Baker Days Cakes

When Baker Days contacted me to ask if they could send me a cake to review I jumped at the chance.  Baker Days let me pick the flavour – vanilla madeira, chocolate, carrot or fruit (gluten free or not).  I picked fruit.  Then it was time to pick the design of the cake.  Knowing that mum, dad and I would be devouring the cake I thought it would be fun to go for a Christmas themed design with a personalised message.

Baker Days sent us one of their Letterbox Cakes – a little cake serving 3 to 4 people in a box with a Christmas cracker and note card and the tin is so pretty and cute.  I think it would be great to receive a cake in the post for Christmas or a birthday.

We all admired the cake, and having never had a cake with a personalised message on it, mum and dad thought it was fascinating how this was achieved.

The cake was great.  Its about one inch think and reminded me of the Mr Kipling Manor House cake which is always a firm favourite in our house.  There was a lot of fruit in the cake and I loved finding cherries inside.  If I hadn’t already baked the Christmas cake, I would certainly be purchasing one of the Baker Days cakes – and finding a decent photo of us all too!

~ Pru

Lucinda’s Orecchiette

I often think of baking as being therapeutic, but I think it is the end result that makes me that happiest.  There is something about displaying a pretty cake or cookies that makes me very pleased and of course, the praise helps too.  So when Lucinda Scala Quinn in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living wrote about making pasta as a way to reduce stress I figured she was on to something.

Turns out pasta making – or maybe having to mold tiny pieces of pasta on to my thumb – is not for me.  This drove me mad and I resulted to using a small spoon to shape the pasta although they never turned out as well as the ones in the magazine.

I changed the pasta sauce recipe as I had planned to make this a few days before and when I went to use the brocolli it was out of date.  So I just cooked onions with garlic and tomatoes and added some herbs.

I might make pasta again at some stage for I do own a pasta machine but I won’t be making this again, it was just too time consuming and with the great pasta available now I just don’t think its worth it.

But I can’t wait to see what the other Martha Monday girls made of it.

This was Sara’s pick for Martha Mondays.  If you fancy joining in next month (its my pick and its a good one!) then head over to Brette’s blog for details.

 

~ Pru

Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake

Martha Mondays is back and instead of being a weekly affair, its now taking place monthly with the results shown on the first Monday of the month.  Fancy joining us?  Just head to Brette’s blog.

Megan of Megan’s Cookin’ had the honour of picking the first choice and went with a Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake.

I had high hopes for this.   I had never made buttercream with egg whites or with the addition of caramel and I was excited.  I found the cake didn’t have much taste and kept checking to see if I should have added cocoa powder to the melted chocolate.

The buttercream for my taste had far too much butter.  I don’t see the point in the egg whites either and have found normal buttercream to be more tasty and of a better consistency.  Also, I could barely taste the caramel and ended up modifying it slightly with some powdered sugar and orange food colouring to make it a bit more exciting.

This cake wasn’t for us, but it has given me an idea for a Halloween cake which I will have to get on and make and then tell you about (if it works out okay of course!)

 

~ Pru

Elephant Ear Cookies

Following my decision to book a safari to celebrate my 30th birthday in February, I could suggest that I hunted for a safari-themed baking recipe.  But in this case I had seen the recipe in the August issue of Martha Stewart Living and the Singer family quickly decided that these had to be made.  Right now.

Two days later (after I had time to get more pastry after the pastry which I had frozen had gone off) I made them.  I didn’t use two packs of pastry and have to tell you that if they have the pre-rolled puff pastry then this is so much easier to use.  I also didn’t cut the into 1 inch pieces but halfed this and made more.  We were all happy.

These are pretty much a palmier but they have the addition of toasted pecans which adds a whole new dimension to the cookie.  We ate these hot from the baking tray and then the next day with ice cream.  They were very, very good and I’m tempted to make another batch right now despite the temperature hitting 30c today.

Recipe can be found here:  Elephant Ear Cookies

~ Pru

Blackberry Jam

By the time I had sorted out the photos for this post, autumn had arrived.  Now it is just in time for berry season!

First there were the redcurrants and now the blackberries are in full swing.  So, Blackberry Jam is now sitting in the cupboard, and if I thought the redcurrant jelly was good, well this jam is even better.  Not too sweet, it still retains its flavour, and is delicious.

Place the blackberries in a large pot with a little water (for 4lbs of fruit I used 1/2 cup water).  Bring to a boil and stir and crush the fruit until the fruit has broken up.  The not-so-black blackberries can be blamed on my dad – a very over zealous picker!

Put the fruit through a strainer/seive.  If you want a clear jam then do not push the fruit through.  The juice will eventually drip through (although it could take a while).  When the juice has collected, measure out the sugar.  For every 1 litre of liquid put 750g of sugar into a pot.  Over low heat stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring the liquid up to a boil until the jam reaches a temperature of 105c.  Put the jam into the sterlised jars and store for two weeks until the jam has set and matured.

The jam test – place a plate in the freezer for ten minutes.  When the jam is ready, place a teaspoon on a plate and drawer your finger through (be careful – it is hot jam).  If the jam parts then it is ready.

Delicious on toast, crumpets, anything you can lay your hands on really.  We had some jam left over and had it still slightly warm over ice cream.  A real winner.

~ Pru

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Bruschetta

Despite the weather not being that summery, I am finding that summer has come and thrown my schedules and me into a flurry of activity.  I was so pleased that this recipe was quick and easy and required very few ingredients.  I had no time to get to the farmer’s market and the supermarket had no heirloom tomatoes or any tomato other than red.  It didn’t really matter though, as the tomatoes I picked were so wonderful and tasty.  My boss brought me back a bottle of Blood Orange Olive Oil from a recent trip to the US and this brightened the taste of the tomatoes.

Yep, another Instagram photo – I hope to do some photos with the camera again soon.

This was Sara’s pick.  She blogs over at Sassy Suppers and always has wonderful photos of all of her cooking.  I didn’t really stick to the recipe for this, just adding vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to the tomatoes and spring onions.  This was so tasty though, and probably even better if you follow the recipe!

 

~ Pru

Are you following me on Twitter, Instagram (find me at Pru Singer) or Pinterest?  If not, then click on the links.  It would make my day, possibly my week too!

Apricot Turnovers

Apple turnovers are my thing.  I love them.  I don’t think I have ever eaten one that I haven’t liked, and I have eaten alot of turnovers!  So when I saw a recipe for apricot turnovers, I knew that it was time to move out of my comfort zone!

These are so easy to make, a block of puff pastry, tinned apricot halves, a little milk and a sprinkling of sugar.  I put five halves into each turnover and I will admit that some of the turnovers didn’t stay glued together throughout the baking, so next time (and boy, there will be a next time!) I would put just four in and maybe a brush of apricot jam too for added flavour.

They bake at 200c for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  And they are utterly delicious.

~ Pru