Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Choc Cross Buns

Bread & Buns, Easter | 30th March 2013 | By

I originally planned to make hot cross buns on the traditional day of Maundy Thursday, but what with one thing and another, action was postponed until Good Friday.

(more…)

Chococo Brownies and Matcha Madeleines

Last weekend saw me very busy with a mammoth bake for a friend’s birthday party. When asked if I could make some cakes to bring along, the only request made was for small cakes that were easy to eat and weren’t cupcakes. It took me a while to come up with some ideas. I wanted to include lots of different flavours, textures and colours. Eventually I got there. Sometimes I find it hard to get hold of good quality free range eggs. Luckily, I had plenty of organic ones from Penbugle Farm which I’d been given to use.

Brownies just had to be on the menu. I decided to use a recipe from my newest chocolate book Chococo which CT bought for me as a Valantines surprise. This uses far less sugar than is normal in brownies, but the author Claire Burnet claims that they are still sweet and delicious. I Swapped the pecans for walnuts, the rice flour for buckwheat flour and made a few other adjustments.

This is how I made:

Walnut Brownies

  • Melted 150g unsalted butter with 225g 70% dark chocolate in a pan over low heat, then left to cool.
  • Whisked 125g dark brown sugar with 3 large organic eggs. 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp fleur de sel using electric beaters until mixture was thick, pale and doubled in volume.
  • Sifted in 50g buckwheat flour and folded in as lightly as possible.
  • Stirred in 60g chopped walnuts as lightly as possible.
  • Folded in the chocolate mixture until just incorporated.
  • Poured into a 22cm (9″) sq cake mould and scattered 20g chopped walnuts over the top.
  • Baked at 180C for 17 minutes. Left to go cold then cut into 16 squares.
These were not like your average brownie; they were very light and quite delicate. Despite the reduced amount of sugar compared to most brownies, Claire was right: these tasted sweet and delicious.

As well as the honey and spice cakes I’ve already blogged about, I also made Blackcurrant Bakewell Slices and Date and Rum Slices. The piece de resistance which I will post about later was this lime and pistachio birthday cake. CT got into the spirit of thing and drew appropriately illustrated labels for each bake. We all had a deal of fun on the night including a Beetle Drive and lots of dancing.

The final bake I took along were these Japanese green tea Madeleines which CT refers to as Matcheleines and which I based on my chocolate chilli Madeleines. As some of you will have gathered by now, I am a big fan of using matcha in baking. It works particularly well, not only giving an interesting colour, but adding great flavour too. They were as good as I was hoping they might be; CT would have happily demolished the lot given half the chance. There were certainly none left at the end of the evening. Perhaps I should have made crepes as my friend is actually Breton.

This is how I made:

Matcha Madeleines (Matcheleines)

  • Melted 75g unsalted butter gently in a small pan then set aside to cool.
  • Whisked 2 duck eggs and 75g golden caster sugar together for quite a long time it seemed, using electric beaters. Whisked until the mixture had trebled in volume and was pale and thick.
  • Sifted in 90g flour (half spelt, half white), 1 tbsp matcha (Japanese powdered green tea) and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • Folded this in as gently as possible trying not to lose too much air from the eggs.
  • Poured the butter in down one side of the bowl and folded this in until just incorporated.
  • Placed 1 tbsp of the mixture into each of 16 Madeleine moulds.
  • Baked for 10 minutes at 200C until well risen and firm to the touch.
  • Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
  • Dusted with caster sugar.

As Madeleines are a classic French bake (mais peut etre pas normalment avec le matcha), I am entering them into Tea Time Treats where the theme this month is French tarts, cakes bakes and pastries – ooh la la. Hosted this month with Karen of Lavender and Lovage, the challenge is co-hosted by Kate of What Kate Baked.

These also fit nicely into Bloggers Around the World where Chris has chosen Japan for this month’s national cuisine. Matcha is the taste of Japan for CT who drank it zealously whilst he was there.

I’m also entering the brownies into Choc Full Easter over at Jagruti’s Cooking Odyssey an Easter event celebrating ….. chocolate of course!

Beetroot, Carrot and Goats Cheese Muffins

Lunch, Savoury Chocolate | 26th March 2013 | By

When I met Vanesther of Bangers & Mash at Blog Summit in Bristol a couple of weeks ago, I learnt about her Recipes for Life challenge which she hosts in conjunction with SWALLOW, a charity which helps adults with learning difficulties to lead more independent lives. Do find out what it is all about by visiting her blog. As soon as I heard what the ingredients were (beetroot, carrot and cheese), I knew what I wanted to make. I first made savoury cocoa muffins for the Capricorn Challenge back in October last year and was very impressed by the results; I’m not sure why I haven’t made them since. My only concern was would I have time to do it. With a cake club meeting, a chocolate course and a birthday party to bake for, I really wasn’t sure if I could fit it in. But sense prevailed; as well as making a nice change to my lunchtime sandwich, it would save me having to make said item in the mornings before going to work, something I always find a bit of a chore. I was also given a bit of a helping hand by Ethel the Goat, who is up to her old tricks again and a round of Capricorn cheese or two found its way to my kitchen.

This is how I made:

Beetroot, Carrot & Goats Cheese Muffins

  • Scrubbed 2 medium carrots and 2 smallish beetroot (weighing about 300g) then topped, tailed and grated them in a food processor.
  • Put 300g flour (half wholemeal, half white) in a mixing bowl.
  • Added 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Added 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Whisked together to ensure all was incorporated and there were no lumps.
  • Stirred in 50g of chopped walnuts.
  • In another bowl beat 2 large organic eggs with 200ml yogurt.
  • Beat in 100ml sunflower oil.
  • Beat in 100ml milk and a good good grinding of black pepper.
  • Divided 100g Capricorn goats cheese into three.
  • Chopped two lots into pieces and stirred into the batter.
  • Chopped the third piece into twelve equal portions.
  • Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and added the batter.
  • Stirred as lightly as possible until everything was just incorporated.
  • Added the grated beetroot and carrots and stirred just enough to incorporate into the mixture.
  • Divided between 12 silicone muffin moulds.
  • Topped each with a piece of goats cheese.
  • Baked at 200C for 20 minutes
  • Left for a few minutes in their moulds, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool.

These were just as good as the Beetroot, Walnut Goat’s Cheese Muffins I originally made and the raw grated vegetables cooked through with no problem.

Blog Summit Bristol

I’m not going to write an account of the Blog Summit, a really useful gathering of bloggers from Foodies100 and Tots100 held at the famous MShed down by the river. This is partly because there was not a single piece of chocolate or chocolate cake or even a chocolate biscuit to be had anywhere – can you believe it? Partly because others have written far more informative posts than anything I am likely to do and partly because this was the only 1/4 decent picture I took. I’ve listed below a couple of particularly useful write ups that others have done. It was a useful day and despite the rather long journey, it was worth attending. I met lots of very nice bloggers and heard quite a lot of useful tips about SEO, social media and photography – the follow / no follow issue was covered at some length. Special mention must go to Ali of PLUS 2.4 and Annie of Mammasaurus who rescued me from who knows what heinous fate as I wondered around Temple Meads in daze, stupefied by the splendour of a great metropolis – I am a country lass after all! Apart from the lack of chocolate, the only slight quibble I have, is that Foodies 100 members were sadly underrepresented, with only myself and Vanesther in attendance. 

 
Ten things I learnt at Bristol Blog Summit by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash
Blog Summit Bristol: a summary by Sally Whittle of Tots100
 

Iced Honey and Chocolate Spice Cake

Traybakes | 23rd March 2013 | By

What do you do with the letter I for goodness sake? This is the letter we are all to use for Alpha Bakes this month. Well there is icing of course, but that seems a bit of a cheat. Luckily Delia came to my rescue. I am doing a mammoth bake today (and yesterday) for a friend’s 60th birthday party. I was looking for a range of bakes with different colours and textures that could be picked up with one hand and eaten with minimum fuss and mess.

(more…)

Hot Chocolate Victoria Sandwich with Vanilla Apricots and Cream

Leafing through How to be a Domestic Goddess the other night, I saw Nigella’s treatise on Victoria sponges and although she didn’t have a chocolate one, I was inspired by her to create my own for the Cornwall Clandestine Cake Club, CCC. The theme was afternoon tea, so what could be more appropriate than a Victoria sandwich? I was also inspired by Karen’s drinking chocolate cake over at Lavender and Lovage, so decided to use a drinking chocolate mix rather than cocoa. As I was planning on using the vanilla apricot jam I made before Christmas, I was hoping this would make for a lighter taste, which would allow the apricot and vanilla flavours to shine through.

This is how I made:
Hot Chocolate Victoria Sponge with Vanilla Apricot Jam and Cream

  • Creamed 250g unsalted butter with 240g vanilla (caster) sugar until very pale.
  • Beat in 4 duck eggs, one at a time, mixing in a little of the flour in between each egg to stop curdling.
  • Stirred in 210g flour (half wholemeal, half white), 50g drinking chocolate, and 2 scant teaspoons of baking powder.
  • Added about 4 tbsp of milk to make a loose, but not runny mixture.
  • Divided mixture between two 21 cm cake moulds and baked at 180C for 20 minutes until firm on top and cake tester came out clean.
  • Left to cool for ten minutes, then turned out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  • Spread one half with a jar of my vanilla apricot jam.
  • Whisked 150 ml double cream until soft peaks formed.
  • Spread cream over the top of the jam and placed the other half on top.
  • Sprinkled with caster sugar.

One of my cakes broke up a little when I turned it out, a rare occurrence for me as I use silicone moulds; I am always taken aback when it happens and not best pleased. Luckily, I managed to rescue it by gluing most of it back together with the jam and using it as the bottom layer.

My goodness that jam was good. The cake wasn’t bad either. Others thought so too and demonstrated their appreciation by coming up for seconds – no mean feat with the vast array of cakes available.

Our CCC event was held at Lanhydrock, one of our local National Trust estates which is just up the road from us – in Cornwall terms anyway. The meeting was held in one of the offices away from the main house, a pleasant corner of the estate I’d not seen before. The converted stables, recently revamped, made an excellent location for our gathering. The cakes were many, splendid and varied. To top it all we had an informative and entertaining talk by Sue Bamford on the surprisingly dramatic history of afternoon tea. Who knew that a married woman in Victorian times could entertain a male guest in her dressing gown for tea, but was unable to do so fully dressed for dinner.

Many thanks to Ellie Michell for continuing to organise our wonderful cakey gatherings. As I said the cakes were many and varied and I rather lost the plot on what they were, who had baked them and whether I’d photographed them or not. So here follows a random selection:

Cherry Cake
Kat’s lemon curd and raspberry sponge

Seed Cake
Cream Tea
Ellie’s Carrot Cake
Boiled Fruit Cake with Pineapple

Madeira Cake

Irish Whisky Cake
Nat’s Cherry Bakewell
Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake

Inspired by Nigella as it was, I’m entering my Hot Chocolate Victoria Sandwich to Forever Nigella, created by Maison Cupcake and this month hosted by Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes. The Theme is Easter and I reckon this would make a perfect cake for Easter tea.

As I used four very large duck eggs which were coming to the end of their useful life, I am entering this to the No Waste Food Challenge, created by Kate of Turquoise Lemons and this month hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen. The theme this month is eggs.

Although most of my bakes are entirely made from scratch, I don’t often remember to submit them to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays, but I’ve remembered this time.

Temper Temper – the Secret of Chocolate Success

Picture courtesy of Sadie Phillips

Have you ever wanted to do a chocolate course? Wondered what tempering chocolate was all about or how to make ganache or truffles? As some of you may know, I have been struggling with tempering chocolate for a long time now. Occasionally it’s worked, but more often than not it hasn’t and the chocolates I’ve made with love just don’t look very good. Not only that, they don’t last very long and I don’t mean because I have scoffed them all. The chocolate is dull and often produces a white bloom after a couple of days. This not only looks unappealing, but just doesn’t taste right. So when given the opportunity to attend a morning’s chocolate session with Cornwall’s top chocolatier, Nicky Grant, I was determined to attend.

Picture courtesy of Sadie Phillips

Nicky Grant, patissiere and chocolatier, has won several awards for her delectable fresh handmade chocolates; I’ve tasted them on a number of occasions and reviewed them here on my blog. Flavours I haven’t tried yet but am particularly keen to include, cardamom & pistachio, lime & chilli, honey & cinnamon and Cornish Blue & port. Nicky’s fennel & ginger won an Academy of Chocolate Gold in 2011 and her Cornish seasalted caramel, which is to die for, won a Gold Great Taste Award. Behind every great woman there is a great man and husband Tom is sous chef and business manager. The couple have recently branched out into hosting bespoke chocolate courses. If you want to learn a specific aspect of chocolate making, cake making or decorating, give them a call. For those unable to attend a course in a remote (but very lovely) part of the country, there are plans afoot to run various courses online.

We all know that Cornwall is God’s own country, but it was a thoroughly awful day weatherise. The cold driving rain, made for an unpleasant journey, but the allure and aroma of melted chocolate soon eliminated all other thoughts. A select band of Cornish bloggers along with a journalist and photographer gathered in the Grants’ farmhouse kitchen and dried out in front of the Aga. Nat of the HungryHinny I knew, but the others I was meeting for the first time: Rachel of Saffron Bunny, Sadie Phillips from Cornwall Food and Drink, Jessica of FishWifey and journalist Eleanor Gaskarth.

Tom is knowledgeable and quite passionate about the science behind chocolate. Nicky is the artist and creator of flavours and is highly adept at her chocolate craft. Both were very keen to impart their knowledge and expertise. In the short time we were with them, I learnt loads and now have a much clearer understanding about how chocolate works. We listened, asked questions, watched, tasted and then got to play with chocolate. The session was divided into three main parts. I am not going to include everything that was imparted to us as that would be a book in itself, but I’ve noted one particularly useful tip for each part.

Tempering – The transformation of chocolate from molten goo to a stable, shiny substance, that has a good snap to it. This is very temperature dependent and if you don’t get it right, your finished chocolate is likely to develop a white bloom, look dull and have a rubbery consistency. It’s all to do with polymorphism, Tom’s favourite word. What this means is that chocolate can take many forms depending on how it is treated.
Top Tip – Test the chocolate before using. Dip a piece of greasproof paper in the chocolate and leave it for a few minutes. If it is tempered you will soon start to see the chocolate crystallising and in about three minutes it should be set and shiny. The chocolate will continue to crystallise for the next 48 hours. What you’re after is Beta 5, apparently, chocolate in its perfect state. Untempered chocolate will take ages to set, we did two strips and compared them; it was easy to see which one was tempered and which wasn’t.

Tasting – We, er, did get to try some chocolate whilst we were there. A high cocoa content milk chocolate is my favourite so I was delighted to be trying a Venezuelan 44% milk – it was truly good. A dark 73% was also rather good and not particularly bitter.
Top Tip – 11:00 is apparently the best time of day to taste test as that is when our tastebuds should be at their optimum.

Making Chocolates – We left the cosy kitchen and headed for Nicky’s chocolate studio. There we saw how to make ganache and how to pipe it, including how to fill a piping bag which is something I always struggle with. Nicky did a demo of how to make a piping bag out of paper – she made it look very easy, but I suspect I’ve already forgotten what to fold and where. At this point we were allowed to get our hands dirty and we all had a go at rolling the dark tear drop ganache shapes in cocoa powder (Red, Extra brute). We then dipped the milk chocolate ganache forms in tempered milk chocolate and rolled them in milk chocolate shavings – what a pleasure.

Top Tip – Making ganache seems to be a hit and miss affair with me, my ganache splits as often as it doesn’t. I learnt that the varying temperatures of ingredients and implements might be one of the causes. This could explain why it happens so often to me; it goes back to my kitchen again where the cold implements probably give the ganache an unwelcome shock. We were told there are two ways of rescuing split ganache: 1) cool the mixture and whisk with a balloon whisk, 2) add a little additional hot cream to the mixture and whisk with a balloon whisk. As it happened, the ganache Tom was making split and he was then able to demonstrate the first method – to my amazement, it worked.

I have yet to put the tips I learnt into practice, but I’m actually looking forward to my next tempering experience. As I suspected, my kitchen makes working with chocolate particularly difficult as it is usually too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer; the ideal working conditions are a temperature between 18C and 20C and a humidity of less than 70%.

Working in the studio was a feast for the eye, beautifully crafted chocolates, Easter eggs, and decorated cakes covered virtually every surface. The massive tray of melted chocolate was so inviting I just wanted to dive straight in. How Nicky and Tom remain slim is a mystery, although they did say something about intensive workouts. I must try this myself.

Thanks to Nat for organising the course. Getting five busy bloggers and a journalist to agree on a date which would fit in with Nicky and Tom was quite a feat in itself. Thanks also to Sadie who kindly allowed me to use some of her photographs – she’s a much better photographer than me. And of course thanks to Nicky and Tom who generously gave of their time, expertise and chocolate.

You can follow Nicky Grant on Facebook or on Twitter

Chocolate Lime Biscuits

Biscuits | 17th March 2013 | By

 

A while back, I won a book voucher from the wonderful Dom over at Belleau Kitchen. It took me a while to make a decision, but I finally bought a copy of Delia’s Cakes; it’s a rather sober choice for me, but I’ve never really had any dealings with Delia, so I thought I’d give her book a try. It’s very nicely laid out with cool pastel colours (also not my usual style) and clear, rather plain photographs. She also gives instructions as to which part of the oven to place the bakes in. This is an essential but often overlooked part of baking, but rarely do recipe books mention it – big bonus point. There are lots of recipes I’m keen to try but I started out with one fairly standard recipe and one that was a little more unusual, both were citrus recipes and as I still have several limes to use up I did a citrussy swap.

The Cow Lady and Gingham Chicken were hosting a cake and coffee morning for Red Nose Day at their shop Jelly Pebbles. I was unable to attend (chocolate course!), but did manage to get a cake baked for the occasion. Lemon drizzle always seems to go down well and I thought Delia was bound to have a recipe for this classic which I wanted to convert into a lime drizzle. She did and so I did.

A couple of friends were acting in an am-dram production of Calendar Girls so I thought a box of biscuits would be a nice post performance pick-me-up. Again I turned to my new book and spotted a recipe for chocolate orange biscuits that Delia seemed quite keen on. With all my recent chocolate and lime experience (chocolate key lime pie, ginger and lime cake, lime and coconut loaf) I couldn’t see why the combination wouldn’t work in biscuit form.

This is how I made:

Chocolate Lime Biscuits

  • Creamed 125g unsalted butter and 175g caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Grated in the zest of three limes and creamed some more.
  • Sifted in 225g flour (half wholemeal and half white) and 2 level tsp baking powder. Stirred it in as best I could
  • Squeezed in the juice of half a lime (about 1 tbsp) and stirred.
  • Mixed in 75g chopped 70% dark chocolate.
  • Brought the mixture together with my hands and rolled out on a floured surface to about 1 cm in thickness.
  • Cut out heart shapes. Re-rolled the trimmings and repeated the process creating about 30 biscuits in total.
  • Baked on a lined baking sheet, one batch at a time at 180C.
  • The first batch I set for 15 minutes (Delia quoted 20). Sadly they came out looking somewhat scorched, so the 2nd batch I set for ten minutes.
  • Removed onto a wire rack and dusted the tops with caster sugar.
The flavour of the biscuits was just what I was hoping for: the lime was present, but not  in the least overpowering and it complimented the chocolate nicely. Sadly, the rest didn’t go so well – the biscuits spread in the manner of pancakes and ended up about 2 mm in thickness rather than the desired 1 cm. As a result they were overdone, even those I cooked for 10 minutes were crisper than were comfortable to eat. I took the best of the bunch, placed them carefully in a box, tied them up with ribbons and hoped for the best. Whether they were just being polite or trying out their acting skills, I’m not sure, but our friends expressed their appreciation in very positive terms – darling they were simply marvellous 😉
 
I didn’t get to try the lime drizzle loaf, but the absence of cake at the end of the day is usually a good sign.

Happy St Patrick’s Day to all Irish readers.

 

As I was trying to use up the last of my limes before they went off, I’m entering this into Credit Crunch Munch run alternately by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla of Fab Food for All.

Nathan Outlaw’s Cornish Salted Fudge Brownies – Random Recipes #22

This month Dom tasked us with randomly selecting a recipe. Not from a book, but from our piles of clippings and odd cuttings filed away in recipe books – you mean I’m not the only one that does this? I’ve been squirrelling away various recipe cuttings for years and have probably lost more than I currently have. I cut them out because I really like the look of the recipe and know I have to make it very soon. Then it somehow disappears into a pile, as a bookmark and occasionally into an actual file. Now, I may not be as organised as I’d like to be and I can’t guarantee that every chocolate recipe clipping is in the same place, but I do have a cuttings folder of chocolate recipes. This was the one I thrust under CT’s nose, told him to close his eyes, put in his hand and pull something out, which he obligingly did.

And out he drew a recipe from Food, a local magazine focussing on the South West: a recipe from celebrity chef Nathan Outlaw no less. Nathan Outlaw is one of Cornwall’s Michelin starred chefs and although I’ve never eaten any of his food, Fiona of London Unattached is quite a fan. His recipe for chocolate, fudge and Cornish sea salt brownies put a happy smile on my face. I always have a tub of Cornish sea salt on hand as I use it to make my weekly loaves, so that wasn’t a problem. The Cornish fudge wasn’t a problem either. We have our very own fudge maker here in Liskeard, Gingham Chicken and very popular her fudge is proving to be. I had to adapt the recipe a little as the quantities were large. I used 100% wholemeal spelt, which I find works perfectly in brownies.

This is how I made:

Cornish Salted Fudge Brownies

  • Melted 110g unsalted butter in a large pan with 110g of Fairtrade 85% chocolate.
  • Stirred in 160g dark brown sugar and took of the heat to cool slightly.
  • Beat in two large duck eggs.
  • Stirred in 110g wholemeal spelt flour
  • Added a scant tsp of Cornish sea salt and stirred.
  • Chopped 50g of local Cornish fudge and stirred into the mix.
  • Poured into an 8″ square cake mould and baked at 150C for 20 minutes (as the recipe stated). It was still runny at this point, so I turned the oven up to 180C and baked for another 7 minutes. It was well risen and the top was crusty, but it was still gooey (not runny) in the middle – just right.
  • Left to cool then cut into 9 squares.

Even though I love salted caramel and salted chocolate, I did find it very strange at first bite to taste salt in a brownie. In fact, I’m sitting on the fence on this one and can’t make my mind up if I like it. I don’t dislike it and the brownies were lovely and fudgy and it was fun to come across the chunks of fudge, which gave additional flavour and texture. CT, whilst also sitting on the fence, managed to polish off a fair few of them.

These brownies are my submission for this month’s Random Recipes with the Dashing Dom of Belleau Kitchen.

I’m also adding submitting this to Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes from Tinned Tomatoes.

Violet and Rose White Chocolate Fairy Cakes – World Baking Day

Cupcakes | 11th March 2013 | By

Violet and Rose Fairy Cakes

If you like baking or just like eating home baked goodies, then World Baking Day is for you. This year it falls on Sunday the 19th of May. As a World Baking Day ambassador, I was sent a pretty pastel Cath Kidston cake stand and cupcake case set to showcase a recipe or two. I already had a cake planned for Mother’s Day, but still wanted to bake something pretty, floral and spring like to grace my new cake stand.

A while ago, I won a bottle of violet & rose liqueur at a raffle and I’ve been waiting for just such an occasion as this to do something with it. To be honest, it tastes a bit like medicine on its own, but added to a cake it gives an exotic perfumed flavour of Parma violets and rose.

This is how I made:

Violet and Rose White Chocolate Fairy Cakes

  • Melted 60g good quality white chocolate with vanilla over a pan of hot water and left to cool slightly.
  • Creamed 150g Stork margarine with 150g caster sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Added the white chocolate and creamed some more.
  • Beat in two duck eggs one at a time (large hens eggs would be fine).
  • Sifted in 150g plain flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder and stirred gently in.
  • Added 2 tbsp violet and rose liqueur and stirred gently until just combined.
  • Spooned into 12 fairy cakes cases and six mini cases, filling to about 3/4 of the way up.
  • Baked at 180C for 20 minutes, then left on a wire rack to cool.
  • Melted 40g good quality white chocolate with vanilla over a pan of hot water and left to cool slightly.
  • Creamed 50g Stork margarine with 130g icing sugar.
  • Beat in the chocolate.
  • Beat in 2 tbsp violet and rose liqueur.
  • Spread over the cooled cakes and topped with crystallised violets.
The sponge was perfect – light, fluffy and tasty. This may be due to the margarine I used, I normally use butter. The buttercream was rather good too. The flavour of both rose and violets was easily detected, but neither was overpowering.
These fairy cakes would be perfect for Easter or any other spring gathering. Don’t worry if you don’t happen to have any violet and rose liqueur in your drinks cabinet. You mean you don’t? Nor did I until I won it in a raffle. Violet or rose syrup would work well or you could use some watered down rose and/or violet extract instead. You can find a recipe for rose syrup on my blog and a recipe for violet syrup at Lavender and Lovage.
So get your aprons on, your wooden spoons out. and bake for fun, bake with friends and Bake Brave for World Baking Day on Sunday 19th May. You can tweet your progress and pictures @WorldBakingDay using the hashtag #BakeBrave or post on Facebook.

A Riverford Giveaway #25

Book Reviews, Giveaway | 9th March 2013 | By

Following on from my visit to Riverford a couple of weeks ago, I am very pleased to offer up a giveaway and no, it’s not a veg box. Riverford sell more than just vegetables: they sell chocolate both on their online and in their bricks and mortar shops,  Montezuma’s organic chocolate to be precise. You can follow Riverford on Facebook and Twitter.

Riverford are offering up an exclusive prize for Chocolate Log Blog readers. Sadly, even I didn’t get to sample this one – it’s just for one lucky winner.

  • Two 100g bars of Montezuma’s organic 73% dark chocolate
  • Two 100g bars of Montezuma’s organic 34% milk chocolate
  • Two 100g bars of Montezuma’s organic creamy white chocolate
  • A Riverford Farm Cook Book

Riverford Farm Cook Book

Luckily, CT bought me a copy of the book a couple of years ago, so I don’t feel too short changed. As you would expect from an organic vegetable farm, this is a recipe book all about vegetables. Written by Guy Watson and Jane Baxter, former head chef at the Riverford Field Kitchen, it celebrates British food and focuses on the fruit and vegetables that can be grown here in the UK. The chapters come in an A-Z format of fruit or vegetable, starting with apples and ending with turnips. As well as recipes, each chapter has some information on each crop including varieties, storage and preparation. This makes it super easy to find a recipe for that last celeriac lurking in the fridge or the bag of quinces a kindly neighbour presented to you and you haven’t a clue what to do with. Spiced celeriac with lemon is delicious, I know because I’ve made it. I adore membrillo, the famous Spanish quince cheese, but have not yet made my own. When I do, I’ll know where to go for the recipe.

The accompanying chocolate can be put to good use, as there are some recipes in the book using this most wondrous of ingredients. To my shame I haven’t yet made the Riverford Farm version of beetroot brownies, but I have made their Chocolate Courgette Cake which turned out really well despite me forgetting to add some of the sugar.

Giveaway
Riverford have kindly offered an exclusive prize of a Riverford Farm Cook Book and six 100g bars of Montezuma’s organic chocolate as a giveaway on Chocolate Log Blog.
To be in with a chance of winning this, please fill in the Rafflecopter below. You will need to leave a comment on this post which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random from the entries received. Please give me some way of identifying you in the comment section as I will be verifying the validity of entries and will always check back to the comments to ensure that part has been done. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. You need to be 18 or over to enter. Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked.
Prizes are offered and provided by Riverford and Chocolate Log Blog accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party.
If you need some help using Rafflecopter, here’s a quick clip to show you how.
Closing date is Sunday 7 April 2013

You might want to take a look at my giveaway page to see if there is anything else you would like to enter.

NB 7 April – thank you to everyone who entered. All entries are very much appreciated and I especially appreciated some of the fabulous veggie dishes given here 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway