Recipes

balckberry-and-apple-pie

It is September but you wouldn’t be able to guess by the temperature that Autumn is closing in. The only clue that gives it away is the golden sunlight which seems to come every year at this time. I love it, everything glows this radiant, harvest golden light. It is a time for gathering all the fruit we have on the trees and bushes and making it into lovely pies.

Last week we picked a bowl full of blackberries and some ripe apples from the garden to make into blackberry and apple pie. I was chuffed as I got to test out my new pie bird from Dunelm.

I used a recipe from Jamie Oliver for Blackberry and Apple pie and for the perfect shortcrust pastry. Both were fantastic, I cannot recommend the pastry recipe highly enough, if you are frightened of making your own pastry, worried it won’t be light enough then please try this one. I followed Jamie’s tip of adding Lemon zest and actually it is a really nice, light touch which makes it not so stodgy and a bit more crisp. He really does have some fabulous homemade classic recipes, they never seem to fail me, definitely my type of cooking Jamie!

The only alteration I made to the Blackberry and Apple pie recipe is that I added cinnamon with the apples and blackberries while they were cooking. I always do this with my apple pies as I love the combination of the two flavours. Jamie recommended adding it onto the pie bottom before adding the apples but I chose to ignore this and add before. Who knows his pie may have turned out yummier than mine but I don’t think it is really possible, it was so delicious.

blackberry-and-apple-pie

Before putting on the top layer of pastry I added the pie bird. For those of you who don’t know what a pie bird is for, apart from looking adorable (my guests thought it was just a cute decoration) it actually serves a very good purpose (thanks Wikipedia!)

A pie bird, pie vent, pie whistle, pie funnel, or pie chimney is a hollow ceramic device, originating in Europe, shaped like a funnel, chimney, or upstretched bird with open beak. Funnel-style steam vents have been placed in the center of fruit and meat pies during cooking since Victorian times; bird shapes came later.

Pie funnels were used to prevent pie filling from boiling up and leaking through the crust by allowing steam to escape from inside the pie. They also supported the pastry crust in the center of the pie, so that it did not sag in the middle, and are occasionally known as “crustholders”. Older ovens had more problems with uniform heating, and the pie bird prevented boil-over in pie cooking.

The nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence” makes reference to “Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie…” but it is uncertain whether pie vents were designed to look like birds because of this song.

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And I’m convinced it did wonders for this pie, there was no soggy pastry, no leaking juices or fruit just an absolutely lush pie filled with homegrown goodies. Ooooh delicious. I’ve now got some plums from the tree to cook up into something wonderful, where is my apron? :)

masoncash-bowlI was very happy to be asked to be a Dunelm Mill blog ambassador because well let’s face it who doesn’t like shopping at Dunelm? Round here it is absolutely the go to shop for quality, affordable interior items. I was asked if I would like to try some items from their kitchen range which is fab as I love cooking and definitely see myself as a bit of a Nigella ;) Well I’m a curvy brunette that likes cream, butter and cakes – I guess the similarities stop there…

I especially enjoying baking with my Littlelish and thought it might be nice to stock up on  some fun baking equipment. Dunelm stock a huge range of baking equipment including lots of fun things that took my fancy. I especially liked the retro baking products by Tala. My 50 pound budget went really far and I ended up ordering a whole host of fun things to use when baking! I’m still trying to work my way through reviewing them all (what with starting work full-time and having holidays for 2 weeks) but have decided to review each item with its own yummy recipe.

So firstly we went ahead and reviewed the gorgeous pink mixing bowl by Mason Cash and a fab large loaf tin by Tala. We set about making chocolate cake, not just any chocolate cake, Nigella’s quadruple chocolate loaf. Oh boy, this cake is made of dreams. It is so moist! There I go sounding more and more like her ;)

A super easy recipe to follow – this cake was enjoyed by all… Littlelish, my man and even my neighbours who I regularly try to fatten up with cakes I have made! Because it is so moist it lasted for absolutely ages, at least the whole week if not longer and may have infact tasted better towards the end of the week if that is even possible!

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The Mason Cash bowls are my favourite for baking – sturdy, solid and easy to clean which is exactly what you need. It is heavy enough not to move about when being stirred by an excited 3 year old and great for tiny fingers to lick clean :) And well this particular one is pink with hearts. Need I say more? A must for any little girl who loves baking :) :)

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The cake tin is one I’ve been after for a while, since the move I have been sans loaf tin which is pretty unbearable ;) Now I have the Rolls Royce of loaf tins, this holds a mean loaf cake. It is also very solid and has a special non stick coating. We did not use greaseproof paper as per the recipe and the cake slid out remarkably well and the left over cake residue ( I admit we did not wash up the same day – shock horror!) came off like a dream.

loaftin

nigellacake

(This picture is from Nigella.com, mine was equally as delicious but didn’t seem to photograph quite as well!)

Top marks for these 2 items! Thank you Dunelm. Part 2 to follow shortly :)

When I was hosting my pinterest party I pinned a recipe for 58 calorie chocolate muffins that I thought we could try. They were pinned from this site but apparently originally it came from Dashing Dish (although I couldn’t find them on there). Dashing Dish may just be my new favorite website btw. It’s amazing and I will definitely be trying some recipes from there soon.

We didn’t get round to making these on the night (you missed out girls!) and so I have just used the ingredients I bought to make them with Littlelish. The recipe was ridiculously easy, basically you throw everything together in a bowl or a blender, mix and pop in the oven!

Here is the ingredient list:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups of oats (I used porridge oats)
  • 3 egg whites
  •  3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips

And the steps we followed to make them:

  • I greased the muffin tin using butter (probably added a few calories but nevermind!). You would be better off using paper muffin cases if you have them. I didn’t ;)
  • I only have a hand held blender (I know, poor me, I agree!) so I used this to grind the oats down into a fine powder – they pretty much flew everywhere so a blender would be better.
  • I then added the remainder of the ingredients (apart from the chocolate drops) and Littlelish mixed them all together with a wooden spoon.
  • We then carefully poured and mixed in the chocolate drops and spooned the mixture into the muffin tray.
  • We baked for 15 mins on 200 degrees.

They came out of the oven moist, soft with gooey melted chocolate in them. They are divine and I ate 2, which totally and utterly defeats the object of making low calorie muffins but whatever! Note: you are supposed to spread this mixture out over 2 muffin tins to make 24 small muffins of 58 calories. I only used one muffin tin and made nice big muffins which are presumably then 116 calories but that is still pretty good!

Let me know if you try them and what you think! xx

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