Friday, 9 December 2016

Hot Chocolate Bundt Cake with Toasted Marshmallows

Hot Chocolate Bundt Cake with Toasted Marshmallows
I had the urge to bake. It was cold, a bit drizzly, and I needed to make something comforting. Granted, I wouldn't be eating it as I'm mid-way through the Body Coach 90 Day SSS (more on that later), but the act of baking provides some joy to my sugar starved routine.

This one's been in the arsenal for a while now, and a dismal Sunday was the perfect time to crack it open. Imagine this... a super-moist chocolate cake, drizzled in molten chocolate, and topped with sticky little pillows of joy. I had you at chocolate, didn't I?

I sent this one to the Statuo lot, as I already knew I could never be trusted in its presence. Enjoy this one with a big mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream, or a lovely cup of tea. Fluffy socks and dressing gown optional, but advised.

 Ingredients:
    Hot Chocolate Bundt Cake with Toasted Marshmallows
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g plain flour
  • 50g good quality cocoa powder - I used Green and Blacks
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200ml vanilla yoghurt with chocolate flecks - I used Muller Light
  • 75ml chocolate milk
  • 150g chocolate chips 
  • 1 heaped tbsp chocolate spread
  • 1 jar of chocolate spread (minus the above mentioned spoonful)
  • Large marshmallows

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  2. Prepare a regular sized bundt tin - 2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch with Cake Release spray/melted butter and dust with flour with a little cocoa mixed in.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. Add the vanilla extract.
  6. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  7. Pour the yoghurt and chocolate milk into a jug.
  8. Sift in a third of the flour mix followed by half the yoghurt mix. Repeat this until everything is combined.
  9. Stir in the chocolate spread.
  10. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  11. Pour the mix into your prepared tin. 
  12. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  13. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  14. When the cake is fully cool, pop the chocolate spread into a jug and heat in the microwave to loosen it. Tip over your cake.
  15. Toast your marshmallows on a foil lined baking sheet under the grill, and pop on top when cooled.
Bloggers: Please respect the fact I am sharing my own ideas and basic recipe. Blood, sweat and many tears have gone into getting this right, so you may enjoy a perfect bundt. If you wish to re-blog a recipe from these variations, please credit my blog and link to this original post rather than pasting the recipe on your own page.

The best ever festive roasties

Roast potatoes
It's lunchtime on Friday 9th December, and I've already had one Christmas Dinner so far this month. I feel it's my duty to cane as many of these as I can over the festive period, for when they are gone, they are gone. At the heart of this glorious meal is the golden, fat seared roast potato, which is nowhere to be seen on my Body Coach eating plan. When they're good, they are a thing of joy, but get a bad one, and that culprit will be on the naughty list for the rest of eternity (or until they make better ones). 

United Utilities are asking us foodie folk to spare a thought for their amazing teams who de-gunk our water pipes this Christmas. Did you know that the average North West household pours 14Ibs of fat, oils and grease down the drain in a year. Across the region, this equates to 2.9 million stone - the weight of over 243,000 UK adults (more than the population of Oldham!). Disgusting! 

You might not have realised that United Utilities have to attend over 53,000 call-outs to pipe blockages every year at a cost of £20 million. That's caused by folk tipping fat down their drains.

What can I do instead?
  • Pop it back in the container when cool, and chuck it in the bin.
  • Goose and duck fat can actually be reused a few times too!
  • Use lighter cooking methods where possible. I only ever use coconut oil to fry things other than roasties. No excess means no waste. You might lose a few pounds too...

‘My Roastie Photie’ - #binfat2winthat

United Utilities is launching the ‘My Roastie Photie’ competition, asking people to post a photo of their perfectly cooked roast potato with the hashtag #binfat2winthat – giving five people the chance to bag £100 of food vouchers. SO SHOW ME YOUR ROASTIES!

Get them shared, and say hello to those fat clearing heroes at United Utilities on Facebook or Twitter

So here's my offering. The best roasties in the west, in my opinion anyway!

Ingredients
  • 1.5 kilos of Maris Piper potatoes
  • 320g jar of duck fat (I used the M&S one)
  • 1.5 tbsp semolina powder
  • Maldon sea salt

Method
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. Cut diagonally in order to maximise the exposed surface area. This means more crispiness! Give them a wash in a colander before putting in the pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 'Hades' level. The hotter the better! Place the shelf on the top rung of the 'middle' section. 
  3. Pour the whole tub of duck fat into a large, heavy bottomed roasting tin and place in the oven.
  4. Pop the spuds into cold, salted water and bring to a simmer. Parboil for 5 minutes. 
  5. Drain and then put back in the pan. 
  6. Sprinkle in the semolina.
  7. Right. Muscles needed folks. Start chuffing! Shake that pan like you're in a pan shaking competition! You're also burning a few calories, so you don't need to feel bad about the amount you will eat later... The edges should be all fluffy (see above).
  8. Your duck fat should be bubbling nicely in the oven. Remove the roasting tray and put onto the hob. BE CAREFUL! It's hotter than hell fire!
  9. Working quickly, place the potatoes into the bubbling fat. Do not tip them from the pan. You will regret this on your way to A&E. I generally do it carefully by hand so I can do a few at a time, but I would recommend using cooking tongs.
  10. Back in the oven sharpish!
  11. Cook for 30 minutes.
  12. Turn using tongs.
  13. Back in for 30 minutes.
  14. Turn using tongs.
  15. You are looking for a nice golden brown colour all over (see above). They will probably need at least another 20 minutes, but unlike baking this is no exact science. Take them out when they are done!
  16. Remove from the hot fat using tongs and into a large ovenproof bowl lined with kitchen roll.
  17. Dab any excess fat with more kitchen roll. Remove all said kitchen roll.
  18. Sprinkle with about 1 tsp of Maldon sea salt.

I generally then leave these in the bottom of a medium oven whilst I cook my veggies and carve the meat. This gives them an extra bit of crispy wonderfulness.


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Mulled Cider Bundt Cake

Mulled Cider Bundt Cake
It was my daddy's birthday this week. He's the only person I know who could out-cake me, if push came to shove. Saying that, I have two sets of cake eating genes, as my grandad on my mum's side is a world class cake eater too. To celebrate our John's birthday, I always make a cake; something warming, without it being too 'spicy'. I should note here that my dad thinks pepper is spicy. Hold the ginger. 

Earlier that week I'd been daydreaming about what to make. I'd convinced myself that the day had come where I had genuinely run out of ideas. After a brief mental brainstorming session, I decided it just had to be mulled cider. It's so 'Autumn/Winter Collection' I could burst. Baked on National Bundt Day, it had to be the Golden Crown bundt tin to celebrate Nordic Ware turning 70.

For the past couple of weeks I have been on the Body Coach plan, which involves lots of muscle building food, which is rigidly prescribed. Baking this cake nearly killed me dead. The aroma in our house was off the scale! If I could bottle it I'd make my fortune, and my friend Vicki would be bankrupt. Nothing beats a spicy bundt baking long and low.

My dad absolutely loved it, and promptly sent a slab to my grandad for testing!

Cake:
    Mulled Cider Bundt Cake
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350g Homepride plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 250ml Toffee Apple yoghurt - I used Onken. Vanilla will do if you can't find it.
  • 100ml good old fashioned cider - the strong stuff! Save the rest for the icing.

Topping:
  • 300g icing sugar
  • More cider 
  • Crystallised apple
  • Gold cake glitter (optional)

Method:
Mulled Cider Bundt Cake
My dad with his cake
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  2. Prepare a regular sized bundt tin - 2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch with melted butter and dust with flour.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
  6. Pour the yoghurt into a jug, and add the cider and vanilla extract.
  7. Sift in a third of the flour mix followed by half the yoghurt. Repeat this until everything is combined. 
  8. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  9. Pour the mix into your prepared tin. 
  10. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  11. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  12. When completely cool, mix the icing sugar with enough cider to make a very runny icing. You want it to be quite sheer on the cake.
  13. Tip it over your cake and let it drip down the cake. 
  14. Decorate with chunks of crystallised apple and a little gold glitter if you're feeling fancy. I was.  

Bloggers: Please respect the fact I am sharing my own ideas and basic recipe. Blood, sweat and many tears have gone into getting this right, so you may enjoy a perfect bundt. If you wish to re-blog a recipe from these variations, please credit my blog and link to this original post rather than pasting the recipe on your own page.

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