Sunday, December 30, 2018

CHRISTMAS VIRTUAL CAKE CLUB

With a good number of our members back in the UK for the winter and everybody very busy with all things Christmas, a virtual meeting seemed to be the way to go. 

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Susan dived in to break the ice with her Christmas cake and mincemeat tart.

“This fruitcake is known as Daisy's Best Boiled Fruit Cake in our family. The recipe makes a 24cm square cake and uses a kilo and a half of dried fruit plus preserved ginger. The liquid would traditionally be ginger syrup or pineapple juice, but this year I put my own stamp on it and added half a cup of my home made walnut liqueur.”

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“Fruit and nut tart. Made using ready rolled sweet pastry from the supermarket; homemade fruit mince leftover from Christmas mince pie making two years ago; a jar of fruit mince purchased in England while I was over there for the anti-Brexit protest march in October; and walnuts from my own trees.”

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Next came Sally with pictures of the Christmas cake that Chris had made from scratch, including homemade marzipan, and one of the cakes that all the children in her class took home for Christmas, cooked in school.

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Gail sent a picture of her Christmas cake, un-iced because the family don’t like icing.

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Liz sent a picture of her Christmas cake: “A tribute to my Mum - her recipe plus her style of icing (neither of us can pipe!) and the little silver balls!”

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Ann introduced her “naughty but nice Malvern mince pies. Made with a very old Rich Shortcrust Pastry Recipe.”

       8oz plain flour

       pinch of salt

       5oz butter

       1oz lard

       1 egg yolk

        2 to 3 tablespoons of water

  Fill with rum and brandy flavoured mincemeat!

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Gaynor introduced her mincemeat flapjacks.  Sounds like a great way to use mincemeat and a nice change from mince pies.

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Not that you can ever have too many mince pies in my book!  Tim sent a picture of his and Pauline’s mince pies and sausage rolls.  The pies were made using the square and fold method instead of two circles of pastry.

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I include a picture of our Christmas cake, made entirely from scratch by Nick including careful arranging of the herd of deer emerging from the forest of old fashioned bottle brush fir trees.

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Next comes a picture of our Christmas Eve Buffet sausage rolls and cheesy tomato pinwheels (made from the pastry trimmings).

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Angela sent pictures of her mince pies:

“The picture shows the bun tin I have been using for 45 years to cook the same recipe mince pies that the family love, and refuse to allow me not to cook. The pies will have icing sugar added when ready to eat.  The cutters too are as old as my marriage, tradition abounds in our house. Pity you didn’t see the sausage rolls, but they truly disappear as soon as they get out of the oven!!

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Edna sent a picture of her vine fruit cake, with blessings and good wishes to all.

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I also made Christmas Dinner Pie for lunch on Boxing Day.  All the leftovers including sprouts, stuffing and cranberry sauce piled into a dish and topped with sliced roast potatoes. 

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Last but not least, my Christmas pudding mini muffins.

A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part in the Christmas Virtual Cake Club.  More pictures can be added if anyone has not had time to send theirs in and the post can be updated.

All that remains is for me to wish everyone a

VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

OCTOBER MEETING - AUTUMN

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The sun shone beautifully for the last meeting of Loire Valley Cake and Bake Club.  The endless summer seemed to have no sign of coming to an end but undeterred, our members turned up with their autumnal bakes.

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Sally and Chris brought a pumpkin and goat’s cheese tart, as well as some home made crocheted poppies in readiness for Remembrance Day.

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Gaynor brought a ginger fruit and nut cake, partly because autumn is the season of ginger and also because she needed to use the fruit in her larder at the end of the season.

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Pauline brought a fallen apple upside down cake made from local windfall apples.

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Maureen brought a toffee apple cake which reminded her of the toffee apples she would get at autumn fairs when she was little.

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Jackie made a delicious Bakewell tart.

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Jane made some very tasty cheese and chive scones.

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Nick made an apple, carrot and walnut loaf using windfall walnuts.

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Jean made a pear and ginger cake where the pears were poached in red wine and there was Guinness in the ginger cake.

With the sun shining and everyone in their summer frocks (except for the men who were in their summer shirts) it was hard to think that it was actually autumn and that we would be putting the clocks back in a few days’ time.  The meeting passed in fine weather and with everyone in good spirits and we all look forward to another successful year in 2019.

Friday, September 21, 2018

SEPTEMBER BAKES

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“September” was the theme for our September meeting, hosted by Gaynor in Le Petit-Pressigny.  It was a glorious warm and sunny afternoon and home grown fruit featured in many of the bakes.

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Gaynor made a cherry and marzipan cake with citrus syrup to a recipe from the Delicious Magazine website and using cherries from her own tree in the garden, which she had frozen earlier in the year.

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Gail made a fig cake that had a meringue topping.  As it was Maureen’s birthday she added a candle and it doubled as a birthday cake – although rather unfortunately some of the meringue was blown off when Maureen blew out the candle!

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The other Maureen made a delicious fig and almond tart using figs given to her by a neighbour.  It had a crisp pastry case and a moist almond filling.

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Ann made a pecan, apple and maple syrup cake using a recipe on the BBC Good Food website and delicious it certainly was.  The maple syrup came through and enhanced the flavour of the apples.

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Maureen (the birthday girl) made a walnut and orange cake.  Then she remembered it wasn’t made with walnuts but carrots because she’s not fond of walnuts!  It was delicious without the walnuts anyway.

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Pauline made some apple spice muffins to a recipe on the Lakeland website, using some of her sixty kilos of apples from her tree – and there was still the other apple tree to go yet!

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The other Pauline made a “house clearance cake” which was a Victoria sponge containing bits and bobs and ends of packets such as ground almonds, dried fruit and whole almonds, to aid the removal from their “project” in La Guerche back to Le Grand-Pressigny.

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Nick made a “fruit & nut cake” which contained hazelnuts, plums and chocolate.

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Jean made a scrumpy apple cake containing apples scrumped from Gaynor’s trees and topped with a cream cheese frosting, to a recipe on the BBC Good Food website.

Various suggestions for future meetings were discussed and it was suggested that next year we should have a number of core meetings during the school and bank holiday weeks when most members were likely to be able to attend.  These would be Easter week, Spring Bank Holiday week, August Bank Holiday week and October half term week.  This would allow members to plan in advance and additional meetings could be arranged as required.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

FLOWERS IN BOUSSAY

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For the first official meeting of the new club, Lisa hosted and chose the theme of “flowers”

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Lisa made a lavender angel cake, one that has to be served with two forks rather than cut with a knife.

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Liz made a rose and raspberry cake, decorated with pink icing sugar flowers.

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Gail made a summer fruit cake, decorated with flowers.

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Angela made a “gateau des vacances”, a fruit cake decorated with lemon “flowers”.

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Nick made a pear and saffron Bundt cake, using local saffron that he got from Preuilly.

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Purely by coincidence, Maureen and Maureen made lavender biscuits.

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Susan made some seeded breakfast bars.

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Edna made some rose and vanilla cupcakes, filled with rose petal jam.

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Ann made a peach and white chocolate “sunflower cake”.

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Gaynor made an elderflower, lemon and white chocolate cake.

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Jane made a quiche, decorated with a flower.

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Jackie made a date and sultana tea loaf, served with home made apple and cinnamon curd, decorated with a flower.

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Jean made a rose and coconut cake.

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Hosts Lisa, Simon and their dog Brandy made everyone very welcome in their lovely home on a glorious summer afternoon.  With fourteen gorgeous bakes on the table it was a great start for the new club.