Wednesday, 29 December 2010

where have i been?

well, i trust everyone has had a good christmas? got some nice goodies to work with in the next few weeks, and am still figuring out a couple of excuses to use to get my hands on my brothers new baking cookbook :)

anyway, as per the title of the post, where has sarah been?

across the country, day and night, are thousands of a level students beavering away over their textbooks, in anticipation for the january exams. i am no exception. my tiny children's desk from ikea in the dim corner of my bedroom is now my best friend. it is where i spend around 5 hours a day, revising away, through fear of failure when results come.

something you guys should get used to if you follow my blog, is the fact that i am absolutely, 100% petrified of failure. failure in exams, class tests, assessments, coursework, even life itself. and not something i can see improving in the near future. i'm more scared of it than i am of getting sick, or having blood tests.

so, you may see the occasional post or recipe every now and again, but with exams looming just under 2 weeks away, i have to prioritise.

BUT DON'T WORRY - i'll be back to normal the weekend after exams finish, and that, my friends, is a promise.

ciao for now,
sarahhh xxx

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Baking wishlist!

ahhh christmas time already!?!? it feels like only yesterday when i was left reeling after results day and wondered where the hell did my summer go? i must remember to enjoy my summer next year!

so, as its my first christmas here at vanilla sugar, i thought i'd put up my baking wishlist! my parents don't actually know about my blog, so they just think i really like baking for the family (which i do of course)

top of my list is a cookbook, which is kinda obvious. i'm actually buying a couple of cookbooks for the family this year, but everyone knows that i get cookbooks that i would like to use as well. but why does it matter, if they are going to enjoy it as well? my dad always gets a whopping great cookbook (you know, the ones that weigh a million pounds) every year, it wouldn't be the same without the howling cry of someone who has dropped it on their foot, and this year my 11 year old brother has really gotten into baking (must be in the genes) so i bought him a book all of his own :) but i'd really really like a book for myself, maybe the hummingbird one - but i've heard mixed reviews about that one, so i'm not sure yet.

second, i would really really love a cake stand, like this one:
because its really not the same piling biscuits and cupcakes onto a plate, and this ones so pretty!

finally, i'd love a set of gel food colourings. recently i've found several recipes that i'd love to use, but liquid colourings just wouldn't work, and many a perfect icing has been ruined by colourings, also i'd love to give red velvet cakes a crack!

so, not that long a list this year, normally its about as long as my arm, but this year i thought i'd tone it down to a few things that i really really want rather than loads of things i like.

i am planning a series of christmas and leftover bakes, so don't worry, not all my posts will be so wordy!

in the meantime, whats on your wishlist?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Double Chocolate Brownies

double chocolate! i hear you cry! ahh yes, they are double chocolate in that they have chocolate and cocoa powder in them. don't underestimate these babies, cut them small, they are very rich and you won't be missing out by having a smaller piece!
this was tweaked slightly from the hugh fearnley-whittingstall one, but i think i changed it for the better :)
the consistency was somewhat in the middle of a cake batter and a bread dough, so i dont know if that was a result of my tweaks or if it was meant to be like that.
the surface was nothing like i expected it to be - it was really crumbly and quite hard, nothing like the shiny, cracked surface i was used to. nevertheless it didn't affect the quality of the brownie whatsoever!

200g good quality dark chocolate
250g butter
200g caster sugar
3 eggs
125g plain flour
50g cocoa

melt together the butter and the chocolate in a double boiler (bowl ontop of a saucepan of water)
whisk together the eggs and the sugar, and add the chocolate to the eggs, mixing thoroughly.
sift in the flour and the cocoa and stir in until completely mixed
pour into a foil lined square tin
put in the oven at 160 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until a knife pushed in the middle is only a little bit sticky

eat hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. yums.

Vanilla Shortbread Biscuits :)

alas, this is the post from two weeks ago, sorry about the delay, exam period so no time to spend working on this blog! we had no self raising flour in the house so i made some shortbread which didn't need any.
this is a very simple recipe that everyone should have in their kitchens and so should not have to do any extra shopping.
my recipe made 32 cookies, but of course this will vary on the size of your cutter and the thickness that you roll the dough.
silly sarah went and burnt her biscuits! but ahh well, they tasted fine anyway - or maybe my family are just great actors??

150g plain flour
5tsp cornflour
45g icing sugar
125g soft butter
few drops vanilla essence
caster sugar

sift the plain flour, corn flours and icing sugar together.
rub in the butter until you get fine breadcrumbs
add in a few drops of vanilla essence and bring together in a big ball of dough
turn out onto an unfloured surface and roll out with an unfloured pin to about 1/2cm thin
cut with a round cutter about 5cm in diameter and place onto a baking sheet (they won't spread)
place in the oven at 150 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
transfer to a cooling rack and immediatly sprinkle with some caster sugar when they are warm.

eat warm with a bit of jam. yums.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sorry Guys.

evening all. apologies for no post this week, i have one all lined up with pictures but have yet to find the time to write it up, this post is written in between emergency revision and maths homework. a couple of days until mocks start and i've suddenly realised the ginormous heap of revision i did do was actually not enough. i'll try and have the new post up in a few days, but i'm sure you can understand the situation i'm in at the moment :)