Olympic cakes

A few days ago hubby asked if I would be making any cakes for the Olympics. To be honest it hadn’t occurred to me, but I quickly decided to make something. In order to keep it simple I, or rather mum (who’s currently visiting) made a Swiss roll today. I cut it up in thick slices and topped it with whipped cream and M&M’s in the Olympic colours and voila – an Olympic cake was born. Simple but delicious!

Olympic cake

Swiss Roll
Ingredients
3 eggs
200 ml sugar + about 1 tbsp extra
2 tbsp water
200 ml flour
1.5 tsp baking powder

Filling
100-200 ml strawberry jam

Decoration
200 ml whipping or double cream
M&M’s (blue, brown, red, yellow and green)

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 200C
2) Beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Add the water, flour and baking powder and combine
4) Bake for 5 mins or until golden
5) Scatter the additional 1 tbsp sugar on clean sheet of baking parchment
6) Tip the sponge onto the sugar-covered baking sheet
7) Spread the jam all over the sponge
8) Roll the sponge up

Once the Swiss roll has cooled, cut it into 1.5 inch / 4 cm slices. Place on their sides, top with whipped cream and decorate with M&M’s in the Olympic colours.

Olympic cakes

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Raspberry and Blueberry jam

At the weekend we made another trip to the pick-your-own farm to stock up on raspberries for some more jam making, having had great fun making strawberry jam after our previous trip there. Unfortunately they don’t grow blueberries, which I needed for the raspberry and blueberry jam (or Queen jam as it’s known in Sweden) so we had to pick them up from our local supermarket.

Berries for jam

The jam took longer to set this time around, so I added lemon juice to help with the setting process, and that seems to do the trick.

Jam boiling

Raspberry and Blueberry Jam (Queen Jam)
Ingredients

500g raspberries
500g blueberries
1kg jam sugar
juice of 1 lemon
knob of butter

Blueberry Jam

Raspberry Jam
Ingredients
1kg raspberries
1kg jam sugar
juice of 1 lemon
knob of butter

Raspberry Jam

Method
1) Put 3 saucers in the freezer
2) Wash the jam jars in hot soapy water, rinse with hot water then place in a low oven (about 100C) to dry and sterilise.
3) Crush the berries with a potato masher and place them in a saucepan
4) Add the sugar and lemon juice and heat gently over a low heat until the sugar has fully dissolved
5) Add a knob of butter, stir until melted and disolved
6) Increase the heat and bring the jam to a rolling boil that bubbles vigorously, rises in the pan and can not be stirred down
7) Start timing and boil for 4 minutes or until temperature reaches 104C on a jam thermometer. Keep stirring the whole time to stop the jam sticking to the bottom.
8) Remove from heat. Take one of the saucers out of the freezer, pour some jam onto it and leave to cool, or put back into the freezer for 1 minute
9) Gently run your finger through the jam – if the surface wrinkles it is ready. If not, return to the boil for 2 minutes, then re-test. Ensure you keep stirring the jam if bringing it back to the boil to prevent it from burning (Go on, ask me how I know that!!)
10) Once the jam is ready, take a jam jar out of the oven at the time and pour the jam into the jar using a ladle and jam funnel, or using a jug (if you like me don’t have a jam funnel)
11) Place a wax disc on top of the jam, making sure it covers the whole surface.
12) Cover the jar with the jar lid or with Cellophane and a rubber band (which usually comes with the wax discs)

Raspberry and Blueberry Jam

Strawberry shortcake

Until a few months ago, I associated strawberry shortcakes with a very pink and peppy cartoon character. However, having been looking around online recently I’ve come to realise it’s a type of dessert as well that seems particular popular in America.

After our recent visit to the pick-your-own berry farm, a friend asked if she would see strawberry shortcakes on the blog soon. As I had never made them before, but is always up for a baking challenge, I figured why not?!

I looked around for a good recipe and eventually decided on one that intrigued me, as it included a cooked egg yoke in the ingredients list, plus it was getting rave reviews from everyone who had tried it.

I’m still trying to find a way to correctly describe them, as they are like nothing I have ever tried before. Most people seem to compare them to scones, which is a pretty good comparison, but it’s still not spot on. They are more crumbly than scones, and with a richer textures – most likely due to the cream and cooked egg yoke in the batter.

Either way, they are delicious! Cut in half and filled with whipped cream and sliced strawberries, they can’t be anything but yummy!!

The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen and you can find it here.

Strawberry shortcake

Homemade strawberry jam

Last week we visited a pick-your-own fruit farm. When we were there last year there were both strawberries and raspberries available but due to the unusually wet summer we have had so far (even for Scotland!) the raspberries weren’t ripe yet. Instead we ended up picking lots and lots of strawberries, and some blackcurrants. The blackcurrants were a bit of an afterthought, it would have been nice to have picked enough to make homemade Ribena or blackcurrant jelly but didn’t get enough berries for that this time around.

There were plenty of strawberries to go around on the other hand, so I decided to make jam to preserve some of them. My mum used to make strawberry jam when we were little, but hers always ended up a bit darker and looser than the batch I made. I must say I’m pretty chuffed with how mine turned out, particularly as it was the first time I ever made jam! It turned out nice and thick and a gloriously vibrant red – yum!!
I’m already planning my next trip to the pick-your-own farm to stock up for raspberry jam, and “Queen jam” – as blueberry and raspberry jam is called in Sweden.

Homemade strawberry jam

Strawberry Jam
Ingredients
1kg strawberries
1kg jam sugar
knob of butter

Method
1) Put 3 saucers in the freezer (preferably several hours before making the jam)
2) Wash the jam jars in hot soapy water, rinse with hot water then place in a low oven (about 100C) to dry and sterilise.
3) Crush the strawberries with a potato masher and place them in a sauce pan
4) Add the sugar and heat gently over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved
5) Add a knob of butter, stir until melted and disolved
6) Increase the heat and bring the jam to a rolling boil that bubbles vigorously, rises in the pan and can not be stirred down
7)  Start timing and boil for 4 minutes or until temperature reaches 104C
8) Remove from heat. Take one of the saucers out of the freezer, pour some jam onto it and put back into the freezer for 1 minute
9) Take the saucer back out of the freezer and gently run your finger through the jam – if the surface wrinkles it is ready. If not, return to the boil for 2 minutes, then re-test.
10) Once the jam is ready, take a jam jar out of the oven at the time and pour the jam into the jar using a ladle and jam funnel, or using a jug (if you like me don’t have a jam funnel)
11) Place wax discs on top of the jam, making sure they cover the whole surface.
12) Cover the jar with the jar lid or with Cellophane (which usually comes with the wax discs)

Homemade strawberry jam2

Fruity frozen yogurt

One of the best things about blogging is that you do things you may not have done otherwise, in this case trying new recipes that I for different reasons may not have gotten around to otherwise. And once I have done it, I wonder why on earth I didn’t do it earlier!!

Frozen yogurt is something I have been thinking about making for quite some time but have never got around to. I finally decided to have a go the other day in order to use up the last of the raspberries, that were hiding in the back of the freezer, from our trip to the pick-your-own farm last year in preparation for this year’s visit to the fruit farm.

I vaguely remembered having seen a recipe in Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals and it turned out there was not one but three recipes in there – they were all pretty much the same though; frozen berries + yogurt + sweetener = frozen yogurt

I tried using raspberries the first time, mixing them with Greek style yogurt and some honey. The result was fantastic! I couldn’t believe how easy it was!! I had been worried that it would melt quickly, but it held it’s nice soft ice-cream texture. The kids weren’t too keen on the honey flavour coming through to so I’ll probably just use a bit of icing sugar the next time instead.

Today we tried a different flavour – banana. It’s usually pretty rare to have bananas lying around our house, as both hubby and teddybear are going through them like they are going out of fashion, but ever since teddybear was unwell a few weeks ago he’s not been back to his normal banana-inhaling mode, and when he has had one he hasn’t finished it.  So, for once we had a few sitting in the fruit basket, gathering more and more brown spots (which means hubby won’t touch them). When teddybear only had a couple of bites of a banana the other day before declaring he didn’t want any more, I decided to chop up the rest of the banana along with the ones that were going brown in the fruit basket and stick in the freezer. Today, after tea, I got the sliced banana out, stuck it in the mixer with some yogurt and got whizzing. It took a little while to get it smooth, as some of the banana slices were stuck together in big clumps, but we got there in the end. I think next time I will try to freeze the banana in single layers instead of chucking them all into a bag to prevent them from becoming one big lump. Anyhow, the end result was delicious! Definitely something I will do again, I’m already looking forward to trying out new flavours. We don’t always have ice cream in the house but we always have yogurt and it’s practically as quick to whip this up as it is to try to scoop rock hard ice cream.

I didn’t add any sweetener to the banana mixture as bananas are usually pretty sweet anyway, particularly very ripe ones. If using other fruit, add about a table spoon of honey, icing sugar, golden syrup or maple syrup (or whatever other sweetener you prefer) and add more if needed once mixed.

Banana frozen yogurt
Ingredients
4-6 bananas, cut into slices and frozen for at least 6 hours
200-250g yogurt

Method
Put the frozen banana slices and yogurt into a mixer and mix until smooth.

Banana frozen yogurt

Update – added recipe for raspberry frozen yogurt

Raspberry frozen yogurt
Ingredients
500g frozen raspberries
500g yogurt
1 tbsp (or to taste) icing sugar, honey or other sweetener

Method
Put all the ingredients into a mixer and mix until smooth.
Taste and add more sweetener if needed