Saturday, 23 July 2011

Oh My, It's July!

Can you believe it?!
Where have the last 4 months gone?

Don't you just love July? - supposedly the warmest month in the Northern Hemisphere (Really?!)

July's birth flower is the water lily & birthstone is ruby which symbolises contentment.

 Let me introduce you to my very own Ruby...

Here she is! Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby!
(How many of you sang  Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah then?!)

It is the start of the school holidays (do I hear all you parents groan?) & excitement prevails for all 4-16 year olds.
It is a strange time of the year when the promise of time-off struggles with boredom & 6 weeks loom ahead waiting to be filled with fun.

When the sun is shining all is well, but when the heavens open, as they often do, what can be done?


So, pop the oven on to 180 Degrees Centigrade, raid your cupboards & try this....

As 29th July is Dulcie Blue Bakery's 1st Birthday - Yippee!!- we are going to make Rainbow Birthday Cupcakes!

Get prepared - sort out your cupcake cases & place in a muffin tin ready.

In a bowl measure out 110g Gluten Free Flour, 110g Caster Sugar & 110g room temperature Butter, 3 tablespoons room temperature Milk, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract & 2 large Eggs. Beat together to form a smooth batter.
Spoon into cases.

Place in centre of oven & bake for approx 20 minutes until golden brown & springy.
Leave in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack.

Meanwhile prepare your buttercream.

Put 125g room temperature Butter in a bowl, add 250g Icing Sugar & 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract.
Beat until smooth or until your arm aches soooooo much you just can't mix anymore.
Using a spatula put butter cream into a plain nozzled piping bag.

Once the cakes are cooled pipe a huge splodge (very technical term) on top of each & every one of them.

Top with Gluten Free Jelly Beans.

Stop & have a well deserved cup of tea while the kids do the washing up - remember you must teach them that the important part of baking is NOT licking the spoon or making as much mess as possible or eating all the jelly beans before they even get on the cakes, but the clearing up. (Yeah, right, as if that'll ever happen!)

Happy Baking,

Chris xxx

Thursday, 10 March 2011

March Madness!

 Here we are again with some facts & dates for March - it is amazing how many pieces of useless information are retained in our grey matter or are accessible on the WWWW (Wonderful World Wide Web!)  

As I am posting this on 10th (incidentally, my lovely sister's birthday!), I have missed a couple, but here you go -

1st - St David's Day.
8th - Shrove Tuesday - Oooh - Pancake Day! Yum!
14th - Save a Spider Day.     

Spiders are fascinating creatures -
                                          8-legged, air breathing arthropods.

There are approximately 40,000 species of spider.

                                Most spiders have 4 pairs of eyes.

                                 Sizes range from 0.015" to 10"!!                                                                                     There are no spiders on Antarctica.                                                                                                          Arachnophobia - A fear of spiders.                                                                                                       
But no matter how scared you are of them, you have got to agree, their webs are beautiful!

17th - St Patrick's Day.
27th - BRITISH SUMMERTIME BEGINS - Please tell the weather!

Flower of March - Daffodil.
      Birthstone - Aquamarine.

                                                The phrase 'Mad as a March Hare' is derived from the eccentric behaviour of hares which supposedly only occurs during this month - their breeding season.  This odd behaviour can include the boxing of other hares & jumping up into the air for no reason what-so-ever!

The most famous mad 'March Hare' is Lewis Carroll's character from 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' appearing at the tea party.

As a celebration of the bright sunny weather we are having, try decorating your favourite loaf cake with springtime flowers.

References -
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

Friday, 4 February 2011

It's February!

Ok, so where did January go? Not that I am complaining - I think out of all the months, January is my least favourite.

February is all about love?  Not on your Nelly!!  What would we do with the other 14 days after Valentine's Day if it was?!

According to Anglo Saxon Britain, February was named Sol-monath.
Literally translated, 'monath' means 'month' & 'Sol' means 'mud'.
Mud month!
And looking out the window at my garden I would say that is pretty accurate - thanks to our 1 year old Labrador with, it would seem, the biggest paws in the world!

(Despite 'Dulcie Devastation', my one remaining, tiny clump of snowdrops has managed to bloom - bless!)

 'Sol', however, could also be interpreted as 'sun' which brings about visions of bright spring days & a promise of things to come - the daffodils are just beginning to peek out of the soil ready to grow & show their beautiful bright sunshine colours.

What interests me most is Saint Bede the Venerable (672/673-735) of the Northumbrian monastery of St Peter.
In his writing - 'On the Reckoning of Time' (De Temporum Ratione) he states -

Solmonath can be called “month of cakes”, which they offered to their gods in that month.
This is what I want to hear!
So, taking into account all of the above, I think it only fitting to bake a cake - but not just any old cake -

White Chocolate Mud Cake!
250g Butter.
150g White Chocolate - chopped.
300g Caster Sugar.
300ml Milk.
300g Gluten Free Flour
1 tsp Xanthan Gum.
1 tsp Vanilla Extract.
2 Eggs.
Pre-heat oven to 170C & prepare 20cm baking tin.
Place Butter, Chocolate, Sugar & Milk in a pan over a low heat & stir until melted & smooth.
Allow to cool.
Add Flour, Xanthan Gum, Vanilla & Eggs.
Bake in a prepared tin for 1 hour.
Leave to cool.
Cover your lovely cake with -
White Chocolate Ganache.
300g White Chocolate - chopped.
125ml Cream.
Dark Chocolate Shavings.
Bring cream just to boil & pour over Chocolate.
Stir until Chocolate has melted.
Cover & refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
Spread over cooled cake.               
Top with dark Chocolate shavings.     
Chris xxx                                                                                    

References -
Wallis, Faith, trans. Bede: The Reckoning of Time, Liverpool: Liverpool Univ. Pr., 1999/2004.
 ISBN 0-85323-693-3.
Early Medieval Britain -

Friday, 21 January 2011

To Blog Or Not To Blog? That Is The Question

And the answer, it would seem, is.....To Blog!

I have been toying with the idea for a while now, wondering if I would have anything interesting enough to write that you would like to read.

I am still wondering, but maybe I will post something that will be of help or will just make you smile?

Bear with me (GRRRR!) while I try to get my head around all this technology stuff.
It is not my forte.
Baking & decorating cakes is!
My mental cogs have been whirring & groaning since the beginning of Dulcie Blue Bakery last year - things to do, places to go, people to see, baking to.....bake(?)
Whilst the velocity of my little wheels is still high, the volume of resistance does seem to be diminishing!

Over time I am hoping my posts will be varied.
Obviously there will be a huge amount of cake & cupcakes (minis, muffins & giants) but also cookies, brownies, scones & other bits'n'bobs.  I may even throw in a few savoury items!  Why not, my teeth are curling too!
Add to that the experiences of being a coeliac & the impact that has on life, being a mum to 2 sons, 1 daughter, a black labrador, a tortie cat, a really cute rabbit & a bearded dragon (not my idea - a weak moment under duress!) & being a wife, sister & daughter there should be something for everyone - I think!

I do need to apologise for one thing before I get this blog rolling.
I am so very, very sorry about the inordinate amount of exclamation marks I use.
I LOVE 'EM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chris xxx