Month: September 2014

Nectarine and rhubarb crumble with oaty marzipan topping recipe

Nectarine and rhubarb crumbleI love rhubarb and I’m lucky enough to have a lovely next door neighbour who shares her crop with us. It’s always big and pink and delicious (thanks Liz). A few weeks ago we were invited round to Tim’s parents for lunch and armed with a bunch of the pretty pink stuff I decided that I would make a crumble to take with us. It was a good decision.

When thinking about what to make with rhubarb, a crumble always seems like such an obvious choice don’t you think? That’s why after a few years of coming up with recipes for this blog I have avoided it. (apart from here!) But let’s face it. Rhubarb is damn good. So I decided that I would glam it up a bit – if you can call nectarines glam. We really enjoyed the crumble after our main meal. There’s something about all that crunch with a hint of marzipan that just works.

I liked this crumble so much that a few days after the meal I discovered one lone, slightly sad looking stick of rhubarb lurking at the bottom of my fridge with the peppers and onions. I decided to make a mini crumble just for me (yeah right – with Darcey in the house!) It was soooo good. This crumble translates for any amount of settings whether it’s one or 32! And if you don’t like any of these fruits just swap them in for something else. As long as you keep the weight of the fruit the same it will still work perfectly.

Nectarine and rhubarb crumble recipe

Nectarine and rhubarb crumble with oaty marzipan topping recipe

(serves 8-10)

For the crumble topping

  • 75g plain flour
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 75g oats
  • 75g butter- at room temperature
  • 30g marzipan cut up into really little pieces

For the filling

  • 10g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 450g rhubarb – chopped into small pieces
  • 350g nectarines – cut into slices.
  1. Heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan 160ºC)
  2. In a bowl cut the butter up into small pieces and add the sugar, flour and oats. Rub together with your fingers until completely combined but still crumbly. Add the marzipan and make sure it’s well coated. I like to squeeze a few handfuls of the mix in my fists to make larger clumps. It browns up nicely and adds to the crumbly effect. Place the crumble topping in a sandwich bag in the fridge till the filling is ready.
  3. Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a deep frying pan (don’t let it get too hot- you don’t want the butter to burn). Add the sugar until it’s dissolved and then add the rhubarb and cook for 5 minutes. Set to one side to cool slightly.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the rhubarb and nectarine pieces together then place in the pie dish and layer the crumble on top. Bake immediately in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes or until the crumble starts to brown around the edges.
  5. Serve with a generous helping of custard and enjoy.

Nectarine and rhubarb crumble yumminess

EmmaMT x

An Extra slice. The filming

 

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Last Sunday I was lucky enough to be invited to the filming of The Great British Bake Off’s ‘An Extra Slice’. Cristina the chief organiser behind the Bromley ‘Free Cakes For Kids’ charity requested six tickets and invited some of the team to go with her. Do you think we were happy about it ?(enter cheesy, blurry selfie! below!) photo 2

Yes, we were excited. We had to arrive at The London Studios for 3pm (which I did by the skin of my teeth – sorry ladies) and get wrist bands. We had priority bands due to Cristina’s tickets but I think that just meant that we would definitely get in. Waiting, waiting, waiting

The queue was pretty long by 3.05pm. That pic is just a fraction of the line of bakers waiting to get in.

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So what happens during filming?

We were directed into a main room and were asked to sit and wait. The producer came and spoke to us explaining what was going to happen for the rest of the day. We were given timings and told that it would take until around 8.30pm to complete the filming. It was 3.30pm. The hall had a wall of glass windows and it was really sunny making the room super hot. We were glad there were refreshments available to buy. Ice cold Sprite (whilst on a water only 30 day challenge!) Don’t mind if I do – Ooops!

Last weeks episode of the GBBO was put on the big screens at the front of the room. There were a few groans because let’s face it- if you’re there you’ve probably already seen last weeks show! But that was just for background noise. Then we were asked to sign a rather long and detailed confidentiality form swearing that we wouldn’t say who went out. We were going to get to see next weeks (yesterday’s) episode a whole four days early. Yep. We were really happy about that too!

It was during this hour that the production runners came and looked at all the bakes everyone had brought in. Kim had made a cake in the shape of our charity’s badge (which you can see us all wearing- just for Jo Brand. Unfortunately the cake wasn’t selected. We were competing with a naked Paul Hollywood and a carrot Mary Berry and Jo was “very busy” and basically not accepting cakes so Lucy took it into work the next day and sold slices for charity instead. It did look mighty good. Jo missed out there! Us in our badgesFCFK cake

Then it was time to take our seats (second row in the middle in case you’re looking). We all removed our wrist bands and sat in the audience seats. Those whose cakes were selected sat at the front at the tables and while the next episode was screened the runners went about making sure each bake had a plate or cake stand to display it on.

It was really great to be watching an episode in secret like that with a whole load of bakers. I mean it’s great to watch with Tim at home but this was a real experience. We all oohed and ahhed at the same time and picked up things that non-bakers just wouldn’t see. It felt like an exclusive club.

There was a great warm up guy who was really funny. He introduced Jo Brand and then the filming began. It was now around 5.15pm. The guests this week are really funny- (I don’t think I can say who they are but you haven’t got long to wait) We saw loads of funny bakes which were emailed in. The audience bakes were really funny and Jo Brand is just so down to earth and natural you just feel like you know her. She really made me laugh.

Watching the lighting and cameras was really interesting. Also the set is fab. The paintings either side of the main kitchen area are amazing and the propping is excellent. Not to mention the furniture mix.

At 8.30pm, starving hungry having just watched cake for nearly five hours it was all over. It was a great experience and I would definitely do it again. All that’s left to say is thanks Cristina for inviting us. We had a chance to have a really catch up and shared a really great experience.

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An Extra Slice is a Love Films production. Tickets are still available for future shows. Visit their Facebook page for contact details.

 

EmmaMT

Darcey’s Owl Birthday cake

Darcey's Owl Birthday cake

So, here we are again. Darcey’s birthday! Eight already! Seriously when will she stop getting so big? I know she’ll never stop being cheeky. I mean just look at her weilding that knife. “I want to cut the cake right down the middle” she said. Most people say “Oh, I love the cake. I don’t want to cut it” But not my kids. Give them a knife nearly twice their size and they’ll chop right down through the head!Darcey's owl chopping cake

Darcey is mad keen on owls all of a sudden so it was a no brainer what cake she would want for her 8th Birthday sleepover party. The thing with having an August birthday is that nearly all of her friends were away on holiday when it was her party. Even Beau was at scout camp. This meant that the cake only needed to feed 4 little wrigglers.
Owl Birthday Cake

To start with we made the sky base for the stand. Darcey insisted on helping – which lasted for all of 10 minutes. We added some white balls of sugarpaste to the blue before rolling it out to create the clouds then positioned the sugarpaste onto the cake stand and cut it to fit.

TRay bake Madeira Cake

As we only needed a small cake I made a Madeira cake in a disposable tin (one of these fab ones from Lakeland) I knew I could cut out four circles to make the shape of the owl’s body. For the arms I turned the off cuts into crumbs and added a small amount of buttercream. Mixed it all together and made wings for the sides. The buttercream meant that the wings just stuck to the side of the body easily.

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I layered up the four circles of madeira cake with raspberry jam and buttercream then shaped them so they were smooth. A quick crumb coating then the arms were added.  The chocolate sugarpaste was rolled out and placed over the whole body. I smoothed it with my hands until it was neat, then removed the excess paste. Owl cake

To decorate the wings I cut out loads and loads of leaves from blue icing and layered them up – starting at the bottom and working my way up to the top. I did the same process for the body but here I used an oval cutter. The ears and beak came next then the eyes, eyelashes and flower. To finish off I created a blossom branch with flowers for the owl to stand on. A couple of yellow feet and she was done… in the nick of time!

Darcey was pretty happy with the end result but then again she knew she would be. She drew me a plan of exactly what she wanted the cake to look like and what colour each element was to be right down to the eye lashes and flower.

Darcey's owl drawing

Happy Birthday gorgeous, cheeky, sticky Darcey doodles. We love you so.

Love Mamma

aka EmmaMT

 

 

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