Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream in chocolate bowls

Christmas isn't over until all the lovely mincemeat and home made goodies have been eaten!  This is a really easy to make, light, pudding, which my son decided would be even better in home made chocolate bowls.   William, you are always right....  Our top tip is to grease the balloons, also to be prepared to do a second dip if the first isn't strong enough (and do a test one just in case).  

Home made ice cream is a great way to use up left over cream, and the last of my own mincemeat was also sacrificed to the cause.   At this time of year, it is easy to cool down the ice cream mixture, so this is made with a warm custard mix which gives it a really unctuously smooth taste!

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

3 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod, or 1tsp good quality vanilla extract
4½oz/120g caster sugar
23floz/600ml mixed double cream and milk – normally 3/4 cream to 1/4 milk
1 jar mincemeat or 6tbsp home made mincemeat

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla in a jug.  In a non-stick pan (good gadget!), heat the cream and milk, stirring, to blood heat.  Pour this warmed mixture into the egg yolk mix and stir well, before pouring it back into the pan (off the heat, but using the residual warmth).  When it is completely combined, leave it to cool/chill. 

Pour into an ice cream maker and churn until it is thick – probably about 35-50 minutes.   Mix the mincemeat into it at the very last minute, or, if you are making it in advance, layer the mincemeat with the cream in a plastic box and put it into the freezer to firm up.   Serve in chocolate bowls - see below.  

Chocolate Bowls

8oz/220g dark chocolate 
6 or 7 balloons, half blown up (one test one)
light oil for greasing
baking parchment 

Blow up the balloons and tie off before wiping some oil over them to make it easier to release the bowls.   Spread baking parchment over a tray.  Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, and stir well.  Dip each balloon into the bowl, twisting it to give a good coating of chocolate, then sit it onto the tray.  Allow to cool and harden.   When the chocolate is set, prick a test balloon and see if you can peel the shreds off the chocolate bowl.  If you can't, and the chocolate implodes, melt some more chocolate and repeat the exercise!   (you can always eat the failures....)   This is not tempered chocolate, so will not be glossy, just delicious


Friday, 19 December 2014

Coconut and Pineapple Loaf Cake

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas.... and with this quick-to-make semi-iced loaf cake with coconut shavings, Christmas can come any time! If you haven't discovered the delights of Lidl's exotic dried fruit mixes, get yourself down there, as they are not only very good value, but make fabulous cake tops.

The particular bag I used (Exotic Fruit Mix) also contained date pieces and banana chips, but I picked them out, and just used the pineapple, mango and coconut shards.   The loaf cake had coconut substituting for some of the flour, and a lime or lemon drizzle icing (depending on what's in the fruit bowl).   It works very well gluten-free, and also dairy free!

Christmas Coconut and Pineapple Loaf Cake 

Christmas Coconut and Pineapple Loaf Cake

3 large fresh eggs
6oz/150g sieved self-raising flour (or GF blend) less two tablespoons
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
6oz/150g caster sugar
6oz/150g butter or spread at room temperature
¾ tsp baking powder
Grated zest of 1 lemon or 1 lime

Iced Topping:
2oz/50g icing sugar
Juice of half a lemon or 1 lime
½ bag of Lidl exotic fruit mix

Preheat oven to 180 deg C, and line a 2lb loaf tin with parchment.

In a food processor or Kenwood, blend the cake ingredients together and then beat until pale and fluffy.   Shove into the oven and cook for 25-35 minutes (depending on the heat of your oven) until risen and golden brown.  To test, the cake should have come away from the edges slightly, and if you put a (heated) knife or skewer into the middle, it will come out clean.

Mix together the icing sugar and lemon/lime juice and, as soon as the cake has come out of the oven, stab it with a cocktail stick to make some deep holes and pour the mixture all over it slowly.    Throw on the dried fruit topping.   Leave in the tin until cool.   If you want more of an iced texture, make up a second batch of thicker icing and pour it on after the first batch, then add the fruit. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Chocolate Biscuits with Soft Chocolate Centres

If you have ever refused a home made chocolate biscuit, this blog post is not for you!  If, however, you'll eat anything, plus you prefer home made biscuits to bought ones, read on....

Always on the look-out for new chocolate biscuit recipes, I thought I'd try this one from Jamie Oliver, where the chocolate biscuits have a soft, melty chocolate centre.  Billed as "super easy", it is a child-friendly recipe - maybe I should have had a child to help!   The result is pictured - ok, chocolate doesn't photograph well -  but I wasn't that convinced that the result was particularly adult-friendly....  The stated quantity was 30, but I made probably only about 22-24, and they were very thick.  My testers polished them off, but I felt they were quite industrial.....   Hopefully you will learn from my mistakes!

Jamie Oliver Chocolate Biscuits with soft chocolate centres

Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Biscuits with Soft Chocolate Centres

5oz/150g butter
5oz/150g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
9oz/260g self raising flour
1oz/30g cocoa powder
30 squares good quality chocolate (milk, white or plain)
2 biscuit cutters – 1 approx 4cm, the other 5cm.

Preheat the oven to 190 deg C.   Grease 2 large baking sheets, or use parchment.   Cream together the butter and sugar until pale, then beat in the egg yolks.  Add the flour and cocoa powder to form a dough (Jamie notes that this is quite a dry mixture).  Knead the dough lightly and then let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Roll 1/3 of the dough out on a floured surface (I prefer to roll between two sheets of parchment).  Cut out about 30 biscuits with the smaller cutter.  Spread them out on the baking sheet and put a square of chocolate in the middle of each one.   Roll out the rest of the dough including the leftovers, and cut out the same number of circles.  Put the larger biscuits onto the smaller ones and press around the edges to seal in the chocolate – don’t press too hard or the edges of the chocolate pierce the dough!

Cook for about 10 minutes, and eat hot or cold.  When they are hot, the chocolate is supposed to be runny. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Kates Puddings - Second Helpings Cookbook

It's cookbook time again!  My new book, "Kate's Puddings - Second Helpings" is now out.

Packed with even more scrumptiously delicious recipes, the book is in the same easy spiral bound format, with  lots of lovely new recipes that won't be on the blog, the rest my favourites from my past year's blogging.    There are labels identifying gluten and dairy free puddings and cakes.

As before, it is helping to raise money for two fabulous charities - my Volunteer Reserve Unit, the FANY, plus my local church, Petham, near Canterbury, where we are fundraising for a kitchen, appropriately enough!   My last book raised about  £1,000 for both worthy causes.

Kate's Puddings - Second Helpings is available via email on     UK price is £13.50, plus £ 3 postage.  Obviously the postage will be more for further afield, sorry.   The book is also available locally in Canterbury - message me for details.   My earlier book "Kate's Puddings, the Cookbook of the Blog" is also available via email above.  It costs £13.50, postage £3 to UK.   Both books together are £25 plus postage and packing.

Kate's Puddings - Second Helpings 

Update - September 2016

Since starting this blog, I have now logged over 191,000 hits (no, my mother isn't a computer user!), from 133 different countries.  Kate's Puddings is global!

I really do appreciate all the enthusiasm everybody shows for my cooking - what started as an idea has gone further than I could possibly have imagined.

The blog continues.... any suggestions for a title for volume 3?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Baked Caramel Custard

Baked custard, hmmm.... sounds like a really traditional English pudding!  And it is, as, for some reason, we do seem to have a multitude of milk-based puddings in the UK (no idea why!).   But actually, it is really just a hot crème caramel without the top.   Below is the classic recipe, tweaked with the addition of some delicious liquid caramel.   Vahiné's fabulous dark French caramel gives a really Gallic flavour to otherwise unremarkable puddings!  It's now available in the UK - I used to have to get it in France, and eke out the few bottles that had somehow slipped into the luggage....

Baked Caramel Custard

Baked Caramel Custard

1 pint/568ml full fat or semi-skimmed milk
3 large eggs, beaten, mixed with
2dsp sugar (if liked, you can omit the sugar)
2tbsp Vahiné Caramel Nature
Grated nutmeg
Single cream to serve

Preheat oven to 160 deg C and boil a kettle of water.    

Warm the milk to roughly blood heat, then pour onto the beaten eggs, sugar and caramel.    Stir the mixture thoroughly, and then strain it into 5-6 ramekins, depending on size (or a single, greased, dish).  Put the ramekins into a baking tin and pour in enough boiling water to go half way up the side.   Add a sprinkling of nutmeg.   Bake for approx 35-45 minutes, until the caramel is set, but still has a lovely little wobble. 

Remove from the water, add an artistic swoosh of caramel and serve with cream.  I have found that you can keep them in the water, out of the oven, for up to 20 minutes.