Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Bank Holiday End of May and the Summer Seems to have Forgotten to Arrive.

Hello lovely followers of our blog. Thank you first of all for your continued support. We are so thrilled to see that you are visiting us and some are trying our recipes. Please continue and let us know what you enjoyed. 
Well the summer was promised and the bright floaty summer clothes sit in the wardrobe waiting for their big moment, while we huddle into our comfy jumpers and boost the central heating. But we thought about the lovely things that still happen even though it is so chilly.
We live opposite a man-made lake and at this time of the year the geese are producing young ones – so we thought it would be lovely to celebrate that moment with their debut on our blog.

And also a photograph which pays homage to my husband and Sarah’s Dad – our patient gardener Merv, who plants and watches over his green fingered produce. In the first few years of our marriage he planted some tree peonies. Every time we moved he asked, in the conditions of the sale, whether he could take his plants with him and while others removed light fittings or curtains, we moved plants – his treasures. This year the tree peonies late of course, like all the plants in the garden, have emerged, like oriental paintings and blessed us with blooms the size of cauliflowers. Absolutely glorious.

And how about our food you ask – well it’s been veggie week and we have been honoured to have features about our veggie lifestyle in Lynn Albutt’s lovely page in the Western Mail Magazine, Abbie Whitewick’s superb feature about us – the Three Generations of Veggies, the Jewish Chronicle who have published Ruth’s Vegetarian Friday Night feature – thank you Victoria Prever, and a wonderful chat with Louise on Radio Wales on making bagels for the folks in New York and enjoying a veggie lifestyle.
And so to our cooking.
We looked at Guardian Felicity Cloak’s challenge for Sugar on Top and although we didn’t win this time we felt we had two magnificent winners. Sorry it’s baking again. We promise after the holidays to create some veggie main meals. They are there but just need the photos. In the meantime these two recipes are stunners. Savoury next time we promise.                         
But how’s about a
                                               Margarita Drizzle Cake
This fabulous cake turned out soo moist and has a touch of naughtiness as well. You could up the Tequila and Grand Marnier for a very grown up dessert. But this is a lighter version and still delicious. Perfect served with lashings of custard or the rather posh fromage frais mixed with the seeds from a vanilla bean
And our other favourite idea that we’ve been dying to try was A Sugary Tear and Share Bread – a sweet yeast dough layered in slices with a little butter or margarine, grated lemon rind, mixed dried fruit, plus optional chopped dates soaked in orange juice and mixed spice  for extra moisture and pulls away like slices of fanciable Chelsea Bun             
   So here they are and we so hope we can tempt you to try them
Warmest wishes and huge veggie hugs

                                      Margarita Drizzle Cake

Serves 8 luscious sugary portions

175g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
175g margarine or butter
175g fair-trade light brown muscovado sugar
10g vanilla sugar
zest of 1 orange 
3 large organic free-range eggs

For the icing

130g fair-trade granulated sugar
10ml tequila
10ml Cointreau
40ml lime juice + coarsely grated zest 
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a loaf tin 23cm x 7½ cms.
Using the all in method 
Sieve flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the salt. Then add the remaining ingredients and whisk to a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 45–50 minutes. To check it is cooked, insert a skewer – it should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

To make the fantastic sugary Margarita drizzle topping, combine the sugar with the tequila, Cointreau, lime zest and juice and the salt. Using a skewer make holes in the top of the cake and pour over the drizzle topping.

Sensational, we are soo chuffed!!!

                                    A Sugary Tear and Share Bread

This is a little trouble – there’s the yeast dough to make and then the layers to roll, butter and shape but the result is soo extraordinary and so different from a standard fruit loaf that we felt it was well worth the effort.

As it was our first time to invent and test our own recipe. But we didn’t fill the tin fully, so the photographs show some extras that didn’t make it into the tin.

Next time we create this baby and there will be a next time, we would stuff the tin full.

OHH enjoy!! It’s like the best sugary buttery Chelsea bun you have ever tasted.  

Serves 8 hungry portions

For the rich yeast dough

150ml lukewarm milk
2 level teaspoons dried yeast
350g organic strong white bread flour
a pinch of salt
60g margarine or butter
60g caster sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
10g vanilla sugar
grated zest of 1⁄2 orange
grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
2 organic free-range eggs

40g Demerara sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
30 butter or margarine
50g mixed dried fruit

For a shiny top, use one beaten egg yolk
Or a little extra Golden Syrup

Soak the dried fruit with the juice of ½ orange
Substitute mixed spice with cinnamon
Exchange the dried fruit for the equivalent in chopped dates or chopped stem ginger

Line a Line a loaf tin 23cm x 7½ cms

Heat oven to 200C, Gas mark 6 

Make up the yeast dough by heating the milk slightly until just gently warm. Add the yeast and a generously heaped tablespoon of flour. Whisk the mixture together and leave in a warm place for roughly 20 minutes until the mixture is bubbling. In the meantime, in a large bowl, sieve the flour with the sugar in case of lumps and rub in the butter or margarine. Beat the eggs and add with the zests to the yeast mixture. Work them well together and knead until you have a soft pliable dough – depending on the type of flour and the size of the eggs you may have to add another 50g of flour.
Leave to rise in a greased bowl covered with a cloth.

When the dough has doubled in size – this takes approximately 1 hour, remove from the bowl and roughly shape the mixture into a long rectangle. Divide the mixture firstly into half, then quarters, then eights, then sixteenths and roll each into its separate length so they are roughly the same size.

Melt the butter or margarine from the filling and brush the layers. Combine the Demerara sugar and the spice and sprinkle each layer generously. Now sprinkle with the dried fruit. Place each rectangle on top of each other like a long sandwich. Cut them in half down the middle of the sandwich and placed them, cut side down, into the lined tin.

Leave the tin in a warm place for the dough to double in size
Either brush with the little amount of butter/margarine that is left and sprinkle with remaining spiced sugar.
 Then when the bread comes out of the oven drizzle golden syrup over the warm layers. To make a shiny top. Ha Sugar on Sugar!!!
Or glaze with one beaten egg yolk for a shiny top and then sprinkle with more sugar and spice.
Freeze the remaining white for another time
Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the top is golden and crusty and the base well cooked    

Fabulous warm with more butter, a decent cuppa and lovely chats!