My Great British Bake Off: Gluten-Free Vicky Sponge & Pecan Banana Bread

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So this week I went into complete mourning. NO MORE MARY BERRY. FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR. Needless to say, I haven’t taken the end of Great British Bake Off well. But to my housemates delight, I decided to throw myself into an afternoon of baking to relieve my despair! The results.. if i do say so myself.. WERE PRETTY DAMN SEXY. And so I feel obliged to share the sexiness with you all. If you get your bake on, let me know, give me a tweet @koko91, so I can see the yumminess that ensues.

To kick us off on this epic journey of calories and icing sugar…

MY GLUTEN-FREE VICKY SPONGE

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 Ingredients

Makes enough for 12 (Or One hungry person!). Two sponges plus filling!

– Milk (6 tbsp)

– Strawberries (Two punnets will do!)

– Gluten- Free Baking Powder (2 tsp)

– Vanilla Extract (4tsp)

– Double Cream (300ml)

– Two Eggs

– Strawberry Jam

– Butter (300g)

– Caster Sugar (300g)

– Gluten-free Flour (300g)

– Icing Sugar (2tbsp)

SO HOW DO I MAKE THIS DELECTABLE GLUTEN-FREE YUMMINESS I HEAR YOU ASK? Follow the instructions below my cake munching friends…

1) Pre-heat your oven to about 180 degrees Celsius and line your baking tin(s) with butter. I baked one cake at a time due to me only having one tin. This is fine and allows time for the cake to cool so can be pretty useful!

2) Cream together your butter and caster sugar until its super fluffy and smooth.

3) Add in your eggs and vanilla extract. Beat it like Michael Jackson.

4) Add your flour and baking powder slowly. Mix it in but not toooo vigorously otherwise you lose those ever precious air bubbles. Be gentle and glorious cake shall be yours!

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5) Add your milk. Don’t be alarmed if your mixture is a bit sloppy! Once all combined,split between two baking tins (or leave half to cook later!)

6) Pop them in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean!

7) Once finished, pop them on a wire rack to cool. AND LET THEM COOL DOWN DAMMIT. Or your cream shall become a sloppy mess. Speaking of cream..

8) TIME TO PREPARE THE FILLING. Finely slice a punnet of strawberries, about a cm thick, lengthways. Once the bottom sponge is cooled, slather in yummy jam and arrange your strawberry slices.

9) Combine your double cream and icing sugar in a bowl. WHISK VIGOROUSLY. This will hurt. It will ache. BUT IT IS WORTH IT WHEN YOU SEE THOSE PEAKS OF GLORY. So when you can lift your whisk out of the bowl and it creates little peaks that stand on end, YOU ARE DONE. Pop this bad boy in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

10) Once cooled, pop into a piping bag and pipe that cream onto your strawberries. Because cream must always be piped. Add your second cake layer on top, dust with icing sugar and add strawberries to garnish. VOILA. GLUTEN-FREE CAKEY YUMMINESS. Enjoy!

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AND IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH… I HAVE A SECOND RECIPE BECAUSE I AM SUCH A SHARING, CARING INDIVIDUAL. 

THE BANANA AND PECAN WONDER LOAFbananaingredients

 Ingredients

Makes enough for about 10 people. Or two people who want to devour the entire thing with a cup of tea. I used my fancy cups   for this recipe so I have included this and the converted measurements for you!

– 4 medium sized bananas, roasted and mashed.

– Caster Sugar (300g or 1 1/2 Cups)

– Milk (120ml or 1/2 cup)

– Vanilla Extract (1 tsp)

– Cinnamon

– 2 Eggs

– Pecans (1 packet or 200g, chopped roughly)

– Butter (115g or 1/2 cup)

– Self-Raising Flour (400g or 2 1/2 cups)

SO BANANA LOVERS LETS BEGIN!!

1) Preheat your oven again and butter up your bread tin!

2) I didn’t have ripe bananas, but i KNEW i wanted banana bread. SO I ROASTED THEM. SHOCK HORROR THIS WORKS AND IS AMAZING. I popped my 4 bananas on a baking tray, in the oven for 10-20 minutes, until they were completed black and shiny. Some banana juice seeps out but that’s all good. Then squeeze out the yumminess and mash up in a bowl ready for later. You can also just mash up some overripe bananas to use them up, which is what people normally do. BUT NOW YOU CAN DO IT ANYTIME YAY!

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3) Whilst your banana’s are roasting, it’s time to caramelize your pecans. Melt some butter in a pan with 2tbsp of sugar and a dash of cinnamon (to your taste). Add in your pecans and let them get coated in the sugary, cinnamony, syrupy goodness. Once fully coated, leave on the side to cool.

4) Pecans coated and bananas mashed, cream together your butter and sugar until super smooth and creamy, and then add your mashed bananas, vanilla extract and milk.

5) Gently fold in your flour until the mixture is smooth, then add in your caramelized pecans. (Leave a few pecans aside to decorate the top of your banana bread!)

6) Pour the mixture into your bread tin and allow to cook for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Keep an eye on your load, if you see the top begin to brown prematurely cover with some tinfoil. It will be ready when a skewer comes out of the loaf clean (it’s pretty moist and gooey because of the banana so you may get a touch on your skewer. USE YOUR COMMON SENSE PEEPS!)

7) Allow to cool on a wire rack, top with your leftover caramelized pecans, and then serve with a MASSIVE CUP OF TEA. PERFECTION.

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ENJOY BAKING MY LOVELIES!

– KOKO X

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A European Feast of YUMMINESS: Bruschetta and Baked Salmon with a Mustard Creme Sauce

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Good Evening all,

Well i should have posted this recipe on Sunday a couple of weeks ago during our Eurovision hangovers, but it took me longer than i thought to get over the beards, booing and breasts… (Really Poland..? REALLY?) BUT I PROMISED I WOULD BRING YOU A RECIPE AND FINALLY IT IS HERE! For those who know me well, i consider myself a foodie and a secret chef. I’m actually not that skilled a cook, but somehow seem to have possessed my Dad’s knack for putting a meal together. So I thought it was about time I start sharing the foodie love and put some very simple and massively yummy recipes on my blog. And so without much ado, i introduce my FIRST EVER MEAL for your enjoyment!

I wanted to keep things European for my Eurovision feast and so took some inspiration from Italy for my starter and tried to keep it more Scandinavian for the main course (in honour of the Danish hosts of Eurovision). It took me all of 20 mins to prep and barely any cooking time, so if you’re new to cooking HAVE A GO! You’ll really impress your friends/family/partner/cat and they won’t have a clue that you are actually a secret chef like me! So let us begin…

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BRUSCHETTA

For a quick, easy and massively delicious starter, my Bruschetta recipe is definitely the way to go (Sorry Pizza Express!)

You will need (for two people):

  • A ciabatta loaf
  • 1 red onion
  • Half a punnet of Baby Plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of Pesto
  • Salt and Pepper

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  1. Start by setting your grill to a medium heat, and begin by slicing your ciabatta into 2cm thick slices.
  2. Slice your baby plum tomatoes in half and roughly chop your red onion.
  3. Place your slices of ciabatta on the grill to toast slightly.
  4. Mix your tomatoes and red onion with the balsamic vinegar.
  5. Once the ciabatta is slightly toasted, present on your plate topped with tomato and onion mixture. Top with a small dollop of bruschetta and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Scoff with italian GUSTO!

And now for the main attraction…

BAKED SALMON WITH A MUSTARD CREME SAUCE

And here’s what you’re gonna need for two of you:

  • 2 fillets of Salmon
  • Wholegrain Mustard
  • Two heaped tbsp of creme fraiche
  • Pickled red cabbage
  • 5/6 medium sized potatoes (peeled and chopped into quarters)
  • 1 lemon
  • Knob of butter
  • 2 tbsp Milk

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  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Grease some foil with Olive Oil, place your salmon within the centre dressed with lemon slices, and create a parcel. Meanwhile, place your peeled, chopped potatoes into some boiling salted water.
  3. Whilst the salmon and potatoes cook, place your wholegrain mustard and creme fraiche in a pan on a low heat, and slowly melt to create a thick creamy sauce.
  4. Mash your potatoes with milk and butter and (if you’re feeling fancy) place in a cylindrical mold on the plate. Pack tightly and top with pickled red cabbage. Remove from mold. (Your pickled cabbage will be quite sharp so use as much as you feel you can handle!)
  5. Place your foil-baked salmon on the plate and top with your mustard cream sauce.
  6. SIMPLES. Enjoy my little chickens!

I hope this inspires at least ONE person to get chef-fy this coming bank holiday – Who doesn’t want to impress with this easy dinner for a lazy summer weekend? Please feel free to send me your comments on the recipe and share your pictures.

Lots of summer love,

Koko xx