Wednesday, 26 August 2015

#Bakeofflovelies Cinnabon Style Cinnamon Buns

Although I love baking, bread is not my thing; 
The simple science of working out rising times and how to get it out of the oven somewhere between "still dough" and "black" seems to be a task too far.
So this week I asked my husband Joe to step in with his "Cinnabon Style Cinnamon Rolls"
the reason being that he is actually very good indeed at making bread and these gorgeous treats are his signature dessert in our home. 
He tends to make these a lot and they always taste amazing!

Due to work and everything in between he didn't have time to rustle up some cinnamony goodness in time for #bakeofflovelies so the task fell to me!
Although Joe hasn't made these buns it's given me the chance to show that anyone can give these a go; 
I had no intention of making these as I believed they would not turn out but they actually worked pretty well...
(Although my husband is still the best Cinnabon baker here!)
And in true Paul Hollywood Bake off style he popped into the kitchen every now and then to cast a judgemental eye over my techniques and presentation!
He rather kindly offered to write up a post to accompany this weeks bake and share his recipe for these delicious buns - 
if you have a few hours spare, I strongly suggest you give them a go.

~                         ~                      ~

I'll start with an apology for you all, because you're not getting Sally this week, you're stuck with her husband instead. I'll do all I can to make this easier on you all.
All the way back in 2006, me and my family went on a holiday to Orlando, and I (being my slack self) missed breakfast, so by the time we made it to Universal Studios I was starving. 
Luckily, I chanced on a Cinnabon shop and they have been my favourite thing ever since.
They're essentially Chelsea bun; made with an enriched bread dough rolled around a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, then topped with an artery clogging amount or frosting...heaven.
They're soft but dense, with the caramelised sugar in the middle gluing the whole thing together, and its technically still bread! "A risen creation".

As I am a baking novice (I've been told my Victoria sponge is like chewing on a sandal.) these are a bit of an effort, but if I can do it, I'm sure you all can, too.

For the Dough:
1 Packet of Yeast (7g)
1 Cup of Milk
4 Cups of Bread Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Margarine
1 Tsp Salt
2 Eggs

For the Filling:
1/3 Cup Margarine
1 Cup Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Cinnamon

1/4 cup Butter
1/2 Cup Cream Cheese
2 Cups of Icing Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla

I start by dissolving some yeast in warm milk and leaving for 10 minutes; meanwhile combining the flour, eggs, sugar and salt. 
Then slowly add the milk until the mixture forms a soft dough. 
After kneading the dough needs some time to prove, put into an oiled bowl covered with cling film for about 1 hour until doubled in size. 
This is a good time to mix the butter, cinnamon and soft brown sugar together to make the delicious filling. 
Once the dough has proved I roll it out into a big square on a dusted surface then spread that sugary filling all over it before rolling it all up and cutting it into equal pieces. 

When they've been put into a tin I leave them to prove again, covered by a warm, damp, towel, for about 20 minutes before sticking them in the oven and staring at them intently while they bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown; 

The house always fills with what must be the best smell in the world, and you'll be desperate to dig into them regardless of the burns!

They're an indulgent treat that everybody will keep asking you to make again, but I'd challenge anybody to eat two of these in a row...

I'll give Sally back to you all now, so normal service can resume. Thank you for reading!

~                         ~                         ~

These came out so soft and cinnamony! The most difficult part to this recipe was keeping track of the steps and putting it all together, but on the whole it wasn't too difficult; even for me with a small person to chase after at the same time.
Joe and I disagree on the flour to use, I say bread flour, he uses self raising and gets good results; I'll let you be the judge!

If you fancy joining in with #bakeofflovelies link up below or tag us on Instagram or twitter!

Sally and Joe 


Friday, 21 August 2015

Summertime Surprise Project

I have been a follower of  Lucy's Blog "Capture By Lucy" for a couple of years now and it is still one of my favourites to hop over to when I have a quiet minute.
She takes amazing photographs using beautiful props and is a genius at party styling;
I mean just look!

This spring Lucy launched the "Surprise Project" -
A seasonal creative box swap to spread a little kindness and happiness.

I loved the idea when I first heard about it but being rather disorganised I missed the sign up deadline;
however I decided to get my act together for the Summertime Project and signed up as soon as I could!
Obviously I loved the idea of getting a little surprise in the post
but I also really enjoy being creative and anything which helps spread some happiness around!

The rules of the project are simple;
when signing up list your interests so your partner can put together something you'd like;
gift/create/make/upcycle something your partner would like - the guide price is £5
pop it in the post before un-boxing day!

My partner Hannah said she loved crafting, baking and upcyling in her interests box so I put together a box filled with crafty bits and bobs, fabric, cookie treat bags and a little kit for her to make her own embroidered brooch...
I really hope she liked it!

Just before opening day I received my own Surprise box in the post and couldn't wait to see what was inside!

Hannah sent me a gorgeous parcel with some of her home-made cookies in and a sweet hand sewn oil-cloth bag!

I love the colour of this pretty little bag and yes, I do love oil-cloth!
It's so lovely receiving something that someone has took the time to make just for you...

I can honestly say Hannah's cookies were some of the best I've ever tasted;
The Mojito cookies were soft, chewy and had a gorgeous lime tang;
the chocolate orange ones were divine- I love chocolate oranges so these were my favourite.
(and I may have eaten them all to myself...)

Thank you Lucy, for coming up with such a great idea which so many people have loved being part of.
I can't wait for the next one!

If you'd like to send and receive some happy mail, the sign up for the "Autumn Surprise Project" opens on September 1st.
I'll definitely be marking my calendar!



Wednesday, 19 August 2015

#Bakeofflovelies Teatime at Home and The Great Denby Cake Off

Here we are at week two of the Great British Bake off, and the last week has been all about biscuits.
I am a typical biscuit lover- always with tea and cupboards are never really bare until there's "not even a biscuit in the house!"
Oddly enough however I don't often get round to making any myself;
so this week I set upon composing a suitable biscuit for tea time whilst taking the opportunity to experiment with flavours and structures.
I have been rather disorganised in the last week due to us all being under the weather with some sort of bug.
Washing piled up, pots went unwashed; so naturally now we all seem to be a bit better getting the house back to normal was priority.
Hence why this post is rather late in that we now have exactly forty-nine minutes left until bread week begins...!
So without further ado; my contribution to "Biscuit week"

Salted Caramel Butter-Cream Sandwich Biscuits with Vanilla and Cardamom Shortbread 
Drizzled with White Chocolate

(There's a mouthful when offering round..)

Firstly I went with an average type of biscuit (although why is it called shortbread?!)
but then again, it's delicious. Crumbly, buttery, ridiculously few ingredients.
It's as good a start as any for tea time treat.

As far as flavouring goes, I rarely need an excuse to add cardamom to anything.
At home we always had it in tea; and it's scent is warming and comforting; its perfect in savoury and sweet foods- the pods work like tiny teabags when boiled and the seeds taste almost a little peppery when ground.
I didn't use to much as it can be over powering- less is certainly more here.
I decided vanilla would complement it well and it smelled amazing in the mixer!

I recently made a chocolate cake with salted caramel butter-cream which I thought would go really well with the flavour of the shortbread-
 it's quite sweet but delicious.
Thankfully you can now buy Caramel in a tin and don't have to go to a lot of trouble and effort boiling a tin of sweetened condensed milk for five hours like I had to last week when the shop had run out. 
(N.B Try not to eat whole can.)

Although this recipe requires a few stages and some assembly- it's fairly simple, and again, the little ones can get involved...

This guy loves rolling out dough- although this is very short (being short bread and all..)
so be prepared for short-tempered-ness when it doesn't shape into a perfect dinosaur.

For the Vanilla and Cardamom Shortbread:

220g of Unsalted Butter
110g of Caster Sugar
340g Plain Flour
1 Tbsp of Vanilla Paste
Ground Seeds of one Cardamom Pod 

Mix the Butter and Sugar until pale and fluffy 
Add the Vanilla and Cardamom
 (You can use a pestle & mortar. Or a rolling pin and a bowl to grind the Cardamom seeds)
 Stir in the Flour and combine into a soft ball
Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes
Roll out onto a lightly floured surface and cut out rounds using a cutter
Bake in the oven at 180 for around 10 minutes until just golden
Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a flat surface to cool completely

For the Salted Caramel Butter-Cream:
Cream 100g of unsalted Butter with half a can of Caramel and 500g of Icing Sugar
Add Salt to Taste

To Assemble:
Pipe swirls of the Butter-Cream onto the flat side of one biscuit and top with another round.
Drizzle the white chocolate using a fork moving from side to side for even results.
Pop into the fridge to set a little before serving...

Our baking scene  is very much about our home this week.
There's nothing very fancy here just a strong cup of tea and the latest treat we've put together in between cleaning, playing, learning and seeing family.
I love being at home and creating things we can enjoy together.
My Denby teacups and teapot are my favourites for everyday Teatime.  
My mum always collected Denby and now I'm gathering my own collection. 
It reminds me of home and I love the classic designs and colours. 

It's been lovely sharing tea and biscuits with you - but the Bake Off is starting...

If you'd like to join in any part of the way link up below or tag your #Bakeofflovelies on Instagram or Twitter...

As well as being my bake off lovelies post I'm also submitting this as part of the "Great Denby Cake Off"  for more information on how to get involved pop over to their website



Friday, 14 August 2015

Mini Milk Jellies

As I usually bake cakes for special occasions, last summer I decided to mix things up a little and make a jelly instead. 
Conveniently I'd just bought a magnificent trifle dish from Homebase which I knew would look perfect holding a rainbow jelly!
The process of layering the jelly took a good couple of days beforehand but the results were pretty great. 
It was for my younger brothers First Holy Communion and he loved it!
(Of course I made a cake and cupcakes too..)

I've been asked to make a few more rainbow jellies since then, and more often than not I'm asked how to make the white milk layer, especially by children who seem to love it!
Although it's an extremely simple type of jelly to make not many people have tried it before and since the war days it appears to have gone out of fashion as a traditional British dessert.

As I was already compiling a giant rainbow jelly last week for a big BBQ at Joe's work I decided to make some milk jellies for the little guy.
They are rather sweet so it's best to keep them as treat; but I've yet to find a child who doesn't love this stuff.

Carnation Milk with its signature Red and white label is something that most people will remember being in their Grandparents cupboard as a household staple. 
My Grandma always gave us Carnation evaporated milk with any dessert we had after our Sunday dinner and I loved it. 
It's sweet and thinner than fresh cream but incredibly versatile in so many recipes;
(pop over to the Carnation website for some great ideas.)
The Condensed milk is much thicker and sweeter and is the one I use to make my milk jellies.
He is currently obsessed with dinosaurs so I used these plastic dino moulds!

And in case you struggled to find a recipe and correct quantities, here's my recipe:
You will need:
1 Tin of Sweetened Condensed milk
1 Sachet of Gelatin Granules 
Boiling water
Moulds of your choice
(this recipe makes four jellies the size of the mould above)

Add 250ml of boiling water to a jug and immediately sprinkle with the gelatin granules
stir briskly with a fork until fully dissolved
Pour in your Condensed Milk and stir well
Add 100ml of cold water
Pour into your moulds

This jelly sets very quickly so it'll be ready in around 40 mins
I leaned this while I was making Rainbow jelly and left the milk layer to cool in a jug and forgot about it watching "Emmerdale"
N.B If you tip it into a little saucepan and warm slightly it will go back to liquid consistency which you can re-pour and set!

If you want the moulds to tip out intact, dip the base of the mould in some warm water in a bowl.

There you have it- mini milk jellies for your little people!

I will be revisiting these later with a more grown up version of these- as adults love it too!


N.B This post has not been endorsed in any way by Nestle - I just happen to love it.


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Peas and Potatoes

This year has been the first year the little one can actually get involved doing things outside for himself and help out in the garden; 
He will spend hours digging the allotment for worms, planting and watering the garden with the hose. 
He's always happy to come out and wander about while I cut the grass and gather up his toys.
I actually managed to grow some potatoes this year so last week we all went out to dig them up;
he loved finding little potatoes in the soil and decided it was a treasure hunt!
It was so lovely seeing him so joyful over something so simple.

I also love getting him involved with little jobs in the house; Its important to me that he learns how look after things and enjoys making and creating in our home. 
I think family life is all about working together and sharing with each other - even small things.
 I always try to involve him in cooking, 
I've had him watching me bake since he was little enough to put in a sling and now he really loves putting his little apron on and throwing ingredients around.

Whenever I'm cooking I gave him a job to do like washing vegetables or peeling a potato (with a plastic knife of course!); 
but one of his favourite jobs this summer has been podding peas. 
He loves peas anyway but he'll sit popping them out of their shells for ages and then when they're cooked he'll announce proudly that he's made the tea and ensure we all eat them all!

What do everyday tasks do your little ones enjoy doing?



Tuesday, 11 August 2015

#Bakeofflovelies and an Afternoon Garden Party

It's that time of year again! The Great British Bake Off is back.
This is the one show I'm more than happy to get hyped up about...
It's such great viewing from the baking to the presenters and of course Paul and Mary.
I love how it's so easy to watch, perfect to wind down to and usually gets me itching to get in the kitchen and do some baking myself!
This year I'm trying to set myself the little challenge of baking one thing a week from the show.
It's a great excuse to work on my baking skills and have something sweet to share by the weekend.

This week I decided to go ahead with trying a Madeira cake. 
In all my time baking I have never made this one, which is surprising with it being a fairly standard loaf cake without anything too out of the ordinary in terms of ingredients. 
I decided to add to the traditional version by adding extra lemon and Lavender.
I love Lavender but especially in baking, however if you over-do it you can end up with a cake that tastes like old soap..!

 So I set about making my "Summer time" Madeira and it was very simple indeed. 
I managed to put it together whilst also making two giant Victoria Sponges for a weekend barbecue  and give the little guy a hand in it- He did some lemon grating but wandered off midway to watch Mr Bloom!
After doing a little research I found that most of the recipes were pretty much the same, but being a Nigella devotee I decided to use her recipe as a basis as her cakes have always turned out extremely well for me!

This is my own method using Nigella's as the foundation:

240g Unsalted Butter (I used Stork)
200g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs (medium)
210g Self Raising Flour
90g Plain Flour
Grated Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
1tsp of Dried Lavender
1tsp Vanilla (I used the extract syrup)

Combine the Flours and sift into a separate bowl
Cream the butter and sugar until light, pale and fluffy
Add the Vanilla and Lemon Zest
Add the Eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour after each addition
Gently mix then add the Lemon juice and dried Lavender
Pour into your greased and lined loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour.

The cake came out exactly as it was supposed to with a glorious long crack down one side;
When it had cooled I decided to drizzle it with a simple white icing and add grated lemon zest to the top.

As it was such a beautiful day I made us a little summer afternoon tea in the garden which the little one loved and took the opportunity to set a scene for my first Bake off cake of the season...!

I did enjoy getting out these pretty tea cups my sister gifted me a few months ago; she found them in a charity shop and they have all been hand-painted !

I have to say it was a perfect cake for a summers day;
Very soft and buttery and gorgeously yellow inside.
I'm please to say the lavender wasn't overwhelming and the lemon gave it a lovely tangy freshness!
It goes very well with a glass of elderflower cordial topped with soda water and fresh mint.

No soggy bottoms here.

Of course we had to use our sparkly drink stirrers that the lovely Hannah made us- 
it was a Party after all!?!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing our summer celebration...

If you'd like to, join in with #bakeofflovelies and show off your Bake Off bakes;
Join the link up below or hashtag #bakeofflovelies on Instagram or Twitter and I'll Share my Favourites every week..!


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