We just got back from a magical trip to Wales. The number of castles scattered wherever we went was incredible. Some in total ruins while others painstakingly preserved to the original designs. All there for people to walk around and through. Down to the deepest cellars right up to the tallest towers and turrets.
Carreg Cennan Castle
The coastline is wild and magnificent, the little towns and villages unique and the people friendly, happy and sincere. Truly a wonderful place to visit.
We even had a drink in the pub where my husband’s pop was born. (Yes, he was born in the pub!)
Breakfast in some places consisted of the usual continental and/or a cooked breakfast plus a plate piled high with moist and crumbly sugar dredged Welsh Cakes. In any bakery or cafe and there they were again and in grocery stores in packets of 6 or 8.
Honestly, you’d think we’d be well sick of them but noooo….we weren’t even nearly done with them.
We came across a little cookbook with traditional Welsh baking recipes and wouldn’t you know it….inside a Welsh Cake recipe. So naturally we had to buy it. My belief is that I will be making every one of the delightful treats in this book….and so to begin…
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp allspice
Pinch of salt
160g butter -cubed
1 egg – beaten with 1 Tbls milk
castor sugar to sprinkle
Sift together the flour, baking powder, allspice and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar and currants then add the egg and milk mixture and stir lightly with a butter knife until it all just comes together into a stiff dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch and then use a 5cm cookie cutter to cut into rounds.
Heat and butter a heavy based frypan or griddle and cook the rounds for about 3 minutes on each side or until they’re golden brown.
Sprinkle with castor sugar and just you try to stop at one…
It would seem I had my bake on this weekend.
After a visit to the wonderful Ramsgate Organic Markets (near Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney) on Saturday morning, I baked 2 dozen Hot Cross Buns, then on Sunday a Berry Almond Cake and a humongous crusty Italian loaf, all of which ended up at mum and dads for our usual Sunday family feast.
Though I didn’t end up tasting the cake I was told it was ‘the best cake ever’ so I thought I’d share…
Berry And Almond Yoghurt Cake
150g butter – cut into cubes
155g castor sugar
10g vanilla extract
250g plain flour
15g baking powder
200g plain Greek style yoghurt
100g fresh blueberries
100g fresh raspberries
85g flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 180oC. Butter a 19cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar, using an electric beater or stand mixer, until light and fluffy. In a small bowl lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla then very slowly add to the butter mix being sure to scape down the sides a couple of times. This should take a couple of minutes, you don’t want to rush this part or the mix will split.
Sift together the flour and baking powder and add half to the butter mix along with half the yoghurt. Stir until just combined then add the rest of the flour and yoghurt and a few berries and stir until combined. Try not to over mix it.
Spoon into baking tin and smooth the surface. Scatter with the almonds and remaining berries and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Take out of the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for 20 – 30 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve as is or with a spoonful of yoghurt.
So, as promised, here is the recipe for the chocolate cherry mud cake I made the other week for my sisters birthday…
(“Can I Really Eat It??” Gluten Free Caramel and Prune Mud Cake)
This is NOT one for those who opt for sugar-free baking, but a sliver of this cake is just heavenly.
In a saucepan over low heat gently melt 250g butter with 200g dark chocolate, 300g castor sugar, 220g syrup from a 670g jar of pitted morello cherries and 60g brandy, stirring often until smooth.
Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
Then stir in 3 lightly beaten free range eggs.
Now stir in 225g plain flour along with 15g baking powder and 50g cocoa. Then gently stir through the drained cherries from the jar(I think it came to about 300g of cherries)
Pour the mix into a lined deep cake tin and bake @ 150c for between 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 of an hour.
Let it cool completely before decorating with fresh cream, a few cherries and some chocolate shavings.
This was a very moist, luscious cake. Went down well with a strong cup of coffee.
In the mood for some banana bread…
I’ve made this many times and each time I tend to add something different or change the recipe a little, but it always seems to turn out really nice. It takes like 10 minutes to prepare. Lots of banana keep it very moist.
In an electric mixer cream together 110g butter and 160g castor sugar. Beat in 1 egg. Add 250g plain flour, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate Of soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp fine salt, 75ml milk (I use soy), 225g smashed up banana and mix altogether to form a batter. Throw in 60g chopped walnuts (optional) and this time I added 1 1/2 tbs instant coffee granules for something different.
Pour batter into a baking paper lined loaf tin and bake at 180c for about 1 hour.
Having just tasted a piece I can tell you, the coffee works. Could have even added a little more.