GBBO bake along: drizzle cake

I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen a single episode of the Great British Bake Off! Now we actually have English channels I saw that it was on the other day and thought about watching it, but after the news a film came on and Jan said he wanted to watch it so I went to bed with my book and left him to it. (We do have an external hard drive but you can’t record one channel and watch another). But that doesn’t stop me from being able to bake the cakes, right? I was just going to do a lemon poppyseed cake that I’ve made before because it always turns out well, but just for fun I entered drizzle cake in BBC Good Food and this recipe for lime and ginger drizzle cake came up. Ginger trumps basically everything in this house, so my decision was pretty much made for me.

cake1
The unbaked cake

I have one complaint about the recipe. It told me to use a 900g loaf tin. Who gives the size of a receptacle for baked goods as a weight? How am I supposed to know how many grams of cake my tin will hold? (At least I assume that’s what the measurement refers to). My tin came with dimensions… you know, length, height, that kind of thing. Admittedly I threw the packaging away and no longer know them, but I have a tape measure. I can work it out. How do you expect me to work out how many grams my loaf tin is?! Okay, end of rant!

cake2
Out of the oven

As you can see, my cake browned to quickly and also split down the middle. Mary Berry would be horrified, I’m sure! It was my first time baking an actual cake in a fan-assisted oven and apparently I haven’t really worked it out yet.

For the drizzle, I had no idea where one would get stem ginger syrup in Switzerland (or even what it is, really) so I used ginger jam instead. The pieces of ginger meant I didn’t need to decorate with crystallized ginger as suggested 😉 Oh, and as for the stem ginger in the actual cake… ginger may come in balls in BBC Good Food land, but it doesn’t here so I just chopped off a chunk and hoped for the best. Also, I may have added more powdered ginger than the recipe called for. Oh, alright, I definitely added a lot more ginger than the recipe called for. It stilled could have done with more ginger though! (I told you… we like ginger around here!)

 

There is drizzle on it, I swear! But most of it soaked in, plus it was the colour of ginger which doesn’t show up well against cake. In my defence you can’t see any drizzle in the picture on the original recipe either! I also added coconut to the top so it would look more intentionally decorated than “someone spilled something sticky on this cake!”. Also, massive apologies for my utterly terrible photography! I clearly have no idea how to photograph cake! It was too long for my camera! First world problems…

cake5

For looks, my cake gets a great big zero, but it tastes amazing and in my world that’s all that matters!

Check out week one of the Bake Off Bake Along for more yummy cakes. Someone even attempted a mirror glaze, which is waaaay beyond my baking skills!

Spiced apricot couscous salad

Couscous salad with smoked salmon fillet
Couscous salad with smoked salmon fillet

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, so here’s what I had for tea last night. This tastes best if you use fresh apricots, but if you plan on making it any time soon you’ll need to use dried ones or tinned ones (if you’re lucky enough to be able to find the type that are in juice instead of syrup!).

This amount serves around 2-4 people, depending on appetites and what you serve with it (probably 2 if you just have the salad by itself, 3 or maybe 4 if you have something substantial on the side).

It’s really more of a dish for summer, when fresh apricots are around, but it was still pretty tasty with the dried kind.

Spiced Apricot Couscous Salad

Ingredients:

180g couscous
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground cumin and ground ginger
80g apricots
1 small red onion
15g fresh mint
Approx. 15g fresh ginger
Handful of cashew nuts
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Cook the couscous in accordance with the packet instructions. Add the spices, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then fluff slightly with a fork and set it to one side to cool. Either place the pan lid on or cover with cling film while cooling.

    Spiced couscous
    Spiced couscous
  2. While the couscous is cooling, chop the onion, mint, fresh ginger and apricots and juice the limes.

    Chopped ingredients
    Chopped ingredients
  3. Add all the chopped ingredients plus a handful of cashew buts to the couscous. (I chopped the cashews in half, but you can leave them whole).

    Add the chopped ingredients to the couscous...
    Add the chopped ingredients to the couscous…
  4. Stir everything in well, then add the lime juice and stir that in as well. Taste test the couscous and add extra salt/pepper/spices to taste.

Tada – done! So quick and easy. I served mine with smoked salmon fillet, but it also goes well with grilled salmon or other types of fish. Chicken would probably be good with it as well, although I’ve never done that. And obviously whatever vegetarian/vegan alternative suits you.

For variations, you could add sultanas as well as the apricots (this is really nice – I just didn’t have any last night), replace the cashews with pine nuts or even add in pine nuts as well as the cashews. It’s really quite a versatile dish 🙂

Spicy orange turkey with rice

We had some oranges that needed using up, so I decided to combine them with some turkey and spices then serve them with rice to make a meal that we could eat with the chopsticks we bought in Taiwan and hadn’t used yet. It was so tasty that I decided to make it again at the weekend, and this time I took photos for the blog. So here’s my recipe for spicy orange turkey with rice.

Ingredients (serves 2)

Olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 spring onions
400 g turkey breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces (you can also use chicken – the supermarket I went to only had turkey left)
2 oranges
2 carrots
About 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1-2 tsp powdered ginger
About 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Basmati rice, prepared according to the package instructions

Method

1. Heat some olive oil in a pan. While it’s heating, chop the spring onion then, once the olive oil is hot, fry the spring onion and some dried chilli flakes in it for about 1 minute.

Spring onion, garlic and chilli frying
Spring onion, garlic and chilli frying

2. Add the turkey (or chicken) to the frying pan and fry, stirring occasionally, until it’s starting to go brown. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

... add the turkey and season
… add the turkey and season

3. While the meat is frying, cut the oranges into thin, shortish slices, then add the sliced carrots to the frying pan and fry for a further 1-2 minutes. We still had purple carrots so I used them because they look pretty.

4. Peel the oranges and roughly chop them, making sure to keep as much of the juice as possible. Add the oranges and their juice to the frying pan and stir everything together

Oranges waiting to go in
Oranges waiting to go in

5. Add powdered ginger to the frying pan (I used quite a lot but you can use less) and roughly half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

6. Serve with Basmati rice, prepared according to the instructions on the packet (the rice should have been cooking while you did the above steps)

Dinner time!
Dinner time!

That’s it. Easy peasy! Also, check out my pretty chopsticks 😀

Carrot and ginger soup with coconut milk

soupAs regular readers will know, I have recently been having some problems with my stomach. For over a week, the only foods I could eat without immediately being in pain were plain porridge made with water (yuk!) and plain couscous with a bit of spinach stirred in. Exciting, no? Towards the middle of week two, I started to feel able to introduce slightly more flavourful foods to my diet, so I decided to make some soup. Being already blended, I thought it would be easy enough to digest while allowing my taste buds to get some action again! I enjoyed the soup so much that I knew I would have to make it again. So  when my stomach started playing up again yesterday (apparantly greasy fish and chips at the Irish pub weren’t its friend), I did, and this time remembered to record it for my blog. So here is my recipe for Carrot and Ginger Soup with Coconut Milk (completely made up by me – if there are similar soups already on the internet it’s entirely coincidence!). I apologise in advance for the crappy photos (even more crappy than usual that is). My camera is in the process of dying a slow and painful death…

Carrot and Ginger Soup with Coconut Milk

Step 1: Gather your ingredients
Step 1: Gather your ingredients

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main meal with bread)
5 or 6 carrots (750g)
1 medium potato (200g)
Fresh ginger
1 tin of coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Put some water in a pan and set it on to boil (or boil some water in the kettle and pour it into a pan)
2. Peel the potato and all but one carrot (two if they’re small ones) and dice them into small pieces, then place them in the boiling water and cook until soft.

Dicing

3. Drain out the water then place the potatoes and carrots in a blender (or back in the pan if using a hand blender) and blend to a purree.

Blending

4. Return the purree to the pan and grate in about a teaspoon of fresh ginger – sorry I can’t be more precise with the measurement. I just chopped a chunk off and grated it! – (or stir in some powdered ginger if that’s all you’ve got – I won’t tell anyone), then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
5. Place the pan back on the hob on a low heat and stir in the tin of coconut milk
6. While the mixture is heating, peel the remaining carrots then grate them into the pan. Once all the carrot is grated, stir it in and immediately remove the pan from the heat.

Grate in the remaining carrot

7. Check the seasoning, add more if required, then serve the soup along with some bread.

The step with the grated carrot is optional – if you prefer, you can purree all the carrots. Personally, I like the texture the grated carrot adds and I like to kid myself that it makes the soup more healthy because it ends up practically raw so none of the vitamins can have been cooked out yet 😉

This soup is gluten free, dairy free and both vegetarian and vegan, so basically perfect for almost everyone.

35 Before 35: Baking – Honey Gingerbread Biscuits

I mentioned that one of the bee-themed gifts that I got for my birthday was honey. Combined with what I already had in my kitchen cupboards, that meant I was left with a lot of honey, so yesterday I decided to find a recipe and try to use some of it up. I chose these Honey Gingerbread Biscuits, mainly because I had all the ingredients (there’s no going shopping on a Sunday in Germany!).

Biscuits in the oven
Biscuits in the oven

I had no ground cloves, so instead I used extra cinnamon and nutmeg. I also added quite a bit of extra ginger because I find recipes never use enough for my tastes.

Biscuits 2

While they were baking, my kitchen smelled like Christmas!
I actually left the first batch in for too long… you may notice that some of the biscuits on the above picture are slightly darker looking… but they weren’t actually burnt and they still tasted okay.

Biscuits 3

The biscuits that I hadn’t overcooked had just the right amount of crispiness, but the honey made them slightly chewy in the middle and the spices gave them a nice kick that took the edge off the sweetness. I’ll probably make these again… and try not to get distracted when it’s time to take them out of the oven!

Two biscuit recipes down, eight more to go!

Turkey and Coconut Milk Risotto

I made a risotto for tea last night that came out pretty well, so I thought I’d share it with you. Unfortunately, I have no photos of the actual cooking process because it wasn’t until I sat down to eat it that I thought “Wow, this is good. I should share it on my blog!”. I did take a picture of the end product though, so at least can see how it looked once it was finished! 😀

Bevchen’s Turkey and Coconut Milk Risotto

 

My risotto
My risotto

Ingredients (This amount served 2 of us)

About 20-30 g butter
Olive oil, for frying
150 g risotto rice
Around 350 ml chicken stock
Around 500 g bite-sized pieces of turkey breast
One tin of coconut milk
One red onion
A handful of green beans (the long ones… Prinzessbohnen in German), roughly chopped
Two garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
Dried chilli flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Pine nuts (optional), for decoration

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and use it to sautee the red onion
  2. At the same time, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and use that to fry the garlic
  3. Add the rice to the saucepan with the onion and stir until coated with butter, then add about 100 ml of the chicken stock and stir. Wait until all the stock is absorbed before adding another 100 ml. Continue like this until you’ve used all the stock.
  4. Meanwhile, stir some ginger into the pan with the garlic then add the turkey and fry until almost cooked through. Close to the end of the cooking time, add the beans
  5. Once all the stock is soaked up, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in some chilli flakes and black pepper, then pour in the coconut milk and return to a low heat to warm through
  6. Ad the chicken mixture to the rice/coconut milk pan and stir everything together, then give the mixture a tate to see if any more seasoning is needed. I added extra chilli flakes and black pepper. The chicken stock provided enough salt, in my opinion, but you could add extra salt if you like
  7. Dish the risotto out into bowls and sprinkle pine nuts on top to decorate (and because they taste gooood!)

Voila! A simple yet healthy (ish) meal!
It would probably taste even better if it had fresh ginger and chillis in, but as it was a “what can I make with the things I currently have in the flat?” meal and I hadn’t been shopping, I had neither of those things to work with.

Whole green beans in a carton.
These are like the type of beans I mean, except mine were thinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Doing nothing while January whizzes by

Can you believe January’s more than half over already? Unbelievable! We’re 17 whole days into the new year already and I’ve done exactly… nothing. Hmm. What is it with time going by so fast lately anyway? I’m sure the years were much longer when I was little.

So, it was my dad’s birthday yesterday. He’s the third member of my family to have a birthday this month, and it’s my Grandma’s on the 27th. What is it with members of my family all being born in the same month? Actually, that’s not strictly true, there are more then 4 people in my family. But January is definitely the most crowded (and thus must expensive) month. Plus it comes straight after Christmas when I’ve already spent all my money buying gifts for half the world. Aaah.

Now, could somebody please explain to me what it is with Gordon Ramsey and the Secret Garden? I wrote a post a while ago wondering why Amazon recommended me a Gordon Ramsey cookbook based on the fact that I rated the Secret Garden. (I’m still not getting the whole rating a kid’s book means you must want a recipe book thing, but never mind). Since then I’ve had a few people land on my blog through a Gordon Ramsey/Secret Garden related post, but lately it’s gone mad. Just take a look at this screenshot (hopefully you can read it):
screenshotFor those who are unfamiliar with wordpress, that’s part of the stats page for my blog, specifically the part that tells me what search engine terms have led people to me (it’s also where I find the questions for Question Time). The above list is all from the same day. That’s 14 queries about Gordon Ramsey and the Secret Garden in a mere 24 hours. What is going on?? If anyone has any information please leave a comment. (Yes, I know I could just Google it myself, but quite frankly I can’t be bothered, so just indulge my laziness would ya).
Right, I’m off to make a cuppa. I got a box of Chai tea yesterday that sounds lovely and I haven’t tried it yet. (In case anyone’s interested it’s black tea with what’s described as “Indian spices” – ginger, liquorice, cinnamon, pepper, sweet blackberry leaves, pimento, cardamom and cloves – sounds yummy, no?)