Category Archives: Nigella

Posts about recipes I’ve tried from the book

Successful Bread!

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November 12, 2012 · 8:28 pm

Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake

This cake reminded me of why I love to bake cakes. I whipped it up in a mad dash while waiting for visitors to arrive, finished it off while they were here and served it up for afternoon tea. And it tasted fab. This is one of those home made cakes that tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the shops.

Ingredients:

Standard cake recipe + lemon. Nothing I had to buy specially, which is always nice.

Method:

Again, a standard cake recipe with the addition of lemons. I left out the syrup that you are meant to pour over, but it tasted so nice without I’m not sure I would bother in future attempts.

There are a couple of variations which I think I will be tempted to try at some point. Probably after I have made a few more things from the book though!

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Not-so-standard White Loaf

Something which often surprises visitors is that Tom and I do not keep bread in as standard. When we do have it in, it tends to be just enough for a specific meal and any left overs do not last for long. So when we had visitors to stay last weekend, I decided to be adventurous and make some fresh bread to have with lunch. I decided on the Essential White Loaf recipe from Nigella  for which I had all the ingredients.

I was very careful to check that my yeast was in date, use warm water not ice cold and to knead for at least 10 minutes and then more. Making the bread was really quite soothing, and standing at the counter gently pummelling the dough was an excellent opportunity for quiet reflection and a bit of light stress relief. I felt quietly confident that when I got up in the morning to check on my dough it would be swollen and rounded, perfectly proven and ready to bake.

Nope. It had not grown even the slightest smidgen. But that was OK, my recipe book gave instructions for this eventuality and I left it out on the side for a few hours to allow it recover. We nipped out to run a few last minute errands before our guests turned up, and returned expecting to see it ready to go.

Nope. At this point I decide to give up and just shove it in the oven to see what would happen. I popped it in to bake for half an hour, and while it was cooking whipped up a quick Lemon Cake for afternoon tea. Yes, I will be posting on that later. The bread came out looking bread like, but no bigger than when it went in. In despair I tried to work out what had happened and turned to the only culprit I could imagine – the yeast. I got the tin back out of the cupboard and read the instructions on the back. Oh.

It turns out that this stuff is not your like your easy blend packet yeast. you can’t just bung it in and go. It requires activating in warm water first – you have to mix it in and let it get all foamy before it’s ready to use – who knew! So the next loaf I make I will do it properly, and see if it works any better. Nigella doesn’t recommend this yeast, but I might as well use it up as I have it,  and I can always buy easy packets if it doesn’t work.

The final verdict on the bread was that it was edible, and the flavour was good, but it was just a little bit dense.

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Tasty Chocolate Biscuits

This is for me the perfect biscuit recipe. Simple, tasty and using ingredients I always have in. It’s also a slightly dangerous recipe, as now I can make biscuits whenever I fancy, rather than having to plan in advance. I’m slightly hoping that when biscuits are craved, the action of making them will raise my mood enough so that I’ll be happy with just one or two rather than scoffing the lot.

Nigella has titled this as Granny Boyds biscuits, but I prefer a more descriptive title. Mmm, chocolate…


Ingredients:

This recipe does not require eggs. Which is eggcellent! (sorry, couldn’t resist!). I don’t have eggs in as a staple, only when I’m planning to do something specific or have some left over, so a biscuit recipe which doesn’t use them, is ideal.

The recipe does require butter which I don’t usually have in, but I suspect that margarine will be an acceptable subsitute. The next time I make these and don’t have butter in, I will find out.


Method:

Super simple, cream and mix. I made a half batch and the divided into 16 to get a good sized biscuit.

I look forward to having a fan oven again, as the sheet of biscuits didn’t cook evenly. The ones at the back were done while the ones at the front were still slightly too squishy. I did turn the tray when I realised, but as it was more than half way through the cooking time, some ended up slightly overdone and so a bit dry.

The overall result was a tasy and light chocolate biscuit. I will definitely be making these again, and possibly experimenting with other flavours in the future. Any requests?


Calories per serving: 110

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Sweet and Salty Peanut Biscuits

These biscuits were definitely sweet, although they salty-ness didn’t come through as much as I’d hoped. I would happily make them again by request, but not for me as there are tastier biscuits out there.

Recipe:

This is a fairly standard biscuit recipe, just add salted peanuts. I suspect that the choice of peanut will effect the flavour of the biscuits quite a lot, and they might have been nicer if they were a bit saltier. So next time I will add a little additional salt.

This was another mix everything together style recipe. I just bunged all the butter in one lump, and then regretted it when I had visible chunks of butter in the mixture that I couldn’t get rid of. They went away when I added the flour and the peanuts.

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A Quick Note

I have rediscovered that many of Nigella’s recipes are available on her website. I will link to these whenever it exists, and update my previous posts with these links where possible.

In the meantime, here is a random recipe to get you started:

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/butternut-squash-with-pecans-and-blue-cheese-8

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Easy Almond Cake

This cake definitely qualifies for its title, being both easy and almond-y. I baked it for Mum and so only tasted a couple of slices while were there, but I will be making more in the future.

 

I did find it a tad heavy for my normal tastes and overall I prefer the Madeira cake. See my write up for that cake here.


Ingredients:

The recipe uses marzipan for the almond flavour which also gives it density and a smooshy texture. The other ingredients were all standard larder items so I only had to buy eggs and butter as we’d run out. The only downside is that you have to be very disciplined while cooking, or you will find yourself surprisingly short of marzipan part way through. I would recommend measuring out the required amount, and then putting an extra chunk on the side for nibbling purposes.


Method:

Bung everything in a food processor and buzz. Awesome – my kind of recipe! As usual for our slightly crappy gas oven, this took longer to cook than the recipe stated, but I’m starting to get the hang of it now. I baked it exactly to the recipe first and then when I saw it hadn’t cooked through, put the heat right up and gave it another 10 mins. Worked a treat!

This cake does require a ring mould for baking which we didn’t have. I was planning to just make it in a regular cake tin and see what happened, but while I was buying ingredients I came across a ring mould cheap in Tesco and decided to give it a go. It performed wonderfully, and I am keen to try it out on different cakes!

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