Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Nutrition Rocks

Nutrition Rocks is a website which I did not know the existence of until I was contacted a few days ago to write an article on it. Run by Hala El-Shafie, Meg Mathews and their lifestyle team, Nutrition Rocks has been featured in many well known magazines and publications such as Grazia Magazine, Red Magazine, Times on Saturday, Womens Fitness, Stylist Magazine among many many others. The latest celebrity support which Nutrition Rocks has received was from Davina McCall herself. You can watch her video of support on the website by clicking here.
Nutrition Rocks acts as a guide to help us all stay fit and healthy. I found it a brilliant opportunity to promote this idea when I was approached to write this article as I too believe it is incredibly important message.
The website offers excellent advice on how to maintain a balanced lifestyle allowing you to still enjoy lifes little indulgences.
The website also contains information about beauty, fashion and fitness. Nutrition Rocks offers that advice and guidance I am sure a lot of us think we need after the holiday season of indulgences.
Take a read of the website at : http://www.nutrition-rocks.co.uk/

Baking With Tiny Tots - Book Review

What I believe to be one of the most important points relating to baking is that we need to get our children more involved and interested in baking, in order to prevent a generation growing up unable to cook anything for themselves and living solely on supermarket bought goods.
Not all families have recipes which have been passed down generations; this is where this book comes in! It contains 50 recipes for cakes and bakes which kids will be able to help make.
The book itself was inspired by the authors’ 7 year old daughter Summer, so all recipes are truly tried and tested. Having 14 recipe books to her name Becky Johnson is a well and truly experienced author.
What I love about this book is that it also includes recipes for kids favourite times of year such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas! Kids just love to get involved in baking especially at these times of the year. This book will help kids familiarise themselves with concepts such as measuring our ingredients and how each ingredient should be handled or mixed.
An all round perfect first baking book for any age of children!

Baking with Tiny Tots: Over 50 Easy Recipes That You and Your Child Can Make Together

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Marche Dimanche - By Hillary Davis

This is one of the most fabulous websites I have come across in quite some time!
Hillary Davis is simply an exquisite writer when it comes to food. Her language and conversational tone make easy yet informative reading. Hillary is well travelled and an experienced food writer in many countries. She really has made a career out of doing something she loves!
Not only does Hillary write but she also creates many videos which are all on her YouTube channel. I am determined to watch them all as they are so interesting and i recommend you do the same! Hillary has had the pleasure to interview or be taught by many famous cooks such as Patricia Wells. As well as being interviewed herself many many times.

Hillary truely is a woman after my own heart. Check out her website at : http://marchedimanche.typepad.com/marche-dimanche/

This website is guaranteed to get your mouth watering with the scrumptious write-ups of all the places which Hillary visits.
Once you start reading or watching Hillary's many articles you will find yourself completely absorbed in a world of utter food bliss and knowledge. I find many of the videos so interesting as we simply do not have the same food culture in the UK.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Fabulous Strawberry Frosted Cake

A simple but delicious cake for all occasions.

The Ingredients:

Cake:
175g Caster Sugar
175g NEILL'S® Self Raising Flour
175g Butter
3 Eggs
2tsp Strawberry Flavouring
A tiny drop of Red Food Colouring


Frosting:
450g of Icing Sugar
110g of Butter
1tsp Salt
3tbsp Milk
2tsp Strawberry Flavouring
A tiny drop of Red Food Colouring


The How-To:
Preheat oven to 180c
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
Add the eggs to the mix one by one ensuring each is combined before adding the next.
Stir in the flour.
Stir in the strawberry flavouring and add a tiny drop of red food colouring to make the mixture slightly pink.
Pour into a cake tin lightly greased and lined with baking paper.
Bake for 45 mins or until when a skewer entered comes out clean.


Now to make the frosting
Cream the softened butter in a bowl for aprox 5 mins until light and creamy.
In a separate dish mix the salt and the strawberry flavouring together and mix into the creamed butter.
Turn your electric whisk onto the lowest setting and slowly add the icing sugar.
Making sure each addition is fully combined before adding the next. Continue until all the sugar is added.
Now combine the 3tbsp of Milk a tsp at a time.
Finally whip the frosting for aprox 2 mins on high speed until light and fluffy.
Now stir in a tiny drop of red food colouring, just enough to make the frosting a light pink.

Wait until your cake is fully cooled before frosting.


You're Done!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Message

BakingBar wishes all its readers a very Merry Christmas however you are celebrating it!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Apple Crumble Cupcakes

Apple Crumble is a much loved British classic........so why not turn it into a cupcake. This recipe is a brilliant modern twist on a traditional dessert.

The Ingredients:
The Cupcake:
170g NEILL'S®Self Raising Flour
60g Butter
90g Demerara Sugar
1 Egg

A 280g Jar of Apple Sauce
0.5tsp Ground Cinnamon
0.5tsp Ground Nutmeg
0.5tsp Bicarbonate Soda

The Topping:
50g Demerara Sugar
50g Plain Flour
0.25tsp Ground Cinnamon
0.25tsp Ground Nutmeg
30g Butter

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 180c
We are going to make the topping first and then set it to the side.
In a large bowl place the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir these together.
Now rub the butter into this mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.
That's the topping made. Set this to the side.
Now to make the cupcakes. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl.
Gradually beat the egg into this mix.
In a separate bowl mix the bicarbonate of soda with the apple sauce and set to the side.
In another separate bowl sieve the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg together.
Fold the flour mix into the butter mix alternating with the apple sauce mix until all ingredients are combined.
Spoon this mix into 12 cupcake cases. Now sprinkle the topping we made earlier on top and gently press down.
Bake in the centre of an oven for 20 mins.
Allow to cool slightly before eating.

You're Done!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Mocha Cupcakes

These are a coffee lovers dream! Simple but very tasty cupcakes. Combining chocolate and coffee to create an irresistible flavour.

The Ingredients:
Cupcake:
115g NEILL'S®Self Raising Flour
115g Butter
115g Caster Sugar

2 Eggs
1tbsp Instant Coffee Granules
2tbsp Boiling Water
1tbsp Coco Powder

The Icing:
200g  Icing Sugar
2tbsp Warm Water
1tsp Coco Powder
1tsp Instant Coffee Granules
1tbsp Boiling Water

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 190c
First we need to make the cupcake, Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
Beat in the two eggs
Sift the flour and coco powder together and gradually stir this into the mix.
In a separate bowl mix the 1tbsp coffee granules with the 2tbsp boiling water and mix well.
Stir the coffee into the mix.
Divide the mix between 16 cupcake cases and bake in the centre of the oven for 15 mins.
Allow to completely cool before icing.

Now we need to make the Coffee Icing.
Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in 2tbsp warm water.
In a separate bowl mix the 1tsp of coffee granules with 1tbsp boiling water.
Stir the coffee into the icing mix.
When cupcakes are completely cool use a spoon to cover them in the icing. Allow to harden.

**For an extra effect mix up a little plain icing and put into a freezer bag, cut a tiny hole in the corner and drizzle this across the cupcakes to create the lines effect in the picture above.**

You're Done!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christmas Cinnamon Raisin Cake

This is an excellent quick alternative to traditional Christmas cake which seems to take forever to make. A taste which screams Christmas but doesn't take a lot of time of effort.

The Ingredients:
210g Soft Brown Sugar
190g Raisins
70g Butter
300ml Water
0.25tsp Ground Cloves
0.5tsp Nutmeg
2tsp Ground Cinnamon
0.25tsp Salt
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
250g NEILL'S®Plain Flour

The How-To:
To get the most flavour possible from all the ingredients we need to boil some of them.
Add the butter, sugar, raisins, water, cloves, cinnamon  and nutmeg to a saucepan and bring to the boil, allow to boil for 3 mins occasionally stirring.
Remove from heat and allow to cool until luke warm.
Preheat oven to 165c
In a bowl sieve together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Slowly stir the boiled mixture into the flour mixture and ensure well combined.
Pour the mixture into a greased and lined cake tin.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

You're Done

**TIP : I find the best topping for this cake is cinnamon icing (about 5 heaped tbsp of icing sugar, 2tbsp warm water and 2tbsp ground cinnamon. You may need to add a little more water or icing sugar to adjust the thickness of the mixture. Wait until cake is completely cooled before drizzling icing over**

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Cookies

Amazing cookies which are deliciously chewy and extremely simple to make!

The Ingredients:
155g NEILL'S®Plain Flour
170g Butter
150g Granulated Sugar
160g Soft Brown Sugar

140g Oats
140g Raisins
2 Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract/Essence
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
0.5tsp Salt

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 190c
Cream the butter and two sugars together.
Beat each of the eggs into this mix.
Beat in the Vanilla.
Sieve the Flour, Baking Powder, Cinnamon and Salt together in a bowl.
Slowly add the flour mix to the butter mix ensuring everything is well combined.
Stir in the oats and raisins.
Drop 1tbsp of the mixture onto baking sheets (4 per sheet is best) and bake in the centre of the oven for 11mins.

You're Done!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Breadmakers - The Positive and Negatives

A lot of people are very undecided about breadmakers. Is this just going to be another piece of kitchen gadgetry that will be used once and then forgotten in the back of my cupboard? or is this going to be a useful piece of equipment which I will wonder how i lived without?
Nearly every family uses bread every day so you would think that having a machine on hand which can churn out a loaf on demand would be perfect, however it can be just as easy to buy a ready made loaf in a shop.
One major negative factor which people find about bread maker is that the user has little control over the size and shape of the bread which is being made. Another common complaint is that there is no satisfaction from using a bread maker than there is by kneading it by hand and baking it in the oven.
It certainly cannot be argued that bread makers take the effort out of making bread by hand, however many users find that it takes many attempts to find the perfect recipe to use in the machine and even then it does not match the quality of shop bought bread.
It is hard to draw comparisons in regard to quality in bread maker made bread and hand made bread as the technology involved in bread makers is improving constantly. It has to be argued however that the price of any new technology would hugely outweigh any money saved on buying shop bought bread for many years.
The decision to buy or not to buy a bread maker really does lie with the user based on but not limited to the following:
Do you eat enough bread to warrant buying one as a money saving exercise?
Can you afford the one off cost of the bread maker which will have all the features you will need?
Do you have the time and patience to use a trial and error method to find the best recipe to use with your bread maker?
Are you going to be able to resist the urge or buying bread with your groceries and shoving the bread maker to the back of your cupboard?
The decision lies with you but carefully consider this expensive purchase as it doesn't suit everybodies lifestyle.
I have included links to two of my favourite breadmakers on Amazon. One for my readers in America and one for the UK.

UK - Panasonic SD-257WXC Automatic Breadmaker with Gluten Free Program
USA - West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise Electronic Dual-Blade Breadmaker

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Rugelach - Chocolate wrapped in Pastry

This is a traditional Jewish dessert recipe called Rugelach. Ate all year round but a tradition during Hanukkah.

The Ingredients:
The Pastry:
340g NEILL'S®Plain Flour
220g Butter
220g Cream Cheese

100g Sugar
2tsp Vanilla Extract/Essence

The Filling:
220g Cream Cheese
60g Dark Chocolate
30g Coco Powder
100g Sugar
2tsp Ground Cinnamon.

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 190c
Cream the Cream Cheese and butter together until smooth and consistent.
Stir in the flour, sugar and vanilla.
Cover and place in the fridge for about an hour.
Now we need to make the filling. Cream the Cream cheese and the sugar together.
Stir in the coco powder, cinnamon.
Grate the dark chocolate and stir this into the mix.
After an hour take the dough out of the fridge and divide it into 4. Roll each of these 4 balls out into discs.
Spread each of these discs with the chocolate cream cheese filling.
Cut each disc into 8 like a pizza.
Each of these 32 wedges will form 1 Rugelach.
We need to roll these wedges starting with the thickest edge and rolling towards the point.
Place each of these on a piece of baking paper with the point of the wedge on the bottom and bake in the centre of the oven. Bake for 25 mins.
Allow to cool and enjoy!

You're Done!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Dangerously Good Chocolate Brownies

These brownies are perfect for anyone addicted to chocolate. Guaranteed not to disappoint but not guaranteed to last long! :)

The Ingredients:
230g NEILL'S®Plain Flour
400g Brown Sugar
150g Coco Powder
230g Butter
130g Chocolate chips or chocolate cut very finely.
1tbsp Vanilla extract or essence
1tsp Salt
0.5tsp Baking Powder
4 Eggs

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 180c
Lightly grease a baking tray at least 2 inches deep. Best size 24x20cm.
Add the melted butter to the sugar and beat together, then add the vanilla.
Add one egg at a time making sure each is combined before adding the next.
Sieve the flour, baking powder, coco powder and salt and then slowly add this to the butter mixture.
Beat together until well combined.
Stir in the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.
Pour the mixture into the baking tray and bake in the oven for aprox 25-27 mins.

You're Done.