Tag Archives: chocolate

Christmassy Victoria


Christmassy spongeI was invited for an interview on Croydon Radio and decided to take a dish from the book with me, so I made a Christmassy version of the Victoria cake. You can listen to the interview here  It is a 2hrs show with DJ Tom C I am on from 1h20mins.

Please click here to see the full recipe for the sponge cake.

To make is Christmassy, you will need:

  • 1 quarter of a small pomegranate
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 small pack of crispy M&Ms
  • 3 plastic holy bush leaves
  • Strawberry jam
  • 12g Dr Oetker Jelly granules

This cake will serve 8 to 10 people with a portion worth 25 to 60p depending on if you are on a low budget or get your ingredients from a foodbank.

Shopping:

If I had most ingredients from a Foodbank, my extras would be as follows:

DSC06281The sponge mix 25p, I got 3 pomegranates from my local street market for £1 so the quarter I have used only cost me 10p.

DSC06279From the same market I got 20 Kiwis for £1.00 so, using 2 of them cost me 10p.

DSC06276I found the holy bush on a Christmas wreath I found in the 99p store lets value the leaves at 10p

DSC06248Then the M&Ms pack at 70p and the pack contains about 30 pieces. I used 3p worth for my cake.

All the extra used total up to less than £1.00.

If I was on a low budget my shopping list would be:

Cake mix is 25p from Sainsbury’s, dark chocolate is 79p from Lidl, butter (Stork) cost £1 and a good quality jam costs 99p to £1 either at the 99p or pound shop. I could also use supermarkets’ own brand at less than 50p. I got my pack of eggs from the 99p store. A pack of 10 fresh eggs at 99p and I only needed 2 of them as I needed 4 sponge cakes to stack.

Prep:

Before you start making the cake and chocolate covering, make sure that all the prep is done as all goes very quick once the sponge is baked.

Grenades and Kiwis Kiwis: peel rinse and cut them as neatly as you can. Dab them with kitchen tissue and set aside.

Pomegranate: cut and gently remove the jewels without popping them. Gently rinse and place on a kitchen towel to dry.

Holy leaves: cut and remove the inside of the leaves as you will only use the out lines. Rinse and set aside.

Method:

Now that all the prep is done, follow the instructions on here… after you have covered the cake with chocolate, give it 2 to 3 minutes, then, start decorating. You have to wait for the chocolate to set a bit to avoid the decoration sliding off the top of the cake.Cake ready for deco

First place the Kiwis in the centre and hold them there with a tooth pic.

DSC06253Now carefully place the leaves and fill them with the grenade jewels, then, the M&Ms. Tap each item gently to make them stick on the chocolate.DSC06255

Place all in the fridge for 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the jelly. The jelly will help to glue every element of the decoration to the cake and also prevent the fruits from looking pale.

DSC06288To prepare the jelly, place 1 sachet of jelly in a small cup and add 5-7 table spoons of boiling water then stir quickly until all the granules melt.

Immediately get your cake out of the fridge and using you patisserie paint brush gently paint your fruits with the jelly. Just one layer will do. Place the cake back in the fridge and it will be ready to serve in 30 minutes.

The Bank Cook's Christmassy Victoria
The Bank Cook’s Christmassy Victoria

If you can, get the children involved and they will have fun doing it.

Et voila! You are done! Hap-pee Christ-Mass!

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Marmalade sponge sandwich


Ingredients for 5 portions:

  • Tesco  values sponge mix
  • 100g dark chocolate tablet
  • 20ml vegetable oil (or hazelnut oil)
  • 1 orange
  • 150g marmalade
  • 1 egg
  • Butter for greasing

Method:

Carefully follow the instructions on the sponge mix package to prepare the two halves of the sandwich. Before pouring the mix to bake, grate and mix in the zest of 1 orange.

Once the haves are baked, leave to cool for few minutes and turn both of them upside down.

Score the base of both cakes and evenly spread the jam on them making sure that it is well absorbed. Now put both cakes on top of each other on the jammed side. Set aside.

Ingredients for the chocolate covering

Preparing the chocolate covering. Break the tablet of chocolate in small pieces and place them in a heat-proof bowl. Add the 20ml of oil. Now, in a small sauce pan, boil 300ml of water and place the bowl containing the chocolate pieces in it while it is still simmering.

Gently stir the contents of the bowl until all the pieces of chocolate are melted and all what is left is a very smooth, rich and glossy chocolate sauce.

The sponge is covered with chocolate

Now place the sponge sandwich on a rack or a plate, then pour the chocolate sauce on it making sure to cover all the top and the sides of the cake too. One single layer of the sauce is just enough to keep it light. Decorate the cake before placing it in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden.  30 minutes to 1 hours should be enough depending on the thickness of the chocolate covering.

The cake above was decorated with heart shapes filled with white chocolate shavings on the outer and poppy seeds in the inner heart. The fresh orange piece were lightly dipped in caramel before being placed on the edges of the cake. Make sure to decorate your cake before placing it the fridge to harden.

Share… on its own no distraction needed

This would be a great birthday cake or one to offer to friends.

Closed pie with pear and dark chocolate


Light, fluffy, not too sweet pear pie

Ingredients for 5 portions:

  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • Tin pear
  • 100g almond powder
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 10ml corn or any vegetable oil
  • 1 Jus-Rol puff pastry sheet

Method:

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Drain the halved pears and cut them in 2 making each piece a quarter. Dry every quarter with paper towel and set them aside.

Dry the pear quarters

Mix the almond powder, lemon zest and sugar, together and set the mix aside.

Now prepare the chocolate sauce in the same way as for the sponge and orange sandwich (search the blog).

Spray some vegetable oil on the oven baking tray and lay the puff pastry flat on it.

Pears diped in chocolate

Cover the pear quarters in chocolate and gently place them length ways on the pastry sheet.

Now, cover the pears with the almond, zest and sugar mix like on the third photo on the top.  All you have to do now is just fold the pastry over the pears to create an envelope.

With a knife or fork score the edges of the pastry to seal the envelop. Using a baking brush, gently brush the top of the pie with some vegetable oil before placing it in the oven for 40 minutes at 180C.

Once the pie is ready, let it cool down for at least 10 minutes before serving. The dark chocolate can be very bitter for children, so, serve it to them with an ice cream or a fruit sauce. Enjoy!

.....mmmmm....
…..mmmmm….

Homemade biscuits


Homemade biscuits - gift
Homemade biscuits – gift

Find the downloadable book on the about page.

Ingredients:
 400g self raising flour
 2 tablespoons powdered milk
 1 egg
 50g butter
 1 lemon zest
 50g sugar
 Pinch of salt (not if you are using salted butter)
 Dark chocolate
 White chocolate
 Vegetable oil

Method:
Preheat the oven at 180C and place the butter in it for 3 minutes to melt.

Biscuit dough
Biscuit dough 1

Dissolve the milk in 50ml of water, then, beat together the melted butter, milk, salt, sugar and whole egg.
Beat them until the sugar granules are completely dissolved. Now sieve into the mix the flour.
Add the lemon zest and work the dough with your hands until it becomes a soft non-stick ball.

Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to rest for about 10 minutes while you tidy up and create a space to roll and shape the biscuits.

Biscuits dough 2
Biscuits dough 2

Using a rolling pin or a clean full size wine bottle, flatten a portion of the dough on a surface dusted with flour. The thinner the dough, the crunchier will the biscuits be. After flattening the dough, slice it and create shapes. If there are children about, this is the time to let them loose. Let them shape the biscuits.

Biscuit shaping 1
Biscuit shaping 1

Once they are all shaped, place them on the oven tray and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180C depending on how thin the biscuits are. If your oven tray is scratch free, there is no need to butter or grease it before hand as the biscuits are dry enough not to stick.

Biscuit shaping 2
Biscuit shaping 2

Once all the biscuits have been in the oven, it is time to decorate them. Make a chocolate sauce like the one made for the sponge cake, divide the biscuits.

Read to decorate
Read to decorate

For some of them, just lay them flat on a dish and drizzle chocolate over them in patterns.

Chocolate drizzled biskits
Chocolate drizzled biskits

For the other set, dip one side in the chocolate then, dust with white chocolate shavings and for the other set, just leave it plain.

Dipped, drizzled, plain, dusted... Biscuits
Dipped, drizzled, plain, dusted… Biscuits

That’s it.

All four options
All four options

Offer them gift wrapped and they look expensive and beautiful.

Homemade biscuits
Homemade biscuits

Let me know how yours tasted. 
HJ