Archive for the Baking Category

Hummingbird Bakery Lemon Loaf

Posted 9 June 2013 by
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The weather has finally improved here and it’s so nice to take advantage of the Amalfi lemons that are in season. Lemon is such a summery flavour. This lemon loaf from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook is the perfect vehicle. It’s a lovely sweet loaf, but what really makes it special is the lemon syrup drizzled on top.

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Nettle and Thyme Bread

Posted 28 May 2013 by
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Stinging nettles abound at this time of year and are the bane of many gardeners (they shouldn’t be — they make a lovely liquid fertiliser). Nettles also make up part of the wonderful resource of free foods available in our gardens, or the hedgerows. They are best when they are young, and the leaves are not yet coarse, so early spring is the ideal time to harvest them, but nettles are so prolific, and seed themselves so readily, that you should be able to find some tender leaves to put in some soup, nettle tea, or this nettle and thyme bread. Nettles have a subtle, earthy flavour, and are perfectly matched by fresh thyme in this half white/half wholemeal loaf.

Nettle and Thyme Loaf

Now, there is an obvious hazard when using nettles. You can avoid getting stung by wearing gloves to pick them, and then remove the sting by scalding them before use. Only use the younger leaves, and avoid any that already have flowers (tiny green bobbly things).

Nettle and Thyme Bread

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Nutella Swirl Brownies

Posted 27 May 2013 by
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I made these nutella swirl brownies to take to the end-of-year “party” to celebrate completing a course I’m doing. (When I say “party” — of course I mean a portfolio discussion helped along by Pringles, brownies and orange Matchmakers). The brownies were a hit, especially with my tutor, and were hopefully enough of a bribe to ensure that I pass.

Nutella swirled brownie batter

That day was a bit of a rush, so I needed something quick and easy, brownies being the obvious choice that sprung to mind. Nutella* seems such a natural addition to brownies, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried it before. Oh but wait, I have… This time, I wasn’t going for a nutty brownie, I just wanted the nutella to add an extra bit of yumminess, which it did. These are seriously good.

Nutella swirl brownies

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Buttermilk Pound Loaf

Posted 10 May 2013 by
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Just as soon as the sunny weather arrives, it’s cruelly snatched away from us again. It’s a rainy day in May, and what better to lift the spirits on a damp afternoon than a spot of baking? This is another recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, which I’ve some good successes with so far. This one is for buttermilk pound loaf and, because the recipe said I could, I’ve added some dark chocolate chips.

Buttermilk pound loaf with chocolate chips

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Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted 24 April 2013 by
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I remember when American-style cookies were quite a small player in the UK biscuit market. I also remember the vast majority of them being quite crunchy, and a lot smaller than most you get today. More like the British biscuits. Or, they’d be mostly crunchy, with a lovely, surprising bit of chewiness in the middle. An unexpected bit of indulgence, like you’d eaten it too soon from the oven.

Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my earliest childhood foody memories is visiting my grandmother (who had spent time as a 1950s American housewife) and tucking into her walnut and chocolate chip cookies. They weren’t like anything else I’d tried at the time.

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Orange Marmalade Scones

Posted 23 April 2013 by
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In honour of St George’s Day, I thought I’d bake something quintessentially English — scones. Ok, ok I know… they’re Scottish really, but that’s a hell of a lot closer than Greece, which is where old (young?) George was from. Anyway. Not just any scones, but orange marmalade scones; I thought marmalade added a bit of an English Breakfast touch to the affair.

Orange Marmalade Scone

They’re kind of delicious. Not too much sugar, so they’re not overly sweet, and the marmalade adds a lovely rich orange flavour. Now, I’m not saying that Paddington Bear would forgo his marmalade sandwiches for these, but he’d definitely have one or two for afters.

orange maramalade scone

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The Baked Brownie

Posted 18 April 2013 by
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This recipe for chocolate brownies comes from the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking recipe book by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. The Baked brownies are somewhat of an Internet Sensation and they are… well they’re pretty amazing. They’re chocolatey, rich, dark and fudgy. Not for the cake-y brownie enthusiast, and not for people who don’t like their chocolate really dark. Possibly not ideal for kids, although I witnessed one big brownie being happily devoured by a 5 year old. Oprah is a big fan, apparently, and who can blame her? I would definitely use this as a “go to” brownie recipe, depending on who I was making them for.

A chocolate brownie on a plate

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Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Yule Log

Posted 22 December 2012 by
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This seasonal recipe for chocolate and chestnut yule log is from Jamie Oliver. A chocolate yule log is really an essential for me at Christmas. Having tried recipes from Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith, I thought I’d give Jamie’s a go this year.

An iced chocolate yule og on a plate

I like chocolate logs because of their chocolate-y goodness, but also because they evoke the ancient European yule tradition of bringing a log into the house in the depths of winter. That’s bound to make you feel all warm and cosy at this time of year.

Making your own yule log from scratch means making a swiss roll, which can be a bit scary if you haven’t attempted this before. Never fear though, it’s actually very easy.

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Squidgy Chocolate Log (Delia)

Posted 4 December 2012 by
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Christmas just ain’t Christmas without a chocolate yule log. Two years ago, I made Nigella Lawson’s Bûche de Noël. That was a huge success, absolutely delicious, but last year I decided to try a different one and made a squidgy chocolate log with this recipe from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course. Again, this recipe is flourless, giving a light sponge.

Chocolate yule log on a plate

Now, you may notice that Delia’s version is not smothered with lashings of chocolate ganache or buttercream, but the cream and chocolate mousse filling means that this log is still extremely indulgent, and well worth a try.

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Multigrain Quark Bread

Posted 2 December 2012 by
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This recipe for multigrain bread is made with quark, a curd cheese popular in Germany. The addition of the quark to the bread dough gives a loaf that is quite moist, with a subtle tangy flavour. I used malted flake (granary) flour, and added wheat bran and pearl barley for an extra dimension of texture.

A loaf of multigran quark bread.

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