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Coffee bundt cake

I had had a special request for a coffee cake from my lovely mother-in-law, and I am always happy to oblige such requests. Naturally I decided a bundt cake would be best because, well, bundt cakes are just superior, and what better way to spend a random sunny day off work than baking and enjoying a lovely piece of cake out in the garden?

Bundt cake just chillin' in the garden

Delia provided my starting point but the recipe obviously needed bundtifying (totally a word), not to mention leaving out the faffing around with walnuts and syrup (I can make a beautifully moist cake without dousing it in sugary coffee, thanks Delia). I also upped the coffee I put in the cake because, this being Delia, I just assumed it could do with cranking up a notch or two.

Ingredients
For the cake:
2 tablespoons instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
175g self-raising flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
175g granulated sugar
175g butter, softened
3 large eggs at room temperature

For the icing:
200g mascarpone
50g icing sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

Method:
For the cake:
1. Grease your bundt tin well and preheat the oven to 160C (fan oven) / 170C
2.  Stick all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth (it’s important that your butter is really soft, or this won’t work terribly well). The mixture should be soft and drop off a spoon when you rap it against the side of the bowl – if not add a little water
3.  Pour into your prepared bundt tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the deepest part of the tin comes out clean
4. Invert the bundt tin over a large plate and leave to cool – the cake should drop out of its own accord. If not, carefully slide a spatula around the outside of the tin and the hole in the middle then invert again and leave the cake to do its thing.

For the icing:
1. Beat all the ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth

Once the cake is completely cool, dollop the icing on top and spread it around with a spatula. Then present it to your mother- and grandmother-in-law and earn mega brownie points 😀

 

Lemon iced tea

This weekend we have been graced with extraordinarily unseasonal weather for British summer (let alone April). Ordinarily in summer it’s overcast, cold and raining – much like winter only a bit less dark in the evenings – but this weekend the sun is shining, temperatures are soaring to 18C and there is nary a cloud in the sky to cast a shadow on this perfect summery day.

The only sane reaction to this sort of weather is, of course, to don shorts, slap on some sun cream, do some gardening, have a BBQ and… make some iced tea. Yes, I have done all of these things this weekend and I couldn’t feel better about it.

I had some issues trying to find a recipe for iced tea. Possibly this was because I was so over-excited by the prospect that I just started it, then halfway through thought maybe I should consult a recipe, then ignored all recipes and just carried on as I was. The main issue though was that all the recipes seemed to be something along the lines of:
1. Make tea with tea bags
2. Add lemon and sugar to taste
Erm, thanks? Firstly this is unofficial English Summer and tea bags just won’t cut it. Secondly, any recipe that only requires three ingredients (well, okay, four if you count the water) and tells you to add two of them “to taste” is not really a recipe so much as a list of foodstuffs that can somehow be combined into something delicious but you’re on your own figuring out how.

So this is what I came up with, and it was just lovely to drink whilst sitting out in the garden in the sunshine, being amused by a small cat who was being very silly.

Makes approximately 2 litres (I say approximately 2 litres because our large measuring jug has chocolate sauce in it, so I was trying to measure the iced tea by pouring it between three different containers . For a short while I felt I’d actually been transplanted into a Professor Layton game)

Ingredients
2 teaspoons tea leaves (I used Ceylon)
1 litre water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
juice of one lemon (approximately 60ml)

Method
1. Make the tea. Boil the water then pour over the tea leaves and steep for around 15 minutes (I have heard you can experiment a lot with amount of tea used vs. steeping time. I just used 2 teaspoons of tea as this is how much I’d use if I were making a pot of tea, and steeped for 15 minutes while I ate my breakfast)
2. Remove the tea leaves. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add the lemon juice and top up to around 2L with cold water
3. Chill completely before serving (alternatively use ice in step 2 to get it cold quickly)

Serve with ice, in the garden, with sunshine. Small cat optional.

Happy 2011

I always make a point of making New Year’s resolutions. I love New Year’s. I don’t know why but to me it feels like a fresh start with a new year. To me it seems like with the rolling around of the calendar you are given a whole year in which you can do anything, fresh and new. Anything which may have frustrated you or held you back in the year past doesn’t apply any more.

My resolutions are:
– To play with Betty more, as I’m sure she appreciates it
– To improve at roller derby, by doing one thing each day that will help me improve (e.g. 10 squats, 10 sit ups, going to practice, etc)
– To do fewer chores (yes, fewer…) by getting Henry to help out more
– To keep my desk at work tidier
– To only have one tea with sugar in it a day (for the others, I can drink something else or go without sugar)

This may seem like an overload but the more you try, the more you can achieve. So I aim high!

I have to say though, while I think all of the above are worthwhile, none of them really excited me that much. So when my older sister told me that her resolution was to try one new recipe a week, of course I had to do the sisterly thing and steal it for my own. Chuck in a bit of healthy oneup-sister-ship and I decided to dust off the blog and blog my recipes too, with photos and my thoughts on the recipes. This way, I will be more likely to stick to it, I can share the recipes and the results, and I will hopefully discover some tasty things along the way.

So, with new camera and freshly-pilfered resolution in hand, it’s time to get cooking!

Hello World

My name is Li, and I love cake! I have been wanting to start a blog for a while now, as I am so inspired by the likes of Smitten kitchen, Joy the Baker and Love and olive oil (to name but a few). Also I cook/bake lots and could do with improving my food photography, and I want to learn to sew, would like to document my knitting projects and share the odd picture of our kitten (KITTEN! – we get her on Thursday. Here she is with Henry, the other half of “we” and “our”):

At the moment I am finding it slightly difficult to bake, as my kitchen looks like this:

supplemented by this:

My New Year’s Resolution was to bake every weekend, as I have this cupcake book that I never wanted to use as there were few pictures. So I was going to bake, take pictures and supplement the book. When I made this resolution, I didn’t know we’d be moving and redoing the kitchen, thus subjecting ourselves to a good 6 weeks sans kitchen. I will try to catch up as I am missing baking terribly, and beginning to crave foods that I have no means of making. Fingers crossed for the start of July… then we’ll really be cooking.