The apple of my eye

Mrs Stovies loves a snifter of Amaretto, and there’s no doubting that she also loves a nice slice of cake too. Moist and moreish, this recipe combines the two and we hope you love it as much as Mrs S does.

40ml Amaretto
40ml Apple juice
100g Sultanas
2 Large cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
170g Butter, very very soft
200g Caster sugar
2 Large eggs
350g Self raising flour, wholemeal
100g Ground almonds
1tsp Cinnamon

To top:
Water icing* (50g icing sugar + 2-3tsp water)
A handful of flaked almonds

*Stir the water in gradually, one tsp first then half a teaspoon at a time allowing to sit for a moment before adding the next. When the icing runs off the spoon in thick ribbons it’s spot on. If not, add a tad more water.

Soak the sultanas in the Amaretto and apple juice. If you are feeling adventurous play with the proportion of booze to juice, you could even swap the Amaretto for Calvados for a doubly appley flavour. Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, then add the eggs one at a time and keep beating until smooth and glossy. Add flour, ground almonds and cinnamon, mix thoroughly then fold in the apple and sultanas.

Bake in a round tin for about an hour at gas 4 / 180°c and once baked leave to cool for about 20 minutes in the tin before moving the cake to a wire rack. Once completely cool, drizzle with water icing and scatter with flaked almonds.

Bananarama

Mr Stovies isn’t so much of a cake maker but this banana loaf is a stalwart of his recipe book and even he can’t mess it up! We’re also led to believe it’s at least 1 of your 5 a day. Maybe even more…

Just in case the title of this post got you wondering if the 80’s popsters were still alive, they are and they’re still performing. It’s not pretty but this cover of their hit Love in the First Degree is.

Ingredients:
4 medium ripe bananas
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
125g softened butter
3 eggs
3tbsp golden syrup
1tbsp coconut
250g selff raising flour
200g sugar

First things first, preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a reasonable sized loaf tin (about 1lb size).

Peel the bananas and break them into a large mixing bowl. Smash to a pulp using a hefty wooden spoon. Takes a bit of time but it’s fun!

This bit is a little more taxing – dump all other ingredients in and mix very well into a nice smoothish cake batter. There will still be some lumps of chocolate and banana but the rest of the mixture should be smooth. It’s best to use a spoon and some good old elbow grease for this, mechanical mixing devices will destroy the good lumps.

Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for an hour to an hour and a half. From an hour onwards check on the loaf regularly as the ripeness of the bananas and the strength of your oven will vary the cooking time. When baked fully it will have risen and be nice and springy to the touch. The standard spike test may not work too well here though as the choc chips and banana will leave goo streaks on it!

Leave in the tin for about quarter of an hour before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Great served warm with some crème fraîche or custard. The white chocolate turns deliciously caramelly but you could swap it out for a rich dark chocolate and some walnuts instead.

Bad ass blueberry cake

Cake is always good. Fact. Scottish soft fruits are generally known to be amazing. Fact. What better to do then than combine the two? There are three parts to this recipe, if you like you can cheat and buy jam instead of making your own. An extra bonus of this recipe is that the batter alone makes great blueberry muffins.

For the cake:

250g Salted butter
200g Caster sugar
4 Eggs
250g Plain flour
2 tsp Baking powder
250g Blueberries

For the jam:

250g Blueberries
35ml Water
150g Caster sugar
1 tsp Lemon juice

For the icing:

110g Cream cheese
50g Butter
200g Icing sugar
1 tsp Lemon juice

First make up your cake batter. Cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy then add the eggs one by one mixing though before adding the next. Mix for five minutes until the batter is reasonably smooth. It’s hard work to do by hand so we thouroughly recommend using an electric beater of food mixer (thank you KitchenAid!) although if you can tough it out it’s great for bingo wing eradication. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth. Last but not least fold in the blueberries by hand (so they don’t all pop) and set aside for a couple of hours. If you’re making muffins for brekkie make the batter before going to bed and bake in the morning.

Next up is the jam, this is easy peasy and a good base recipe for any summer fruit jam. The recipe makes one small jarful and takes hard any time to set. Quite simply throw the ingredients into a pan, bring to the boil and keep it boiling for 25 minutes. Transfer to a sterilised jar or small container and put it in the fridge. Ready to go after about an hour. What you don’t use in your cake will keep for two months in the fridge.

When you’re ready heat your oven to Gas Mark 4 or equivalent. Pour the batter into a large sprung cake tin, or muffin cases if you’re that way inclined – there’ll be enough for 16 muffins. Bake for 45 minutes for a whole cake, 20 for muffs.

Once cooled split the cake in half through the middle, spread the bottom half liberally with jam and pop on the top. To make the icing cream together all of the ingredients then spread a good thick layer on top of the cake.

Make a nice cup of tea, sit down and enjoy.

And yes, we forgot to do a photo of this one until it was almost too late!

A humble little crumble

Yes, crumbles conjure up thoughts of autumn with wafts of cinnamon and lashings of hot custard but here in Stovies’ kitchen they’re a great way of using up fruit when we’ve not been too good at eating our five a day. This recipe is great because everything is done in one dish, meaning less washing up and not much elbow grease. The topping is super crunchy thanks to the oats and the star anise gives a light, aromatic spice to the fruit. In winter though we can’t help but swap it out for a little cockle warming cinnamon. This crumble will easily satisfy six.

For the filling:
10 apples and pears, peeled and cut into chunks
1 handful sultanas
3 tbsp apple juice
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 star anise
1 tbsp golden syrup

For the topping:
100g salted butter
100g light brown sugar
175g plain flour
25g oat bran, if you don’t have oat bran grind some porridge oats in a pestle and mortar
a pinch of salt

Put the sultanas and star anise into the bottom of a baking dish then put the apples and pears on top. Pour over the lemon and apple juice and drizzle the golden syrup over the top. Cover with tinfoil then bake in a medium hot oven – gas 5 – until the apples start to soften, about 20 mins. Stir occasionally. The idea is that as the apples and pears soften the sultanas will plump up with some of the yummy residue.

Mix together the butter, sugar, flour and oats until you have a breadcrumby texture. It doesn’t matter if you have some goops of butter as they’ll melt away. Rubbing in with your hands instead of using a food mixer makes for fewer dishes. Cover the fruit with the crumble topping, it’ll be quite thick – this is good. Put the whole lot back into the over and bake until golden on top, 40 mins should be plenty.

Serve up with your choice of cream, custard or ice cream. And the natural fight over the crispy edge bits of course!

Oatilicious!

These yummy oaty muffins are great for breakfast or with a cup of coffee. If you fancy experimenting try swapping the apple for either 1 mashed banana or two to three chopped kiwis. Yes, kiwis. Sounds wrong but actually they work really, really well.

225g porridge oats
750g milk with a squeeze of lemon juice in
3 tbsp butter
3 eggs
200g brown sugar
300g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
150g chopped apple, tossed in lemon juice
75g sultanas

Soak the oats in the milk and lemon for an hour. Cream the sugar and butter together and add the eggs and oatmeal goo. Sift in the flour and other dry ingredients and continue to mix until smooth. Last but not least fold in the fruit.

Spoon into muffin cases and bake at gas 6 for 25 minutes.

A raspberry ripple with a tipple

It’s Burns night tomorrow and while you’ll definitely have your Haggis, Neeps and Tatties sorted for tea, have you thought about what to have for pudding? The idea of a Cranachan / Cheesecake hybris has been being pondered in the Stovies kitchen for a while and yesterday we finally got down to laying out a recipe.

It tastes a little more delicate and fun than the dish that inspired it and as it looks rather romantic so you could even give it a try for Valentines if you miss Burns Night. This recipe will make six individual cheesecakes or one large one.

Cranachan Cheesecake

150g Rough/handmade type oatcakes. We used Your Piece Porridge Oatcakes
100g Melted butter
300g Fresh raspberries
2 tbsp Runny honey
1 tbsp Whisky – it needs to be a nice smooth/mild one as too much smoke or peat would overpower things. We used Monkey Shoulder
600g Cream cheese
200ml Water
2 tsp Icing sugar
4 Gelatine leaves (or equivalent Vege-Gel)

Crush the oatcakes in a bowl and mix in the melted butter. Pour the crumbs into a 20cm springform cake tin – or into 6 chef rings on a greased baking tray and push down firmly with the back of a spoon. Put in the fridge to chill while you work on the cheesy part.

Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5-10 minutes, until they go floppy. In a pan bring the measured water to the boil, add the gelatine and stir until melted. Blitz 200g of the raspberries and mix with 100g of cream cheese and 1/3 of the warm gelatine mix. In another bowl combine the whisky, honey and remaining cream cheese and gelatine mix.

Take the biscuit base out of the fridge and pour the white mixture over the top. Spoon the pink mixture on top of this and then drag a spoon through to create a raspberry ripple effect, be rough enough to make sure that the ripples go deep into the mixture but be careful not to disturb the biscuit base. Tap firmly on the work surface to settle the mixture then chill for at least three hours in the fridge.

To make the coulis blitz the remaining raspberries (keep a few back for decorating), sieve to remove the pips then mix in the icing sugar and a little water. When you are ready to serve up, run a knife around the edge of the tin to make removing easier, top with the last raspberries and drizzle with coulis.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

We’re feeling a little festive today after a fine forray into Edinburgh’s Christmas market. These cranberry and orange biscotti are great dipped into a good cup of coffee or even better, Mulled Wine. If you’re good we’ll even give you the recipe for our special toasty beverage tomorrow!

75g Hazelnuts
75g Blanched almonds
75g Macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
100g Dried cranberries
100g Sultanas
150g Mixed peel
250g Plain flour
250g Caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 Large eggs
1 Orange, juiced and zested

Mix the sugar, flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add all of the fruit and nuts except the orange juice. Beat the eggs and pour in bit by bit, you should get a dough that feels sticky to the fingers. If isn’t quite coming together add a little of the orange juice to bring it to the right texture.

Split the dough into three and form into sausages about 1.5in thick. Lay onto greased baking trays at least 10cm apart. For simplicity one per tray works for me! Squash the sausages down a little to flatten them then bake at Gas Mark 4/ 180’c for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, which you need to turn down to Gas Mark 1/ 130’c, and allow to cool for 15 minutes to set before cutting into 1cm strips. Lay the newly cut strips out in the baking trays and put in the oven to bake for another 40 minutes, turning once.

Allow to cool and crisp up before munching storing in an air tight tub.