Thursday, January 31, 2013

Create Your Very Own Recipe Book!

Always dreamed of being the next Mary Berry or of having your very own recipe book published? Sadly this is only a dream for most of us but if you want to preserve your recipes and photos for posterity and for future reference then this could be the answer.
After just over a year in blogging I decided that I'd like to have all of my favourite recipes in one place as most blog recipes come from a variety of different sources, so I had a little look on the internet and came across photobox, a site where you can create photo books. They also have a special template should you wish to create a recipe book.
With this service you can choose how many pages you have in your book, it's not cheap as the basic book is £29.99 and the price increases with every double page spread you add. Other features include a choice of lay outs and backgrounds. I stuck with a fairly plain background and went with one recipe per double page spread as you can see below.

I chose fairly simple everyday recipes for my book, ones that I will probably make again in the future and that could be made on a fairly regular basis. However, I also wanted to include some of the more technical cakes and bakes that I've made on my blog in the past year. I therefore decided to add some photo pages at the back without's lovely to see all your handy work in one place!

Once complete, I placed my order and the book arrived in about a week. I was really pleased with the result...the pages are lovely and glossy and the photos nice and sharp. I think I'll be using my recipe book long after I've given up blogging...and I'm sure when I leaf through it in years to come it will remind me of lots of great bakes.
Your recipe book could also make a great gift for anyone who likes baking. Another option is to make your book available to the public on the photobox website and then anyone who wants to can purchase a copy...perhaps you could become the next Mary Berry after all! :-)
***Please note that this is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to make my own recipe book and happened to use photobox but other companies do offer a similar service. Another site that offers a 'make your own cookbook' option is 'blurb'. If you decide to make a recipe book I'd love to hear your recommendations for great sites.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Calendar Cakes Round Up - January

Our first entry this month was from Lisa at Good food, Shared. Lisa made these lovely Chocolate Beetroot Cupcakes. They have a fudgy texture with no hint of the secret ingredient which remained undetected by her kids!
Fleur from Homemade by Fleur created these lovely Parsnip, Lime and Warm Spice Muffin. Fleur reports that these muffins will easily satisfy a sweet tooth even though they have reduced sugar. She also grew the parsnips in her garden. This is a interesting and original recipe.
Next up was Joey from Little Accidents in the Kitchen. Joey made healthier Matcha Cupcakes, matcha is not something I've really come across very often but these cupcakes look great and have the distinctive green colour of the matcha. These cupcakes were healthier as the butter was replaced with applesauce and the sugar was reduced. The matcha also has health benefits in itself, including acting as an anti-oxidant.
Angela from Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me brought us these Carrot and Sultana Mini Loaves. I love sultanas and I love mini these are perfect! The carrot also adds a moistness and is a healthy element in this bake. It's also cream cheese frosting.
Miss Flash from Food, Glorious Food made a Low Fat Coffee and Walnut Cake. Coffee and Walnut is a perennial favourite, so it's good to have a low fat version on hand if you need cake but are trying to spare the calories! The recipe is from Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache recipe book...described as the ultimate feel good book of natural cakes that taste naughty. Many of the recipes contain vegetables.
Something a bit different now from Elizabeth's Kitchen. Post-Workout Protein Bites. They have all sorts of goodness in them, including brown rice flour, courgette, banana, date, almond milk and agave syrup. The purpose of these protein bites was to aid Elizabeth's strength training as she is a volunteer crew member for the RNLI no less!
A zingy entry next which provides a bit of respite from the heavy flavours of Christmas. Kat from The Baking Explorer made this Orange and Pomegranate Cake. These seasonal fruits produced a lovely moist cake with the added anti-oxidant properties of the pomegranate seeds.
This Carrot and Apple Olive Oil Cake from Ruchira at Cookaroo has a lovely list of ingredients, which apart from the obvious include cinnamon, all spice, milk and walnut. It looks really lovely and moist and has a Quark frosting, Quark being a virtually fat free soft cheese.
Next a Plum Cake from Santosh's Kitchen. The dried fruit for this cake was soaked in brandy for 4 days before use. It also contains nuts which contain good fats. The walnuts can help lower cholesterol when eaten as part of a healthy diet. The cake was finished with a striking bell design created with a dusting of icing sugar.
Lisa at Good Food, Shared gave us a second healthy offering, a Date Cake. As Lisa says 'Dates are full of carbohydrates which will release their energy slowly throughout the day, so after you coffee break you'll have energy to tackle into the day's long list of jobs. Dates are also a source of fibre, for every 100 g of dates, approximately 8g is fibre and to top it all off they are low in fat'. So not just a tasty cake but a healthy one too! :-)
Next we have a tempting treat from lovely baker Angela at The Charmed Cupcake. Hazelnut, Banana and Coconut Cupcakes. These cupcakes are made without frosting and contain hazelnut oil which Angela explains 'has a similar composition to extra virgin olive oil with high content in Omega 9 and Omega 6 fatty acid. This makes hazelnuts another healthy cooking oil option with flavourful taste'. I'd love to try one of these.
These next muffins from Hazel at the Cupcakery are right up my street. They're Good Mornin' Muffins with a wonderful burst of fruit from the mixed berries, this also makes them lovely and moist. Delicious!
Muffins proved very popular as a healthy option this month...and here are mine...Wholemeal Spelt, Apple, Carrot and Pumpkin Seed. These were tasty but they did taste like healthy muffins...I guess they're never going to taste quite the same though. I took one to work each day for a snack and they filled a hole perfectly.
From my co-host and bundt queen, Rachel at Dolly Bakes, we have a Chocolate Beetroot Bundt. This bundt took it's inspiration from the American version of The Office where one of the characters, Dwight Schrute is a beet farmer! This turned out to be a moist cake with a soft texture, that wasn't overly sweet.
A fabulous muffin next...Dukkah and Sun Dried Tomato Muffins from Helen at Fuss Free Flavours. These are our first savoury muffins and they also use an ingredient I've never even heard of...Dukkah which is an Egyptian spice blend traditionally containing herbs, nuts and spices. The muffins are also egg free but do contain milk and oil from a jar of sun dried tomatoes as the wet ingredients...delicious!
Kim at Cakes from Kim brought us these Skinny Lemon Cupcakes. The recipe is from the 'Hairy Dieters' and there are only 175 calories per cupcake. They're made with sunflower oil, milk and natural yogurt and there are also blueberries hidden inside. Kim recommends this recipe as apparently they don't taste any different from their full fat counterparts!
Another cupcake next from Ruchira at Cookaroo. Adapted from a Primrose Bakery recipe these are Maple Granola Cupcakes. These cupcakes also have yogurt in them and the granola is homemade. Ruchira is a big fan of maple syrup and I have to say I am too, so I'd love to give one of these cupcakes a go!
Any bake that is guilt free has to be a I'm definitely going to try this 'Guilt-Free Bran Fruit Loaf' from Crumbs and Corkscrews. Louise made this as a tasty treat which could still be enjoyed whilst following the Weight Watchers plan.
Another lovely recipe idea next, these Wholemeal Date Scones are from Utterly Scrummy Food for Families. These are recommended as a quick, cheap and healthy after school snack. The scones have half wholemeal flour and also provide fibre from the dates.
Everyone's favourite next...Blueberrry Muffins from Joey at Little Accidents in the Kitchen. Joey managed to get a supersized punnet of blueberries for a bargain price...and what better way to use blueberries than in a muffin. They also contain yogurt to make them nice and moist and there is very little sugar and no butter...this was replaced by apple sauce, which I've never considered before but it sounds like a great idea.
Caroline from Caroline Makes made this Vegan Apple Cake when she met up with some school friends, one of whom was vegan. This is a great recipe to have up your sleeve should the need arise and I've never tried any vegan baking before, so maybe one to try!
An interesting bake up next, it's an Orange, Pistachio and Avocado Cake from Rachel at Blissfully Scrumptious. Rachel reports that you would never know that the cake has avocado in but it is lovely and light and moist. This cake has a citrus kick, texture from the pistachios and some orange syrup drizzled over the top.
I love the colour of the icing on this Chocolate and Beetroot Cake from Kitchen Delights. The recipe is from Fiona Cairns Bake and Decorate book. It contains vegetable oil for a light cake and you don't need to grate the beetroot either which is a bonus, as it is blitzed in the food processor. For a healthy cake there is just a little hint of naughtiness with chocolate drizzled over the top.
Lisa from Good Food, Shared entered these White Chocolate, Oat and Raisin Cookies. The goodness in these cookies comes from the porridge oats and sunflower seeds which have cholesterol lowering properties. They also provide long lasting energy. Another bake with a little treat, these also have white chocolate chips.
And now for something a bit different, a lovely Zesty Orange Terrine from Caroline at Caroline Makes. Thre recipe is from Slimming World. This was made as a healthy alternative to food available at a family gathering. It's made with orange jelly, orange segments and Total Greek Yogurt. I love fruit in jelly, so I'd be quite happy to dive in.
Here's another great entry from Fuss Free Flavours. Helen made these Chocolate, Orange, Date and Seed Energy Balls. I was really impressed that these were made in a dehydrator no less. If you want to know more check out the link on Helen's blog post. These energy balls contain peanut butter, dried apricots and flax seeds amongst many other yummy ingredients.
A classic pudding (almost) Sugar Free Bread and Butter Chocolate Pudding. Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog made these with Truvia which is a calorie free sweetner made from the Stevia leaf. The chocolate is fairtrade and there are also health benefits to a little bit of dark chocolate. So there's never been a better excuse to make a pud!
This Fig Cake with Greek Yogurt comes from Turquoise Lemons. It was made for a cake club with the theme being healthy cakes...perfect! It's a more-fruit-than-cake cake from Leon's Baking and Puddings book. The serving of Greek yogurt is also the perfect accompaniment to this cake.
We have Sweet Potato, Celeriac and Sultana Muffins up next from Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes. These muffins contain quite a lot of veg which gives them a squidgy texture and they work well as a breakfast option which will keep you going through until lunch. There's also no butter or oil in these muffins. The inspiration for these again came from Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache book.
Next up...more lovely blueberry muffins from Helene at I Cook With Butter. Helene's new year's resolution was to try and bring more variety to her baking, as like most of she has many baking books but tends to stick with the same recipes every time. The result of this resolution was these lovely moist muffins. The recipe is from Nigella. Yum!
Energy bars and bites have also been proving popular this month...these Chocolate Cherry Energy Bars were made by Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen for Breakfast Week. They contain cherry flavoured cocoa powder which has real natural cherry flavour which really enhanced the taste of the energy bars. They're also sugar free and perfect for breakfast on the go.
Finally, a lovely entry from Angela at My Golden Pear. These are Carrot and Coconut Muffins with a Chocolate Topping. These are really pretty little muffins with a secret....there is no butter, no refined sugar and they are grain's that for healthy! The muffin itself is made with coconut oil, coconut flour, honey, carrots, raisins, shredded coconut, eggs, bicarb and cinnamon...I'm seriously impressed.

Thank you all for your amazing entries...these healthy cakes and bakes are all fabulous and if you're still on your January health kick then there are surely some recipes here that will keep you going!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tropical Tumbler Trifle

Something a bit different today...a mini mid-week offering. These Tropical Tumbler Trifles serve two purposes:
  1. I'm having a bit of an oven crisis at the moment...since moving into a new house I've been battling with a new oven that doesn't want to play ball...there have been one or two cake wrecks thus far! So this is a no bake option that doesn't require a temperamental oven!
  2. It is my entry into new blogging challenge 'Dish of the Month'...find out more below.

This is so simple to make, so if you want something quick and easy or you're having oven problems like me then give this a go. The tropical aspect comes from the hidden surprise in the bottom of the tumbler...banana that has been brought to the boil in coconut milk and then left to cool. You can just see a hint of the banana at the bottom of the glass. On top of this there are sliced peaches, whipped cream with vanilla extract and some crushed ginger nuts.
As mentioned I'm entering my trifles into new challenge, Dish of the Month. All you need to do to enter is make and blog any Nigel Slater recipe, the idea arisng from his Dish of the Day programme. The challenge is being run jointly by Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen and Sue from A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate.
You can find the recipe for these trifles on the BBC GoodFood website. Although a word of warning, if you're thinking about making them then check the ingredient list as the proportions don't seem quite right for two people....500ml double cream for two? I would say you could probably half all the ingredients except the banana and so not to be wasteful, find another use for the coconut milk once used as a boiling liquid. I also used peach slices as they fitted more neatly into the glass.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Biscuity Lime Pie

Well the weather outside may be cold and dull but this Biscuity Lime Pie will certainly add some zing to your life! It has no less than the zest and juice of 4 limes and a lemon. This is a lovely idea for an easy to make dessert.
The case is made by blitzing ginger nut biscuits and then combining them with some melted butter. This mixture was then pressed into a fluted 10 x 34cm rectangular tin which makes this pie look really pretty and it definitely adds to the appeal. The case was baked on it's own for 15 minutes.
The zingy filling was made using sweetened condensed milk, sugar, egg yolks, the zests and juices from the limes and lemons. It's really hard to describe the result, it tastes quite like lime meringue pie filling but slightly more mousse like! Once the filling is added, it goes back in the oven for a further 20 minutes.
You only need a small slice of this pie, it's very sweet and citrusy but it's guaranteed to tingle your taste buds. It was alittle bit too much for me. If the citrus is a bit too overpowering, you could always reduce the number of limes to 2 or 3. So for a little slice of sunshine on a plate, give this Biscuity Lime Pie a go! :-)
I'm entering my pie into this month's Tea Time Treats as the theme is Citrus. Tea Time Treats is hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked. Karen is hosting this month and you can find out more by visiting her blog.

300g ginger nut biscuits (I had a 250g pack of gingernuts so I made it up to 300g with digestives)
100g butter
3 egg yolks
50g golden caster sugar
4 limes, zest and juice (this is extremely citrusy, if you prefer you could reduce the limes to 3)
1 lime to garnish if required
1 lemon, zest and juice
397g can condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4. Put the biscuits into a food processor and blitz so you end up with crumbs. If you don't particularly like gingernuts you could make this recipe with digestives. Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave and then pour over the biscuit crumbs. Pulse the mixture until it is combined.

This recipe calls for a 10 x 34cm fluted rectangular tart tin which gives a really professional finish to this pie. Tip the biscuit and butter mix into the tin and press it into the base and up the sides. I ended up pressing it in initially with my fingers and then used the back of a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes until nice and crisp.

Next make the filling by beating the eggs, sugar and lemon and lime zests together in a bowl using an electric whisk. They should double in size. At this point mix in the condensed milk and then add the citrus juices.

Pour the filling into the baked case and then put back in the oven for another 20 minutes. When ready the filling should be just set and there should  be a little bit of a wobble in the middle. Place on the side to cool and set completely before removing from the tin. This needs to be done very carefully as the biscuits are quite crumbly. Chill until ready to serve. Slice to serve and to add aesthetic appeal, top with thin slices of lime.

* Adapted from the BBC GoodFood website