Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We're on the Rocky Road!

Just a quick one! Here's a photo of our family's rocky road. I think that everyone has their own version and this one is ours. It's very simple and I'm happy to share it with you.

Our Rocky Road.

1 large block of Whittakers Coconut chocolate (if you can't get this then a large block of milk chocolate and some dessicated coconut will do)
1 small block of dark/plain chocolate
mini marshmallows
red jelly frogs, chopped!
scotch finger biscuits, crushed
sprinkles of any colour for the top.

Line a tin with cling film. Melt the chocolates in a large bowl over a pan of boiling water and when runny add the other ingredients. Keep adding while the ingredients are able to be well coated with chocolate. Tip into the prepared tray and add the sprinkles. Put into the fridge to harden and then chop into chunks. It may last long enough to be put into a tin but that doesn't happen here!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Birthday Cake!

Now, I'm really proud of this one! And what's more it was easy peasy. I can't take credit for the idea as I nabbed it from over at The Pantry where there was a discussion over decorating a birthday cake for a 21st birthday. The cake recipe came from August's Australian Good Food magazine and the chocolates from Darrell Lee, if I'd been back in UK it would have been Thorntons!
Anyway, here's what I did:

Easiest Ever Chocolate fudge cake

225g self-raising flour
50g cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
275g brown sugar
250g soft butter
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
75g melted dark chocolate

Fudge icing
200g soft butter
200g pure icing sugar
200g melted dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180c or 160c fan. Grease and line 2 20cm round sandwich pans
Place flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and melted dark chocolate in a food processor and process until smooth. If the batter is a little stiff, add 2-3 tbsp water and process again.
Divide mixture equally between prepared pans, smooth surface and bake for 35-40 mins, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 5 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, place butter and icing sugar in a clean processor and process until combined. Add melted chocolate and process until smooth. Sandwich together layers of cake with half of icing and top with remaining icing.

I put the batter in a single cake pan rather that having 2 halves and used half of the fudge icing to cover the cake. I used a couple of boxes of mint sticks which I cut in half and stuck round the edge. They didn't need holding up with the gold ribbon but it was there just in case! Then I just put most of the contents of a box of Darrell Lee chocolates over the top, adding some of their foil covered 'Pick and Mix' to add a bit of glamorous colour!
OH, whose birthday it is feels very special and now we're just drooling away until it's the actual day and we can eat it!

Yoo hoo! I'm back!!

I couldn't bear to repeat myself by asking where does time go to but it's scary to find out that my last post was back in May. Well, as John Lennon said "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans." or something very similar. Since my last post I've been offered a new job and am in the process of taking it up so on my previous performance I'd say that the next post after this will be at Christmas!

Anyway, how do I do justice to this unpreposessing slice of cake? It may not look much but it is so yummy that I could have another slice before I finish telling you about it. Looking through my books this morning I came across this Sticky Date Cake in Delia's Cookery course. Having nearly all the ingredients I thought I'd have a go and I'm so glad that I did. This is one wonderful cake. The recipe is below and then I'll tell you the bits I changed!

Sticky Date Cake

• 225g (8oz) stoned dates, roughly chopped

• 110g (4oz) raisins

• 175g (6oz) sultanas

• 110g (4oz) currants

• 275g (10oz) butter

• 275ml (10 fl oz) water

• 1 x 400g (14oz) tin condensed milk

• 150g (5oz) plain flour

• 150g (5oz) wholemeal flour

• 3/4 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

• 1 generous tablespoon chunky marmalade

• A pinch of salt

• You will also need a 20cm (8in) square cake tin, greased and lined with baking parchment.

Preheat the oven to 170C, 325F, gas mark 3.

• Method

• Begin by placing all the fruit in a largish saucepan (it needs to be large, because the mixture splutters a lot), then add the butter, condensed milk and water and bring everything up to the boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent the mixture sticking. Now turn the heat down to low and simmer for exactly 3 minutes, stirring now and then. After 3 minutes, transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and let it cool down for approximately 30 minutes. While it's cooling, weigh out the flours and sift them into a bowl with a pinch of salt and the bicarbonate of soda. When sieving wholemeal flour you frequently find small quantities of bran left in the sieve: these can be tipped on to the already-sieved flour.

• When the fruit mixture has cooled, stir in the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda using a large metal spoon, then add the marmalade. Now spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and, because this cake does get rather brown on top if not protected, you should cover it with a double square greaseproof paper with a hole the size of a 50p piece in the centre. Then pop it on to the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 2-21/2hours.

• After removing the cake from the oven, let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack. This is quite a large cake that will keep well for several weeks in an airtight tin and even improves with keeping. If you prefer, you could make this in two 450g (1 lb) loaf tins and halve the cooking time.

It really is so simple and the things that I did differently were to replace the chunky marmalade with ginger marmalade and use mixed fruit instead of weighing out all the others.