Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Great Purple Alpha-Bake | Almond & Orange cake

So the Alpha-Bake started, but i've been so busy the past 2 weeks I just haven't had a chance to upload photos and post... So better late then never, here it is ;-)

Almond & Orange cake

Prep: 2hrs 15mins / Cooking: 45mins

For some reason I came in off the street took my coat off, washed my hands and started baking. Sounds perfectly feasible until I tell you I still hand on my brand new boots, scarf and sunglasses… Excited?? Possibly. Honing my stylish chef personality?? Obviously, but also constantly losing focus and just forgot to remove them.

After spending the past few weeks buying all the baking utensils I thought I’d need (including mini silicone cupcake cases, which are infact the work of evil fairy bakers) I found myself caught short with no greaseproof paper or apron!! Oh well, new boots and sunglasses totally made up for it.

I put my oranges (which needed to be simmered for 2 hours) on the stove (is it still called a stove?) and took mini-me to ballet. That was the hardest part. When I came back I put all the ingredients in the food processor, blitzed it and put it in an oven proof bowl in the oven. Oven proof bowl and not cake tin as of course I had no greaseproof paper!

The cake took 45 minutes to cook, but unlike normal cakes the clean knife test was no good as this cake contained 6 eggs and no flour so the consistency would be slightly different. It smelt delicious coming out of the oven and looked quite nice too, I had my fingers crossed that it would come out of the bowl as I’d buttered and floured it within an inch of it’s life as i'd overlooked the fact that greaseproof paper was quite important to the whole baking process. It slipped out like a breeze and stayed in one piece. Looks good, smells good, feels kinda sticky-ish, more pudding like then cake-like, but I figure that by the time it cools it'll be more cake-y (are these actual words?)

So it cools and before I gather everyone for the tasting I cut myself a piece, and am immediately disappointed. The texture is weird, kinda grainy, but also still kinda wet. Initially i'm not sure that I don't totally like it. It isn't very orangey or sweet or anything really, it's kinda 'blah'. Neither here nor there. I could take it, but much more easily I could leave it (I don't say this about cake often). It's weirdly damp, which is probably the main reason I don't like it. I check the recipe to make sure I baked it for the right time, yep 45 minutes. Nowhere in the recipe description does it mention it being wet and pudding-like. The word cake is in the title, this is not cake!!

So I decide (in all of my day old baking wisdom) that the only sensible thing to do is put it back in the oven "for a bit" like a twice baked souffle type thing. Maybe that will make it better... It didn't... It was awful... It was binned.

So "A" in The Great Purple Alpha-Bake is a huge fail!! There is room to grow, i'm only just beginning.

This week it's Banoffee pie, one of my favourites. If I mess it up i'm quitting - lol

Monday, 27 September 2010

What is the reason!?

I write this post with tears in my eyes, as for the second time in as many months I am consoling someone close to me who has lost a baby.

It is said that "everything happens for a reason" and to some extent I am sure this is true. Then there are things that have no rhyme or reason and to me this is one of them.

The universe has got it wrong yet again, I am heartbroken, lost for words and more then anything else I am confused and angry. I cannot even begin to imagine how they must be feeling.

I know there are no words that will take the pain away and they say "time is a great healer" but I just want you to know i am here should you need me morning, noon or night with a listening air, hugs, silence or laughter and cupcakes & wine of course.

To anyone out there who has ever lost a baby my thoughts are with you


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, 17 September 2010

Barnet Schmarnet!!

I am on the train to High Barnet!! Finally!! After waiting 20 minutes at Waterloo where everyone seeemed to be in the know and knew that none of the trains on my platform (even though it was the correct platform) would be going to High Barnet. Like sheep they all got on the Edgeware train as if this High Barnet branch of the northern line I spoke of didn't exist. They were in the know and I was a tourist in my own city, with no clue as to how I would get to my destination. And of course actual staff members that I could ask for help were as elusive as the frickin doodoo bird!!

In the end, after attempting to check the tfl website (errr you're underground, yeah the iPhone is amazing but it can't work miracles) to no avail, I checked tube map and decided that maybe I could get there from Euston as it had 2 branches of the northern line going through it. So I follow the sheep on to the next train going to Edgeware and get off at Euston, where of course there is nobody to ask anything, the display only has trains going to Edgeware and every time a train comes through everyone on the platform but me gets on it!! Why does no-one else want to go to any of the stations to High Barnet?? There are 10 stations between Camden (the last station you can get to on the Edgeware branch before it splits) and High Barnet... Why isn't anyone going to these places?? What happens in them?? Why everytime an Edgeware train comes does the platform clear?? What is going in?? What don't i know?? Has something happened at all stations to High Barnet?? Why has there been no announcement??

As I'm spinning around looking like a lost foreign tourist, I hear an annoucement, a dreamlike whisper that seems to be speaking only to me "all northerline trains to High Barnet leave from platform 3" I spin around "who said that?" Platform 3?? Where is that?? I see no signs... On the concourse I see signs for platform 2, Victoria line and overground. No mention of a platform 3 and no-one to ask. What is going on!! I decide to exit the platform in search of help, if I'm underground for much longer I will not be held responsible for my actions. On the way up the escalator I see the light "northernline platform 3 - all stations to High Barnet"

Why in heaven's name is it such a frickin secret?? From Waterloo station there should be signs and announcements letting people know that they should get the Edgeware train to Euston and go to platform 3. When you get to Euston there should be signs to platform 3. I spent 45 minutes lost underground in a city I have spent my whole life in, on an underground network I use daily and was late for my appointment due to tfl's incompetence and lack of staff presence!!

Once my eyes have adjusted to the bright lights I shall make a complaint!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhones

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Great Purple Alpha-Bake...

So I mentioned previously that I had been inspired by Julie and Julia (recently read the book and watched the film) and had set myself a baking challenge...

To bake through the letters of the alphabet, a recipe a week for each letter.

I have trawled through recipe books and websites galore and one of the things I realised is that every recipe needs to have a photo. It is very hard to imagine something based on a list of ingredients and a name. I’ve also had to be creative with some of the names as finding desserts beginning with X etc… was pretty darn difficult.

So, here is my Alpha-Bake list:

  • Almond and Orange Cake
  • Banoffee Pie
  • Cherry & Apple Pies
  • Dark & White Chocolate Fondants
  • English Apple & Cinnamon Crumble Tart
  • Fresh Cream & Strawberry Victoria Sponge
  • Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding
  • Homemade Toffee Apple Tart
  • Iced Cinnamon Buns
  • Jam Bakewell
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Lemon Meringue Cake
  • Macaroons
  • Nutty Hazlenut Frangipane
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
  • Passionfruit Roulade
  • Quince & Pear Puffed Pancake
  • Rose Cupcakes of course
  • Salted Caramel Tart
  • Tiramisu Layer Cake
  • Upside Down Pineapple Cake
  • Vanilla Ice-Cream cake
  • White Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies
  • Xaggerated Baked Cheesecake
  • Yule Log (Choc swiss roll)
  • Zalabia
So the challenge begins next friday (17th Sept). I shall post recipe details and photos (whether they are good or bad). All my friends who say they want to taste test can do so under the proviso that they leave a fabulous review :-)

Let the baking begin!!

Ohhh and while I was making my list I whipped up these beauties...

Lemon Meringue & Chocolate cupakes

Banana Cinnamon Pancakes

Sultana Scones