Saturday, 28 February 2015

February 2015: 28 Photos for 28 Days!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

February 2015: The One Where We Baked Rainbows.

February 1: A late lunch.
February 2: Monday morning marmalade muffins.
February 3: Puffed up pittas.
February 4: Willing Spring to hurry up with strawberry jelly.
February 5: A good day for a trifle.
February 6: A surprisingly good Friday night fish supper.
February 7: A lazy tiramisu.
February 8: Notes.
February 9: Soup for a grey day.
February 10: The joy of already-marinaded chicken in the fridge.
February 11: Nemesis.
February 12: Actually obsessed.
February 13: What dinner looks like sometimes.
February 14: In love with chalkboard labels and markers. 
February 15: Pancakes with lemon and sugar. The best.
February 16: You know something is going taste good when it looks amazing before going into the oven.
February 17: Hadith of the day.
February 18: Golden quesadilla. 
February 19: Trying to match Maltesers.
February 20: A good day to pipe.
February 21: Donner day!
February 22: Victoria Sandwich, rainbow cake and Eton Mess mash up.
February 23: One slice left.
February 24: The smoke alarm nearly going off was worth it for this chicken.
February 25: The end result was worth all this chaos.
February 26: Tackling a giant cauliflower for dinner.
February 27: When only a baked potato will do.
February 28: Hadith of the day.

February 2015:

My favourite blog recipe: Chocolate Orange Biscuits
Your favourite blog recipe: Chicken Kofta Curry
My favourite week in pictures: Pancakes + rainbow cupcakes + piping in colour
Your favourite week in pictures: Saturday pancakes + trifle + recipe testing
My favourite Instagram post: This one.
Your favourite Instagram post: This one.
Craziest disaster: The time when I thought my macarons were going oh-so-well, then I baked them and this happened.
Lessons Learnt: This month, I have learnt that when it comes to blogging, being yourself is best. There are millions of blogs out there but there is only one of you. So, you make your blog the way you want it. 
I'll give you an example. I used to (and still do) see so many food blogs with perfect photos and food styling. And, I used to think that I should be doing that too. But it wasn't something I was comfortable with. I'm not saying that food styling etc. is wrong or anything - I love me a good food shot. But, personally, when I take pictures for this blog, I like my food to look natural and in its comfort zone. And, for me that's the kitchen where it was cooked. On the plates on which it will be eaten. 
So, what I'm trying to say is kinda encapsulated in the above - creativity is not a competition. Whatever you're doing, whether it's blogging or anything, be comfortable. Do what makes you feel happy not what you think should make you happy. 
I hope that makes sense.

Baking Challenge: French Macarons. And you know what happened.
Healthy Recipe Challenge: A grain salad. Which never happened.

This month of February has flown by but it's been a good one. I hope that it has brought you plenty of goodness too, and if not, then there's always March.


Friday, 27 February 2015

Dundee Cake

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

I felt so old-fashioned baking this cake.
This Dundee Cake is the kind of cake which is found in most traditional British baking books. A good old-fashioned, survived two world wars and still going, fruit cake.

The cake that is the exact opposite of the minature, buttercream laden vibrant cupcakes I baked last week.

No. This cake is simple and modest but still super tasty. A reliable sponge packed to the rafters with dried fruit, citrus zest and decorated in the traditional way. Seriously. Even me, whose current favourite sweet thing is sliced bananas with limes and brown sugar enjoyed a slice of this.

A Simple List of Ingredients:
1. Plain Flour
2. Butter
3. Baking Powder
4. Caster Sugar
5. Milk
6. Eggs
7. Ground Almonds
8. An Orange
9. Lemon
10. Mixed Peel
11. Sultanas
12. Glace Cherries
13. Raisins
14. Almonds

Bismillah, let's begin!

First things first. Get the oven pre-heated to 170C or Gas Mark 3
Take an 18cm loose-based round tin.

Grease and line it. Set aside.

Next, we will prep the nuts and fruit before we make the cake batter. 

So, take 60 grams Almonds.

Put them into a bowl and cover with Water.

Put the bowl into a larger bowl - this will make it easier to get them out of the microwave. Place into the microwave for 2 minutes.

Once heated, let them sit until cool enough to handle. Then, peel off the skin and set aside.

Next, prepare the glace cherries.

Take 50 grams Glace Cherries.

Slice each one in half.

Wash them and pat them dry with kitchen towels. Set aside.

Next, time to zest! Take 1 Orange and 1 Lemon.

Grab your zesting tool of choice. I chose an actual zester but you could use a grater too.

Zest up those citrus.

Since my zest strips were too long for my liking, I gave them a quick chop.

Next, get the mixed peel out of your baking cupboard.

These little citrus nuggets will add a little zing to your cake.

So, measure out 50 grams Mixed Peel.

Finally, take Sultanas.

Measure out 175 grams Sultanas.

And, Raisins.

Measure out 175 grams Raisins.

Get all the rest of the ingredients and let's bake this Dundee Cake!

First up, plain flour.

Into a large bowl, place 225 grams Plain Flour.

Then, butter. I used unsalted but salted would be good too. And, if margarine is all you have, go for it.

Get the butter out of its paper.

And, add 150 grams Butter, softened to the bowl.

Followed by 150 grams Caster Sugar.

Then, to make the cake rise, baking powder.

Add 1 level teaspoon Baking Powder to the bowl.

Then, to make everything more delicious (as they always do), eggs.

Crack in 3 large Eggs.

Now that all the basic sponge ingredients are in, it's time to mix.

I used an electric mixer but by hand would work as well.

Once you have a smooth cake batter, check the dropping consistency - it should drop easily from a spoon. Add 1 tablespoon Milk, to help it on its way.

Stir in the milk until you have a batter that already looks good enough to eat!

Then, throw in the raisins.

The sultanas.

The mixed peel.

And, the glace cherries.

That's all the dried fruit in.

Now, add in the orange and lemon zest.

Finally, measure out 2 level tablespoons Ground Almonds.

And, add to the bowl.

Stir the fruit in and add a little milk again, if you think the batter is not dropping well from a spoon.

Finally, we're done!

Pop the cake batter into the prepared tin.

Smooth out the top.

Grab those whole almonds from earlier.

Make a design on the top by dropping them gently onto the batter - don't push them in.

Bake the cake for 1 and 3/4 hours at 170C or Gas Mark 3. 
Bake in the centre of the oven until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Once baked, let the cake cool completely in its tin.

Place the cake tin onto a tin can and push down to release the sides.

Pop onto a plate and we're ready to serve.

Cut yourself a slice. This cake is packed with juicy fruit and citrus zest not to mention the crunch of the almonds on top.

Serve on its own with hot tea or as dessert, with vanilla custard. This cake gets better after a day or two, so pop it into a cake tin. Enjoy!

Full Written Recipe:

Traditional Dundee Cake

Prep Time: About 20 minutes
Bake Time: About 1 and ¾ hours
Serves: 8 people, generously


For the Cake
225 grams Plain Flour
1 level teaspoon Baking Powder
150 grams Butter, softened
150 grams Caster Sugar
3 large Eggs
1 tablespoon Milk (if needed)
175 grams Raisins
175 grams Sultanas
50 grams Mixed Peel
50 grams Glace Cherries, rinsed, dried and cut into half
Zest of 1 Lemon
Zest of 1 Orange
2 level tablespoons Ground Almonds

For the Topping
60 grams Whole Blanched Almonds


Pre-heat the oven to 170C or Gas Mark 3. Grease and line an 18cm loose-based round tin.

Into a bowl, sift in the flour and baking powder. Then ,add the butter, caster sugar and eggs and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until you have a smooth batter with a dropping consistency. If it’s too dry and doesn’t drop easily off the spoon, add the milk.

Next, add in the raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, glace cherries, lemon zest, orange zest and ground almonds. Fold in.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and decorate (drop them on lightly) with the blanched whole almonds. Bake for 1 and ¾ hours in the centre of the oven or until the centre is springy and firm to the touch.

Cool before removing from the tin, and then slice and serve!

(Adapted from a recipe by Delia Smith)

This Time One Year Ago:

This Time Two Years Ago:

Keep me in your duas, please,