The Great British Bake Off Technical Challenges Challenge: Hot Lemon Soufflé

I love The Great British Bake Off, in fact I am obssessed with it and can´t wait to see the new series in August! It has inspired me even more to become a much better baker than I currently am and to persue my dreams so in order to try and achieve both these things, I´ve decided to challenge myself to bake all the technical challenges from all of the various seasons myself and chart my progress here on this blog. Some of the technical challenges I have actually baked already (but not many!) and I want to follow the exact recipes that the Great British Bake Off contestants had to follow.

So here is one of the first technical challenges I decided to tackle: Lemon Soufflé. This was the very first time I´d tried to make any sort of soufflé before and soufflés are renouned for being a little tricky. However, I followed the recipe very carefully and was pleasantly surprised that they aren´t really all that difficult after all. I halved the recipe so it served only two people and whether my ramekins are bigger or what, I don´t know but the souffle mixture didn´t completely fill them up. I made these awhile ago but I don´t remember having any particular problem. I  think I took the soufflés out of the oven just a tad too early, because as you can see in the photo, the soufflés sunk a little although on the whole, I was very happy with my first attempt at a soufflé. The soufflés themselves are lovely and light, with a sharp,lemony burst. Absolutely delicious!We gobbled them up and could easily have eaten more! I´ll definitely be making these again and perfecting my soufflés!If I were you, forget about your soufflé hang-ups and go and try this recipe! It really is a winner!


Peppa Pig cake & some recent bakes

I have been on a mad baking roll recently and I haven´t had time to blog about them,particularly as time is very restricted these days. It was my daughter´s second birthday not long ago and as she is obssessed with Peppa Pig,I decided to make her a Peppa Pig cake,using the buttercream transfer technique I learned on my buttercream course with Fabricando Delicias.I hadn´t practiced or used this technique since and as it was about two or three years ago my memory of how to do it was a little bit rusty, so I had to refresh it by watching some great tutorials I found on YouTube.

I made the cake the day before her "party" and then set to decorating it the day of the party,covering it with fondant, mixing the buttercream and the colours etc.I had a couple of issues covering the cake with the fondant,due to the fondant cracking and tearing.I think this was mainly due to it being a pretty thick cake! I then set to on doing the Peppa Pig figure and piping it all in with a star tip nozzle. All in all,the decorating part took me ages, all morning practically but I was very pleased with the result, even though it wasn´t completely perfect.The worst thing was we had to cancel the party as my daughter had a fever and wasn´t very well and then I started feeling ill later that night so hardly anyone got to see all my hard work before it got cut into!!!

Here are some other recent bakes that I´ve made and am very proud of.
My first red velvet cupcakes with fondant butterflies, a hot milk sponge  cake for my friend´s daughter´s 1st birthday and white chocolate cupcakes with buttercream and embossed fondant hearts.
Hopefully, you can see that I am learning lots of new techniques and improving my cake decorating skills and I´ll try and share these as and when I have the time.


Eating local:Sourcing local produce & becoming green~fingered

I‘ ve been meaning to do another 100 mile post for awhile but just haven‘t managed to get round to it, what with so many other posts crying out to be written!
As the economy in Spain is going through a bad patch at the moment and things seem to be going from bad to worse, one way we can all help out is by buying food locally and in this way, helping the local economy and cutting down on food miles. However, sourcing local produce can be quite difficult as I have come to realise as you may not have the time to visit different supermarkets or go directly to the local supplier particularly if you are a working mum!
 Granja Real,is a local supplier of fresh meat such as turkey,chicken and other meat.They also sell sausages chorizo, prepared hamburgers, black pudding, pinchos morunos (meat kebabs)spare ribs and lomo (pork loin) and even eggs. You can find their products in some supermarkets such as LeClerc or El Pollo Feliz (for some reason LeClerc doesn´t sell their eggs only their meat but you can find their eggs in El Pollo Feliz or Covirán.For information about Granja Real,click on the link provided.

I have to admit that I haven´t been buying so locally,not even many of the products mentioned in my previous  Eating Local post,mainly for example things like milk I prefer to buy in cartons,not in bags and although I´ve been checking the labels,most food I buy is not produced in Castilla La Mancha!It´s very difficult to find locally produced food at least in the supermarkets although I could be wrong!

Another way you can cut down on food miles and make sure you are getting fresh and organic produce is by growing it yourself! Don´t let the fact that you might not have a garden, stop you! If you have a balcony however little it is, you can grow some herbs or even fruit or vegetables and even if you don´t have any outdoor space,you could grow some herbs indoors on the window sill! I´ve never really been much of a gardener but this year I´ve decided to try and grow a few herbs on my balcony so that I have fresh herbs and also because when I buy herbs from the supermarket, I only use a little of it and then it goes off or dies!! So far, I am trying to grow rhubarb....it was doing well till I replanted it and one stalk died and another leaf has gone a bit yellowy-not sure if it´s the heat or if I´ve been overwatering it, coriander.....it has flowered now so I think it´s going to die but I´m going to let it go to seed,then I can use some of the seed as dried spices and plant the rest!I also have basil,however it died almost straight away so I have bought another plant to see how that goes on and also oregano,which seems to be doing well at the moment.I have also picked some bay leaves from a tree at my inlaw´s house so again it is local!If you would like to have a go at growing your own but haven´t got any outdoor space, you could always rent an allotment space at Las Huertas Ecologícas.

In both Eroski and Carrefour there are sections selling local food from Castilla La Mancha,however in Carrefour there is only a small range of products and in Eroski, it is mainly limited to patés, wine,cheese and tinned goods such as pisto,asadillo etc.

I will continue trying to souch more local produce and buy as locally as possible although it seems like a pretty difficult task!

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