c January 2012 | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

Chitting Time

During the last few weeks I've been popping into the greenhouse to make a start on getting my seeds planted.  As I've mentioned previously I'd decided which vegetables I'd be growing this year, and as we are at the end of January I thought it was time I shared an update.

As you can see from the photo's the Tomatoes and Onions have germinated.  I don't have a heated greenhouse so all those seeds that need a little extra warmth sit comfortably on a window sill in the house.
Tomato Celine    

I've seen a lot of discussion about people chitting their potatoes, and I had still not bought mine.  So today I popped to my local garden centre, they had a good selection, and you can see  from the photo which ones I'd selected.  I know you are probably thinking there aren't many, but I don't have an awful lot of room to grow potatoes, the early's will be grown in bags and the main in the ground.  My favourite way of chitting my potatoes is using old egg boxes.
Potato's ready for chitting - Maris Bard, Wilja and Cara
Whilst browsing around the garden centre spotted a lovely display of there peas and beans, which you can buy from them by the cupful!
Beans and Peas at Meadowdale Nurseries
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Iced Buns for Tea Time Treats

Iced Buns - not quite life sized, but not far of it.

I blogged briefly about my Iced Buns during National Baking Week last year.  I thought they were so amazing they deserved resurrecting for the Tea Time Treats Challenge this month.

I used the Paul Hollywood recipe as featured on the BBC's Great British Bake Off, I mean who wouldn't.  I am afraid though that there is nothing dainty and ladylike about these big buns. I was worried about not having the perfect kneading technique, bread making is not something I have tackled. But my worries were unfounded, they were as light as a feather and could not have baked them any better.

The next time I make these it will be without the jam and cream, that way with just the icing on the top they will be reasonably low in fat.

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My Cake Recipe is Published

I'm delighted to say that I have had a cake recipe published in Issue 2 of Take a Break - My Favourite Recipes magazine.  A cake I baked last year for my sisters birthday, Chocolate Honeycomb Cake.

I know, you're about to dash off to your local WH Smiths to get your hands on a copy. OK, so its not exactly on the same scale as having my own recipe book published, but it may as well be - I'm just as delighted.  My Favourite Recipes pay £25 for each recipe  they publish. If that's not exciting enough the most popular recipe published in the issue will win £500! Just think of all the  wonderful kitchen equipment you could buy with that!

So now to the blatant begging for your support. If you love the sound of my recipe, I would be more than happy if you could pop over to the My Favourite Recipes Facebook page and vote for Angela's - Chocolate Honeycomb Cake.  Every one who votes also has the chance to win a Kenwood Filter Coffee machine.

Remember, if you fancy seeing your own recipe in print, you can upload your entry to their Facebook Page.

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Four Month Vegetable Seed Plan

Now that its January its about time I started to give some thought to the garden and what vegetables I plan to grow.  I hunted out my seed tin from the garage and was amazed at just how many seed packets I had leftover from last year.   Back in October I was lucky enough to win my choice of 20 packs of seeds from Seed Parade courtesy of a giveaway on My Random Blurb Blog. It was great being able to pick from a selected of both vegetable and flowers seeds.  So not only will I eat well this year but the garden will look and smell wonderful too.

As you can see from the photo I have plenty of seeds to be planting this year(apologies for the poor quality it was taken in poor light and on my mobile phone).  So having sorted through the packets its obvious my greenhouse and windowsills are going to be overrun with seedlings.  

I have two raised beds for vegetables/herbs, an area of the garden that is dedicated to Rhubarb, Strawberries, Raspberries, a Gooseberry bush and for the first time this year a very small Blackcurrant plant courtesy of my fellow blogger Living is a Great Adventure. Last year a small patch of the garden was planted with potatoes, which I will do again this year.  I very nearly forgot about the three apple, one plum, one pear tree and a blueberry bush.
Below is the full list of the vegetables I intend to grow this year, some of these will be started in the greenhouse and later some straight out in the garden.  I will of course be doing some 2-3 weekly sowing of certain vegetables.  

Broad Beans
Corn Salad

Broad Beans
French Beans

Broad Beans

Pak Choi

Having seen this list on screen, I'm not quite sure how this is all going to fit in the raised beds or work with my crop rotation plan.  I could utilise a small area in the fruit bed but it gets limited sun, and have failures planted here before.

There are certain plants I will not be growing this year. Peppers they just never seem to ripen in time for me, and Cabbage and Cauliflower, after two years of trying and failing I will be giving these a miss.

I am aiming to have leeks that have more substance to them than a piece of cooked spaghetti, and cucumbers that don't succumb to red spider mite for the second year running.

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A Cake or a Ceramic Tile?

You could be confused, after all what is the difference between a cake and a ceramic tile.  In this case the answer is simple, its a 'Birthday'!  So here is a cake I made for my aunt's birthday. Its based on a ceramic tile she designed herself last year when we visited the Jackfield Tile Museum near Ironbridge, which I blogged backed in August 2010.   

I think she was quite pleased with it, it was quite simple to do, no time consuming sugar paste figures or flowers to make.  

Just a few simple steps:-
  • Enlarged a print out of the photo of the tile
  • Traced over the outline onto greaseproof paper
  • Roll out the coloured sugar paste 
  • Marked the design onto the sugar paste with pin pricks 
  • Cut out and assemble like a jigsaw.
So Happy Birthday Auntie Sue!

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Butterscotch Brownies Recipe

I know what your thinking?  You're looking at the Butterscotch Brownies below thinking rich, decadent, calorific - and you could just eat it them right now. These wonderful Butterscotch Brownies  make a rich and sticky alternate dessert to Christmas Pudding.  They cab also be made in mini versions and gift wrapped as gifts, as I have previously done for my neighbours.

Butterscotch Brownies Recipe
Butterscotch Brownies Recipe

A recipe taken from a wonderful book called Christmas Treats published by Hamlyn, a gift from my sister a few years ago.  It has some fantastic recipes such as Peanut Butter Biscuits, White Chocolate Mint Truffles and Quick Hazelnut Melts to name but a few. Recipes to bake throughout the year and not just Christmas, after all a good recipe book is for all year round and not just for Christmas.

125g butter
125g muscovado sugar
125ml double cream
3 eggs
75g caster sugar
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

50g butter
65g light muscovado sugar
4 tbps double cream
75g plain dark chocolate

Line a 18 x 28 x 5cm roasting tin with a baking paper, so that the paper covers the base and the sides and makes it easy to lift out of the tin.  My tin was not quite this big so I used the excess mixture in a small bun tray.

Melt the butter, muscovado sugar in a small saucepan heating gently until dissolved.   Take off the heat and stir in the cream.

Whisk the eggs and caster sugar in a bowl until light and frothy, the whisk should leave a trail when lifted out of the mixture.

Butterscotch Brownies mixtureButterscotch Brownies RecipeFold the butterscotch mixture into the eggs using a metal spoon. Sift flour and baking powder and fold in. Pour mixture into your tin.  
Bake in a preheated oven 180 degrees(C), Gas 4 for 25-30 minutes until well risen. The top should be crusty and the centre just set. I baked my small ones for around 12 minutes.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes, before lifting the brownies out of the tin. Place on a wire rack and peel the paper away from the sides.

To make the topping heat the butter, sugar in a saucepan over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved and butter all melted.  Add the cream and stir over a medium heat for 2 minutes.  Pour over the brownies and spread out evenly.  Let it cool for 15 minutes.

Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water.  Drizzle over the top of the butterscotch topping, randomly or artistically.  Leave to cool and cut into squares.

The recipe said it made 15 squares, but I was rather generous with  the portions so only got 8 but then of course I also made the mini brownies too.  

These were delicious eaten cold, or better still pinged for 10-15 seconds in the microwave just enough to leave the butterscotch warm and gooey, served with a drop of cream.

This recipe is a real keeper, one I look forward to making time and time again.
Sticky Butterscotch Brownies

Butterscotch Brownies Recipe
Butterscotch Brownies Recipe
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