Monday, 28 March 2011

Chocolate Chip American Muffins

Recipe Number Sixteen: Page 126.


I have never made a decent muffin. This is a real shame as I adore them, they just don't like me! I always find they stick to the paper case and are chewy. For these reasons I haven't ventured near a muffin recipe for some years. Time now for another go!

As I had left the butter out whilst I made the gingerbread men, it was nice and soft. So, it was a lot easier for me to work it into the flour. I was surprised by how little sugar was added; it seemed such a small amount compared to other cake recipes. However, as I added the chocolate chips, I pondered whether it might require less sugar as the recipe calls for quite a lot of chocolate chips. I was greedily pleased to see that I had a handful of chocolate chips left over, nibble nibble! The wet ingredients were mixed separately and then poured in with the dry mixture. Mary Berry says to mix quickly with a wooden spoon. I tried, but I have a deep bowl and it was hard to combine the flour, so I ended up mixing more than I knew I should. Thankfully the finished mixture should look lumpy, which was a good thing as mine was lumpy galore!

Now the bit I didn't really expect to be fiddly was putting the lumpy mixture into the paper cases. The cases were sitting, waiting patiently inside a muffin tin; what could go wrong? Well, the mix was so runny as I tried to spoon it into the cases, it dripped everywhere. It dripped down the outside of the cases and I lost some on the worktop. I got quite frustrated and muttered a lot under my breath! When I eventually got the stubborn muffin batter into the cases, in the oven they went. 
A tad burnt, whoops!!!

In Mary Berry's introduction of this recipe she says that they are large and impressive muffins. Hmmmm, mine were not. They didn't rise very much at all and were a little scorched. I took them out of the oven and felt very disappointed. I hoped they would taste nice to make up for it. When they had cooled I went to peel the paper away from a muffin, to give the all important taste test. I was most aggrieved to see that the paper had welded itself to the side of the muffin. When I pulled at the paper it took large pieces of muffin with it. All the chocolate chips had sunk to the bottom and the muffin had welded itself the bottom of the case as well. When tasted, they had a reasonable flavour, but were quite stodgy. I think the cake batter was over mixed. When Mary Berry says mix quickly she means it, just a few stirs are perhaps required! I was upset I'd been beaten again, my muffin curse reigns on! I shall have other muffin recipes to try, with a little less mixing and perhaps without the paper cases I may get a success story!! 
The chocolate chips sank to the bottom.
Please visit my Facebook page Rising To The Berry and 'like' to find out in advance what I'll be making at the weekends.  Many thanks for your support :-)
 

Gingerbread Men

Recipe Number Fifteen:  Page 259.


I have been looking forward to making these gingery little men. I wish my little boy was old enough to help me cut them out and decorate them, but I doubt his hand eye coordination is quite there yet!!

First of all, the dry ingredients are added to a bowl. This includes the ground ginger. I used ground ginger from one of those little glass jars. The problem I had was that, when I tried to shake the contents on to the teaspoon, it went everywhere. I definitely ended up with more than was required! I spent ages working the butter into the dry mixture. The butter on this occasion was meant to be hard and I had cold hands! After I eventually got it to look like a bowl of floury breadcrumbs, I could add the sugar and egg. The golden syrup is always a bit of a nightmare to measure. I like using the squeezy bottles; it makes it a little easier. As I had to use a tablespoon to measure the syrup, I poured boiling water over the spoon just before using it and the golden syrup just fell off.

It was then time to get my hands in and have a good old knead. It took a while until everything combined and then the dough was so easy to work with. I barely needed to put any flour on the worktop to roll it out as I didn't find it sticky at all. I am conscious that I tend to roll things too thin, so I tried to be more careful, I didn't want skinny little gingerbread men! I could feel my inner child resurface as I reached for the cutter - the exciting bit! I noticed that each time I cut out a little man I let out a little “ahhhhhh”! They were just so sweet. They were quite small and the currants were a little big for eyes; they took up almost all of the face. I pulled the currants in half for the eyes and used whole ones for the body. Neil had spied that I also have a large cutter, so I made him two giant men!

In the oven the gingerbread men swelled up, but didn't spread much, so they can go reasonably close together on the tray. My first batch could have done with a few more minutes in the oven, or perhaps I should have rolled the dough a little thinner after all!! They are a little chewy, but personally that is how I prefer them. The second batch I left in the oven for a few minutes longer and they are slightly darker and a hard biscuit. As for the flavour, Neil, couldn't really taste any ginger. I could, but only a subtle hint. This is surprising as I had mistakenly added more! They taste good though, and I had so much fun making them. I did feel a bit guilty eating them, poor little things!

Seems to cruel to eat them!

My Mother's Bread and Butter Pudding

Recipe Number Fourteen:  Page 342.


If you have read my previous entries you will realise immediately that this could not be my mother’s recipe but in fact Mary Berry's mothers. Before I go any further I must let it be known that I've never really liked bread and butter pudding. I have only tried it a few times I admit, but I've found it to be stodgy and, dare I say it, a little slimy!! Neil, on the other hand, really likes bread and butter pudding and has even made it himself some years ago. So, I knew he would enjoy it and I had to complete the recipe at some point!

It was a mistake to try to make the pudding along with making a batch of risotto for my nine month old and our own dinner. They say women can do several things at once. Maybe, but it makes for a lot of stress and panic!! I can't say that I, or for that matter Neil, enjoyed the experience!

I needed some thin sliced bread. We only use thick or medium if we buy it, so Neil was very resourceful and baked some in the bread machine earlier. He even cut it thinly for me. Several brownie points were gained for this. I usually cut door stoppers, thin at the top and about an inch thick at the bottom. My dry ingredients had to be stirred together. On the list was the grated rind of a lemon. I am beginning to dislike lemons. I just couldn't face grating it, so I used my zester and made the strands of rind as small as I could. The bread was cut into strips and enough to cover the base of the dish was dipped in butter. Half the dried fruit was scattered on top and then I just alternated the bread with the fruit. Our bread must have been ultra absorbent as, by the end, I was no longer dipping. I was wiping the bread around the inside of the bowl, trying to find some remaining butter!!

I nearly put this in the oven, before realising I hadn't actually completed the recipe! I also had to measure out a pint of milk and mix with some eggs before pouring on top of the bread and fruit. I only have a pint measuring jug. Any normal, right minded person would have measured the milk, poured it into a bowl and whisked in the eggs. But, as you may have realised, I am none of these things! I was getting quite alarmed by the amount of washing up that was accumulating around me, so I thought I could manage to fit the eggs in with the milk and mix, to save on washing up! Of course it was a stupid idea. I realised this as soon as some milk sloshed out of the jug as I tried to mix it all together. I tried to pour some of it on to the bread so I could give the remainder a proper whisk. A big lump of unmixed egg yolk landed on several strips of bread, some gloopy egg white missed the dish entirely and ended up on the worktop, oh dear! Anyway the rest of the milk and egg was given a proper mix and poured on top of the eggy mess. I was not hopeful about the outcome.

I left it to stand for the hour Mary Berry suggested. Then, into the oven it went. I was convinced that, as a lot of the egg had not been mixed in, it would be a complete disaster. There was no way it would set. It was in the oven for the 40 mins suggested. I should have taken it out earlier though, as it got a bit burnt. I confess I forgot about it as I got sidetracked putting the risotto in the freezer! I put the spoon in and it looked runny. I called out to Neil that it was awful, all that effort wasted! Neil came and looked and said that is what it is supposed to look like. And, when I dished it up, it didn't look runny any more. It looked OK! And, more to the point, it tasted OK, all lemony and light. The ones I have had in the past were bought from the bakery section of the supermarkets. Home-made is so much nicer! I am not saying I now love bread and butter pudding, but would have it again for sure. I agree with Mary Berry that you should eat it warm. I had a little piece cold today and it was nowhere near as nice!!

Even I couldn't manage to eat it all!!!!


Monday, 21 March 2011

Bishop's Fingers

Recipe Number Thirteen: Page 232.

I have absolutely no idea why these are called Bishop's Fingers. To me they are just a shortbread! But not just any ordinary shortbread - these have semolina and ground almonds in them. I was told to use a shallow 7 inch square cake tin, this I do not own. I am too mean to go and buy one if I have a particularly good 8 inch square tin! So I thought I would just leave a gap down one side of the tin, knowing this edge would end up getting a bit singed!

The butter had been left out of the fridge for the Lemon Drizzle Traybake, so by now was well and truly softened. However, in the list of ingredients, it does not need to be softened, typical! As the butter was so soft I was a bit naughty and shoved it in the freezer for a few minutes! It worked and now I could cut the butter to weigh it instead of using a spoon. I added the butter and sugar to the dry ingredients and worked it all together with my fingertips. It only took a minute or two before the mixture started to bind. It was soon a smooth dough. This meant that I could easily press it into my inadequate tin! Flaked almonds are sprinkled over the top, which really makes it look quite pretty. Once cooked for half an hour, it should be a very pale golden brown. I would say mine was a medium golden brown. Thankfully, I had to sprinkle sugar over the hot shortbread so this made it appear a little more anaemic!

After the shortbread is completely cold, it can be removed from the tin. The tin worked fine, it was a tiny bit scorched down the one side, but I just cut that part off. I should have made twelve fingers of shortbread but only managed nine. Once cold, I forced myself to have a bite. It is very moreish and has a bit of a crunch due to the semolina. I am pleased with it, but for only nine fingers I am not sure it was really worth the effort. However, the flavour of the almond really is good, so I might be persuaded to try it again!

Who knew that Bishop's fingers could be so yummy?!


So, after HAVING to try the shortbread along with the drizzle cake and eating nearly half of a Crown Loaf I did feel rather ill. I can't believe that Neil managed to eat, along with the bread, two large slices of lemon drizzle, plus two Bishop's Fingers and then say he didn't feel full!! He took some samples of each in to work today and apparently they haven't lasted long. Good, that means I can't eat them! Well, apart from a few bites with a cuppa this afternoon, shhhhh!!
Preview

Lemon Drizzle Traybake

Recipe Number Twelve: Page 181.


Yes, something lemony again! I was thinking most people like cakes and bakes with a lemon flavour. But would you enjoy actually eating a lemon?!!!! Well, maybe as long as it is covered in sugar to take the sourness away. If you make a lemon drizzle cake then be warned that the likely outcome is that you will be begged to make it again and again! I don't know anyone who doesn't like a lemon drizzle.

Although I have made lots of lemon drizzle loaf cakes, I haven't made this recipe before. I nearly had an early disaster by not measuring out the right amount of flour. Thank goodness I noticed in time or it would have been a bit runny to say the least! Mary Berry is well known for her all-in-one cakes. They are so easy as you just measure all the ingredients out, put them all into a bowl and mix, job done! So the only real hardship was having to grate the rind off two lemons. She says the rind has to be finely grated. Most of the rind got stuck in the holes of the grater. I spent an age picking it all out. Washing up the grater wasn't the best job either! However, other than that tedious job, it took only a couple of minutes to get the mixture in the tin and into the oven.

The cake was a little too golden after it had been in the oven for the allotted time. Also, in the middle of the cake, a few tiny little 'bubbles' had appeared on the surface. If anyone knows why that happens please let me know! I let it cool a little on a wire rack whilst I made the crunchy topping. I decided to use the bottom of the cake as the top so the little 'bubbles' couldn't be seen.

The crunchy topping is also easy peasy, lemon squeezy, sorry! Lots and lots of sugar and the juice of the two lemons I had 'shaved' earlier. When spooned onto the cake, the lemon juice sinks into the cake and the sugar settles on the top. As I was so full of bread I just had a mouthful, OK, maybe two! The cake is very moist and the sugar and lemon topping is indeed crunchy! I could feel the topping almost stick to the roof of my mouth and had an almost immediate desire to clean my teeth! You've got to love a lemon drizzle, yum!!
If you like lemon and sugar then a lemon drizzle is the one for you!

Recipe Variation: Poppy Seed Lemon Drizzle

Simply adding poppy seeds doesn't seem like much of a variation but it did give me an excuse to make another lemon drizzle! Everything is kept the same as before. I just had to add 25g of poppy seeds before whisking. Easy!

The cake tasted very lemony, so no surprises there. The flavour of the poppy seeds gave a slight after taste that is difficult to explain. It wasn't unpleasant but I found it a little off putting. The lemons I used were particulary sour so our tastes buds were put into overdrive!!

All in all a delicious cake but the poppy seeds might take a bit of getting used to.
Speckled cake!

Crown Loaf

Recipe Number Eleven: Page 286.

Mmmmm, bread, hard not to love it! The smell of freshly baking bread wafting from the oven is hard to beat. I decided to make bread as it is something we could incorporate into the day and not feel guilty about eating it! As I'd made a cooked lunch we thought the Crown Loaf would go well with tomato soup for tea.

I used to make loaves of bread quite a bit, but it is probably ten years since I made any bread. I can't believe it! I have never made a Crown Loaf and the picture in Mary Berry's book looked quite appealing.

Instead of reaching for a loaf tin, I was to use a sandwich tin, of which I have plenty. It must be becoming apparent that I have a mind like a sieve, so it will probably come as no surprise that the butter was still sitting patiently in the fridge. But hallelujah! It didn't matter as I needed melted butter! A snag I hadn't anticipated was that the measuring jug had missed the washing up and still had some gravy in it from lunch - nice. Neil called out and suggested I use one of our baby boy’s milk bottles, genius! So lazily I used this to measure the water instead of perhaps the more sensible option of just washing up the jug!! All the ingredients went straight into a bowl. I combined it all together with my hands and got into a right old mess, but quite enjoyed it. We have a bread machine but it was quite nice to knead the dough myself instead of letting the machine take the strain. The mixture started off quite sticky and I had to put quite a bit of flour onto the worktop. However, after about three minutes of kneading, the dough had become smooth and elastic. I had forgotten how satisfying it is to push and pull at the dough. It really is therapeutic. Just pretend it is a nasty old school teacher or love rat!!

The well pummelled dough was put into a large bowl, which I tightly wrapped in cling film and put in the airing cupboard, I hoped for it to double in size. This should take about an hour and a half. This gives just time to drink a cup of tea and sit down and entertain a small child. After the allotted time, I anxiously peeked inside the airing cupboard and was relieved to see that the dough had indeed doubled and was now about the size of a football. Neil was suitably impressed, but his face soon changed to disappointment as I put my hand into the bowl and pulled the dough out. With one touch it collapsed. I reassured Neil that this was perfectly normal! I had to knock it back for a few minutes. I hardly needed any flour this time as the dough was so smooth, it was really easy to work with and I could feel the air bubbles popping. I had to separate the dough into twelve pieces and put them into the sandwich tin. I then put it back into the airing cupboard for half an hour. When I went back to retrieve the tin, the contents was almost spilling over the edges. Neil was particularly pleased by this! In the oven it went. It looked well cooked after the suggested 20-25 minutes. However, when I took the Crown Loaf out of the tin, I tapped it on the bottom and it didn't sound hollow. (I remember doing this when I made loaves). I turned it over in the tin, bottom side up and gave it another five minutes. After this it sounded hollow, so I presumed that it was cooked.

When I pulled the loaf apart it separated into little rolls, perfect for soup. The edges were all lovely and crunchy, while inside the texture was soft and light. Little piggies that we are we ate the WHOLE Crown Loaf between us! I think that was a mistake as I felt uncomfortably full for some time!
More like a hedgehog than a crown!

Monday, 14 March 2011

American Cheesecake

Recipe Number Ten: Page 379.


I was looking forward to making a cheesecake. I have never made one before! Neil is the master of the cheesecake; he makes such a good one. I have never found the need to try.

Before I go any further, I have a confession. Although I scanned the recipe the day before, I missed the part about making it the day before (cheesecake needs to set overnight). Patience must be wearing thin by now as this is the third time I have failed to read a recipe properly. I did give myself a stern talking to when I realised my mistake, I assure you!

Anyway, I digress. I am a big fan of the cheesecake biscuit base. All the buttery, crumbly biscuitiness, scrummy! As I mentioned in my write up of the Cheese Straws, my Mum does not own a rolling pin. So, my first hurdle was finding something else with which to bash the bag of biscuits. A pair of kitchen scissors happened to be close by. Luckily, my Mum was not there to witness me holding the scissors by the 'dangerous' end, bashing away at the biscuits with the handle of the scissors!! Unwounded, I stirred my crumbled biscuits into some butter and sugar and that was the base done, easy. All I had to do was press the base into the tin and leave to set. Mary Berry doesn't say how long it takes to set. I left it for an hour to set at room temperature. By then it was ready for the topping. The topping contains Greek yoghurt, which, for some reason I would never have thought of adding to a cheesecake. I had to use the juice of some lemons. Why is it that you can have a tiny scratch on your hand, which you are not even aware of, but the lemon juice will seek it out? Oh the stinging! All the topping ingredients are mixed together and spooned on top of the biscuit base and left to set in the fridge overnight. Well, as I said earlier, this did not happen. As I finished making the cheesecake at 3pm it wasn't ready until about 9pm (we all had indigestion at bedtime)! Once the cheesecake was set, I decorated the top with raspberries and warmed redcurrant jelly. 
Can't wait to dig in!

I enjoyed making this cheesecake. It was pretty easy to make and tasted divine, if I do say so myself! I would definitely make this again.
Quick grab a fork!!

Devil's Food Cake

Recipe Number Nine: Page 96.

This was Mums birthday cake. We had the right size tins for this cake, so it helped swing Mum in her choice! The name of the cake, it has to be said, is a little off putting! Devil's Food cake does not actually contain the Devil, but is an American chocolate cake with a white sugar frosting!

After the horrible job of greasing and lining my sandwich tins (I loathe that part), I moved on to the more fun part of mixing the cocoa powder and water together. It took a while for the cocoa and water to combine; it was very lumpy and then suddenly it was a smooth paste. The butter had by now been out the fridge for ages and was lovely and soft (for a change), so it was easy to beat the sugar and eggs in. It was a little tricky alternately folding in the chocolate mixture and the flour. I didn’t seem to have enough hands. It made a glistening almost black treacly mixture. I had plenty to fill the two tins. The next destination was the oven and there they stayed for just over half an hour. They appeared to be well cooked after this time. But, after leaving them to cool in their tins for about ten minutes, one of the sponges had dipped in the middle, so I put it back in the oven for ten minutes more to make sure that it was cooked! 

Somewhat lacking in frosting!
After all this, they were left to cool on the wire racks. Once completely cold, I started on the frosting. Mary Berry says that American frosting is very sweet and crisp, it usually requires the use of a sugar thermometer. But, for this recipe, she had used a frosting that did not require one. The ingredients for the frosting seemed basic and mostly consisted of sugar. I had to whisk the ingredients with a balloon whisk for almost 15 minutes (Mum does not own an electric whisk). This had to be done over a pan of hot water. After what felt to me an eternity, the mixture started to thicken up and turn white. I was quite surprised; isn’t it clever what a few ingredients can do! Mary Berry says to put a little of the frosting to sandwich the two sponges together. The remainder should be used for the sides and top of the cake, swirling the icing into peaks. I should work quickly as it sets quickly. She isn’t kidding! It set like concrete within about two seconds!! I didn’t have anywhere near enough frosting to cover the sides. It looked awful, it truly did. I found that a lot of the frosting had set and gone rock hard around the edge of the bowl. Mum and I tried to reheat it with a little water, but it wouldn’t come off! I was so disappointed, after all the hard work and it looked shocking! Mum tried to salvage it by decorating it with edible ribbon and daises, bless her. It did make it look a lot better and once it was cut, you didn’t really notice. 
Looks a little better once sliced,
 
I think that the frosting in the middle is a waste, it would have been better to perhaps use a chocolate butter cream in the middle, which would also make it moister. The saved frosting could then been used for the sides! The cake itself was nice and rich and tasted a little bitter as it was suggested it would. I was just disappointed about the frosting! 

Cheese Straws

Recipe Number Eight: Page 211.


It was my lovely Mum’s birthday on Sunday, so this seemed a perfect excuse to make some more cakes. We thought it might be a good idea to do something savoury to mop up all the sugar of the birthday cake, etc. Mum has always enjoyed cheese straws so it seemed a good enough reason to make some. 

After mixing the flour, butter and cheese together, I had to add in most of an egg yolk, reserving a tiny amount for the glaze. All the ingredients bonded really well together and formed a firm dough. It wasn’t sticky, so I didn’t get in a mess with it! The dough needed to go in the fridge for half an hour so that it would be easier to roll and cut.

My mother is not a baker; she makes lovely meals, but is not a lover of cake making, etc. So, when I called out to ask where the rolling pin was, I was not surprised to get the response, “We don’t have one!” To be fair, when I moved out of the family home some five years ago, I took it with me. I had thought, however, that it might have been replaced by now! So, a glass milk bottle was washed up and I made do with that! It did the job just fine, but was a little awkward. I had to cut the rolled dough into thin strips and place on greased baking trays and glaze with the remainder of the egg yolk. Mum was washing up a few odds and ends (which she shouldn’t have been doing on her birthday). She picked up the glass with the tiny bit of egg yolk and put it in the washing up! I could see her doing it but couldn’t get my words out quick enough. So, my bit of egg was no more. Mum said she thought it was orange juice!!! Thankfully we had another egg, so it wasn’t a problem. I dotted on the egg yolk with my fingers, then sprinkled on the smelly Parmesan and put it in the oven for ten or so minutes. 

Mary Berry says that, once out of the oven, to lift the cheese straws off the baking trays and cool on a wire rack. So as soon as the little strips of cheesiness came out of the oven I picked one off the tray only for it to break into three pieces. I tried another, it just broke in two. I decided to leave the rest for a minute or two and then try again. They came off easily! 

I was pleased with the cheese straws; they tasted nice and cheesy and were very light. They went very quickly; you just couldn’t stop picking at them!

Mmmmmm cheesy!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Lemon Cream Tartlets

Recipe Number Seven: Page 268.

I had been looking forward to making these all week. I was particularly excited as I had decided to make my own lemon curd. Hence, another mention of The Great British Bake Off. Yes, I love the programme! Finalist in the series, Ruth Clemens, has a blog called The Pink Whisk. There are some great recipes on there. One of her creations is Super Zingy Lemon Curd. I have been meaning to make it for some time and this seemed like the perfect occasion. This was made the night before the afternoon tea, (along with the Bara Brith). I would highly recommend it, it is so easy to make and is very tasty.

The tartlets are not pastry but shortbread. The addition of semolina is a little different and has a nice feel when mixed, I felt like I was playing in the sand! When I had made up the dough, I put it into the fridge for a while and had a well earned sit down! After the dough was chilled and easier to handle I could roll it out. I think I rolled it a bit too thin, as I made 12 instead of 10 and had a little dough left over. It was fiddly pressing the dough into the bun tin as it kept cracking and little holes kept popping up. I had to take my time and try not to rush it! The tartlets cooked in the oven for about 20 minutes. It was hard to tell if they were cooked or not as the dough stayed very pale.

So pretty!
After the tartlets were cold, I could make the filling. Mary Berry advises not to put the filling in until just before you are ready to serve and eat as the shortbread goes soft quickly. The filling is so simple, just whip up some double cream, stir in some lemon curd and place heaped spoonfuls into the shortbread tartlets. Adding the sliced strawberries to decorate the top makes it look so pretty and appetising. I have to say that I felt quite proud looking at the end result! Neil seemed particularly taken with these. He loved the shortbread; the semolina gives it a satisfying crunch. I think the topping would also be divine on top of a cheesecake base!! I needn't have panicked about the shortbread going all horrible and soggy. We had four left and they were fine the following day.

All in all a good day! I also made a huge and very rich chocolate cake from Lorraine Pascale's new cook book. Our friends gamely dug into all that was on offer, though the pace did slow considerably after the chocolate cake had also been consumed! Thank goodness they were all willing to take a 'doggy bag’ home. We had a lovely time, but after the sugar rush came the come down. Everyone was falling asleep by 7pm!!

If you want to find out what I am going to make in advance etc.. please check out my Facebook page Rising to the Berry  or follow me on Twitter.  Thank you :-)

Very Best Scones

Recipe Number Six: Page 320.

I only made the Special Fruit Scones two weeks ago. However, as I was making an afternoon tea, I couldn't not make scones could I?! So, I decided to make plain ones this time. The recipe was obviously very similar. The quantity of ingredients was slightly more (as it makes more scones). That was the main difference and of course no fruit!!!

Now, you would have thought I would have learnt from my previous mistakes. It would appear not! I forgot that I needed to break the eggs into a jug and then make it up to a certain quantity with the milk. Instead, I put the eggs into a cup to beat them and measured the milk into a jug separately. I blame this on the fact that I was rushing to get things done before our friends arrived, I was running behind as usual. Therefore, I had to empty the milk from the jug into a glass, tip the eggs into the now empty jug, and pour the milk into the jug of eggs to get to the required amount. That slowed things down nicely, a good example of why it is best not to rush! 

The finished dough was so sticky, much more sticky to handle that the fruit scone dough. I was completely smothered. I got into a right old mess trying to roll it out. Mary Berry says to cut out the dough by pushing the cutter down into the dough and not to twist the cutter to lift them out. This should make the scones rise evenly and not lose their shape whilst cooking. I found this difficult as the dough was so sticky, so I am afraid that with a few I twisted the cutter, I hang my head in shame!  Seconds after I had triumphantly put my two trays of scones into the oven I realised I had forgotten to glaze them! Therefore, with the help of my poor husband, the trays were quickly whipped out of the oven so they could get a coating of egg and milk. I do remember, on The Great British Bake Off, that one of the secrets of good scones is only to glaze the tops of the scones and not to let it run down the sides as this inhibits the rise. In my haste, some did drip down the sides. I could only watch in silent horror as the glaze merrily made its way down the sides of the scones. It was no good, their fate had been sealed. As you can see from the pictures, although some turned out ok, others did not rise well and were a bit out of shape. This was most probably due to the twisting and dripping!! 
My lopsided scones!


Still, they tasted like a scone and were great with clotted cream and jam, yum!
Had to include a picture of a scone ready to scoff!!


Bara Brith

Recipe Number Five: Page 302.

I decided to make the Bara Brith the day before our friends arrived for 'afternoon tea'. I had a lot of things to make the following day. I have never made tea bread before and I have been meaning to try one for ages. Mary Berry says to soak the mix of dried fruit and sugar in tea overnight. As I was going to make it in the evening, I put it to soak at nine in the morning, so that the fruit would have plenty of time to soak up the sugary caffeine hit!

At about 7pm I put the oven on gas mark 2, which seemed a very low heat. The next part was so simple. All that was required was to add the flour and egg to the soaked fruit, pop it into the tin and put it in the oven! I found the combined mixture to be very runny and the colour to be a lot lighter than I had expected. I think, as it had muscovado sugar and tea in it, I imagined it would be quite dark. Anyway, into the oven it went. It remained in there for the recommended one and a half hours. I was not surprised when I took it out of the oven and it was still doughy in the middle. This seems to be a running theme, so I wonder if my oven is keeping to the set temperature. Anyway, on went some foil to cover the top of the cake and it ended up in the oven for another half an hour. By then it appeared to be entirely cooked through.

The following day, I tentatively cut through the cake and found that, although it was a very moist cake, it was thankfully cooked through. It had a nice amount of fruit evenly distributed throughout the loaf. The cake was fairly light in colour and texture for a fruited cake but I think the tea gave it more depth. It would be something I would make again. I especially like the fact that it contained no butter or oil. It helped to make up for all the other fat that I consumed during the afternoon tea!
Mmmmmm.........fruity!