Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Update on victoria sponge experiment

In my previous post I promised a Victoria sponge experiment with my 9 year old.  It did happen not to long afterwards just went into a blogging silence. Now my 9 year old Luke has mild cerebral palsy and due to this the muscles in his hands are weakened.  We don't let this stop our fun though. And Luke loves helping with cooking, so we agreed that to do this fairly we would use only the basics, a wooden spoon and a bowl.

So we started off raiding cupboards to discover no caster sugar so we subbed light muscavado. Worked well.  We cracked 4 eggs and weighed them at 224 grams.  So we also measured out the same weight in sugar, softened butter and self raising flour. Luke asked for vanilla extract so we put a lid full in.  Butter was room temp and soft and Luke knocked himself out stirring madly until everything was combined near enough thoroughly. We needed to add just over a tablespoon of milk to make a dropping off spoon easily consistency to.

We divided the cake mix into 2 sandwich tins and placed in preheated moderate oven for around 35 minutes.  Until risen and skewer came out clean.

We left the cakes in their tins for a few minutes then turned out and cooled on a cake rack taking off the greaseproof paper we lined tins with.

The filling we used was seedless raspberry jam and some simple whipped cream.

Bit of icing sugar for decoration

And hey presto!!  One very gorgeous Victoria sponge style cake made by an amateur. If Luke can do it folks no one has an excuse ;o)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

pre made cake mix? Really?

The other night I was merrily shopping in Tesco for a few bits I needed for an afternoon tea we were having on V day, I tend to prefer to go shopping when there are less people and I have no kids with me, shopping gets me stressed. Anyway I walked past this shelf at the end of the aisle and stopped and thought 'no way'  Went back but yes pre made cake mix.  I mean where is the fun to that?

Victoria sponge mix is flour, butter, eggs and sugar. you can flavour it easily with a multiple things to suit your needs and in any size you want. I was thinking most people have these things in their kitchen anyway so considering time it takes to go to shops and buy this mix then come home and cook it is wasteful as you could of had cake baked and cooled ready to fill by time you were back from shop.

On the other hand I showed my 19 year old this photo and his response was 'That's Awesome!' Somehow with those two words I think I somehow have failed as a mother.  I'll live but this kid at some point is going to be making a cake from scratch and loving it.

I posted about this on twitter last night and it turned out to be the most re tweeted post I have ever posted.  Opinions are strong with this it seems. Found out in certain places you can find premade flapjack mix to cook to!  Who knew.

Suddenly I am struck with fear at how many people are going to grab a packet mix, or those add milk/water bottles and shake for pancake day next Tuesday. Somehow I feel the need to go back to basics and show the world how to do the simple stuff. I'm not sure if it's the time thing people think they are short on or if it's simply them not knowing, but it really makes me sad.

So this afternoon I will be making a Victoria sponge with my 9 year old.  He has problems with his hand muscles being a little to loose so has trouble with grip.  But I am telling you if he can do this by hand with no help then most able bodied people have very little to excuse themselves buying these mixes.

So I will be reporting back tonight after this afternoons fun of cooking with a 9 year old and 7 month old baby in tow, to report how simple a Victoria sponge cake is.

******* update ******Due to a very fretful clingy 7 month old we postponed the cake making until tomorrow or Friday. So I will update then.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

malibu cupcakes

Last night I was home alone and having a drink and chatting on twitter like you do and the idea of cupcakes flavoured with Malibu came up so it just had to be done of course. I used the hummingbird bakery cookbook and used their vanilla cupcake recipe recipe and vanilla butter cream icing recipe but with a few changes

For the cake it had 120 ml of whole milk.  I used 90 ml milk and added 30 ml of Malibu.  This turned out to be pretty subtle so would maybe up it a bit more next time but not to much.  There was a subtle coconut flavour and it balanced out the icing well

For the butter cream icing there was 25 ml of milk used in the icing.  So I subbed 15 ml of milk for Malibu and it was stronger but still not overpowering but just the right amount I personally thought. 

Now I am pretty hopeless with the piping bag but a couple of these came out passable :o)  Finally getting the hang of it maybe? For the sprinkle element I used dessicated coconut that I had coloured with a few drops of red food colouring. Simply put it in a small jar and stirred in the colouring until it was evenly coated.  Left to dry out on a sheet of kitchen paper until it was needed. Although it looks more orange than red but never mind. 

Loved how light and fluffy these turned out to be.  I tried the red velvet cupcakes and they were a disaster so was relieved these came out OK. 

Saturday, 4 February 2012

MFC (mummy's fried chicken)

One of my resolutions this year was to eat less processed and take away food. We limited ourselves to one takeaway a month and am pleased to say that's all we had in January. Each week we do a meal plan we mostly stick to. This weeks went slightly out the window when we changed one nights for another then fancied something completely different last night, but it worked OK in the end. Saturday night is home made take away food or try a new recipe night. So we had MFC.

The idea came from book of program Economy Gastronomy that was on a few years ago and was one I played with a bit. My spiced flour is a little different as I couldn't have celery of any form back then, and celery salt was in the ingredients list. So in my flour I have

100g flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 English mustard powder
1 tsp onion granules

Now and again I substitute to cayenne for smoked paprika. 

I usually use 4 thighs with skin ( there is only 2 of us so I use 2 bits per portion and it's more than enough, a mix of drumsticks and thighs would work well or even breast portions I would think. It's all started by bringing the chicken up to the boil in some water, which you can add thyme and a garlic head to if you like, and simmering and cook for around 30 minutes.  Then turn the heat off and let the chicken cooked in the stock that's just been made from chicken.  
in a bowl able to fit the chicken pieces in pour some milk and in another put your flour/spice mix.  

Dunk the chicken into the flour, then the milk, then the flour again.  Repeat with all the pieces. 

Preheat your deep fry pan or your saucepan with oil in ( be careful if this is the case) to around 170 degrees C and cook in batches if need be for 5 minutes, turning once until gloriously brown and crispy.  Drain on kitchen paper.  And enjoy knowing you've not had to drag yourself out in the snow and pay a fortune for this :o)