Sunday, 26 April 2015

Gin and Juice Bundt Cake

Gin and Juice Bundt Cake
Firstly, apologies for the terrible photo... it was a party and I had a glass of fizz on the go! Food photography was not my priority...

Anyway, this weekend we celebrated my pal Sarah's birthday with a little party at her gaff, which resulted in an obscene card game, crying my make up off from laughing and one member of the party being put to bed. It was a blast!

Sarah is rather partial to a drop of gin, so it seemed only fitting to make something out of the old Mother's Ruin. I wanted something a bit zesty that would pick up on the subtle botanicals, so I threw a bit of lemon and lime in there for good measure too.

Ingredients:
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250ml lemon yoghurt 
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • A shot of gin 
  • 300g icing sugar 
  • More gin... make it a decent one though eh?

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 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. Add the extract.
  6. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  7. Pour the yoghurt into a jug and add the zests and gin.
  8. Sift in a third of the flour mix followed by half the yoghurt. Repeat this until everything is combined. 
  9. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  10. Pour the mix into your prepared tin. 
  11. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  12. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  13. When the cake is fully cool, mix the icing sugar with enough gin to make a runny icing. Yes, it will be strong, but you'll only have a thin layer. Unless you're a proper lush, in which case make it thicker! 
Take care when moving this one, it's very soft because of the gin, but it makes a beautiful cake!

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.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Marshmallow Bundt Cake

Marshmallow Bundt Cake
I've had a bit of a thing for Tunnock's Teacakes recently. They have that sticky kind of marshmallow inside which makes me feel like dancing. Then it came to me. I need a marshmallow bundt in my life. I was forced to experiment with a jar of Fluff. Afraid so.

I'm not going to lie to you; handling that Fluff stuff is like trying to tame a rather wayward swarm of wasps, so I'd recommend avoiding touching it at all costs - unless you're eating it. I was more successful there. I kept the flavour of the cake quite simple, as the topping is the star of the show here. The Fluff gives a wonderful glass-like shine, which remains even after it has set.

Ingredients:
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rose extract (or lemon)
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250ml fat free plain yoghurt 
  • Jar of white marshmallow Fluff
  • Mini mallows (with cake decorating gear)

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 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. Add the extracts.
  6. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  7. Pour the yoghurt into a jug.
  8. Sift in a third of the flour mix followed by half the yoghurt. Repeat this until everything is combined. 
  9. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  10. Pour the mix into your prepared tin. 
  11. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  12. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  13. When the cake is fully cool, put a full jar of Fluff in a microwaveable jug, and mix with 1 tbsp of cold water. 
  14. Heat in the microwave until runny, then tip over the cake and sprinkle with mini mallows. 

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.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Common, Manchester

Common, Manchester
'Are you celebrating ladies?'
'Yes, it's Thursday and we've finished work early'.
Cue the lady in Common thinking we were actually mental. It was a good a reason as any to have fizz.

We sat basking in the sun (albeit after asking for the door to be propped open because we were redders) with our Prosecco, quite pleased with ourselves that we had survived the morning, and that we had a cocktail fuelled Friday-eve planned.

Common's just had a huge renovation, and is pretty unrecognisable from the hipster-haunt it was in its youth. Gone is the graffiti style wall art and quirty pieces of music memorabilia, replaced with Scandinavian style oak and fold back floor to ceiling windows. It's all very grown up these days.
Common, Manchester
We were off to Revolucion de Cuba's Barcardi night, so needed something substantial to line our bellies before embarking upon said festivities. Sensible you see. Since Common had just reopened, we decided to pop and see what the new menu was like.

Falafel Burger with haloumi, chickpeas, lettuce, cucumber and tomato: Our resident veggie Clare picked this, which was a nice change from your bog standard vegetarian option of 'fungus in a bap'. Thumbs up from Clare.
Common, Manchester - Falafel Burger
Fried Chicken Burger with lettuce and mayo: Simple yet effective; crispy chicken with a good dollop of mayo. It's like a really good version of a KFC fillet burger. Don't judge me, I really like them.
Common, Manchester - Chicken Burger
Cheese Burger with cheddar, lettuce, tomato and pickle: This was my choice. I just wanted a standard pink burger with pickles. It delivered exactly what it promised. I love the fact that they also put a chunk of pickle on the side, and that Emma and Clare weren't keen, so donated them to me. They're keepers them two. Common, Manchester - Cheese Burger
Common, Manchester - Cheese Burger
Reuben on rye: I so nearly had this, but the burger craving was just too strong. Lee had this beauty. There was generous amount of salt beef piled on top of Swiss cheese. She did mention that the sauce was a little tart though. (I need to mention here that she knows her Reubens... )
Common, Manchester - Reuben
Veg chilli fries with cheese and jalapeños: Nice to see a veggie option to compliment the standard chilli fries. Lots of melted cheese, chilli and chunks of jalapeño. One very happy Clare.
Common, Manchester - Veg Chilli Fries
Beef chilli fries with cheese, and jalapeños: This is the kind of thing I could devour whilst watching telly in the evening. These portions are huge by the way; we shared these two portions between four of us and still had bits left.
Common, Manchester - Chilli Fries
Doughnuts - apple and cinnamon and vanilla custard: I clocked these the second we got through the door. I still have the St John doughnuts fresh in my mind. Whilst nothing can ever compare to the hallowed St John item, these were pretty damn good! Common have an in house baker, which makes me very happy indeed.
Common, Manchester - Doughnuts
Common, Manchester - Doughnuts
Common, Manchester - Doughnuts
Maple, walnut and cinnamon buns and chocolate truffles: Gee whizz. Seriously, those maple buns should make that girl her fortune. Just looking at this is making me a tad mithered. They were a genuine thing of beauty. I didn't try the truffles as I struggle a bit with chocolate desserts, but they seemed to go down very well with the girls. I believe bigger girls came in and stole the second one...
Common, Manchester - Maple Buns and Truffles
I'm still not sure how I feel about the refurb. Common is now totally unrecognisable from its former self. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't overly keen on the previous look, and it desperately needed something doing with it. It's better but totally different, and doesn't really feel like Common anymore. I think it will grow on me, especially when they have cakes like these.

Common Bar on Urbanspoon
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