Category Archives: baking

nut roast

nutroast1

A sixth of a cup/30g/1oz of margarine
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 and a half cups of hot water
1 teaspoon of yeast extract (marmite, vegemite or Vecon Stock etc.)
3 cups/550g/16oz of ground nuts (cashews, almonds, brazils – even peanuts do)
2 Tablespoons of flour
2 teaspoons of fresh herbs – winter savoury is great (if using dried 1 teaspoon)
3 cups/160g/6oz of white bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the margarine (in a large pan for mixing) and cook the celery and onion in it for a few minutes. Mix the yeast extract into the hot water (alternatively you could use any stock you like) and add this to the onion and celery. Stir in the flour, nuts, herbs, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper and mix well. Allow to cool slightly while you grease a loaf tin. Place the nut roast mixture in the tin and press down well. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180/360 then turn out of the tin and slice. Nice served with all the traditional trimmings.

Variations:- you can substitute wine (red or white) or soya milk for the water and yeast extract. A layer of sliced mushrooms and garlic is nice. Fill with sage and onion stuffing. You can use this mixture to stuff vegetables like peppers or large tomatoes for a different dish too.

The rosemary and redcurrant jelly detailed here is a gorgeous accompaniment to any nut roast. Amazing in sandwiches too with the cold sliced roast next day. If reading this in winter, sorry, it’s a bit late to go out and get redcurrants (though rosemary plants grow all year round!), but it’s a great one to make for next year. A jar of that would be a very nice gift too.

Other good roasts elsewhere: Lentil Walnut Roast (gluten free), Chestnut Roast and Garlic Lemon Seitan Roast with Stuffing

festive sweets (candy)

Making your own sweets is actually quite fun – children have a great time with this too. They are also nice gifts if placed in petit four cases in a pretty box or packet. You can intersperse bought sweets such as sugared almonds between for more variety.

Mixed Chocolates

sweetsIngredients:
Plain Chocolate
Any or all of the following:
Nuts of your choice (hazel, walnut, pecan, almond, brazil)
Marzipan
Dates
Dessicated coconut
Cocoa
Icing sugar
Crystalised angelica
Glace cherries
Flaked almonds

It’s very simple! Melt the chocolate and then dip things in it – nuts, marzipan balls, dates – and then place them on a sheet of grease-proof paper to set. Decorate with angelica, glace cherries (can be made to look like holly) and flaked almonds before the chocolate sets and then you can sprinkle with cocoa, coconut or icing sugar.

Dates can be destoned and stuffed with marzipan for a non-chocolate treat.

Place in petit four cases and enjoy!

 

Chocolate Rum Truffles

fes3Ingredients:
Some left over cake, crumbled – about 2 cups
2 tablespoons of Apricot jam
2 tablespoons of rum (or rum flavouring)
1 teaspoon of cocoa
50g./2oz (half a large bar) of plain chocolate, melted
Coating of choice – cocoa, chopped nuts, coconut etc.

Mix everything together and then squeeze into balls (about 5 cm. diameter) and roll in the coating. Place in petit four cases.

 

Little Chocolate logs

fes21 chocolate cake prepared in a large square tin so it will not be too deep (see our recipe)
marzipan
plain chocolate
icing sugar for dusting
glace cherries and crystallised angelica for decoration or children might prefer chocolate beans or other sweets (pictured logs have pecan nut topping).

Cut the cake into small rectangles ( 10 cm. X 4 cm. and 2 or 3 cm. deep). Cut thin pieces of marzipan and place on top of the cakes. Pour melted chocolate over the top of each log, decorate to your hearts content and then dust with the icing sugar (snow!).

 

Sweet treats and gifts elsewhere on the web: Solstice Chocolate Refrigerator Christmas Cake from the Among the Trees blog. Homemade chocolate tree decorations from the Modern Housewife blog.


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fruit cake

Ingredients:
8oz/250g/2 cups of cooking dates with the stones removed
10 fl.oz/300ml/1 and a quarter cups of water (you could substitute a quarter cup of brandy or sherry for a quarter cup of the water if you like)
6oz/175g/1 and a quarter cups of wholemeal flour
1 lb/450g/3 cups of mixed dried fruit of your choice – including lots of dried apricots works very well
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
4 tablespoons of orange juice

For decoration: You can either do a traditional marzipan and white icing topping or use rows of different nuts such as walnuts, pecans, brazils and almonds.

Heat the dates and water until the dates are soft. Remove from heat and mash with a fork. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Spoon into a greased 2lb/900g cake tin and level top. If using the nut topping place rows of different nuts on top of the cake prior to cooking. Bake at 170C/340F for about an hour and a half until cooked. Once cooled the nut topping can be glazed with a little syrup (melt some sugar into hot water) or you can ice traditionally.


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gluten free apple layer cake

A low-fat, moist cake using soya and rice flours. Nice served as a pudding with soya yoghurt.

Ingredients:
6oz/200g./1 and a half cups of rice flour
2oz./50g/scant cup soya flour
4oz./125g./half cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon wheat free raising agent
2 large eating apples (peeled, cored and thinly sliced)
1 cup water
1/4 cup of apple juice
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
a few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
brown granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

Mix the dry ingredients together then add the water, juice, oil, vanilla and mix well. Pour half the cake batter into a greased square cake tin (9×9 inches or 20×20 cm approx. works well). Spread the apple slices evenly over the batter and then top with the remaining mixture and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180c/360F for about 40 minutes or until firm.

Other gluten fee cakes elsewhere on the web: gluten free chocolate cake and banana raisin teabread

chocolate cake

Ingredients:
250g/8oz/1 and a half cups of flour
50g/2oz/1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
200/g/6oz/1 cup sugar
75g/2oz/half a cup of mixed, chopped nuts (optional)
150g/5oz/1/2 cup vegetable oil
120ml/4 fl oz/half a cup cold water or soy milk
120ml/4 fl oz/half a cup of orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift dry ingredients into 8″ square or 9″ round baking pan. Mix liquids (except vinegar) and whisk into dry. When batter is smooth, add vinegar and stir quickly, until it is evenly distributed. Put it in the oven, don’t let it stand around (that has something to do with the vinegar) Bake for 25-30 minutes…or longer until done.

A gorgeous ‘steamed pudding with chocolate sauce’ variation of this cake was sent in to us by Bracken: put broken up chocolate bar pieces in the bottom of a microwavable basin and put the chocolate cake mixture on top. Microwave for 2-4 minutes depending on machine. It is something similar to the M&S (and several other companies) steamed chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce. Its also very quick and you dont need to use the oven (so saving electric).



cookies

This recipe makes about 40 small (2 inch/6cm) cookies

Ingredients:
150g/5oz/three quarter cup caster sugar
150g/5 oz/three quarter cup vegetable margarine
5 tablespoons of soya milk
300g/10 oz/1and a half cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C/400F and grease cookie sheets. Cream together the sugar and marg. Mix in the soya milk and vanilla and then the flour. The mixing of the flour is best done with your hands (messy but fun!). You should have a workable dough (add more flour if it’s too wet or more soya milk if too dry and doesn’t hold together well). Roll out on a floured board (to just under 1 cm thick) and cut into cookies (if you don’t have cookie cutters you can use an upturned glass). Lay on cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes for soft bake cookies or a little longer for dryer, crunchy ones.

Variations:  Add choc, nuts or/and dried fruit  Half dip the cooled cookies in chocolate – choccy biscuits! Crushed chocolate beans are a colourful replacement for chocolate chips. They can also be pressed all over the top prior to baking. Plain cookies with a handful of sesame seeds or desiccated coconut added into the dough are delicious. Jewel biscuits: make a hole in the middle of your uncooked cookie once it is placed on a baking tray and place a boiled sweet in the space – this will melt down and fill the hole in the oven and then reset once cool – lovely for Christmas tree decorations! Plain cookies with a square of chocolate pressed onto them before baking work well too.

Don’t miss our Frugal Christmas section!

potato bake

Extremely simple and cheap – even if you’ve never cooked before you should manage this one!

potato bake in a Halogen oven

Ingredients:
6 or 7 medium sized potatoes, peeled
1 large can of baked beans in tomato sauce (approx 800g – you could use 2 standard size tins instead)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 or 3 sliced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of margarine for dotting over the top
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds for sprinkling on the top
other optional layers:
1 or 2 cups of left-over rice mixed with some soya milk and herbs
sliced mushrooms mixed with a little veg. oil and 2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 can of sweetcorn
1 can of spinach

Part-boil the potatoes for 5 or 6 minutes until starting to soften. Thinly slice them. In a large casserole or lasagne dish place a layer of potatoes then a layer of beans, then onion and repeat until all used up. That is the basic dish but you can add any other layers you like (experiment! Any tins lurking in the cupboard?), such as the garlic mushrooms, sweetcorn, spinach or rice ones above, making the last layer potatoes. Spread the sliced tomatoes over the top, dot with the marg. and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Bake for about an hour or until the potatoes are soft at 190C/380F.

Pictured Bake cooking in an energy saving Halogen Oven.



baked potatoes

or potatoes in their jackets!

Yes – this is hardly a recipe but it may be useful to those with little cooking experience.

Ingredients:
Large baking potatoes
Olive oil
Seasalt

Wash the potatoes well and then prick all over with a fork. Coat them with the oil and salt – messy but fun! Bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 180C/360F. Alternatively you can cook these in a microwave in minutes (follow manufacturers guidelines for timing). Nice served with a green salad and your choice of topping or filling.

Suggested toppings: Baked beans, hummuscasserolecurryrice salad, sweetcorn, stir fired veg – let your imagination run wild!!