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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Rhubarb and Orange Jam

Time for a Summer Treat

June is here, and although the weather is somewhat 'mixed' at the moment,
my thoughts have turned to all the lovely Summer produce that is coming into season.
Rhubarb is in abundance in the shops at the moment.

The lovely Cynthia was also very kind to me this year,
and gave me a huge bag of these delicious beauties.

It's beautiful soft pink stalks beg to be used for something, 
but what I ask myself?

My first thoughts were of good old fashioned crumble,
 a batch of which are safely tucked away in the freezer,
but I still had a heap of the stuff left over.

So I decided to experiment a little and came up with this very simple recipe.

It really does not take a great deal of effort but the rewards are delicious.
It is best stored in the fridge and will keep for up to six months.

You will need :

1 kg fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces
400 g caster sugar
2 tbsp grated orange zest
100 ml orange juice
105 ml water

1. In a large saucepan 
( I am lucky enough to have a jam pan for this but if you do no have one, a large pan will do), 
combine the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, orange juice and water.
Bring to the boil, then cook over a medium to low heat for around about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick.

It should thicken a little more as it cools.
After you bring the jam to the boil, 
begin testing for the setting point.

To do this place a small amount of the jam on a cold plate.
If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready to be put into the jars.

2. Ladle into hot, sterile jars and seal with lids.

3. Allow to cool and decorate the jars as you wish. 
That is the fun bit, 
and store in the fridge.

This is a lovely, sweet tasting jam.
I have given a few jars of it away as gifts and received some very kind compliments.

Until next time, enjoy your day.


Monday, 5 May 2014

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Bank Holiday Baking

During a recent browse around the shops in my lunch break I was drawn to the huge poster in the window of Poundland.
It was advertising the new line of Jane Asher bake ware.
I was in there like a shot, I can tell you.

Who would believe the  'Queen of Cakes', Jane Asher was in cahoots with none other than bargain shop, Poundland?
This had to be worthy of some investigation.

I was surprised at the range of products available, and not to shabby quality either.
(Just remember this is the pound shop, and you get what you pay for.)

The items may not be the most sturdy of plastic, but a good design none the less.

There is a wide range of products, ranging from bake ware and tins,
cake boxes, utensils, and even a recipe book by Jane Asher.

I plumped for the recipe book 
(because I have so few), 
the tray bake box and a sieve.

The tray bake box is the perfect size for a loaf tin bake and so the decision was made of what I would be baking with this weekend.
The loaf tin it was.

I read through all of Jane's recipes in her book and thought the lemon drizzle cake would be a good choice for my hungry brood.

What's not to like about lemon + cake ?

Plus I had the perfect box to store it in.

(Small persons fingers are optional)

You will need :

  • 175g butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and juice of two
  • 175g self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 50g granulated sugar

1. Pre heat the oven to 180c/ fan 165c 
Line the base and sides of a medium sized loaf tin, allowing a couple of centimetres of the parchment to come above the edge of the tin.
I used a liner for this which is much easier.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric hand whisk, beating well until pale and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition.

4. Add the gated lemon zest, and fold in the flour and salt.

5. Stir in the milk and then place the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.

6. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, until springy to touch and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven but do not remove from the tin.

7. Meanwhile make the lemon drizzle mixture.
Put the granulated sugar and lemon juice into a heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil.
Stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved.
Boil strongly for approx. 30 seconds and the liquid will appear a little more syrupy.

8. make several holes in the top of the cake, going right to the bottom the tin.
Pour the hot syrup all over the cake, allowing it to seep into the holes and allow excess surface liquid to slowly disappear into the cake too.
This will takes about 30 minutes.

9. Carefully lift out of the tin, by holding the edges of the parchment.
Gently peel away the paper or liner.

10. I decided to cover my cake with a lemon butter cream icing.
To make this cream blend 50g of butter, 100g of icing sugar, a little lemon zest and the juice of one lemon.
Beat well to prevent to butter cream from curdling.
Smother onto the top of your cake and decorate with a few curls of lemon rind.

The perfect way to enjoy a warm, sunny bank holiday.

I have a batch of bank holiday brownies in the oven, which the little people are chomping at the bit for.
Waiting for things to cool is not a concept a 2 and 6 year old understand really.

Until next time, enjoy your day .