28 Apr 2016

Thermomix Banana Cake

Thermomix Banana Cake

Those black bananas lurking in the fruit bowl are perfect for this recipe.......if you love banana cake, you'll love this recipe even more, because some banana cake recipes can be on the heavy side.

Experimenting with recipes and seeing how the Thermomix performs with various cooking and baking tasks is really interesting, I appreciate it may be the opposite for some and all a bit of a yawn but we all have our own little quirks in life!  As I've previously documented I'm in no way connected with Vorwerk and if the machine can't perform certain tasks then I'll let you know!

I haven't used the whisk attachment very much and was curious to see how we got on - I've received a few emails from readers asking how the whisk performs, no worries here the whisk performs really well, providing you remove the measuring cup from the top of the jug to allow air inside. To date I haven't experimented whipping up egg whites but I'll let you all know if it's a success or fail.

I'm still getting used to speeds and times and the rule of less is more has to be remembered otherwise everything will be pureed or mashed up to within an inch of it's life.  I still have a love/hate relationship with washing up the jug, yes it will go in the dishwasher but it's easier to wash by hand.

Iced Banana Cake

Thermomix instructions are in italics

You will need: oblong baking tin approximately 30cm x 20cm greased and lined

2 eggs
200g soft brown sugar
300g banana, mashed
2 tsp bicarbonate soda
¼ tsp salt
130ml vegetable oil
240g plain flour
45g banana chopped

Icing
30g unsalted butter
225g icing sugar
100g cream cheese at room temperature
½ lemon, freshly squeezed

Method
1.  Preheat the oven to 170ºC/fan 150ºC.
2.  Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy using an electric whisk to make life easier.
Place the whisk onto the blade, remove the MC/Speed 3/10 minutes.
3.  Add the mashed banana, bicarbonate of soda, salt and oil  mix using a low speed until well combined. Sift the flour into the mixture, increase the speed gradually and keep mixing until no trace of flour remains. Fold in the chopped banana and pour the cake batter into the tin.
Add the mashed banana, bicarbonate of soda, salt and oil, Whisk 10 seconds/Speed 1. Add the flour and whisk 10 Seconds/Speed 3. Add the chopped banana 10 Seconds/Speed 3.
4. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes depending on your oven, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out nice and clean. Cool for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
5. For the icing: beat the butter and gradually add the icing sugar, cream together until pale - this may be easier using a wooden spoon. Now taking an electric hand whisk, add the cream cheese and lemon juice, keep on whisking until light and fluffy.
Add the butter, icing sugar, cream cheese and lemon juice to the jug TM 20 Secs/Speed 5, scrape down and mix for another 20 Secs/Speed 5.
6. When the cake has cooled spread over a generous layer of cream cheese icing.  Leave to set then cut into bars. Can be frozen in bars and defrosts really well too.

Can easily be made by hand and all you need is a bowl, wooden spoon and a sturdy whisk!

21 Apr 2016

Review: Melamine Tableware from Eddingtons

Epicurean Melamine Tableware from Eddingtons

Here in the West Midlands we've been enjoying wall to wall sunshine, it hasn't been warm enough to sit outside and eat but this stunning 'I can't believe it's not Ceramic' melamine tableware by Epicurean brings the Mediterranean sunshine indoors.  The tableware really does look like ceramic, they ooze quality and will bring cheer to both indoor and outdoor living.

In the warmer weather we like eating healthy salads and one of our quick and easy favourites is bulgar wheat, pepper, tomatoes, courgette and spring onions dressed with vinaigrette. The salad dressing recipe is easy to make and keeps in the fridge.

Ingredients
6 tbsp mild olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp caster sugar
grinding of salt and pepper
Method
Place the ingredients into a jug and whisk until combined.
Pour the vinaigrette over your salad just before serving.

Alfresco Vegetables Melamine Tableware

No breakages to worry about, they can be mixed and matched with other designs and are dishwasher safe.

RRP Prices: Alfresco Side Plates 22cm  £4.95
Oval Appetiser Tray 38x15cm £7.95
Salad Bowl 20cm £6.95

Nationwide Stockists; Dobbies and Blue Diamond Garden Centres

Disclaimer: I was sent the products to review.

17 Apr 2016

Pecan Sponge Squares

Pecan Sponge Cake

My husband isn't overly keen on cakes smothered in buttercream and he was delighted when I made this light textured cake which is rippled and topped with ground pecans.

This was another bake I made using my Thermomix, the cake batter took 20 seconds to mix!  I can now confidently say the finished sponge is comparable to using a food mixer or food processor.  If you like making sponge cakes in the traditional way then a food mixer will be fine.

A food processor or Thermie are ideal for this recipe, the pecans are ground and then put to one side whilst the cake is mixed.  I buy my pecans from the local Lidl store they are far too expensive in the supermarkets.

Adapted from Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites.

Conventional Method and Thermomix Instructions in Italics

100g butter, softened
2 large eggs
100g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

For The Ripple
50g pecan nuts
10g light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

You will need: 20cm x 20cm tin greased and lined with baking paper.

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Place 25g of the pecan nuts in a food processor and whiz until finely ground. Mix in a bowl with the light brown sugar and cinnamon, set aside.
Add the pecans to the jug TM 8 Sec/Speed 7.
3. Chop the remaining pecans by hand and set them aside for the topping.
Chop pecans TM 4 Sec/Speed 6.
4. Add the ingredients for the cake batter into a bowl, beat until combined.
Measure the ingredients into the jug TM 20Sec/Speed 5.
5. Spread just under half of the sponge mixture over the base of the prepared tin. Spoon over two-thirds of the pecan ripple mix in an even layer. Spoon over the rest of the cake batter and level with a palette knife. Swirl the handle of a teaspoon through the cake batter. Sprinkle over the rest of the pecan ripple and scatter over the reserved chopped pecans.
6. Bake for 30 minutes until just firm to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, turn out on to a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares.
7. Will freeze.

You may also like:
Cappuccino Cake
Coffee, Walnut & Raisin Cake
Strawberry Cake




10 Apr 2016

Plum and Pear Slice

Plum and Pear Slice

We've been busy since the beginning of the New Year decorating our lounge and dining room. We set a deadline for the beginning of April to have all the painting finished and new carpet fitted. Mission accomplished and now we can look forward to getting out and about, enjoy the lighter and hopefully brighter days and organise some weekend breaks and holidays.

I've managed to feed us but the blog has had to take a rest for a while, however, I made this lovely red plum and pear slice for dessert which is ridiculously easy to make if you use a food processor or Thermie.

140g self-raising flour
140g softened butter
140g caster sugar
2 large eggs beaten
4 plums
1 pear
1 tablespoon of clear honey

You will need: a square tin 20cm x 20cm greased and lined with baking paper.

Conventional Method - Thermie Method is in italics

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl and cream until light and fluffy, now beat in the honey. Gradually add the beaten eggs and if the mixture looks as if it is about to curdle add a tablespoon of the flour.  Or if using a food processor simply add everything to the bowl and whiz until combined ensuring you don't over process or the cake will be tough.
Add the flour, softened butter, caster sugar, honey and eggs to the jug TM 1 Min/Speed 3.5.
2. Stone the plums and chop into large pieces. Slice and chop the pear. Fold the fruit into the mixture.
Add the stoned and chopped plums and chopped pear to the bowl TM10 Secs/Stir until combined.
3. Pour the cake batter into the lined cake tin, bake for 45–50 minutes covering if the sponge is getting too dark.

You may also like:
Plum, Rhubarb and Apple Crumble
Tray Baked Pear Meringue
Roast Pears with Star Anise, Blackberries & Lemon



3 Apr 2016

Kitchen Delights Foodie Products for April

Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise Breakfast Cereal

Nature's Path Gluten Free Mesa Sunrise breakfast cereal is made from organic oats, flax, quinoa and amaranth.  Here at Kitchen Delights we're enjoying the crunchy cereal as a healthy snack too!

I was fascinated to know that 60% of households buy 'free from' foods and that 99% of us here in the UK who buy gluten free goods are neither gluten intolerant or suffer from coeliac disease but make this choice for lifestyle reasons.

This premium brand delivers on both taste and quality and their products can be found in supermarkets, independents and health stores £3.00/355g.

                                                        **************************

French Baguette Flour

These days I make the majority of my own bread and it's surprising just how much flour I can get through.  I've being trying a few different flours from Matthews Cotswold Flour and always with great results.

Look out for them at a bargain price in both Aldi and Asda.

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Sainsburys and Waitrose Spices

I've lost count of the number of times I buy a spice paste, use it once, and then realise it only has a life of 3 weeks or so. When I found a tub of Harissa spices at my local Sainsbury's it found it's way into the shopping basket and will sit happily in my spice cupboard for future uses.

I'm looking forward to the first barbecue and the Waitrose Piri Piri tub of spices is a convenient and easy way to make a tasty marinade, all you have to do is stir a few teaspoons of the spice into the juice of a lemon and spread over a few pieces of chicken.

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Maggi Dried Coconut Milk Powder

Dried coconut milk powder can always be found in my store cupboard and saves buying and storing cans.  To make a thick coconut milk all you have to do is add 3 tablespoons of the powder to 175ml of  warm water and mix well until combined. The product can be found in the world food section in most supermarkets.