Category Archives: Baking

Banana and Golden Syrup Loaf

This is a bit of a nostalgic recipe for me. I hadn’t made one for quite a while but someone in work made a banana bread and then I saw it was Banana Bread Day, I had some browning bananas so it had to be done.

But first, why the nostalgia? Well, it is a recipe from the very first cookbook that was mine. My Mam had a couple of cook books when I was a kid that I would look through but this one was specifically mine. I must have got it around 2000, it was published in 1999 and there is a sicker on it saying it won some award in 2000.

And what is this cookbook you ask? It is Gary Rhodes New British Classics. He had a TV program out at the time and he made these awesome looking Yorkshire puddings and something that I don’t even particularly like but looked amazing when he did it, an egg custard tart. I think my Mam might have actually bought it for me for a Birthday or Christmas I would have only been about 16 at the time. I’ve still never made those Yorkshire puddings or custard tart even though every time I flick through it for ideas I always say to myself I will.

This Banana Bread recipe must be the thing that I have baked the most times. It’s so easy to do and is a great way to use up any old bananas you have laying around. It helps that it tastes good and all you really need to make it is a pair of scales, a bowl, a spoon (you could use your hands) and a loaf tin. I’m sure it would still come out fine if you banged it in any type of tin though.

I have a very strong memory of being at home, seeing a bunch of bananas that weren’t getting eaten. Looking in the cupboards for the other ingredients. Clearing a space on the counter that literally just fitted the cookbook in. Getting the scales out and putting them on top of the cookbook then mixing all the ingredients in a bowl on top of the other page. Check out the picture below and you can see that over the years I’ve spilt batter all over this page as I have done the above more than once.  There is another recipe on the page and I’ve either never made it or if I have it was just the once.

Enough of that, let’s get down to business…

Banana and Golden Syrup Loaf!!!

  • 225g Self-raising Flour.
  • 100g Butter, softened.
  • 4 ripe and I mean ripe Bananas, mashed.
  • 50g Soft Dark Brown Sugar.
  • 4tbsp Golden Syrup.
  • 4 Eggs.

This fills a 2lb greased and lined loaf tin and you will need the oven preheated to 180°C.

Now for the hard bit. Bang all the ingredients in a bowl, mix up well, bosh the mix into the loaf and whack this in the oven for about 50-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Take out of the oven, let it cool in the tin for 10 mins and turn out to cool on a wire rack.

Not hard was it? Even a little kid could do it and they should. If you have got kids then get them to make this. If not, then just make it yourself. It’s a bit different compared to cupcakes or something with chocolate. You can let them mash the bananas in their hands and it is only one bowl you have to wash up.

My secret tip, don’t eat it for at least a day. The banana flavours come out so much more after it has matured for a day or two than they do when it first cools down. I’m not sure how long it keeps for but I have usually eaten the full thing on my own after two or three days.

It’s a good recipe to add stuff to, 50g of chopped nuts is recommend in the book and I pretty much always do this. Pecans or walnuts work very well but this last time I just used a bag of mixed nuts that had Brazils, Almonds, Cashews and Hazelnuts as well as Walnuts. Besides nuts I’ve put chopped up chocolate in before. Again about 50g will be enough.

Thinking about it you could even try adding some other fruit as well, Cranberries perhaps.

I might do this next time, or better still those chocolate coated cranberries you can get, hold on do I have any bananas left…

Banana_Loaf

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Sugar, Oh Honey, Honey

Unusually I didn’t want to make a chocolate cake, so I gave this a whirl…

Honey Cake!!!

  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 250g Clear Honey + 2tbsp to Glaze
  • 100g Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 300g Self-Raising Flour

 

Preheat the oven to 160°C and line an 8inch round cake tin.

Melt the butter, honey and sugar gently and once liquid bring to the boil for a couple of minutes. Oh, sugar, sugar.

Leave this liquid gold to cool down before beating in the eggs.

Sift the flour into a bowl then like a silver sunshine, pour that sweetness over it, drip drap, drip.

Oh, please mix both them together. Whoa yeah, sugar, you got honey.

Beat till it’s smooth and pour that mixture in the tin.

Bake for 50mins and turn out onto a rack.

Warm the other honey and brush over the cake.

Cool, cut, eat, enjoy…

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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

There are so many recipes out there for cakes with Oreos in them and I’m going to throw another one into the mix.

Get over it…

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes!!!

  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 225g Caster Sugar
  • 225g Self-raising Flour
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • Pack of Oreos

for icing

  • 375g Icing Sugar
  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pack of Oreos

Get your oven preheated to 175°C. Whack some cases into muffin tins, you might get 18 cakes but the way I fill I only ever get around 15.

Sod it, beat all the cake ingredients together except the Oreos, once pale, crush a packet of Oreos in and give a good mix. Fill the cake cases, stick in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out and cool on a wire rack.

When you want to ice them, beat the hell out of the icing sugar, butter and salt. Crush another packet of Oreos into the icing and mix up. Dollop big spoons of icing onto each cake and then ram them in your face hole.

That’s it, there’s nothing to them really. I usually use half and half original Oreos and Chocolate ones but the shop didn’t have any. But there’s nothing stopping you adding any cream filled biscuit like Bourbons or Custard creams. Experiment a bit, sub in 50g cocoa or even custard powder for 50g of the flour. You could even go mental and forget the cream part and stick something like Jammie Dodgers or Viscounts in there.

Oreo cupcakes


Caramelicious Brownies

WARNING!!! These brownies do not contain drugs. Having just Googled to find out how to spell caramelicious I have discovered that this word mainly brings back results for marijuana. Learn something new everyday thanks to Google. If you are looking to make brownies with drugs in then just follow this recipe and bang some in, I’m not going to stop you.

Mrs TramP finished her current job last week and very kindly told people I’m good at making brownies, meaning I had to make her some to take in. Cheers. I would never say I’m good at baking. I’m alright, I can follow a recipe, mix stuff up, and know when to take stuff out of the oven.

Lets get down to business…

Caramelicious Brownies!!!

  • 4 eggs
  • 100g Pecans
  • 350g Granulated Sugar
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 175g Unsalted Butter
  • 2tsp Vanilla
  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 50g Dark Chocolate for the top
  • 250g of toffees
  • 5tbsp Double Cream
  • Drugs (optional)

When you are ready to bake you need the oven preheated to 180°C. Don’t put it on yet, this will take a little while.

First up, melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of water and be gentle about it. If you have read any of my other blogs with chocolate being melted you will know you need to be gentle. It just saves time having to wait for it to cool down. Once melted, add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and beat that bad boy up. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix. Crush the pecans a bit and stir in (add drugs at this point if that’s what you are into).

Pour about half the mix in a pre-lined tin. I used a 9 inch square tin, but anything similar overall size will do. Whack the tin in the fridge for about 20 mins while you melt the toffees. I’ve made these in the past without putting the mix in the fridge and ended up with some toffee seepage.

Melt the toffees in a saucepan along with the double cream. Let it cool down a bit before pouring about 3/4 over the brownie mix that should have firmed up in the fridge. Leave a gap round the edge or the toffee will ooze out the sides. Bang the rest of the brownie mix on top and stick in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.

Now I like a gooey brownie, maybe too gooey for some people. If you want them firmer then leave them in for another five minutes but no more than ten or the only thing moist about them will be the toffee.

Leave them to cool down in the tin for a bit before taking out and cooling fully on a wire rack. Melt the other 50g of chocolate and reheat the left over toffee mix so that it is pourable again. Alternating between chocolate and toffee try and create a Jackson Pollock. Mrs TramP randomly picked up a bag of honey comb so I added some of this with the pecans and sprinkled some on top. What do you mean this wasn’t in the recipe, I’ll do what I like.

There you have it, Caramelicious Brownies, with or without drugs…

p20130506-171357

 


Project Pig Skin

This might seem a bit weird, someone trying to lose weight making pork scratchings. Seriously they are full of fat and salt. They can’t be good for, what are you doing, go look at yourself.

Well, I did, and they didn’t stop me from loosing weight. I’m not eating carbs at the moment, (well I am eating a few, some veg, nuts, bit of fruit, small bit of chocolate) I’m not following any particular diet, I’ve read them all and it’s pretty obvious that cutting out bread, rice, pasta, potatoes will cut out a massive amount of calorie intake. But the only thing I notice missing is that savoury, salty crunch you get in anything from crisps to chips to even toast. The only thing I can find that come close and doesn’t have any carbs in it is pork scratchings.

I was in the supermarket last week and ended up buying three types of pork scratchings and some pork rind to make my own.

After trawling the internet I had a few ideas of how I was going to make them. Having two bits of rind I decided on baked and fried. I didn’t just want to make crackling,  I wanted some proper pork scratchings. The internet doesn’t have that many home made recipes for pork scratchings, which surprised me a bit.

First up…

Baked Pork Scratchings!!!

  • Pork rind
  • salt
  • paprika, or other flavourings (optional)
  • time

Everything I read pointed to needing to dry out that pork rind before you start cooking. Everyone has different timings. I just rubbed some sea salt on both sides of the pork rind, placed in the tin I would eventually cook them in and then banged it in the fridge. About every 12 hours I drained off the water, patted the rind down with paper towel, salted and whacked it back in the fridge. For no reason other than I couldn’t be arsed cooking them the first day I left the rind drying out for two days.

When it came to cooking the scratchings I took the dried out rind and cut it into rectangles. I probably left them a bit too big and I was too regimented. Scratchings in a packet are usually mental curly shapes, mine turned out a bit too consistent. I’m not sure if scoring on the underside would have curled them up a bit more. But maybe next time.

For the cooking, I salted the cut up rind and coated in paprika, smashed them in the pre-heated oven at about 180°C for about ten minutes and then turned the heat down to 140°C. Every half hour I checked on the little fuckers and drained the fat off. I must have cooked them for about three hours until I ended up with these bad boys…

Baked Scratchings

They tasted pretty fucking good. A little salty and a little hard but they had that nice crunch combined with the soft little bit of fat. Yeah, they tasted like pork scratchings.

Next up…

Fried Pork Scratchings!!!

  • Pork rind
  • salt
  • water
  • oil

Having two bits of pork rind I thought, fuck it, I’ll try two ways. These ones are like the more puffy pork scratchings you can buy that don’t usually have that risk factor of a big chunk of soft fat attached like the other type do.

For these ones people seem to boil the rind first, so that is what I did. Bang the rind in a salted pan of boiling water and simmer for an hour or two. Take it out of the water (for squeamish people, this will be pretty rank) and after it has cooled down a bit scrape all the fat off the underside. Now you have to dry it again. I cut the rind up, salted it and banged it back in the fridge for a day.

Heat up some oil (I used a wok) and throw the dried rind in. Now I did a couple of test bits and they didn’t puff up enough so I decided to try and dry them out more in the oven at the lowest temp for an hour. I got bored and just threw them all in the oil, when I put more than one bit in at a time they all puffed up. After draining I was left with these…

Fried scratchings

These weren’t as good (but to be fair I’m not as big of a fan of this type when you buy them in a shop anyway).

That was my adventure with pig skin. If I do it again, I’ll stick to the baked ones, but come on, they were a bit of a faff, yes, most of it was just waiting around, but that is still space in the fridge being used. The cost of the rind wasn’t too dissimilar to the price of a packet of pork scratchings and I don’t want to think about how much electricity I used cooking them.

I think I will leave this one to the pros.


Scones

I was watching something the other day and it really made me want scones. Actually it really made me want clotted cream, loads of clotted cream, the scone would just be there to stop me from getting my fingers dirty and not just be sat eating a tub of clotted cream with a spoon.

Scones, they aren’t really that special are they, but how could you not like them. When I was making them it brought back to me the picture in my head of baking. When I was a kid I would bake a lot with my Mam, and a lot of the time it was scones, and when I thought about it, scones are actually more difficult than a lot of other things I bake. Most baking you measure stuff out, stick it in a bowl, mix it up, put it in a tin, whack it in the oven for a bit, take it out and eat it.

But scones are hands on…

Scones!!!

  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 75g unsalted butter, room temp, cut into cubes
  • 50g caster sugar
  • a medium egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120ml double cream
  •  a bit of milk for brushing

When I came to make these I realised that I probably haven’t made scones in my adult life, even though I must have made them hundreds of times as a kid. These might not be the best recipe, I might have to give my Mam a ring to find out how she makes them but saying that hers might not be that good either. These turned out alright but I’ve had better. I might do some scone experimentation over the next year.

The oven needs preheating to 200°C when you come to bake these bad boys.

When I started making these this is the part that just screamed in my face this is baking, sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl then rub the butter in with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. It was the rubbing in of the butter that brought all those memories back of being stood on a chair with my pinny on and my tiny rolling pin getting my hands dirty in a bowl of flour and butter. I found it crazy the amount of cakes I’ve made and I haven’t rubbed butter into flour for years.

After the butter is rubbed in you can just mix in the sugar. Beat the cream, vanilla and egg together then add to the flour and squidge together to form a dough. You don’t want to handle it very much. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a couple of seconds. You don’t even need to roll the dough out, just pat it down with your had till it’s a couple of cm thick. The recipe I was following says 4cm thick but that is very optimistic to say it also wants you to use a 6-7cm cutter and be able to make 8 scones. There was no chance this was happening. At 4cm thick and 7cm in diameter I would have only been able to make about three scones.

I like a straight cutter rather than a rigid one and remember not to twist when you cut them or they might not rise very well. A pro would probably throw the left over dough away after the first set of cut outs but what do I care. Try not to mess with the dough too much when you roll it back up to get another scone or two out of the mix but don’t just waste it. The second ones might not turn out as neat but they will still be good.

Brush the tops with milk, place on a slightly greased baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven, let them cool down for a couple of minutes on a wire rack and then while still warm break in half, add jam and massive amounts of clotted cream.

scones


Sourdough Beer Bread

Well sourdough bread seems the trendy thing to make at the moment. Everyone seems to be baking it. I’ve made a few, probably not as many as I would like but I’ve not been eating carbs since the beginning of the year. I mainly bake cakes, bread has never really been up there on things to make as I don’t eat it quick enough before it goes stale. I’m not sure taking a loaf into work to share would work very well.

Mrs TramP bought me the Hobbs House Bread Making Kit a while ago so this recipe is using their 57 year old sourdough starter that comes with the kit. I’m not using their recipe or their method of baking though.

So what could be more trendy than combining sourdough and beer?

Sourdough Malt Beer Bread!!!

  • 240 ml Sourdough Culture
  • 30g Melted Butter
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbl Sugar
  • 240ml Malt Beer
  • 200g Rye Flour
  • 245g Plain Flour

The hardest part of this recipe was finding a malty beer in my boxes of very hop centric beers. The closest thing I had was a Robinsons Old Tom so that’s what I used.

So lets do this…mix the butter, salt, sugar and beer together until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Bang in the sourdough culture, the rye flour and about half the plain flour and mix up. Whack the dough out onto a floured board and knead in the rest of the plain flour. This is where I fail a bit at bread making. I never know how long to knead for and these sourdough breads seem to be well more sticky than anything you see on things like Great British Bake Off. It should be smooth and satiny, I gave up after  a while when I was knackered and my wrist started hurting.

That’s it for about 12 hours, put the dough back in your mixing bowl, cover with cling film or a shower cap a la Baker Brothers. To be fair the shower cap thing works pretty well. It should double in size, if you haven’t worked it out you might want to do the first bit before you go to bed to have ready to bake in the morning. After the 12 hours, tease the dough out and leave for half an hour, if it flattens a lot then knead in some more flour. Shape the loaf however you want and then leave for another 2-4 hours until it doubles in size again.

Now I’v not worked out which method works better, either the one above or this one. After kneading leave for half an hour, knock back, shape, cover and leave for the 12 hours. I’ve not been mental enough to make two loaves at the same time when I can’t manage to get through one.

Here’s the crazy bit, place the loaf on a baking sheet or stone and bang in a cold oven then turn to 190°C and bake for 70 minutes. A cold oven, are you mental? You can preheat the oven to 230°C and bake for 40 minutes, but I have tried the from cold method and the loaf sprang up much better than when I preheated the oven.

That’s it, take out, slice, cover in butter, dip in soup, sit back and enjoy being on the sourdough bandwagon.

sourdough