Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Kitchen Cheat Sheet

I don't see many Infographics that I like or that are useful so its a rare treat when I come across one that is both!  Everest has produced a great kitchen cheat sheet that has everything that I always seem to Google.  From conversion charts for Gas Marks, Fahrenheit and Celsius to cooking times for different cuts of meat, this chart is very useful. There are even printable PDFs in the link under the image.

So here it is....

If you'd like to find a printable version of this cheat sheet, visit the Everest kitchens page.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Christmas Cake

This is the recipe for the Christmas Cake that my Mum in Law and her best friend bake every year. This year however as my mum in law is overseas visiting her daughter I though I would bake the cake for her. I've never baked a fruit cake before so this could be wonderful or disastrous!! Unfortunately I won't know for a couple of weeks as you have to let it sit for a while.  Wish me luck!!

  • 350 g (12 oz) Plain Flour
  • 1 x 5 ml spoon (1 tsp) mixed spice
  • 100 g (4 oz) ground almonds
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) milk (or ½ milk, ½ brandy)
  • 225 g (8 oz) butter
  • 225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 225 g (8 oz) currants
  • 225 g (8 oz) sultanas
  • 225 g (8 oz) raisins
  • 100 g (4 oz) glacé cherries, halved
  • 100 g (4 oz) cut mixed peel
  1. Heat oven to 150ºC, 300ºF, Gas Mark 2. Grease and line a 23 cm (9 inch) round or 20.5 cm (8 inch) square tin.
  2. Sieve together flour, spice and ground almonds. Beat eggs with milk.
  3. Cream butter and sugar, stir in flour mixture and egg mixture alternately, a little at a time.
  4. Lastly add fruit. Mix thoroughly. Place mixture in prepared tin and protect with brown paper.
  5. Bake for about 3½-4 hours.
  6. Allow to cool then cover with almond paste and leave for 1 week.
N.B. If you prefer a more open texture use self raising flour in place of plain.

Royal Icing
  1. If possible, stand the cake on a revolving cake stand or upturned cake tin.
  2. Spread the icing on with a palette knife dipped in hot water to ease smoothness of the finish - but avoid making the icing too wet.
  3. Cover the cake completely with icing, using sweeping strokes of the knife. Then spread the top smooth. To make the sides straight, bring the palette knife around the cake continuously, holding the knife upright.
N.B. If the cake is to be iced further e.g. piping, leave to stand for 24 hours.

Royal Icing

Use this recipe to decorate fruit cakes and celebration cakes. This will be enough for top of 20-23 cm (8-9 inch) cake.

  • 1 kg (2 lb) icing sugar
  • 5 medium egg whites
  • 2 x 5 ml spoon (2 tsp) lemon juice for firm icing
    2 x 5 ml spoon (2 tsp) glycerine may be added to keep icing soft
  1. Lightly beat egg whites with glycerine or lemon juice.
  2. Sieve icing sugar, add half to egg whites, beat well.
  3. Add remainder of sugar gradually stirring well until stiff enough to stand in peaks in the bowl.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Mini Eclairs

Makes: 30
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins

  • 75g/3oz butter
  • 100g/3½ oz plain flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 600ml /1 pint double cream 
  • 200g/7oz dark chocolate 
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup 
  • You will need: a piping bag and nozzle
  1. Preheat oven to gas mark 6 / 200°C(19O°C in a fan oven). 
  2. In a saucepan. melt butter with 200 ml /7 fl oz cold water and bring to boil. 
  3. As soon as it's boiling  remove from heat and tip in flour. Beat well to combine. 
  4. Then, whisk in eggs a little at a time to make a smooth, shiny dough that easily comes away from the sides of the saucepan.
  5. Pipe dough onto baking sheets lined with baking paper. You need éclairs about 5cm/2in long. 
  6. Cook for 20 mins till golden brown, then remove from oven and make a slit in sides. 
  7. Return to oven for 5 mins, till centres are cooked through and dry. 
  8. Leave to Cool completely. If making ahead of time, store in an airtight container, till ready to fill.
  9. ln a bowl, whisk 500 ml / 16 fl oz cream, till fairly stiff peaks. 
  10. Fill piping bag with cream then pipe éclairs with cream. ln a small saucepan, gently melt remaining cream with chocolate and syrup, till smooth. 
  11. Spoon over éclairs before serving.