Sunday, 28 November 2010

And the winner is....

Following on from this post, I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Santa Giveaway is......

The Caked Crusader


If you'd like send me an email with your name and address a box of chocolate santas will be winging it's way to you very soon!

Thanks again to Hotel Chocolat for sponsoring this giveaway.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Orange Madeira Cake

I love cooking with citrus fruits, especially at this time of year when there are so many more available in the shops and there are so many festive recipes to put them in. I had bought some oranges to put into my Christmas cake and mincemeat this weekend but this afternoon I had a sudden urge to bake and this recipe came to mind. I'll have to go out and buy some more oranges now but this lovely cake more than compensates for that!

The only issue I had with this cake was the icing. I foolishly mixed 2 tablespoons of orange juice into the icing sugar in one go and ended up with icing that was too runny. Next time I'll add about a teaspoon at a time.

Orange Madeira Cake
(adapted from Home Cooking by Rachel Allen)

175g/6oz butter, softened
175g/6oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
225g/8oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice

For the topping
75g/3oz icing sugar
2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1) Preheat the oven to 170c/325f/gas mark 3. Lightly grease and line a 23 x 13cm (9 x 5 inch) loaf tin.

2) Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer to soften it further. Then add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each one, then add the orange zest.

3) Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in with the orange juice. Stop when all the flour is incorporated. Transfer the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the top.

4) Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

5) For the topping, sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and stir in just enough orange juice to make a soft, but not runny, icing. If you want the icing to stay on the cake, place the cooled cake back in the tin and spread the icing over the top.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Prawn Curry

This is just a quick post so that I can share this lovely prawn curry recipe I came across a couple of weeks ago. I found it on one of my favourite food blogs - The Goddess's Kitchen. I love Maria's blog as the recipes she writes about always sound so tempting and are just the sorts of things I like to cook. This one in particular appealed to me as it sounded perfect for weeknight dinners.

It turned out just as I'd hoped - straightforward and delicious. You could even make the sauce in advance and then add the prawns and reheat it later if you wanted to save some more time.

You can find the recipe here.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Hotel Chocolat Giveaway!

When Hotel Chocolat sent me a little box of goodies recently, they included a box of their Tiddly Caramel Chocolate Santas for me to sample. The good news for you is that there is another box of these ready and waiting to be given away to one lucky reader!
Each Santa is made from solid caramel milk chocolate so you get the creaminess of milk chocolate combined with a hit of sugary caramel. If you like your chocolate dark and on the bitter side then these may not be for you as they are very sweet. I, however, loved them and they definitely brightened up a windy autumn evening.

Hotel Chocolat also sell little boxes of Tiddly Milk Chocolate Reindeers and Tiddly White Chocolate Snowmen as part of their Christmas range and all three boxes cost £5 each. Any of them would make a very special addition to someone's Christmas stocking.

So then, if you would like to be in with a chance of winning a box of these little Santas you just need to do the following:

1) Have a look at the Christmas range on the Hotel Chocolat website and try and decide which item you would most like to find under the tree on Christmas Day

2) When you've managed to narrow it down, let me know your answer by leaving a comment in the comments section below this post. Alternatively, you can post your answer on the Half a Pot of Cream Facebook page.

3) The closing date for the giveaway is Friday 26th November at 6pm. The winner will be annouced after 6pm on Sunday 28th November.

4) I'm afraid the giveaway is only open to residents in the UK.

Good Luck!

Oh, and what would I choose? Well, this Classic Christmas H-Box Selection is clearly made for me! Not that I'm dropping hints or anything ; )

Monday, 8 November 2010

Parkin & Cinder Toffee for Bonfire Night

OK so I really should have posted these recipes before November 5th but nevermind! Ah well. Hopefully you'll remember them when you come to plan your Bonfire Night parties next year.

First up we have Parkin. A classic autumnal cake, originating in the North of England and traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night. It's very similar in many ways to gingerbread but with the addition of oats. The ginger, treacle and syrup mix together to make the most fabulous smelling cake - no need for any fancy scented candles when you're cooking this one. It tastes great too and is all the better for being left for a few days before cutting into it.

(adapted from a recipe in Good Food Magazine from years ago)

1 egg
3 tbsp milk
175g/6oz golden syrup
100g/4oz black treacle
85g/3oz light muscovado sugar
225g/8oz butter
100g/4oz medium oatmeal
250g/9oz plain flour
2 rounded tsp ground ginger
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1) Preheat the oven to 160c/gas mark 3/fan oven 140c. Grease a deep 23cm/9inch square cake tin and line with greaseproof paper. Beat the egg in a small bowl and stir in the milk, then set aside.

2) Put the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter in a large pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Remove from the heat. Mix together the oatmeal, flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda, then stir into the syrup mixture, followed by the egg and milk. Combine well to give a batter-like consistency.

3) Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until the cake feels firm and a little crusty on top. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out and peel off the greaseproof paper.

4) Wrap the parkin in clean greasproof paper and foil and leave it for at least three days before you cut - this will allow it to become much softer and stickier. The parkin will keep for up to two weeks.


The second recipe today is for Cinder Toffee. Or Honeycomb. Or Hokey Pokey. Or that stuff you find inside Crunchie bars. I'll leave you to choose your favourite. Whichever you go for this stuff is deadly! In an addictive, super-sugary, keep-your-dentist-on-standby sort of way. And deadly simple to make too - the actual cooking part took me a mere 5 minutes or so.

I really recommend you try this one but don't blame me for any fillings!

Cinder Toffee
(adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson)

200g caster sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda

1) Grease a 21cm square tin generously with butter.

2) Off the heat, mix the sugar and golden syrup in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, then put over a medium to low heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes (this is based on a 20cm diameter saucepan). The mixture is ready to come off the heat when it's a thick bubbling mass, the colour of rusty caramel - no darker.

3) Take off the heat and quickly whisk in the bicarbonate of soda and watch the caramel foam up in an opaque golden cloud (mine didn't foam up that much but it didn't seem to matter). Pour into the waiting tin and leave to set. This will take a few hours. When cold you can set to it with an implement of your choice (I used a rolling pin) and bash it into pieces.