Autumnal Eve's Pudding with Spiced Toffee SauceĀ 

I can hardly believe almost six months have passed since my last post. Summer came and went in a whirl and here we are enjoying some of the best autumn weather we’ve had for a few years. Crisp mornings, crunchy leaves underfoot and that rich, low sunshine we only get this time off year. Perfect for hearty warming comfort food and this twist on Eve’s pudding certainly fits the bill. A total mash up between three of my favourite flavours, apples, pumpkin spice and toffee, you’ll have to have some pretty impressive willpower to resist seconds of this indulgent treat. 
Ingredients for the pudding:

3 large bramley apples, peeled cored and finely diced 

350g butternut squash, peeled and chopped

150ml vegetable oil

2 large eggs

250g soft light brown sugar

180g self raising flour

1 tsp bi-carb soda

Pumpkin spice mix made by mixing 3 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 1 whole grated nutmeg and half a tsp ground cloves. 

For the toffee sauce:

250g butter

250g light brown sugar

400ml double cream 

2tsp pumpkin spice mix

Method:

Put the squash in a bowl with a splash or two of water. Cover with cling film and microwave on high for 5 minutes. 

While it’s cooking grease a large oven safe dish and put the apples in the bottom. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of the spice mix. 

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are the same consistency of a thick milkshake. By now the butternut squash should be tender. Put it in a blender with the oil and whizz until you have a smooth puree. I used my nutribullet which works a treat. 

Fold the flour and bi-carb along with 1 rounded tablespoon of the spice mix into the eggy milkshake before gently folding through the butternut puree. 

Pour the mixture on top of the apples and bake at 160oC (fan) for approximately 50 minutes until a skewer comes out of the cake clean.

To make the sauce, melt the butter, sugar and spice mix together until totally combined then pour in the cream stiring constantly. 

Serve with custard and the toffee sauce! Divine! 

Smoked bacon and maple scones

You may have noticed I’ve got a hankering for bacon & syrup at the moment. It’s the heavenly amalgamation of sweet, salty and smokey that does it for me. It sounds so wrong on paper, but seriously all you sceptics should give it a go. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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For these swirly scones I simply whipped up a batch of basic scone mixture. I happen to like this one by good old Delia Smith. Once the dough is made, set it aside and fry off 150g smoked bacon bits until cooked. I prefer to use a lean cut, but you could use lardons from the belly pork if you like. Once they’re cooked and a little crunchy, turn off the heat and add in 4 tablespoons of maple syrup. I added in half a teaspoon of sea salt flakes as well as I didn’t think my bacon was salty enough to offset the sweetness of the syrup, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether yours needs it. Let the mixture cool as you roll the dough out.

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Roll out the dough into a roughly oblong shape.

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Use a pastry brush to brush the dough with the warm syrup from the bacon bits pan. Sprinkle over a scant amount of dark brown sugar, before scattering over the bacon leaving a gap if about an inch on one of the long sides. Roll it up starting from the opposite side.

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Slice off the scraggy ends and squish them together. This is important. You’ll see why later. Put it on a lined baking tray. Now slice the roll into 6 equal portions and add to the baking tray.

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Bake for around 16 minutes in a 200oC oven, or until golden brown.

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These tasty morsals are a present for a friend who’s celebrating his birthday tomorrow, so I transferred them to a foil container and allowed them to cool whilst I concocted a glaze. I’m afraid I don’t have measurements for this as I made it up as I went along. To icing sugar I added maple syrup, a teaspoon of camp coffee, a glug of double cream and then I loosened it all with a dash of milk. When you’re happy with the taste, spoon it over the scones.

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These are best enjoyed warm, so if you can resist eating them straight away store them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them, then warm them through in the oven for a few mins.

Now, remember I told you to cut the two scraggy ends off the roll, squish them together and bake along with the others? Here’s why…

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Chef’s treat. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Cake

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Today, some friends and I went to a food festival at the beautiful Stonyhurst College. We decided (largely due to the lure of free entry) to each enter a cake into the ‘Great British Cake Off’ competition. I found the recipe for my entry, Apple Caramel Layer Cake in ‘Delicious’ magazine, and delicious it was (although, evidently not as delicious as some of the other entries as sadly I didn’t win!).

I’ve made the recipe a couple of times, but changed it slightly for this competition in that I only included two layers to make it easier to transport and slice. I also put apple puree and extra caramel between the layers as well as the Greek yoghurt and caramelised apple slices to give it a bit of extra bite. Caramelised apple slices and spun sugar finished it off nicely.

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I’d encourage you to give this one a try. It really is beautiful and a lovely way to use up all those seasonal cooking apples! Enjoy.