Lemon Tarts

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Marrow Praline Cake

Marrow Praline Cake by The Fat Foodie

Marrows are undoubtedly the bland cousin of the courgette family. Their fairly plain taste, firm outer flesh and strange cotton wool core (which is discarded before cooking) leaves it decidedly lagging behind in the Vegetable Of The Year contest. However, for all that I’ve just disparaged the poor marrow, it acts extremely well as a carrier vegetable which can be stuffed with strong, well-flavoured fillings, allowing the flavours of your chosen stuffing to sing very loudly indeed.

I’ve always asserted that the manifesto of my website is to share my adventures in food therefore, when I spotted a small marrow for the reduced price of 15p in the supermarket the other day I thought I’d attempt to have a small adventure with the humble marrow. After looking on the internet for some advice as to how to approach cooking marrows to get the best results from them I decided to make two things with it. The first experiment was this marrow praline cake and the second is savoury stuffed marrow (a recipe which will be posted on the website soon).

Much like when I first made courgette cake, I was pretty unsure how the marrow praline cake would turn out. Would it have a strong flavour? Would the marrow flesh be too dry or even too wet for the cake batter to cook properly? And how would it work with the gluten-free flours I tend to bake with nowadays?

When I was preparing the marrow I was struck by the fact that it had a lovely fresh, grassy, peanut sort of smell and wasn’t overpowering at all. As a result, the grated marrow worked just like courgette does, adding no real vegetable flavour to the cake sponge, but still infusing it with a fantastic amount of moisture and texture. (I only used about half of my marrow for the cake. I reserved the other half to make stuffed marrow slices for dinner that night, so you probably won’t need to use the whole thing.)

This marrow praline cake is a delightfully moist chocolatey cake that’s dotted throughout with crunchy pieces of hazelnut and sandwiched and topped with a maple syrup-infused hazelnut buttercream. It’s a delight to serve, a pleasure to eat and most certainly elevates the Vegetable of the Year status of the plain old marrow.

A Marrow!

The Inside of a Marrow

 

Ingredients:

300g grated marrow

2 large eggs

80ml vegetable oil

60ml coconut oil (melted)

2 tsps vanilla extract

80 ml rice milk

200g brown sugar

150g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

50g cocoa

200g chopped hazelnuts (put 150g into the cake mix, but keep 50g aside to decorate the cake)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

For the buttercream icing:

150g icing sugar

75g butter (or dairy-free butter)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp of rice milk

Method:

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F/Gas mark 5.

Line two cake tins with greaseproof paper.

Prepare your marrow by washing it, cutting off the two ends, slicing it down the middle, removing the inner core with a spoon, and grating the remaining flesh. (I used my food processor for this job which made it a lot easier to grate the large amount of marrow.)

Measure all of your wet ingredients into a mixing bowl (the grated marrow, eggs, oils, vanilla and milk).

Measure all of the dry ingredients into another bowl and stir until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.

Divide the cake mix between the two cake tins equally and bake for 45 to 50 mins or until a skewer pushed into the middle of the cake comes out fairly clean. (It’s quite a moist cake anyway, so don’t worry too much if the skewer has a little moisture on it.)

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Once cool, blend the maple buttercream ingredients together and sandwich the cake together with half of the buttercream before topping the cake with the other half of the buttercream icing.

Decorate with the leftover chopped hazelnuts and serve.

Marrow Praline Cake by The Fat Foodie

Marrow Praline Cake by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Banana Marzipan Muffins

Chocolate Banana Marzipan Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Chocolate Banana Marzipan Muffins by The Fat Foodie

I’ll bet you all get tired of hearing about how frequently I find over-ripe blackened bananas in my kitchen, but unfortunately it’s a common occurrence. Surely I can’t be the only person who experiences this on a fortnightly basis, so what do you all do with your over-ripe bananas?

One of the best ways I find inspiration for my blog is by looking at what ingredients need used up in my kitchen and developing a recipe around them, so when I was given a pack of leftover marzipan by my mother-in-law recently I figured it might be nice to use up in some baking. In the bookshop that I work in we sell a book called The Flavour Thesaurus, a fantastic book which tells you what flavours work well with others. Sadly I don’t own a copy of this book, but I’m quite good at imagining what flavours marry well, so when I thought of banana and marzipan together, in my mind the natural ingredient to add to the mix to complete the triad was chocolate. Thankfully, as these muffins demonstrated, I can trust my instincts!

This recipe for chocolate banana marzipan muffins is a winner in my book because as the marzipan cooks it melts through the chocolate banana muffins to create little pockets of sweetness that infuse the surrounding cake with the delicate flavour of almond. As a result, you’ve got a deliciously moist muffin that’s the perfect blend of cocoa and banana flavoured cake base with the added surprise of almond marzipan chunks throughout it. That’s pretty damn tasty in my book.

Ingredients:

50g ground almonds

175g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

100g dark brown sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tbsp cocoa

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

120g marzipan (rolled into small balls)

3 over-ripe bananas (mine weighed 330g in total)

125ml sunflower oil

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Lay out your muffin cases in a muffin tray. (I’m particularly enamoured with the Jamie Oliver muffin tray my Mum got for me recently.)

Measure your bananas, oil, eggs and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl measure all of your dry ingredients.

Break the marzipan up into small pieces and add them to the dry ingredients, mixing them through so they become coated.

Add the wet mixture into the dry and mix thoroughly.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for 25 to 30 mins or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool.

Chocolate Banana Marzipan Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Chocolate Banana Marzipan Muffins by The Fat Foodie

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Banana Walnut Muffins with a Peanut Butter Core (makes 12)

Banana Walnut Muffins with a Peanut Butter Core by The Fat Foodie

A few days ago I fancied baking something to fill the kitchen cake tin because it was looking decidedly bare. After giving it some thought and having a good rifle through the kitchen cupboards I decided to make muffins. I had some brown bananas which needed used up soon, there was a peanut butter jar which had only a little bit left in it and I had half a pack of walnuts at hand, so I decided to bake some banana walnut muffins with a peanut butter core.

Muffins are incredibly easy to make because, to a large extent, they simply involve measuring out all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisking until it’s combined. There’s no creaming of separate ingredients involved or anything like that. I’ve never made muffins with an interior surprise, but the peanut butter worked really well. I’m not sure if smooth peanut butter would have been quite as successful because I think the crunchy peanut butter definitely helps keep the core together and the crunch of the peanuts goes well with the crunchy walnuts too.

A while ago my Mum treated me to a Jamie Oliver muffin tin and although I wouldn’t ordinarily buy something purely because it’s got celebrity endorsement, I have to admit that this muffin tin is fantastic due to the depth of the muffin sections which helps to keep the shape of the muffins as they rise. Well done, Mr Oliver.

This recipe makes a lovely soft, moist banana flavoured muffin with an inner core of crunchy peanut butter that’s complemented by the flavour of the walnuts. They’re ideal for accompanying a mid-morning cuppa or as a tasty after dinner treat. Actually, they’re pretty good at any time of the day!

Banana Walnut Muffins with a Peanut Butter Core by The Fat Foodie

Banana Walnut Muffins with a Peanut Butter Core by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

200g gluten-free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

150g dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

150ml vegetable oil

3 large bananas (my bananas weighed in at 320g)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

150g chopped walnuts

1 tsp vanilla extract

120g crunchy peanut butter

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Lay out your 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.

Measure all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk until it’s all combined.

Divide the mixture equally between the 12 muffin cases and (if you like) top with a walnut half.

Bake for 30 to 35 mins and leave to cool before munching.

Banana Walnut Muffins with a Peanut Butter Core by The Fat Foodie

Banana Walnut Muffins with a Peanut Butter Core by The Fat Foodie

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Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies by The Fat Foodie

A while ago I made chocolate bundt cakes to celebrate my 100th blog post and the sponge I made them with was so tasty that I wanted to try making other things with it. I’ve always loved whoopie pies, but sometimes shop-bought whoopie pies can be a bit too sickly because they have too much filling inside them and the quality of the buttercream icing often leaves a lot to be desired. The beauty of baking your own therefore, is that you can control the buttercream icing to baked sponge ratio to suit your own taste.

Although I used a proper whoopie pie tin it’s not completely necessary because you could just use a yorkshire pudding tin or something like it to bake your whoopie pies in. All you’re looking for is something that’ll control the spread of the sponge as it bakes and allow it to rise. In fact, if you don’t mind your whoopies looking a little odd you could even use a traditional fairycake shallow tin to bake them in.

I made my whoopie pies traditional chocolate ones, but you could omit the cocoa powder and make them with other flavours instead, such as vanilla (using 1 tsp vanilla extract), lemon (using the zest of 1 lemon) or bake them as a plain sponge but sandwich them with fruit jam as well as buttercream icing.

I can highly recommend making the chocolate whoopie pies though because they result in two rich, moist chocolate sponges that are bonded together with a lightly whipped decadent cocoa buttercream, creating the perfect cake for one. Stopping at only eating one is a different matter entirely though.

Ingredients:

220g dark brown sugar
120g fine polenta
50g gluten-free flour
90g ground almonds
80g cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
120g dairy-free butter
100g coconut oil (melted)
4 eggs
60ml rice milk
For the buttercream:
150g dairy-free butter
170g icing sugar
30g cocoa
1 tbsp rice milk

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.

Lay out your whoopie pie tins and give them a light greasing before dusting them with flour.

Measure all of the wet ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Measure all of the dry ingredients into another bowl and give it a stir.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Pour equal amounts of the cake mix into the whoopie pie tins.

Bake in the oven for around 10-12 mins. (They’re cooked if a skewer pushed into the middle of a couple of the cakes comes out entirely clean.)

Leave to cool on a cooling rack before taking the whoopie pies out of the tin.

Place your buttercream ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Once cool, sandwich the whoopie pies with the buttercream icing.

Whoopie Pies by The Fat Foodie

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