Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Perfectly Pink Lemonade!

Hellosies!! Hope everyone is having a wonderful day! Today my little sister and I made some delicious pink lemonade. It's a simply summery drink. It's fairly sweet but that's awesome for me as I have a massive sweet tooth :). Here's how we made it...

Pink Lemonade

punnet of strawberries, chopped
6 lemons
250g caster sugar
boiling water

1. Mix sugar and about 1.5litres of boiling water together.
2. Add chopped strawberries and the juice of the 6 lemons.
3. Stir and leave to cool :).
4. Drink up and feel refreshed.

 This is a perfect drink for summery afternoons spent lazing in the sun, if we ever got any :(. The recipe is also super simple and perfect for kids to help with. I also had a brainwave for the adults, a wee touch of gin in there would make a lovely summery cocktail :). 

After making this my, my sister and I watched the Wizard of Oz. I have a serious love of musicals and this one is a favourite, it always takes me right back to my childhood. I've been really excited lately about possibly baking maple and bacon cupcakes. I can't decide whether they would be amazingly yum or erm...interesting. I'm going wedding dress shopping tomorrow (YAY!! I love it) so I might try this recipe after that...lol! Happy Baking!

Rachael xx.

Bake Off 2: Plaited Bread

Hiya guys! A savoury bake for you today, I know it's very unusual for me :).I have started my wedding diet and exercise routine, so I'm running everyday and trying to eat healthily (with a few treats..hehe!).It sucks but it will be worth it in the end and I can eat loads of cakes on my honeymoon hopefully lol. Don't worry though there will still be many sweet bakes on the blog as I still have to treat my loved ones :). Although I might try some healthy baking alternatives if you liked??

Here is my plaited bread, they looked much better on the Great British Bake Off! It's is my first attempt at bread and while it is quite a long and laborious process, I will definitely try it again! I really want to try herby sun-dried tomato bread yum yum! This bread is wholegrain and seeded! I cheated whilst making this, I used a bread mix with added yeast (I know, the shame!!). All I did was knead the dough( mix, water,salt, pepper and oil) for 10 mins, prove for 1hr, then knead again and plait. After this you just prove once more for 30 mins and then bake for 30mins at 230 degrees celsius :). I also grated some parmesan on top as I felt it needed a cheesey hit ( I LOVE cheese, have I mentioned that before, maybe that's why i'm so cheesey lol).  This bread was well yummers with some soup for my lunch. It seems quite luxurious to make your own bread, you definitely need a lazy free day to bake it :). Next up in this Bake off series is tarts! I can't express how excited I am to bake these, my mouth is watering just thinking about it :). HAPPY Baking!

Rachael xx.

P.s. Have you ever baked your own bread? do you have any yummy recipes you could recommend :)?

Friday, 24 August 2012

Chocolate, Cherry and Almond and Upside-Down Cake

Hello lovely people! I've had a wee break from the blog recently as I have been away for a week in Donegal, Ireland with my family. I was in the middle of nowhere with no mobile phone signal or wifi, it was quite nice to be out of communication for a while :). But not for too long, I missed my man and my girlfriends :).We spent most of our time eating in pubs, battling with sheep on the roads and walking this cutie pie...

In the UK the Great British Bake Off has started again, this is possibly my most favourite tv program in forever! Each week I will bake one of the bakes featured in the show and this week it is an Upside down cake. This recipe is an adjusted recipe from BBC Good Food website (the link will be attached at the end). I made this beauty for another sunday lunch with my man's family, and it went down a treat :). How amazing are chocolate,cherries and almonds together? Yummy scrummy. So here goes with the recipe...

Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Upside Down Cake

200g butter 
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
50g chocolate, melted
50g cocoa powder
25g ground almonds
200g cherries, stones removed
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp cherry jam

Topping-white chocolate, melted
milk chocolate, melted
toasted,flaked almonds

1. Preheat oven to fan 160 degrees Celsius. Line a 20cm cake tin with paper and grease it.
2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
3. Beat in eggs and melted chocolate.
4. Fold in flour, almonds and cocoa powder.
5.Line bottom of cake tin with cherries and cover with the syrup and jam mixed together. Spoon the cake mixture on top.
6. Bake for 1hr 15mins or until done. Cool in the tin, then turn out upside down.
7. Cover top with toasted almonds and drizzle chocolate on top.
8. Slice up and watch it disappear!

This is a yummy and impressive looking bake, and is a little bit more difficult than your average cake. One tip I do have for you is to be careful with oven times, as it is quite easy to overbake. Next up in this Great British Bake Off series is bread, it will be a first for me, so let's see how that one goes :).
Hope everyone is having a lovely week. Happy Baking!

Rachael xx.

P.s. Do you have any favourite cookery programs you could recommend to me? I'm always to watch more food on tv :). Oh and here is the link for the original recipe  http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9965/upsidedown-berry-cake

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Rachael's Treating Tips!!

Hi friends! Hope you are having a lovely day! If you are getting A-level results in the UK, well done on passing your final year at school and moving on to bigger things. You will grow so much this next year! I remember when I got my results, I was sooo nervous, I thought it was the end of the world if I failed, so not true, everyone excels at different things :).A special well done to my little sister Nikki, on doing really well, even though she though she said she wouldn't. I'm a proud big sister :). That said I have a bit of a different post for you today, no recipes just some of my baking tips. Now firstly, I am not a professional, these are just things that I would always do when baking. I think they work pretty well so here we go...

(just a wee pic of my man and I , aren't we lovely haha!)

Treating Tips

1. Never use cooking chocolate! A bold statement I know, but this stuff is vile, it should never have been invented in my opinion!! Most supermarkets have a value or cheap range, use their chocolate instead, the taste is something much more worth get excited about :). I think that you can really taste the difference.

2. I always double the amount of vanilla in a recipe, the professionals would probably scorn at me for suggesting this! I love vanilla, it's so dreamy :)!

3. When testing if cakes and buns have had enough oven time, insert a skewer into the middle, if it comes out clean, they are done! This tip completely revolutionised my baking, it was so much easier to get a perfect bake (only after all the mistakes I have made!).

4. Cream cheese is a wonderful alternative to sour cream. I only recently discovered this tip, my local supermarket didn't have any sour cream (can you imagine...grr!). I think it works just as well, if you are concerned with calories you could also use low fat cream cheese.

5.Ground nut oil is a good alternative to butter. I would always use equal amount of oil to butter. This works really well with chocolate bakes and adds a very delicate nutty flavour. You could also use other nutty oils as well, depending on what you had hanging about your kitchen :).

6.Whenever I make butter or cream cheese icing, it always goes quite runny. So to stop this I would make it a little in advance and leave in the fridge to firm up. This makes it much easier to pipe into pretty patterns on the tops of cakes, cupcakes and muffins!

7. If you add extra dry ingredients always add equal wet ingredients. For example if you add some lemon juice add something dry :). Not a very exact tip but it works well for me :).

8. Always check your bakes 5mins before the time the recipe says. Everyone has a different type of oven (mine is pretty crappy, cos  I'm only a poor student, awh!) and they all reach different temperatures. This tip just means that your risk of over baking is muchly diminished.

9. Don't grease you tins too much! I would even go as far as saying that if you can get away with it, don't grease them, greaseproof paper works very well. Too much grease leads to soggy  bottomed cakes (and no one likes a soggy bottom hehe!).

10. This is probably the most important tip of all....ENJOY!! Baking is fun, it doesn't matter if you aren't Julia Child or Mary Berry, as long as you have fun :). I find baking relaxing and fun, it's my favourite hobby! I will never be a professional but that's ok, I'm happy just having fun with it :).

Tips over! I hope you find these helpful, you never know, after a few more months of baking experience, I could do instalment number 2 of tips. Let me know if you found this helpful! Happy baking!

Do you have any tips to share with me? I would love to learn from you!

Rachael xx.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Bonkers Banana and Caramel Cupcakes!

Hello friends!! Hope you had a fantastic weekend! I had such a relaxing weekend, with some wedding planning and dog walking thrown in! My fiancée and I met with a possible wedding caterer and talked yummy food for almost 2 hours :), now that's my idea of a fun Saturday! Apologies first and foremost, for not posting my nutella and banana bread (It will come, I promise!) but I just couldn't keep these little yummy cakes to myself, I had to share. These cakes I baked for a little after dinner treat last night and have such a delicious flavour.You will definitely want to try these. I seem to be baking a lot with bananas recently (can you tell I love them!). I'm sorry but I have lost the recipe for these but I changed it a lot anyway, I'm going to attempt to remember it! But if you decide to make these, and it looks all wrong, oops, I'm sorry! This recipe makes 18 cupcakes...so here goes!

Banana Caramel Cupcakes

2 bananas, mashed
90g butter, softened
2 eggs
75g self-raising flour
75g plain flour
115g dark brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp mixed spice
80g cream cheese

Caramel Frosting

200g cream cheese
200g tinned caramel
200g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
100g butter
(grated chocolate and glitter to top, yummy and pretty!)


1. Preheat oven to fan 170°C. Beat eggs, sugar,butter and vanilla with electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
2. Fold in all other ingredients.
3.Line cupcake tin with paper cases.
4. Half fill each case with cupcake mix.
5. Bake for 20mins and test with a skewer to make sure they are done.
6. Remove and cool on wire rack.
7. To make frosting, beat all frosting ingredients together. Pipe unto cupcakes and top with grated chocolate and edible glitter! Then try really hard not to devour the whole batch, it will be difficult but you can do it!!

There you go, the slightly revised recipe, hopefully I remembered everything! I will look again for the recipe, so if you have any questions, do ask me and I will try to help you :)! This evening I'm going to meet another wedding caterer and I'm very excited :) more foodie chats. Hope you are having a lovely day! Happy Baking!

Rachael xx.

P.s. I'm rather new to the world of cupcakes, I would love to know what your favourite flavour of cupcake is :)? I think mine would have to be this one, but I'm willing to try all other flavours so that I can make a truly educated decision ;)!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

White Chocolate and Raspberry Blondies!

Hellooo! Hope you are well and are baking lots of tasty treats :). Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post, I'm at home for a few days (wedding crafting galore!) and I left my camera in my University house, so it's just an instagram pic! Today's recipe is for Blondies ( White chocolate brownies, in case you didn't know, it was a revelation to me!). These are delicious, but very sweet so I recommend only eating one (if you can!). I found this recipe on my favourite recipe website, Good food. It really is a wonderful site, with hundreds of tasty recipes that make you instantly hungry. I made a few tweaks to the recipe, possibly making it a little sweeter. So here it goes...

Raspberry and White Chocolate Blondies

200g unsalted butter
200g white chocolate, roughly chopped
50g white hot chocolate powder
300g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
200g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g raspberries

1.Preheat oven fan 160
°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Melt butter in a pan, then when melted, remove from heat and add half the chocolate.Set aside to melt.
3. Whisk sugar and eggs and vanilla extract together until thick and pale. Tip flour, white hot choc powder, salt and cooled butter and choc mixture. Then fold in the sugar mixture with a metal spoon.
4. Mix in half raspberries. Pour mix into the tin. Top with raspberries and white chocolate chips. Bake for 35-40mins.
5. Cool in the tin then cut into squares and munch away.

There you go, another yummy traybake recipe. They are also delicious warmed with vanilla ice cream for a dessert. Oh I'm getting hungry just talking about it! Next up on the blog is nutella and banana bread, it's in the oven at the moment, I can smell it yum!!Hope you are having a wonderful week! Happy Baking!

Rachael xx.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Ravishing Rocky Road Cupcakes!

Hello, Hello, Hello! I'm rather excited today as it is now one year until my wedding! This day next year will be a HUUUGE day and I can't wait, I will be a WIFE! Anyway, exciting news aside, it's cupcake time now! These buns look pretty special and taste special too, yummy scrummy! These buns are sure to impress whoever eats them. I think they look like ice-cream sundaes, perfect summer baking! I found this wonderful recipe in a Marks and Spencer Cupcake recipe book (they are real quality, ya know!!). I think these cakes would be perfect for kids as they look so pretty and colourful :) the sponge is even marbled like Neapolitan ice-cream. Here's the wee recipe, along with my adjustments...

Rocky Road Cupcakes

Marble Cake
125g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract ( I added a tiddly bit more!)
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
185g self-raising flour
80ml milk
pink food colouring
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp milk, extra

Rocky Road Topping
70g roasted peanuts ( I used almonds, which also works well!)
200g glacé cherries, halved
100g pink and white marshmallows, chopped
25g coconut flakes ( dessicated coconut works well!)
200g milk chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 12-hole standard muffin tray with paper cases.
2. Beat butter, extract, sugar and eggs in a bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flour and milk in 2 batches.
3. Divide mixture between three bowls. Tint one mixture pink. Mix cocoa powder with milk and add to second bowl. Leave the third as it is.
4. Drop alternative spoonfuls of the mixtures into the cases. Pull a skewer backwards and forwards through mix to get marbled effect.
5. Bake cakes about 20mins, then turn unto wire racks to cool. Don't eat yet, there's still a bit more to do.
6.Combine topping ingredients in a bowl.
7.Place topping on cupcakes and drizzle with melted chocolate. Now you can eat them, be careful though you will get chocolate all over your face( well hey, at least you enjoyed them!).

I also used some melted white chocolate on the top of the cupcakes, to help the topping to stick. I recommend giving this recipe a go, especially if you want to dress to impress your cupcake :).I think this was the first adventurous cupcake recipe I have ever tried, I will definitely be trying again. I have been having big cravings for banoffee things lately, maybe I will make a banoffee cupcake next, yum! Hope you are having a lovely day filled with smiles and hugs! Happy Baking!


P.s. I love getting comments and I would love to know what you have been baking this week??