Category Archives: seasonal baking

Christmas Muffins!!

Righto chaps, just one last chance to get a post in before the Christmas break. Here’s one I actually did for Leeds CAMRA’s New Full Measure Magazine this month, but thought I’d share it for those of you who don’t get it in your part of the world. They don’t take long at all to make, and once you’ve got the hang of it, you can tweak the recipe as you see fit.
Christmas Muffins (makes 9)
You will Need:
200g plain flour
3tspn baking powder
½ tspn Bicarbonate of Soda
75g Demerara Sugar
Pinch of Nutmeg, pinch of cinnamon
An orange
50ml Milk
60g Unsalted Butter (melted)
1 large egg
200g Sultanas & 25g chopped Glace Cherries
A Muffin Tin

1. Preheat your oven to 200c
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, and sugar. To this, add Nutmeg and Cinnamon. Melt your butter and leave to cool. Get your orange, and squeeze the juice into a jug, then add milk until you get about 150ml. Add the (cooled) butter, milk and orange to the mix and then add the egg and beat. Don’t be worried about lumps in the mix – this actually makes better muffins!
3. Fold in the fruit and scoop into muffin cases.
4. Sprinkle a little Demerara sugar onto the top of each muffin and bake for about 20 minutes.

These muffins can be a great accompaniment for warming, fruity beers such as Theakston’s Old Peculier. I’ve also enjoyed these (or variations of) with Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, Chimay Red and Moorhouse’s Black Cat. The spices in the muffins perfectly compliment the complexity of deeper, richer beers that are abundant at this time of year. And, when baking, the house smells great.
Have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year, guys. Cheers.
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>An Easter Treat

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…A warm Hot Cross Bun, smeared with a generous helping of Tangerine Marmalade, and a Budwieser Budvar Dark. Although you may think it a little thin, the yeastiness of the bread really works with the lager, and the gentle Saaz hoppiness accompanies those citrus fruits in the bun and the marmalade perfectly. Give it a try.

>Plum Crumble Slice

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Now the evenings are getting darker, my mind is slipping into ‘comfort food mode’. Which means taking advantage of all those great fruits out there and cooking them until they turn to mush, then slapping a topping on them. I love it.

Plum Crumble Slice
You will need:
About 10 plums
1 Apple (Doesn’t really matter what kind but i’ve got a thing for Pink Ladies at the moment – oo-er!)
A handful of sultanas
Lemon Juice, Cinnamon & Nutmeg
1oz Sugar
For the Pastry –
200g Plain Flour
145g Butter, cubed
2oz Caster Sugar
A Beaten egg
For the Crumble topping -85g Softened Butter, 85g Plain Flour, 85g Soft Brown Sugar,1og Ground Almonds

1. The pastry is made by rubbing the flour and butter together until breadcrumbs are formed, then adding the beaten egg to it (in stages) to bring it together. You won’t need all of the egg, and the dough should be just sticky, but not wet. Cover the ball in cling film and chill for 45 minutes.

2. Prepare your fruit. Peel and core the apple and put in a bowl with the plums which should also be cored and chopped however you want them. Sprinkle with the Sugar, lemon juice, and spices, mix, and cover.

3. Heat the oven to 200c. Make the topping by making the breadcrumbs again, but this time with all that sugar in. You want the breadcrumbs lumpier this time, though.

4. Roll the chilled pastry flat, not too thin, and line the baking dish with it, making edges and a tart-style base. Arrange your fruit in the base, and then top with the crumble. Don’t waste any juices the fruit may have made.

5. Cook for 20 mins on 200c to brown the top, then drop to 180c for another 30 mins to cook through.

Serve hot, with Vanilla Ice-Cream, of course. I had no beer with this, but if I would, I’d have gone for a Schneider Aventinus, or a Chimay Red. The cinnamon flavours would go really well with those beers, I think…

>Blackberry Slices – In The Bag!!

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Inspired by Scott @ Real Epicurian’s ‘In The Bag’ promotion, The Good Stuff set about creating a seasonal treat for the start of Autumn. And seeing as though my good lady had been ransacking the Blackberry bush at the end of our street for a month or so now, that seemed like a good place to start.

Here is what we came up with – nothing fancy, but great with a cup of tea and Seinfeld box set on an ever-darkening night…

Blackberry Tray Bake

You will need:
225g Soft margerine
225g Caster Sugar
275g Self-Raising Flour
2 tspns baking Powder
4 Eggs
4 tbs Milk
Icing sugar (To decorate)
100g Blackberries – or about 20!

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C, 350f or gas mark 4.
2. Grease and base line a 12×9 inch roasting tin or shallow tin with greaseproof paper.
3. Measure your ingredients in a large bowl and beat well for a couple of minutes until blended.
4. Turn the mixture into the tin, and level the top.
5. Add the Blackberries in lines – you want to get about 3 to a slice. Lay them on top (they will sink during baking).
6. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the cake has pulled away from the sides.
7. Leave to cool (overnight, if you wish)
8. Decorate top with some icing sugar in whatever way you want.
9. Slice and enjoy!
If you want, you could add some berries to the top also, for prettiness! as you can see, it’s fairly basic but was delicious!

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