Sunday, 30 September 2012

Dumpsy Dearie Jam and Tea Time Treats for October

I'd always categorized jam making as something a bit complex, a bit too tricky and filed it away, alongside croquonbouche and Will-n-Kate's wedding cake in the baking folder in my mind labelled 'Far too hard and far too likely to fail'. 

Note: That particular folder sits alongside 'Bakes that looked nothing like the picture' and 'No-one-ate-those-ones Bakes'

That was until my sister, an excellent Jam maker, showed that, actually, not only is it very possible to make a batch of sticky, sweet, fruity jam but it is an exceedingly pleasurable way to gently pass a couple of hours of an Autumnal evening.

The rhythmic chopping of seasonal fruit; the orderly, meticulous sterilising of the assorted jars; the stirring of the sticky sugar and softening fruit; the agreeable aroma of sweetened conserve filling the kitchen; the liberal spreading of the cooling jam over warm crumpets. 

And Autumn, with the glut of seasonal fruit available is just made for Jam making.

Which is why this month's Tea Time Treats theme is (you've guessed it):

Jam, Chutneys, Curds and Conserves

The full details about the challenge can be found here. Please email your jams and conserves to by 28th October 2012 to be included in round-up. Karen and I will retweet all those we see on twitter (#teatimetreats)

Meanwhile, here's my offering, Dumpsy Dearie Jam

Apple and Cinnamon Scone and Dumpsie Jam. 

Dumpsie Dearie Jam

1kg peeled, cored and sliced dessert apples
1kg  stoned and sliced plums
1kg peeled, cored and sliced pears
a knob of fresh ginger, tied in a muslim bag
Juice and zest of 1 lemon 
1.5kg caster sugar

NB: the weight of the fruit is after they have been peeled and cored
  1. Pop the chopped fruit and ginger in a large preserving pan. Add just enough cold water to cover the fruit
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for thirty minutes
  3. Remove from the heat, then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add the lemon zest and juice. Bring back to the boil and boil for approximately 15 minutes before testing for the setting point 
  4. If the setting point has not been reached, return the jam to the boil and boil rapidly for another 2  minutes. Remove from the heat and test again. Repeat as necessary.
  5. Remove any scum that may have accumulated on the surface by scooping it off or dispersing by using a small knob of butter
  6. Pour into sterlised jars and seal

Baker's Jam Maker's notes...

  • After chuckling away at the brilliant name, it transpires that Dumpsy (or Dumpsie) Dearie Jam is a traditional English recipe from either Worcestershire or Gloucestershire (both lay claim to this most delicious of sticky treats) designed to use a glut of Autumnal fruit
  • I'd first read about this delicious jam last year via Karen's lovely blog, who writes about jam making hereThis particular version is adapted from a very old book I picked up in our local Library booksale 'The Women's Institute Preserves and Preserving' (1978), although a more up to date version is available
  • Setting point can either be checked the a sugar thermometer (setting point is 105 C) or by the cold saucer method: pop a saucer in the freezer and when ready to test for setting point, place a little bit of the jam on the saucer- push the outer edges of the jam with your finger and if the jam wrinkles, even just a little, it will set
  • For further jammy tips, I've always found this article most helpful

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Ndali Vanilla Gift Swap: Miniature Plum Upside Down Cakes, Rhubarb and Vanilla Custard Biscuits and Autumnal Feast Jam


Possibly the most popular and versatile flavouring and fragrance there is. 

It is the classic ice cream. A staple in all baker's storecupboards. It adds depth to savoury dishes. It is widely used in all manner of great dishes. And it is the overwhelming scent of my teenage years (that'll be vanilla musk. Along with hormones and hairspray of course).

With this great demand, it probably isn't too surprising to hear that 97% of vanilla produced is synthetic.

One Sunday lunchtime last month on Radio 4's Food and Drink Programme Vanessa Kimbell explored vanilla farming in Uganda. The proper stuff. The real vanilla that makes all bakes taste, well, great. The stuff that is described as 'heady, lingering and narcotic' by Fairtrade grower Ndali. The stuff that, for some farmers, is sold at a price worth less than it costs to grow in the first place, that is sold to unscrupulous buyers to met demand, that is repeatedly stolen or damaged because of its worth.

Ndali works with Ugandan farmers to provide a fair price for their vanilla, ensuring price stability and, together with what they produce on their own estate, a great big lovely supply of delicious Fairtrade vanilla. 

Today Vanessa and Ndali have very kindly invited food bloggers to Fortnum and Mason to the Ndali Vanilla Fairtrade Gift Swap. An opportunity to discover some delicious Ndali Fairtrade Vanilla recipes created by fellow bloggers and raise vital knowledge and support for Fairtrade producers.

It is also the start of The Big Fair Bake fortnight, designed to promote the use of Fairtrade products in the nation's favourite hobby- baking. The logo for the fortnight is 'buy it, bake it, share it' and the campaign is designed to encourage home bakers to use Fairtrade ingredients. 

For today's Gift Swap Vanessa invited us to bring along preserves, sweets, cakes and biscuits all inspired by and baked with Ndali Vanilla. I'm delighted to be attending-  a big, huge thanks to Vanessa, Ndali and the Fairtrade Foundation.

Rolling pins at the ready and this is what I'll be bringing along:

Rhubarb and Vanilla Custard Biscuits


175g plain flour
3 tbsps custard powder
1 tsp baking powder

Half a tsp Ndali Organic Fairtrade Vanilla Powder
100g cold unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
3 tbsps Fairtrade caster sugar
1 free range egg
1 tbsp milk

For the biscuit filling:
1 tbsp custard powder
0.5 tsp ndali Organic Fairtrade Vanilla Powder
100g Fairtrade icing sugar
50g soft unsalted butter
1 tsp boiling water
6 tbsps of homemade Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam 

Makes 12-16 biscuits


Preheat the oven to 180c/170c fan/Gas Mark 4.

1. To make the biscuits, pop the flour, custard powder, vanilla powder and baking powder into a food processor and pulse to mix

2. Add the cubed butter and pulse to create a crumbly mixture

3. Add in the sugar and pulse again

4. Beat the egg and tablespoon of milk together. Slowly pour down the funnel of the processor with the engine running until the dough comes together in a ball. You may not require the entire egg and milk mixture before a ball is formed, alternatively you may need to add a little more milk

5. Remove the dough from the processor, press into a disc shape, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes

6. Once chilled, roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 4mm. Dip biscuit cutter of your choice into a little flour and cut out your shapes. Prick the outside edge of each biscuit all the way around on one side with a skewer or corn on the cob holder. Cook on a lined baking sheet for 12-15 minutes, and set aside to cool

7. To make the custard cream: pop the custard powder, vanilla powder and icing sugar into the food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and blitz together until a smooth cream forms, adding a little boiling water if required

8. Sandwich two biscuits together with about 1tbsp of custard cream and 1 tbsp of rhubarb and vanilla jam

Miniature Upside Down Plum Cakes


115g softened butter
210g plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
pinch of salt
200g Fairtrade caster sugar
zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Seeds from one ndali vanilla pod
120ml soured cream

For the topping
100g honey
2-3tsps rose water
5 plums, stoned and cut into small segments


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease and line four 5cm diameter round cake tins. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside

2. Beat the butter, sugar and orange zest together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully combined

3. Add half of the flour mixture followed by half the sour cream and beat until just combined. Repeat, until the all the flour and cream is added

4. Arrange segments of the plums in the bottom of each tin. Drizzle over the honey and rose water. Top with the cake batter, smoothing over evenly with the back of a metal spoon

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve with a dollop of fromage frais or clotted cream.

 Autumnal Feast Jam
(aka Pear, Plum, Apple and Vanilla Jam)


250g peeled, cored and grated dessert apples
250g peeled, cored pear, roughly chopped
300g stoned plums, roughly chopped
1 ndali Fairtrade Vanilla pod
600g Fairtrade white sugar
Zest and juice 1 lemon
Small knob of butter

Sterlised jars; makes approximately 500g of jam


1. Place all the fruit in a conserving pan with just enough water to cover the base. Add the vanilla pod

 2. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 30-45 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Meanwhile warm the sugar in the oven on the lowest temperature

 3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the warmed sugar, stirring until dissolved.

 4. Add the zest and juice of the lemon. Return to the heat, bring to the boil and cook rapidly for 15 minutes

 5.  Test to see if has reached setting point (I use the plate in the freezer method)

 6. When ready, add the knob of butter which will remove the scum that may have collected on the top. Pour into sterilised jars and seal

Baker's notes

  • We bloggers have been asked to bring along up to three of the following: preserves, biscuits, cakes and sweets
  • I thought it best, hedging my bets and all, to create all four then choose today which to go for. So, after much deliberation, I'll be taking along the three bakes above. I also baked some Dark Chocolate Candied Almonds, aka the 'Gift Swap Rejects', which I'll post at a later date
  • I'll keep you posted as to how this wonderful event goes!


What a wonderful afternoon was had by all. Not only did we tuck into some glorious Fortnum and Mason tea time treats, I caught up with some lovely old blogging friends, made some lovely new blogging friends and also learnt so more about Ndali Vanilla and the importance and difference buying Fairtrade can make.

Ohhhhh, now where do I start?

Two minutes later

Hard at work judging

And announcing the results

And also, much to my shock to all those there witnessing it, my biscuits won in the biscuit category! Judged by the very kind Sunday Times food writer Lucas Hollweg the prize is a Kenwood K-Mix!! I literally couldn't stop shaking with excitement and disbelief and had to be gently guided to a chair to sit down!

A big ginormous thank you to everyone involved in today and here's a little collection of some of the brilliant fairtrade bakes:

Please let me know if one of the above is one of your bakes so I can attribute properly- thank you!

Friday, 21 September 2012

10 Reasons to Love the Autumn : Blackberry and Lemon Autumnal Cake

Following on from last week's 10 Ways to Prolong the Summer post, What Kate Baked, promoted by a week of cool weather and upon spying a rather toasty yet chic and much coveted winter coat is embracing all things Autumnal.....

1. Figs! Plums! Blackberries! Apples! Damsons! Rich fruity pickings all round thank-you-very-much

2. The annual return of the glitz-fest that is.....Strictly Come Dancing! Say cheerio to Saturday nights out and a big hellllooooo to Saturday nights bedded down on the sofa moving very little other than to shield your eyes every now and again from an exceptionally overpowering glittery outfit

3. Comforting crumbles, warming pies and cheering cakes

4. Hibernating, just like a squirrel, becomes perfectly acceptable

5. Autumnal rambles and the obligatory stomp through the technicolour Autumnal leaves, hoping that, if you live in the country, you haven't just disturbed a resting hedgehog and, if you live in the city, you haven't just kicked some dog p**p ten metres into the air

6. The final of The Great British Bake Off- will there be any more trips to A&E? Is this the hardest series there has been? Will Paul be nice ever again?!

7. Bonfire Night! Fireworks! Ohhh-ing and Ahhhh-ing! Toffee Apples! Sparklers! Hands warming on Mulled Wine and Hot Chocolate!

8. One whole extra hour of sleep and hot water bottles

9. Did I mention Strictly?

10. Seasonal scrumptious bakes just like this one, that fill the house the enticing aromas:

Blackberry and Lemon Autumnal Cake

225g softened unsalted butter
225g self-raising flour, sifted
100g plain flour
200g caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
Zest of 1 lemon
A little milk if needed

For the filling and decoration:

3 tbsps blackberry or blackcurrent jam 
100g soft unsalted butter 
200g icing sugar, sieved
Zest of 1 lemon
Punnet Blackberries

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/170C fan/Gas Mark 5. Butter and line an 8 inch sandwich tin
2. Cream together the sugar and butter for at least five minutes until light and fluffy
3. Slowly add the eggs, beating until well combined. 
4. Fold in the sifted flours and zest. Add a little milk if needed to achieve a dropping consistency
5. Pop the mixture in the prepared tin and bake for 1 hr - 1 hr 10   minutes until golden brown in colour and springy to touch
6. Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled slice in half horizontally
7. To make the filling: warm the jam over a gentle heat in a pan, stirring gently throughout until nicely warmed then remove from the heat. Beat together the icing sugar, zest and butter. Spread the cooled jam on the top of the bottom half of the sponge and use the lemon buttercream to sandwich the two sponge cakes together. 
8. Decorate the top of the cake with a dozen blackberries dipped in a little buttercream to help them stay put on the top of the cake

Baker's notes...

  • As this cake is more of a madeira cake, it will last well, uniced for up to three days 
  • Don't the blackberries just look GINORMOUS? I'd love to say I skipped merrily on a beautiful Autumnal day amongst the hedgerows to pick them. But in reality I just skipped down to a nearby well known food outlet that rhymes with Baitpose.... 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Tea Time Treats does Random Recipes: 10 ways to prolong the Summer and a delectable Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

The days are getting shorter, the early mornings chillier, Strictly is soon to return to our screens but fear not! For here is the What Kate Baked guide to extending the summer...

Ten ways to Prolong that Summer Feeling...

1. Replace all meals with a picnic. When a recipe states to season, do replace salt and pepper with a generous sprinkling of sand

2. Relive the Olympics. Remember those golden days? Ever few hours, stand on your chair/podium at work, drape yourself in the British flag and sing the National Anthem a la Wiggo/Hoy/Ennis. A few tears will add to the effect

3. Wear sunglasses all the time. The jibes of 'plonker' as you wear them indoors will soon wear off

4. Replace your Five a Day with Magnum, Solero, Twister, Mini Milk and Fab

5. Provide any visitors to your home with a (overpriced) tour of The Lost Ancient Monumental Wonder of World that is...your back garden.

6. Stockpile summery, fragrant, slightly-too-warm-but-who-cares-its-the-summer rose wine

7. Carry on wearing your summer wardrobe. Thermals can be worn but only if very carefully hidden underneath

8. Take a four day week and every Monday off work- each week is August Bank Holiday! Rain is required

9. Replace your usual body lotion with sunscreen

10. Add strawberries to any cake you bake...

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

This recipe is from Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns, the only adaptation I've made is to pop on top strawberries rather than the raspberries suggested

Baker's notes...

  • Ground almonds or pecans can be substituted for the hazelnuts
  • Serve with a great big dollop of creme fraiche to turn the cake into a perfect pudding 
  • I actually love the Autumn so tune in next week for 10 REeasons to Love the Autumn!!
  • Meanwhile, this cake is heading straight over to the wonder-supersized blogging challenge hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and  Dom from Belleau Kitchen. It's none other than Tea Time Random Recipe Treats:
Random Recipes #20 - Sept

Monday, 3 September 2012

Organic September : Individual Mushroom, Onion and Chive Tarts

When Sainsburys SO Organics got in touch a few weeks back and asked if they could send me a box of lovely organic produce to create a recipe to celebrate Organic September I replied faster than Usain Bolt can run the 100m backwards after a spending several hours in the company of the Swedish volleyball team

Organic September is a month long celebration of all things organic, encouraging shoppers to buy organic and support sustainable farming.

The box of mysterious ingredients duly arrived and I realized it was my very own Ready, Steady, Cook moment.  I tried my very best to cajole A into doing an Ainsley Harriot ('all you have to do is use this wooden spoon as a mike and just pretend to interview me as I think what to bake! Yes, yes, you'll still get to eat it all at the end!').

Armed with a lovely range of Sainsbury's SO Organic seasonal produce, from carrots to chedder, potatoes to pork sausages, my inner Ready, Steady, Cook competitor began to get creative, hoping to avoid any crazy combinations of ingredients (SO Organic strawberry, broccali and bacon cake anyone?!).

I hope you like what I came up with...

A, aka Ainsley, did.

Organic Mushroom, Onion and Chive Tarts
(for four 10cm tarts)

For the pastry:
250g plain flour
125g unsalted, cold cubed butter 
1 egg yolk
125ml cold water

For the filling:
125ml single cream
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tbsps olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
50-75g grated mature chedder cheese
Small handful chopped chives

1. To make the pastry: Pulse together the flour, butter and a pinch of salt into a food processor and pulse several times until the fat is rubbed into the flour. 
2. Pop the mixture into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk and half of the water. 3. Bring together the pastry, initially with a fork then working with your hand, adding a little more water if necessary until the pastry dough binds all together. Wrap the dough in a piece of cling film and chill for 15-30 minutes
4. Preheat the oven to 180C/170C Fan/Gas Mark 4.
5. Take the chilled pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface, to roughly 4mm thick. Line the base and sides of four tart tins with the pastry. Chill once again for 15 minutes.
6. Line the pastry cases with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside to cool, removing the parchment and baking beans
7. To make the lovely creamy mixture: whisk together the cream, egg, egg yolk with a pinch of salt and pepper until nicely combined. Set aside
8. For the filling: heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions, frying until softened and translucent. Pop in the chopped mushrooms, garlic and a little seasoning. Fry until there is no liquid left in the pan from the mushrooms
9. Scatter the grated cheese over the bottom of the tarts. Fill each tart with the mushroom and onions and pour over the cream mixture. Sprinkle over the chopped chives and pop back in the oven for 20 minutes until the filling is set, golden and looks just delicious

Baker's notes...

  • To make the pastry by hand: pop the flour and salt into a large bowl and add in the cubed butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs. Add the egg and using a knife, stir in just enough of the cold water to bind the pastry. 
  • The tarts are delicious warm from the oven served with a salad but also would be perfect picnic bites 
  • Happy Organic September!

With thanks to Sainsbury's SO Organic who sent the box of Organic Produce for me to develop into a recipe to celebrate Organic September