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My Golden Pear: November 2012

Sunday, 25 November 2012


We all have recipes that we turn to time and time again.  The ones that never let us down, the guaranteed crowd pleasers, the ones that just make us feel good.  These banana muffins are one such recipe.  I hate to think how many I have made over the years.  They freeze beautifully so there is no excuse to not have some freshly made muffins on hand when those unexpected visitors pop in.  I normally let my bananas ripen until the skin is black and really soft.  They look terrible but have so much more flavour than their yellow and slightly under ripe partners.  If I am not ready to make the muffins I'll peel and mash them up and freeze the pulp until such time as I am ready to bake. 
 Today was such a grey, miserable day with the rain lashing down from early morning that I could think of nothing nicer than putting a fresh pot of coffee on to brew and having some fresh home cooked banana muffins to cheer us up.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 (large)
  • 240g plain flour
  • 125g butter
  • 250ml (1 cup) soft brown sugar
  • 4 very ripe bananas (peeled and mashed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tblsp water
  • 7ml (1.5 tsp) baking powder
Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.
  3. Stir in the mashed bananas and beat to combine thoroughly.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well.
  5. Sift flour and salt onto mixture and stir well.
  6. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in water and stir into mixture.
  7. Add baking powder and stir well.
  8. Pour batter into muffin moulds and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
  9. Cool in tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Written by : Angela Darroch       

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Thursday, 15 November 2012


On the way to school yesterday my son sent me into panic mode.  "You know it's only 5 weeks until Christmas" he announced.  "No way" was my immediate response but when I gave it some thought I realised he was right.  I have so many things on my 'to do' list (thanks to Pinterest) so without  wasting another day I decided to make a start on my neighbours gifts.  Every year the kids make something to take over to them so I wanted to try these seasonal cookies.  They were very easy and quick to make and will be perfect for the kids to make nearer the time.  I then spent  a lovely couple of hours making up some pretty boxes ready for the kids to package up their gifts.


For the printable version - click here

Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cooking Time : 10 minutes
Total Time : 30 minutes

Yield : 20

  • 150g butter
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 80g dried cranberries
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100g white chocolate chunks
  • 1 large egg yolk
Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (356 F).
  2. Melt the butter, and allow to cool.
  3. Sift the flour and the bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the ground almonds, oats, dried fruit, soft brown sugar, caster sugar and the chocolate chunks and mix well.
  5. Mix the cooled melted butter with the egg yolk and pour into the dry ingredients, stirring to combine.
  6. With your hands, form into walnut-sized balls and arrange slightly apart from each other on 2 baking trays.
  7. Using a fork, flatten the biscuits slightly and place in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes or until golden.
  8. The cookies will still be soft when you take them out of the oven so allow to cool a little on the trays before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Written by : Angela Darroch            

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Saturday, 10 November 2012


I love Autumn.  The gorgeous colours, the crisp, frosty mornings, the change in menus from light and fresh to slow cooked comfort food.  Apple pie has to be one of my favourite comfort foods.  There is nothing more inviting than the smell of fresh apple pie cooking in the oven.  Heaven!!  I had a couple of apples from our tree in the garden and wanted to make individual apple pies.  I loved the photos on Zoom Yummy's blog and so decided to pretty much follow her recipe.  I used ready made Sweet Shortcrust pastry but followed the rest of her recipe and the results were delicious.   


  • 750g ready made Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
  • 8 medium cooking apples peeled, cored and diced evenly
  • 1/2 cup granulated, white sugar
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tblsps butter, melted
  • 20ml cornflour
  • Vegetable oil for greasing muffin tin
Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 180 C (356 F)
  1. Lightly oil your muffin tin with the vegetable oil.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to a thickness of 3mm.
  3. Cut circles for the base of the pies. They should be big enough so that the edges extend slightly higher than the edge of the pan.
  4. Cut enough circles for the top of the pies. These should be slightly smaller than the bases.
  5. Ease the large pastry circles carefully into the pan.
  6. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the filling together and mix well.
  7. Taste to make sure there is enough sugar for your taste.
  8. Fill the dough with enough of the filling mixture so that it is heaped high above the edge of the pan.
  9. Place the pastry tops over the filling.
  10. Using a knife or a fork, seal the edges and decorate as you wish.
  11. Cut a small slit in the top.
  12. Glaze the tops with some milk.
  13. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  14. Let them cool down to just warm and enjoy as is or with some homemade custard.

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Saturday, 3 November 2012


I can't believe it has been three months since I last posted on my blog.  The beginning of August was when the kids broke up for their summer holiday and it has just been one thing after another since then.  I had almost decided to not carry on with my blog because of the amount of time it takes up but I have really missed it and so for my own 'me time' I'm back.
The kids are now on their half term break and had asked me to bake them a cake.  Their preference is always for a chocolate cake and when they saw this one on the front cover of the latest Olive magazine it was a done deal.  I was really pleased with the way it turned out.  It was really moist and lasted for at least a week which I think is quite unusual for a chocolate cake.  I did have a little disaster when I was taking the photos.  My backing board (which is a heavy piece of wood) fell over and of course it fell on the cake - completely ruining my nice glossy glaze.  Still tasted good though!!

  • 225g unsalted butter, diced
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 175g self raising flour, sifted
  • 50g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 100ml full cream milk
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 100g milk chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 15g butter
  • 30g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 50ml water
  • 1 tblsp golden syrup
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C and butter and baseline 2 x 20cm sponge tins with removable bases.
  2. Put all the cake ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and cream together.
  3. Divide the mixture into the cake tins, smoothing the surface.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Run a knife around the collar of the cakes and leave to cool completely.
    To make the buttercream
  1. Blend the butter, icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl and then mix with an electric whisk on high speed for 2 minutes until really pale and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg yolk and whisk for another minute.
  3. Spread the buttercream over the bottom sponge and sandwich together with the top sponge.
    To make the icing
  1. Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a pan with a little simmering water in it, stirring until smooth.
  2. At the same time, combine the cocoa, water and golden syrup in a small saucepan and heat almost to boiling point, stirring until smooth.
  3. Add this to the melted chocolate and blend to a thick icing.
  4. Working quickly, smooth over the top of the cake using enough so that it drips down the side.
  5. The glaze needs to be prepared and used straightaway.  If it starts to appear oily, simply whisk in 1tsp of water until it returns to being glossy.
  6. The cake will keep well in a covered container for up to a week.
Written by : Angela Darroch

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