Thursday, 9 August 2007

Mme Hamlet's Courgette Tart

On the subject of courgettes, here's a lovely gluten and dairy-free recipe from local blogger Pig in The Kitchen:
Click here

Friday, 3 August 2007

Tamsin’s Courgette Muffins

These lovely muffins came first in the Baking Brilliance Category.

Tamsin says "These are so moist and easy to make that you can’t go wrong!"

60g raisins (optional)
250g courgette (2-3) weigh them before grating
2 eggs
125ml / 4fl oz vegetable oil
150g caster sugar (I use golden)
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

Small (250g) pot mascarpone cheese
125g icing sugar
Juice of 1-2 lemons or limes (to taste, depends how juicy they are)

Deep “American” muffin tins
Greaseproof paper

Preheat oven to gas mark 4 (180C)

First prepare your tins by cutting some greaseproof paper into squares approx 15x15cm. Size really depends on the size of your muffin tin; it works best if the paper is roughly 4 times the diameter of each hole. Lay aside until needed a bit later.

Put the raisins into a small bowl and pour over enough just boiled water to cover them. Leave to plump up whilst you get on with the rest of the cake.

Grate the courgettes (don’t peel them, the skin gives a fantastic colour once baked) Its best to do this by hand using the rough setting on a normal box grater rather than a food processor (mushy results), then pop them into a colander and allow to stand in order for excess water to drain off.

Weigh out the flour. Spoon in the baking powder and bicarb and stir to evenly distribute.

Put the eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy (I prefer to mix by hand but sometimes do this bit with an electric whisk). Spoon in the flour and mix until combined. Then stir in the grated courgettes and drained raisins (best to do this delicate stage by hand)

Now for the only tricky part, but don’t worry if it gets a bit messy, they’ll come looking fantastically homemade. Shove a greaseproof square into a muffin tin hole by pressing the centre of the paper. Press down to form a basic muffin paper case. The paper will buckle up around the top (I like the rustic look!) Spoon a generous dessertspoon-full into each case. Bake for 20-30 mins until golden brown, firm to the touch and smelling yummy. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 mins before turning out onto a wire tray.

For the icing:
Beat the mascarpone with the icing sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice to taste. Spoon the icing over the muffins once cooled.

This recipe also works really well as a layer cake. Use 2 x 21cm sandwich tins and spread the icing in between layers and on top

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Myles’ Chocolate Snails (or Blonde Brownies)

These delicious brownies won a prize for best flavour in the LIttle Spooners category

Warning: Not for the calorie-conscious….

1/3 cup of butter (75 grams)
1 cup brown sugar (200 g)
1tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup plain flour (110 g)
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, or good quality chocolate, broken into small pieces
Optional – cup of chopped walnuts

Cream butter, sugar, egg, vanilla
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
Add to butter/sugar mixture and mix
Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread into a greased and floured 7x11 inch pan

Bake at 180c (350f) for 20 – 25 minutes

These brown quickly, so watch them and check at 20 min. mark. Take them out of the oven when they still seem a bit gooey, but slightly browned on top.

Let cool and cut.


Fabio's Butterfly Sandwiches

Fabio based his entry on a biscuit recipe from and sandwiched them together with buttercream and his mummy's home-made berry jam. The biscuits taste lovely but the dough is a little tricky to roll and there's ages of waiting while it chills.
And they didn't win any prizes!
Makes 20
100g blanched hazelnuts
225g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
3 medium egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling out
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
25g icing sugar, to dredge
10 tbsp raspberry and/or apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3. Finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor and set aside. Beat together the butter and sugar until light. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla, then sift in the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and hazelnuts and blend. Lightly knead until it comes together. Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to 3mm thick. Using a cookie cutter, stamp out as many biscuits as you can. Reshape leftover dough into a ball, re-roll and cut out more biscuits – you should get about 40 in total. Arrange them all on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets; chill for 15 minutes.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven (in batches, if necessary) for about 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute, then on a cooling rack. When completely cool, spread half of the biscuits with buttercream and jam. Press another biscuit on top and dust with icing sugar..

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Winner Cakes All!

The first bunfight was a huge success with over fifty very creative entries. Thanks very much to everyone who took part. James will be posting the winners' names soon. In the meantime, we'd be delighted if anyone wants to email us their entry recipe and will happily post it on the blog.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Hello and Welcome

Do you have doughy buns?
Are your tarts fruity?
Does your cookie crumble?
Do you fancy your chances against local food godesses Silvana ‘cold hands’ Franco (yes of televisual fame) and Angela ‘sharp knives’-Boggiano (food editor of Delicious magazine)?

Then ladies, man your stoves because you are cordially invited by the Bellenden Village Womans Institute in collaboration with The Review Book Shop- purveyor of fine verse, to

The Bellenden Bun Fight Cookery Competition

From your
Chairman and Chief Judge
James Fisher

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

A Few Details

The event is to be held on the Review Book Shop courtyard on Sat 16th June under the marquee

Please drop off entries between 10am and 12pm to either James or Roz

Judging results to take place at 3pm. Refreshments will be served under the marquee, of sour grapes, hard cheese and humble pie and Silvana’s infamous elderflower cordial

Remember this is a bit of tea and bun and home cooking rules. Brownie points will be given for any cracking stories behind your entry (madam).

You can pick up an entry form and further info from Review Book Shop.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

First Batch is Ready

I've been busy this morning making my entry for the preserves catergory. I'm no expert when it comes to marmalade and this is my first atempt at lemon which I've livened up with a few lime leaves and a last minute addition of star anise which James is guaranteed to hate. I can hear him now, "You can't have star anise in marmalade, Silvana, it just isn't done!" No prize for me then...

Lemon and lime leaf marmalade
Makes 10 jars
1kg lemons
2.2 litres water
6 kaffir lime leaves
1 star anise
2.5kg granulated sugar

Place the lemons and water in a very large pan and bring to the boil. Cover and cook on the lowest setting for 2 hours.

Leave until cool enough to handle.

Halve the lemons and scoop out the pulp, pips and pith and add to the pan along with the star anise. Shred the rind as you go and set aside .

Bring the pan to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve, lined with a cloth back into the clean pan. 

Add the shredded rind and sugar, gently bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves then boil vigorously for 15 – 20 minutes.

Test by putting a little onto a cold saucer and returning to the fridge for a few minutes – push the marmalade with your finger and if it wrinkles, it is ready to set. If not, keep boiling and testing.

Carefully ladle the hot marmalade into warm sterilised jars (wash then put in a cold oven, turn to low heat and leave for 20 minutes), then top with a wax disc and circle of sellophane. Leave to cool and set then it’s ready to eat.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Choco Rice Crispies in the making

Pia Fisher in action this weekend perfecting her party peice. These rice crispies are to die for

Friday, 4 May 2007

Bun Fight just got Glamorous

Yet another well heeled Bellenden super star throws down the gauntlet. Jenny 'white stuff' White, well known home cook hustler and mega star of Grazia magazine, has today announced her intention to enter the Bun Fight. Her patissier skills are enough to make a grown man weep. The contest just got glamourous.

News Flash: Prizes for all

Due to the extreme generosity of a local benefactor, we are pleased to announce that all entrants to the Bellenden Bun Fight will receive a top notch prize of a hand crafted ceramic pie black bird funnel, whether you like it or not. Our benefactor has made a wish to remain anonymous, but we would like to thank the well known Pie Book authoress who has now cleared out all her old cupboards of all her crap.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Little Spooners

This Category looks set to be amongst the most popular. One contender was spotted earlier today practising his special Gingerbread Dalmations....

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Game On

Col got the ball rolling tonight by showing us his Runner Bean Chutney. Made to his mum's recipe but with his own 'modern' twist....
An odds-on favourite in the preserves category.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


Best Buns
Breads and rolls

Baking Brilliance
Cakes and biscuits

Just Like Mum Used to Make
Jams, marmalades, chutneys and relishes

Little Spooners
Children only; any of the above categories