Tuesday 31 July 2012

Olympian Baking

At the start of London Olympics 2012, we’re wishing all the best for all taking part in this fabulous event and we'll be shouting out for our own sporting heroes. We loved the nods to Yorkshire in Danny Boyle's fantastic opening ceremony!
Mouthwatering homemade Apple Pie
We’ve plenty to shout about in traditional homemade baking from across the country. From mouth-watering puddings such as Apple Pie, Bakewell Tart, Lemon Meringue Pie to delicious cakes such as Eccles Cakes, Flapjacks, Victoria Sandwich and scrumptious Scones
Scrumptious Scones 
Check out Grandma’s Recipes page for more ideas. Which recipes do you think best represents Traditional Baking?

Friday 27 July 2012

Competing for the best cake

Cornucopia of Cakes
I had to judge a cake competition in our local church hall recently. The theme was about showcasing all that’s great in baking and embracing the huge variety of recipes which make up our cultural identity. It's such a difficult task when every cake looks very appealing in its own way. There were cakes of all sizes and designs but in the end, I had to go for this amazing Chocolate Cake.
Winning with Chocolate Cake
Grandma used to win prizes for her baking and her recipes. Her Victoria Sandwich was a serial winner. Baking competitions are certainly making home baking popular again and the Great British Bake Off or #GBBO has made a huge contribution to this. 
Meanwhile I'm loving sharing Grandma's recipes and collecting more to build the Recipes section of Grandma's Blog. So #keepbakingalive and everyone's a winner! What's your bake this week?

Thursday 19 July 2012

Cherry Ripe, Cherry Ripe

Cherry ripe, ripe I cry, full and fair ones, come and buy 
It’s National Cherry Week this week and I was reminded of this song about cherries when I saw some luscious ones in the market this week. They looked perfect for making jam.
My inspiration this time came after visiting Chinon in the Loire Valley in France. We stayed at the wonderful Hotel Diderot which is famous for its vast array of jams which you taste at breakfast time. 
Laurent, who worked there for many years, has a long tradition of jam making and now set up his own company Mille et une Confitures. We swapped stories about jam making and traditional English Puddings including Sherry Trifle which apparently is one of his favourites. Laurent is very creative in jam making and has wonderful combinations of flavours. He's written a recipe book 'Jam in the Cupboard' and I'm very proud to have a copy! 
Grandma’s Jam Pan
Grandma used to take advantage of gluts of fruit to make wonderful jams and jellies with many of the summer fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, plums and blackcurrants. Here’s her Cherry Jam recipe. Cherries are low in pectin like strawberries, so you need to carry out a test with a cold saucer to make sure the jam will set before you put it into jars. 
Cherry Jam
Grandma’s rule was approximately 1 lb (450g) (caster or jam) sugar and 1 tbsp lemon juice for each 1lb (450g) of fruit.

Wash the fruit and place in jam pan or a large heavy saucepan with the lemon juice. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until the cherries are softening. Remove the stones with a slotted spoon, once they have risen to the surface. Add the sugar and continue to heat gently, stirring until it has dissolved. Boil for about 20 minutes and test for setting. Remove the scum from the surface with a wooden spoon. Leave to cool then put into sterilised jars and cover.

Have you tried making any other interesting jam recipes?

Friday 13 July 2012

Vive le upside down

Tarte Tatin par excellence
My French friends are celebrating Bastille Day. Le quatorze juillet is the Fete nationale, commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris on 14 July 1789 during the French Revolution. Festivities are held all over France to mark this event and it’s an opportunity to eat a splendid French dessert.
Grandma knew all about my love of French cuisine from when I lived in France. One of my favourite puddings is the famous ‘Tarte Tatin’. The story goes that the Tatin sisters were cooking an Apple pie but left it too long in the oven. Their rescue attempt involved turning it upside down and, much to their surprise, their guests loved the result. So it just goes to show that you should never be too worried if your baking isn’t quite what you expected it to be!

There are lots of fantastic recipes for Tarte Tatin. Here’s Felicity Cloate’s version of  How to cook the perfect Tarte Tatin. I'd use less sugar just like Grandma!

And it’s Le Tour de France on TV just now and a chance to see the amazing scenery of this beautiful country. Have you got a favourite French dessert?

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Happy Fourth of July

It’s the 4th July, otherwise known as Independence Day in the USA. This is day when Americans celebrate the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, signed on 4 July 1776. My American friends say it’s like a UK national Bank Holiday and they have family meals, barbecues and various public events. 
A special cake, dessert or pudding which fits the occasion is called for and Key Lime Pie is top of the list. It takes its name from the limes from the Florida Keys. Here is an easy recipe made with Carnation Milk. If you can’t get Key Limes then any varieties of lime will do.
Make the Key Lime Pie biscuit base
Preparing the Key Lime Pie filling 
Enjoy the Fourth of July! What are you having for dessert to celebrate?