Breakfast soda breads

20130512-175231.jpg These fab breakfast soda breads from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet were the only things I baked this weekend. I had thoughts and plans to make at least an ice cream or a frozen yoghurt but thought better of it and concentrated, instead on the long assignment due in a couple of weeks. This work and school-on-the-side is seriously exhausting at the moment, have spent the whole weekend getting on with it and a headache but it’ll be over soon thankfully. Anyway, the soda breads are highly recommended, very quick to make, very easy and very good. We had them warm with leftover pork belly and scrambled eggs.

Peanut butter cookies

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I’ve wanted to make these Peanut butter cookies from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet for a while and as am enjoying a fairly lazy Sunday I thought they wouldn’t take too long + they are reasonably healthy. Rolled oats, wholemeal flour (or spelt, I used wholemeal as it’s nearing expiry date) crunchy peanut butter and a whole load of sugars – I used caster and both light and dark soft brown. I also reduced the sugar quantity a little. They are seriously delicious and worth making, I’ve ended up with just under 30 rather large ones. Crunchy, nutty and very moreish!

Chocolate and walnut cake

This is really a layer cake  with chocolate, walnut, sultana and brandy filling. Recipe came from Paul Hollywood’s How to bake.

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I made it yesterday afternoon and initially thought it was a little too sweet and boozy but have changed my mind today and think it’s rather good. It doesn’t use much flour but it makes up for that with rather a lot of butter and sugar – I reduced the amount of both for the filling. Here is the photo of what’s left – looks a little like a Christmas log.

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Have to admit I’ve been rather distracted this weekend by an essay due soon so this cake was really an afterthought. A good afterthought. Got a massive sugar rush ‘sampling’ the filling while waiting for the cake to cool enough so that I could apply it. Would make it again as it took little time and effort but would also reduce the amount of sugar in the sponge too. Now back to the essay, unfortunately…

Espresso and dark chocolate ice cream

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It took some maneuvering to get the ice cream maker bowl to fit into the freezer (small and recently loaded up with ‘stuff’) but fit it in I did because I really fancied some home made ice cream this weekend. I don’t think I froze the bowl for long enough beforehand though because it was taking ages yesterday afternoon, the ice cream was not really chilling and, as we were watching The Master at the same time I was getting pretty frustrated that nothing was happening. Nothing in the kitchen and nothing on the screen. I gave up on the machine and just froze the ice cream hoping for the best and soon after I gave up on the film too and nodded off. When I woke up the film was still on and Beloved informed me that I’d missed very little. What a pointless waste of time (Joaquin Phoenix very good though).

The ice cream, though was well worth the effort, with a very intense and mildly bitter coffee flavour enhanced by good dark chocolate. This is a real treat for lovers of good coffee. Recipe came from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II although I reduced the amount of sugar by a third – think Nigel has a very sweet tooth although Beloved did say he would have liked a bit more sugar. For me, this was perfect but I would consider perhaps using a mix of dark and white or milk chocolate in future. Or perhaps not, it really is very good just as it is. Like a chocolatey affogato. Very good aftertaste too.

Marmalade Chelsea buns

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I do love a good fluffy bun and these Marmalade Chelsea buns are rather wonderful and very fluffy. Pretty light too, have had two for breakfast and am now perfectly content with all around me. The recipe came from Dan Lepard’s column in The Guardian. Dan suggests using half a Vitamin C tablet for lightness and that’s clearly worked as the buns have quite a high strong white bread flour content. Not a long list of ingredients (flour, little bit of butter, milk, egg, marmalade, currants, yeast and salt – I omitted the sugar and they are fine) and very simple to make. Would definitely recommend. Pure satisfying comfort on a cold and miserable day like today.

I’ve been making quite a few marmalade treats recently because I had quite a bit of it before I decided to make more. There was the marmalade and dark chocolate ice cream which is fabulous and a stunning steamed marmalade sponge pudding, also a Dan Lepard recipe. I’d still like to do Delia’s classic marmalade bread and butter pudding and that’ll be it. Must leave at least some to have on toast!