Sunday, 30 December 2012

Hogmanay and the Giant Garibaldi!

With one day to go to the end of the year there is one cake baked for Hogmanay in Scotland - the Scotch Black Bun.

Scotch Black Bun is a rich fruit cake encased in shortcrust pastry. It was originally eaten on Twelfth Night but is now  enjoyed at Hogmanay. It has been described as looking like a giant garibaldi as you can see from the picture below !
Many families have their own recipes handed down from their grandparents but the earliest recipe dates back to the 16th century when it may have been inspired by the rich fruit cakes of Italy at that time.
The recipe below  is baked in a round cake tin but very often a loaf tin is used. It is baked for 3 hours which is a  lengthy cooking time. This allows the raisins and currants to condense into a sticky, spicy, solid mix. The addition of black pepper gives an added bite. Like your christmas cake it is best made in advance and allowed to mature.

Scotch Black Bun
8oz Shortcrust Pastry
8oz plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
4oz soft brown sugar
1 lb raisins
1 lb currants
2oz chopped candied peel
2oz blanched almonds, chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated

Grease and line a deep 8 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper. Roll out pastry thinly and line prepared tin keeping enough pastry for the top.
Sieve the flour, baking powder, black pepper, ginger and cloves into a bowl. Stir in the sugar, fruit, peel and grated apple. Mix in beaten eggs and bind ingredients thoroughly together. Turn into tin and fit the pastry top. Make four holes right to the bottom with a skewer. Bake in a moderate oven 180 degrees C, for 3 hours.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Eggs and a Victoria Sponge

 Which of these eggs would be best for this cake? Well, it doesn't matter what colour the shell is, as long as the eggs you choose are equal in size.

To be really accurate - For a  Victoria sponge cake the weight of the eggs should be the same as the other ingredients i.e. 8oz of flour, 8oz sugar, 8oz margarine and 4 eggs(weighing 8oz)
The darker the egg yolks the darker your sponge will be when it is baked and pale yolks will give a pale coloured sponge.
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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

High Societeas - Afternoon Teas served with Style

High Societeas - Afternoon Teas served with Style

There was an interesting programme on the telly last Monday called 'Addicted to Pleasure'. The first of four it was dedicated to our addiction to sugar and how it came about.

In the 13th century sugar was rare and its value equalled that of precious gems so it only appeared in Royal Palaces and then only as ornamental sugar sculptures - a show of wealth. By the 16th century it was starting to be eaten. Elizabeth 1st became addicted to sugar and consumed so much it blackened her teeth but instead of being horrified, it then became fashionable to have blackened teeth - imagine?!!

With the opening of coffee (and tea) houses, it became commonplace to have tea with sugar as some of us still do today.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Tell me why I don't like Mondays

Can you imagine a time when every time you put on a washing you had to make a cake?
If you'd been an ordinary person living in the 18th century then that is what you'd have done.
In those days when life was simple, people stoked up their coal fired stove on a Monday to heat the water to boil the clothes. Not wanting to waste the heat in the oven at the side of the stove they did a baking. That made Mondays very busy and the only day they had fresh bread and cakes. Luckily for us we can have fresh bread and cakes any day of the week - washing is far easier as well!!