Seems all I talk about on here lately is food. I’m guessing that it’s because I’m off work so I have extra time to cook up some delicious noms compared to normal. Anyway this is not only for all you coconut fans out there but also for those amongst us (like me) who still need a little gentle persuading.
Truth be told I fucking hate desiccated coconut but I don’t mind the “real” stuff which is what I’ve used in these and bloody hell they’re good. I haven’t even bothered telling anyone that they’re Vegan and well no one’s asked so shhhhh! *wink*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup coconut milk (I used the tinned stuff as I had some in the cupboard).
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
For the icing:
1/4 cup margarine at room temperature. (I used Vitalite but I had a tiny bit of Tofutti cream cheese to use up so I added this in too).
1/4 cup coconut milk (from the same tin as above)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 cup unsweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees F and line a twelve-muffin tin with paper cases and set aside. Sift together all of the dry ingredients and then add all of the wet ones and mix until everything is combined and then some. Fill each paper case to about two-thirds full and stick them in the oven for about 25 minutes. I did think I was starting to burn them as they browned but a quick prod with a skewer will confirm when the cakes are cooked. Remove from the muffin tin and place on a cooling rack.
Whilst the cakes were in the oven I made the frosting. To do so I added all of the wet ingredients together and slowly added all of the dry ones until I’d reached what I thought was perfect consistency and popped this into the fridge until my cakes had cooled down. Once they had I basically dolloped a good amount of frosting on each cake and smoothed with a palette knife.
I started a diet this week so I’ve had one which I thoroughly enjoyed and I’ve been brave and given the remaining 11 away otherwise I would have eaten them all. Seriously beautiful with a cup of tea.
I’ve been on a bit of a preserve kick as of late. In this last week alone I’ve utilised all of the jam jars I’ve collected/had donated from friends and family and am on the hunt for more (I don’t believe in buying jam jars. It’s much more environmentally friendly and cheaper to rescue those destined for the recycling bin). So far in the last week I’ve made a batch of Lime Pickle (It’s hotter than Hades, or as my boyfriend puts it “like hay fever in a jar”) and have also had a bash at making Strawberry Jam for the first time which is tasty but didn’t set properly due to a combination, I feel, of not enough lemon juice/heat. I know for next time.
Since I still had loads of limes left after I’d made the pickle (I still do actually) and since Gin and Limes go together perfectly I figured I’d conduct an experiment. I looked online and I found a lot of recipes for grapefruit and gin preserves but not one for a lime based one so I decided to have a crack at making my own. The results are fabulous even if I do say so. I have no idea if it’s safe to eat if you’re driving or not (I figured the alcohol will have probably evaporated what with the temperature of the marmalade but I’m not 100% sure and quite frankly I’m refusing to take responsibility for anything you do whilst under the influence of said preserve.
Lime and Gin Marmalade
1 kg of Limes
3 litres water
1.5 kg white sugar
100 ml Gin
This will fill about 4 1lb jars, but it is good to have a couple of spare ones just in case or a selection of big and small jars.
First of all wash the rinds of all of the fruit to remove the wax. Cut all of the fruit in half and juice them. Cut the remains into small strips and place, along with the juice, into a big pan, along with the water. Some recipes tell you to remove the pith from the fruit and to put any pips into a muslin bag (as they contain pectin) but I didn’t purely because I knew that the pith would dissolve and I only got a total of 2 pips out of all of my fruit so I decided not to bother. Bring the contents of the pan to the boil and then simmer gently for about two and a half hours. By this time the fruit should be soft and transparent and the liquid will have reduced by a third. Skim the scum from the surface every now and then.
Take off the heat and add the sugar. Stir and allow to sit for a moment to dissolve. Whilst doing this, set the oven to 150C (gas mark 2). Wash your jars in hot soapy water then rinse and place the jars upside down in the oven for 30 mins then switch the oven off (I normally leave them in the oven until it’s time to use them.
Give the fruit a good stir to make sure the sugar is dissolved, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer. You now need to watch out for the setting point. It’s difficult to put an exact time on this as it depends on the size and shape of your pan and how much you are making but if you have a sugar thermometer use this and look out for it reaching 106C. If you don’t have a thermometer just test for the setting point every few minutes by placing a drop of the liquid on a chilled saucer, place the saucer in the fridge for a moment and then push your finger through it. If it crinkles then it’s done. Once setting point has been reached, take the pan off the heat immediately and after it’s cooled for about 20 minutes, stir in the gin. Pour and seal the marmalade into the jars immediately (be careful as this will be like molten lava). Allow to cool, then store in a cool, dark place.
No idea if I’m going to keep these for myself or give them away as presents. A lot of friends have said I should sell them but I’m not sure. Any suggestions?
I’ve been going through a bit of a preserve phase as of late. In the last week I’ve not only made my own Lime Pickle (it blows your socks off it’s that hot) but have also made a batch of Seville Marmalade. I had some on toast for my breakfast today and no word of a lie it’s fucking amazing. I’m never buying shop bought ever again. I’m now demanding that friends and family save me all of their old jam jars as I can see this new past time consuming me big style. I decided against buying brand new jars as it’s much more environmentally friendly if I can just scrounge ones otherwise destined to recycling/landfill.
Traditional Seville Orange Marmalade
1kg of Seville Oranges
2kg of Granulated Sugar (You can also use the type with added Pectin if you like)
4 pints of water
You’ll also need
1 huge heavy based saucepan
Sterilised jam jars (this recipe makes around 6-8 jars)
First add the water to the pan, then cut the lemon and oranges in half and squeeze the juice out of them. Add the juice to the water and place the pips and any bits of pith (the white spongey bits) into the square of muslin (laid over a cereal bowl).
Cut the orange peel into thin shreds (this is quite time consuming and will hurt your arms after a while). Add any further pips or pith that you come across to the muslin. (The pith contains a lot of pectin which helps the marmalade set therefore is essential. Also don’t worry about any pith and skin that clings to the shreds as this will dissolve). Add all of the shredded orange peel to the pan.
Tie up your muslin so that it forms a little bag and tie this to the handle of the pan so that the bag is suspended in the water. Bring this concoction up to simmering point and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 2 hours until the peel is completely soft (test a piece carefully by pressing it between your finger and thumb). Stick 2 saucers in the freezer.
Once the 2 hours is up, remove the muslin bag and leave to cool back in the cereal bowl (or hang it from a cupboard door handle with the bowl underneath as I did). Pour the sugar into the pan and stir it over a low heat until all of the crystals have dissolved. Increase the heat to very high and squeeze the muslin bag of pips over the pan to extract all of the sticky, jelly-like substance that contains the pectin. As you squeeze you’ll see it ooze out (as gross as it sounds it’s like squeezing a huge massive zit). If you like you can do this by placing the bag between two saucers but I found using my hands worked the best (be careful not to burn yourself). Stir your pectin jelly into the pan (a balloon whisk is pretty good).
As soon as the mixture reaches a really fast boil, start timing. After 15 minutes spoon a little of the marmalade onto one of the cold saucers from the freezer, and let it cool. If the marmalade has reached setting point you’ll be able to push the mixture with your finger and it’ll go wrinkly. If it doesn’t then continue to boil the marmalade and give it the same test at about 10-minute intervals until it does. This normally happens around 220-222°F/105°C. If you have a jam thermometer then use it but make sure you stick it in the pan at the beginning. My thermometer cost about £6 from a Bargain Books store.
Once your marmalade has reached setting point, remove the pan from the heat and leave it to settle for about 20 minutes. In the meantime you can sterilise your jam jars.
Sterilising your jars is really easy. Make sure all of your jars and lids are washed and dried and then place them in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes. All thats left to do now is to pour the marmalade, with the aid of a funnel or a ladle, into the jars and seal them whilst still hot. Label when cold and store in a dry, cool, dark place until time to slather onto toast.
This song always pops in my head whenever I’ve indulged in making preserves. Weird really since I don’t really like reggae.
I spent Saturday baking my now infamous “Boozy Christmas Cake”. After 4 hours of sitting in the oven and infusing my kitchen with delicious smells, it is now living in a Tupperware box and being fed shots of booze whenever it’s feeling a bit thirsty. It’ll probably continue to live like this until a week before Christmas when I’ll get some marzipan, apricot jam and icing to finish it off. I’m actually really proud of myself and my cake so far.
I decided earlier this year that this Christmas I would be making my own Christmas Cake. This came about after I’d heard the legend of a Christmas Cake recipe that listed a whole bottle of Jack Daniels in it’s ingredients (I bloody love JD). Apparently the recipe is/was by Nigella Lawson but I’ve scoured all of her books and all over the internet and I can’t find any mention of it. Reluctantly I’ve gave up on the idea of a JD Christmas Cake but I did find this recipe by Delia Smith that I’m using instead. I started the pre-soaking stage yesterday and I do believe that once this cake is actually done and dusted, one slice will be guaranteed to give you a hangover the next day. So far the mixture smells like mulled wine. The only changes I’ve made to the recipe is that I added in some dates, sultanas and mixed spice to it (I already had them in and thought they should belong in this epic cake), I also wasn’t able to get my hands on any cherry brandy either so I’m substituting that with some Celtic Spirit Black Mountain (it’s apple and blackcurrant brandy). It’s really yummy and reminds me of Ribena and jam.
It’s been a while since I last posted for which I apologise but in between work, decorating and getting ready for Christmas I’ve had little time to indulge in blogging. I have however been wanting to make Borscht for a while and today after going to my local Tescos for some Parsnips and feeling like I’m coming down with cold thought it best to make it, especially with it being a MFM. I know a lot of wine isn’t considered vegan and it’s traditionally served with sour cream so this is one purely for the veggies I’m afraid.
Overall I’m of the conclusion that this wasn’t worth the hassle. I spilt red wine all over my kitchen, scalded my hand whilst sieving the veg and to me it tasted as if it were missing something. I normally prefer my soups to be thicker. I also found the waste of veg a bit too much so recycled it all in a broth (I just added it all into a big pot with more water, a tin of chopped tomato, a bucket load of herbs and dried chilli and two handfuls of bulgar wheat) and to be honest I prefer that to the Borscht. Maybe I’ve done something wrong but I doubt I’ll be cooking this again. I hope you have better luck with it if you do decide on trying it however.
A handful of fresh parsley
1 large parsnip
4 red beetroots
10 black peppercorns
2 grains of pimento (or allspice)
2 bay leaves
1 glass and a half of red wine
1 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 2 lemons
salt and pepper
Put a pan with 3 pints of water on the boil. Peel and chop the celeriac, carrots, leek, onion and parsnip, wash them and add to the pan. Simmer for 20 minutes. Peel and thinly slice the beetroot and place in a separate pan with the peppercorns, pimento (I had none but found this as a good substitute) and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, in 1 pint of water for 30 minutes. Sieve the vegetable and beetroot stocks and combine the clear liquids, discarding the vegetables. Return the borscht to the heat. Add the red wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper, sugar and garlic. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with Sour Cream.