Tag Archives: baking

Very Sticky Brownies #baking #vegan

This recipe has been marked in the cookbook for ages as one to try, but I didn’t and I don’t know why! Perhaps it’s the name, it’s a recipe by Ella Mills which she calls ‘Raw Brownies’ which does not do them justice. Simple to make, no baking involved, and impossible to stop nibbling. They are very rich, so perhaps mark out portions slightly smaller than your usual brownies!

In the list of ingredients, the syrup is included as optional. However I found my mixture was crumbly so added 1½ tbsp of agave syrup until it became sticky. This probably depends on your dates, be sure to use dates from the fresh fruit section rather than the longlife dried version found in the baking aisle which are not sticky enough.

Makes 10-15 normal sized brownies
140g pecans
400g Medjool dates, pitted
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup, honey or agave syrup [optional]

Place the nuts in your food processor and pulse until they become gritty.

Add the pitted dates, cacao and blend. Now decide if you want to add syrup, or need to add syrup if the mixture is a little crumbly. Pulse until the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon and gathers into a large ball.

Spread the mixture on a clean baking tray, no need to grease it first. Spread it out evenly, I found this quantity used less than half the space of the baking tray. Place the tray [above right] in the freezer for one hour. Remove the tray from the freezer [above], cut into bars, and place in an airtight plastic box. Store this in the fridge.

What I will do differently next time:
Add a few drops of vanilla essence
Substitute almonds for the pecans
Use maple syrup instead of agave syrup
Mark out the portions before the tray goes into the freezer

If you like this,try:-
Gluten-free cherry cake 
A sweet and sour cranberry cake
Peanut butter biscuits 

5 to remember
el polvo de cacao crudo – the raw cacao powder
los dátiles Medjool – the Medjool dates
deshuesado – pitted
imposible dejar de mordisquear – impossible to stop nibbling
hermético – airtight


This recipe is from ‘Deliciously Ella’ by Ella Mills

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Very sticky brownies #Recipe by @DeliciouslyElla #baking #vegan https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2A8 via @Spanish_Valley 

A cake to make on a cool afternoon

This is the sort of cake I like to make: all the ingredients go into one bowl at the same time, a quick stir, pour it in the cake tin and pop it in the oven. That’s it.

And this has glace cherries… a favourite of mine since childhood. a glace cherrycake, cutMakes one 20cm cake

200g glace cherries
275g gluten-free self-raising flour
75g ground almonds
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
225g soft margarine
225g caster sugar
4 eggs eggshellsPre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Lightly grease and, using greased greaseproof paper, base line a 20cm deep round cake tin

Cut each cherry into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water. Allow to drain, then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper. cherries, rinsedMeasure all remaining ingredients into a large bow, beat well for one minute to mix thoroughly. This can be done by hand or in a mixer. in the mixerDust the cherries with a little flour to stop them sticking together, then lightly fold the cherries into the cake mix. ready to go into the ovenTurn into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for about 1½ to 1¾ hours, or until a skewer comes out clean. just out of the ovenLeave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Turn out, and leave to cool on a wire rack. plateful5 to remember
un revuelo rápida – a quick stir
las cerezas glace – the glace cherries
en curatos – into quarters
la superficie – the surface
dejar enfriar – leave to cool

Want to make something else sweet? Try these:-
Canela apple cake
A sweet and sour cranberry cake
Oh so sticky… chocolate flapjack

mary berry's ultimate cake book 20-1-14


This is our gluten-free version of the English Cherry Cake recipe from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book’ [UK: BBC Books]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A cake to make on a cool afternoon #Recipe by #MaryBerry via @Spanish_Valley #baking http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1LR

Celebrating the first apples

There’s nothing like eating the first apples of the season picked off your own tree. And guess what we made? Apple pie, of course, deep-dish double-crust apple pie. cut into2 6-8-14Apples
1 tbsp sugar
For the pastry:-
250g plain flour
A pinch of salt
125g butter, cold
2 beaten eggs plateful2 6-8-14Pre-heat the oven to Gas 7/425F/220C, with a baking sheet.

Lightly grease a deep pie dish.

First, make the pastry as it needs to be set aside in the fridge to chill. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, then rub in the butter until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add half the beaten egg and, using your hands, bring the dough together. Add a little more egg if it is too dry to come together. Reserve the rest of the egg for brushing over the finished pastry. making pastry 28-7-14Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. pastry in cling film 28-7-14Meanwhile, prepare the apples. Peel, core and slice then put into a saucepan with a little water. Add a spoonful of sugar. Cook gently with the lid on for 20-30 minutes until softened but retaining distinctive lumps of apple. Set aside to cool.

Take the pastry from the fridge. We use the Rachel Allen method of rolling out pastry: lay the lump of pastry on one layer of cling film and put another on top. rolling pastry 28-7-14Divide your dough into two. Roll out the first half so it is slightly larger than your pie dish, and carefully line the dish. Press the edge down and trim off any surplus. Add the apples to the pie dish.

Next, roll out the second half of your dough to make the pastry lid. This should be slightly larger than the dish. Lay it over the filling. Press gently and firmly around the edges, fluting the edges if you wish with your fingers or a fork. Cut a steam-hole in the centre, either one hole or 2-3 slashes with a knife.

Brush the top with a little of the reserved egg, or milk, plus a gentle sprinkling of sugar.

Place the pie on the pre-heated baking sheet in the oven on a high shelf, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to Gas 5/375F/190C and bake for a further 30 minutes. just out of the oven1 5-8-14Using a skewer, take out a piece of apple from the centre to test if it’s cooked, if it still feels firm give the pie another 5 minutes in the oven. cut into1 6-8-145 to remember
el primero – the first
claro – of course
hondo – deep [dish]
la estación – the season [division of year]
firme – firm

Onion tart heaven

Is there anything better than the smell of frying onions? If that is your thing, you will love this tart. For me, it combines two of my favourite things: fried onions and cheese. The smell in the kitchen is guaranteed to make you hungry. In fact, it is so sweet I could eat a slice instead of cake!  plateful 31-7-14 (2)For the cheese pastry [enough for a 20cm flan tin with fluted edges and removable base]:-
50g self-raising flour
50g wholemeal flour
A pinch of salt
½ tsp mustard powder
50g butter, cold
40g grated Cheddar, or other hard cheese
Cold water, to mix
For the filling:-
700g onions, chopped fairly small
50g butter
2 eggs, beaten
110g double cream or natural yogurt or milk
1 tbsp grated Cheddar
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4, with a baking sheet placed on the centre shelf. baking tin 31-7-14Lightly-grease your flan tin.

First, make the pastry as it needs to be set aside in the fridge to chill. Sift the flours, salt and mustard powder into a mixing bowl, then rub in the fat until the mixture becomes crumbly. Then stir in the grated cheese, and add enough cold water [out of the fridge] to make a dough that leaves the dough clean [we needed 1 tsp]. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. onions, frying pale 31-7-14Make the filling while the pastry is in the fridge. Melt the butter in a thick-based saucepan, add the chopped onions and stir to coat them in butter. Cook uncovered over a medium heat for about 30 minutes until they have reduced and turned a deep brown. Stir occasionally to prevent them sticking to the bottom of the pan. If at the end they haven’t turned a deep almost mahogany-brown, turn up the heat and cook for a further 10 minutes. onions, frying browned 31-7-14Now, finish the pastry case. Roll out the pastry to line the flan tin, we find the easiest way to do this is to lay the lump of pastry on one layer of cling film and put another on top.

Prick the base with a fork, place it on the pre-heated baking sheet and bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, brush the inside of the pastry case with a little beaten egg [from the filling]. Return to the oven for five minutes, then remove from the oven. pastry case in tin 31-7-14tip onions into pastry case 31-7-14Transfer the onion mixture to the pastry case. Whisk the eggs thoroughly with the cream and Cheddar. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the onion filling, and sprinkle the grated Parmesan on top. add egg mix to tart 31-7-14ready to go into the oven 31-7-14Put the flan tin onto the baking sheet [in case of spillage in the oven] and bake for 30 minutes until the filling is golden-brown and puffy. Serve straight from the oven if possible [though it does reheat rather well the next day]. just out of the oven 31-7-14For the courgette version of this tart, click here.

5 to remember
el cielo – the heaven
tengo hambre – I am hungry
tiene hambre – he is hungry
tenemos hambre – we are hungry
una versión – a version

fennel gratin - delia smiths' complete cookery course 18-8-13


‘Delia’s Complete Cookery Course’ by Delia Smith [BBC Books]

Gooey, lemony muffins

Ever since my other half made some amazing lemon curd, we have been looking for lemon curd recipes. This one, by River Café chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, is scrummy. There is only one problem: as the recipe involves yogurt, the muffins must ALL be eaten on the day they are made. Tough work! muffin - close-up 17-4-14Makes 12
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
A good pinch of sea salt
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
125g plain yogurt
125ml whole milk milk in jug 17-4-1475g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled margarine in the pan to melt 17-4-14150g lemon curd

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas4. muffin case - empty 17-4-14Put 12 large paper cases into a muffin tray.

Put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk lightly to aerate and combine. flour, sugar, baking powder - close-up 17-4-14Mix the egg, yogurt, milk and melted butter together in a jug. Pour them into the dry ingredients and mix lightly. Stop mixing as soon as everything is combined, it’s essential not to over-mix muffin batter or the result is dense muffins. batter - gooey 17-4-14Spoon some of the mixture into each muffin case. muffin case - 1st spoonful 17-4-14muffin case - add lemon curd 17-4-14muffin case - 2nd spoonful 17-4-14Top each with a generous ½ teaspoonful of lemon curd. Top with another spoonful of muffin mixture, ensuring the lemon curd is sealed in and the muffin case is ¾ full.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. lemon curd muffins - in the oven 9-8-13Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Ideally, eat while still warm.

Recipe by River Cottage. For more Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipes, click here tray - just out of the oven 17-4-14 muffin, cut - close-up 17-4-14

5 to remember
pegajoso/a – gooey
increíble – amazing
un bollo de pan – a muffin
trabajo difícil – tough work
generoso/a – generous