Yelly Eats

Fig squares

I’ve been under the weather for quite a while and it’s been a very difficult week.  I was admitted to hospital overnight on Monday night for observation.  But they didn’t find anything, so that, in itself, is a relief.  I still have my headache though, which is a bit worrying.

My favourite thing to do when trying to comfort myself is baking.  Sometimes how I feel affects my baking results, but more often than not, I find comfort in the baking process.  I felt the need to bake yesterday and I had dried figs in my cupboard that needed using.  I intended to use the dried figs to make fig bars ala Fig Newtons but I wasn’t sure if I had all the ingredients.  So my fig squares were born.

They are lovely and squidgy and crumbly at the same time.  They remind me slightly of Fig Newtons which made me excited to go home because I’m sure my mum would love them (she absolutely loves Fig Newtons!).

I’m being very careful with my sugars so I’ve only had one tiny piece (yes, really) of the fig squares.  But I’m happy to share the love, so here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g dried figs, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder together with a balloon whisk until well combined.
  3. In separate a mixing bowl (am using a free standing mixer but you can also do this by hand with a balloon whisk), combine softened butter and sugars and beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy (about 4 minutes by mixer and about 7-10 minutes if beating by hand).  Add the eggs one at a time, making sure that the egg is well-combined before adding the next one.  Add the flour mixture in quarters.  It will look like you don’t have enough batter but it will be fine, I promise!  Add the chopped figs and mix until everything is well-distributed.
  4. Spread mixture in a greased 17.5cm x 26.5cm (or thereabouts) pan lined with baking parchment (I learned that lining the baking pan with parchment is good because it makes it easy to release the cake from the pan) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  This recipe makes up to 24 squares.

This recipe will also work with prunes, dates and raisins.  If using raisins, it would be best to soak the same amount in about 75ml of water overnight until the raisins are plumped up.  If you want a boozy version of the fruit squares, soak the fruit in about 30ml of either brandy or rum and add the fruit (with the brandy or rum) to the mixture.

Figbars

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Yelly Eats

Tea loaf!

I’ve been meaning to make a tea loaf for ages.  I fell in love with the Yorkshire Tea Loaf that used to be available in the supermarkets (there are other tea loaf brands but I did love the Yorkshire Tea loaf the best).  Apparently, it was no longer cost effective to produce the cake.  I think I’m not the only person who was absolutely gutted to no longer find this particular cake brand on the supermarket shelves.  They had a very good thing going and it’s very sad that they chose to pull the product instead of resize it.  Resizing the loaf would have been more acceptable to consumers like me who loved their cakes!

I have been getting over a lingering bout with a certain nasty virus but today has been a really good day (albeit the cotton-woolly head still).  It’s quite a good thing because I do want to go back to work and I’ve taken too much time off work for my peace of mind!  I thought I’d try my hand at a new recipe today.  Mind you, I did bake custard creams yesterday for the first time and they turned out great.  As a personal rule, I don’t necessarily bake when I’m not 100% because I kind of feel like your food reflects your well-being so I think that if I’m not in the best of moods or health, my food reflects it.

I may have overbeaten the batter a bit too much which might explain why the cake is a bit too crumbly.  But the taste is wonderful.  I may have to tweak the recipe according to my preference because I do love a dense tea loaf.  I got the fruity tea loaf recipe from the Good Food website.  They call it a tea cake, but I’ve always thought a teacake is a marshmallow on a biscuit covered with chocolate!  I’ve always trusted the recipes on there, I’m sure a few tweaks to fit personal taste is welcomed!  After all, we’re all allowed to make food our own as we are going to eat it! 🙂

As exercise go, I think my first tea loaf went well.  I think it might work with my no-fail loaf base.  I will probably work on the tea loaf recipe again soon.  Which is good because I’ve still got dried fruit and mixed peel left!

My first ever tea loaf!

Yelly Eats

Chocolate bark

I saw Ina Garten make this in one of her shows and I thought, “Wow that looks really easy!”

And believe me, it was really easy!  All you have to do is melt chocolate of your choice (I used half dark chocolate and half milk chocolate to balance the bitterness of the chocolate) in a heatproof bowl over boiling water, making sure that the boiling water didn’t touch the bowl.  The process might be slow but the chocolate comes out really beautiful and shiny.

Then you spread the chocolate over wax or parchment paper and sprinkle your choice of nuts and dried fruit and let it cool and become solid.  It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t put the cooling chocolate into the fridge.  Doing this will cause the chocolate to lose its sheen.  Also, if you intend to use dark chocolate (60% or higher), it might be a good idea to temper the chocolate with a heaping teaspoon of icing sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla paste so that the bitter taste is calmed down.

Chocolate bark cooling

Once the chocolate has cooled and hardened, you can either use a sharp knife to slice the chocolate into shapes or break them apart with your hands.  I prefer the knife option though, because if you break the chocolate up with your hands, the natural heat of your hands will make you leave finger prints all over the chocolate.

You can vary the sprinkles, depending on who this is for.  I placed salted cashews, dried apricots, dried berries and dried cranberries.  This makes for a tasty goodie bag item, which I learned, is also called a “hostess giveaway”

Chocolate bark