Tag Archives: festival

Yoghurt, lime and pistachio cake with rosewater and lime drizzle…

My love of festivals (of the music variety) has been well documented on this blog as has my tradition of festival baking (here, here and here). I managed to get the first of this year’s festivals under my belt pretty early on when I headed to Meadowlands in East Sussex at the end of May. It wasn’t just the festival we were going for, it was also my friend Georgie’s ‘Hen Don’t’. As you may have surmised from the name, she’d stressed to her Bridesmaids that she didn’t want a traditional hen do, which was totally fine with me. The thought of having to walk around in sparkly feather boas and sashes (and the rest…) fills me with dread. It kind of goes against my festival morals but we had decided to ‘glamp’, which involved turning up at the car park, having our bags carried for us, being housed in a lovely bell tent with jute flooring and sleeping on an air bed clad in lovely soft duvets and bedding…but I’m not going to lie to you…it was amazing!

IMG_5961[1] IMG_5963[1]

I’m getting a bit waylaid here…back to cake!

A few of us were asked to bring some baked goods with us so that we could have a little afternoon tea on Saturday afternoon. I’d had a bit of a busy week in the run up to the festival but I try to grab every opportunity I can to test some of the recipes that I find in cook books, rip out of magazines, find online and take photos of. I’m continually hoarding these recipe snippets in a ‘must try’ pile, and here was my chance to give a couple a go. I went for a yoghurt, lime and pistachio cake with rosewater and lime drizzle (if you’ve had enough of my wittering you can just scroll to the bottom of the post for the recipe)…

Yoghurt, lime and pistachio cake 2

and a white chocolate, almond and blueberry blondie…

White chocolate, almond and blueberry blondie

Please forgive me for the rubbish standard of the photos…I’m using the excuse that all I had to cut the cakes with was a blunt butter knife and…I was in the middle of a field! 🙂

Along with some delicious Malteaser fridge cake and squidgy brownies we had a pretty good spread…

Festival afternoon tea

Festival afternoon tea

It went some way to lining our stomachs and powering our dancing later on that evening!

After getting home and recovering from the weekend of festival excess it wasn’t long before I made the yoghurt, lime and pistachio cake again. This time I managed to take a much better photo…

Yoghurt, lime & pistachio cake

It’s a pretty unassuming looking cake but the fragrant flavours all work really well together and the drizzle, together with the inclusion of ground almonds makes it exceptionally moist. It benefits from being wrapped up and kept in the fridge for a day or two, which is handy if you need to make it in advance as long as you can refrain from pilfering a slice in the middle of the night Nigella stylee!

A slice

I found the recipe in Rachel Allen’s ‘Bake‘ book and made a couple of tweaks.

To make it you’ll need…

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 pinch salt

75g ground almonds

100g caster sugar

2 eggs

1 generous tbsp or 50g runny honey

250ml natural yogurt

150ml sunflower oil

Grated zest of 1 lime

100g pistachios, roughly chopped

For the syrup

150ml water

100g caster sugar

Juice of 1 lime

1-2 tsp rose water (this depends on your taste and the strength of your rosewater. I use Star Kay White Rose Extract, which you can find in Lakeland. It really packs a punch and you’ll only need a small amount i.e. 1-2tsp. Whereas this Natural Essence of Rosewater from The English Provender is a lot weaker so you may want to add more.)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease and line a 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir in the ground almonds and caster sugar.

Mix the eggs, honey, yogurt, sunflower oil and lime zest together in another bowl.

Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ingredients. Use a whisk to bring them together until they’re just combined. Finally stir in the chopped pistachios before pouring the mixture into the tin you prepared earlier.

Pop it in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

You need to leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to make your lime and rosewater syrup for drizzling.

Simply boil the water and sugar in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes until it has reduced by half. Then add the lime juice and leave to boil for another 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and leave it to cool before adding your rosewater. Take heed of my notes above regarding the strength of your rosewater…add a little, then have a slurp, if you want it stronger then add a little more to suit your own taste. If you’re too heavy handed with the rosewater at this stage your cake might end up tasting like a bar of soap…be warned!

Use a skewer to make holes all over the top of the warm cake. Spoon over the syrup making sure every bit of it sees some of the syrupy action.

I finished the cake off by scattering a few more pistachios on top and dusting it with icing sugar just before serving.

We ate it on its own but I think it’d be delicious with a dollop of natural yoghurt or creme fraiche on the side (festival optional).

Enjoy!

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The best laid plans of mice and men…last minute brownies & my trip to Playgroup Festival

When I wrote my last post I thought I was completely organised and ready for my weekend away at Playgroup Festival with only the final task of a baking a couple of batches of banana bread to complete. That was, until I spoke to my friend (and recent birthday girl therefore one of the main reasons I was taking cake to a festival!) and discovered the severity of her hate for banana’s doh! You know what they say about the best laid plans!? So in the last few minutes before leaving the office I changed tack and decided to make brownies instead I mean everyone loves brownie’s right?! I opened my dilemma up to my community of food lovers and bloggers on twitter, asking for brownie recipe recommendations and oh man they did not disappoint!

I was recommended these sea salt caramel brownie’s from the Baked Cookbook by @1mgoldstars, these from @yummly, @beaniebright told me to try Nigella’s flourless chocolate brownies which did look amazing but in the end I decided to follow a tip off from @newmassaros for these ‘ultimate very chocolatey brownies’ from The British Larder…

To make these amazingly gooey, deliciously chocolatey morsels you will need…

300g unsalted butter

300g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa)

5 eggs

450g caster sugar

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

150g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

1tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray (approx 34 x 25cm x 6cm deep) with baking paper.

Break the chocolate into small pieces and put it in a bowl with the butter over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until fully melted.

In another bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until they become thick, creamy and pale (don’t panic it doesn’t take long, even with a hand whisk and some elbow grease!).

Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture to the egg mixture slowly, whisking continuously to make sure it doesn’t curdle.

Finally sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into the mixture and fold it in carefully.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it over.

Bake for 20 minutes before checking on it. The aim is for it to be gooey in the middle but as the recipe says it ‘should not wobble’. If it’s still a bit wobbly when you shake it just pop it back in the oven for another 5 minutes and then check again.

Once you’re happy, leave it to cool (bear in mind that it carries on cooking as it cools). Then slice it into as large or small a sections as you fancy…

As I was cutting mine I panicked that I’d been a bit hasty and taken it out of the oven prematurely and that it was too gooey in the middle, however I was assured by @lexeat that it’s impossible to have an over-gooey brownie and lo and behold my fears were allayed when I offered it to my festival friends and they all fought over the gooeyest pieces from the middle J 

I can also confirm that it got even better after 2 days in a warm tent…I kid you not! Perfect festival baking!

Now a bit more about Playgroup…as I mentioned before it’s a very small, independent festival only in its second year. We were told there were only about 2000 people there, which made it wonderfully intimate and friendly and even I couldn’t get lost! J 

Everyone had thrown themselves into the spirit of the woodland animal fancy dress theme and my friends, who love an excuse to dress up, were no exception…

Due to its size the number of food stalls was minimal but it was very much a case of quality not quantity as the ones that were there were pretty darn good. One of my faves, which I stumbled across on the Saturday morning in my search for a good coffee was ‘Shitehawkes Coffee & Doughnuts’…

Where I was served by a man wearing a dressing gown and serenaded by a waistcoat-clad, shaven headed ukelele-er and funnily enough they served coffee…

and little French style doughnuts…

I also sampled a delicious vegetarian breakfast of scrambled egg, mushrooms cooked up with thyme, fried new potatoes with chilli flakes, grilled tomato, veggie sausage and a doorstep slice of soft granary bread and salted butter from the Lounged out Lizard tent and a great cuppa from Grannys Gaff but for me,the winner had to be Smokey Joe’s Caribbean Barbecue…

The pulled pork roll with salad and mojo mayonnaise was unbelievably tasty and worthy of some silent, eye closed savouring… 

Smokey Joe himself was a bit camera shy but I managed to pap him in the end (with his consent of course J)…

My friends also tried the jerk chicken and judging by their rave reviews I’d say Joe’s range of sauces may well be worth a try…

I also indulged in a fair amount of ‘Badgers Brew’ a light, hoppy, lager, which was brewed and named especially for the festival and of which we somehow managed to drink the bar dry!

We left the 3 day Playgroup extravaganza totally sated…with delicious food and drink, good music, an amazing pretension free atmosphere and great friends…how can you go wrong!

I’d just like to leave you with one of my favourite pics of the weekend…

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Essential festival packing….

Tomorrow morning I’m heading off to the Big Chill Festival. Despite this being my 5th year of attendance, the annual ritual of packing far too much and jaunting off to a field in the middle of rural Herefordshire still hasn’t lost it’s excitement! Earlier today I wrote a Facebook status about the fact that I’ve stocked up with 2 litres of booze, tonic water, limes, bin bags, wet wipes, wellies, a selection of hats and a big fur coat and asking…’what more could you want for the perfect festival experience!?’ the answer, of course…home baked goodies to sustain the (possibly) soggy campers!

The logistics of carrying these baked goods was at the forefront of my mind so cupcakes or anything too fragile were instantly ruled out. I decided the flatter the cake the better and googled ‘tray bakes’. Waitrose came up trumps with what I have now deemed to be perfect festival fodder…

Plum tray bake with a cheesecake ripple

200g tub cream cheese

1tsp vanilla extract

3tbsp caster sugar

4 medium eggs

175g unsalted butter, softened

175g dark muscovado sugar

200g self-raising flour

400g ripe plums, halved, stoned and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 28cm x 18cm  shallow baking tray making sure that the paper comes up higher than the rim of the tin.

Beat the cream cheese, vanilla extract, caster sugar and one of the eggs together until smooth.

In another bowl beat together the remaining eggs, butter, muscovado sugar and flour.

Now comes the assembling part…spread half the creamed flour mixture onto the base of the lined tray, dollop half the cream cheese mixture on top and swirl it around to create a marbled effect. Scatter over half of the plums. Then spread over the remaining flour mixture and dot with the last of the cream cheese mixture before topping with the plums.

Bake for 40/45 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into approx 10 pieces (I need mine to stretch to 14 so that I don’t leave any of my friends wanting!).

This photo makes it look a bit overcooked but inside it looks just right…

The smell coming from the oven as it was baking was mouthwateringly divine…if this cake lasts until tomorrow without being devoured by either me or my housemates it’ll be a pure miracle!

And then there’s the issue of whether it can survive being packed into tupperware to endure a long car journey and whether it’ll still be edible after being dragged along on a trolley on the trek from the car park to the campsite! By which point I will probably be hungry enough to eat my own arm and will most definitely have earned myself a slice!

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