Recipe: No-bake Easter Crunch Cake

Easter Chocolate Crunch Cake no-bake

A super-fast recipe just in case you don’t have enough chocolate in your life this weekend. Fun to make with kids too. If you want to make it gluten-free then you can use gluten-free digestives – they work really well.

Easter Crunch Cake no-bake

Easter Crunch Cake

Ingredients

  • 200g 70% chocolate
  • 100g butter
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 200g mini eggs
  • 50g dried cherries (optional)

Directions

  1. Line a 20cm x 20cm (8inch) baking tray (I use one with a loose bottom which is really helpful when getting the cake out of the tin) with foil or baking parchment – the liner needs to come up the sides of the tin.
  2. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into a heatproof bowl with the butter. Put the bowl over a pan of water on a very low simmer and stir until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth a glossy. Take the bowl off the pan and leave to cool for a minute or two.
  3. Put the biscuits in a large bowl and smash them up, using the end of a rolling pin. Alternatively put the biscuits in a strong polythene bag, tie closed and bash with a rolling pin. Don’t reduce the biscuits to crumbs, you need smaller and larger pieces.
  4. Stir the syrup and cocoa powder into the melted chocolate, along with the broken biscuits and the 3/4 of the mini eggs and the cherries (if using).
  5. Put the mixture into your prepared baking tray and press down. Sprinkle the remaining mini-eggs over the cake and press them down a little.
  6. Refrigerate for at least an hour, then cut into 12-16 pieces. You will need a very sharp knife, so watch your fingers.
  7. This will keep for up to a week in an airtight tin. I tend to keep it in the fridge so it stays fairly firm.

Happy Easter to you all!

Make your own Bacon

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We’re not entirely new to salting pork, as we’ve mentioned here before, but what we’ve ended up with has definitely been to boil as salt pork or to put into stews as a flavouring ingredient, rather than the kind of bacon you scoff up with your eggs.

So we were happy to find not only the promise of clear, step by step instructions over at the Country Skills blog, but a very generous offer by the nice person who runs the blog to send out some of her curing mix to people who wanted to have a go. We didn’t require any more encouraging with the prize of tasty bacon to come after just 6 days… So we’re very much on for the ‘Big Bacon Challenge’.

Our local butcher sells some lovely bits pork, so with a beautiful looking piece of loin to work with, today was the day to get the bacon started.

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We pretty much followed to the letter the instructions for ‘Day Zero’ on the Country Skills blog, making our cure 10% of the weight of the pork, split into 80% salt & 20% soft brown sugar. We decided to add some aromatics to this, snipping up two fresh bay leaves and lightly crushing some peppercorns and juniper berries.

To start it off is really easy: just rub about a third of the cure into the meat, putting it in a clean dish with cling film over the top & leaving it in the fridge. Tomorrow it’ll be time for ‘Day One’, and to make sure we have a nice dry cure going.

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Only a few days to go until our lovely bacon and eggs! Yum…

Barabrith for breakfast

Linocut from vintage cookery bookWe had some lovely fruit bread from the village bakery in Combe Martin whilst we were away on holiday, so to cheer us up, now we are back to the day to day routine, I thought I’d make some for our weekend breakfast. This recipe for a yeasted fruit bread called Barabrith (a traditional Welsh fruit bread which seems to come in lots of different versions… here’s another, totally different, version) is based on one I’ve found in a recent vintage cookbook purchase.

This book  – The Cheshire Cookery Book (from the Women’s Institute & published originally in 1935) – has some really excellent recipes and these lovely lino-cut illustrations throughout the text.  Like a lot of older recipe books it’s a bit difficult to get your head round at times because it assumes an awful lot of pre-existing knowledge… For instance, this bread recipe requires you to bake the bread in a ‘fairly quick oven’.. hmmm!

This recipe makes a very rich fruited bread, with a dense chewy texture. Bear in mind that because the dough is so rich, the yeast has to work really hard, so don’t try and rush the rising stages – and if you can find a nice warm place for the dough to rise in, all the better.

Bara BrithIngredients

200g whole milk
50g butter
7g (1 packet) fast action yeast
500g strong bread flour (whatever combination of white or brown you prefer, I used half and half)
50g granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
100g raisins
100g currants
a little honey to glaze

Method

  • Warm the milk in a small pan to around blood heat, then take it off the heat, and add the butter, which will melt whilst you get on with the rest of the weighing.
  • Weigh the yeast, flour, salt & sugar into a large bowl or mixer bowl.
  • Pour in the combined milk and butter, and the egg.
  • Use your mixer or your hands to bring together the dough. It needs to be nice and soft – do add a touch more milk (you don’t need to warm it) if the dough feels a bit dry and crumbly. If you have used wholemeal flour you will almost certainly need a bit more milk.
  • Add the dried fruit and mix again to spread the fruit through the dough.
  • Cover your bowl with a damp cloth and leave the dough to rise until doubled in size. Allow a couple of hours for this, although it’s worth checking after an hour, just in case the gods of baking are on your side..
  • After the first rise, line a 2lb (900g)  loaf tin with baking parchment and then tip the dough into the tin. Wet your hands and press the dough into the tin, making sure it goes into the corners, and creating a slightly domed top. Try and push any bits of dried fruit on the top of the loaf down into the dough, so that they don’t burn in the oven.
  • Put the tin in a large polythene bag and leave in a warm place, until the loaf is nicely risen. Allow up to an hour for this, but it can take as little as 30 minutes. Don’t rush it!
  • Towards the end of the 2nd rising time preheat oven to 175C (fan), 180C, Gas Mark 4.
  • Bake the loaf, on the middle shelf, for around 30-40 minutes – it will be a bit more brown than normal on top, because of the high quantity of sugar in the dough. Don’t worry about this. To check the loaf is done, tap the bottom of the tin – it will sound hollow if the bread is cooked through.
  • Remove the loaf from the tin and brush the top of the loaf with honey whilst it is still warm.

Eat and enjoy – needless to say this is delicious toasted.