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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Easter nests!


I've had a very busy term at school with mocks and prep for my A2's but I've made it to the Easter holidays! As it's easter, and easter is all about chocolate; daddy and I made some really easy but delicious chocolate nests for Gran's easter Sunday tea time visit. I thought I would share them on my blog because although they are easy people ALWAYS enjoy them!

Ingredients                                   Equipment
400g dairy milk chocolate            Saucepan
1x box of rice krispies                  Large glass bowl
3x bags of mini eggs                    Spatular
                                                     Cupcake cases
                                                     Cupcake tin

                                                     2x desert spoons

1. Melt the chocolate in a large bowl over a bain marie (a saucepan with boiling water under it - make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water or it will burn the chocolate)
2. Once the chocolate is melted add a large amount of the rice krispies to the chocolate and mix them in
3. Keep adding rice krispies until there is no loose chocolate left in the bowl, you'll notice why you need such a big bowl (it should look like the photo to the right)
4. Put cupcake cases into a cupcake tin and then spoon in the mixture into the cupcake cases until the cases are full
5. Push the middle of the mixture to the outside of the cases making a slight dip to hold the eggs
6. Put three mini eggs into each 'nest' and then put them into the fridge to set all the nests

And thats it, I told you it was easy! These are also so yummy and 100% cadbury chocolate! Of course you can make it with different chocolate, but this is my favourite!

Enjoy and happy baking!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Easy foccacia!


Today I am going to share one of my favourite recipes of all time, focaccia! This recipe I have made  for about 4 years and is my brothers favourite thing I bake. My Geography classmates tend to ask me to bring it back to school after holidays and even organised a baking evening so that I can bake this with them one weekend, so this is a very special recipe of mine! I originally got the recipe from the Hairy Bikers but have adapted it to suit me and the flavours I want to include.
Here's how I do it:

The dough:                                 The topping:
- 500g strong white flour, plus            - 3tbsp olive oil
  extra for dusting                        - 2tbsp flaked sea salt
- 1x7g sachet of fast action               - 1tsp coarsely ground
  dried yeast                                black pepper
- 1tsp caster sugar                        - Rosemary           
- 1tsp fine sea salt                       - Cherry tomatoes
- 2tbsp olive oil, plus extra
  for greasing 
- 300ml warm water

  1. Put the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl (put the sugar and salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on another as the salt kills the yeast so the bread won't have a successful rise), mix together gently with your hands so that the yeast, sugar and salt are no longer visible. Create a well in the middle of the flour and pour the olive oil into the well followed by the warm water. With your hand mix in the liquids until fully combined to make a dough and make a rough ball.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes to make a smooth, pliable and fairly soft dough. This is kneaded (an enjoyable pun) to stretch the gluten in the flour and create a better rise. Transfer the dough back to the bowl and cover with cling film and leave to rise somewhere warmish to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size, in the summer (provided its not raining) outside in the sun as it gently heats the dough creating a nice rise. 
  3. Lightly oil a large baking tray, doesn't matter what size, I tend to just use what I can find but the Hairy Bikers suggest 36 x 25cm. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, (depending on what size tin you have) cut the dough into 2, if you have the tin size the hairy bikers suggest you don't need to do this, then press the dough into the rough shape and size of the baking tray, then place it on the tray and press to the sides as much as possible. 
  4.  Now, gently poke your fingers into the dough randomly to create the traditional holes you see in Italy. Cover with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut the tomatoes in half and place onto the dough, you can press them in if you like but the dough will rise around them so this is not necessary. Take the rosemary leaves off their stalks and scatter on top of the dough, I also like to use the sprigs of the top and poke them into the holes.
  5. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for another 30 minutes to prove. Preheat the oven to 200'c. After 30 minutes, the focaccia should look puffed up and spongy. Use your finger to make the holes deeper, reaching the bottom of the dough.
  6. Bake the focaccia in the middle of the oven for about 20                minutes or until well risen, golden brown and when tapped it sounds hollow. Transfer to cooling wrack and enjoy!
Like I said this is one of my favourite recipes and it never fails for me. It is delicious to have with pasta on warm summer evenings and even made into paninis with mozzerella or cheddar and ham! The toppings can also be varied depending on what you want, for example adding caramelised onions works well or making it into a heart shape for valentines day if you have that shaped tin, it looked quite impressive on the day of love! 

Happy Baking! 

Friday, 29 January 2016

Chocolate and orange profiteroles


 On Christmas eve each year the Metcalfs have a family over who we have known for years. Each year we make a pudding, which was my task for that evening. I decided to make some delicious chocolate profiteroles with an orange cream. They went down a treat and I thought that I would share them for people to give them a go. Here's the recipe:

Choux pastry:               Profiteroles:
- 220ml water               - 260g good quality dark  
- 85g butter                  chocolate
- 105g plain flour          - 600ml double cream
- Pinch of Salt             - 3 oranges
- 3 eggs

1. Measure the water into a small saucepan. Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and add to the water. Place over a low heat and allow the butter to melt, without letting the water simmer or boil (this would result in less liquid and therefore a stiff mixture that won't rise as well.)
2. Sift the flour and salt 2-3 times to aerate and remove any lumps. Do the last sifting onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. Fold the paper in half and fold up the bottom edge a couple of times to create a pocket for the flour to sit (this makes it easier to add it all at once to the water and butter).
3. Once the butter is melted, increase the heat to medium high and have the flour and a wooden spoon close by. As the water begins to simmer, watch it carefully and, as it boils and rises up the sides of the pan, with the melted butter collecting in the middle, shoot the flour in all at once and turn off the heat.
4. Beat the flour in vigorously for just 20-30 seconds, getting into the corners of the saucepan, until the flour is full incorporated, there are not lumps and the mixture is thick and a uniform colour (this mixture is called a panade). Spread the panade onto a plate and let it cool to the touch (cooling the panade allows the incorporation of more egg and so a better rise to the profiteroles).
5. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork. Once the panade is cool to the touch, return it to the saucepan and ass about 1tbsp if the beaten egg and beat it into the panade with a wooden spoon (make sure you don't put it on the heat!). Once the egg is fully incorporated, add a little more egg and beat again, adding about 3/4 of the remaining egg in additions and beating well to incorporate each addition fully before the next. Initially, the panade will thicken, but as more egg is beat in it will start to loosen and become smooth and shiny.
6. Once about 3/4 of the egg have been added, check the consistency, you need a silky smooth pastry with a reluctant dropping consistency, which means that when you fill the wooden spoon with pastry and lift it up over the saucepan the pastry should fall back from the spoon into the saucepan to the slow count of six. Continue to add the egg a little at a time until you get this consistency (be careful because if you add too little egg the profiteroles won't rise correctly, if you add too much egg the mixture will be too runny and won't keep its shape so also won't rise correctly.
7. Heat the oven to 200'c.
8. Put teaspoons of the pastry onto a prepared baking sheet(with greaseproof paper), spacing the spoonfuls about 4-5cm apart. Use a dampened clean finger to smooth out any peaks or spike on the choux buns. 
9. Bake in the top third of the oven for 20-30 minutes, until well risen and puffed, and a deep golden brown all over. They should be  very firm to the touch on the base where they sit on the baking tray.
10. Remove from the oven and lower the oven setting to 170'c. While hot, turn each choux bun over and use a skewer to make a hole in the base, about 5mm in diameter or the size of your smallest piping nozzle, to allow the steam to escape. Place the buns, base up, on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 5-6minutes to dry the insides. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 
11. While the choux buns are cooling, put the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Give it an occasional stir to encourage melting.
12. Zest the oranges. Put the cream and the orange zest into a bowl and whisk the cream until it is of piping consistency (thick but still soft enough to pipe through a nozzle). Place the cream into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle the size of the hole in the base of the profiteroles.
13. When the profiteroles are completely cold, take one in the palm of a clean hand and pipe the cream into the profiterole through the hole. Once filled, scrape away any escaping cream and return to the wire rack. Repeat with all the profiteroles.
14. Hold one profiterole upside down at its base, using your fingertips, and turn the top of the profiterole though the melted chocolate, keeping your fingers clear of the chocolate (it can get very sticky!!) Carefully turn the profiterole over and place on a serving plate. Repeat with all the remaining profiteroles. 
 When serving my profiteroles I covered them in popping candy and gold glitter to make them a bit more christmassy, and it looked beautiful but any small cake decorating goodies could work on these profiteroles, just make sure you add them whilst the chocolate is still wet to ensure that they stick!

It may seem like a complicated recipe, but once you begin to make it and especially after making it for the first time, it becomes a lot easier than it seems and they are a very impressive pudding to pull out as they are a 'complicated' pudding.

I hope this recipe works well for you, and you enjoy making them. Don't forget to add your own touches to them by decorating them how you like.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Classic Victoria Sponge with a twist

I thought that as this is my first recipe I'm posting on my blog, I would go for a classic recipe that I love and always goes down a treat. In the summer time I always like baking a Victoria sponge as it's a summery type cake. My brothers birthday is in July and so I love to bake him this cake but try to change it up each year to make it slightly different. This year instead of using vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam like usual I filled it with cream, strawberry jam and fresh strawberries which made it more of a dessert cake than afternoon tea.
This is the measurements I used and how I made it:

- 8oz margarine                       - 2 round tins
- 8oz caster sugar                    - Wooden spoon
- 8oz self raising flour              - Large mixing bowl
- 3 eggs                              - Measuring spoons and scales
- a cap of vanilla extract            - Cooling rack
- Double cream
- Strawberries
- Strawberry jam

First start by preheating the oven to 180'C.
Then lightly grease the pan with a bit of margarine, I like to cover my hand in cling film and just scrape a bit of margarine from the pot and rub around the tin. Once greased add a bit of flour, about 1tbsp and move the tin around until the flour has stuck to the sides of the tin. Repeat this for both tins, I always like to put the excess flour from the first tin into the second to reduce waste. 

- To make the actual batter, cream the margarine and sugar together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is fully combined. 
- Add the 3 eggs into the bowl and mix again, then add the vanilla extract and continue to mix until it becomes a loose batter.
- Sift in the flour and fold it in until it become thicker and all one combined mix. The colour of the batter will change time to time depending on what eggs you use, the fresher the better!
- Then distribute the mixture between the two tins and put in the middle of the oven and allow them to bake for about 25 minutes.

I usually use the time in the oven to clean the kitchen so I can start fresh when the cakes come out the oven.

The cakes should be lightly golden and to check the cakes have cooked gently press on the top and they should bounce back, another method is to put a knife inside the middle of the cake and no batter should come off with it. I prefer to use the first way as it leaves no marks on the top of the cake.
- Once the cakes have cooked put them on the wire cooling rack and allow them to cool slightly. Then get a small kitchen knife and run around the edge of the tins, keeping close to the edge to avoid cutting into the cake. Turn the cakes out onto the cooling rack and turn so the top of the cake is facing upwards. Leave to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, whisk the cream until it is of spreading and piping consistency. Chop the fresh strawberries into quarters and decide what plate you want to serve it on.

Once the cakes have cooled place the flat side down of one half onto the plate and cover with strawberry jam, how much you add depends on your preference, my family always likes quite a lot. Then place the strawberries on top of the strawberry jam. On the other half of the cake cover the bottom (flat) side with cream and place on top of the strawberry jam layer, make sure you don't put all the strawberries and cream inside the cake as they are also used for decoration. 

To decorate the cake I piped cream around the edge and placed the remaining quartered strawberries on top. In the centre of the cake I piped some more cream and placed whole strawberries and finally sprinkled with icing sugar. This is just one of the many ways to decorate this cake, so its up to you how you would like to do it.

And thats it! I find this recipe for cakes one of the simplest methods, it doesn't involve lots of ingredients or mixers and it gets fantastic results every time! 

I hope this recipe is as loved with you as it is with me,

Happy baking!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Who is BakerEve?

Hi, my name is Evie and as you may already know, I like to bake. Whether its baking bread, cakes or scones I enjoy every second; this may be because of my childhood filled with incredible food from my mama or from a love within my heart of all things foodie. 
 So why am I here? I wanted to share my favourite recipes as well as experimental projects that I do for family and friends. As I become older I am wanting to do more exciting projects and try new recipes rather than just make the same old cupcake recipe that everyone does and I wanted to share my experiences with the world.
 I am from a small county in the east of England, Suffolk. It is a farming county that I love and am very proud to be from. Many people throughout England tend to think that everyone there are either farmers or inbred, but I'm here to buck the trend and prove that we do much more than that. 

Ready for an adventure? 
Ready, set, bake!