Recipe 12: Silly cakes for serious people

April 10, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

When I am not pondering what to cook or planning my new kitchen (4 weeks until the work starts – haven’t yet bought appliances, worktop or tiles…) I have a reasonably grown-up responsible job.  We all work very hard in my team, and the last few months have been a particularly hard slog, so we decided we needed a team awayday and instead of using a boring meeting room we decided to use my flat!  I thought it would be fun to start our time together with an activity: an opportunity to do something creative. So I decided to bake some fairy cakes and then we could decorate them. I’m sure you are now wondering how fairy cakes could count as a new recipe… well, my boss is gluten intolerant and usually I make fairy cakes for the office using a very clever recipe with whisked egg white and almonds, but to do something different I thought I would try out Doves Wheat and Gluten Free self-raising flour… this promises a substitute for ordinary flour – but requires a little more liquid.  So under the new recipe definition I think it just about counts – a new ingredient and a tweak to a standard recipe.

Making it: A fairly normal sponge cake recipe, just requires more milk than usual. I also made it fairly low on dairy – so used dairy-free sunflower margarine. For the icing we just used ordinary water icing, which was divided up into a number of different colours.

Eating it: Before eating came the decorating. It was brilliant to watch my colleagues concentrate so hard on their cakes… we each had 4 cakes each to decorate and each was a work of art. The cakes themselves weren’t brilliant. Perhaps because I had made them the day before they were a touch dry and they were a little too dense.

Next time: I think I will add baking powder and maybe a touch more milk – it is brilliant to be able to do a simple fairy cake without gluten – so I will persevere in getting in right. I was also inspired by everyone else’s artistic efforts to try harder in making my cakes look beautiful.


Recipe 11: Sweetcorn chowder from Nigella Express

April 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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While I secretly wish I could live on cake alone, I know that it wouldn’t be good for me in any way… so it is important to find yummy savoury food to cook as well. Soup is one of my favourite lunches, so I thought that I would try out a new soup recipe for Kath and Anna as well. Sweetcorn chowder from Nigella Express seemed like a good thing to try – I love the pea and pesto soup for this book – and this soup was a similar no hassle approach.

Making it: simply take some frozen sweetcorn out of the freezer and allow to defrost. Strangely my local Sainsbury only sells “supersweet” sweetcorn – which is more sugary than a vegetable should be – but happily Waitrose obliges to provide ordinary sweetcorn (another good reason to pop in there every once in a while).Once the sweetcorn is defrosted it is whizzed up in the food processor with some semolina and a few flavourings –  creating what Nigella describes as “primrose mush”. To turn it into soup – it is simmered on the stove (obviously adding stock first!) for 10 minutes. While that was cooking I put some tortilla chips sprinkled with cheese in the oven to get all hot and crispy.

Eating it: We added some chopped red chilli once it was served. It tasted great. A very satisfying soup (for remarkably little effort) and the tortilla chips once added to the soup were delicious.

Next time: I might have to remember to get the sweetcorn out of the freezer slightly earlier – the mush was slightly too cold. I  think I would also be bolder in the amount of chilli I added to my bowl..

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