Week Fifty Two – Mary Berry’s St Clements Muffins

Week fifty two….eventually. You may have stopped by to check on what last week’s bake was and noticed that nothing had appeared! Well that’s because it was an absolute s*** of a weekend, I won’t bore you with the details but between a hole in a water pipe and me damaging hubby’s car, let’s just say I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to bake!

Mary Berry's St Clements Muffins

I chose Mary Berry‘s St Clements muffins, they sounded lovely but given the weekend events, maybe I was aiming too high? The recipe was straight forward enough, and I was careful not to overmix the muffin mixture. I divided the mix between the cases and popped them into the oven to cook. After the pinger went, I checked them and took them out of the oven. They looked a nice colour, and were springy in the middle. I left them in the tin for a while and then put them on the rack….and watched them deflate alarmingly!!! what a disaster- it about capped my weekend off.

Kim's disastrous St Clements Muffins

I set about making a second batch, I was not going to be defeated , I followed the recipe really carefully, divided the mix again into the cases and baked them. I allowed a little extra time for cooking and when the pinger sounded, I left the muffins in the tin to cool slower and then put them on the rack. I still wasn’t overly impressed with them. They were not my idea of a muffin, light and airy with the distinctive muffin top and they really stuck to the cases.

Mary Berry's St Clements Muffins

I don’t think muffins are my thing, I have since googled “foolproof muffins” and found that like me, there are loads of people out there whose muffins do not rise as they should. I will aim to defeat my muffin nemesis …..but not this weekend!

Week Twenty One – Mary Berry’s Millionaire’s Shortbread

Although this blog is a little late in being published, I made Mary Berry’s Millionaire’s Shortbread on Sunday. This brings back lots of childhood memories, my mother used to make this a lot but it was known as Wellington Squares in our house. As my dad loved these so much I have dedicated this recipe to his memory and renamed it to Billionaire’s Shortbread as his name was Bill………..

Anyhow,  the recipe was very familiar to me and I made it in one of the infamous Lakeland tray bake disposable tins which come in very handy. I have been aware of not taking so many pictures of various stages recently to have taken a few more this week as there are three distinct stages to this scrummy cake.

Mary Berry's Millionaire's Shortbread

The shortbread base is first and fairly easy to do, it’s just getting the balance of golden rather than burnt!

 Kim's Billionaire's Shortbread base

Then there is the caramel middle, Mary Berry is not wrong when she says stir ALL the time, if you don’t, it will catch and burn and you end up with burnt bits in it. This didn’t catch but it has done for me in the past so be careful.

Kim's Billionaire's Shortbread caramel middle

The topping is then the melted chocolate. Mary recommends just a plain top or a mix of plain, milk and white chocolate in a marble pattern. Traditionally in our house, it’s a milk chocolate topping with white lines and then swirled so that’s what I did and love the look of it. So here you have, Kim‘s Billionaire’s Shortbread in memory of my lovely Dad who was taken too soon by illness.

Kim's Dad Bill Kim's Billionaire's Shortbread

Oh and don’t forget to support the Comic Relief Bake Off and make a donation here:

http://http://www.rednoseday.com/whats-going-on/whats-on-tv/bake-off

 

Week Nineteen – Mary Berry’s Iced Fairy Cakes

Have you missed me? I am “back in the saddle” as they say and while still recovering from my surgery on New Year’s Eve, I wanted to get back to some kind of normality so decided I would spend a little time in the kitchen and Mary Berry‘s bible has 2 recipes– her fairy cakes and then on the next page, iced fairy cakes so rather than do this twice, I combined it, made the fairy cakes and iced them!

Mary Berry's Iced Fairy Cake

I made 2 batches of fairy cakes, one plain as per Mary Berry’s recipe and one to which I added cocoa so they were chocolate fairy cakes and the icing had cocoa in it to make it chocolatey too. A simple recipe and probably really easy to do but making them was the longest I had stood in the kitchen for a while.

Kim's fairy cakes

 

The results were good, I was pleased with the cakes and as they are very moorish , I gave my hubby’s mum and dad some to save our waistlines.

Kim's finished fairy cakes

I didn’t put many details on about my recent ill health and surgery, but I had an amount of time where I thought I might have a serious illness and was “off my game” for a while. Luckily, I had a lovely GP who sent me to the hospital and I found myself on a Fast Track to surgery rollercoaster. I had never had surgery before and was a little anxious to say the least. I have come out of it the other side, recovering well and the results show that my fears can be laid to rest. To give you a flavour of what I went through, you can read further here:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Hysteroscopy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Laparoscopy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oophorectomy

On a lighter note, I hope you have managed to watch The Great Comic Relief Bake Off http://www.rednoseday.com/whats-going-on/whats-on-tv/bake-off, it certainly helped my recovery and gave me the motivation to get back to my baking challenge. I will also be making a donation to this very worthwhile cause and ask that if you can , you do so too.

Finally, and yes this is one of my longer blogs, I would like to thank my hubby, my mum and my other mum and dad for all the love, help and support over the last month or two, without you guys, it would have been so much tougher. Much love to you all. x

Week Sixteen – Mary Berry’s Classic Rich Christmas Cake

As promised, this week is Mary Berry‘s Christmas Cake and I make a few christmas cakes as gifts and usually look for a different recipe each year so this fitted in well. I don’t usually leave making my cakes until the middle of December but I just don’t know where the time has gone!

Mary Berry's Classic Rich Christmas Cake

Anyhow, I wrote a shopping list of all the ingredients that Mary’s recipe calls for and I Lakeland dividing tinhad a good work out carrying all the bags needed for the sizes of cakes I needed to make. I used the chart on the other page of Mary’s Bible to see what size tin I was using and the quantity needed. I had purchased an amazing tin from Lakeland last year ( yes, I just love Lakeland!) which is a massive tin on its own but has dividers so it can make varying size cakes. I used my tin divided into four to make four smaller cakes.

My next workout was weighing out all the ingredients and then mixing them by hand- I found muscles I didn’t know I had! I also had the fun of lining each of the tin sections individually. ( I had left the fruit to soak in the brandy as Mary recommended by the time I did this.)

Finally, after a huge amount of mixing , the cake mix was divided and the cakes went into the oven………for FOUR hours! They have come out a very rich dark brown, and now need to be wrapped in foil and “fed” for the next few days before decorating. As they will be gifts, and some of the people they are intended for read this, I will take photos and post after they are in receipt of their present!

Kim's christmas cakes