Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Plum Loaf

Every year at this time is the only time I see the small Italian or prune plums in the stores.  So, I bake several of the loaves we love so much.

Italian Prune Nut Bread
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt ( I never use it because I used salted butter)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sour cream (I used fat free yogurt)
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 cups Italian prunes, pitted and chopped in 1/2 inch pieces.
1 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar, cinnamon and baking soda.
Blend sour cream and orange peel...
.. add to creamed mixture alternately with dry ingredients.
Stir til blended.
Add prunes and nuts; mix well.
Divide between two greased loaf pans (9x5x3).
Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes
.... or until tooth pick inserted in centre comes out clean.
Cool 10 mins. in pan
Remove from pan and cool thoroughly on rack.

............ options .... I added a bit of ginger, all spice and nutmeg to the cinnamon. Be careful with nutmeg and all spice..just a tiny "sprink" goes a long way! The nuts in mine were walnuts and I lightly toasted them before chopping. I halved the recipe for my test loaf.... but it was so good I will be making more right away. Double wrapping with foil and plastic keeps loaves as fresh as the day you bake them. Just thaw and enjoy later. Last week I sliced an egg nog loaf from Christmas baking..... perfect for a surprise treat at tea time ...




Thursday, June 27, 2019

My bread got "over riz" ...

Hahahhaha.....   I laughed my head off when I saw this about 3 hours after I put it into the bowl to rise... it was only supposed to do that for 1 to 1 and a 1/2 hours or so... but, things got busy and I forgot.  But, still.......











It pushed the plastic wrap and the towel on top out of the way and broke over the top of the bowl...my biggest bowl unless I step up to the big ol' metal bowl...

This particular recipe is one I have used for years.  But in the last two batches .... I have had to add lots more flour than usual to the 2 cups of water... even to get it to a stage where it is not really sticky... maybe because it has been really rainy or something?   We do know that breads are finicky that way... and by the time I weighed out the two loaves I discovered that they were in the 720 gram range versus the 560 to 580 gram version of all the times past.  This is silly.

They really were too big for the regular size loaf pans which are only 8 x 4 inches.  This time...I tried to sort of divvy them up into one of the regular size pans and one quite large pan which is 9 x 5.   It worked...sorta.... but, then, I was kind of waiting for the large one to rise a bit more and so the smaller one got "over riz" again..hahah.... and now I have one lop sided loaf and one good loaf.
























See where the smaller one is poofed out on the side?  But, who cares??   Paul Hollywood is not judging my bread.  They taste really good as usual... and, if they don't fit in the toaster., too bad.  I'll just cut them in half.  Especially the BIG one... that one won't fit the toaster...

 They don't look that different in some photos and the big one doesn't even look that big ... I should have put it beside the toaster for better perspective.  Next time.



Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Miniature Gingerbread Houses (take two)

copied this from my other blog.  (It's from Christmas day
really)
Can't do much else...broke my wrist and arm but wanted to
 get it on here.
You can find her recipe for the lovely gingerbread online.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I say "take two" because it is only the second time to try
Royal Icing and piping skills... hahaha... skills... that's
a laugh!

This time I made the icing softer ... with many more
tablespoons of water than Jemma suggests ...and still
 ... way too stiff to pipe.  So, after a lot of moaning,
whining and wiping off about 17 doorways... and, then
some swearing... I put the icing back in the bowl and
added more water yet. By then, I'm sure there were
dried crusty bits in it as well.

I tried again... but, by then, my hand was wobbly and
I was totally ticked.  Mister BumbleVee said he would
give one a try.  I managed to make only about two end
pieces... not great windows and doors...and his first one
was a bit wobbly too... but, then...he became a piping
machine!  He did all the rest of the pieces. In total I had
8 houses, and at 6 per house that was a grand total of 48
pieces.. a lot of fiddly piping!

But, hours later, in spite of the silly icing never being the
right consistency... he had managed to do all the pieces.
I waited til they were dry and assembled and added more
"snow" ... which after awhile... became a bit messy too
because my parchment bag was practically trashed.
I only had one piping tip and bag so made a couple of
parchment ones;  well, Mr. BV did that too...  hahahah
... BUT... we did 'em, the little buggers!!

Since then, I have been watching many, many videos on
piping, icing consistency, tricks and tips etc.... and, man
are some of those women ever amazing!!  I love one of
them named Haniela... she does great stuff..and has lots
of info to take in.  I will have to watch them again and
then, make up another batch of icing and get busy
practising on some parchment or something.  By next
year I want my little gingerbread guys to look somewhat
better than these.. but, I am showing them anyway...
because darn it ...I am proud of our efforts.

Mr. BumbleVee says .. "don't show everybody our
amateurish efforts".. but, I think they are cute and also..
it is only the second time trying anything like this at all
and his first time doing the solo piping, so .. here goes....

The worst ones, with no door sills... are mine.  The good
ones are Greg's...I think he is pretty good at this.....
maybe I need to make him watch the videos and he can
do them again next year.   Don't tell him I said that.


















I like to encourage people to give things a try even if you
have never done it before .. who knows how it will turn out?
You may be quite surprised at how good you are...
You may have amazing beginner's luck...

Try something new for the New Year!


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

I love Barm Brack

A moist, fruity loaf with Irish origins.

Every time I bake it;  a bit different.  What if I don't have something on hand? ...well, make do with something else of course ..   ..

I used to put less fruit in it I'm sure...but nowadays? ...I add apricot, cranberries, fruit peel if I have it...maybe even a cherry or two.. candied ginger... whatever I feel like.  Lots of fruit now.

Last time I made it I even put a splash of Brandy in the tea for soaking the fruit overnight...and orange zest, of course...and, some orange juice.  Man...it tastes like an orange creamsicle some days....mmm....  love it.

Here's a pic of the latest loaf...so moist and so tasty.  Link to the recipe.






Monday, April 30, 2018

Mary Berry's Jaffa Cakes

It is so annoying when you can't find out for certain how some of the recipes are actually done.  Yes, you can always find out some of it...but, the fine details....not always.

Like, ..... how on earth do you get the chocolate on the top to look like Mary's?  It doesn't tell you other than to say you can spoon it on if you don't want to go to the trouble of getting it perfect.  Huh? Why the heck doesn't she say how she does it and let me make up my mind later as to whether I will do it her way or not?

Here is a pic of hers.... from the Great British Bake Off show... see how lovely the chocolate line is all around the little cake.  Note the great criss cross pattern they say should be there ... I've never seen a store bought version so don't really know what one should look like.  

To me, they almost look like they have been dipped in the chocolate...but, it hardly seems possible as the cake is quite flat and how would you grab the bottom and keep your fingers out of the chocolate? ..maybe a couple of skewers through the bottom of the cake? .. some other method? .. who knows?......  ...... anybody got any suggestions?                                                                

Then, there are dozens of folks who have made them and put them out there ... and, most of them look like this.  I would probably be too embarrassed to show mine if they looked like this...  although, I might...  just to let you know if they were that difficult to do.  There has to be a better way to get the chocolate on there and make it look tidy at the very least. 


I want to try Jaffa cakes some day soon... and want them to look nice.