Cooking 2

 MASCARPONE AND BROWN SUGAR SCONES!

1) Preheat the oven to 210 (415), Gas mark 6-7. Dust a large baking tray with flour.

2) Put the flour, baking powder, salt, butter and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the mascarpone, then pulse again for 3 seconds. (If you don’t don’t have a food processor, put all the ingredients in a medium bowl, pick up chunks of butter covered in flour and rub them between you thumb and forefingers. Add the mascarpone and continue ‘rubbing in’.  (This shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes).

3) Pour the mixture into a large bowl and make a hole in the centre, then pour in enough milk to make a soft dough and stir with a knife. Use both hands to bring the mixture together, and squeeze, making sure any dry bits get picked up. It may seem like a crumbled mess but keep squeezing and the dough will come together. Knead lightly for a few seconds just to make the dough smooth and then roll out quickly on a lightly floured surface to about 2cm (3/4 in) thick.

4) Cut out rounds using a 6cm (2 1/2 in) round cutter, (though any size will do) and place themon the prepared baking tray. It’s important not to twist the cutter whilst doing this or the scones won’t rise evenly when baked. Squish together any leftover dough, roll out and cut out more scones.

5) Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the scones are nicely risen, firm and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little on the tray. They are best served fresh and warm from the oven with lashings of clotted cream, strawberry jam and a pot of tea.

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MOJITO GENOISE

1) Preheat the oven to 200 (400), gas mark 6. Grease the cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

2) I make the sugar syrup first to allow the flavour’s to infuse. Put the sugar, water, lime juice and rum in a medium pan over a low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, then boil for 2-3 minutes until the sugar thickens. Add the lime zest and set aside.

3) Fill a large saucepan around a third full of water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Set a large heatproof bowl over the pan, making sure the base isn’t touching the water. Add the sugar and eggs to the bowl and whisk. This causes them to foam up and gives a lighter, fluffier cake. The egg mixture should be whisked for about 10 minutes, then remove the bowl from the pan and continue to whisk for a further 5 minutes. The mixture is ready when it holds itself well in the bowl and, if you take a spoonful and then drop it back in, the resulting ‘blob’ should take 3-4 seconds to blend back into the mixture.

4) Once you have reached this ‘ribbon stage’, pour the melted butter into the bowl, around the sides (pouring it into the middle knocks out all the air). Fold the butter into the egg mix, moving the bowl around and scooping down to the bottom to fold the mixture over itself, using as few movements as possible to retain the air.

5) Next, add the flour and fold in until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Pour gently into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. When cooked, the sponge should spring backwhen pushed lightly, will be a light golden colour and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake will come out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes or so, then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once it is cool, slice the cake in half horizontally and set aside.

6) To make the buttercream, put the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the lime zest and juice to test.

7) To assemble the cake, put a dollop of buttercream on a serving plate (to stop the cake sliding around the plate). Place the bottom of the sponge on a plate and brush with the reserved sugar syrup. Be quite liberal to make the cake really moist. Put a big dollop of buttercream on top and, using a palette knife, spread the buttercream over the cake until it is level. Take the top half of the cake, turn cut side up and brush with the sugar syrup. Turn it back over and put it on top of the buttercreamed sponge. Next, cover the whole cake with the buttercream, including the top and sides, making sure it is as smooth as possible with straight sides and top. Put the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up a little.

8) For the pecan coating, oil a baking tray. Put the sugar in a medium pan over a low heat and leave to melt, stirring as little as possible. If any sugar sticks to the sides of the pan, dip a pastry brush in water and brush it off. Once the sugar is melted bring the mixture to the boil and cook for 1 minute making sure it does not burn. Add the nuts and pour into the prepared baking tray. Leave to cool. Once this has cooled right down, blitz the praline in an electric mixer or put it in a plastic bag, smash it with a rolling pin and think of your boss!

9) Once the praline pieces are the size of breadcrumbs, use them to coat the sides of the cake. This gateau makes a very different celebration cake for something special. Dectorate the top with the limes slices and reserved pecans (optional).

Fruity Muesli Pile-Up

1) Take 4 tumblers or glass bowls and begin layering your ingredients – start with a few berries, and sprinkle over a mixture of half of the 2 cereals.

2) Next, stir the yoghurt a little to loosen it, and pour over half of the yoghurt between the 4 glasses. Now, using a tablespoon, drizzle over some honey onto each serving.

3) Start the layering process again, saving a couple of berries to place on the top (for decoration) and cover with a last drizzle of honey. This truly is a great way to start the day and pretty healthy too!

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