Category: Baking

Stir-up Sunday

A Christmas Pudding, sometimes cream or custard etc are added as a topping.

 

Stir-up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent.  The custom comes from when families & relatives gathered together and stir the ingredients of a traditional British Christmas pudding before the first Sunday in Advent as observed by Anglican churches.

There is a Collect (prayer)

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’ 

Also, It allows time for the pudding to mature properly for the month before the Christmas Day meal. By tradition, each member of a family or participant is encouraged to make a wish as they stir.

The pudding mixture is stirred from East to West in honour and remembrance of the three wise men who visited the baby Jesus with their gifts.

In some households, silver coins are added to the pudding mix. It is believed that finding a coin brings good luck.

I remember as a child in the 1960s, my mother would traditionally put & stir ‘silver’ sixpence coins known colloquially as a tanner into the mixture. Later when the UK went decimal ‘other’ silver coins were added.

It is believed that like Christmas trees and Christmas decorations, Christmas puddings were introduced to the UK in the 1800s, by Prince Albert, who was the husband and consort to Queen Victoria.

There can be some variations of ingredients, traditional puddings mainly contain dried fruits, raisins etc. The mixture and cake are held together by egg and suet &  sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses. It is flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and or other spices. Measured alcohol is added, mainly brandy but dark beers or stout can be used.

Before the pudding is served during the Christmas meal, some households set light to the pudding as the alcohol content allows it to burn briefly as part of the serving tradition.

The pudding is usually aged for a month or more,[or even a year until the following Christmas Day; the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling during this time.

 

 

 

Classic Brownie Recipe

Brownie with Love, by Mae Mercado-Sanguer

Brownie is easily a favourite with everyone.  But then again, why ever not?!!!

I had a bit of a conundrum categorising this recipe.  Should it go under baked cakes or baked cookies?  I did a bit of research and found out that it should be classified as a cookie?

Why?

Apparently it has something to do with the manner it is eaten.  Brownie is a finger food, just like cookies and biscuits.  Cakes are eaten with a fork or even a desert spoon, if cake is rather runny.

So that’s it

Below is a recipe that is easy to follow for such a delicious treat.

Classic Brownie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 200 g butter or margarine
  • 165 g cocoa powder
  • 400 g  brown caster sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons vanilla 
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g  walnuts or unsalted peanuts

Method of Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
  2. Line a brownie tin/tray or grease a 20 x 18 cm tin.
  3. Melt the butter and cocoa together in a saucepan, under a low heat.
  4. Add the sugar and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Remove from the heat and mix in the flour and half of the nuts then the eggs.
  6. Pour into the already prepared brownie tin.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or when press the top is soft and bounce back up.
  8. As soon as it comes out of the oven, tip in the rest of the nuts all over the top of the hot brownie.  Run a wooden spoon over the top to gently press in the nuts.
  9. Cool and cut into serving pieces.

 

Enjoy!  Sometimes I like my brownies still slightly warm and then served with a bit of ice-cream on the side.   Hmmm I think this is when brownies become a cake! 🙂

Upside Down Pineapple Cake Recipe

This cake recipe is so light and moist.  The pineapple on top is fantastic.  It is so lovely; would be a real treat for any occasion for the whole family and friends.

Ingredients

  • 50g softened butter
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 6 pineapples rings from canned in syrup, do not discard the syrup
  • 6 glacé cherry
  • 2 tbsp sultanas
  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

 

 Method of Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until fully incorporated into a creamy butter.
  3. Using a preferably non-stick deep cake tin with loose base and about 20 cm wide, spread the butter mix on the base.
  4. Then arrange the pineapple rings on top of the butter mix, placing each of the  cherries in the centres of the rings, the dome part of the cherries on the bottom.
  5. Set aside and make the cake mix.
  6. In a large mixing bowl or a food mixer, place together the butter, caster sugar, self-raising flour, baking powder, sultanas, vanilla extract and egg with 2 tbsp of the pineapple syrup.
  7. Mix until it has a soft consistency of a batter.
  8. Pour into the tin over the pineapple slices and smooth it out so it’s level and all the slices covered.
  9. Bake for 35 mins, test with a clean knife by inserting into the cake.  When the edge of the knife comes out clean, then it is ready.
  10. Leave to stand for 5 mins, then turn out onto a plate. Serve warm with ice-cream or cream.

 

 

Bisquick Recipe

Flour

My good friend, Bess Mercado, cooked Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits which has bisquick as the main ingredient.

By all account this Red Lobster Cheddar bay biscuit is rather delicious.  It is therefore worth finding out how it is cooked especially as I have never heard of a bakery selling them in London.

I am not familiar with bisquick to be honest. But I want to know what is it.

Thank goodness, I found and easy recipe for it which as follows.

Bisquick Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¹/3 cup butter or margarine

Method of Preparation:

  • To correctly mix the baking powder and salt with the flour, they must be sift three times into a mixing bowl.
  • Cut the butter or margarine into small cubes and rub them in to the sifted flour until they resemble bread crumbs.
  • Now it is ready to go; it can be cooked immediately or keep in the fridge for a few weeks until needed.

 

Soda Bread Recipe

Soda Bread, Photo by Jmorton

Soda Bread, Photo by JMorton

Soda Bread Recipe

 

Soda Bread is an Irish bread.  Delicious smothered in real butter.  Perfect accompaniment for meat stews to soak up all the lovely gravy off your plate.  Yum.

The recipe below is adapted by a Tesco recipe.

Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 284ml pot buttermilk

Method of Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C/Fan 180°C.
  • Tip the flours, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Then use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until evenly dispersed.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour and stir in the buttermilk until you get a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead for 1 min until smooth, then bring together to form a flattened round about 5cm thick and 15cm across.
  • Place on a lightly dusted baking sheet. Dust with a little plain flour if you like. Use a large sharp knife to cut 2 slashes across the bread to make an ‘x’. Bake in the oven for 35 – 40mins until well-risen and browned. Place on a wire rack and leave to cool.