Week One Hundred & Fourteen – Mary Berry’s Tarte Tatin & Sticky Gingerbread

Week 114 and I am actually blogging about this bake the day I baked it ( I won’t mention that I have only just completed the blog for last week’s bake!)shh

I dipped into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and found a lovely pudding – her Tarte Tatin and the sticky gingerbread recipe. My kitchen was going to have some lovely aromas today! I began with the Sticky Gingerbread recipe.

Mary Berry's Sticky Gingerbread

Mary asks you to put the syrups, sugar and butter in a pan and melt while weighing the other ingredients into a large bowl and mixing. Then mix all the ingredients together and pour into a traybake tin that has been lined with grease proof paper . I used my trusty Lakeland traybake foil tin and lined it with paper and popped it in the oven for about 50 minutes. The smell made our mouths water and we were delighted when the timer pinged. The difficulty was keeping everyone away from it until it was cool, cut up into squares and photographed for the blog!

Kim's sticky gingerbread

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s Tarte Tatin. Mary asks you to put the butter and sugar in a pan and melt gently, our this into the bottom of a sandwich tin or springform tin and then line with the sliced cooking apples. Top with the pastry from her recipe and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. This is where I had a slight issue with Mary’s guide to times. I checked my tart tatin after 20 minutes, the pastry was still quite raw and the oven was up to temperature because I had already baked the gingerbread. I set the timer for another 10 minutes, then another, and another. Finally the pastry was golden and crisp rather than pale and soft. Mary then asks you to pour the juices from the tin into a small pan and heat until caramelized. Turn the tart onto a plate and pour the caramelized liquid over the tart and serve warm.

Kim's Tart Tatin

This was a lovely recipe to make and smelt gorgeous but looked messy. I looked at other tart tatin’s on Google images and was relieved to see that most looked like mine so I heaved a sigh of relief.

phew

Today is also Mother’s Day and I would like to wish my mum and my other mum a lovely day with all my love now and always.

mothers day

Week One Hundred & Thirteen – Mary Berry’s Buttermilk & Honey Cheesecake

Week 113 and I decided to choose just one recipe this week as I was very conscious that I had an uneven number of bakes left so I decided to even it up by doing just one bake this week, at least that was the theory! I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and chose one of the few cheesecakes left. I hadn’t been overly keen on the last baked cheesecake I made but hoped that this one would be more to our taste.

Mary Berry's Buttermilk & Honey Cheesecake

Mary asks you to buy a flan base from the supermarket for the base and use this to line the base of a springform tin. This certainly cut down on the preparation and I am all for making life easier when baking! I then followed Mary’s instructions for the topping and poured it onto the flan case bottom and put it into bake. I had never used buttermilk before but as Mary advises in her book, you should be able to find this with the creams in the supermarket, and she was right. I set the timer and did the usual weekend stuff…housework, dog walking, baking, the usual multi tasking and juggling!

multitasking

housework

When the timer pinged, I brought out the cheesecake and allowed it to cool thoroughly before removing it from the springform tin. It looked more like a cheesecake than the last one I had attempted and it definitely tasted better but we still found it quite dense and filling so another recipe to add to the not to be repeated list!

Kim's Buttermilk & Honey Cheesecake

People have been asking me what I will do when I have completed this challenge. I have given this a lot of thought and I have to say that it will be nice to bake something because I want to or it’s what I fancy rather than having to complete the challenge I set for myself. I probably won’t bake every week , I will use the time to improve my photography , or set some more time aside for my artwork which I very much enjoy but never seem to have the time to do anything of worth.

So, having completed just one recipe this week, the number of recipes left to go is …

48

Week One Hundred & Twelve – Mary Berry’s Sticky Ginger & Orange Cake & Treacle Sponges

Week 112 and I delved into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and found two recipes I fancied tackling last weekend. I like a pudding after dinner but try not to indulge too much! I began with Mary Berry’s sticky ginger and orange cake. I wanted a cake I could put under my cake dome and tuck into with a cup of tea when I get home from work!

Mary Berry's Sticky Ginger & Orange Cake

Mary tells you to put the black syrup, the golden syrup and some water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile measure out all the other ingredients into a bowl and mix. Then add the syrup mix, continue to stir and then pour into the prepared, lined cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes.  The resulting cake looked and smelt amazing. Mary advises that you wrap the cooled cake in foil and store for a day or two before icing ( if you want to ice it) . I did that then used the juice from a blood orange with some icing sugar and iced the cake.

Kim's sticky ginger & orange cake

The second recipe was the treacle sponges. Mary asks you to mix about 8 table spoons of golden syrup with a tablespoon of lemon juice and then divide between the pudding cases. I brought some disposable foil pudding cases for this as I had no pudding bowls.

Mary Berry's Treacle Puddings

Mary then asks you to mix the rest of the ingredients together- I just love these kind of recipes- thanks you Mary! Then divide this mix between the cases and smooth the tops. Mary then asks you to cover the top with grease proof paper and foil cover and then steam. I considered using a large pan but then realised I had a steamer in the cupboard that I hadn’t used for ages so I dug it out and put three puddings in the 1st level, and 3 in the second. I filled it up, set the timer and left it to cook. The resulting puddings came out really well and I would definitely do them again..

Kim's treacle pudding

The chief taster has been feeling a bit left out lately with the bakes and sent me a text message with a picture of his lonely empty cake dome…..so he now has half a sticky ginger and orange cake in it!

Chief Taster's Cake Dome

I am still watching the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off, you can see episode 3 here. David Mitchell is hilarious , Michael Sheen seems really down to earth and funny and this is really worth watching. If you haven’t donated or organised some kind of fun bake sale already, please consider it- it’s a great cause.

The countdown continues and there are now 49 recipes left to go…gulp! The end is now very much in sight!

49 recipes left to go!

Week One Hundred & Eleven- Mary Berry’s Wholemeal Sultana & Apricot Rock Cakes & Singing Hinnie

Week 111 and another late blog, think this is the theme for 2015! I delved into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and wanted to find some bakes that were fairly plain and simple and the wholemeal sultana & apricot rock cakes and singing hinnie certainly fitted this brief.

I began with the wholemeal sultana & apricot rock cakes and this was a simple Mary recipe that was a throw every ingredient in together and mix. Then use 2 teaspoons to put rock sized pieces on baking trays, sprinkle with a little sugar and bake.

Mary Berry's wholemeal sultana & apricot rock cakes

Mary suggests as they have wholemeal flour in , that they are eaten fairly quickly as they will dry out but I kept them under my baking dome and they lasted for several days without drying out.

Kim's wholemeal sultana & apricot rock cakes

The second recipe was Mary’s singing hinnie, a northern recipe. It is like a giant drop scone and Mary tells you that it makes a singing noise while it cooks. If it did- I couldn’t hear it!

Mary Berry's singing hinnie

I had read the Rising to the Berry blog and remember it said that this was not one of Anneliese’s favourite recipes. I must admit that it seemed to go well for me- maybe because I divided my mix into two pieces and rolled each one out into a round so it was the thickness Mary suggests and it fitted in my big frying pan as I don’t have a griddle. Mary suggests it is best eaten warm, split and buttered and put back together- she wasn’t wrong, it was delicious and certainly a recipe that I would consider doing again.

Kim's singing hinnie

The Comic Relief Great British Bake Off continues and I watched last week’s with glee. I have missed the GBBO and this certainly has been entertaining. Episode two was very entertaining. If you missed it, you can see it here. Please consider buying the recipe book to help you raise some money for your Comic Relief Bake Off.

The Great Comic Relief Bake Off

Week One Hundred & Ten – Mary Berry’s Austrian Curd Cheesecake

Week 110 and I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible to look for just one recipe this week as there were still left overs from last week’s bake and I hate any kind of waste where food is concerned. This challenge is to stretch and enhance my baking skills , not to bake so much that food is wasted. I found this unusual Austrian Curd Cheesecake and chose this. Mary asks you to grease and line a springform tin and then mix all the ingredients together and pour into the tin. This cheesecake has no kind of biscuit base and has a lot of soft cheese in it and dried fruit and eggs. I did wonder how it would turn out as it didn’t sound like any kind of cheesecake that I had eaten before. I mixed the recipe and poured it into the tin and put it in the oven to cook.

Mary Berry's Austrian Curd Cheesecake

Mary suggests baking the cheesecake for half an hour , then cover the top of it with foil and bake for another half an hour then turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven. Once cool, remove from the oven , take the springform side off and sprinkle with icing sugar. Mary says it is a moist cheesecake that will need no cream with it.

Austrian Curd Cheesecake

I must admit, I love cheesecakes and so does hubby and the chief taster but this was the most unusual cheesecake I have ever made. Hubby and I didn’t like the texture of it and found it quite bland. Unlike most of the recipes in the baking bible, this is not one that I will be repeating.

This week saw the first of the Comic Relief Bake Off celebrity episodes and it was so so funny. The celebrities all did a sterling job but the one that made me laugh the most was Dame Edna’s approach to baking- if you haven’t seen it, you can find the episode here. A must watch if you want a laugh.

Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

Also seeing Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry with their red noses on is enjoyable on it’s own.

mary berry red nose Paul Berry red nose

On a more serious note, Comic Relief raise money for very deserving causes and I will be donating as usual. Please consider donating or even doing yours own bake to raise money.

Finally as I am late with this blog again, it has fallen on Valentine’s Day and I would like to wish my hubby a happy valentine’s day, we will be cooking our own Valentine’s meal at home with fresh bruschetta, Italian prawn pasta – Jamie Oliver style and a lovely bottle of rioja to share….I asked my hubby if he could choose a “romantic” movie to watch, what would he choose- to my surpise, he said there were two- Sleepless in Seattle and The Truth About Cats & Dogs. The Truth About Cats And Dogs is my most favourite romantic move so I was really pleased he likes it too!

imgres

Week One Hundred & Nine – Mary Berry’s Courgette Loaf & Creme Brulee

Week 109 and I am back in the baking saddle but not so much with the sitting and putting the fingers to the keyboard- oh well. i delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and it was quite apparent this week that there are not so many recipes left now to do and I am going to have to make a lot of celebration type cakes this year so watch out for- Happy Sunday cakes or Happy Weekly Shop Cakes or just Happy it’s one of the only recipes left cakes!


Mary Berry's courgette loaves

Anyhow, I found this unusual recipe not yet done- Mary Berry’s courgette loaves. The recipe makes 2 loaves- quite handy for the chief taster! This recipe involved grating loads of courgette- my machine featured last week came in very handy for this. This is one of Mary’s throw all the ingredients in and mix, then divide between 2 lined loaf tins and bake. The mixture looked ” different” and a bit yuk to be honest

Kims courgette loaf mix

The finished loaf looked fab and it didn’t look like a veggie loaf!

Kim's courgette loaf

Mary suggests you put one in the fridge and one in the freezer- we put one in the fridge and one in the chief taster!

funny

The second recipe was Mary’s creme brulee. This involved numerous egg yolks , and almost bucket loads of single and double cream- oh and sugar and vanilla extract- so really healthy for you! Mary asks you to whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla, then heat the cream until it is just too hot to stick your finger in- I took her word for this, I didn’t fancy a burnt finger! Then allow the cream to cool slightly and whisk all the ingredients together. Mary then asks you to either pour this into a large bowl or some ramekin dishes and then stand in a roasting tin, fill up halfway with hot water and cook in the oven until set. Once cooked, put in the fridge over night.

Mary Berry's creme brulee

The next day, pour some demerara sugar on the top of each one and either place them under the grill or use a cook blowtorch on the top. I just so happened to get a blowtorch for Christmas, thanks to my other mum who probably got fed up with me borrowing hers. It was great fun!

blowtorch

Once the sugar had been caramelised on the top of the brulees, Mary asks you to put them back in the fridge again overnight and then enjoy. I made 8 in ramekin dishes and we gave 4 to the chief tester- and he and my other mum tucked into 2 each back to back- and so did we!

Kim's creme brulee

Naughty but nice!

naughty but nice

 

Week One Hundred & Eight – Mary Berry’s Cheese & Celery Crown Loaf & Basic White Meringues

Week 108 and I am on track this week with my blog- for a change! This week I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible with more enthusiasm and found the cheese and celery crown loaf recipe and the basic white meringues. My goal this week was being able to use what ever kitchen gadgets I have to help with my sore hand.

Mary Berry's Cheese & Celery Crown Loaf

I began with Mary Berry’s cheese & celery crown loaf and got out a large bowl. I mixed the flour and the butter together with my hand mixer. I added the pepper, the chopped celery and the garlic from my garlic roller.

Kim's garlic roller

I then added the cheese from my electric grater! I stirred these together and then added the milk and the beaten egg. I added the dough hooks to my mixer and mixed it until I had a lovely dough mix.

cheats grating

Mary suggests you either knead the dough lightly into a neat round and put on a baking tray or divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls into a greased cake tin , sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for about 40 minutes.

Prepared cake tin

This worked well for me and the finished crown loaf looked good and smelt amazing. I have managed to make a loaf without hurting my hand and this week my hand has been recovering in this brace which keeps it still so that the ligaments can heal with the occasional break for some physio so that I retain full movement.

Kim's sore hand

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s basic white meringues. I had to find some recipes this week that hubby could also eat- he had minor surgery in his mouth on his jaw and has had a liquid diet for a while. I thought the meringues with some ice cream might tempt him!

This recipe needed 3 egg whites so i used my egg separator to do this and save my hand and then my hand mixer to beat the egg white until thick and glossy.

Kim's egg separator

I then added the sugar , a little at a time , continuing to beat with the mixer until all the sugar was in. Mary then asks you to add the mix into an icing bag.One tip I have found really useful is to buy disposable icing bags, really easy to find now.

Kim's disposable icing bags

I then use a large glass to hold the bag open so that you can put the mixture into the bag really easily.

Kim's icing bag holder

I then piped small rounds as per Mary’s instructions and put the meringues in to bake for about 1 1/2 hours. I then left the oven door open while turning the oven off to allow the meringues to cool.

Kim's meringues

Hubby has yet to sample the meringues but hopefully they will be tasty with some ice cream. Hope you feel better soon hubby. xx

get well

 

The countdown continues and now there are 56 recipes left to go…..

 

 

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!

I

Week One Hundred & Six – Mary Berry’s Sticky Apricot Pudding

Week 106 and already I am behind with my blog, so much for New Year good intentions! As I have mentioned before, we still had a lot of goodies left over from Christmas and so when I dipped into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible I went hunting for a pudding that could be eaten quickly and the sticky apricot pudding seemed to fit the bill. I had actually planned to make this before Christmas but I didn’t get around to it.

Mary Berry's Sticky Apricot Pudding

This recipe was a lovely one to begin the new year. It basically involved a cake mix which was a Mary special- throw all the ingredients together and mix, pour into a pudding tin and lay the apricots on top and then pour over the melted butter and then sprinkle demerara sugar over the top. Bake in the oven for about half an hour until , in Mary’s words it becomes caramelized and brown. Mary suggests you eat it while its still warm with either cream or custard. We had a slice on its own and it was delicious.

Kims sticky apricot pudding

Our hairy hoolie who gave us such stress with his unexpected torsion and emergency operation just before Christmas is well on the road to a full recovery. This was a massive relief to us, this photo below was when we had just collected him on Christmas Eve and he was still really sleepy from the anesthetic and the painkilling drugs but having him alive and back with us. was the best Christmas present we could have had!

poorly hairy hoolie

A few people have been asking for clearer pictures of the stable I made for my nativity characters, if you re-visit that blog entry, I have added some more photos for you that show more of the detail.

My Mary Berry challenge of 2014

As it has been the Christmas period and things have been hectic, I haven’t done a bake for a week or two and we are still eating Christmas chocolates, cake etc so any bake would be wasted and that is not the intention of the challenge.

I started this challenge in 2013 and initially did one bake a week. It would have taken years if I had continued to stick to that so I upped the amount to two bakes each week where possible to get through the recipes. This has worked well so far and I have now only 61 recipes left so 2015 should be the year I complete this challenge.

My baking skills have definitely improved thanks to Mary’s detailed recipes and I have enjoyed most of it and find there are very few weekends where I don’t want to bake. My store cupboard has never been so full either and I don’t have to check now , I pretty much know if I have every thing I need for a recipe.

I also know which recipes I will definitely make again and which will never see the light of day again!! I loved the doughnuts and will be purchasing a deep fat fryer this year (hint hint hubby) and I have enjoyed making the bread recipes with a few yet to go. I have loved the small cakes and tray bakes but the dobaz torte was one to consign to the never again pile as were the Florentines.

Thankfully the keep and make recipes outweigh the never again ones! If you have been regular readers you will know that I have had a few operations over the course of this challenge and I think “getting back in the baking saddle” has helped my recovery and getting back to normal-what ever that is!

I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who visits the blog for their support and love checking to see how many visitors I have had and from which countries. Some days we have a globe trotting community. I try to recognise you all where I can and often put on there how many visitors we have had.

My thoughts are obviously beginning to turn to what to do after the challenge is completed. I will still bake but will not have the pressure of having to do so weekly unless I choose to. My hubby recently blogged about splitting the blog so that he/we can focus on photography and this is also something I love but I need to learn more about the process so will need to do a Photoshop or Lightroom course. I,am a “purist”photographer in that I don’t believe in having to manipulate an image other than sharpening etc . My feeling is that if you have to change bits or take things out then you didn’t take the right image.

Any how. Onwards into 2015.welcome to the last year of the challenge. I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to comment on any blog with thoughts and suggestions. It would be nice to hear from you.