Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sometime in summer: Sophie gets bored

Hello all, its Sophie again
Despite enjoying my summer of working so far, and coming home falling asleep before tucking into the latest Netflix hit, I'm starting to get bored and miss cake. Confession time: I'm the only baking student who can't bake at all, I just eat and take photos. So I had to think of something fail-proof so that I didn't have to explain to my flatmates why the house was on fire when they came back. So Rocky Road it was!! This isn't from our cookbook, so I'll leave the link for it below.

So I bought over-priced ingredients from the co-op because I'm too lazy to go to a shop that's not in walking distance of my work. Before I ended up in another shop anyway, because I didn't have a tray. When I came home, though, I discovered that we already had some of that stuff ... oops.

So I borrowed some scales from the flatmates, they were out any way. Measured out the biscuits before smashing them with a spoon (I don't know why a spoon). I put them in one freezer bag, soon realising that I'd smashed a hole in the bag with the spoon so I wrapped it in a couple of extra bags which worked.

Next I weighed out the butter, I didn't weigh the chocolate because I only bought enough to make the rocky road. Otherwise I'd have eaten the rest. Next a couple (ok 3 or 4) spoonful's of golden syrup and all in a pan to get melted.

melting ingredients
Once it's all melted I added the biscuits and mixed them until coated with the chocolate. Next I embraced my inner Pamela and threw random amounts of marshmallows and raisins in until it looked right. All mixed to perfection.

adding all the extras

I then emptied all the ingredients into the tray, which had been lined with greaseproof paper that I found in a drawer, spread evenly and put into the fridge to set for 2 hours while I fell asleep on the couch. After being woken up by the sound of my flatmate's bike, I discovered that the rocky road was perfectly set. Phew, baking takes it out of me.

before it went in the fridge
Post fridge photos don't exist, because I forgot to take pictures before I ate it ... oops

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Week 30: Ginger and Rhubarb Cake

I have been looking forward to this cake for a while!! It is the cake that is on the cover of Martha's cookbook, and along with the cake there are Candied Rhubarb twirls. I decided to leave this cake till Summer, because my grandmother always has heaps of rhubarb growing in her garden. She says that she does nothing to them and they just pop up every year, but I secretly think that she must put some special compost or something over the soil for it to always be so well crowded with rhubarb ;) haha

Picking and cutting the rhubarb from the garden
Getting the recipe all ready for baking
Measuring out the rhubarb
Boiling the rhubarb in sugar syrup
Grating the rhubarb to make the candied rhubarb twirls

Rhubarb strips. They look amazing!!
The awesome party of rhubarb and sugar syrup going on in the kitchen ;)
Boiled rhubarb ready to be placed on the cake before going in the oven
Sugar syrup ready to be a bath for the rhubarb strips
Dipping the rhubarb strips into the sugar syrup for the oven to dehydrate them ;)
The candied rhubarb procedure

Laying the rhubarb out on the oven tray in an orderly manner ;)
We then baked them on a low temperature for an hour, after which we should be able to twist them and then they would harden like the ones in the picture on the cook book. Well, hopefully ;)
Making the cake batter.
Just so you guys know, even baking students, who are becoming experts, make mistakes ;) haha.

So, I am not used to using decilitres, which is the Finnish unit of measurement. So I accidentally ended up making 4 * the amount in the cook book ;) Please don't laugh, it was very stressful!! ;)

So after a tad bit of unknowing what to do, we decided to divide the batter up and try to recreate it into one cake. Then we would leave the rest of the batter to bake into more cakes the next day.

Cake 1# out of the oven ;) 
I have to say, it tasted very puddingish :) The rhubarb really cut through the sugariness: perfect combo!!
Unfortunately the rhubarb twists did not work out too well :(  They tasted burnt, so we had to throw them out :( I will try making them again sometime

Cake 2# looked much lighter and the rhubarb did not sink to the bottom. I think it must be thanks to the extra flour that I added :D
Even though we went through some tough times trying to get the cake to work, it came out amazing in the end!! I am so thankful to my grandmother and mother for putting up with my unknowingness ;)
This cake turned out amazing!! It is one to add to any home that has access to rhubarb!! :D

Below is an excerpt from a page called "More than a refuge", which discuss lives that have been affected by the labelling of a refugee. A guy named Ghasen was interviewed in Jordan, Iraq, and he was among those who was labelled a refugee. He ended up finding joy in the suffering when he found that Tearfund ran an exercise class for refugee men: 

‘These classes have given all of the participants self confidence and to have hope in life,’ Ghassan tells us. ‘There are other organisations that support us with food. It is important, but for me food is not more important than my soul. This helps me to be more at peace.’

If this brings so much joy to refugees, imagine what joy we have the power to place in other people's lives through the simply acts that we can all do together. For example, just baking for or with a friend, or doing exercises with your mum and friend (Hey Pamela!!). The list is, really, endless. These simple acts have the ability to turn suffering into joy. And if that is all it takes, why would we not be bounding to do all that we can to make a difference in other people's lives? 

We, at The Baking Students, are hoping that this blog will be a vessel to bring even just a little joy into people's lives. Even just by showing people how joyful baking can be through our laughing banter ;)

Till the next bake,

Laura from The Baking Students xx

Week 30: Chocolate and Coconut Brownies

I just arrived back home in Helsinki, Finland after a year of Student Baking at university. I was tired from the late nights partying (which meant: staying up late baking, drinking tea and chatting) and weary (from all that child minding, haha). The first day at home I spent relaxing by washing clothes and planning bakes. The next day I started baking again ... because I can. I felt the urge to bake and get moving, and really ... baking gives me joy. Just the thought that I can bring joy to others through food is all it takes to get me moving and making some decadent bakes!!

So, to decide what to make I looked to what my family likes to eat. My dad, for instance likes coconut and condensed milk, and my mum and Harri like chocolate. At this point when I arrived back Harri was still in the army, but was finishing on Thursday, and the day was Wednesday. We would be driving to pick Harri and his friend up from the army the next day, so we did need some sustenance for the car journey. 

The bake was decided!! It was to be: Chocolate and Coconut Brownies!! :D

Making the coconut filling and putting it in the fridge to chill out with the tomato sauce and lettuce for an hour ;)
I was just about to start making the batter for the brownies and I realised that we completely forgot to buy the main ingredient: chocolate!! 

So we went for a quick walk to the local grocers. On the way we saw some amazing pink Rhododendrons, so we had to take a selfie :) 

My mum and I with the Rhododendrons <3
Measuring and cutting up the chocolate back at our kitchen
Leaving the chocolate mixture to quickly cool down to room temperate by leaving it in front of the window
Our wonderful kitchen view <3
Taking the coconut out of the fridge ready to place as the filling in the middle of the brownie
Pouring half of the chocolate batter into the tin
And having fun with it ;) 
Flipping the coconut layer onto the first layer of brownie batter. My photographer had to help me plop it on, so that is why there are no pictures of the ordeal ;)
Putting on the other half of the brownie batter
My photographer eating the chocolate batter ;) That is why she couldn't take more pictures ... all makes sense now ;)
Ready to have a hot party in the oven ;)
Sprinkling coconut onto the brownie before going in the oven

Even more sprinkling of coconut!! The more the better ;)

The final product!! Chocolate and Coconut Brownies :)
This was so much fun to make :D I know it seems like a lot of work, but really if you plan it out well, and have all the ingredients at your disposal, you could have this done in no time!! 

Till next bake,

Laura from "The Baking Students at Summer break" ;) xx

Week: 10-something: Donuts for Donuts

Have you ever seen the donut chefs, if that is what they are called, making the donuts behind the glass walls at cafes? The way that they seemingly effortlessly knead the dough, plonk it down the heated elevators, and out comes the golden bun of a donut. Sizzle, sizzle. It is a childhood bliss to me, I can just about smell it from the other side of my laptop screen. Can you? 

So it was during the last couple of weeks that we had at our flat at university, when Pamela, Caroline and Jennifer had left, that Sophie, Sixian and I set out to make the most amazing home made donuts ever!! 

Mixing up the dough
Melting butter to add to the flour
Leaving the donut dough to rise while we went to the shops to get 2 litres of sunflower oil to fry the donuts in ;)
Oiling baking trays to put the donuts on to rise
Folding the donut dough to take out all the bubbles. It was very soothing ;)
Kneading the dough <3

Sophie having fun playing with the end piece of dough ;)

Cutting the donuts out. You would never guess what equipment we used!! ... We used a "Tea makes everything better" mug for the outer circle, and (after trying a spoon) we used a toothpaste lid for the inner circle. It was Sophie's brilliant creativity that helped us get the right-shape donut ;)
Trying to maintain the temperature of the oil for the donuts.
Letting the donuts rise a tad before sweating them in the oil
Mixing the icing
We accidentally almost burnt the kitchen down by spilling oil on a hot plate!! :o  Luckily Sophie has the health and safety certificate and knew what to do!! haha :D
Sweating the donuts in the oil. It was a simply amazing aroma filling our noses of just-baked donuts!!!
Donuts bubbling away in the oil

Sophie trying one of the little pieces of dough that came off the whole donuts in the oil ;) So cute :D
Now for icing the donuts!!
Decorating time :D

Sophie having fun with her donut ;)

Sophie's amazing creation!! We left the hardest for her, I think ;) haha
All the donuts ready for eating <3
Finally relaxing having tea and a donut <3 
This was, so far, one of the most fun recipes that I have baked!! I can't wait to try making pastries!!

Till next bake, 

The Baking Students xx