Saturday, 23 September 2017

Coconut Flapjack | Autumnal Baking




I have been having a lot of fun recently scrolling through Pinterest and instagram to find and adapt some new recipes to bake this autumnal season.  Recently I've been baking a lot each week for church and for a local charity café which has given me the chance to try different recipes each week.

I decided to combine a recipe I had for Anzac biscuits and a flapjack recipe to make a soft, gooey coconut flapjack and I thought I would share my recipe with you.




Ingredients:

90g of rolled oats
220g of light soft brown sugar
80g of desiccated coconut
110g of plain flour
110g of self-raising flour
125g of butter
2tbsp of golden syrup


Method:

1.  Preheat your oven to 180°C.  Lightly grease a deep, rectangular 23cm baking tray, and line with greaseproof paper.

2.  In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, sugar, and 65g of the coconut.

3.  Sift both the plain flour and the self-raising flour into the mixing bowl and stir into the other ingredients.

3.   Slowly melt together the butter and the golden syrup.  This can either be done in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.

4.  Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and pour in the melted butter mixture.

5.  Mix together until all the ingredients are fully combined.

6.  Press into your prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and rises slightly when pressed.

7.  Leave to cool and cut into desired pieces. 



This recipe works great as a tray bake or as a dessert when it's warm out the oven with ice cream, it's so good to have a recipe that can be used as both!  I'm so excited to have made a start on sharing some autumnal recipes with you.  I'm looking forward to trying some recipes soon with our home-grown apples! 

Let me know in the comments what you're looking forward to making this autumnal season, I'd love to swap recipes and ideas with you. 

Carolyn 
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Friday, 15 September 2017

Autumnal



The smell of the fire mixed with the freshly baked apple and cinnamon loaf was both comforting and unsettling for me.  Memories flooded my mind and I had to take some time to be filled with nostalgia.

A part of me isn't ready for this new season and is still tightly clinging to the smells of salt and sand, walking barefoot in our front garden, and never needing an excuse to go for ice cream.  Yet, this afternoon the mixed scents of freshly baked apple loaf and the wood burning fire made my heart feel at home.



In the mornings I can see my breath, tiptoeing across my bedroom floor to stand near the heater before facing the misty morning that peeks through the shutters.

The afternoons, filled with walks along golden plastered paths and clear blue skies.  Scrapbooking leaves, feeling enveloped in a knitted jumper, a sharp intake of breath as I step out into the cold yet fresh air.  Baking with home grown apples, sharing recipes with friends that have been passed down from generations, passed down through seasons.  

The darker nights are closing in, filled with hot chocolate and candle lit rooms.  Warm memories made with family and friends, huddled in living rooms sheltering against the darker nights.



Autumn, I welcome you with cautious but open arms.


Carolyn 
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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Victoria Sponge Cake | The Baking Diaries




Now that it's September I feel as though we're transitioning into Autumn; leaves changing colour, blanket scarves, and cosy nights in with a warm drink and a good book.  Although I do enjoy Autumn, I am going to miss all the fun things I like to bake during the summer.  But before I begin browsing pinterest for some autumnal recipes, I thought I would do one last summer bake and share my recipe with you all for the British classic that is the Victoria Sponge Cake.


Ingredients for the sponges:

450g of unsalted butter (softened)
450g of castor sugar
8 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
450g of self-raising flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder


Ingredients for the filling and decoration:

300ml of double cream
1 jar of strawberry or raspberry jam
Mixed berries of your choice




Method

1.  Firstly you need to preheat your oven to 180°C.  Then you need to grease two 21cm baking tins and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.

2.  Then cream your butter till it is lighter in colour and almost white.   Gradually add in the sugar to the butter till fully combined.

3.  In a separate bowl whisk together your eggs, then gently mix them into the butter and sugar mix along with the vanilla extract.

4.  Sieve your flour and baking powder into the mixing bowl, and beat on a medium speed until fully combined and your mixture is light and fluffy.

5.  Divide your mixture evenly between your two cake tins.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake skewer comes out clean and they are golden brown on top.

6.  Transfer your sponges out of the baking tins and onto a cooling rack .

7.  Whilst your cake are cooling whisk almost all of your cream until it forms soft peaks, pour in the rest of your double cream and fold until combined.

8.  Once your sponges are cooled, spread a layer of jam onto your bottom sponge, ensuring to not reach the edges.

9.  Place a layer of berries onto the jam, I sliced some strawberries for the middle of my sponges but you can chose which berries you would like.

10.  Spread almost all of your cream onto the layer of berries, again ensuring to not quite reach the edge of your sponge.

11.  Place your second sponge on top and decorate as you please.  I used my cream to make a patter of fresh berries in the centre, and then dusted with icing sugar.




Victoria Sponge Cake is a classic that I always enjoy baking, and experimenting with decorating is so fun as well.  What's your favourite classic bake to make?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments!  You can have a look through my other baking recipes by clicking here.  I'm so excited to bring you some autumnal recipes over the next couple of months!



Carolyn 
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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Grace | A Poem



Grace.
Gods Riches At Christ's Expense.
But, why?
To show that He is God?

That is unnecessary.
The stars show His breath,
the birds sing His praise.

Our hearts.
Oh, our hearts.
Filled to the brim,
with love,
hope,
peace.

He is our Saviour.
Our King.
Our Friend.

He gave it all,
so we could have it all.

Life.
To the full.
Life.
Everlasting. 
Life.
Filled with grace.

A life lived for Him,
with Him,
because of Him.
A life worth living. 

Forgiveness and grace.
Unimaginable,
unfathomable,
outrageous,
and overwhelming.

He gave it all,
so we could have it all.
He gave it all,
I owe Him all. 


Grace
A poem by Carolyn Bell

"Since you are precious and honoured in my sight,
and because I love you..."
Isaiah 43:4


Carolyn 
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Saturday, 5 August 2017

All The Goodness | Coffee & Bakeshop



I adore coffee shops; the cosy feel, the smell of fresh coffee, and the space to meet up with friends, read a good book, or do some studying.
The only issue for me when it comes to coffee shops is that I don't actually drink tea or coffee, although I could happily drink numerous hot chocolates a day. 

I'm quite known for happily sitting in a coffee shop for a while with a good book, or popping into Costa to grab a takeaway for my Dad and I before church on a Sunday morning.  I enjoy going to independently run coffee shops and finding their unique quirks and fun décor. 

I moved further north a couple of weeks ago for my new job, and last week some friends took me to a lovely coffee shop and bakery called All The Goodness


All The Goodness is located at the edge of Ardelve with a beautiful view of Eilean Donan Castle from their outdoor picnic benches.  All The Goodness specialise in artisan coffee, local food products, and fresh home baking.  It's safe to say the description of All The Goodness was stealing my heart before I even set foot inside. 

The first thing I noticed when we went inside was the fun colour scheme they have for their décor; a bright, eye-popping blue with black, red, and white accents.  My senses were overwhelmed with the quirky décor, the range of home baking on display, and the smell of home baking mixed with fresh coffee. 

The staff are very welcoming and friendly, and were great at recommending products both for the fresh home baking and products from the food shop.  It was wonderful to look at the Scottish map on their wall to find out where their produce is from, and to see what local produce they had on sale in their store. 



I had the Caramel & Isle of Skye Sea Salt Hot Chocolate along with a Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I have quite a soft spot for anything with caramel, but especially for hot chocolate.  This was the first salted caramel hot chocolate that I had tried and it was divine.  We also had some banana brownie, rock rose gin and raspberry brownie, mango smoothie, and fresh coffee between us. 

It was lovely to sit outside and enjoy some home baking along with a little bit of sunshine from the British summer. 


If you find yourself in the Kyle area then I would highly recommend a visit to All The Goodness.  Lovely staff, beautiful home baking, and an incredible view to enjoy at the same time.  You can find out more about All The Goodness from their website and their Instagram


Carolyn 
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Monday, 24 July 2017

Ice Cream & Flowers


Two weeks ago I moved up to the Highlands to start my new job at a friends B&B.  Although the past two weeks have been busy, they've been fulfilling and I've been enjoying a different summer from what I've been used to.  There have been so many things that have made me smile over the past few weeks, so I thought I would share some of them with you. 


Ice Cream. 
I love ice cream.  So much.  Sometimes I get a little worried about how much I love ice cream. But then I remember how yummy it is and I forget how bad it is for me.  I have had so much ice cream these past two weeks, and I've found a lovely little ice cream shop on the Isle of Skye that I'll probably be visiting as often as I can. 


Road trips.
I love going for long drives.  A couple of friends and I drove to Skye to visit the Fairy Pools last week, and at the weekend we had a three hour drive down to Perth.  It was amazing to drive through incredible scenery and really appreciate what will be my home for the next few moths.  Also, on our drive to Perth we listened to a couple of sermons together which is something I don't do enough, it was really lovely. 


Sunshine. 
This past week has been so beautiful weather-wise.  The sun has been shining and I've been able to spend some time outside and enjoy this little bit of British summer.  The weather has a big affect on my mood, so the sunshine has resulted in a lot of general happiness for me. 


Growth in my faith. 
I was quite worried about moving up north a couple of weeks ago.  Although I knew I was going to be staying with a wonderful family, I was worried about fitting in with the community and adjusting to a different job.  But God has been showing me that He plants us with purpose.  He moves us so that we can grow and flourish in our faith, and although it is challenging, He has been working in and disciplining my heart in unexpected and inspiring ways. 


Holiday Club.
I had the blessing this past week of helping at the local church holiday club.  It was so wonderful to be able to serve God in this way.  I've never really thought that I'm good with young kids, but I found myself getting alongside them, learning their favourite colours, their favourite animals, and having excitement fill my heart when they remembered what they were learning about Jesus. Getting to work with an amazing team was so helpful and encouraging in what we did each day. 


Gardens & Flowers.
I absolutely love flowers.  I'm back at my parents for a little while and I love spending time in their garden, and this afternoon I went to the local garden centre with them.  I love all the beautiful colours and the delicacy and elegance of various flowers.


I'm looking forward to the rest of summer; a job that I'm really enjoying, hopefully some more sunshine, and learning what else God has to teach me.  What have you been enjoying about summer so far? 


Carolyn 
x

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Friday, 7 July 2017

Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes | Wimbledon Baking



I'm not usually one for watching sports on TV, it's just something I'm not that interested in.  But almost every year without fail I find myself becoming quite invested in watching Wimbledon.  I've kept it no secret on my blog that I love to bake, I'm quite happy to blast my music and potter about in the kitchen for an hour or two. 

So, when my mum asked me to bake some cupcakes for a family meal this week, I immediately said yes and started looking for a recipe to use.  Seen as we are more than likely to watch some of Wimbledon together, I figured adapting Jane's recipe for strawberry cupcakes would be perfect, of course I wanted to share the recipe with all of you. 


Ingredients for the cupcakes:

150g of unsalted butter (softened)
150g of castor sugar
3 medium eggs
150g of self raising flour
150g of seedless strawberry jam


Ingredients for the frosting:

150g of unsalted butter (softened)
350g of icing sugar
2-4tbsp of double cream
1/2tsp of vanilla extract


Ingredients for the decoration:

12 fresh strawberries
Strawberry sauce



Method:

1.  First, you need to preheat your oven to 170°C.  Then line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 

2.  Then cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  It's best to use either a Kitchen Aid or an electric hand whisk to do this. 

3.  Next, beat your eggs in a separate bowl and measure out your flour.  Add these ingredients to your butter and sugar mixture, then beat on a medium speed until combined. 

4.  Measure out your jam and add this to your cake batter.  Beat the mixture until the jam is fully incorporated and your mixture is smooth. 

5.  Divide your mixture evenly amongst your cupcake cases.  Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a cake skewer comes out clean and they are golden brown on top. 

6.  Place your cakes are on a cooling rack and whilst they are cooling you can make a start on the icing, or washing the dishes! 

7.  Measure out your butter and beat it on a high speed until it is smooth and almost white. 

8.  Sieve your icing sugar into the butter a little at a time and beat in gradually.  Make sure your icing sugar is beaten in well before adding the next amount. 

9.  Continue to beat the frosting, gradually adding the vanilla, then the cream a tablespoon at a time.  Keep adding the cream until your icing is at the desired consistency.  You don't want your icing to be too runny that it won't set, but also too solid that it won't pipe.  I found that 4 tablespoons of double cream was a good amount.

10.  Now for my favourite part, time to ice the cupcakes!  I used a plastic disposable piping bag and a large, star tip nozzle to pipe a swirl around the cupcake, then bringing it into the centre with a flick at the end. 

11.  To decorate, loosely drizzle the strawberry sauce over the cupcakes and then place a fresh strawberry in the middle. 



These cupcakes were both super easy to make, and really fun to make!  And it was fun to add the Wimbledon tradition of strawberries and cream into my summer baking.  You can have a look through my other baking recipes by clicking here


Carolyn 
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