Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Village Show Bake Off

I know I haven't finished my wedding cake posts yet, I think that is going to be a long term commitment!  I have the week  off work this week so hoping I might get round to it :) (maybe!)

This weekend I celebrated my first year wedding anniversary with my lovely husband, but as well as this, it was the Village Show!  So I decided to get my granny on and try and compete against the local WI.

There were several categories including: Jar of Jam, Jar of Chutney, Cooked Apple Dish of your choice, and 3 Decorated Cupcakes.

Blackberry and Raspberry Jam

I had some frozen blackberries in the freezer from a trip to my parents so thought these would be a good starting point for a jam.

I googled some recipes and came up with this recipe.

I just plonked the blackberries in frozen but the raspberries were fresh.  I did wonder how this would work out but in the end I was really pleased.  The frozen fruit retained their shape much better rather than disintegrating into a mush, so I think the end result was good.

I did have trouble working out whether the jam was at the setting point yet.  I have a jam thermometer but I wasn't quite sure if it was quite at the right temperature!

In hindsight I think I kept it on the heat too long.  The jam is pretty firm set (still delicious, but firmer than your average Bonne Maman!).  I'm not sure on the science behind jam, but that would be my first guess.

Anyway, no prize at the village show for my jam, but for my first attempt I was pretty chuffed.

Apple Chutney

The only chutney I know is Mango Chutney, and the "chut-e-ney" Schmidt refers to on New Girl (love that show!)

Once again, I hit up google and looked for some recipes and inspiration.  I chose this recipe to make for the show.  It was the easiest recipe I could find, and used ingredients that I mostly already had.  

Cheat: I didn't have any mustard seeds so I just put some wholegrain mustard in a fine sieve, washed with water, and then scooped up the seeds in the sieve for the recipe.

I'll copy the method here so you can see just how straight forward this is:
"Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan. (I used a big cast iron casserole dish).  Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium heat, then simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, for 30-40 mins, or until thick and pulpy.  Remove from the heat, leave to cool and transfer to sterilised, clean, dry jars and seal."


On tasting, I thought it was disgusting, haha! But I think this is because I don't like chutney :)  The WI loved it though, and I was genuinely shocked when I saw this...

There were probably 30-40 entrants in the Chutney category, so to come third, I was chuffed!

Apple Tart Tatin

Next up, a tart tatin.  I've wanted to make one for a long time, but never had a suitable pan.  I went to TKMaxx a few weeks ago and spotted a small shallow cast iron pan for £7 - bargain.

I used a Delia recipe for this one, available here.

Because my pan was a bit smaller than the one they were using (mine is about 8" diameter) I adjusted the quantities slightly.  I made the same amount of pastry as they suggest but just rolled it out larger than necessary and trimmed.  For the fillling I used:
  • 3 1/2 Golden Delicious apples
  • 2 oz (50g) softened unsalted butter
  • 4 oz (117g) golden caster sugar
The first time I made this, I left the pan on the hob too long and the apples burnt :( but second time around (and for the bake off), I did it perfectly - just make sure to keep an eye on it.

Otherwise, I followed the instructions to the letter.  Photos below:

Unfortunately, no prize for this one, but I was pleased I'd finally gotten round to making one.

Farmyard Cupcakes

This was possibly my favourite category.  I loved these little cuties.

The bases are just chocolate cupcakes (8oz caster sugar, 8oz butter, 7oz self raising flour, 1oz cocoa and 4 large eggs will make 12 cupcakes).

The topping is just a simple butter cream icing piped with a variety of nozzles.

The cow was piped with an Ateco 885 nozzle - the perfect cupcake swirl.  The face and spots were modelled with sugarpaste.

The sheep was piped with a JEM 2D nozzle, and the face was modelled with sugarpaste.

The pig was piped by adding a little pink colouring to the butter cream, and by chopping the end off an icing bag (no nozzle required).  The face (and tail!) were modelled with sugarpaste.

I don't have any fancy modelling tools, just cocktail sticks and everyday cutlery that anyone should have in the kitchen drawer.

On eyeing up the other entries, I knew there was stiff competition.  There was some really intricate sugarpaste and flowerpaste work so I knew my little farm animals were going to have to put on their best faces!

And I was rewarded with... THIRD! Yay!

And I've just had an order for 50 sheep for my lovely mum's 50th birthday next year :)

Next on the cards is Macmillan's Coffee Morning next week:


I'm organising a bake sale at work so need to get my thinking hat on for what to bake!

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