Showing posts from 2013

Christmas pudding reviews

I have a confession – I don’t like Christmas cakes and Christmas pudding, don’t like any heavy fruit cakes for that matter. As any good baker, I decided the only way to change it is to make my own Christmas cake, which I have done for the last couple of years. Some of them turned out better than others, but I am more pleased with them than shop-bought ones.

This year my mother in law, Mrs Ranty Senior is making us a Christmas pudding and bringing it over all the way from NZ. She is a very good baker, and I am sure her pudding is going to be amazing, and it removes any fruit cake baking responsibilities from me this year. I am still going to be doing Christmas baking this year – Gingerbread house and Christmas Panetonne, but more on that in later posts.
If I WAS baking my own cake, I would be buying a lot of booze – brandy and port – to “feed” my cake. But seeing as I am skipping on the baking, I shall STILL be buying the alcohol but for my personal consumption :) With all that in mind,…

Pumpkin Bread

Its November, the autumn has well and truly settled in and in case you have missed it, its Halloween season!! I swear, the shops have started selling Halloween tat back in July, but now I can give in an buy as much cra.. I mean decoration as I feel like. Plus Mr Ranty just informed me that he has ordered a smoke machine, strobe lights and horror sounds – so you can see, it’s a family event in our household Plus, Ms Rantlet is two now and is much more interested in the holidays, so I am really looking forward to introducing her to Halloween and might even have to dress her up in a silly costume or two :) Anyway, where was I? Right, Halloween, autumn … I love autumn, I love American word for it – “fall” – because that it exactly what it feels like. The leaves are turning copper colour, the days are getting shorter, but still mild with a ray of sunshine or two. And the best thing about autumn is pumpkins – not the huge orange decorative things they sell all over the place (although I shal…

Easy-As WholeMeal Oat Loaf

With all the goings on lately – finishing off work, prepping the house and Rant-a-Baby arrival (yay!!!), I have neglected my starter and it has died on me. But not to panic, I always have a jar of mother starter sitting in the fridge, so not all is lost. However, that starter would take a few days to come alive and become the lovely bubbly bread making mess and I am out of bread. Can you believe it? No starter, no bread and not much time to spare – the only thing to do is to make a yeasted bread. I always wanted to find an easy fool-proof recipe, something that takes very little effort and works every time. Well, I think I have cracked it – o far I’ve made it three times and it turned out great every time – good volume, great texture and it toasts really well. Easy-As WholeMeal Oat Loaf 320ml water, luke-warm 2 tsp dried active yeast (I use Allison or Hovis) 1 Tbsp honey 320g white flour 150g wholemeal flour 30g oats 1 tsp salt 40g butter, room temperature Place water, honey and yeast in a sta…

Autumn Apple Pie

My name is Messy Baker and I am an apple pie addict – there, I’ve said it. The weather is getting cooler and there are so many apples around, people are giving them away for free – literally!! The other day a neighbour left a bag of apples outside of their house with a note “free to a good home” – seriously – a bag of apples! giving away for free! In London!! Miracles do happen.

Well, this particular pie was made from shop-bought apples, Bramley apples, the best kind of apples for cooking in my view. I had a look at a number of books for inspiration and ended up with a mish-mash of different ideas, as always :) I wouldn’t be called a “Messy Baker” after all.
Pastry recipe pretty much follows Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills recipe, and the filling is my own creation.
Mr Ranty did declare this to be the best apple pie ever, but he is a bit biased after all

Autumn Apple Pie

Pastry :
250 g plain flour
50 g icing sugar
pinch of salt
½ tsp ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
125 g cold butter, …

Lemony Birthday Cake Treat

What better treat can a girl have for her birthday than a home made lemon cake? I did consider making a chocolate one just for a minute, but decided it was far too hot, but a nice tangy lemon cake would but just perfect.
You wold think that it would be easy enough to find a recipe for a Lemon cake, but I checked all the usuals – Marry Berry, Delia, Paul Hollywood, even Gordon Ramsey, but they were all either too bland or too fancy (three guesses who was the fancy one J)

So I went with my all-time favourite – Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. This is a book I keep coming back over and over, it has such a good collection of recipes, something for every mood and occasion, and the recipes are very easy to follow. I do play with the recipes, of course, as I find Hummingbird US recipes way too sweet, and I have had a couple of duds from the book, but its all part of a learning baking cycle.

Lemon and Poppyseed Cake Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

100g unsalted butter, softened 200g cas…

Chocolate Biscuits

I've been obsessed with the idea of chocolate biscuits all last week. Its not that I even like chocolate (I know, I know, I am weird in that way), but the idea of making biscuits with little Ms Rantlet got stuck in my head and it wouldn't go away. 

So on Friday I got my weekly grocery delivery with everything that one would need for making biscuits, so all was left to do is find a recipe I like. A friend from Oz sent me a recipe from Edmonds, a classic - but it required condense milk, one thing that I did forget to order, so it was back to the drawing board. I've been following Jo Whatley on Twitter for a while and her recipes always look very inspiring, I am even considering buying her book - A Passion for Baking. I found her recipe for Chocolate Chip cookies online and decided to follow it (with a few variations) before making a final decision on the book

Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from "A Passion for Baking"

100 g unsalted butter at room temperature
100 g dark …

Books Review - Bread: baking by hand of bread machine

One would think that a new house bigger house would also mean more space, more space for cookbooks. Apparently it means more space to unpack all the boxes we had sitting in storage for years and years. And unsurprisingly most of these boxes contain cookbooks that Mr Ranty and I have collected over the last decade or so.
Our cook books are very much split into “his” and “hers”, with not much cross over in the middle :
- anything to do with spice (Thai, Mexican, Georgian), anything weird (Molecular and Methodical) or Kiwi is in “his” pile
- anything to do with bread and preserving is in “hers” pile
And to be honest, Mr Ranty has been experiencing with some spicy and odd combinations preserves, so that is slowly migrating into “his” pile, and all I have left is bread - which suits me just fine.

So, I am going to do a review of some/all books I have, starting from easy, beginner style books to more advanced sourdough books, with some cakes and cupcakes thrown in for entertainment purposes.