1.If you add a beaten egg slowly to your batter mix it prevents the batter from becoming too stiff.
2.Always use eggs at room temperature when baking with them.
3.Eggs will whip more easily if left for 10 minutes in cold water before breaking.
4.Place the egg in a bowl of water, if it sinks and lies on its side, it’s fresh.If it sinks and stands large-end up, it’s on the turn so use within a couple of days. If it floats, bin it, as it’s gone off.
5.When making your cake, leave the eggs and fat our overnight so that they will be at the same temperature.
6.If you want firm meringues, add a teaspoon of cornflour to the sugar before beating into the egg white, and to make meringue with the same number of eggs, add one tablespoon of water per egg.
7.To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.
8.Eggs will stay fresher longer if you store them pointed end down.
9.If you forgot to get your eggs out for baking then just pop them into a bowl and cover with hot water. Take them out after a couple of minutes and use for baking as normal.
I was clearing out some of my books recently and came across my GCSE Cookery Book. It all came flooding back when I started looking through my recipes but one that stood out from the others was Rock Buns which I seemed to bake whenever I could. I even had some old photos of the first ones I made. You don’t hear of them nowadays but I thought I would share the old style recipe with you, in old style measurements. Enjoy …
6oz Flour, 2-3oz Margarine, 2oz Currants or sultanas, 2-3oz Caster Surgar, 1 small tsp baking powder, 1/2 oz candied peel (chopped)1 egg and milk, 1/4 tsp mixed spice.
Wash and dry the currants or sultanas. Rub the fat into the flour, and add the dry ingredients. Mix with a knife or fork to a stiff paste with beaten egg and milk. Put small heaps onto a greased baking sheet and bake in a hot oven for about 15 mins.
I love the way I haven’t even put ‘preheat’ the oven nor the oven temperature. Baking was sooooo much more laid back in those days.
National Tea Day on 21st April is celebrated with many but especially with the National Tea Day organizers.
They hold events all over the Country to enjoy this event including a National Tea Day Festival which takes place at Kensington Roof Gardens in West London where guests can enjoy the feeling of an afternoon garden party in the heart of the Capital.
Some featured Afternoon Tea Day events were held at Hoar Cross Hall, Derbyshire. The Midland Hotel, Manchester, brewbabu in Peterborough, The Chase Hotel, Coventry and many more exciting places. After looking through the National Tea Day list of locations I am sure you will find many you have never tried before.
They even have a number of charities which benefit from National Tea Day. They believe that tea is all about bringing people together, whether it be families, friends or communities. National Tea Day is working with charitable organisation’s in order to raise awareness of good causes.
For the flakiest upper pie crust, brush the top lightly with cold water before baking.
To avoid your pie crust from becoming too soggy, sprinkle it with equal parts of sugar and flour before adding filling.
If you haven’t got a pastry cutter for your pies then improvise with an aerosol lid instead.
To stop pastry sticking to your rolling pin, put the pin in the freezer or fridge so that it’s cold before you use it.
Buy a Silicon Pastry Brush – non stick and heat resistant to 315C so you can baste with hot oils.
A common mistake when rolling out pastry is to change the direction of the pin rather than the pastry which then encourages the pastry to stick. To prevent this, give the pastry a quarter turn every few seconds while rolling with the pin in the same position and lightly dust the surface frequently with flour.
A back pain baking tip – to avoid hurting your back, don’t turn your body at an angle when rolling pastry. Turn the pastry around instead.
Always let pie pastry dry throughout before adding filling as it will prevent it from seeping while cooking.
As I am sure you know by now that I have a love of loaf cakes. I find them a perfect size for just the two of us and most like the recipe below from Woman & Home and easy to bake. We had this at the weekend and it was delicious.
APPLE AND CLOTTED CREAM LOAF CAKE…
5 small bramley apples (peeled and cored) 1 tsp lemon juice 300g plain flour 1 ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 200g softened unsalted butter or margarine 175g caster sugar 3 large eggs ( lightly beaten) 1 tsp vanilla extract 150g clotted cream 3 tbsp apricot jam
Line or grease a 2lb loaf tin Preheat oven to 170C/Gas 3
Thinly slice enough apple to cover the top of the cake Pop in the lemon juice
Chop remaining apples and heat in a heavy based saucepan with 1 tbsp water for 5 mins until soft.
Leave to cool. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until all combined.
Fold in the sifted flour mixture and when almost combined add the cooked apple and clotted cream and mix well.
Pour into the tin and level Arrange the other apple slices evenly on top of the cake Bake for 1 hour 10 mins or until cooked through.
After cake has cooled, heat jam in a small saucepan and brush over the top.
When imbibing, ensure you indulge in ‘A Proper Tea’ described by AA Milne as, ‘Much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards’…
When baking cookies if you run out of sheets to put them on then just turn a baking tray upside down and drop the cookies on that.
Store cookies in an air tight tin with a slice of bread as the moisture from the bread will keep your cookies soft and fresh.