• Tag Archives vanilla
  • Vanilla Pannacotta with roasted Rhubarb and Strawberries

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    Always wanted to try making a pannacotta but after watching Masterchef it was one scary dessert to try! but I cracked it and wow! Simple, elegant and tasty…perfect way to finish a meal. Especially when you love vanilla as much as we do!

    70 ml whole milk
    2 vanilla pods
    zest of 1 lemon
    380 ml double cream
    1 1/2 leaves of gelatine soaked
    70 g icing sugar
    200 g rhubarb
    2 T caster sugar

    Heat the milk, vanilla pods (split and seeds removed), vanilla seeds, lemon zest and half the cream into a saucepan and simmer gently for about 10 minutes…let it reduce by about a third. Turn off the heat and add the soaked gelatine and stir til the gelatine is dissolved. Let it cool for a bit and then pop into the fridge…check on it and stir it now an then and when it coats the back of a spoon like custard then it’s ready. Whip the remaining cream with the icing sugar…hint here…sift the icing sugar it will make the cream smoother. Then take the vanilla pods out and mix the two together. Pop into 4 serving moulds and refridgerate for at least an hour…longer is fine.

    While the pannacotta is hopefully setting….cut the rhubarb up into pieces about 2″ long…if your strawberries are quite big then cut them in half and pop them on a tray sprinkle with caster sugar and roast until lightly browned…I had our oven at about 190c and it took around 10 min. If you’re feeling fancy you can follow Jamie Olivers lead and take some champagne or prosecco grate a little fresh ginger and sprinkle cinnamon in it and heat gently then pour over the fruit and let sit for about 30 minutes.

    Pop the pannacotta out of the molds and decorate with the fruit and gently pour the champagne around…..mmmmmmmmmmmmmm yummy!



  • Vanilla Cake

    So…everyone needs a “go to”…reliable….guaranteed tasty white cake. White cakes are so flexible they can be grand…

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    or simple

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    The wedding cake is the four tier wedding cake I made for my daughter last year. It is this vanilla cake recipe made numerous times over…by the time I was done I could quote this recipe and make it in my sleep! Each layer is split and filled with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and strawberry jam then crumb iced (the base layer to make the cake smooth) covered with marzipan and then covered in fondant and then decorated….what a challenge but it was worth every minute of stress! The simple cupcakes are topped with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and sugar baby feet. Hope this shows you that this in ONE versatile cake. I found this on a site called Sweetapolita…check it out…the cakes she has on there are amazing! Her cakes are to die for…I get fat just looking at them.

    1 1/2 c whole milk
    7 …yes 7…large egg whites
    1 whole egg
    1 T vanilla extract
    1 t almond extract
    380 g plain flour
    450 g of caster sugar
    50 g cornflour
    25 g baking powder
    1 t salt

    170 g butter ….cubed
    85 g vegetable shortening

    Preheat the oven to 180 c. Prepare the pans by greasing, lining the pans with parchment and flouring. Now….one batch of this will make 4 8″ pans with a cake about 1″ deep. Perfect for a 4 layer cake…or I can do a 6″ and 8″ and 6 cupcakes. As I use it for lots of different sizes you just have to play about with how much you need to make.

    In a large measuring cup put 1/2 c of the milk, the egg whites and whole egg and both the extracts….mix the whole thing together. Pop it to one side.

    Sift the flour and cornflour into your mixing bowl, add the sugar, baking powder and salt and mix with the paddle attachment on low to make sure it’s all evenly combined.

    Add the butter and shortening and mix for about 30 seconds then add the left over 1 c of milk and mix on medium for about 90 seconds.

    Scrape the side of the bowl and add the mixture you have in the measuring jug in 3 separate additions. Mix for about 30 seconds inbetween each addition.

    You should have lovely silky batter. Pour into whatever size pans you have prepped.

    Pop into the oven on a middle shelf…now no peeping for at least 20 minutes! I find that cupcakes take about 18 minutes…a 6″ cake that is about 3 inches deep when risen takes about 40 minutes….8″ pan that is 1″ takes about 20 minutes. If you are making anything larger than about 9 inches will need a flower nail popped into the middle to help convect the heat and help it cook more evenly…also a baking tray over the top of the pan works as well.

    Cool on a wire rack and then decorate and top as you wish. Of all the times I have made this cake not one person has said they don’t like it!



  • Very Vanilla Macarons

    Vanilla, is one of those things that we just LOVE in this house. so when we had some egg whites left from making the Mustard Tarragon Hollandaise it just had to be done!

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    110 g ground almonds
    200 g icing sugar
    3 large egg whites (for best results let these sit at room temperature for 24 hours)
    1/2 t vanilla extract
    1 vanilla pod
    50 grams caster sugar

    Preheat oven to 130c. Place the almonds and icing sugar into a food processor and whiz them up for a bit. This makes sure they are well combined and as smooth as possible. I prefer the ultra fine icing sugar for this reason. In a ultra clean bowl whip up the egg whites until soft peaks form, add the vanilla extract, and then scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add them to the meringue, add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. When you feel the egg whites are whipped sufficiently….this means hold the bowl upside down….if you don’t have to start again it’s good to go! Now fold in the almond/icing sugar mix. Fold quite agressively to begin with to get it mixed then continue to fold until the mix resembles molten lava.

    Get your macaron template out (if you haven’t made them before this is a piece of paper with circles drawn on it to make sure your macarons are all equal in size) Place this on the baking tray and pop a piece of baking paper or parchement over it. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and I don’t use a tip, I just cut the tip of the bag off. Pipe the mix onto the baking paper and try to keep it as even as possible. If you get a little pointy bit on top then wet your finger and press it down to keep them as flat as possible! Pull the template sheet out from under the parchment. Let sit on the counter for about an hour, this lets a skin form on top of the macaron. Bake for 10-12 minutes. They are done when they are not jiggly any more.When done, let them cool and peel them off the parchment,fill them with the desired filling. We went for white chocolate ganache with vanill a flavouring…and whoa…what an amazing taste sensation for vanilla lovers everywhere!



  • Vanilla Scones

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    Now these are trulky kick ass scones! We have a SLIGHT vanilla fetish in this house and seeing as we had purchsed some vanilla sugar we felt the need to use it in something. So, after deciding to kick off our sunday with some scones, jam and cream, I researched some scone recipes and decided to adapt a James Martin scone recipe from a Saturday Kitchen show we’d seen. These a proper Yorkshire scones….we enjoyed them with some whipped double cream and some rhubarb and ginger jam….the ginger and the vanilla truly went together well. Very civilised morning before heading out to see Steel Panther at the Apollo in Manchester!

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    Great gig! The Apollo is a great venue, good acoustics and ambiance. The opening act left something to be desired but after seeing Steel Panther open for Motley Crue and Def Leppard they didn’t disappoint! They are a really tight group of musicians and you can see the lead singer has a real Dave Lee Roth influence! Very entertaining and not for the politically correct crowd as they are pretty rude but they have a good time and it shows!

    Now back to scone making.

    460 g Strong white flour
    5 tsp baking powder
    pinch of salt
    75 g butter
    75 g vanilla sugar…we purchased ours from Vanilla Mart online
    2 eggs slightly beaten and 1 egg yolk to use as a wash
    125 ml whole milk…give or take…you’ll see what I mean

    Preheat oven to 220c and line a baking sheet with parchment.Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and whisk it to make sure all the dry ingredients are miked well. Cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the dry ingredients until it looks like breadcrumbs. This is something you need to do by hand and takes some time but the right texture makes it worth it! Add the sugar and then the 2 beaten eggs and mix with a spoon. Slowly add the milk a little at a time until the dough is fully formed, you might not need it all…you might need a wee bit more. Don’t make the dough too wet or you’ll have chewy scones, don’t make it too dry or you’ll have crumbly scones. Sprinkle your counter with flour and pop the dough on the counter and roll it til its about 2 cm thick. Cut out circles and re roll the dough until it’s all used up. Tip here I learnt from James is don’t twist the cutter or the dough won’t rise evenly as it bakes and you’ll get lopsided scones! And as I had to twist a couple of them it showed that he was right. Pop them onto the baking tray and then beat up the egg yolk and brush the tops to give them a lovely golden colour when they are done. Bang them in the oven for 10-12 minutes…mine took more on the 12 minute side as they were quite big! We enjoyed ours with a big dollop of cream and jam with an Americano…bliss for a sunday morning!