These rum and raisin cupcakes are a delicious, but rather boozy bake. They’re reminiscent of Old Jamaica, a chocolate rum and raisin flavoured bar from my childhood. I used to save up my pocket money so I could occasionally indulge in what seemed to be a highly sophisticated treat at the time.
Kohlrabi is one of those vegetables that’s lurking under the radar. Many people haven’t heard of it at all or if they have, they don’t know what to do with it. We had one delivered in our veg box this week along with a load of new season carrots. Instead of putting it on the veg rack to do something with later, I decided there was no time like the present and made this most delicious kohlrabi carrot slaw.
Easter is fast approaching and as it gets ever nearer, my thoughts turn to chocolate, although to be fair, my thoughts are rarely far from this exquisite food of the gods. Over the years I’ve made many Easter chocolate cakes, some more child friendly than others. These ones, containing rather a lot of rum are definitely of the adult variety.
Porridge was a breakfast mainstay when I was growing up and it’s given me a love of oats that’s never left me. I use them in porridge, in my smoothies and in baking. But I rarely think about soaking them overnight and having a bowl of raw goodness for breakfast. Bircher muesli or overnight oats, call them what you will, is another tasty addition to have in one’s breakfast repertoire.
We’re just about to set off on a week’s trip to North Wales where we’ll be staying with friends. It’s been a long time since we had a holiday and it’s much needed; I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve not been to this particular part of Wales before, but it’s CT’s old stomping ground, so he’ll have a lot to show me.
After all those amazing layer cakes in March, I thought something a little simpler might be in order this month. No bake chocolate treats it is. Think chocolate cornflake nests for Easter, tiffin to use up all those Easter chocolate leftovers or raw energy balls for a healthy post Easter detox.
Having seen a a review of the Ozeri Green Earth Frying pan over at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary with its toxin-free, non-stick qualities, I was keen to try it out for myself. I fell in love with the cheerful lime green colour, despite my desire for only red equipment in my kitchen. I particularly liked its non-polluting environmental credentials. I’ve always been very wary of non-stick cookware and have tried to steer clear of it due to its purportedly toxic nature. Made out of heavy-gauge anodized aluminium for even cooking, the natural ceramic coating on this pan is 100% PTFE and PFOA free, meaning there are no heavy metals or chemicals present. The surface is textured which apparently helps to prevent food sticking and also speeds up cooking times by allowing heat to flow underneath the food. Ozeri claim that the coating is more durable and scratch resistant than other non-stick pans – only time and use will tell on that one.
One of the few things I miss as a vegetarian is a good lardy cake. Our local bakery BlakesBakery does a particularly good one. Rich with fat, sugar and spicy fruit, it has a crunchy exterior with a lovely doughy interior. When I found out the #TeaTimeTreats theme was for yeast bakery this month, an idea was conceived. I would invent my very own non-lardy, lardy cake using white chocolate instead of lard, my own candied peel and very non traditionally, apples.
Last week, I accompanied my mother to the bakers to buy some fresh yeast to make bread. She only wanted 1½ oz, but as they didn’t have any half ounce weights, she was only able to get 2 oz. It’s been a while since I made yeasted bread, other than my weekly sourdough, so on the spur of the moment, I said I’d relieve her of the extra ½ oz. Home I went, wondering what on earth I could make with ½ oz fresh yeast. I did what I suspect most of us would do and turned to Google. Three pages into the search, I was about to give up, when I spotted a recipe for Chelsea buns in amongst all the comparisons of the fresh and dry yeast equivalents. Marvellous, I thought: I’ve never made Chelsea buns before and I’ve never eaten chocolate ones at all. I’d been given a bar of dark chocolate with cranberries for my birthday and I thought this would be just the thing for these buns.
What can I say, they were very good and didn’t last as long as I’d planned. The chocolate proved to be an excellent way of counteracting the sweetness of the buns and adding a richness of flavour which was very welcome. They were definitely at their best on day one when the dough was soft and brioche like. By day two they had toughened, still good, but not as delicious. Note to self: remember to eat the whole lot on the same day next time.
As this was entirely made from scratch, I’m sending it off to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays.
- 15g or 1/2 oz Yeast
- 120 ml Sour milk
- 225g Strong white flour
- 1/4 tsp Sea salt
- 40g Unsalted butter
- 1 Egg
- 70g Dark chocolate with cranberries – chopped
- 60g Raisins
- 50g Dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Honey – I used dandelion honey