Sunday, 23 June 2013

Loaves, Buns, and Bread

Let's get the bad news out of the way first - I didn't win anything at the cake competition yesterday. Boo! But you can't win everything and there will always be a next time so I'll just have to put a bit more thought into it when I get another shot I suppose.

The competition table at judging time:

In other news...

I made another bloomer from Paul Hollywood's Bread this week and managed to take a photo before we started digging into it!

I also made some low fat strawberries & cream cupcakes for our BBQ on Saturday, which ended up turning into an indoor BBQ but was fun all the same. These are low fat strawberry cupcakes with a creamy topping and fresh strawberries. Bit of an experiment and it paid off!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Competition Time!

Today is competition day! I have my tea loaf ready to go, going into town later this morning to get it registered and then I have to hang around until 2.45 to find out who has won. Exciting!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

It's ups and downs, it's ups and downs...

It's been a bit hit and miss in my world of baking this week...

There is a food festival on nearby (Halifax Food & Drink Festival) next weekend, and they are running a baking competition so I have spent this week trying to figure out what I want to bake to enter. The entries are supposed to be inspired by Halifax or by the food festival in general so I've been leaning towards making a traditional Yorkshire recipe. (I'm going for the Teatime Favourites category.) But then I was struck with thoughts of "What if everyone else is thinking the same thing? Should I try to go for something a bit different instead?"... Decisions, decisions...

I already have a trusty Parkin recipe in my arsenal, which has served me well time and again. However, it's not as sticky as traditional parkin so I thought I'd test out a new recipe to see if it was any better. Big mistake. This new recipe that I tried came out a bit sunken but I can cope with that; the recipe said to expect a bit of sinkage. However, after leaving it to cool down it was like a brick. Now maybe I jumped the gun a bit by throwing it away at this stage as you are supposed to wrap it up and store it for two days to let it get nice and sticky, but I really don't see how this brick-like cake could turn soft and lovely just by being kept in an airtight container for a couple of days. Surely there needs to be a bit of moisture in there to begin with? So that recipe went straight into the bin.

Sigh. Onto the next one...

After my parkin failure you could say I was less than optimistic about trying another new recipe. But I sucked it up and gave it a go, thinking at least I could always fall back on my old Parkin recipe if this fails.

*drum roll please*


This lovely cake you see here is a Yorkshire Tea Loaf (made with real Yorkshire Tea don't you know!), with rosewater, rum and tea (of course) infusing the dried fruit. The loaf contains a bit of marmalade, and also has extra spread on top so it gets lovely and sticky. (These traditional Yorkshire cakes all seem to have a sticky theme!?) Anyway, as you can probably tell I am VERY happy with this cake - and I don't even drink tea! I changed the recipe around a bit, veganising it by using ground flax seed in place of the egg, changing the brandy to rum and adding a little extra liquid. I was still a little concerned that there would be other people making the same thing as me and so it wouldn't stand out but after feeding some to my mother-in-law and her 13 year old son, I'm confident it could stand up against others of its kind as they both loved it. I don't by any means think I'm going to win the competition but I think (hope) that I at least have a fighting chance.

In other news, my lovely husband bought me a present this week:

I'm very into Paul Hollywood at the moment, after watching his BBC series on iPlayer. I think his bread looks amazing and he talks about it in such a way that you can understand why he does what he does. I've started working my way through the book already, making a bloomer this week - but we ended up eating it all before I got around to taking a photo! Oops!

So I hope to see some of you around at the Halifax Food Festival next week, I love going to foodie events - having one on the doorstep is perfect! Now I just need to stop myself buying something from every stall...

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Mission Complete!

Last weekend was quite busy and with one thing and another, I ended up missing my blog update - oops! But that just means you get a double-whammy this week!

I guess I'll start with my the "mission" from the blog title... I've finally made all my orders for the Worldwide Vegan (mini) Bake Sale! My final order was a black forest cheesecake, which I made last weekend. In total, I managed to raise £109.60 which has now been sent off to WWF - visit the website to see what other people have been doing for their bake sales: Click Click!

The cheesecake was a bit of an experiment - it was adapted from an already vegan recipe (for banana-chocolate) but as it was going to be chocolate & cherry flavour I wanted to get rid of the bananas in case some banana flavour seeped in. So I swapped the banana for cherry preserves, and juggles around the measurements for cornflour, adding in some cornflour. I also changed the recipe for the crust - making it with oreos instead of the recommended biscuits. It came out a little firmer than I was expecting and the cherry flavour wasn't particularly strong but all in all I was happy with it. I did dollop cherry preserves on the top but as you can see, it just seeped into the cake instead of making pools of cherry on top. So perhaps next time I'll stick some cherry preserves on once it's nearly cooked, and maybe decorate with real cherries too. A good first attempt though I think!

The only other thing I baked last weekend was a loaf of bread. But it turned out really well! I took Paul Holywood's advice and used cold water instead of warm, leaving it to rise for longer and it turned out perfectly! Fingers crossed all my bread will come out like this now! (MMMmmmmm... bread... )

So that brings us up to this week!

Yesterday I met my mum and sister for an early meet up for my mum's birthday (it's not til next Saturday but she lives miles away and this weekend was better for all of us). We decided we were going to have a picnic so what did I make? Bread! Of course! Onion and Rosemary Bread to be precise!

The picture isn't great as it was late at night and I was using flash...

And since it was for a birthday, there had to be something special for pudding. This one is a veganised version of a recipe I got out of Cupcake Heaven magazine - Chocolate Dipped Cupcakes. I used soy milk & vinegar in place of the eggs and vegan milk-style chocolate (rather than dark) in place of the milk chocolate. They worked out a lot better than I had anticipated as I had visions of the buttercream melting off the cakes as soon as I dipped them in the chocolate! The did end up melting on the day though, since they were sat in mum's car in the sun for a few hours before we ate them...