So this weekend my sister and her boyfriend got engaged. I just wanted to wish them both many congratulations. He texted me on Friday night saying he was going to do it, and if I’m being honest, I didn’t 100% believe him. Apparently he very nearly put his foot in it (a number of times) with letting the odd thing slip. On Saturday when I asked him how and when, he even sent his reply to my sister. Whoops.
But anyway, he did it and she said yes. Here’s the happy couple:
Don’t worry, there is food coming up. I had already planned to see them on the Sunday for a family meal. I was taking along a lemon drizzle loaf, which while it went down well, probably wasn’t as fancy as the occasion deserved. But nevermind. Congratulations again, and it’s an excuse to get a new suit.
Unfortunately this is only picture I got of the cake, and it’s a bog standard instagram shot. I’ll be getting some more stuff up this week to celebrate National Baking Week though, so keep your eye out!
Well, it’s time for my second post from my trip to Devon last week. I’d intended to get this up last week but unfortunately life got in the way and I just completely ran out of time. That should mean you have a double recipe week now though.
Now, you’ve already seen my quick, if lackluster write up on arriving in Hope Cove and presenting my friend with is cake. If not, you can read that here. Day two dawned with the unexpected joy of the sun poking it’s head out. It had been overcast the day before and I’d not had high hopes for the Sunday weather. Out of nowhere the British summer decided to momentarily revive itself. I grabbed a cup of tea and headed down to sit by the sea and enjoy not being in Leeds. I was in charge of the evening’s food and had opted for a Maple and Mustard Pulled Pork. It’s perfect for a largish group and great for an occasion like this as you can just stick it in the oven and come back to it about 6-7 hours later.
After a fairly lazy morning I took out the meat (which I’d prepared the night before) and stuck it in the oven at about 12. After this we were free to do anything until the evening. We opted to head up onto the headland and prepare an area for a campfire to have later that night, before coming back down to the flat and doing a nice afternoon session of centurion in the sunshine.
After that came sea-kayaking, which I’d have to say, probably isn’t the best thing to do after you’ve done a full game of centurion. We capsized, but no one died so it’s fine, right?
The evening was spent stuffing out faces with the pulled pork, which was sided by Isobel’s sweet potato wedges, homemade garlic bread and some creamed corn. After filling our bellies we headed up to the campfire spot, where we all proceeded to fall asleep next to the fire (too much food and a packed day didn’t really do much for our energy levels). All in all it was a great way to round the weekend off.
This recipe is great because it doesn’t require a slow cooker, or for the pork to be completely submerged in liquid, which means that all you need is a standard roasting tin, rather than a slow cooker or pot. It still falls apart amazingly and the sauce it creates is beautiful.
Mix the sea salt and 200g of the sugar in a large food bag, add the pork and coat it well. (If you don’t have a bag, rub over the pork in a dish and cover with cling film.) Leave in the fridge overnight.
The next day, remove the pork and wipe down the meat with kitchen paper. Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Mix the remaining sugar, the maple syrup, mustards and some ground pepper. Rub half the mixture over the pork and sit it on a rack in a roasting tin. Roast for 6 hrs.
Spoon the remaining maple mixture over the pork and roast for 1 hour more.
Rest the meat for 30 minute on a plate loosely covered with foil. To serve, tear the pork into big fat chunks and, after skimming the surface, spoon over any juices from the tin.
Here comes another not entirely baking related post, I’m sorry! Well, at least part of it is baking related. On the weekend I went to Hope Cove in Devon. It’s the 4th time I’ve made the trip with several friends and each time it has been incredible. It’s probably one of my favourite places on Earth (and I’ve seen quite a bit of this planet), at least in part due to the company. The seaside village is incredibly beautiful and the flat that we stay in is delightful.
This weekend was a bit more special as it was my friend Tom’s Birthday. And here is where the baking comes in. I recently got my hands on the Clandestine Cake book and decided to make one for his Birthday. Unfortunately, I finished the cake fairly late the night before I had to leave and then it got a bit… squashed… on the way there (I had to get a train and then a lift early in the morning. It took us hours longer than it should have because of traffic jams). This all combined to mean that I didn’t have a chance to photograph it properly, so you’ll just have to make do with what I got. The good news is that it tasted pretty awesome.
On the Saturday we BBQ’d and proceeded to play drinking games. We waited until he was feeling jolly before surprising him with the cake. I deliberately picked this cake as I knew that he enjoyed pistachios.
Just make sure you have 3 20cm round cake tins for this, and a tall enough tin!
75g good-quality dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids)
125g pistachio nuts
Preheat the oven to 190ºC (fan 170ºC). Grease and line the three sandwich tins.
Beat the butter and sugar using a wooden spoon or electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and adding a tablespoon of the flour with the final egg to help prevent curdling.
Fold in the remaining flour and the baking powder until thoroughly combined. Add the lime zest and juice and the finely chopped pistachio nuts and mix until well combined.
Divide the mixture between the tins, spreading it evenly. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tins to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the lime juice and sugar into a pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, then bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
While the sponges are still warm turn them out of their tins on to a wire rack, then carefully spoon the lime syrup over the top of each one– you may not need all the syrup. Leave the cakes to cool completely.
Put all the ingredients for the lime curd in a small, heavy-based pan and heat gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon – don’t let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. When it has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon quite thickly, strain through a sieve into a bowl. Cover and leave to cool
To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix until combined. Add the lime zest, then sift in the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
For the decoration, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the base of the bowl, then pour it on to a piece of baking parchment and spread it out with a palette knife so it is about 3mm thick. Scatter over some of the chopped pistachios and leave to cool and set.
To assemble the cake, place one of the cooled cakes on a plate, spread with a third of the frosting, then cover with a generous layer of the lime curd. Add a sprinkling of the remaining chopped pistachio nuts. Place a second cake on top of this and repeat the layers (saving some pistachios for the top). Place the final cake on top and cover with the remaining frosting.
Break the pistachio-studded chocolate into rough shards and arrange round the edge of the top of the cake, then scatter the remaining pistachios among them.
I’ll be bringing part 2 to you later in the week, with Maple and Mustard Pulled Pork as the feature.
Well hello guys. I must apologise for it being such a slow summer. But it’s been a damn busy one, so what can I say, I’m not that sorry! So far my summer has involved Scotland, Devon and Cornwall. It’s going to involve both Devon and Scotland again over the next couple of weeks as well as popping to London to see the Book of Mormon for a friend’s birthday. All in all I’ve had a good summer so far so thought I’d drop a few of the photos here for you to see. Thanks guys and persevere, I’ve got some pretty tasty stuff due up over the next few weeks.