Friday, 22 March 2013

A little adventure......

I will be disappearing from here and twitter for a couple of weeks as myself and my boyfriend visit our very good friends in Thailand. It will be the first time either of us has visited Thailand or even Asia and no doubt we will try done new and exciting foods and flavours which I will endeavour to capture in photographs and memory.

Happy Easter, I hope you all eat a silly amount of chocolate and have fun baking :)

Monday, 18 March 2013

Gluten-free cherry and Amaretto cake

Mothers Day weekend this year managed to coincide with my Mum's birthday and my Grandmas's 80th birthday celebrations.As they are both wheat intolerant I decided that a gluten free celebration cake was in order. I have had mixed success with gluten free cake and I needed this cake to have a good structure (no sinking of the middle or crumbling away at the sides!) as I was covering it with sugarpaste. So I wanted to keep the recipe fairly simple but gluten-free flour can have a distinctive taste so I wanted to use a strong flavour. Knowing that my Grandma is a fan of amaretti biscuits I decided on Amaretto and cherry.

I would have loved to use fresh cherries but I couldn't get hold of them (and they tend to be horrendously expensive)so I used natural coloured glace cherries. The night before I baked the cake I soaked the cherries in Amaretto which worked well and the cherries really took on the flavour of the Amaretto.
300g butter/stork 
300g caster sugar 
4 eggs 
2 tsp gluten free baking powder 
300g gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm self-raising flour) 
90ml amaretto 
2 tsp xantham gum 
300g glace cherries that have been soaked in Amaretto overnight (I put cherries in between the two layers as well as inside the sponge so if you just wanted them in the sponge you would only need 200g glace cherries) 
raspberry jam 
  • Preheat the oven to 160 C and grease and line a cake tin (I used a 9" tin but you could definitely use an 8" or 10").  
  • Cream together butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy. 
  • Mix in the eggs on a high speed. 
  • Mix in half the four and then stir in the Amaretto. Mix in the rest of the flour along with the baking powder and xantham gum. 
  • Once well mixted, lightly coat 200g cherries in flour and stir in. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the sponge. 
Amaretto Buttercream: 
500g icing sugar 
150g butter at room temperature 
1 tablespoon milk 
1.5 tablespoons Amaretto 
  • (Ideally you want to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer for this. If you are mixing it by hand, get those muscles ready!) 
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar. If you're using an electric mixer,  use a low speed until the icing sugar is mixed in to avoid a sugary cloud in your kitchen! Then way the speed up to full and get that butter nice and fluffy!
  • Once they are well mixed and start to gradually add the milk and Amaretto until you are happy with the taste and consistency.

Sandwich the two cakes together with jam, amaretto buttercream and the remaining cherries. I covered the cake in sugarpaste but you could simply top with the buttercream or even a dusting of icing sugar for a perfect teatime treat :)

I was very happy with the cake which held together well and was tasty and moist - you definitely couldn't tell that it was gluten free at all!

Happy Baking everyone! x

Monday, 11 March 2013

My Little Paris Kitchen

I love Paris. I first visited four years and fell in love from the first moment I turned a corner and saw the Eiffel Tower. Then it snowed and that was it!

I took my boyfriend for a birthday weekend away last week. We were lucky enough to be able to stay in a flat and so could cook for ourselves to keep the weekend both cheaper and slightly healthier (not that we managed to stay away from the wine and pastries!) Our flatmate is a veggie so we took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some meaty dishes.

Eggy bread (my favourite breakfast!) with ham and poached egg

Chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and a lentil salad

Rare steak with mushrooms. tomatpes and sweet potato chips

We visited the largest organic food market in Europe to put together a picnic to eat in Luxembourg Gardens. The smell of cheese, chicken and sauteed potatoes were enough to make anyone hungry! We gathered together some cheese, bread, ham, salad and tarts to enjoy despite the Parisian frost.

We visited a little bakery where three years ago we discovered what we now refer to as 'the best tart in the world' (others might call it tart au citron with Italian meringue). Unfortunately they didn't have it this time but we chose two delicious tarts to enjoy under in the shadows of the Sacre Coeur.

So after a wonderful, food filled weekend we sank into our Eurostar seats, rested our aching feet and slept our way across the channel.
I'll be back soon with cakes and recipes :)