Sunday, 22 April 2018

Everyday Coffee Loaf Cake

I had a strong craving for a coffee and walnut cake for the last few days and I finally resisted by making this loaf cake recently. I have a thing for coffee and walnut cake, alongside coconut cake, in that I can easily eat the whole cake by myself. To stop myself eating a whole cake, I simply don't make these cakes on a regular basis and try to treat myself to a slice when I'm at a coffee shop.  I wanted the full hit of a coffee and walnut cake but didn't want to make a traditional sandwich cake held together by copious amount of buttercream. So,  I decided to make a loaf cake instead, which requires minimal effort and has maximum flavour.
The recipe is adapted from my baking book: National Trust Cakes, Bakes and Biscuits. I simply reduced the amount given for a sponge cake, however, I should of let the icing set before I poured it on the cake - my impatience to taste the case was the reason for this. Nevertheless, the coffee and walnut loaf cake was moist, soft and moreish.



You will need a 2lbs/900g loaf tin.
Ingredients
100g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
100g soft margarine
2 large free eggs
4 heaped teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons boiling water

For the topping
75g butter
125g icing sugar
8 - 10 walnut halves

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C, 325F, gas mark 3. Beat together the flour, caster, sugar, margarine and eggs until they are very light and fluffy, preferably in an electric mixer. Put the coffee granules in a cup or  small bowl and add about 3 teaspoons boiling water. The coffee should be very, very dark and just runny - if it's a bit stiff, add a few drops more water, but it certainly shouldn't look like ordinary coffee. You want a liquor that will give a huge hit of coffee without adding too much volume of liquid.
Add 1 teaspoon coffee mixture to the cake mix and beat in. Taste, and add more coffee if needed. Don't throw away any remaining mixture.
Pout the batter in the loaf tin and smooth the tops. Bake for 45 minutes until the cake is firm and springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
To make the topping beat together the butter and  icing sugar until pale and soft. Add 1 teaspoon coffee mixture and taste. Add more, to taste.
When the cake is cooled frost the top of the cake with the coffee icing. Place the walnuts around the edge of the loaf cake and leave the icing to set, which should only take about an hour.

xxx
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Cornflake tart

I had a trip down memory lane when I visited My Lahore in Birmingham. My Lahore's dessert menu featured old school puddings, puddings if you are in your late 20's early 30s would be served to you in school. Puddings such as jam roly polly, apple crumble and an absolute blast from the past cornflake tart. I haven't sampled corn flake tart for years but when I saw the huge cornflake tart squares in the restaurant I knew I had to recreate this at home. This pudding gave me strong feelings of nostalgia and in my opinion, the golden era of school puddings. I don't think children these days would be served this with the pastry, jam, cornflakes and honey,  as it's far from healthy eating. But it is in fact a comforting pudding. I found a recipe online from Baking Mad for this recipe and the only thing which I changed was that I brought ready made pastry.





The recipe can be found here


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Sunday, 15 April 2018

Lost and Found Review

The Lost and Found is a stunning, botanical restaurant that was recently refurbished and reopened with a brand new menu and decor. Located in Bennets Street and Grand Central Station, in the heart of Birmingham, the restaurant sells an array of fabulous cocktails and British classics with a twist. The outside decor is deceptive from the outside. I did not realise how grand the restaurant would be inside. The waitress who served us was attentive and polite and could make a number of recommendations what to order from the cocktail and food menu. The inside interior is decadent with gorgeous chandeliers, sweeping stairways. Although the restaurant is large, it also has an upstairs seating area, it also had a cosy feel towards it. First things first, I couldn't visit without sampling a lovely cocktail starting with a penny for the cat (gin, prosecco,  lemon juice, almond syrup & cranberry juice) cocktail £8.95. My friend ordered Storm Bronte (Havana 3 yo rum, Havana club especial, passion fruit, lime juice and blood orange) £8.25.




For the starters I ordered Smoked Salmon, Gin & Tonic Pickled Cucumber, Lemon Cream Cheese and Malted Brown Bloomer £8.50. The starters portion was incredibly generous the salmon was complimented well with the lemon cream cheese. My friend ordered the crispy salami bruschetta with whipped ricotta and fennel £7. My friend shared that the salami was perfectly cured and the portion size also generous.



For our mains, I ordered Chicken Milanese with a sourdough crumb, caper & parsley butter with a fried egg £12. I also ordered a side dish  of £3.50 fried potatoes, garlic mayonnaise & rosemary and also a Caesar salad £3.50. The Chicken Milanese was crispy on the outside and tender within. Shaped in a heart shape, the presentation was innovative. Also, the Chicken Milanese was the largest chicken breast I have ever seen or ate in my life - it was gigantic.  I'm not sure the purpose of the egg, but the caper & parsley butter added a gorgeous flavour combination.  My friend also ordered Cured Fillet of Salmon £14 served with Caesar salad topped with anchovy croutons. A side of fried potatoes was also ordered. My friend said that the salmon was fresh and light and perfectly seared.






I have a sweet tooth, so for pudding, I ordered the Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with spiced toffee sauce and clotted cream £6. My friend ordered the  Millionaire's Shortbread £8 with dark chocolate, sticky  whisky caramel, honeycomb and a rich chocolate ice-cream. The sticky toffee pudding was rich and indulgent - exactly how a sticky toffee pudding should be. 


I would definitely visit here again, not only is this place great for cocktails but also the food is pretty amazing too.

Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of Lost and Found.
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Thursday, 12 April 2018

March 2018 Monthly Eatings

Another month feasting around the West Midlands. This month I sampled lovely a la carte food at Hoar Cross Hall , Staffordshire and posh nosh at Mytton and Mermaid in Shropshire to a good ol burger  in Brierly Hill I thoroughly enjoyed this months eatings.

Big Man's Food, Brierley Hill






Mytton and Mermaid, Shropshire


Hoar Cross Hall, Staffordshire







I'll be sharing a more detailed blog post on the newly refurbished Lost and Found restaurant. But or now, here is a sneaky preview of some of the delicious food that I ate.


My Lahore

Cosmos World Buffet - World Buffet



xxx
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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Vegetable Pilau

I love a good curry feast, but attempting to eat healthy and eating curries isn't associated with each other. My favourite curries Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are ladled with calories and fat, so when I order or make this at home it really has to be for a special treat. With a few clever tricks, such as the use of fry light and using lots of vegetables, you can eat an Indian feast whilst following a healthy eating regime. I made Parsee Chicken curry (recipe from 50 Great Curries of India) a little while back and decided to serve this with a healthier version of pilau rice. Packed with a number of vegetables, a handful of sultanas, the rice was full of flavour, vibrant colour and nutritiously good for you. The recipe is from Weight Watchers mini series: Classic Curries and is an incredibly easy side dish to make. 








295 calories per serving
Serves 4
250g dried basmati rice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
4 cardamom pods, crushed slightly
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 heaped tablespoons frozen peas
calorie controlled cooking spray
400g mixed vegetables, diced or sliced finely, e.g red and green peppers, cauliflower florets, small brown mushrooms
2 heaped tablespoons sultanas
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
Put the rice, garlic, ginger and all the spices into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add the peas after 7 minutes.
Heat a non-stick pan ad spray with the cooking spray. Stir-fry the mixed vegetables for 3-4 minutes.
When the rice is cooked, rinse and drain it, and tender to a serving dish. Cover the dish with a clean, dry tea towel and leave for 3-4 minutes.
Stir the vegetables and sultanas into the rice mixture , season too taste and serve.
xxx
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