Anyone else feeling the effects of Easter still? I know I am! All of that chocolate and merriment! Easter at my house is jam packed with so many people, so much food, and lots of laughs with the kiddy Easter egg hunt that Easter Monday has a hard act to follow. To counter the blues that set in when you realise that Easter is over, and you no longer have an excuse to eat your body weight in chocolate, I recommend straight up denial.
Denial in the form of chocolate spiked raisin bread!
It’s basically a giant hot cross bun that you can eat warm out of the oven, cold with a smattering of jam, or piping hot, straight from the toaster and smothered in butter.
Not only is this bread the perfect way to relive Easter at any time of the year, it’s also a great way to use up the Easter eggs that you may have hanging around the house. I don’t know about you, but after Sunday I seem to have about three tonnes of them in various bowls around the house!
How was your Easter? Do you have a tradition of Easter egg hunting like my family does?
Pour your warm water and yeast into a cup and set to one side for the yeast to do it’s thing for ten minutes.
While the yeast is set aside, sift your sugar into a bowl. Mix in the white sugar, followed by the allspice and cinnamon.
Make a well in the centre and mix in your yeast. Pour in your water, about ¼ cup at a time until you’ve used it all and have a cohesive ball of dough.
If you’re using a stand mixer, mix on a medium speed for 3-4 minutes. If you’re hand-kneading, do it for about 10 minutes.
Lightly oil your bowl and set the dough back in it, cover the bowl in cling wrap and set to in a warm spot to rise for one hour. For those of you who don’t know, sausage dogs prosper in the heat just as much as rising bread does. Try to keep sausages and dough separate.
When your dough has more than doubled in size, lightly flour a surface and scoop your dough out onto it. Put half of your chocolate and sultanas into the middle of the dough and fold the dough in on itself a few times. Put the rest of the chocolate and sultanas in the dough and knead until the chocolate and sultanas are evenly distributed throughout.
Pop into your bread tin and set in a warm place to rise again for 15 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Brush your bread with the milk, then pop your bread in the oven for 10 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 170°C and continue baking for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven when the top of the loaf is nicely browned and it makes a hollow sound when you knock the top of it.
This bread is great served with regular butter, but I recommend whipping up some vanilla bean butter for an extra tasty slice. Allow your butter to come to room temperature and quickly mix in the sugar and vanilla. I use regular, salted butter as it adds a nice little edge to the otherwise sweet spread. Enjoy fresh from the oven, cooled, or toasted – whichever way you serve it, this bread is scrumptious!
Planning on making this recipe? Tag me on Instagram and use #bakingwithgab so I can see your wonderful creations!
I can’t overstate the love that I have for Ireland. The people, the dramatic landscapes, the green, green greenness of every single plant. To say that I love Ireland would simply not do it justice. I visited Ireland in 2010 because I had a cousin there (and because I had always wanted an excuse to go) and it was indescribably lush.
And those gorgeous Irish accents, don’t even get me started!
I totally understand why green is associated with St Patrick’s Day, because I had never seen so many shades of green in my life! Which is why I went full cliche with this choc-mint slice and made it a vibrant shade of green. It pained me slightly because I’m so fond of pastel hues, but I’m super happy with the result, so I’m glad I powered through!
I told people who lingered over the plate of these delights that they were healthy doughnuts – there’s yoghurt in them and they’re baked! Most people laughed at me, so I explained that they’re healthy-ish…healthier than a regular fried doughnut, anyway.
They’re kind of like a little cake doughnut, which you’ll know I’m a fan of if you’ve seen my earl grey or Nutella doughnuts.
I like the idea that you can eat seconds because they’re a tiny bit better for you. I stress teeny tiny. Did I mention that I’ve started a little health kick?
I had some issues with editing these photos. I lost the card that they were stored on, then the files were corrupted, then they didn’t want to save the edits that I made to them. In short, they just weren’t cooperating. So I did what any good adult would do, I put them in the too hard basket.
Whip them out of the fridge and blend them up wth the milk and peanut butter for 2-5 minutes until smooth, then pour into your ice cream moulds. Gently insert the stalk/base and make sure they’re all secure.
These jewelled delights make me so happy. They’re delicious, adorable and ridiculously easy to make! I seem to be making a habit of creating easy recipes for Valentine’s Day – I wonder what that says about the amount of effort I put into it!
Has this month gotten away from you? It has absolutely flown by for me! And I’ve been a little lax – I’ve got a backlog of recipes to share with you and I just don’t know where to begin!
These awesome little layered desserts seem like the best place to start. They’re a stunning, Summery take on a classic Eton mess, and they’re sure to impress anyone you serve them to.
I’m swooning over the berries available at the moment – they’re coming down in price a little bit because they’re so abundant, and they’re absolutely delightful. I’ve been eating berries like they’re going out of fashion.
The mangoes are amazing at the moment as well. This mango custard was a spark of inspiration that came to me as a result of having too many eggs and mangoes in the house. This is obviously not a problem for many people, but in my house it was a real head scratcher.
So, instead of the traditional cream, I thought a light, fruity custard would be a great addition to my eton messes. And so the mango custard was born.
It is legitimately so good that I had to restrain myself from drinking it.
(You’ll have some mango custard left over from this recipe, so I’d recommend drizzling it on icecream or filling doughnuts with it.)
Grab your mango flesh and pop it into a blender with the lemon juice and blend for about 30 seconds until you have a nice puree*. Even though it’s glorious, resist the urge to drink it. Put your mango puree, sugar and butter in a pyrex bowl and place over a boiling pan of water. Mix until the butter has melted, then remove the water from the heat.
Take your egg yolks, lightly beat them, then pour some of the mango mixture into the egg yolks so as not to cook the yolks. Now pour all of the egg yolk mixture into the mango mixture and mix well. Turn up the heat to high and stir for 12-15 minutes so that the mango mixture reduces slightly. Remove from the heat and set to one side. Mix together your hot water and gelatine, making sure all the granules are dissolved, then stir into the mango mixture. Pop the mixture into the fridge for at least an hour so that it cools and firms up slightly.
While the mango custard is in the fridge, make a start on the pavlova by mashing together your raspberries and sugar until they’re nice and combined – they should be part liquid, part lumps of raspberries. Set them to one side.
In a separate bowl, whip your egg whites on a medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until the egg whites froth up slightly. Next, with the eggs still whipping, slowly pour in the castor sugar. Once you’ve poured in all of the sugar, turn up to high and whip for 5-10 minutes until your meringue is thick, glossy and holds peaks. If you rub some of the meringue between your fingers, it should be smooth – if it is gritty, mix for a little longer.
Preheat your oven to 120C and line a baking tray with baking paper and set to one side.
Mix the cornflour into the meringue, then the white vinegar until just combined.
Grab a dinner plate and trace its outline on the baking paper with a pencil. Flip it upside down so that the pencil doesn’t come into contact with the meringue. To help your baking paper stay in place while you spread the meringue, dab a small amount of meringue under each of the corners of baking paper.
Scoop out half of the meringue and spread it in the outline of the plate. Dribble some of the raspberry mixture out over the meringue, then swirl with a fork. Repeat with the remaining meringue, then the remaining raspberry. Pop in the oven for 80-90 minutes, until the top loses its stickiness. Set to one side to cool for at least 15 minutes.
To assemble, break apart your meringue (it should be a lovely mix of crusty outside and fluffy inside) and start layering. I went berries, mango custard, pavlova, repeat, but you can do it in whatever order you fancy.
* I used the George Foreman Mix & Go Pro, which was loaned to me by my new friends at Appliance Kitchen. I actually didn’t know that George Foreman had branched out of grills, so was pleasantly surprised by this little blender!
Who made a resolution to get fit for 2016? I commend you, if you did. I know that most people make healthy resolutions, usually, but I plan on challenging myself with my baking instead. I’m going to take more classes – there is no better way to get inspired than to learn from experts. I’m taking a cookie painting class in two weeks and will report back. Hopefully you’ll be seeing tiny edible masterpieces soon!
And I’m going to work on my photography as well. If you’ve got any recommendations for cooking and/or food photography classes, send them my way, I’m all ears.
I’m also going to make Daisy a super obedient dog. The Boy and I have been struggling with her behaviour (she’s an angel for us, but a massive jerk to strangers!) so we’re going to take her to a doggy specialist!
I’m also verbalising more of my plans. Or writing them here, at least. Because that way I’m less likely to forget about them/change my mind when they get too hard. I read recently that humans find it harder to go back on their plans once they’ve told them to other people. So let’s try and use that to my advantage.
AND I’m going to give my props the loving they deserve – I’ve got a rapidly growing collection and I neglect the oldies sometimes. Expect these floral tea cups to be making regular appearances, they were a Christmas present from my gorgeous mother and I’m smitten.
The baking side of my resolutions I’ve already started. This winner of a recipe, which I appropriated from a gorgeous cook book I was given for Christmas, is the perfect start to my new year.
Now I’ve only got to get started on all of those other things I just committed to…