March 2014

March 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jaffa Twist Melting Moments

Are you ready for a melting moment?
I love receiving new products to review, especially if they relate to my passion for baking. This week I was thrilled to be asked to trial some flavoured icing sugars from Sugar and Crumbs. Their new flavour innovations – Black Forest, Chocolate Milkshake and Jaffa Twist - will be launched at the beginning of September to complement their numerous other tasty options, like Cherry Bakewell, Banana Split, Turkish Delight and Salted Caramel. 

Two new flavours - Jaffa Twise & Chocolate Milkshake
I would really like to try them all but on this occasion I decided to make some Melting Moments, using the Jaffa Twist sugar, as it could be incorporated in the biscuit itself, as well as being used in the buttercream filling. Plus a good sprinkling on the top of each one would provide maximum taste and flavour.

Melting Moments are rich and buttery and, as the name implies, have a melt-in-the-mouth texture, and everyone usually loves them. This particular recipe has been adapted from several that I have used over the years and resulted in round mouthfuls of scrumptious, chocolate-orange loveliness which were definitely enhanced by the use of Sugar and Crumbs Jaffa Twist icing sugar. Indeed, a real melting moment!

Rounds of loveliness
For approximately 16 biscuits, you will need:
175g butter, softened
60g Sugar and Crumbs Jaffa Twist icing sugar
Zest of ½ orange
160g plain flour sifted
70g cornflour

For the filling:
75g butter
125g Sugar and Crumbs Jaffa Twist icing sugar
1 dessertspoon orange juice
Zest of ½ orange
A small quantity of Jaffa Twist icing sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 160C/Gas 4 and line 2 baking trays with parchment.
Beat the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy, then add zest, flour and cornflour and mix until a smooth paste.
Roll mixture into about 32 large marble sized balls and place onto trays spaced apart.
Using a floured fork flatten each round slightly and create a striped pattern on each biscuit.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
When cooked, they are best left on the trays to cool completely.

For the filling, mix the butter, icing sugar, zest and juice until well combined.

When the biscuits have cooled, carefully spread 16 with the filling and sandwich together with the other halves. Finally, dust with some more delicious Jaffa Twist icing sugar to make them look pretty.


Kindly note: The Sugar and Crumbs icing sugars were sent to me free of charge but I was under no obligation to provide a favourable review of this product.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Foodies 100 - specialist diet bakes

I was asked by Foodies 100 - the UK's largest network for food and drink bloggers - to share my favourite recent posts from 10 blogs and this is the result:

Specialist Diet Bakes

Gillian from Pat A Cake is taking the reigns today – she is wife, mother and new grandmother who lives on the Northamptonshire border and her lifelong passion for baking has led her to create her own blog.


Since childhood I have always loved the sights and smells of freshly made bread and cake. Sadly, however, I am now also old enough to remember the days when nothing was known about ‘food intolerances’. So, in this modern age, with lots of us now with special dietary requirements, isn’t it great to know that it’s still possible to indulge in the need to bake for everyone by using recipes that are suitable for those that are ‘gluten intolerant’, or have ‘a dairy allergy’, want a ‘low-fat’ diet, need ‘eggless’ cakes or perhaps, like me, would just prefer fewer calories and a healthier lifestyle.

Fortunately, our Foodies100 blogs offer a wealth of recipes, which are suitable for all occasions, and cater for all these needs and I have really enjoyed finding my Ten at Ten.

  • First up, writer Charlotte Pike’s savoury cheddar and spinach muffins on her Charlotte’s Kitchen Diary blog shows just how simple it is to sneak in healthy vegetables whilst baking for the family.
  • Or, if you are craving a sweet fix but would prefer something low fat and without sugar, then look no further than Alida’s My Little Italian Kitchen. Her healthy and flavoursome easy fat and sugar free pureed apple cake is a recipe I am definitely going to try out next weekend!
  • Now, for the last two years or so, after visiting our local oilseed rape farmer on an Open Farm Sunday, I have often swapped rapeseed oil (it is rich in omega 3, vitamin E, has low saturated fat content and is high in monounsaturated fats) for butter and I’m looking forward to using this amber liquid in ‘Supper in the suburbs’ recipe for skinny carrot cake – it looks so delicious.
  • Next on the agenda just has to be Holly Bell’s blog – Recipes From A Normal Mum – which remains a firm favourite. As I waited for my daughter to give birth to my first grandson in June, I was aware that Holly was also awaiting the arrival of her third son and I delved into her blog regularly to see how she was faring. These gluten free brownies are obviously perfect for those with sensitivity.
  • Another lady that I have followed since her Great British Bake Off days is Ruth Clemens and her blog The Pink Whisk. I rather fancy her egg-free savoury blue Monday and walnut biscuits.
  • Like me, do you find there are times when a list of ingredients just screams ‘healthiness’? Such is the case with Laura’s blog How To Cook Good Food and her oat, date and pecan breakfast loaf. I’m sure this would make a lovely change from the usual toast at breakfast.
  • Now, here’s a clever recipe that caught my eye: lemon and almond magic cake from Apple and Spice. In Katie’s own words “It intrigued me as the magic part comes from the cake mix separating out into three distinct layers during baking. A top sponge layer, a custard middle layer and a firmer base layer. It looked incredible and I couldn’t wait to try it for myself.”Me too!
  • The following blog is all about helping to feed someone with complex allergies. If you are struggling to find healthy and palatable substitute foods The Recipe Resource is full of recipes and useful tips. This pizza base, for example, is free from wheat, dairy, egg, soy and corn.
  • Back now to breakfast with honey nut oat clusters from A Kick At The Pantry Door – a delicious alternative to the usual cereal and just perfect accompanied by a good dollop of yogurt and a swirl of additional honey.
  • Lastly, a recipe which is similar to my own lemon parsnip and hazelnut cake but, instead of a large cake, this blog from north of the border, Cakeyboi showcases his parsnip and pecan cupcakes.
And so yes, it is true, you can still have your cake……and eat it too!
Gillian x

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lighter Baked Lemon Cheesecake

Lighter Baked Lemon Cheesecake with summer fruit compote
Quark is a mild and creamy fresh cheese without the sour taste of yoghurt. It has much a lower fat content than cream cheeses and has no salt added and, therefore, is perfect for those of us trying to keep their waistlines! It also is full of protein and is loaded with minerals, including calcium which, according to the medics, helps us to build and maintain strong bones.

So, what can we do with it? In the past, I have used quark as a foil to make interesting dips with the addition of chives, or horseradish, chopped herbs, or sweet chilli sauce for example. Another idea would be to mix it with caramelised onions and roasted garlic. Spread onto crostini it would make a perfect appetiser.

Quark, of course, can also be sweetened with fruit puree, or honey and, in today’s offering, it is used as an ingredient in this very simple Lighter Baked Lemon Cheesecake which I served today with a summer fruit compote.

You will need:

3 free-range eggs, separated
75g caster sugar
2 tablespoons of plain flour
250g carton of quark
2 lemons, zest and juice

Icing sugar for dusting

Beat the egg yolks and sugar to a pale cream. Then add the quark, zest, juice and flour and mix well.

Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff and then fold them gently into the quark mixture.

Pour into a greased and lined 20cm tin and bake at 180C (160C fan) or gas mark 4 for about 50 minutes until set and brown. 

Cool in the tin before turning out and dusting lightly with icing sugar.

Dusted with icing sugar