Thursday, 30 October 2014

Halloween skeleton cookies

As many of my regular readers will know I love baking and any excuse will get the oven on and the measuring scales out and as it's Halloween tomorrow what better than baking a batch of Ginger Bread men and decorating them as skeletons.
Halloween Skeleton ginger bread men

Halloween Skeleton ginger bread men

I'm thinking the next time I make then to attempt slightly more intricate decorating or maybe even try sugar skull designs. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Cyling in Cornwall

Looking at the surf forecast for today I quickly realised that the charging swell would be far to much for a learner surfer like myself  but i still want to keep fit over the winter months so this morning I decided that although overcast, very windy and a bit miserable I would get out and stretch my legs on my bike.

I was lucky enough to get a new bike for Christmas and although the first few months started of well with regular bike rides, as the summer arrived I was spending every available minute in the water. Earlier in the year I completed a round trip from my house to Mawgan Porth beach and back and another cycle that was one way to Padstow both routes around 20 miles.

Wanting to explore the Cornish countryside and stick to country roads where it is safer I headed to Google maps to plan today's route. Although similar to the Mawgan Porth route this time I headed inland via Trebudannon, Roseugeon, and Colan up through St Columb Minor to Porth Beach. Up the hill to Whipsiderry Beach and then onto Watergate Bay before heading back inland along the airport road back home to Ruthvoes.

Cycle routes in Cornwall
The route was 18.76 miles and took me just over 2 hours with about half an hour of stops for photographs and to enjoy the view at the beaches. My next challenge is to increase the distance past the 20 mile mark and maybe increase it up to the 30 mile mark and reach the south coast and back!
Colan Church Cornwall
Colan Church, about 5 miles into my route and the first stop for a photo.
Colan Church Cornwall

Colan Church Cornwall

Porth Beach
Porth beach just under 9 miles from my house.
Porth Beach

Whipsiderry beach
Whipsiderry beach up the hill from Porth Beach
Watergate Bay
My favourite spot Watergate bay, I really do love it here but I think I need to start cycling a few new routes in the opposite direction!
Having a cycle computer is great to push you and keep track of things, I managed to cycle 18.76 miles with a top speed of 32.6 miles an hour which I think is the fastest I've dared to go on my new bike but with my eyes streaming from the wind i'm not sure I could go much faster but it was definitely fun! 

Luckily the weather held off from soaking me, but the winds were still pretty strong making today one of the harder bike rides I have completed. I just can't wait for the next one :@)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Great Denby Bake Off

When I heard about the great denby bake off It was the perfect excuse to bake something special. When you live with just one other person you need a really good excuse to make a big cake or desert as you know that between just two people we would eat the whole thing and we can't do that too often!

Wanting to make something spectacular I decided on a recipe for banana cream pie. Now I know most people love banoffee pie topped with chocolate sprinkles but unfortunately I have an allergy to chocolate so a cream pie without the chocolate topping is perfect.

The recipe simply uses ready made pastry but as I didn't have any I decided to head over to my trusty Lorraine Pascale book and hunt down a suitable pastry recipe and settled on her honey shortcrust pastry.
Lorraine Pascale's A lighter way to bake

Lorraine Pascale Honey Pastry

Home made pastryHome made pastry
With the pastry case baked and cooled it was time to go back to the original recipe book, one of my favourites from Marks and Spencer, Grandmas best recipes to continue with my great banana bake off. 
Marks and Spencer Grandmas best recipe book Banana cream pie recipe
Banana cream pie recipeBanana cream pie recipe
I started by making the custard and to say I was a bit nervous about making custard from scratch was an understatement. In our house we have had one of those pots of birds custard powder and every time I have attempted to even make this part made custard it's gone totally wrong leaving me with an inedible, lumpy and often burnt mess.  However this recipe must be super easy, because the not only did my custard work but the recipe does actually say to strain! but my custard was so perfect and smooth it didn't need it, 
Homemade vanilla custard
With the custard cooling it was onto cutting the banana's and soaking them in Lemon juice before assembling them in my pastry case. 
Banana Pie
With the banana's neatly in place and the  custard cooled it was time to put the custard into my pie, top with cream then add the sprinkles. Although I can't have chocolate a great substitute is the use of a caramac bar.
Banana cream pie

  The pie was simply amazing but sadly there is only so much cream pie two people can eat and even this was too much for us and some sadly went to waste. Next time i'll make a desert that last longer than a few days!