Hi, I’m celebrating – today is the first day I’ve not woken up with a migraine for too long. When I get a fairly good day I smile and give thanks – harder to do on the other days, more like clinging on by my fingertips. AND I made the easiest tart ever! This Blackberry Nectarine Tart is made with shop bought, all butter, puff pastry, a tub of blackberries (mine were frozen) and a punnet of nectarines – you could easily use peaches instead.
If you think roasting vegetables intensifies their flavour, then imagine what 30 minutes in a hot oven does to the fruit in this tart? Even with the addition of a sprinkle of vanilla sugar the intense fruit flavours in this Blackberry Nectarine Tart are a delight on the taste buds. Yet this is not a sweet tart. For me it’s a perfect balance of fruity flavour and flaky, buttery pastry.
I really can’t emphasise how easy this tart is to make. Since the pastry and blackberries were in the freezer, the nectarines, ridiculously cheap and in season, ripening at an increasingly rapid pace, needed using. Given how well this tart turned out I would happily make this during the colder months using, shock, horror – tinned peaches! Yup I would, with custard poured over. I am shameless!!!
I hope I’ve convinced you to give this tart a try? As they say “The proof of the pudding, is in the eating!”
Recipe : Blackberry Nectarine Tart Serves 6
375g/13oz All Butter Puff Pastry – defrosted, if frozen
300g/11oz Blackberries – if frozen don’t defrost – I buy frozen punnets from Waitrose
7-8 Nectarines – peaches are a good substitute
1tbsp Vanilla Sugar
Method : Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7
Grease or line with parchment paper a baking tray with shallow sides, the fruit give off juices when baked, 26cm x 39cm (10.5″ x 15.5″).
On a clean, dry, lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry so that it will just fit in the baking tray – I haven’t given dimensions, as if your baking tray size differs from mine a few centimetres either way, it won’t matter.
I lightly scored the pastry approx. 1cm in from the edge with a sharp knife. This would ensure that a nice, even, crust, bordered the tart.
Next slice each nectarine into 6 equal(ish) portions. If they are still firm this should be fairly easy. Mine were very ripe so I cut out the slices, against the stone, whilst holding the nectarine, over a bowl to catch the juices.
You can buy Vanilla Sugar, or alternatively you can make your own.
Tip : A light (little goes a long way) sprinkling of Vanilla Sugar over homemade popcorn is delish!!
Next arrange the blackberries on the tart, however you choose. I chose to go with the lines of the tart.
Place the tart in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes. There will be some juice that leaks, but I found, once the 30 minutes baking time was up, it had concentrated and did not make that part of the tart soggy.
The tart is cooked when the outside crust is golden brown and the base, when gently lifted, is golden brown too.
Immediately remove the Blackberry Nectarine Tart from the baking tray and place on a cooling rack. This keeps the tart bottom and crust nice and flaky.
Serve warm or cold. This tart was perfectly complimented by a scoop a good, vanilla ice cream.
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If you keep pastry and fruit in the freezer regularly, I’d say this is the perfect, pull together, easy dessert, fit for snuggling on the sofa watching a film, or entertaining last minute, or even planned dinner guests!!
I used nectarines as their skin is so tender it doesn’t need to be removed.
Hello, I’ve got a question for you; do you like Figs? Because in our house opinion is divided – so I, being a massive lover of Figs, fresh or dried, was sneaky – I made these Walnut Fig Oat Cookies and I kinda forgot to tell everyone what was in them! I’m very naughty, I know. Guess what happened?
Everyone liked them! Now there are distinct Fig haters in our home, I mean they are very vocal when I bite into a perfectly ripe fresh Fig, or snack on a pack of dried Figs. I totally get that Figs have more of a distinct texture maybe than taste ( the inside of a fresh Fig described to me, as looking like raw flesh, very vocal ). So, loving them as I do – both Figs and our children – I thought I’d see if I could unite them, if only once AND I did!
Our children, like most I suspect, love cookies – with chocolate in or on them. Preferably both!! I’m more your fruit and nut (case!) girl. So when I’m baking it’s nice to branch out with flavour combinations. In doing so, I’m also, hopefully, educating taste buds. Am I alone in this quest?
I’ve always cooked our children the same food as for hubby and me. When they we’re little I would ‘water-down’ with added veg – carrots in Spag Bol. etc. With the odd exception they have grown up eating Wholemeal bread, curries, salads (with all manner of ingredients), in fact all of the foods we eat. Also we all sit at the table and eat and enjoy the same meal together.
Anyway, I knew Figs would be pushing it. Because, not knowing they were eating chopped, dried Figs, allowed them to taste without prejudice. I’m not silly, I realise the chocolate option would win, hands down, every time, given the choice – I also know that Walnut Fig Oat Cookies would be munched, if there was no choice! Balance is everything!!!
In a large bowl whisk the butter, sugar and salt until pale and creamy.
Chop the Walnuts and Figs to approx. the same size – 1cm.
Grease or line baking trays with parchment paper. Using a medium ice cream scoop or your hands, place balls – approx 4cm – onto the baking tray.
Place the baking trays into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cookies are baked when they have turned a lovely golden colour on top. As soon as the cookies are baked remove the trays from the oven.
Note : Depending on the thickness, I had to carefully remove some cookies from the tray and return the others back to the oven for a few minutes – note to self, ensure all cookies are an even thickness before baking.
Enjoy the smell of toasted Walnuts pervading through your kitchen. Mmm delicious. Once cooled see who you can fool into eating one of these delicious Walnut Fig Oat Cookies!! The oats, whilst also being good for you, add to the rustic charm of these yummy Cookies.
I really do urge you to try these delicious, crunchy, fudgey cookies. They come personally recommended!
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Wimbledon starts today here in the UK and that can only mean one, two, oh well maybe a few things. First of all it means Strawberries – beautiful, British, luscious, red, ripe berries. While strawberries are available year round in the supermarkets, eating local, seasonal berries cannot be beaten. So to celebrate these gorgeous fruits I have created a White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake.
Which brings us onto my second point; many afternoons will be spent over the next fortnight watching copious amounts of Tennis. I kid you not. Because Wimbledon is a national pastime. Will Murray make it through to the final? Will the Williams sisters reign supreme? Second to our preoccupation with the weather (which is actually my third point!), Wimbledon lovingly becomes THE subject of conversation. Taking precedence over my third point. Will the weather hold? Will the roof be closed. Much speculation, umming and aahing takes place during Wimbledon AND it’s FUN!!
Smiling at British eccentricities
I love the way we British, while watching a well known player blast their way through three sets against a relative unknown ALWAYS pull for the underdog. It’s one of the Great British traits I really admire. Yet for two weeks computers, iPhones, TV’s are all tuned to the BBC, for a glimpse of the All England Tennis Club’s freshly prepared, lawn courts, get thoroughly annihilated by some of the worlds top athletes.
Wimbledon is one of the highlights of my year. Can you tell? Since I had the opportunity to go, back in the day when John McEnroe reigned supreme, I’ve been sold on it ever since. In fact, should you get the opportunity to visit SW19 it’s a wonderful, Wimbledon, experience!
Recipe : White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Serves 8-10
You will need a 25cm/10″ Springform Cake Tin for this recipe.
Since it can be quite difficult to remove the cheesecake from the base of the pan, I cover the base with aluminium foil and click into place.
Making the cheesecake base:
Now it’s time to make the base
Place the biscuits into a thick, sealed freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin, until they are broken and look like sand.
Put the butter into a small saucepan and melt over a low heat. Once melted, tip in the biscuits crumbs and mix thoroughly. The mixture should resemble damp sand.
Press the biscuit base into the tin using the back of a spoon to create a compact, even layer.
Refrigerate for an hour.
Making the cheesecake filling:
Next for the cheesecake filling – melt 75g/3oz white chocolate in the microwave, remove before completely melted and stir. The residual heat will ensure all the chocolate melts. Be careful, white chocolate is the easiest chocolate to overheat.
Pop the cheesecake in the fridge while you sit on the kitchen floor and lick the bowl and spatula clean. Mmmm not too shabby!
Decorating the cheesecake:
Melt the rest of the white chocolate, as before and set aside to cool a little.
Also pick two strawberries for the centre of the cheesecake. Hull and halve the rest of the strawberries.
Finally place the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set (overnight would be better – but who are we kidding?).
Behold the White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake
Spectacularly beautiful and so simple to make.
Cover with cling film and keep refrigerated. Eat within 3 days.
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While Wimbledon certainly is a highlight of my year, gathering with family to watch the final together is the biggest thrill. Because sharing time together is what matters most. Also, making memories and creating experiences that our children will tell their children about, is absolutely the heart of who I am as a parent. I firmly believe that all food tastes better when shared. So getting together with friends and family turns simple food into a feast!
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.
No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Hello lovely people, thank you for stopping by to read my blog. I really do appreciate each and everyone of you. So I thought I’d share my latest Summer cool down drink with you – Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies. A fabulously tasty way of recharging your system.
Why Superfoods? Blueberries are full of antioxidants and are known to be good for your nervous system and brain. Bananas are high in Vitamin C, fibre and can help regulate blood sugar levels. They can also help with mood enhancement. These fruits have many other positive affects on the body, especially when eaten raw, which is how they are in the Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies.
If you’re craving something sweet, as I was and don’t want to dive into a tub of chocolate ice cream, then these Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies will fix that craving and do your body good at the same time. Yes there is ice cream and whole milk in this recipe, you can totally switch this recipe up and use frozen low fat yoghurt and skimmed milk. The bananas will still give the smoothie a creamy taste.
I was actually really surprised that these smoothies didn’t need extra sweetening, considering the amount of blueberries added. Sometimes blueberries can be a but tart, but the sweetness of the bananas offsets this, leaving the perfect balance. I’ve used frozen blueberries but fresh are fine. To keep the cold in the smoothie just break the bananas up, pop in a bag and freeze.
Using bought frozen fruits keeps the cost down and gives them a longer use-by date. However, I have raspberries growing in our garden and if we have loads I would definitely put them in smoothies. Just do whatever works for you! We’re pretty chilled about things like that, bit like the smoothies!!!!!
Recipe : Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies
400g/14oz Frozen Blueberries – I buy mine from Waitrose most supermarkets sell frozen fruit.
Hello people, do I have the perfect picnic Cupcake for you to make and enjoy this sunny day here in the UK today – I think so? Let me introduce these delicious Bakewell Cupcakes. All the yumminess of Bakewell Tart in Cupcake form.
Now I love Bakewell Tart, the raspberry jam layer, enveloped in an Almond sponge or frangipane, so I set about turning one of my favourite tarts into a cupcake. Hence the Bakewell Cupcake was born.
You have to admit, these cupcakes even look cheerful – maybe it’s the bright red cherry on top of the Almond glaze? When you bite into these Bakewell Cupcakes your mouth is filled with an assortment of tastes and textures! The hidden Raspberry jam and Almond flakes in the centre are a wonderful surprise!
The use of flaked Almonds in the centre is two-fold, firstly they provided a delightful crunch, secondly they stop the Raspberry jam from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake. So when you bite through the glorious Almond glaze into the moist cupcake sponge, your mouth is then filled with tart Raspberry Jam and crunchy Almond flakes. The perfect cupcake balance!
Now enough of me telling you how scrummy these are, let’s get on with how to make them!!
Hi, thank you for stopping by to look at this scrumptious Strawberries And Cream Cake! I hope the sight of it puts a smile on your face. Strawberries in Spring remind me of the promise of sunshine, picnics in the park and days at the beach. Ultimately I think that strawberries are a celebration of warmer, sun drenched days, ready to be shared with friends and family.
Since this is such a simple cake to make and yet looks so beautiful, it could easily turn any occasion into a Feast! I baked it simply because strawberries were on special offer. They were so sumptuous they deserved celebrating!
I find that usually during Summer, when it is hot, too hot for cake (yes there is such a thing in my world!), Strawberries are eaten just as they are, warm from the sun, or churned into the most delicious ice cream, see my Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream. Whereas Spring allows for the indulgence of cake – and vanilla whipped cream – and Strawberries. Totally and utterly delicious!
Recipe : Strawberries And Cream Cake serves 8
For the cake:
225g/8oz Caster Sugar
225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temperature (plus a little extra for greasing the tins)
4 Large Free Range Eggs
225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour – alternatively use the same quantity of Plain White Flour plus 2tsp baking powder
450g/1lb Strawberries – hulled and sliced, save 1 pretty strawberry for the top
400ml/3/4 pint Double Cream
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – alternatively use vanilla extract
1 tbsp Sugar
Method : Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4
While I have used the ‘All in one’ technique for this cake, which usually involves placing all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisking, I have added an extra step.
Making and baking the sponge cakes
First of all grease 2 x 7in (17.5cm) sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.
Next add the butter, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until pale and creamy.
Add the vanilla extract and eggs; Note – I always crack eggs into a separate bowl first, any shell is easily removed and one bad egg cannot spoil the cake batter. Also sift the self raising flour (or plain flour and baking powder) into the same bowl.
Whisk all of the ingredients together until just combined and smooth. Take care not to overmix the cake batter, as this can result in a heavy sponge.
Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 prepared sandwich tins. Smooth the top of the cake batter using the back of a spoon.
Place the tins into the centre and lower parts of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
The sponges are baked when they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed in the centre. Also an inserted skewer will come out clean.
As soon as the cakes are baked remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in their tins.
Turn the cakes out on to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before filling and decorating. Carefully remove the baking parchment.
Filling and decorating the cake
As soon as the cakes have cooled they can be filled and decorated.
In a large bowl whisk together the cream, sugar and vanilla bean paste until the cream holds it’s shape. Also, take care not to overmix as this can cause the cream to split, essentially you can create butter.
Place one cake sponge on to a plate or board, flat side up.
Spoon half of the whipped cream on to the cake and spread so that it almost comes to the edge.
Add a layer of sliced strawberries on to the cream.
Now place the other cake on top, flat side facing down.
Cover the top owith the rest of the cream and decorate with sliced strawberries, placing a whole strawberry in the middle.
Ideally place the finished cake into the fridge for 1 hour, as this allows the cream to firm up and makes slicing easier.
I love to serve this cake sliced and placed on my best china, with a cup of tea served in a cup and saucer. You may slice and serve this cake however you wish.
Both cake sponges can be made a day ahead, cool and store in an airtight container, using baking parchment to separate them. However the cake is best assembled on the day of eating.
As with all cream cakes they are at their best on the day they are made. Wrap any leftover cake in cling film, alternatively place in an airtight container and store in the fridge. Eat within 2 days of assembling.
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While I love baking, sharing my finished bakes gives me the most pleasure. Because, for me, seeing the anticipation and finally a happy face as someone enjoys something I’ve made really does give me a buzz inside. Finally, remember, before slicing into this cake I urge you to take a photo! Seriously, if you look at this cake in the deepest, darkest, depths of an icy winter, it will remind you that sunny days are ahead. Hope is powerful – even if it is in the form of cake!
Hello everyone. A big shout out to all the Mums and Dads on half-term duty. I’ve created a deliciously CrunchyHomemade Coleslaw, that all my children love. It’s a really good way of getting fresh veg onto the dinner plate and goodness into us all. Not only that but this Crunchy HomemadeColeslaw tastes seriously good!
Some may argue – ‘Why should I make my own Coleslaw, when it’s easily available and isn’t expensive?’ Which, if you think about it, it a fair point. I do, on occasion, buy Coleslaw from the shops aaaand each time I do I regret it! The Coleslaw is either really gloopy and absolutely smothered in a creamy sauce, or else it seems to contain only cabbage and onion, the latter having a strongly, oniony, overbearing taste. I don’t like shop bought Coleslaw! There I’ve said it!!!
Now I like onion in my Coleslaw, but I don’t like it to have a nasal clearing, strong, over powering taste. I’ve sorted this problem. Firstly I use red onions, which are generally sweeter than white onions, then I slice them thinly and soak them in lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt. The lemon juice draws out all the acridness from the onions, leaving them sweet and crunchy!
I make a great big bowl of this Coleslaw which we eat alongside fish and potato wedges, fabulous with homemade pizza, great with burgers, or in place of salad with any meal. Let’s get on with the –
Recipe : Serves 6 as a main side dish.
1/2 Medium White Cabbage
1 Medium Red Onion
3 Medium Carrots (or 2 large)
Approx 5 Heaped Tablespoons of Mayonnaise (I use full fat mayo)
First take the lemon, cut in half a squeeze it into a large bowl – feel free to use your favourite citrus juicer!!!
Now cut the red onion in half and slice as thinly as possible into half moons. Break up the onion and add to the lemon juice in the bowl. Sprinkle over the sea salt and mix the onion half moons, breaking them apart as you go, into the lemon juice.
Take half a medium white cabbage and remove the tough core. Cut the cabbage into 3 sections and finely shred them with a sharp knife.L
In the bowl with the onions and lemon juice add 4-5 heaped tablespoons of your favourite mayonnaise. Mix thoroughly so that the lemon juice becomes incorporated into the Mayo. Add 1/2tsp of freshly ground black pepper.
The lemon juice thins out the mayo so the resulting sauce is smooth and creamy, but not gloopy, thick and claggy like mayonnaise only Coleslaw sauces. Put the shredded cabbage on top of the onions and sauce in the bowl.
Trim off the tops and bottoms of the carrots, peel and then grate in the coarse side of a box grater.
Place the grated carrot in the bowl.
Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and you have yourself some top notch, Crunchy, Homemade Coleslaw.
If not using straight away, cover in cling film and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. This coleslaw is at it’s best the day you make it, but will keep for a day in an airtight container.
Again this is a fantastically portable dish, that makes it great for feasting with family, friends, work colleagues, in fact ANYONE. This Coleslaw is ideal for buffets (it’s easy to double/triple/quadruple the quantities. It is so easy, inexpensive, cheaper and way more delicious than the shop bought alternative. Try this recipe once – feel free to adjust the lemon/mayo ratio – and I bet you’ll think twice before buying shop bought Coleslaw again!
Oh and please let me know how you get on, I love to read your comments.
This Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw is the ideal accompaniment to:
Hi, thanks for stopping bytoday. I hope you are well? As for me, I have a rotten sore throat (plus the high temperature etc that go with these horrid virus’). I need soup! Not any old soup, Leek and Potato Soup! I love this soup, it’s the one thing I can eat when I am feeling unwell and haven’t got an appetite. When I’m unwell this is what I feast on.
So I make a big batch of this soup when I’m well, then I freeze it in single portions. That way if I’m not feeling bril, like today, all I have to do is grab a portion out of the freezer, reheat and eat!
Recipe: Leek and Potato Soup
0.5kg Potatoes – I’ve used King Edwards, floury potatoes work best in this recipe.
1tsp Nutmeg – freshly grated
1/2tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon
1/2tsp Black Pepper – freshly ground
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
1 Tbs Butter – for sautéing leeks
50mls plus a little extra Double Cream
Place a large, heavy based saucepan on the hob, add the butter and melt on a slow heat.
Trim the top and bottom of the leeks. Make a slit down the entire length of each leek. Wash each leek thoroughly under cold water, making sure that any dirt, trapped between the layers, is washed out. (This is best done under a tap of cold running water – or you can chop the leeks, place in a bowl filled with cold water, swish about to dislodge any dirt and drain.)
Chop the leeks into roughly 1/2″ dice.
Add the chopped leeks to the melted butter in the pan. Then add half of the salt and stir ( the salt will stop the leeks burning). Sauté the leeks for 5-10 minutes on a medium/low heat until translucent (the dark green parts of the leek won’t change, don’t worry that’s ok!).
Whilst the leeks are sautéing peel and chop the potatoes (1″ dice for the potatoes). Place the prepared potatoes into a bowl and cover with cold water.
Once the leeks are translucent add the potatoes and the water they have been stored in. Pour over enough recently boiled water, from a kettle, until the potatoes and leeks are completely covered in liquid.
Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.
Add the stock cube, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Hold back on adding the rest of the salt, stock cubes vary in their saltiness. Better to add a the salt later, than have an over salted ruined soup!!!
Cook the soup on a gentle simmer for at least an hour. This slow cooking breaks down the tough fibres found in the dark green tops of the leeks, enhancing not only the colour, but, importantly the flavour of the soup. I’ve made this soup before leaving it to simmer happily, on a low heat, all morning. Not only did it taste delicious, the house had a wonderful, welcoming, warm aroma!
When the soup is fully cooked it’s time to blend! There are various ways to do this: A potato masher can be used to simply ‘mash’ the potatoes and leeks into the liquid. This will not give the smoothness achieved by using a blender, but creates a wonderful textured soup.
I’ve used an immersion blender for my soup. As can be seen from the photo, make sure you move your pan away from direct heat whilst blending. The soup is completely blended until super smooth.
Other ways of blending including using a liquidiser or food processor. I personally would not liquidise the soup until it has cooled. Whatever you decide, ensure you follow the manufacturers instructions for your appliance. Just looking out for your safety xx.
When you have your soup at the desired texture, stir in 50mls of double cream. This makes such a difference. If you are seriously counting the calories (or are allergic to milk products), check the soup for seasoning and eat as is. However, I don’t skip the cream stage!!! Once this relatively small amount of cream has been added it enriches the soup, rounds out all of the flavours and takes the soup to a whole other taste experience – basically it’s worth adding the cream!!!!!
Then serve yourself up a big bowl, with a little extra swirl of cream, should you desire and enjoy.
A warming feast to enjoy in the colder months. Excellent for soothing sore throats.
This soup freezes very well for up to 3 months. Pour into single serving, freezer proof plastic containers. Perfect for sharing if one of your friends or family members fall ill. Once frozen it is very portable, so a bowlful of homemade soup is just a quick drive away!
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Victoria Sponge Cake, light, buttery, golden sponges sandwiched together with homemade raspberry jam. A simple recipe that yields a completely knockout cake both in flavour and looks. Master this recipe and you will forever be asked to “bring THAT cake” when gathering with friends and family. Put simply, this is a cake for feasting.
Since a Victoria Sponge Cake is two identical sponge cakes put together with a slather of jam in the middle, it is a great starting point for any baking journey. Because there are no complicated decorating techniques, or steps in the method, the finished cake is all about two things. First of all taste; good quality ingredients are key, butter should not be substituted with margarine. Also, texture; a light sponge is a direct result of not over mixing the cake batter.
Raspberry jam lends a sweet, slightly tart, intense fruit flavour against the buttery, vanilla sponge. While a good quality bought jam is fine to use, making fresh jam adds an additional edge. Since it requires very little time to make I really urge you to try it. Finally, with a light touch and using great quality ingredients the finished result is the Queen of all cakes. I say Queen as this cake is named after Queen Victoria herself.
Recipe: Victoria Sponge Cake serves 8-10
2 x 20cm (8in) greased loose bottom cake tins, the base of each lined with baking parchment.
225g/8oz Caster Sugar plus 1/2 tsp for dusting the finished cake
225g/8oz Fresh or Frozen Raspberries – I used frozen from Waitrose
Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan oven, gas mark 4
Making the cake sponges
First of all thoroughly grease with butter, both cake tins and line the base with baking parchment.
Place the sugar, butter and salt into a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until pale and fluffy – if using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment.
Rub a little of the mixture between your fore finger and thumb. If no grittiness is felt the sugar is well mixed into the butter.
Next add the eggs and vanilla extract. Add 1 tablespoon of the flour and whisk together for 30 seconds to combine.
Sift the flour (and baking powder if required) into the bowl.
Whisk the ingredients together until just combined. Over whisking, or beating will develop the flour’s gluten, resulting in a tough, baked cake.
Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tins, dividing evenly between the two. If wanted weigh equal quantities of cake batter into the tins.
Smooth the top of the batter with a spoon.
Place the tins into the centre of the oven (centre and lower shelf if they cannot fit on one shelf).
Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden in colour. The cakes are baked when the top springs back when lightly pressed.
As soon as the cakes are baked remove from the oven and place the tins on a cooling rack.
Allow each cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutesbefore turning out, top of the cake uppermost and placing directly on to a cooling rack.
Making the fresh raspberry jam
While the cakes are cooking make the raspberry jam:
Into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan add the lemon juice, raspberries and sugar.
Also place 2 small plates or saucers into the fridge to chill.
Stir the ingredients together with a wooden spoon and bring up to a simmer on a low heat.
As soon as the sugar is dissolved increase the heat to bring the jam up to a rolling boil – bubbling vigorously but not over the sides of the pan.
Stir to ensure the jam does not stick. Take care as the jam will be very HOT.
After 5 minutes at a rolling boil spoon a few drops of hot jam on to one of the chilled plates. Allow to cool for a minute. Using your finger, push one side of the jam, if it wrinkles up the jam is ready; it has reached setting point. Should the jam not wrinkle continue cooking for a further 2 minutes and test again.
As soon as the jam has reached setting point remove the pan from the heat.
Pour the very hot jam into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.
Assembling the cake
To assemble the Victoria Sponge Cake ensure both sponges and the raspberry jam are cold.
Carefully peel the baking parchment away from both sponges.
Place a sponge, flat side up on to a plate or board.
Spoon all of the jam on to the flat sponge and spread almost to the edge. Also, add a layer of whipped cream if desired.
Place the second sponge, flat side down, on top of the jam covered bottom sponge.
Finish with a light dusting of caster sugar on the top of the cake.
Serve this cake sliced with a good quality, fresh made cup of tea. Alternatively a glass of champagne for a special occasion compliments both the event and cake.
Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.
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Learning to master a simple recipe and make it well is the foundation to becoming a great cook and baker. Since cake decorating and presentation are of no importance if the product being served and shared does not taste appealing. Flavour always comes first in any feast. Never more so than when the feast is marking a special occasion. Friends and family bring out the flavour even further, as my long held belief shows that food shared always tastes better.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.
No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Bread is something that I really enjoy making. Flour, yeast, salt and water, combined and worked, create a bread with real taste. Add in a few extra flavours and the possibilities are endless. Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is an incredibly easy, yet packed with flavour bread. Perfect for making at home.
This week in our house is all about birthdays. Our Lil Man will be 12 this week, it’s also my Sister’s birthday in the same week. Definitely time for Feasting, Celebrating and Fun! Covert baking operations during the day – ready for surprises on their special days. Ooh I love a celebration – well that is as long as I’m not the center of attention!
Fortunately, shyness is not something our son could ever be accused of having. His enthusiasm and passion for life is infectious and wonderful to see. He waits all year for his birthday and the night before, without fail, he reaches ‘ready to explode’ status!Christmas is the same for him, times a gazillion!I adore his passion & zest for life, even if at times it can be exhausting and overwhelming.
So, to make life a bit easier on myself today, I grabbed a previously, made and frozen Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne from the freezer last night and left it to defrost in the fridge overnight. Yes, I confess to feeling a tiny little bit smug.
Since I have a bread maker that makes my life (in the world of bread baking), so much easier, I decided to whip up a couple of these GARLIC ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD. Also, as this is such a reliable and easy recipe, I decided to share it with you.
GARLIC ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD: makes 2 loaves.
You will need 2 x lightly oiled 8×8″ square tins ( with at least 2″ depth), or – 1 larger oiled baking tray (2″ deep) to bake one large focaccia.
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper for top of the bread
2 tbs Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped
8 Garlic Bulbs (4 for bread mixture, 4 for topping the bread).
Method: Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7
When using a bread maker or stand mixer:
Place the warm water into the pan or bowl of the device you are using, making sure the dough hook is attached to the stand mixer.
Sprinkle over the sachet of dried, activated yeast and swish about with clean fingers to mix.
Next place the flour on top of the liquid mixture. Add the oil and salt.
Now add 1 tbs of the finely chopped Rosemary and salt.
Add in four minced bulbs of garlic. I’m a very big fan of my garlic press (no peeling or chopping), but you may chop, process, squish with the back of your knife. Please don’t write in with other methods for finely mincing garlic, just be happy that you’re innovative.
Now mix & prove (if using a bread maker). With a stand mixer, attach the dough hook & mix for 8-10 minutes, until the dough has a silky, stretchy, elasticity about it.
If kneading by hand, bring all the ingredients together and work (knead) the dough until you can feel the change, when the dough again stretches easily and feels silky to touch – a good way to check that the dough has been worked enough is that it should be hard to tear.
Shape the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl, then turn the ball over, so the top has an oily layer & cover tightly with cling film. Place in a warm draught free place until doubled in size (about an hour).
Prepare the baking tins (or large tin if only using one) by placing some oil in the tin (approx 1tsp for a smaller tin). Then using your fingers or a piece of kitchen towel completely cover the inside of the tin with a light slick if oil. When doing this by hand, your nails also benefit from a cuticle treatment.
Talking of fingers, if you have long nails it’s probably easier to apply the oil with the kitchen cloth. It also probably means you look after your hands and nails may not need a quick, olive oil cuticle treatment. Just saying, I NEED the treatment.
If using a bread machine switch on to knead cycle to knock the dough back for a minute. With the dough in the bowl, remove the cling film & gently punch down (enjoy the soft enveloping feeling!)the dough to knock out the air bubbles and gently knead by hand for 2 minutes.
Divide the dough in two (or leave whole if making a larger Focaccia) using a sharp knife or a dough cutter.
Place half the dough into each tin (or all into one tin).
NOW is the absolutely BEST thing about making this type of bread. If you loved making mud pies when you where younger, or maybe still do, you’re going to LOVE this next bit.
Using your the heel of your hand, gradually press the dough out until it reaches the edges of the tin and is roughly the same thickness across the tin.
Next using your fingers, have great fun making lots & lots & lots of dimples in the dough – to give it the classic focaccia look.
Can you tell how much I really love that part? So much fun!
Drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt flakes, the rest of the finely minced Rosemary, a grinding of pepper and the rest of the garlic. Split over 2 tins if making 2 Focaccia loves.
Lightly oil some cling film: TOP TIP: Using a clean wet cloth wipe some of your work surface so that it is damp. When laying your cling film over the top it will lay flat and not attempt to attach itself to itself, you, or random kitchen objects. You can then easily spread a light coating of oil over the cling using your hands, or a pastry brush.
I know there’s oil in the dough, the tin has been oiled, you’ve just drizzled oil on top of the focaccia – JUST TRUST ME!
Most of the time you could get away with not oiling the cling, but and it’s happened to me, it WON’T EVER STICK if you oil the cling!
Cover the top of the tin with the oiled cling (so it’s airtight) and leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size. Alternatively, place the dough in the fridge. While it will take longer to rise, the bread will develop a lovely flavour, due to the slow prove. It’s your dough, so, do whatever you fancy.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP – I have successfully risen the dough slowly in the fridge, completely forgotten about it, so it quadruples in size. Knock it back by recreating the dimpled effect, as before, left to rise and it’s turned out fine.
Bake the focaccia in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until a golden colour and still quite soft. The base should sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle.
Once baked, remove from the oven, take a deep breath, the smell is intoxicating. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, run round the outside with a palette knife until you can feel the loaf easing from the tin. Turn the bread out and place on to a cooling rack. Repeat with second tin.
The Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread will be marshmallowy soft & is fine to serve warm as is. Or cool, wrap in foil and freeze for up to one month.
If you prefer a slight crust to your focaccia, 10 mins before serving, place the bread directly on to the rack of a preheated oven (as for baking the dough) for 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how crusty you like it.
Because this bread is thinner than a loaf, you can cut or tear the bread whilst still warm.
This bread goes with any dish you would normally serve garlic bread with. It also goes fantastically well with soup. Spicy vegetable, leek and potato are especially good with this bread. It is ideal for dunking!
One Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is plenty for our family of five, so I wrap in foil and freeze the other one.
If you have enjoyed this recipe for Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread you may also like these:
I really hope you give this recipe a try. You can vary the herbs. I’ve used Thyme, Oregano and SHOCK/HORROR dried mixed herbs. Ooh I’m such a rebel! But seriously, it works better with the woodier herbs (rather than parsley/fennel) mentioned. Since I find that soft herbs are better mixed with butter and oil, then slathered into a baguette/ciabatta (part bake baguettes work well for this!).
Until next time, I hope you have fun giving this recipe a go and enjoy feasting with whoever you share it with.
See you soon. Sammie xx
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