Week One Hundred & Twenty Nine – Mary Berry’s Chocolatines, Mokatines & Apricot & Almond Gateau

Week 129 and my ever shrinking Mary Berry‘s baking bible and came out with three recipes this week, the chocolatines and mokatines were so similar for the recipe base that I could combine the two and then chose the apricot & almond gateau too.

I started with the chocolatines & mokatines recipe which both started with a genoese sponge. I made this sponge mix which was quite a list of instructions in itself.

Mary Berry's Chocolatines Mary Berry's Mokatines

I then halved the ingredients for both toppings so I could make both cakes without any waste. The genoese sponge came out well, I allowed it to cool and then cut it into squares and sandwiched some with the chocolate icing and some with the coffee icing. I then coated the chocolate ones with more chocolate icing, rolled them in crushed nuts and piped little rosettes on the top.

Kim's chocolatines

I did the same with the coffee ones and thought they looked rather smart.

Kim's mokatines

The second recipe was Mary’s apricot & almond gateau. This recipe involved making the meringue mix with whisked egg whites and the monotonous task of adding the sugar a teaspoon at a time until stiff. Mary then asks you to fold in some ground almonds and then spread into 2 20cm circles and bake.

Mary Berry's Apricot & Almond Meringue Gateau

Once the meringue is made, add the apricots and some water to a pan and heat gently until tender and put into a blender to puree. Mix the puree with some of the whipped cream and sandwich the meringues together. Decorate the top with a dusting of icing sugar and swirls of whpped cream. This was a crunchy, gooey tasty pudding.

Kim's apricot & almond meringue gateau

I was really excited to begin to see adverts for The Great British Bake Off 2015, I can’t wait, it’s the highlight of the year and hopefully the end of the challenge for me while the program is on….as my countdown because of 3 recipes this week has reached…



Week One Hundred & Twenty Eight – Mary Berry’s Sachertorte & Coffee & Banana Vacherin

Week 128 and I dipped my toe into Mary Berry‘s Baking bible– it’s about all that will fit into what is left to bake and I came out with Mary’s Sachertorte and Coffee & Banana Vacherin.

I began with the sachertorte. This has oodles of dark chocolate in it and you know I really don’t like dark chocolate so I compromised and had 3/4 dark chocolate and 1/4 milk chocolate to take away some of the bitterness. Mary asks you to melt the first amount of chocolate and allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile beat the butter and then add the sugar, beating well still and then add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract, then the egg yolks then fold in the dry ingredients. Mary advises you that by this point the mixture will be quite thick- she fails to mention about the gut busting amount of calories already in this and we haven’t finished yet! In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and add to the chocolate mix. Pour into the tin and bake for about 50 minutes until well risen. Mary Berry's sachertorte

Remove from the tin and allow to cool. To make the slimline(!) topping, melt the chocolate gently and add the double cream, allow to cool slightly and pour over the cake spreading it gently. Finally when set, write “Sacher” on the top. The icing came out nice and glossy especially considering mine had some milk chocolate in it too.

Kim's Sachertorte

The second recipe was Mary’s coffee and banana vacherin. I had no idea what a vacherin was so I looked it up and it says it is a meringue dessert filled with cream. This recipe caused me a great headache as I thought I had done all the banana desserts while visiting my family but this one popped up !! So I followed the principle of the recipe- a meringue filled with cream and made mine a fresh cream and raspberry vacherin instead as this house is a banana free zone because of hubby’s allergy- don’t want to kill him with my baking!

no bananas

Mary Berry's Coffee & Banana Vacherin

Mary asks you to whisk 4 egg whites until stiff, then add the sugar-225g of it-one TEASPOON at a time ..zzzzzzZZZZZZ. Once all the sugar is mixed in, the meringue mixture will be very stiff. Spoon it into a piping bag and pipe 2 20cm circles and bake. Once baked, allow to cool in the oven . This is where Mary and I parted company , I whisked the cream and used fresh raspberries to create my vacherin and thought it was very tasty!Kim's fresh cream & raspberry vacherin

The countdown reaches 18

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 Eighty Seven – Mary Berry’s Raspberry Meringue Roulade & Date & Walnut Tray Bake

I really don’t know where the weeks go you know, I plan my bakes for the weekends but sometimes life generally just gets in the way. This is my bake from last week, a little late and no bake from this week so far as I have had a cold, studying to do and a birthday to celebrate so I will try to make something in the week to “bank” for the blog! My delve into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible dug out the roulade recipe and a tray bake. I made the roulade first. It was Mary’s usual whisk the egg whites together and add the caster sugar – but one teaspoon at a time. Really? The amount of sugar for the recipe, I would have been there all day, adding a spoon at  a time and whisking well in between, so I am guilty of not following Mary’s recipe to the exact letter this week- tut tut!

Mary Berry's Raspberry Meringue Roulade

Once I had added all the sugar- and yes it was slowly, I poured it into the lined tray, covered the top with flaked almonds and baked for the recommended time. Half way through, you have to turn the oven down and this needs careful timing. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly then turn out onto greaseproof paper. While waiting for it too cool a little more to roll, whisk the double cream and mix the fresh raspberries into it. Spread the cream and raspberry mix onto the meringue and use the greaseproof paper to help roll the meringue into a roulade. I thought this would be tricky but I didn’t find it too bad at all. Leave the roulade wrapped in the paper and put into the fridge. The roulade was really long!

Kim's Raspberry Meringue Roulade

The second recipe was the date and walnut tray bake. Slightly more fiddly in that Mary asks you to cut up the dates, put them in a bowl with the softened butter and some boiling water and allow to cool. In the meantime, put the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix, then add the date mix when cooler.

Mary Berry's Date & Walnut Tray Bake

Line a tray bake tin and pour the mix in. Cook as per Mary’s recipe. Once cooked, allow to cool in the tin and make the icing topping. I must admit I was a bit dubious about making a lemon icing topping on a date and walnut tray bake but it seemed to compliment it well. Finally decorate with walnut pieces.

Kim's Date & Walnut Tray Bake

I divided my bakes as usual and gave some to my chief tasters ….who have now informed me that they are on strict diets so I may have to half Mary’s recipe amounts or I will have to resort to feeding the neighbourhood by putting a table outside!

funny diet joke

My hubby informs me that our blog has now had over 50, 000 views since we started it – not just for my cake adventures, but also our photography, and Canadian adventure too so thank you all for helping to build up this figure!

Oh and my countdown continues…..93 to go….and having a week’s break isn’t helping…..but on a brighter note- the Great British Bake Off starts next week- I will be there, watching every bake!

Week Eighty – Mary Berry’s Strawberry Meringue Nests & Rock Cakes

Week eighty already and I didn’t know what I fancied attempting this week – sweet or savoury? I dipped into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and surfaced with strawberry meringue nests and rock cakes!

Mary Berry's Strawberry Meringue Nests

The meringue nests would make a nice pudding after the planned weekend b-b-q and so I began. Mary asks you to whisk the egg whites until frothy. Then you add the icing sugar but interestingly Mary then asks you to whisk the mix over a pan of hot water until the mixture is stiff and ready for piping. No easy feat but I had a pan of hot water on anyway boiling some eggs for a salad so I used that pan and juggled the bowl over it while whisking until I thought it was set…… then Mary asks you to put the mix into a piping bag and pipe into basket shapes. Mary estimates that the mix will make 6 baskets but mine made four- they were huge though!

Kim's Meringue Nests

My piping skills obviously need a lot of practice ! I was ok with the base but when it came to the basket sides, I wobbled all over the place! When all were piped, they had to go into the oven for about 45 minutes. Once cooked and cooled, Mary asks you to put strawberry pieces in and glaze with some melted strawberry jam. This is where Mary and I agree to disagree as I am a purist with strawberries and thought they didn’t need to be spoiled with a glaze. I also added some raspberries and served in the basket with some cream.

Kim's Strawberry Meringue Nests

The second recipe was rock cakes. The last time I made rock cakes was when I was in home economic classes at school. Mary asks you to weigh out the flour and add the butter , rubbing it in until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add all the other ingredients and mix together.

Mary Berry's Rock Cakes

Use 2 teaspoons to put amounts of the mix into small heaps on the tray and sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 15 minutes. The finished cakes kind of resemble rocks I guess. All I can say is that they tasted good!!

Kim's Rock Cakes

Well the countdown continues with 108 recipes left to bake….

Week Forty One – Mary Berry’s Hazelnut Meringue

So many recipes done , yet so many more to go! I thought it would get easier to make a choice on what to make but it hasn’t yet! This week needed to be a pudding to follow a b-b-q with my mum, hubby, my other mum and dad and the hairy hoolies!

Mary Berry's Hazelnut Meringue

I made the meringue as Mary Berry’s Baking Bible described, and folded in some ground hazelnuts at the end. Then I had to pour the mix between 2 lined sandwich tins which would help the meringue hold it’s shape. Then into the oven they went and I set the timer. When the pinger went, I took the tins out, allowed them to cool slightly and then tipped them out and put them on the cooling rack. I left them to cool totally and put them in an airtight container overnight.

The next morning, I added some weightwatchers thick cream and raspberries to the middle and top and put the whole thing in the fridge. Mary recommends you do this at least 3 hours before you want to eat it so that it will slice easily.

Kim's Hazelnut Meringue

Well, Mary was right, it did slice beautifully and made a nice light pudding to finish off the b-b-q  on a lovely summers day.

a slice of hazelnut meringue

Week Thirty Seven – Mary Berry’s Strawberry Pavlova

I faced the usual dilemma this week, what to choose from the still numerous recipes from Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible that I haven’t yet covered. My decision was made when my other mum and dad invited us to Sunday lunch so I said I would provide the pudding. I had plans to do a lot of gardening on Saturday so I needed something that would be fairly quick as usual and could be put together in parts- the strawberry pavlova fitted the bill nicely.

Mary Berry's Strawberry Pavlova

Mary’s recipe wasn’t too daunting, whip the eggs whites until stiff, add the caster sugar, a little at a time and continue to mix well. The final part of the recipe had me a bit stumped, Mary asks for you to mix a little white wine vinegar and corn flour and whisk in to the meringue– if you have any idea why this is necessary, I would love to hear from you. I then drew a circle on some greaseproof paper and spread the meringue mix until it roughly filled the circle. I added the last of the mix to a disposable icing bag and swirled it around the sides to build them up. It was now ready to go into the pre-heated oven.

Kim's meringue base ready to bake

An hour later, the timer pinged and I simply turned the oven off and allowed the meringue to cool down inside the oven. Mary recommends this in her recipe to give the meringue a softer middle. The next morning, I retrieved the meringue, chose some Emlea Double Light cream to whisk – I try to cut a few calories where I can! I then sliced some strawberries and added both to the meringue and took it with us for a delicious dinner.

Kim's finished Strawberry Pavlova

The meringue went down well, especially with my other dad, he politely had his given slice, and then sat there with big puppy dog eyes, waiting to be asked if he would like some more!

Kim's Strawberry PavlovaPlease can I have some more?

Week five – lemon meringue pie

Week five came so quickly, where do the weeks go?

Ok, so I opened Mary Berry’s bible for my weekly inspiration and my mum was also coming up to visit …and the lemon meringue pie recipe just jumped out at me.

A quick trip around my local Morrisons to get some condensed milk and some unwaxed lemons and I was off.

A roast dinner with mum and hubby was planned so that all went in and then I got out my all new, all singing, all dancing Breville mixer on a stand (I don’t just buy things you know- my electric hand mixer only had one speed- despite what it said on it- and that speed was “painfully slow”!

I crushed the digestive biscuits, melted the butter and mixed my base, and pressed it into my flan tin (yes- that was new last week!) and put that in the fridge. Then I mixed together the lemon filling- Mary Berry says mix the tin of condensed milk, the “finely grated” rind and juice of 3 lemons and 3 egg yolks. The Breville made short work of that and that was poured on the base and set to chill.

Lastly, the 3 egg whites and caster sugar were whisked by the trusty Breville until it was forming nice soft peaks. The mix was spread on the lemon topping, swirled around and put into the pre- heated oven for 20 minutes.

This is the final effort and Ieven if I do say so myself, I think it  looked ok.

Once the roast dinner was consumed, I then dished the pie up for pudding..and it seemed to go down well with hubby and mum!

Hopefully one/both of them will leave a comment with a truthful opinion!

Until next week……. Kim x