Gingerbread roulade

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MERRY CHRISTMAS/ HAPPY HOLIDAYS or whatever it is your supposed to say these days? I hope you had a magical time and overindulged once again, you greedy bastards. Anyway, I’m back! I haven’t posted in forever because I have unfortunately entered the world of adulthood and now work FULL TIME. I know. Vial. But unfortunately that kitchen aid won’t pay for itself. I have however been lucky enough to have some time off over Christmas so I’m back to what I do best or at least what I enjoy. And why not start with an all time classic? The roulade.

Each year I think it will be fun to make something new out of ginger bread, We’ve had the quintessential gingerbread house, sleigh complete with reindeer and that huge Hogwarts inspired creation from last year. And each year I go through the same stress of having made too much dough that sticks to everything and inevitably  forget about one batch in the oven which ends up burning. Followed by the dreaded erecting of the structure which NEVER goes smoothly. So this year I said…enough. I shall not partake in the madness of a gingerbread DIY SOS that doesn’t even get eaten. Alas the gingerbread roulade was born.

Making a roulade or swiss roll is so simple. Such an easy array of ingredients to remember and put together. Plus you can make it pretty much any flavour you desire! If this sounds like it will tickle your taste buds, feel free to give it a go. There will be a few more recipes up soon since I am baking as much as I can at the moment before I get back to reality. Don’t grow up kids.

Serves 6-8

Time to prep 30 mins
Time to bake 20 mins
Recipe
Ingredients

For the gingerbread

  • – 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp. bicarb
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 60g butter
  • 90g dark brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 2tbsp. honey

For the sponge

  • 3 free- range eggs
  • 80g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 80g self raising flour

For the filling

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp. stem ginger

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a Swiss roll tin and baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. To make the ginger bread, combine all the ingredients in a food processor until a dough is formed. This can of course be done by hand if you’re not a lazy bastard like me!

3. Then roll out the dough until it’s about 0.5mm thin and cut out any shapes you like and place them onto the baking tray. The biscuits will only be crushed up eventually so don’t worry about their shape too much. 

4.Bake for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and beginning to colour. Once cool, blitz to a powder in a food processor or pestle and mortar.

5. Whisk the eggs and sugar and spices until thick and pale. This will take about 5-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you take the whisk out and it leave a trail on the top of the mix for 3 seconds, before sinking back into the mix.
6. Sift in the flour and gently fold it into the mix.
7. Gently pour it into the tin, not holding it too high above otherwise the air will be knocked out.
8. Bake for 10 mins. It should spring to the touch.
9. Once done tip upside down onto a piece of greaseproof. Then peel off the paper from the sponge and use the paper underneath to roll up the roulade. Use a bread knife to slightly score the shorter length of the sponge and begin to roll the roulade with the paper inside. This helps it to keep it’s shape whilst it cools.

10. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
11. Whip the cream cheese and icing sugar and mix well. Stir in the stem ginger.
12. Unroll the sponge and spread over the cream cheese, leaving a little extra to decorate. Roll up tightly. Slice off the ends.

13. Spread over the remaining cream cheese to create a base for the gingerbread to stick to. Sprinkle over the crushed biscuits and enjoy! Of course decoration is completely up to you, I used a mini gingerbread man cutter I had and sprinkle of icing sugar! But go wild, it’s Christmas!

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Sticky toffee cake

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Back again with another dessert inspired cake! And this one went down very well! A whole cake never gets finished in my house so I took this one to work where I can safely say it was very much appreciated. So much so that I didn’t actually get to try any myself! But I trust those who did try it and their feedback was very positive indeed.

Sticky toffee pudding isn’t something I would usually go for on a menu. I often find them too sweet and sickly. However my Nan makes THE BEST sticky toffee pudding so when she made it recently I had to ask her what her secret was. The sauce on top is so thick and delicious, I just had to have the recipe. But no. My dreams were crushed when she revealed that it was actually a bought can of caramel sauce. A knife straight to the heart. All these years of admiring her creation and it was all lies. Absolute banter. So I thought no way am I buying that, I’ll just have to make it. So here it is a delicious winter sponge cake! The sponge is sticky with dates and treacle with a cream filling to balance out some of the sweetness, topped with that classic caramel sauce. The idea of dates in a pudding or sponge often puts people off but I find that if you don’t tell them, they don’t bat an eyelid! Fooled you all.

JR bakes

Serves 10

Time to prep 25 minutes

Time to bake 30-40 minutes

Recipe

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 300g dried dates, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 tea bags
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 200g butter
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 3 tbsp. black treacle
  • 200ml milk
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 orange, zest

For the filling

  • 150ml double cream
  • 20g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the sauce

  • 90g soft brown sugar
  • 25g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tsp. black treacle

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line and grease two 8″ sandwich tins.
  2. Put the dates in a small mixing bowl. Add two teas bags to a mug and pour boiling water over them. Once the tea has infused, remove the bags and pour the tea over the dates, top up the bowl with extra boiling water until they’re all covered. Leave to one side.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. Add the treacle to the mix and combine.  Then sieve in the flour and bicarb and gently fold into the mix. Add the zest.
  5. Next add the drained dates and milk and mix carefully.
  6. Divide the mix equally between the two sandwich tins and bake for 25 minutes. If not done bake for a further 10 until the cake springs back tot the touch.
  7. Meanwhile make the sauce. Add the butter and sugar to a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then add half the cream and the treacle. Boil for 2 minutes.
  8. Then add the rest of the cream and stir off the heat. Leave to cool on a large plate. This will help the sauce to cool down faster.
  9. Whip the cream, vanilla and icing sugar in a small bowl until it forms soft peaks.
  10. Once the sponges are baked and cool, you can begin to assemble. Spread the cream filling over one of the sponges, then add the second sponge on top and pour over the sauce. It will be thin so it will run off the sides. 
  11. To decorate you can add anything you wish, I used a few ginger biscuits crumbled on top  for added spice and crunch.

 

Mallorca round 2

As promised here I am, back with a pathetic tan and larger waistline! I think that’s enough of Mallorca for one year! It’s such a beautiful country with amazing beaches, weather and most importantly food.

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Let’s talk fish. Not the odorous slimy ones you’re thinking of. The beautifully delicate flavours of fresh flaky fish with lemon and butter. It just tastes ten times better when your eating it metres from the sea! We ate at a restaurant called Aquarius twice while we were there because of their vast menu and ideal location. I first had a tuna dish, which was a really meaty tuna steak on some of those classic Majorcan stir fired veggies (courgette etc.) with wild mushrooms and potatoes. It was absolutely delicious. The dish was decorated with a fat ass piece of asparagus which was odd but added colour, with two raw black spaghetti pieces for added height. It looked great, not sure about the spaghetti. I mean we all like a cheeky little bit of raw pasta now and again you can’t lie but I wasn’t convinced. The whole thing must have been cooked in a vat of butter but oh my was it worth it. Such a crispy outside with endless juicy meat inside. Simply wonderful.

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Went into a little bit too much detail there. My apologies. The second dish I had was a Sole meunière, which yes is classically French but it was that or grilled and I wasn’t feeling the grilled life that night. The fish was cooked in a brown butter sauce with lemon and parsley, again a lot of butter but the French know what they like. This came with some Mediterranean veg, potatoes and capers. I did very much enjoy it washed down with a few pina coladas but where I work we have sole on the menu, cooked in a lemon butter sauce and I am biased but this sole didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I have been spoilt.

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One of the starters we had was a Spanish tortilla which is a potato and egg based dish with onions, herbs etc. Where the potato is cooked in a large frying pan with the egg surrounding  it, like a chunky omelette, which is then grilled to cook the top. It was presented  in individual squares with a blob of pink alioli on top. Alioli is a Spanish sauce essentially just a garlic mayonnaise but it is sent from the gods of flavour. Not good for the breath but totally worth it. I won’t lie the pinkness did alarm me. Why was it pink? How was it pink? It did not need to be pink. But as a whole, it was really tasty! I have since made my own Spanish tortilla (minus the pink stuff) and it was rather nice, still not as good as the real thing though!

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One day we went to a market, this market started off a little dull. But turns out it was one of the best foreign markets I’ve ever been to! There was so much to see from handbags to bagpipes, cars to buying a budgie in a box (which I was not a fan of). But there was just a great atmosphere about it and the food was unreal.  There was fresh fruit and cheese that was so vibrant so you know it’s going to taste amazing. There were stunning chili decorations and croissants the size of my head!

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Now the one stall that stood out among the rest was of course the doughnut stall. But these weren’t just any old doughnuts, oh no. These were Bunyols, a potato and yeast based dough that is fried in hot oil and covered in sugar. Since having researched them I found that they were on offer because we were visiting Mallorca on ‘Les Verges’, which is an old festival celebrated on October 20-21st that has recently made a comeback. The story is, boys would serenade girls from the street up to their windows offering fresh flowers in exchange for Bunyols. Now this doesn’t seem like a fair trade to me. No one in their right mind would want flowers when doughnuts are on the cards. However if the girl enjoyed the serenade and wasn’t at all creeped out by the situation she would allow her mother to invite the boy in for fresh bunyols! It’s like John Hughes invented this festival. There was an old lady on the stall who was scraping the dough out of this huge terracotta bowl and pinching it out of her fist to make small doughnut shapes as they entered the oil. It’s just so lovely to think that she might have celebrated the festival when she was younger. Such an inspiring tradition , pretty much every girls dream. I just wish my Spanish was a little better so I could have asked her.

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So there it is the most recent JR bakes food travelling experience. I love trying new foods and exploring foreign flavours so I can’t wait to start having a crack at some of these myself.

Mango and lime cake

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Mango and lime, those two classic autumnal flavours. I was craving something exotic! Or was it erotic…

I’m back off to Mallorca in a few days so I’m getting in the tropical mood. I can’t wait to explore the shelves of the foreign supermarkets, discovering weird and wonderful ingredients. It’s Mallorca Jess. Not the freaking moon. Plus I wanted to try out using cream cheese instead of sickly sweet butter icing and it turned out pretty damn good!

So there won’t be any new recipes until I’m back, but I will definitely be posting about the delicious foods of Mallorca so stay tuned…

JR bakes

Serves 6

Time to prep 15 minutes

Time to bake 30 minutes

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 180g butter
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp. pineapple extract (optional)
  • 1 mango, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 limes
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 30g coconut chips

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C.  Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cream together the butter, pineapple extract and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating after each addition.
  3. Then sieve in the flour and fold in gently.
  4. Add the mango, zest of 1 lime and mix.
  5. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile make the icing. In a small bowl, add the cream cheese, icing sugar and zest of 1 lime. Mix well. Add the juice of the lime and mix again. You can tamper with the sour/sweetness of your icing so it’s just how you like it!
  7. When the cake is done, leave to cool on a wire rack. Then spread over the icing and decorate with coconut chips and any other ingredients that you desire. I added some more lime zest on top and mango slices.

Apple crumble bars

jjbI think it’s safe to say that apple pie is one of my favourite desserts. And although I do love it, I can’t keep making it because you CAN have too much of a good thing! So to prevent me from getting sick of it I have to find other ways of getting my baked apple fix. I’m not really a crumble fan but, add in some shortbread and I am there. This is a great treat or even dessert if you whack a ball of vanilla ice cream on there. The buttery shortbread ties in nicely with the sour apples and sweet crunch of the crumble topping. A real party in your mouth. So I highly recommend giving these a try, while everyone is still desperately trying to get rid of their apples. Seriously, there must be at least 10 different houses in a mile radius of where I live that can’t give there apples away fast enough! In the end I just take pity on them all and take some from each, as well as being gifted some by my Nan. I could start an apple selling business with the amount of stock I have. Or let’s be honest, just eat them all. Or even make cider! Nah, I’ll leave that to Burrow Hill, they sure know what they’re doing…

JR Bakes

Makes 9 bars

Time to prep 20 minutes

Time to bake 30-40 minutes

Recipe

Ingredients

For the shortbread

  • 120g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 small free-range egg, whisked

For the apple filling

  • 5 cooking apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 40g caster sugar

For the crumble topping

  • 50g butter
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g oats
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Add the apples, cinnamon and sugar to a small saucepan. Simmer on a medium heat until the apples break down into a stewed consistency. You want some of the apples to still hold their shape and some to make a purée. 
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Line your desired baking tin with greaseproof paper. I used a 30x30cm silicone baking mould.
  3. To make the shortbread, cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the flour and mix. Finally add the egg and bring the mix to a dough.
  4. Press the dough into your chosen baking tin and flatten out with your fingers to make an even layer.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from the oven.
  6. Make the crumble by rubbing in the butter and flour to make a breadcrumb mix. Add the oats, sugar and cinnamon and stir in.
  7. Spread the apple filling over the shortbread and top with the crumble mix. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the top starts to brown. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before cutting into 9 equal squares.

Plaited loaf

 

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Autumn is here. And I couldn’t be happier. Because the leaves have started to fall which means it’s getting cold enough for soup, and where there is soup, there’s bread. Ah bread. My one true love. I went on a bread baking course earlier this year, which was an amazing, carb filled day! And I haven’t really tried many bread recipes since and seeing as though I hoarded a lot of flour after the course, I thought I should probably get around to using some of it

I much prefer the look of a plaited loaf compared to just a simple cob, although it does make a smaller slice. So have two. I have made an eight strand plait a few times, which is pretty impressive to look at but it’s been done on Bake Off so the novelty has run off. Plus explaining how to plait that loaf would definitely up my word count. I added some black sesame seeds to the loaf for texture and contrast against the golden bread colour. I was looking for some black sesame seeds for ages, because I am a gold digger and sesame seeds are a materialistic possession for me. Luckily my sister eventually found some for me, god knows where. Probably on some vegan black market

Continuing the videos as promised but this one was a little trickier, using a pint glass as a tripod and a battery that cuts out every 30 seconds. Still you might get a better idea of the process than trying to follow my unenthusiastic method.

JR bakes

Makes one loaf

Time to prep 2hrs 30mins

Time to bake 30 minutes

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 250g spelt flour
  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. black sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 small egg, whisked

Method

  1. Add the flours, salt and yeast to a large mixing bowl. Don’t let the salt and yeast touch, it will prevent the yeast from working. 
  2. Mix together and add 200ml of the water.  I used a stand mixer with a dough hook to make my dough. This can easily be done by hand, but it will get messy!
  3. Once an elastic dough has formed, knead on a clean workssurface for 10 minutes. At frist using a ‘pawing’ technique – place the dogh on the worsurface and use your finger tips to stretch the dough out. Then slap the dough onto the worksurface repetadly to get the yeast working.
  4. Once the dough is smooth and elastic , place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  5. Then knock back the dough in the bowl and knead into a ball. Divide the dough into three and roll them into 30cm sausage shapes. Plait the three strnads to make the loaf and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  6. Brush the proved loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and sounds hollow when tapped.  After you place the loaf in the oven, throw in about 200ml of cold water to the bottom of the oven and quickly close the door. This will create steam which helps build a crisp crust to the bread. 
  8. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

 

Chocolate fondant

 

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At last I have decided to tackle the famous chocolate fondant. And honestly, its really not that difficult…once you know what you’re doing. I was surprised to find that the ingredients and method are very similar to that of a brownie recipe but without an added raising agent. The eggs are the whisked like a genoise to create  the light and airy texture and then the beautiful chocolate is added. Essentially chocolate fondant is just an undercooked cake, which is odd in the baking world but something I could definitely get use to. Hands up who ate three in one day…yeah, me. I’m not proud of myself, but then again I am a little

I love anything rich and chocolatey, so I will always go for it on a menu. I recently went to Zizzi’s with my friends and had a chocolate fondant there, or as they called it a chocolate melt pudding. Though I couldn’t seem to find the melt in mine, still it was delicious so I didn’t hold it against them. I then discovered that Lidl had frozen chocolate fondants, so I went against everything I stand for and bought a frozen pudding. Annoyingly it was really good. But I knew I couldn’t be buying them 24/7 so alas the recipe was born.

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JR bakes

Makes 4

Time to prep 10 minutes

Time to bake 9 minutes

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 60g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 60g dark chocolate (70%+)
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60g plain flour
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Butter four dariole moulds or small ramekins.
  2. Add the cocoa powder to one of them and coat the inside with the powder by shaking it around and tapping out the excess. Repeat this for all the moulds. Place in the fridge.
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a microwave. Mix until glossy. Leave to one side.
  4. Whisk the eggs, vanilla and sugar until pale and thick, about 5 mins.
  5. Gently pour the chocolate into the eggs and fold in.
  6. Sieve in the flour and gently fold in.
  7. Remove the ramekins from the fridge  pour the mix into them, leaving a centimetre from the top. Bake for 9 minutes EXACTLY.
  8. Serve immediately by using a pallet knife to help them out and turn out onto a plate. Enjoy the molten chocolate!