Friday, October 10, 2014

Jo Seagar BAKES

Jo Seagar Bakes

“If baking is a labour at all, it’s a labour of love.  A love that gets passed on from generation to generation.”

These are Jo Seagar’s sentiments, quoted in her new book, Jo Seagar Bakes.  And, while the above quote may be true, she also admits that today few people learn to bake by helping out at the side of their grandmother or mother.  Families live apart, parents have full time jobs and time is precious.  So, that is where Jo steps in.  In Jo Seagar Bakes she’s taking on the role of mother/grandmother/teacher and sharing her recipes with you, explaining all the important steps, as well as all the tips and tricks she has picked up over the years to help you create delicious treats, every single time.

Jo Seagar Bakes is a big, hard-covered, baking bible containing recipes for all the baking favourites you can think of, and then some.  Many of the recipes are ones that have been passed down through the generations in Jo’s family, like ‘Fay’s Mumbles’ – a recipe passed on to Jo by her mum, or the Louise Cake which is a recipe that Jo’s Great Aunt Annie used to make on her coal range.  There’s also some new recipes and ones that have had the flavours updated (the Lemon and Paeroa Scones have caught my eye!).  

The book has been beautifully photographed and designed by Jae Frew, with the pages having a vintage feel to them.  Jo Seagar Bakes hits stores today and has an RRP of $55.00.  To promote her new book, Jo will be undertaking a nationwide tour during November and December.  She is such a fun and lovely person, so take a look at the dates and if you can head along to one of the events, do so; you’ll enjoy yourself. 

But, for now, here’s a recipe from Jo Seagar Bakes that we’ve been lucky enough to be able to share with you…

Butterscotch Fingers from Jo Seagar Bakes

Butterscotch Date Fingers
This is my Granny Win’s recipe. Very quick and simple but such a complex butterscotch flavour. A frequently requested recipe.

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes

Makes 24

250 g butter
2 ½ cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
2½ cups chopped pitted dates (cut each date into 4–5 pieces)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20 x 30 cm slice tin with baking paper.
Place the butter and brown sugar in a medium-sized saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. Cool in the saucepan.
When the butter mixture has cooled, pour into a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs, then the flour. Lastly, add the dates and mix well. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 18–20 minutes until the surface is shiny and dry. Cool in the tin. Cut into fingers when cold. Freezes really well.

Recipe reproduced with permission from Jo Seagar Bakes by Jo Seagar. Published by Random House NZ. RRP $50.00.  Copyright © recipe text to Jo Seagar; photography Jae Frew, 2014.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rocky Road

Rocky Road by Baking Makes Things Better

A couple of weeks ago Mel and I were lucky enough to receive some goodies from Pascall, we're both having a crazy busy year and I know that I am finding it hard to come up with new recipes - the timing was perfect as we are both on school 'holidays' which means a little more time to get in the kitchen and get inspired. The holiday weather has not been great which has meant lots of time inside. Max, who is now three (and a half, I must add the half or I'll be in trouble), is taking a holiday from daycare and has been eyeing up the bags of lollies in the cupboard since they arrived, so I decided that it would be nice to make something with them together.  Max always wants to bake with me but it's more watching and adding in ingredients that I measure out, Rocky Road was perfect as he could do most of the work!

Rocky Road 2Taste test, mix, taste test and wait until your Rocky Road is ready for the ultimate taste test!

375 grams chocolate buttons, melted
200 grams Pascall Fruit Jubes
180 grams Pascall Marshmallows

Melt the chocolate, this can be done in a double boiler (a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, you must ensure that the water does not touch the bottom of your bowl) or in the microwave.
Once the chocolate is melted, set aside for 3-5 minutes to cool slightly.
While the chocolate cools line a slice tin with wax baking paper, I used a 20x20 square tin.
Add marshmallows and jubes to the melted chocolate and fold them through the chocolate so that they are coated nicely.
Pour your mixture into your prepared tin and use a spatula to spread it evenly.
Put your Rocky Road in the fridge to set for approximately 2 hours.  Cut into bite sized pieces (I use a large warm knife as it cuts through the chocolate nicely) and store in an airtight container.

Max loved making this and took great pride in taking it along to our holiday catch up with our coffee group. You can change the recipe up and add in whatever your favourite lollies are, dried fruit, or nuts.  If you and your kids have been in the kitchen this holidays, especially if you have made anything from BMTB we'd love to see the photos!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October on Food TV

Oct Food TV Paul Hollywood

Sundays, 17.30, from 5th October

Paul Hollywood’s Bread is a delicious new series from Britain’s foremost artisan baker, showing viewers everything they need to know about making bread. Paul passionately believes that everyone can make their own bread – baking is in his blood, and like his father and grandfather before him has been a dedicated master baker for the past 30 years. Taking viewers on an incredible journey from classic British breads, Paul leads the way through soda breads, flatbreads, continental breads, sourdoughs and enriched breads. Alongside the tips and tricks of the trade, Paul also shows how bread is much more than something to pick at before the food arrives – it can be a meal in itself. From beautiful breakfasts, light lunches, tea-time treats to richly satisfying dinners; this series puts bread centre stage.

Oct Food TV GB bake off

Saturdays, 17.30, from 11th October

This Bafta-winning series has got to be one of the most mouth-watering contests on television. The Great British Bake Off is an entertaining and exciting search to find and crown the nation’s best amateur baker. The judges – renowned food writer Mary Berry and professional baker Paul Hollywood – set 12 passionate bakers a series of challenges in different disciplines designed to test every aspect of their skills and showcase the exacting science behind the art of baking. Taking on some of the most terrifying tasks of the kitchen, from souffl├ęs to choux pastry, the contestants go all out to impress the judges as they battle for a place in the final and the chance to become The Great British Bake Off winner.

Oct Food TV Rachel Allen

Wednesdays, 20.30, from 29th October

Rachel Allen isn't just passionate about food, she's also a busy working parent determined to show that anyone can cook gorgeous meals even when time or money is tight. She firmly believes that with the right ingredients and a little know-how you can eat well and live well too. Featuring great recipes prepared with thrift, sustainability, health and a bit of kitchen cunning, this mouth watering series is designed to help people make things go further, get more out of what they buy and cook, plus make the best use of their time in the kitchen. Rachel Allen's Everyday Kitchen gives a fascinating insight into the popular cook’s own life as she shares her passion for delicious and satisfying food that's perfect for everyday lives.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Banana Walnut Cupcakes with Banana Icing and Candied Walnuts

Banana Walnut Cupcakes with Banana Icing and Candided Walnuts - recipe by Baking Makes Things Better

I made these cupcakes a while ago for an SPCA cupcake day fundraiser some of the students had organised at school.  I think these ones never made it to the fundraising table – another staff member purchased them before anyone else got a chance!  And, good on her – these cupcakes are divine.  The flavours of the cake, icing and candied walnuts (and the caramel drizzle – don’t forget that!) go together perfectly creating one sophisticatedly moreish cupcake.  The candied walnuts are really easy to make and are my new favourite thing.  I actually first made them to go in a broccoli and cranberry salad (so good), but here they add a delicious crunch to the sweet taste of the banana infused icing.

Banana Walnut Cupcakes with Banana Icing and Candided Walnuts by Baking Makes Things Better

Makes: 12 

1 ½ cups self raising flour
⅓ cup caster sugar
60g butter
⅔ cup mashed banana
½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
1 egg
½ cup milk

Candied Walnuts:
⅔ cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon sea salt

Banana Icing and Caramel drizzle:
¼ cup mashed bananas
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
3 ¼ cups icing sugar
½ cup caramel sauce (I used Hershey’s Caramel Sauce)

Preheat the oven to 190°C.  Grease or line a 12 hole muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar and butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add in mashed banana, walnuts, egg and milk, and stir to combine.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pans and bake for 20 minutes.

Candied Walnuts:
To make the candied walnuts, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium heat.  Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the mixture is bubble and the walnuts have caramelized and turned a golden brown.
Line a dinner plate of baking tray with baking paper.  Place the walnuts on the baking paper and place in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes.

To make the icing and to decorate:
Cream together the butter, banana, lemon juice and vanilla essence.  Slowly beat in icing sugar, adding more if needed to make a nice fluffy, spreadable icing.  If the mix is too thick, beat in a few drops of warm water at a time until the desired consistency is reached. 
Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and decorate with the candied walnut pieces.  Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of each cupcake.

Banana Walnut Cupcakes with Banana Icing and Candided Walnuts recipe by Baking Makes Things Better

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chocolate and Chunky Banana Cupcakes with Banana Icing

Chocolate and Chunky Banana Cupcakes by Baking Makes Things Better
These Chocolate and Chunky Banana Cupcakes are a real treat.  The cupcake is a moist dark chocolate cake, with chocolate chips and chunks of banana mixed through.  The icing has the most delicious banana flavour (from real bananas!) and perfectly compliments the dark chocolate of the cake.  This is a great recipe to use up any bananas you have lying around.

Chocolate and Chunky Banana Cupcake - recipe by Baking Makes Things Better

Makes 12 – 18.

2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
¾ cup milk chocolate chips (I used Nestle Choc Drops)
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
1 cup plain yoghurt
½ cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 medium sized ripe bananas, roughly mashed (you want chunks)

¼ cup mashed bananas
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
3 ¼ cups icing sugar
Banana candies for decoration (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200°C.  Grease or line a muffin tray with cupcakes liners.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and baking soda. 
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg, yoghurt, milk and vegetable oil together until smooth.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until combined.  Mix through the banana.
Fill the prepared muffin cups so they are ¾ full.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out cleanly.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing and to decorate:
Cream together the butter, banana, lemon juice and vanilla essence.  Slowly beat in icing sugar, adding more if needed to make a nice fluffy, spreadable icing.  If the mix is too thick, beat in a few drops of warm water at a time until the desired consistency is reached.  Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and top with the banana candies.

Chocolate and Chunky Banana Cupcakes  - recipe by Baking Makes Things Better

Monday, September 1, 2014

Spring Inspiration from BMTB and Food TV

It's officially spring! I don't know how you guys feel but for us 2014 is flying by at record speed. Work seems to be keeping us busier than ever, Max is now 3.5 and when I'm not at work he finds plenty of ways to keep me occupied - including convincing me getting a puppy was a great idea! If you are a long time reader you'll know that Mel's wedding will be coming up in the new year, she's also taken on some post grad study – I have no idea where she is finding the time but she is and I’m super proud of her. I did plenty of baking over August for a range of events, including organising a bake sale for Cure Kids Red Nose Day at school, but, due to time constraints had to stick to tried and true recipes instead of experimenting with anything new. I am itching to put something new together to share with you all, I just have to figure out what. I'm sure that like me many of you are itching to get into the kitchen so I have some 'springsperation' from BMTB and our friends at Food TV.

Spring Baking Inspiration 1

Blueberry and Courgette Loaf, Raspberry and Lemon Cake, Mini Chocolate Courgette and Raspberry Bundt Cakes, Mini Berry Cheesecakes

Spring Baking Inspiration 2

No Bake Orange Cheesecake, Orange Cupcakes, Passionfruit Custard Pots, Lemon Coconut Cake

If inspiration still hasn't struck you can check out BMTB on Pinterest, Food TV also have a whole board dedicated to spring inspired recipes. If Pinterest isn't your thing there are always new series from some of our favourite faces:

How to Cook Like Heston: Mondays, 7.30pm, from 1 September
Heston Blumenthal takes off his chef whites and steps into a domestic kitchen to show us just how he works his culinary magic.
After years of passionately seeking culinary perfection, Heston Blumenthal demonstrates not just how to cook, but why certain things do or don’t work, as he dispels some of the myths inherited from our mother’s kitchen.

Britain's most visionary chef delivers meticulously tested tips and techniques to help viewers transform their dinners from bog standard to reliably brilliant without even breaking a sweat.

Each episode concentrates on one everyday ingredient - eggs, chicken, beef, chocolate, cheese and the humble potato - and features recipes for big favourites such as roast chicken, the perfect steak, and how to pull off the ultimate chocolate cake.
The series is packed with straightforward advice, while special cameras show what actually happens to food as it hits the pan or roasts in the oven.

Donna Hay Fast, Fresh, Simple: Wednesdays, 8pm, from 3 September
Donna Hay is Australia's best-selling cookbook author and home cooking icon.
In Donna Hay fast, fresh, simple she shows us how to use some of her repertoire of short-cuts and tricks of the trade to achieve her signature style and easy to prepare meals that really do look as good as they taste.