The other day the Headmaster suggested we buy a bread machine, despite my love of carbs I know this would be a very bad decision!

However, in the spirit of the Great British Bake Off I did have a go and made this rather impressive sunflower celebration loaf, based on an easy to follow recipe at Adventures in Cookery.

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The Sunflower Bread would be perfect served fresh from the oven for a large gathering for brunch (oh to have time to meet up with friends for brunch, I do remember long and lazy brunches from my very distant past!) or a perfect match for a hearty soup.

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This is where things started to go wrong for my waistline!

Sunflower Bread

Fancy petits fours are next up…the kitchen is about to get very messy!

I finally sat down to watch the first episode of The Great British Bake Off on BBC this week and it has inspired me to try my hand at some new recipes inspired from each show.

So, here goes…

Week One – An Amazing Chocolate Creation

Chocolate Pistachio Cake

This Chocolate Pistachio Cake may not look the best, but it really is quite delicious.  The cake didn’t quite turn out as I had envisaged, the chocolate ganache didn’t coat the little petit four moulds as elegantly as I would have wished, but the ganache is very moreish and easy to make.  Based loosely on this Martha Stewart recipe.

Mary Berry may not be amazed by my chocolate creation…The Headmaster says this is best served with a glass of milk.

Chocolate Pistachio Slice

Here is the recipe for a delicious breakfast treat, or any time of day actually…this granola is really tasty sprinkled over a bowl of vanilla yoghurt.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups large rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped dates

1. Mix the oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, brown sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir well, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar.

2. Combine the oil, maple syrup and vanilla and pour the oil mixture over the oat mixture.  I found it much easier to do this bit in a lined baking tray (plus it saves on sticky washing up)…using two spoons, stir and toss until all of the oats are coated with the syrup.

3. Pop the granola in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.  At the end of 10 minutes, remove the granola and stir, moving the granola around the outside edges into the middle and the middle out towards the edges.  Set the timer for another 10 minutes.  After the second 10 minutes, sprinkle with the coconut and then stir well again.  Return to oven and set the timer for one last 10 minute bake.  (30 minutes total, stirred twice at 10 minutes and 20 minutes).

 

4. At the end of the last 10 minutes (30 minutes in the oven), remove the granola from the oven.  Stir just a bit then sprinkle with the chopped dates (you could use raisins or other dried fruits) and leave undisturbed until it is completely cooled.  Once cooled, stir the granola…store at room temperature in an air-tight container.  It will keep for several weeks which will be ideal to make ahead for Christmas, add cranberries for a festive granola.

{Now I think this recipe turned out really well and will make a lovely addition to the homemade Christmas hamper.  You can add your favourite fruits and nuts…I may add cinnamon to the mix next time.  I will definitely watch out for the last 10 minutes cooking time…my pecans are a little charred but still completely delicious!}
Next on the list to try are peppermint creams.

Oh My Valentine!

February 6, 2011

Please forgive the indulgent day dreaming I am enjoying today as I research treats for Valentine’s Day…wouldn’t this be heavenly!  {Yes, I know it’s a hefty price tag for a box of chocolates that wouldn’t last very long in my hands, but like I said it’s a thing of dreams and this is not your average box of chocolates!}

…or how about this one with a personal message inside!

Still in my dream state; a romantic afternoon tea at Laduree.

And snap back to reality with a few baking thoughts on Valentine’s Day…doll up simple fairy cakes with butter icing, sprinkles and a fancy flower or bake some heart shaped sugar cookies.

{I found a very clever (and a bit fiddly) contraption on ebay to emboss these heart shaped biscuits with sweet messages.}

These pretty lollipop flowers have inspired The Artist and The Composer to get crafty and make up some valentine’s treats for their school friends and cousins.

Gold Stars

November 29, 2010

The seasonal festivities began at school this weekend with the annual Christmas Fair.  It was an early start on Saturday morning to get things ready including baking for the cake stall…earlier in the week I picked up these fabulous gold stars from Squires. Sprinkled on top of delicious (but gooey and a bit too runny) cream cheese icing, the stars add a little sparkle to these festive cakes.

After School Treat

September 10, 2010

I took some good advice and didn’t rush into a hive of activity once the children had returned to school…opting for chores around the house and a spot of baking.  A sweet after school treat…these buns were very popular and didn’t stick around for long!