March 2014

March 2014

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rapeseed oil

At this time of year, when travelling around the countryside, it is almost impossible to avoid the fields of swaying, aromatic yellow oilseed rape. I had for some time used mostly olive oil in my cooking but found, about 18 months ago, an article on the merits and benefits of rapeseed. Rapeseed oil contains half the saturated fat and 10 times more Omega-3 than olive oil, plus it has a high concentration of vitamin E. I changed, overnight, to using this new golden liquid.

It is a light, slightly nutty, oil and versatile in all types of cooking. As it has a high smoke point, it can be used for frying, roasting or stir-frying. Other uses include using it in dressings, as well as a healthier alternative to butter in cake and biscuit baking.

The cake I am baking for our inaugural meeting of the Clandestine Cake Club next Tuesday has been adapted with the inclusion of rapeseed oil in the recipe and I am even more pleased that I am using a product which has been grown and produced in my County of Northamptonshire - Farrington's Mellow Yellow cold pressed rapeseed oil.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An exciting delivery

Last week we took delivery of a new oven. To most, this would not be an exciting event but I have soldiered on for the last 2 years with a rather elderly model. We believe that previous occupants of our house successfully cleaned off the oven temperatures figures on the front panel, making life particularly difficult in that I had to physically guess the correct oven heat. Not an insubstantial feat! Sometimes, it worked OK but, more often than not, rather burnt 'offerings' were presented at table. Anyway, I couldn't wait to test whether I had forgotten how to cook a perfectly presentable cake and this is the result. Its an adaptation of a recipe I found in Woman and Home magazine - "Orange and Pecan cake". I am personally not overly fond of orange flavouring and so I changed the fruit to lemon and the nut content to hazelnuts. To say the least, it worked a treat and I found the oven had a very even heat and, being quite wide internally, I could easily position two tins on one shelf. I'm now looking forward to many more baking challenges with a reliable cooker.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Green & Black's cocoa's my last weekend's Easter offering made using the excellent Green & Black's organic cocoa. I wanted to try Nigella's recipe for Chocolate and Guiness cake (available on her website) and it actually turned out well, although I found the texture quite dense. I was really pleased that it didn't taste at all sickly, as some chocolate cakes can be, and I suspect that this is due to using unsweetened cocoa and not the usual 'block' chocolate. Of course, the metallic tasting Guiness element could also have played it's part! I also adapted the topping slightly to a lower fat version of the lavish frosting in the recipe. All in all, it's a bake that I shall come back to in the future.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Not so Good Friday

This afternoon (Good Friday), and in the interests of research, of course, I thought it would be a nice idea to have a cuppa and a nice piece of cake somewhere locally. Hubby and I decided to go to the nearest garden centre. The display of bakes were very appetising and I chose a slice of Victoria sponge. It looked very resplendant, newly cut into and oozing cream and jam, plus heavily dusted with icing sugar. I was in for a treat. You have to understand that I am trying to eat healthily, whilst attempting to lose a few pounds, and so eating cakes is a real sacrifice and not one I take lightly!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I took my first mouthful of this heavenly looking sponge. The crumb was dry and light, the cream filling was thin and coated my mouth with hydrogenated fat, and the jam was hardly to be seen. Oh my goodness, it was obviously a factory-made bake using a packet mix! What a real disappointment. Obviously not something to break the diet for after all and I think I may just prefer my own home-made chocolate cake on Sunday. Well....maybe just a small slice will be ok. Happy Easter.