The sun has been shining, I’ve been filing in applications and getting some bunting made, so what better to do than make some biscuits? Recently I’ve been baking chocolate cookies, but I’m a bit bored of them, so had a little trawl through the cupboard and decided to get going with some oats and golden syrup.
I got a bit hooked on Chai Latte in Australia last year and have been looking for some over here for ages. I managed to get Chai tea bags in M&S but have just found the latte powder in Sainsburys – it’s the Drink Me Chai.
Well I like to experiment with my cooking and so I thought I’d adapt a cake recipe to add it in.
I didn’t intend to go to Spain ever, but I was dragged along to Valencia, Barcelona and then to Madrid by an ex boyfriend and I’m so glad that I was.
In Valencia I first tried deep fried baby octopus, pulpo, in Madrid I had a beautiful platter of cheeses, seafood and cured meats and in Barcelona I had an amazing paella.
My first guest blog/recipe comes from Emily Hendren-Allwright and is perfect for this time of year when ripe British strawberries are coming into their own. It makes a great alternative to scones or sponges and I’ll be trying it out when I get back to England.
The British do wonderful cakes, with loads of cream and jam, but I don’t often see strawberry shortcake. In America, it’s one of the high points of summer. A lot of people buy little ready-made sponge cakes in the supermarket that are specially marketed for strawberry shortcake, but to get the proper texture, you really have to make them yourself. It’s somewhere between a scone and a cake, a rich, crumbly, eggy bite.
A ginger cake is good, a double ginger cake is better, but a triple ginger cake is fantastic. It can be served warm or cold and fits just as well with tea on a summer afternoon as with an autumn evening by the fire. And it doesn’t need icing.
Chocolate Banana Cake
I adapted this recipe from one I learnt in primary school. I decided to combine it with a caramel sauce and there are some optional extras you can add in if you want to.
For the cake
• 250g/9oz plain flour
• 25g/1oz cocoa powder
• 1tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• Pinch of salt
• 200g/7oz golden caster sugar
• 2 or 3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (if you like a very banana flavour add the third, otherwise stick to two)
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 125g/4 ½ oz butter, melted
• 1 tsp cinnamon powder
• 75g milk chocolate chips.
For the caramel sauce
• 250g caster sugar
• 142ml double cream
• 50g butter
• 2tbsp water
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, grease and line a loaf tin.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon, if using, into a large bowl. Stir until well combined.
3. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl, stir in the beaten egg and melted butter.
4. Fold the bananas into the flour mixture until just combined. Spoon into a loaf tin.
5. Bake for 50-60 mins or until the cake is risen and a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 mins.
6. Whilst the cake is baking begin to make the caramel. Tip the sugar into a heavy based pan, stir in the water and place over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
7. Turn up the heat and bubble for 4-5 mins until you have a caramel.
8. Remove from the heat, carefully stir in the cream and butter until you have a smooth sauce.
9. When the cake has cooled, pour the caramel sauce over the cake, serve warm.