Tuesday 8 November 2011

Bang !

I can't believe it.  It takes me six months to enter my first challenge and then I somehow manage to enter two in one week!  Karen's at Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked launch "Tea Time Treats" and a challenge of "Bonfire Treats and Ginger".

The first thing that sprang to mind of course was gingerbread and although obvious, I love gingerbread so much that once I had thought of it, I then couldn't get it out of my mind again.  So I started checking out a few recipes and was somewhat surprised to find that my favourite was by Nigella Lawson.  I absolutely hate Nigella Lawson.  I can't bear her programs. How to entertain, if you live in a 10 million pound house in Belgravia for your super-rich friends.  I really relate to that! How can that be mainstream T.V?  How many people can actually afford to live like that?  And I hate the way she gorges herself straight from the fridge, stuffing big chunks of cake in her mouth.  Sexy?  It makes me feel sick.  It is the sort of thing you do if you get home after a night out drinking, completely pissed. Well, I do anyway.  But I am not proud of it.

Nigella actually used one of my recipes in her first book How to Cook.  She came to my restaurant The Cow Dining Room and had Seville Orange Curd Tart and liked it so much she asked for the recipe.  And she credited me and everything, so all very nice.  And she was very nice, but then she did something that really annoyed me. She change one ingredient.  I think she changed caster sugar for light muscavado. Like it made all the difference.  So, anyway, when I found her rather lovely sounding Gingerbread recipe or "Sticky Gingerbread" as of course she called it, I was determined to change it.  Now she would know how it felt!

I was at first tempted to change the dark Muscavado sugar for Molasses sugar.  That would teach her.  But then I actually came up with a really good idea.  I just thought about what I really liked with ginger and the first thing that sprang to mind was Cardamon.  So taken was I by this idea that I even looked it up in my Flavour Thesaurus and discovered that they are in fact the same family, which I never knew.  Anyway it is a lovely addition to this very delicious recipe.  

But was it bonfirey enough for a bonfire challenge.  Maybe not.  So I had my first attempt at cake pops, which I gave a firework theme, with a variety of sparkly decorations and just to give them a little more bang, I added some popping candy but I have to admit where a little more challenging than I had anticipated and all in all, I don't think they were nearly as delicious as the cake.  Anyway, I think that is enough challenges for one week!

Ginger Bread

150g butter
200g golden syrup
200g black treacle or molasses
125g dark muscovado sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons of freshly ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 2 x 15ml tablespoons warm water
250ml full-fat milk
2 eggs, beaten to mix
300g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3 and line a roasting tin or oven-proof dish (approx. 30cm x 20cm x 5cm) with Bake-O-Glide, foil or baking parchment (if using foil, grease it too).

In a saucepan, melt the butter over a lowish heat along with the sugar, syrup, treacle, fresh and ground gingers, cinnamon and cloves. Take off the heat, and add the milk, eggs and dissolved bicarbonate of soda in its water. 
Measure the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. It will be a very liquid batter, so don’t worry. This is part of what makes it sticky later.  Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 45–60 minutes until risen and firm on top. Try not to overcook, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools.Transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool in the tin before cutting into 20 squares, or however you wish to slice it.   Makes 20 squares


  1. What a wonderful entry and thanks so much for entering the tea time treats challenge. I adore gingerbread and this looks exactly as I like it, dark and sticky! I LOVE your come back at Nigella too, made me laugh! I am now off to check out your recipe in her book and I will try it out with the correct ingredients too, caster sugar!
    Great story and it's so lovely to meet someone new through out tea time treats event too.

  2. I'm so impressed that Nigella asked for and used your recipe! I actually quite like to watch her as she has become a parody of herself and if you look at it as a sort of spoof programme you can get over the money and the taxi rides to Neal's Yard! Love your gingerbread and watch out...those challenges are addictive!

  3. This looks really good. So cool that Nigella asked for your recipe. Love the idea of cardamon. The cake pops are great too!

  4. Thank you ever so much for your entry- and I loved reading the backstory of the bake. Funnily enough I've always fancied that particular recipe - its great to hear more about its origin and I now know exactly how to bake it!


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