What’s Cooking? – Autumnal Bakes

The title is a work in progress but I’ve decided to do a weekly article about what I’ve been up to in the kitchen. It will also encourage me to keep trying out new recipes!

This weekend I had a fair so decided to try out some seasonal recipes I haven’t made before. With autumn in full swing now, there is a big focus on warm & inviting spiced flavours like ginger & cinnamon. That got me thinking about what to try out that would keep with the season. With Halloween around the corner, I remembered a skeleton cookie cutter I was given as a present for my birthday last year. Not only would it be spooky but I could try out a gingerbread recipe with it. The cookies were a hit at the fair & I’ll admit to nibbling on one when I was decorating them! The cookies are available to order as part of my Halloween bakes (see facebook for more details) & I’ll also have them with me this weekend at the Urban Market in Drygate along with more seasonal goodies.

Skeleton Gingerbread Men

One nation that gets Autumnal flavours right is America. When I was over there a few years ago, I tried a pumpkin spiced doughtnut & the memory of it had stayed with me. I picked up a tin of Libby’s pumpkin puree in Tesco last week but want to find the right recipe for it before cracking it open. Another American favourite of mine is pecan pie with its treacle & nutty flavours. Pie-making is another baking area I hadn’t ventured so gave it a shot at creating a pecan pie. From the pic you can see the pie turned out well! The one thing I need to work on, and this is my own criticism, is to make sure the filling is all the way to the bottom as it was a but pastry heavy at the bottom. Oh and the neatness of the edges…

Pecan Pie

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m an official blogger for this week’s BBC Good Food Show at the SECC. As part of it, I was sent over some recipes that will feature in the free show guide to try out in advance. Given that last week was the final of the Great British Bake Off, I opted to try Mary Berry’s Raspberry & Apple muffins. They were, as Mary would say, a treat & I’ll admit that I munched on not long after it came out of the oven for my breakfast at the weekend!

Mary Berry's Raspberry & Apple Muffins

  • Servings: 12-15
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 85g Unsalted Butter
  • 250g Self-Raising Flour
  • tsp Baking Powder
  • 45g Ground Almonds
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 115g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 250g Plain, full fat yoghurt
  • tbsp milk (either full fat or semi-skimmed)
  • 175g raspberries
  • 1 eating apple cut into 1cm pieces
  • For the glaze: 2 tbsp caster sugar &  tbsp orange juice

Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Line 12 muffin holes with paper cases. Melt the butter in a pan & set aside to cool.

Melting butter

Tip the flour, almonds, sugar, baking powder & cinnamon into a bowl & mix together. In another bowl, beat the eggs & add the yoghurt, milk & cooled butter. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture & then add the raspberries & apples to make a light mixture.

Raspberry Apple Muffins

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases & bake in the oven for 25 minutes until well risen & firm to touch.

For the glaze, warm the sugar & orange juice in a pan over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up & let the mixture bubble for 30 seconds so that it turns a bit syrupy.

Glaze

Remove the muffins from the oven & let them cool in the muffin trays for 1-2 minutes before moving to a wire rack. Whilst they are still warm, brush the muffins with the glaze. (Tip – if you don’t have a pastry brush, you can use a teaspoon to drizzle the glaze)

Raspberry & Apple Muffins

 

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Scotch Lamb

Lamb has never been a meat I’ve ever been particularly fond of. When growing up, our roast dinners would generally be beef or chicken as they went down well with everyone. Anytime I’ve tried lamb I’ve found it to be tough & chewy, often full of fat as well. We won’t discuss the odd kebab here & there… When Scotch Lamb asked if I wanted to attend an exclusive event showcasing Scotch Lamb, I figured I had nothing to lose & may as well see if they could convert me into a lamb lover!

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The event was held in SWG3, which if you’ve ever been to a Scoop pop-up event, you’ll know it’s basically an open warehouse space that can be used in any manner. As the event was aimed at getting people more familiar with lamb & its uses, there were demos from Chef  Jacqueline O’Donnell (of The Sisters & The Great British Menu fame), butchery lessons & different dishes on offer from the Scoop Cartel.

lamb

The one good point about the cartel being involved was the variety of dishes on offer:

  • Lamb tacos from Antojito Cantina
  • Roast lamb on fresh baked (in an amazing stone pizza oven) from So La Ti Dough
  • Lamb Massaman Curry from Pad BKK
  • Braised neck fillet of lamb with jewelled cous cous from Scoop

The shared the first 3 dishes between us since the portions were giant! I first tried the curry & was genuinely surprised at how soft the meat was, it was literally melt in the mouth. The tacos also had a similar style of meat with them but it was a bit lost in the masses of guacamole, salsa & sour cream provided. The roast lamb was probably my least favourite as it was quite fatty – pretty much what I was dreading! However, the bits of lamb I managed to tear off were sweet & succulent.

Lamb Massaman Curry

Lamb Taco

We also watched a couple of demos by Chef Jacqueline since I would not know where to start with cooking lamb. The first demo involved a fillet of lamb with a fruity, morrocan style cous cous. I was honestly surprised at the speed of cooking, since it took around 10 minutes to make the dish! I sample a bit after & the lamb was as soft as a good beef steak. The fruitiness of the cous cous also worked really well with the lamb’s sweetness. I wish I could send a smellogram for the second dish which was Asian influenced & the smell coming from it instantly transported me back to Thailand.

I spoke briefly to Jacqueline after the first demo to ask for some advice on buying lamb & cooking it. The two tips she gave me was to always buy lamb from the butcher, especially if I don’t like fat as the butcher can trim the meat easily & to invest in a good, solid pan, with a wide & flat base as those pans evenly distribute to heat to cook meat evenly.

chef

In the goodie bag we were given contained an amazing Red Meat cookbook, giving advice on cuts, cooking styles & lots of recipes! Definitely something I’ll be using again. You can get some of the recipes from the Scotch Beef and Lamb website.

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I’m so glad I went along to the event as it’s totally changed my opinion on lamb. Seeing how versatile it is & also how easy to cook, it will definitely be something I will try in the near future. The week after it, in fact, I happily sat down to some Isle of Lewis lamb made by my mother in law which I would never have done before this event!

Thank you lamb!

Giveaway: BBC Good Food Show

Last year I attended the BBC Good Food Show & had such a fab time with the variety of producers & seeing a demo by Tom Kitchen. You can read all about it here. This year I’m thrilled to be part of the official blogger team for the show!

BBC Good Food Show

This year’s BBC Good Food show takes place in the SECC from 17-19 October & promises to be bigger & better than last year! There promises to be a wide range of producers showcasing favourites from cakes to gin to kitchen supplies & fresh meat & fish. And not to mention the tasters that most provide!

A great range of chefs will also be demoing their skills, including The Great British Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood & Mary Berry & Masterchef’s John Torode. The interview stage, this year, also features some fellow foodie bloggers – Emma Mykytyn of Food & Drink Glasgow & Stuart Vettrese of Cakeyboi.

To celebrate being part of the official blogger team, I have 3 pairs of tickets to giveaway for entry on either Friday or Sunday at the show. Please note, these do not include tickets to the super theatre for demos but you can buy these at the door (I did it last year). To enter, simply share this post on either Facebook or Twitter & tag Get Stuffed! Entries will close on Thurs 2nd October. Good luck!