorporated. Add your fruit and mix well with a large metal spoon. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for about 5 to 6 hours. Check regularly to ensure the top is not burning. Cover with foil  for the last hour or two to prevent the cake becoming two dark.

Test the cake. it should feel firm to touch. Insert a skewer into the centre of the cake if it comes out clean the cake is ready. Leave the cake to cool in the tin over night. Turn out and remove papers. Wrap in double greaseproof paper and foil then store in a cool place.
So that was the cake we {mam} made on Saturday. I left her to clean the mess and went about the rest of my day writing Christmas cards and putting out a few decorations. I fancied a treat in the afternoon so decided to make some rice krispie snow balls.

 I used the basic rice krispie recipe but  used Gluten Free Rice Krispies. I used an ice cream scoop to get even amounts and with my hands lightly greased I formed them into balls. A little tip I'd like to share, you may already know it but I had a light bulb moment and wanted to pass it on..... I melted the marshmallow in a bowl over a pot of hot water, like you would chocolate so when I went about mixing the rice krispies with the marshmallow I did it with the bowl still over the pot of hot water. It keeps the marshmallow soft and you have more time to work with the mixture and form it into shapes. 
So we are so close now, my mam just informed me we only have two more Fridays to go!!!

Website Countdown Clock

Hope your all having a great week. Blogger is having some issues with text formatting at the moment so please ignore the different sizes :-)

Michelle xxx
Sharing With

Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday A dish for Daily life
Tuned in Thursday at Lewis Lane Designs
Allergy Free Wednesday with Whole Food Mom

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A Full Irish Please...

In Ireland the ingredients of a full Irish breakfast vary depending on where you live in the country and your household. For example my family never have mushrooms or baked beans with our breakfast but J's family have mushrooms, beans and fried potatoes with theirs.
Traditionally the most common ingredients are bacon rashers, sausages, fried eggs, white pudding, black puddingSoda Bread and fried tomato. Sometimes it included liver although not so much anymore.  And no breakfast is complete without a pot of Tea. The brand of Tea again depends where in the country your from. In my house it's Lyons tea without fail. But you guys know that already, I've spoken about the Lyon's awesomeness  here before.

 One of the things we've missed most here on our breaky is the pudding. You can get blood sausage, but I'm not a big fan. And then I have to contend with the gluten element so I decided to try making my own. I used this recipe from Local Food Heroes to start and adapted it slightly.

395gm/1.5 cups finely mince pork
265gm/1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats
250ml Water
30gm/2 tbsp Onion Powder
23gm/1.5 tbsp Potato Flour
15gm/1tbsp Salt
23gm/1.5tbsp Seasoning Mix - see below

Seasoning Mix

5gm/1tsp White pepper
5gm/1tsp Ground coriander
5gm/1tsp Ground ginger
5gm/1tsp Powdered sage
3gm/ 1/2tsp Mace
3gm/ 1/2tsp Nutmeg
2gm/ 1/4 tsp Allspice

Soak the oats in the water for 1 hour or so. 
Combine the Seasoning Mix ingredients together and mix well. Store remainder for your next batch in an air tight container.

In a large bowl combine the meat, onion powder, potato flour
and salt together. Add one and a half tablespoons of the seasoning mix and mix well. I like to use my hands to squish up the meat and make sure all the seasonings get incorporated. 

Now the original recipe calls for pig's casings at this point but I couldn't source them so I improvised. I rolled some of the mixture into a log shape and wrapped it tightly in clingfilm.

Next you want to steam the pudding log between 75°C and 80°C for 1 minute per mm of width of the log. For the one above I steamed it for about 15 minutes.The final internal temperature of the log should be 72°C. Hold at this temperature for 2 minutes then cool in ice cold water bath.
To eat, slice into 5 - 10mm chucks and fry until brown.
Now that's a breaky to wake up to on a cold Sunday morning.
Michelle xxx
Sharing With

Gluten Free Wednesday from the Gluten-Free Homemaker
New Mrs. Adventures Tasty Tuesday 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Thanksgiving Caramels and a Chocolate Fudge Cake

Apologies for being m.i.a this last month or so I'm back with a beauty to share though so you might think it was worth it :-)
I was never a fan of chocolate cake but recently I've had a craving to try it so I made this Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge cake to take to our friends for Thanksgiving at the beginning of October and it went down a treat. We had family coming into town for the weekend and I didn't fancy spending the whole day in the kitchen so I made the sponge the week before and stuck it in the freezer to be defrosted and put together with the ganache on the day. The original recipe is from the Cake Angels book but I have amended it a bit.

3\4 cup+2tbsp Dark Chocolate (60%cocoa)
3\4 cup+2tbsp Butter
1tbsp Instant Coffee mixed with 1/2 cup cold water
6tbsp Gluten Free Flour
6tbsp Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1tsp Xanthum Gum
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
3\4 cup+2tbsp Light Muscovado Sugar
3\4 cup+2tbsp Golden Caster Sugar
2tbsp Cocoa powder
1/3 cup Buttermilk milk
3 Large Eggs
White chocolate for decoration

For Ganache
1 cup Dark Chocolate (60%cocoa)
1/4 cup Dark Muscovado Sugar
1 cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line an 8 inch round tin with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate, butter and coffee mixture over  medium heat in a heavy based saucepan until butter is completely melted.

Sieve flours, xanthan gum, bicarb, sugars and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add the buttermilk.

Add the melted chocolate mixture and the beaten egg mixture into the dry ingredients using a large metal spoon until everything is well blended and you have a smooth batter consistency.

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 75 to 90 minutes. Check cake is cooked by inserting a metal skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is baked. Remove from oven, leave in the tin to cool for 30 minutes and then on a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake is completely cooled cut it in half horizontally. I don't have any fancy cake cutters like this so to cut the cake I measure half way up the cake and insert tooth picks around the outside as you can see in the image above. It gives a nice guideline of where to cut. Then use a third of the ganache to sandwich the two halves together then spread the remaining ganache over the top and sides of the cake.

To make the fudge ganache...

Put the chocolate, muscavado sugar, butter, evaporated milk and vanilla into a heavy based saucepan, heating gently and stirring constantly until everything has melted. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool before placing in the fridge for about 1 hour or until spreadable.

Now for the fancy bit :-)
Use a swivel-blade vegetable peeler to create white chocolate shavings to decorate the top of the cake.And Ta Da!!!

Isn't she pretty......

Now for the Caramels I followed this recipe. It took me three attempts to get this right. Heed my warning and give yourself plenty of time and patience if your going try this. It is a slow burner. There is no express route to caramels. If you rush it will burn.

In other news the countdown is well and truely on. 

Website Countdown Clock
Have a great week.
Michelle xxx 
Sharing With

New Mrs. Adventures Tasty Tuesday
Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday at Pure Grace Farms
The Creative Exchange Link Party
Tuned in Thursday #36 at Lewis Lane Designs
Turning Back the Clock for Whats Cooking Wednesdays
 Gluten Free Wednesday from the Gluten-Free Homemaker