Week One Hundred & Twenty Four – Mary Berry’s Lemon Griestorte & Petits Fours Aux Amandes

Week 124 and my Mary Berry Baking Bible is shrinking rapidly in terms of what recipes are left to bake! I dived into it and surfaced clutching her lemon griestorte and the petits fours aux amandes.

I began with the lemon griestorte. Mary tells you that it’s made with semolina and ground almonds instead of flour and it has a light but short texture- whatever that means!! I separated the three eggs that the recipe asks for and put the yolks and the sugar in one bowl and whisked them together, then added the lemon juice and finally the lemon rind, semolina and ground almonds. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into the mixture and pour into the tin . Pop in the oven for 35 minutes and then once golden brown, allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and turn out. Once cool, cut the cake in half.Mary Berry's lemon gristorte

Whisk the cream until it holds its shape and fold in the lemon curd and sandwich the cake together with it and dust the top with icing sugar. Try to use a good quality lemon curd to give it that lovely lemon tang! I usually shop at my local Morrisons and brought their Signature Sicilian Lemon curd which is really yummy!

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The second recipe was Mary’s petits fours aux amandes. Mary says they make very special presents, I wasn’t that keen but another recipe under my belt.

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The recipe was simple enough, I had to whisk some egg whites, fold in ground almonds, sugar and almond extract and put the mix into a piping bag. Pipe rosettes onto a baking tray and top with a small piece of cherry and bake. When golden, mix some sugar and milk together and lightly brush over the petits fours.

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The countdown continues and has now reached….

26

 

One of the chief tasters brought me a little gift recently, some beautiful measuring spoons. Mine are the usual plastic ones but these are rather special, so thank you and much love xIMG_0588 IMG_0589

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Week One hundred & Twenty Two – Mary Berry’s Lavender Biscuits & Sugared Pretzels

Week 122 and the usual dip into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible is getting a little restrictive because I am on the “home straight” and have so many recipes already under my belt! After the glutony of the chocolate fest cakes, I chose two of the biscuit recipes that I had yet to do.

I started with the lavender biscuits. I had fancied doing these biscuits for a while but wanted to use fresh lavender. I had brought a small plant several weeks ago but it had not done much so one of my chief tasters kindly went and brought two plants with flowers just emerging so I could make these biscuits and I have some extra plants for the garden to boot! I followed Mary’s instructions carefully and mixed the butter and the lavender together and then added the other ingredients to form a smooth dough – this wasn’t as easy as it sounds!  Mary then asks you to divide the dough in to two halves, roll them out to form 2 sausage shapes, roll these in the sugar, wrap in baking parchment and chill until firm – this took quite a while. Once firmed, cut each roll of dough into about 10 slices and bake them.Mary Berry's Lavender Biscuits

After about 15-20 minutes, the biscuits were done. They looked unusual and the lavender had a subtle aroma. They tasted lovely too but I am not sure about “eating” lavender!

Kim's lavender biscuits

The second recipe was Mary’s Sugar Pretzels, I had no idea how these would turn out as I have lived a very sheltered life and never eaten a pretzel – sugared or otherwise.  It started with Mary’s instructions to rub the butter into the sugar- never my favourite past time! Mary then asks you to stir in the sugar and the egg and vanilla extract until the pastry comes together – and miraculously it did! I kneaded it lightly, wrapped it in cling film and  chilled it until firm. Mary then asks you to divide the dough into walnut sizes and roll out into a thin sausage and then twist into the “traditional ” pretzel shape- thankfully Mary had a picture to roughly guide me in the right direction. Bake for 8 minutes – or as Mary says until they barely change colour and then lift onto a cooling rack and dust thickly with icing sugar.

Mary Berry's Sugared Pretzels

I followed Mary’s instructions to the letter and I think they turned out okay, I thought they were a fairly bland biscuit and probably would not bake them again.

Kim's sugared pretzels

I dutifully divied the biscuits up so we had some and the chief tasters had a plate…unfortunately hubby said that the biscuits “just slid” off the plate, onto the patio when he went to deliver them and so they had quite a few less this week than they should have done- oh well, they do say my baking is expanding their waistlines so  a few less won’t harm them!

shrinking waistline

The countdown continues and I have now reached the landmark number…….

30

Week One Hundred & Seven-Mary Berry’s Nusskuchen & Jumbles

Week 107 and yes- I know- I am late again with the blog but today I am doing both last week’s and this weeks so will catch up so you get two for one today! I will get into the swing of this blogging again! I delved into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible looking for a birthday cake for my chief taster ( dad-in-law) and saw the Nusskuchen which is a german nut cake-perfect! The other recipe I found was Mary’s jumble biscuits.

Mary Berry's Nusskuchen

I started with the Nussskuchen cake which was quite a fiddly sponge. I had to roast the hazelnuts to remove the skins and then crush them to add to the sponge which had various stages to it. I roasted the hazelnuts and then followed Mary’s instructions to roll them together in a tea towel to remove the skins. What I hadn’t mentioned was that just before Christmas while walking my hairy hoolies on a street walk, my big lad suddenly ran across in front of me and I fell- the classic fall onto both knees and both hands and grazed my nose. I dented my ego , skinned my knees and had sore hands but picked my self up and finished the walk.

dog walking

 

I didn’t realise how much i had hurt myself until a week or two later when i was struggling to hold things in my right hand and it really hurt when  I rotated the wrist. I had it x-rayed but no break thank goodness but strained or pulled ligaments and advised to keep the thumb/wrist strapped to help it heal. This has proved to be good except for baking and removing the skins from the hazelnuts really hurt! Mary asks you to beat the sugar and butter together, beat in the egg yolks and stir in the crushed hazelnuts. Mary then asks you to dissolve a spoonful of coffee in some warm milk and add it to the mix, then fold in the flour. Mary then asks you to whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until light and fluffy then fold this into the other mix.  Put this mix into a 20cm tin and bake.

What Mary then says is that while this cake is baking, prepare the filling. Peel , core and slice some baking apples and put them in a pan with some apricot jam, lemon juice an rind and cook slowly until the apples are soft but retain their shape. Leave to cool. At this point, all was ok and I was on track. I took the sponge out of the oven and took it out of the tin. At this point I realised I had a problem. Mary asks you to cut the sponge in half. I want to know how I can do this with such a thin sponge so i did the only thing I could think of, I made another sponge- and yes, I  had to roast more hazelnuts and then remove their skins- OUCH!!! the things I do for love!

Kim's Nusskuchen sponges

 

sore hand

Finally I had 2 sponges, I added the apple and some cream to the middle and melted some chocolate for the topping with some chocolate buttons to make it a birthday cake.PHEW!

Kim's Nusskuchen cake

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s jumbles biscuits. This was an easy dough to make, one of Mary’s throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Mary Berry's Jumbles

Mary then asks you to divide the dough into 32 pieces.  As my hand was sore, i divided mine into 16 and made my biscuits a little larger. Mary suggests making the biscuits into the shape of the letter S. I did play with the idea of making them into various initials but stuck with the S shapes as it was easiest on my poor hand.

Kim's jumbles

When you read the blog, it must seem like we lurch from one accident, incident or operation to the next- sometimes it does seem like that!

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Week One Hundred & Two – Mary Berry’s Muesli Cookies & Borrowdale Tea Bread

Week 102 and I am still delving into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and still having lots of choice with 67 recipes left to choose from…..this week I chose some more savoury recipes with the tea bread and the muesli cookies.

Mary’s Borrowdale tea bread began the night before with all the dried fruit soaking in strong tea overnight. the next day all I had to do was mix the soaked fruit with the dry ingredients and spread between 2 loaf tins which I had lined with the liners from the 99p shop!

Mary Berry's Borrowdale Teabread

Once baked, all I had to do was turn them out and leave them to cool. They are rather scrummy with a bit of butter and a cuppa!

Kim's Borrowdale Teabread

The second recipe was the muesli cookies which were quite easy to do. The only headache was trying to find a muesli that didn’t have pieces of banana in it as I didn’t want to kill my hubby! The recipe again was one of Mary’s straight forward mix every thing together and then put spoonfuls on a baking tray and bake.

Mary Berry's Muesli cookies

My cookies were larger that Mary suggests as I didn’t get as many out of my recipe as she suggested but they had the biscuit crunch and were lovely. Hubby didn’t think too much of them- all that healthy muesli nuts and fruits!

Kim's muesli cookies

So with these two recipes tucked under my challenge belt, I am down to 65 recipes to go..

And with Christmas hurtling towards us at a rate of knots,  I think you can probably guess it won’t be too long until I am doing christmas cakes again which won’t have any photos as they will as usual be gifts!

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Week One Hundred & One – Mary Berry’s Chocolate & Vanilla Pinwheel Biscuits & Welsh Cakes

Wow, it’s weird typing in that it’s now my 101’st blog – but here we are, and I will attempt at the end to tally how many recipes there are left to go. I delved as usual into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and picked the welsh cakes and chocolate & vanilla pinwheel biscuits.

Mary Berry's Chocolate & Vanillla Pinwheel Biscuits

I began with the pinwheel biscuits as I needed to make 2 doughs, one vanilla and one chocolate and put them in the fridge for half an hour or so, then roll them out into rectangles, and place one on top of the other and then roll together. Finally put this into the fridge for another half an hour or so and then slice thinly and bake.

Kim's mini pinwheel biscuits

I rolled my dough the “wrong way” and my biscuits were mini pinwheels or bite size. Nothing wrong with them but not quite as pretty or the size of the ones in Mary’s book.

The second recipe was welsh cakes ( This brings back memories of my Auntie Shirley and Uncle Bill ) and I made this dough in between the resting stages of my biscuit dough. It’s one of Mary’s one bowl mixes and needs just a firm mix. Mary then asks you to roll it out and cut into small circles. Mary then asks you to heat a griddle. I don’t have a griddle but I have a trusty ceramic frying pan which works well so I put that on to heat.

Mary Berry's Welsh Cakes

Mary suggests that you have a medium heat as these welsh cakes take 2-3 minutes each side and if your heat is too high, you cook the outside but the inside is raw. I cooked mine in batches of 3-4 . They are delicious served warm with a little butter. My only complaint was the amount of sugar that goes into them, they were very sweet and if/when I make them again, I would cut down on the amount of sugar that goes into them.

Kim's Welsh Cakes

This week has been quite an emotional week and I am posting this candle of remembrance for my friend Caron whose funeral was this week.

remembrance_candle

It’s also in remembrance of my dad and my first hairy hoolie Rosie. You have both been in my thoughts this week x

Kim as a baby with Dad my beautiful girl

Week Ninety Nine – Mary Berry’s Orange Drop Scones & American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

Week 99 – wow it’s almost 100 blogs for this Mary Berry challenge and I am still a way to go yet- I take my hat off to Anneliese who completed her “Rising to the Berry” challenge that inspired me in just 18 months! When I begin to flag or get a bit despondent, I read the original article about her and I remember what inspired me to start this path.

Any how, on this week’s dip into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, I found the orange drop scones and the American chocolate ripple cheesecake. I started at the weekend with the orange drop scones which were a breeze to make. Mary’s recipe for these is easy to follow and mix and I halved the recipe as this was just going to be brunch for hubby and I.

Mary Berry's Orange Drop Scones

 

I heated my ceramic frying pan and poured spoons of the mixture in, about three at a time. I gave each one a few minutes and flipped them over. You could smell the orange in them as they were cooking. Soon enough, Hubby and I had 5 or 6 each in the middle of a plate and we enjoyed them with some butter and maple syrup- yum!

Kim's orange drop scones

The second recipe I chose was the American chocolate ripple cheesecake which is a baked cheesecake. The recipe is a staged recipe in that you begin by putting some dark chocolate digestives in a bag and crush them, melt some butter, add the crushed digestives, mix well and press into the base of a loose bottomed tin. I always think Mary skimps on this part so as usual I topped up the base with some more crushed biscuit and butter mix. I then put this in the fridge to set.

Mary Berry's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

Mary then asks you to beat the cheese mix until soft and melt the chocolate. Put half of the cheesecake mix in blobs on the cheesecake base and add the chocolate to the other half and mix well. Add this to the base in between the white mix and then use a spoon to swirl it around so it has a rippled effect. Bake as per the recipe and don’t worry that the cheese cake cracks when it cools , Mary warns you about this. Keep the cheesecake in the fridge . It is very rich and you will only want a small slice but it is best eaten as fresh as possible.

Kim's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

 

Week Sixty – Mary Berry’s Bara Brith & Iced Animal Biscuits

Another landmark week, I can’t believe I have been blogging and more importantly baking regularly for SIXTY weeks! This week’s selection was a tribute to the welsh part of my family with a Bara Brith. I had to soak the dried fruit and sugar in half a pint of strong tea overnight. I must admit that I didn’t think the amount of liquid would be absorbed but Mary Berry‘s instructions were spot on. Once the fruit mix was done, I added the flour and an egg and mix it all together.

Mary Berry's Bara Brith

I lined my loaf tin and poured the mixture in and levelled it. Into the oven it went and the timer set. Soon enough the pinger sounded and I tested the loaf with my trusty skewer, not quite ready so it had a few minutes more. Then out of the oven and cooling in the tin for a few minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a cooling rack. A Bara Brith loaf in memory of my Auntie Shirley and Uncle Bill.

Kim's Bara Brith

Mary’s Baking Bible has a children’s recipe section which I have done quite a few of already. I chose her iced animal biscuits this time around, they sounded like fun for a big kid like me.

Mary Berry's Iced Animal Biscuits

I mixed the dough together as per Mary’s instructions and looked in my box of cutters to see what I had in the way of animal cutters. What did I find- a present from last Christmas from my mum – a Gromit cutter, what better for a dog lover than making some dog inspired iced animal biscuits!

Gromit Cutter

I rolled out the dough and cut out as many Gromit heads as I could. I wondered what they would look like iced and decided to use some circle cutters on half the biscuits to mark out Gromit’s nose and eyes as an experiment. Into the oven the biscuits went in batches. They didn’t take long to bake or cool.

Kim's Gromit biscuits

I mixed up some various colours of icing and used an artist’s brush to paint the icing onto the biscuits. I still don’t know which ones I preferred.

Kim's Iced Animal Biscuits

 

I’m a Celebrity is now on and has been extremely entertaining from the first episode. I will reserve judgement until the next blog on who I think will or should be King or Queen of the Jungle! On a final note, the Fiftieth Celebration of Doctor Who is on this Saturday, I have reserved my sofa seat with the obligatory cushion to hide behind and won’t be answering the phone until I watched every last minute!