NEW BLOGSITE!

Hi!

Thank you for visiting my blogsite – I hope that you have enjoyed the recipes that are listed here.

I also make bespoke bakes and I have now added this blogsite onto my webpage so if you would like to visit www.heather-brown.com then you can enjoy more recipes and find out more about what I do – along with some (hopefully) beautiful pictures.

See you there!

love Heather x

 

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Christmas Pudding.

Its now just 9 weeks to Christmas and its time to make the Christmas Pudding so that it has lots of time to mature ready for Christmas day. 

Shop-bought Christmas Puddings are often dense and full of all different kinds of exotic fruit and nuts and usually I am big advocate of fiddling with recipes to add different yummy things. This pudding is incredibly simple and soft in texture but so full of Christmassy flavour and definitely doesn’t need any tweeking. 

This recipe has been passed down from my Great-Nan and my lovely Mum is the Queen of making these each year – she has even provided me with these pictures! Thank you Mum! 

If you make any Christmas Pudding this year then I urge you to make this one – you really won’t regret it.

Ingredients.

  • 4oz plain flour
  • 3oz (vegetable) suet
  • 8oz sultanas
  • 8oz raisins
  • 8oz fruit
  • 1/4 pint milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp brandy
  • 3/4tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 lemon (juice and rind)

NB. if you wanted to make these gluten free then just replace the plain flour with gluten free plain flour.

Method.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, then all of the wet ingredients together and then combine both wet and dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. Leave in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave overnight for all the juices to be soaked up by the fruit.

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Place the mixture in a 2lb basin and cover with baking parchment, with an extra fold in the top to allow for expansion and steam. Then top the baking parchment layer with a layer of foil (with a similar fold in the top).

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Place an extra strip of foil around the basin to create a handle. Fill a saucepan with a couple of inches of water and place a plate in the bottom (so that the pudding is not in direct contact with the bottom of the pan). Put onto the heat and boil/steam for 8 hours.

Important: Check the water level frequently so that it does not boil dry.

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Once the pudding has cooled, store in a cool, dry place until Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day.

Make a new hat for the pudding (with the baking parchment and foil) and steam just like before for 1-2 hours.

Pudding will easily feed 10 people with leftovers. 

Chocolate Chip Muffins.

This is one of my favourite recipes as it is both simple and quick but super delicious! My secret is simple – I just add lots and LOTS of chocolate chips! If you always sometimes have the need for chocolate cake, then this recipe is for you! 

choc muffins 1 (2)

Ingredients. 

  • 6oz caster sugar
  • 6oz butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 6oz self raising flour
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g chocolate chips

Method. 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/180 fan/gas 6. Place paper muffin cases into a 12 hole muffin tray.

Mix together the butter and sugar until the mixture turns pale – this can be done with a wooden spoon but a mixer will make this quicker (and easier on your arms!). Beat in the eggs and vanilla really well (the mixture may look ‘curdled’ at this point but the flour will sort this out). Mix in the flour until combined (go easy with the mixing at this point) and then stir in the chocolate.

Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes until brown on top and middle cakes in the tray are ‘springy’ to the touch. Check the muffins after 15 minutes and rotate the tray if necessary so they brown evenly.

These are great eaten warm but if you don’t manage to eat the whole tray warm from the oven (!) then 10 seconds in the microwave is enough to just melt the chocolate chips to make this delicious snack even better!

Makes 12 muffins. 

Lime Squares.

These light and zesty squares can be served warm from the oven with a big dollop of cream for pudding or on their own as a perfect accompaniment with your morning latte. 

key lime bar

Ingredients: 

  • 3 limes (juice and zest)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 tin condensed milk
  • 15 digestive biscuits
  • 4 oz butter

Method: 

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees/160 fan/gas 5. Grease and line a 7″ x 10″ tin.

Crush the biscuits by placing the biscuits in a double layer of sandwich bags and bash with something heavy like a book or rolling pin). Melt the butter and stir in the biscuits crumbs well. Squash the mixture into the base of the tin and set aside.

Separate the eggs into 2 bowls. Add to the yolks the condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice and mix together. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks. Fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Pour this mixture over the biscuit base and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the edges have cracked slightly and the top starts to brown.

Remove from the oven and either cut immediately (and carefully!) and serve warm for pudding or leave to cool. If they don’t get gobbled up the day they are baked, then cover and store in the fridge.

Makes 12 pieces. 

Simnel Cake

This is one of my favourite cakes. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with adding marzipan to a cake but this twist on the traditional recipe really accentuates the gooey marzipan centre. The cooking of the fruit also means that you don’t need to leave this cake to mature and you can enjoy it immediately.

What could be better?

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Ingredients

8oz dried sour cherries
8oz sultanas
6oz currants
6oz light soft brown sugar
6oz butter
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1tsp cinnamon
25ml brandy
1tsp honey
3 eggs
7oz plain flour
3oz ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
1lb marzipan

Method

Put the cherries, sultanas, currants, sugar, butter, zest and juice of a lemon and orange, cinnamon, brandy and honey into a large saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted and then leave for 10 minutes. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes.

Whilst your mixture is cooling, preheat the oven to gas 4/160 degrees (140 fan). Line a 8inch diameter, deep, round tin with 2 layers of baking parchment, leaving a couple of inches parchment poking up round the top of the tin to help avoid scorching the top of the cake.

Divide the marzipan into 2 and roll out one portion and cut a circle slightly smaller than the diameter of the tin.

After 30 minutes, add to the mixture the eggs, the flour, ground almonds and baking powder and mix. Place half of the mixture into the tin and smooth out. Place the circle of marzipan into the tin and then pour the rest of the mixture on top and smooth out.

Place into the oven and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours until springy to the touch. Check after 1 hour and 15 minutes and, if needed, place an extra piece of parchment over the top (to stop the top of the cake being burnt). Leave in the tin to cool completely.

Once cool, turn the cake out of the tin. Roll out the remaining marzipan and cut a circle to the diameter of the top of the cake. Jam can be used to help stick the marzipan to the cake and apricot is traditionally used but cherry jam works equally well here. Usually the cake is finished with 11 balls of marzipan around the perimeter of the cake, one for each of Jesus’ disciples (except Judas).

Mincemeat Swirls.

minceThese are the easiest of all mince pies to make – and SO yummy.

Ingredients…

  • 1 jar of mincemeat
  • 1 packet of readymade, ready rolled puff pastry
  • some icing sugar

Method…

Preheat the oven to 200degrees or Gas mark 6. Grease a baking tray or line it with baking parchment.

Un-roll the puff pastry and lay it flat. Spread out the mincemeat in an even layer over the pastry. Roll up the pastry again and slice into 1 cm slices. Lay the slices flat onto the baking tray (they do spread slightly so don’t lay them close together).

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. When golden, take from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Mix the icing sugar with a small amount of water until runny (but still quick thick). Dribble over the swirls.

Makes 12-15 swirls.

TIPS: This is even yummier with homemade mincemeat but I don’t know if the effort to make your own puff pastry here would be worth it. The ready rolled pastry really does work well here.

Bread and Butter Pudding

This is a perfect way to use up leftover, slightly stale bread! You can make it as basic or as rich and luxurious as you like! This recipe is perfect for 2 people.

bread and butter pudding

Ingredients…

  • 4-6 slices of bread (or enough to fill your dish)
  • enough butter to butter each side of the bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 50g demorara sugar
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 50g sultanas

Method…

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200 degrees.

Butter each side of the bread and layer it into your dish (I used a 8″ x 5″ pyrex dish). Sprinkle in the sultanas (making sure you push some of them in between the layers of bread). Beat the eggs together and add to this the milk and half the sugar. Pour this mixture over the bread, making sure all of it is covered (NB. it may look like a lot of liquid)

Leave this for 20 minutes for the liquid to soak into the bread. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the top. Put it into the oven for 30 mins or until golden brow

Variations….

This recipe is the most basic recipe and I tried to keep it to ingredients that most people have in their kitchen. To make it richer, substitute half the milk for cream. You can change the sultanas to dried cherries or you can add chocolate chunks instead. You can also change the bread for stale croissants, pain au chocolat or brioche for the deluxe version!