Crystallised Ginger -Easy Recipe no Thermometer needed.

Hello my Cakers Bakers and Beauties.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, (if you celebrated it in any way) and Heri Za Kwanzaa!

Today’s Principle is : Kujichagalia (Self-Determination) -To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Now on to the recipe!

I made this Crystallised Ginger as a present for my Grandad, he really enjoys Crystallised Ginger and every year some one in the family buys some for him, but this year I decided to make it myself!

This recipe is so easy, you don’t even need a set of scales or a sugar thermometer. I know some people think that making sweets is hard or complicated and some recipes are, but trust me this one is very simple and worth the time and effort, plus Ginger is really good for you, even though it’s going to be covered in sugar you still get the healthy benefits. Ginger is known as a natural treatment/cure for nausea, loss of appetite, flatulence, motion sickness and stomach upset. Personally I have used it to help with my frequent chest infections, coughs and colds. Ginger has also been known to help ease the symptoms of arthritis, menstrual cramps and muscle pain.

Disclaimer: I am not a Healer, a Doctor, a Herbalist or anything like that, I’m not telling you to eat Ginger instead of going to your GP or Physician, I’m just letting you know that it has helped me and people around me with the above issues.

Ginger is Yummy and that is why you should try this recipe.

All you need is:

Fresh Ginger

Chopping Board

Sharp Knife

Spoon

Sugar (or crystallised sugar substitute such as Xylitol)

Large Saucepan

Water

Measuring Jug

Wire Rack

Large plate or bowl

1. Buy fresh ginger. The roots should be firm. I froze my ginger first, it makes it easier to peel and cut up but you don’t have to freeze yours, you can do it from room temperature or chilled, up to you.

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2. Peel the ginger. It’s easier if you use the side of a spoon to scrape the peel away and you don’t waste any ginger going around the knobbly bits.

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3. Chop the ginger–in chunks or slices, it’s totally up to you. I cut mine into different sized chunks that way the heat would be different in each piece.

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4. Put the ginger in a saucepan. Use the measuring jug to measure the amount of water you put in. Put in enough water to cover the ginger.

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5. Put an equal amount of sugar in the pan, literally add the sugar to the same level the water was in the measuring jug – that’s why you needed to measure the water you added.

6. Boil for 45 minutes or so. The ginger will shrink at bit and deepen in colour as it cooks, mine deepened a lot as I used half Muscavado Sugar and half Golden Caster Sugar. Keep an eye on your Gingery goodness as it can boil over if left alone, also it will be very very hot once the sugar/water starts boiling.

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7. Drain the syrup off the ginger. Save the syrup! It’s very hot, but once it’s cooled down you can use it for so many things, alcoholic or non alcoholic ginger beer, pancakes, fruit salads, cocktails, ginger tea, cakes, etc.

8. Lay the hot ginger pieces onto a wire rack and let it dry for several hours or overnight. Make sure the pieces aren’t touching as they dry.

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9. Once your ginger is dry (it will not be bone dry it will still be slightly sticky) put some more sugar in a bowl or on a plate and toss the ginger pieces in the sugar. Mine was still too wet the first time round so I had to lay them out to dry again.)

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Once they are dry you can eat them or store them in an air tight container.

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Luv

Sian

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My First Three Tired Wedding Cake!

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After the Cake was cut

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

This wedding cake gave me nightmares for weeks on end, it was a wedding cake for a very dear friend of mine and I didn’t want to mess it up. I don’t have photos of the stages because I was concentrating too hard during the process and didn’t have time to mess about taking or posing for pictures.

The bottom layer is a 12″ vanilla cake with home made raspberry conserve and Dominican Republic Vanilla Buttercream.

The middle layer is 10″ rich chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.

The top tier is a Lemon Drizzle cake.

I covered the cake in an Ivory coloured sugarpaste, it’s made by Renshaw and the colour is called “celebration”.

The bride and groom wanted a very simple Ivory cake with Gold accents, because of their religious beliefs they couldn’t have a mini bride and groom cake topper, but the bride had said she was going to leave a topper at the venue on the day so I could put it on top then.

After a precarious journey with the fully assembled cake I arrived at the venue to find no topper! After trying to communicate with staff at the venue – a massive waste of time, another friend of the bride turned up and informed me that the bride didn’t like the topper when it arrived so she decided not to leave it at the venue. The cake looked so unfinished that I grabbed a few roses from a centre piece and laid them on the top of the cake, it wasn’t perfect but it was better than nothing.

In total the cake took me about 18 hours to bake and assemble, I spent weeks and weeks on the prep, I know I could have done it in stages and spent a week doing it, but that’s not my style and I wanted the cakes to be as fresh as possible.

I did enjoy making the cake but it was so stressful I’m not sure if I’d do it again.

I’ve made a Croquembouche before for someone’s wedding anniversary and it was a breeze compared to this, I don’t particularly like working with sugarpaste though….

Yes I know the cake is crooked and I know what I did wrong, my dowels were not all the exact same length, the difference was in millimetres though and when I finally went to bed the cake looked straight to me. Also my sugarveil was applied in a slanted fashion which made the cake look more crooked than it was, but again it look straight when I put it on.

The bride and groom were delighted with their cake but I was horrified at the crooked-ness, I wanted to throw a sheet over it and cut it up quickly but that wasn’t really an option, I also wanted to apologise every single time someone took a photo of it, but again not an option.

I was so sad when I set it down and it was crooked I wanted to cry, I really did. I put my heart and soul and so much careful planning into the cake for it to be crooked on the day. I was actually very angry at myself but since I was also a guest at the wedding I couldn’t brood about it all day.

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Cutting the Cake

Congratulations Mr and Mrs “D”! 

To respect the couple’s privacy, I’m not posting any photos of them but here are a couple of pictures of me and my lovely  hubby!

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The person who took this photo didn’t know what to do and almost dropped my camera this is why my face looks like this!

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That’s Better!

For the readers interested in hair who read this far, Thank you so much! Just for you I’ll throw in some hair talk…

I wore my hair in a high bun and managed to get some “baby hurr” going on at the front, instead of a hat I wore an oversized bow in black & cream and leopard print.

Luv

Sian

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Hairy Old Nuts!

Hello My Cakers Bakers & Beauties!

Sorry for the misleading title, I know a coconut is actually a fruit….

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I have had that mature coconut sitting in my fruit bowl since Bank Holiday Monday 27th May, it was looking at me all…

“what are you going to do with me? “

“you’d better eat me before I go bad!”

“you wouldn’t even know if I have already gone bad would you?”

I was tired of the accusing stares from it’s 3 eyes and so I decided to make a coconut cake, well duh! what else was I going to do with it!?

The trouble was I’ve never had to deal with a mature coconut before, I’m much more familiar with the young green “jelly” coconuts:

jelly coconut

 I read online that you should put it in the oven first @ 180 degrees  for 15 minutes to shrink the flesh from the shell and make it easier to open.

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So after taking the coconut out of the oven with my bare hand (like an idiot) I left it to cool down a bit and then searched for the “eyes” so I could poke a hole in them and drain the “water” out. I feel so ashamed to say I was looking for ages before I had the idea to take some of the hair off to find the eyes:

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Once I’d given the coconut a “big chop” I found the eyes and I proceeded to use anything and everything I could think of (knives, skewers, wine bottle opener, screwdriver, electric screwdriver) to gouge a few holes into the coconut to drain the water out, finally a small paring knife and brute force got me in! After all that effort this is how much coconut water I ended up with:

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It was full of coconut hair and shell too!

Next I decided to tackle the task of separating the flesh from the shell, I knew I could have chucked it in a bag and stomped on it, but I didn’t fancy the idea of picking out loads of  tiny bits of shell, a few massive whacks sharp taps with the hammer and victory was mine!

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I was then able to break the shell into a few smaller bits and the flesh did come away from the shell quite easily.

I grated the flesh with a regular cheese grater and was left with about 6oz of coconut flesh. While I was grating it the pure coconut oil was released so I had the bonus of lovely soft moisturised hands when I finished.

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It doesn’t look like much but I was able to make two cakes with the above water/flesh, I made a coconut loaf cake and a round 9 inch cake, I also added some of the coconut water to the cake mix and spooned it over the top of the cakes while they were still warm.

 I don’t have a photo of the cakes, I’m so sorry but I’m going to make them again and take photos next time I promise.

The difference in using fresh coconut instead of dessicated is huge! The cakes were much more moist and flavoursome plus I left a few of the pieces of coconut whole so throughout the cake there were little crunchy bites of coconutty yumminess!

I used this recipe as a guideline but did my own thing as usual.

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/entertaining/fresh-coconut-layer-cake.html

If you like coconut try it out for yourself!

Luv

Sian

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