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Apple Pie Pancakes

One of the things I truly love about blogging is it constantly forces you to try and think outside the box with flavour and ingredient combinations. When I was exploring filling options for the savoury pancakes I shared last week I relied heavily on pies for inspiration, something I would never have thought of before.

It was only natural that my musings turned to the sweet, and where better to draw influence from than the classic apple pie. Whilst you can cook the apples in just a little water, I prefer mine to have a little extra sweetness from a spoonful of honey and with a hint of spice from cinnamon and nutmeg. It was tempting to cook the apples down to a puree which could be liberally smeared over each pancake. Instead the apples were just softened to add a firmer texture next to the honey and vanilla whipped cream.

The pancakes are folded in the same way you would a crepe suzette which creates a strong pocket which holds the soft fillings perfectly. In retrospect a sprinkling of golden pastry crumbs over the cream would have made for an eye catching finish. But one of the true joys of apple pie is it’s unpretentious and homely comfort, so maybe this homage to it is best served simply.

One year ago on BAKE
Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake

Apple Pie Pancakes
makes 6-8

1 batch of pancakes http://www.bake-online.co.uk/2012/02/16/pancakes/
3 large or 4 medium sweet apples (I used braeburns)
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
300ml whipping cream
1 tsp honey
½ tsp vanilla extract

Peel and chop the apples and place in a saucepan with a 2 tbsp of water, 1 tbsp of honey and the cinnamon.

Allow to simmer until the apple is soft and cooked but still retains it’s shape.

Whip the cream with 1 tsp of honey and the vanilla extract until it forms stiff peaks.

Layer the apple and cream in one quarter of the pancake, and fold in half then half again to create an easy to hold pocket.

Best served warm.

Leek, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Gorgonzola Pancakes

We’re moving most of our possessions out of our apartment into storage tomorrow (we hand over the keys next friday) so life round here has become pretty hectic.

Whilst this isn’t the first place Dan and I have lived in together, that was a creaky 400 year old flat above a hairdressers, with wonky floors and windows that didn’t fully shut. I consider our current place our first real home.

It was our kismet apartment. I found it wistfully searching local properties one bored lunch hour, wishing we could move out of our cold, creepy flat in the wrong part of town. I emailed the details over to Dan, which I was in the habit of doing. It was sent with the usual longing message, expressing how much I wanted to live just about anywhere else, and how I wished our circumstances were different so we could move (Dan had recently graduated and was still searching for a job).

That day was different. Within minutes of emailing, I recieved a text back saying we should book an appointment to view it. Dan had just got off the phone accepting a job offer, which I don’t think either of us realised would turn out to be his dream career. We couldn’t wait to close the student chapter (Dan’s seven year stint at university meant that he graduated a few years after me) and start the next stage of our lives.

We fell in love with the place as soon as we walked in, and both literally sprinted to the agents to make sure we beat the couple viewing it next. It was (well still is) bright white like a blank canvas, with so much light, and I could not wait to start decorating it.

Now it’s three years later, Dan’s not-a-graduate-training position – the be all and end all of most graduates – turned into his perfect job, and I took a friends advice and focussed my photography on food. It’s not been completely without flaws, I guess few places are. But it was ours, and I loved it. Maybe this is tinted with the haziness of retrospect but I think this may have been my favourite chapter yet.

We didn’t really celebrate pancake day properly (even though it is by far my favourite spring occasion) at the old flat as there was only about 30 minutes between me coming home from my job and Dan going off to his. Celebrating it will always be tied to this place.

I’m not sure if we will be making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday this year, so I whipped up a couple of batches a couple of weeks ago to make sure I got my fix. Savoury pancakes growing up were always filled with Country French Chicken Tonight. I was planning on working on a recipe for that, but whilst out shopping I couldn’t pass the gorgeous, and currently in season leeks.

Fried in butter until soft and sweet, they taste delicious next to salty cheese. The crunch of the roast potatoes adds a surprisingly welcomed texture compared with the other soft fillings, and makes the dish a little more substantial on these chilly nights. You don’t want to add much oil when cooking them as this dish can quickly turn greasy from the melted cheese and buttery leaks.

One Year Ago on BAKE
Pink Valentines Meringues
Creamy Portobello Mushroom Bruschetta

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Leek, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Gorgonzola Pancakes
serves 2

1 batch of pancakes this makes 6-8 depending on the size of your pan
2 leeks
1 knob of butter
200g new potatoes chopped into 2cm by 2cm (approx) chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried rosemary
60g gorgonzola

Preheat the oven to 200C, put the potatoes on a baking tray with the oil and herbs and give a good shake to cover the potatoes evenly.

Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and soft all the way through.

Finely slice the leeks and then give a good wash in a sieve, as this makes sure that any gritty dirt that is sandwiched between the layers is cleaned away.

Gently fry in butter for 2 minutes until soft and sweet.

Assemble the toppings on the pancake and then tear the cheese over the top.

Roll and serve.

Boozy Chocolate Orange Mousse

Happy Valentines Day! As I’ve mentioned before that as I don’t like to overly celebrate Valentines. Dan and I usually cook a nice meal together and then watch a movie at home. In the spirit of this low key celebration I thought it would be fun to share a few of my movie recommendations no matter what your relationship status.

For Her:
About Time – I don’t know why Dan is collecting good boyfriend points all of a sudden (less than a week ago he took me to see this), but he is like they are going out of style, so this is the movie we will be watching tonight. It is Rachel McAdams’ third movie as the wife of a time traveller, and the latest offering from Richard Curtis is as full of all the quintessentially British and undeniably human moments you would expect from one of his films.

For Him:
Rush – OK, so it’s a little for her as Chris Hemsworth’s perfectly sculpted bottom is on full display in the first 10 minutes or so, but after that it’s all cars and testosterone for 90 exhilarating minutes.

Newly Together
The Giant Mechanical Man – I am instantly drawn to any movie featuring actors from my favourite American shows, and this delivers in abundance: Pam from the US Office, Dr Danny from The Mindy Project and Eric from That 70s Show. This movie is obscurely indie enough (I found it whilst trawling the depths of Netflix one night) that you will seem cool and trendy, yet unlike many of its peers is highly watchable, so you won’t be sitting there wondering if your date is plotting his / her imminent escape.

Single
Celeste and Jesse Forever - This is Rashida Jones movie writing debut, and what she has created is a beautiful bittersweet story of what happens after marrying your best friend hasn’t worked. It is heart breaking and often hilarious, and the chemistry between Jones and her co star Andy Samburg is wonderfully believable.

Valentines Ambivalent
50/50 – Does anyone else remember when Joseph Gordon Levitt was just the littlest alien in Third Rock From The Sun? Every movie I see him in he just gets better and better, and his performance in this, as a man in his late 20s fighting cancer with a 50/50 (hey, that’s the name of the movie!) chance of survival, is one of his best to date.

Hanging Out With Friends
This Is The End – This was without a doubt my favourite movie of last year. I think I must have watched it about 5 times already. Stuck at James Franco’s house during a world wide disaster, a group of actors playing themselves have to try and survive. It is full of ample drug use, dirty humour and dozens of cameos from celebrities. It’s easy watching, so you don’t have to pay attention to the film the whole time which makes it perfect for watching with a group of people.

These little desserts can be whipped up in about 10 minutes in things found readily in even our small city supermarket. This is an only slightly adapted version of the recipe I posted 2 years ago for Valentines, with the addition of a little cream on top and a cheeky spike of alcohol in the mousse. Instead of serving them in martini glasses like last time I chose a selection of glass pots, jars and tubs I had accumulated in my cupboards, I love the eclectic look when they are served together.

One Year Ago On BAKE

Lemon and Mascarpone Crepe Cake
Pink Valentines Meringues

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Boozy Chocolate Orange Mousse

Ingredients
adapted from Gordon Ramsey’s recipe
serves 4 (or two hungry people) (or one person who is just having one of those days!)

100g Orange Chocolate
165ml creme fraiche
2 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
284ml whipping cream
1 tblsp of something to sweeten the cream i.e. icing sugar/honey/golden syrup
smashed up chocolate to decorate (optional)

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water.

When the chocolate is melted, but cool (you don’t want it to warm as it will melt the cream) mix in the creme fraiche.

Whisk the cream with the sugar/syrup until it forms soft peaks, reserve ⅓ and set to one side and fold the remaining ⅔, with the Cointreau into the mixture.

Divide into serving bowls, add a spoonful of whipped cream to the top and sprinkle with the smashed up chocolate.

Rhubarb Valentines Tart

London is one of my favourite places in the world. At any point there is so much going on, new restaurants to try, exhibitions to see (I really want to see Body Language and Andy Warhol Photographs 1976 to 1987). Whenever I visit, which is becoming more regular now Dan works in the city, I go with an impossibly long list of things I would like to do. Ever since the summer when a friend surprised her boyfriend with drinks at Aqua in the Shard and raved about how good it was, I have been desperate to go.

^^^walking across London Bridge at dusk^^^

After a couple of hours exploring Soho last week, we finally got round to visiting Aqua. I cannot get over how incredible the views were, even from only half way up the building. The whole London skyline was stretched out before us. The bar was completely packed, but we somehow managed to wangle a space next to the window. On the side by the river, looking out over the financial district. We didn’t stay long as we had evening engagements, but we did make time to pose for a couple of embarrassing touristy photos. Making a speedy transition from posh bar to fast food, we stopped into the McDonalds opposite the Shard for a cheeky double cheeseburger to go, which was quite the juxtaposition of experiences!

^^^at the bar/Financial District/view over London Bridge station^^^

For someone who will celebrate nearly any holiday whether it’s native to this country or not, I’m really not a big fan of Valentines Day. Enforced romanticism on a specific day has never worked out spectacularly for me. This year, between the stresses of moving house, and having to stay late at work on the actual day, our usual paired down steak and a movie will probably be downgraded to take away and an episode of Brooklyn 99. I will however take any chance to cover a normal dessert in as many hearts as I can, but that’s just because I am above all else, a girly girl!

^^^Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf/St Pauls/the top of the stairs had the best views over London/Shard from below^^^

My original hope for this pie was for it to be the rich pink of forced rhubarb that is in season at the moment, but as I couldn’t find any it is now the green of the tinned variety. If you want to use fresh rhubarb poach and let it cool before you start this recipe. This tart dessert makes for a fantastic finish to a rich Valentines dinner.

One Year Ago on BAKE

Basic Hummus
Chocolate and Cranberry Valentines Shortbread

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Rhubarb Valentines Tart
serves 6

Pastry
recipe from Jamie Oliver

250g Plain Flour
50g Icing Sugar
125g Cold Butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
splash of milk

Blitz the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until it resembles bread crumbs.

Add the egg and vanilla and blitz until combined.

Add a small splashes of milk combining well between additions until it forms a firm dough.

Remove from the food processor onto a floured work surface and split in two.

Roll each half into balls and then flatten.

Wrap individually in clingfilm and place in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

When chilled, roll the pastry out until 2-3mm thick, reserving a little for the heart topping.

Grease and flour your pie dish then line with the pastry.

Cover with baking parchment and fill with baking beads/rice and blind bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the beads/rice and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Rhubarb Filling

1 tin of rhubarb, drained

100g caster sugar

2 eggs, beaten – reserve a little of this to glaze the pie

In a bowl mix together the fruit, sugar and eggs with a fork until the rhubarb loses it’s shape and becomes a paste.

Pour into the pie crust.

Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out several little hearts

Place on top of the rhubarb filling and brush all exposed pastry with the remaining beaten egg.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

Leave to cool, and for the filling to set, then serve with ice cream, custard, or cream.

Peanut Butter and Jam Sponge Sandwich

January is quite a hard month (not just personally but for a lot of people), it’s cold, dark and the excitement of Christmas has long since passed. It feels like this year has been particularly not fun. In a month we’re moving in with Dan’s parents whilst we work out our next steps. Because all the majority of our possessions are going into storage, we’ve been really trying to evaluate what we want to keep and what is just dead weight. Whilst minimalism is something I’ve always aspired to, I am a hoarder at heart. Even letting go to things that have been hidden in a box and not looked at for years is tough for me.

Am I ever likely to oil paint again? Probably not. Do I need two cupcake stands even though I rarely bake cupcakes? How about my mini Cuisinart mini food processor now my new Kenwood one comes with a mini bowl? The worst offender is probably my broken ice cream maker (and box, stored separately) that I have hung on to for nearly two years.

Reading the first chapter of the Happiness Project a couple of times has helped. Ruben breaks down of the main types of clutter into four types – nostalgic clutter (things you keep for sentimental reasons), conservative clutter (this could be useful someday), bargain clutter (but it was a really good deal!) and crutch clutter (things that are worn out, still continually used, and should be replaced). Evaluating why I want to hold onto things when I know that I should be letting go of them has really helped the process. Donating still useable things to friends and charity shops can also be comforting, knowing that I will not cluttering up a landfill with my decluttering.

Even though we only live in a small apartment, it still feels like a mammoth task to undertake. Reminding myself of my favourite mantra ‘one step at a time’ I broke my possessions down into just under 20 bite size categories, wrote them down on separate notes and stuck them to a wall with washi tape. Not only does it make the task less intimidating it also gives you the satisfaction of being able to see the project progress as you take down each completed tasks note.

As I have mentioned before, in times when I am feeling stressed and generally not my best I like to reach for comfort food. This cake combines two of my favourite treats (which I only indulge in once or twice a year) the very British Victoria sponge cake and the American peanut butter and jelly sandwich. These transAtlantic classics merge well into the perfect pick me up after a session of brutal clutter clearing.

One Year Ago on BAKE

Cake Balls
Tuscan Bean Soup

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Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich Cake

note: the cream and peanut butter filling does not keep well so this cake is best served straight away.

For the Sponge:
190g Butter
190g Caster Sugar
190g Self Raising Flour
3 eggs
1.5tsp Vanilla Extract
50ml millk

For the Fillings:
⅓ cup peanut butter
200ml whipping cream
50g icing sugar
⅓ cup strawberry jam

Preheat the oven to 180C, grease and line 3 20cm circular cake tins.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in a tablespoon of the flour.

Add the eggs slowly to the mixture, making sure they are fully incorporated after each addition.

Repeat this process with the flour.

Beat in the vanilla and milk.

Divide between the tins and flatten the top with a spatula.

Bake on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 20 minutes, then remove from the tin and let cool to room temperature on a on a cooling rack – if the cake is still warm it will melt the cream.

Whisk together the cream and icing sugar until it forms stiff peaks.

Add the peanut butter and whisk slowly until combined.

Spread half the jam over the sponge and then top with the peanut butter cream, leaving about 1cm between the peanut butter cream and the edge of the sponge to allow for it to spread under the weight of the other sponges.

Carefully layer the next sponge on top and repeat.

Lay the final sponge on top and serve immediately.

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