Tag Archives: #eggs

YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS… a Sunday Roast is not a Sunday Roast without them. Aunt Bessie eat your heart out!

14 Jul

20130628-073606.jpgAs per the title of this post, a Sunday Roast is not a Sunday Roast without YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS… and many of them.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love going out for a Sunday Lunch, however I only ever get ONE Yorkshire Pudding and I find that very very upsetting.

When I was a little girl Yorkshire Puddings were the thing we always argued every Sunday… and that was not just me and my little sister.  That was my Mum and Dad too!  My mum would make a ‘batch’ of yorkshire puddings.  Sometimes this would be 12 and as we got older it would be 16.  Then when Mark joined our family (my wee sisters other half) we started making 20.  So… ‘3 each’ or ‘4 each’ was the rule shouted as they were brought into the dining room.  During the meal we would ask each other ‘how many have you had?’ and we would systematically go around the table.  Sometimes LIES were told.  This would cause chaos… especially if you had simply and innocently forgotten how many you had (cough cough).

So… we grew up with Mum making Yorkshire Puddings every Sunday and therefore my sister and I are adept at making Yorkshire’s.  I therefore find it very ODD that people are shocked and amazed when I whip up a batch and don’t rely on Aunt Bessie’s fake, thin and skimpy puddings.  OH NO.  If I did that Mum would disown me, and rightly so.

In fact neither my sister nor I use a recipe, so this is going to be quite hard for me to write!  But here we go…

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

COOKING TIME: 15 minutes

MAKES: 12 Yorkshire Puddings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • Milk (enough to make a smooth batter)
  • Vegetable oil / lard /butter

HOW TO MAKE THE PUDDINGS…

First things first and possibly the MOST important stage.  Get out the Yorkshire Pudding tin… which is the one that is smaller than a muffin tin and is used to bake buns not cupcakes.  (I hope this makes sense!)  To each well in the Yorkshire Pudding tin add 1/2 a teaspoon of oil/butter/lard.  I prefer to use vegetable oil as I don’t think it adds a taste to the puddings.  Now place this in a hot oven – so heat the oven to 200 degrees (gas mark 5) and then place in the tray with the oil.  You want to leave this to ensure that the oil is very hot, which should take about 10 minutes.  Whilst this heats up, lets make the batter…

In a medium sized bowl (or if you are like me I find it easier to use a measuring jug, as it will allow me to pour the mixture out neatly) place the 4 heaped tablespoons of plain flour in and add to that the pinch of salt (but only a pinch).

Mix together the salt and flour and then make a well in the centre – a hole!  (I say this to the children I work with and they look at me like I am crazy!!)  It simply means make a space in the centre.  Into here add the egg (obviously crack it open!) and then add a good glug of milk.  If you want some help here, about 6 tablespoons of milk – but it doesn’t matter if its slightly more or less at this stage.

Now, using a fork start whisking the egg and milk (only) in the centre.  Keep going and you will notice that gradually the flour starts to stick and come into the mix, keep going and going until a lot of the flour has come into the milk/egg now you should be starting to get a think paste… don’t let it get too thick as so far you will have avoided lumps.

Add a dash of milk and continue to mix.  Add another dash of milk and repeat.  You can now bring in the rest of the flour by mixing around the sides of the bowl and add another dash of milk.

The batter for Yorkshire Puddings and pancakes is the same, the only difference is the thickness.  For pancakes you want a very thin consistency, for puddings you want a thick batter.  So in between the consistency of houmous and pancake batter.  (Hummm this is hard to explain).  So keep adding milk until you get the batter to this consistency and whisk well to ensure there are no lumps.

Now your oil should be hot, so take the tin out of the oven (using a glove) and begin pouring in the batter.  You want to fill each well up until it is approx. two thirds full – this will allow room for rising.  You also need to act very quickly as you need the oil to be hot as the batter hits it.  So, fill each well and then get them puddings straight into the oven.

Leave for 15 minutes and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.  If you do they could drop and then you won’t get the impressive rise.  After 15 minutes open the oven and have a peak.  If they are golden they are ready.  I like mine a little doughy/heavy so I take them out after 15 minutes.  If you like them lighter in weight and darker in colour then leave them for another 5 minutes.

Add them to your roast dinner after declaring ‘2 each’ or ‘3 each’ and enjoy!  Any leftover batter (if you are cooking for one or two) could be used as pancakes… you just need to add more milk.  ENJOY and please… don’t fight.

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My finished YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS… GOBBLE GOBBLE!

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The ORANGE-IEST, Lemon Cake you ever did see…

11 Mar
My orange coloured Lemon Cake.  It was phenomenal :)

My orange coloured Lemon Cake. It was phenomenal!

My mother and I made the lemon cake together yesterday for mothers day, using the eggs we collected from the chickens.  We then devoured it with a large mug of tea!

I just wanted to take the opportunity to share the end result of this cake with you here.  It was fantastically orange (due to the eggs we used from our chickens) and it was beautifully lemon-y.  It really was a taste sensation!  So, if you are doing any of your own baking at home and can afford to buy organic, free-range eggs do – you will not regret it, I promise.

Do you want to make my lemon cake?  If so, you can find the link on the right of the page under ‘A little Lemon Cake for my Mother Hen’, or simply click on this link!

If you make one of your own do send some pictures over to me, or send me a TWEET @gemsfoodgems.

Just a few of the chickens for the eggs for my Lemon Cake... Thanks!

Just a few of the chickens for the eggs for my Lemon Cake… Thanks!

A little LEMON CAKE for my MOTHER HEN…

10 Mar

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I feel as though I am today introducing you to my sisters!  Since my sister and I ‘flew the nest’ my Mother has taken on several chickens to love.  We say they are her ‘designer chickens’ as each one is a little ‘different‘, has a funny little name and a very amusing personality.  If you hover over the pictures the chickens ‘stared’ will be revealed.

As I am home for Mothers Day this year, I have had the opportunity to bake with the wonderful Free Range, Organic eggs that the chickens provide us with on a daily basis.  For me, this is one of the most special things about coming home, to my mum.  Fresh Eggs.  We have scrambled eggs in the mornings on fresh bread and then in the afternoons we collect the eggs and bake a seriously delicious cake, which is beautifully orange – due to the naturally intense colour of the eggs.  There is nothing more wonderful.

Without further ado, I give you my mum’s favourite cake recipe which we have made together as a treat for MOTHERS DAY, and to say thank you to her for being TOTALLY FANTASTIC.

These are the eggs we collected this weekend from our chickens...

These are the eggs we collected this weekend from our chickens…

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

COOKING TIME: 30 minutes

MAKES: 2 large loaf cakes (8lb cakes)

If you want to make just one cake, simply halve this mixture.  We make 2 so that we can share them with family and friends.

INGREDIENTS:

For the cake:

  • 8oz (225g) Butter
  • 8oz (225g) Light Brown Sugar Sugar
  • 4 Free Range Eggs
  • 9 1/2 oz  (270g) Wholemeal Self Raising Flour
  • Juice & Zest 1 Lemon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • OPTIONAL: 2oz (60g) Poppy Seeds

For the lemon drizzle topping:

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 5 tbsp sugar

HOW TO MAKE THE LEMON DRIZZLE CAKES – JUST FOR YOUR MUM!

The first thing you need to do (as always) is to pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C or Gas Mark 4.  Then you need to line your loaf tin with baking paper or if you have it with a case/liner.

Then in a bowl you need to cream together the butter and the sugar.  It is really important for this stage (if you are not using a mixer) that you use butter at room temperature, as otherwise it is just too hard to mix them.  The creaming method is great for getting some air into the cake to, so keep mixing the butter and sugar until you have a light/cream coloured mix.

Now you need to gradually add your eggs.  If you are a regular follower of my blog you will see that I advise you to break the eggs into a cup and then add them to the cake one at a time.  So do this, then give the mixture a good stir.  By the 4th egg the cake mix may be starting to curdle/separate, so do add a tablespoon or 2 of the flour.

Next sieve the flour into the bowl and then mix well, using a folding method.

Zest the lemon and pop this into the mixture and then the juice of the lemon.  It is best to use a sieve to do this, or a lemon squeezer, so that you don’t get any of the pips in the cake!  (If you are using poppy seeds add them in here and mix again.)

Finally, mix well and then split between the 2 loaf tins and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Whilst the cakes are cooking prepare the lemon syrup drizzle topping.  To do this pop all your ingredients into a pan, bring it to the boil (just) so that the sugar dissolves.  You don’t want to make toffee, so as soon as it bubbles reduce the heat and keep stirring.  Put to one side, until the cakes are cooked, but stir every now and again, so that the sugar does not start to crystalize.

After the alloted cooking time, take one of the cakes out and insert a clean skewer or knife into the centre of the cake.  If it comes out clean then the cake is cooked.  If it does not, pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes and repeat this until the cake is cooked.  Remove from the oven, gently stab it all over (only about 1/2 way through the cake) and pour over the lemon syrup.  Leave to cool and then slice and enjoy… (with a cup of tea!).

Ps.  Remember to say thank you to your chickens if you are using home grown eggs!

How did you have yours!?

13 Feb

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This year I got myself all prepared and ready for pancake day… my goodness I was excited… SHROVE TUESDAY!  YES!  This year I was organised… for the wrong week, which is a #fail.

So… I did have plans last night so I could not join in with the pancake fun, so my pancake day will be tonight.  Some of you may have gone for it and had pancakes last night, some of you may not have… if not, why not try this recipe tonight?  It is the best one I have found/use and I believe that to get a good pancake it is all in the eggs…

Preparation Time: 3 minutes

Cooking Time: 4 minutes

Eating Time: 3 minutes per pancake (unless you are a hoover!)

Ingredients:

  • 200g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 75ml water
  • Butter (for the pan)

Optional Additions to the Ingredients:

This is the vital part of the pancake… HOW WILL YOU HAVE YOURS?  So, what toppings do you fancy.  For me it is always lemon and sugar, but you could have banana and nutella, orange and cinnamon, a jam (raspberry, strawberry, blackcurrant), you could go very healthy and have yoghurt and berries.  You choose, buy these and then get ready to make the batter.

How to make the batter..As per my previous note – it is all in the eggs!  So, you ideally need organic free-range eggs and they must be fresh, I repeat, they must be fresh!  Crack your egg in a mug and if the white is watery and runny then it is not that fresh.  If you have just bought the eggs that day and you do this test you should have quite a firm egg with no watery bits.  If your egg is watery it is ok, you can still use it and it will not make you ill; but you may not get the best/tastiest pancakes possible.  Sorry.

So first you need to sieve the flour and the pinch of salt into a bowl.

Next, make a well in the centre of the flour and then pour your egg from the mug unto the middle – the well – and then repeat with the second egg.  Separating the eggs out into mugs first before you put them into the mixture just allows you to check they are ok and smell ok.  My mummy taught me to do this as a little girl, so it is something I always, always do.  (Thanks Sally!)

Pour the milk and the water into the well too.

Begin to mix – slowly!  So, place your metal spoon (or fork) into the centre of the well with the wet ingredients and being to whisk in a scrambling motion.  Do this slowly and you will notice that your wet ingredients start to pull in the flour.  Keep doing this until nearly all/most of the flour has come into the wet mixture.  Then and only then can you start to fold in the rest of the flour.  This is the ONLY way to avoid getting huge flour lumps in your batter, so please do this bit slowly and carefully.  Put some love into your pancakes people!

Now put a little knob of butter into your pan and heat it up – gently.  Once the butter has melted and is just starting to smoke (not burning and bubbling) place a ladle of mixture into the pan (if you have a small pan use half a ladle) and then pick the pan up and move the batter around so it covers the base.  Do not drag the mixture with a spatuala.

Allow this to cook for 2 minutes on one side (it should be starting to come away from the pan at the edges, telling you that it is cooked) then FLIP IT and cook the other side.  You will know when it has cooked as it will not be doughy any more and will have little brown splodges/freckles on it.

The first pancake for me is always a test and sets my pan up for more pancakes, so ensure you have a low heat – disregard pancake one – it is probably very ugly and perfect your skills the second time around.

Go for it!  This batter should make 8 to 10 pancakes! ENJOY!

Ps. As per the picture I will be having mine with lemon and sugar… but I also have a little treat up my sleeve which I will be giving to you all tomorrow – if it works!